Grants Attack +3. If a penalty inflicted by a skill like Panic or Threaten, and/or a negative status effect (preventing counterattacks or restricting movement) is active on foe, unit makes a guaranteed follow-up attack and foe cannot.
Moonbow (Cooldown = 2)
Treats foe’s Defense or Resistance as if reduced by 30 percent during combat.
Distant Counter (A Skill)
Unit can counterattack regardless of foe’s range.
Freezing Seal (B Skill)
At the start of a turn, if unit’s Health ≥ 50 percent, inflicts Attack/Speed -6 on foe with the lowest Resistance through its next action.
Attack Smoke (C Skill)
Inflicts Attack -7 on foes within two spaces of target through their next actions after combat.
From a purely conceptual standpoint, I actually really like the idea behind Hríd’s base skill kit. His B skill weakens the strongest enemy on the opposing team so that he can race in on his horse and slay them with the guaranteed follow-up of his sword.
On top of that he has defensive capabilities thanks to Distant Counter, which balances things out.
Overall it’s a really solid set of capabilities, and if nothing else it’s great to have a new unit with Distant Counter given how rare the ability is.
To be completely honest my only real problem with Hríd is the fact that… Well…
Come on Intelligent Systems, at least separate out the weapon/move type combinations a little better. Maybe make Hríd a sword armor unit or something, that way we can have a power crept Black Knight as a Legendary Hero.
I don’t know , the quick repetition bugs me. But even so I don’t mind the character himself.
On top of that, his entourage in the special Legendary Hero banner isn’t so bad:
Red and green hold the most interest for me this time around. Hríd, Legendary Ryoma, Summer Innes and Kana are all not in my current arsenal, and thus all worth summoning.
In the other two colors the only character I’m missing is Brave Hector.
I do want Brave Hector, but I’m not sure he’s worth potentially getting another Legendary Lucina or Summer Cordelia.
Also can we hold an intervention for Intelligent Systems to not include female Grima in any more of these banners? I’m pretty sure she’s been in every single one.
There better be some cool story thing that comes out of that eventually.
While I started with about 200 orbs once again, it took me 50 or so to get something of particular interest to me:
All the animosity I stored toward the Legendary Lobster since his first appearance when he took all my orbs and never showed up has finally been relieved.
I don’t know that I’ll ever be the same still… But he’s +Attack, -Resistance. Which I think is his best build.
So hey I guess I can’t really complain.
I’ve also gotten a second Laevatein at this point, but she’s not very good compared to the one I had already.
I don’t know whether I’ll spend a lot more orbs on this banner unless I get a bunch in the near future. At this point there aren’t enough units left to justify it.
But at least there are Legendary Battle Maps to score some extra orbs, right?
Nailed the transition.
While most of the Legendary Battle Maps have been cool examples of a stage from the character’s original game, I particularly appreciate what they did for Hríd.
His map appears to be the Rite of Frost chamber from Heroes’ main story, seen back when Kinshi Hinoka first came out, but frozen over more than ever. It’s a nice touch for people who have been sticking with this game for a long time.
As far as the difficulty goes? I mean it’s the same old reinforcement map bs as always. Not very fun in my opinion.
What is more fun to discuss is the Forging Bonds that coincides with Hríd’s addition featuring the four Nifl siblings:
I haven’t gotten very far into any of the support conversation threads, but what I have seen has been so different than usual that it’s pretty engaging.
The overall theme of the event is a prequel of sorts. The story starts off prior to Surtr’s invasion right around the time when Gunnthrá apparently has a premonition that he will be coming soon.
Group sections seem to focus on the siblings preparing together (a somber twist considering how the story goes) while the individual conversations each have the siblings meeting you in their dreams.
Again I don’t know where they wind up going just yet, but I’m very excited to see!
I’m going to level with you guys, I thought I was going to end this off early tonight and go to bed.
Then I got distracted with some videos online and somehow it turned into 2:00 a.m.
So I’m not going to put a lot of fanfare into this conclusion. Just let me know what you think of Hríd, what you want to see in the future, all that fun stuff.
That said, I’ll see you in the next FEH post where I’ll hopefully be more awake.
As many of you know, I consider myself something of a Fire Emblem Heroes recorder. I’ve been following the game since its humble beginnings and quite enjoy taking note of different things that come to it on behalf of Intelligent Systems.
New summoning focuses.
Major version updates.
Chronicling the game’s ever-expanding plot.
And of course the topic of today’s blog post: Brand new game modes.
While we still haven’t gotten anything that facilitates playing and interacting with friends in any significant capacity, many different ways to play have been attached to the overall FEH experience over time. Outside of the Tap Battles, each has built upon the fundamental style of a turn-based RPG with slightly varying rules to challenge players who wish to earn more rewards.
The newest “Forging Bonds” game mode is no exception, but hits an interesting note by emulating a more classic support system than the game boasts with its own style of supports.
Though that intrigue is pretty heavily counterbalanced by how bland the method of playing is.
Forging Bonds sets its eyes on the characters most recently added into the game via the Awakening banner that activated a few days ago.
So Olivia, Sumia, Maribelle and Libra are the units players are meant to pay attention to. However, the game makes it abundantly clear that unlike other events where the focused characters provide score bonuses (as they do in the Arena or Tempest Trials), players get no bonuses by owning and using these four.
Which is a shame considering I summoned Sumia so early:
But at the same time it’s objectively a great decision to make the experience open to the full spectrum of players.
Yet… I can’t argue that it’s a perfect decision. Let me explain why in a roundabout fashion.
See the four heroes of note don’t provide any bonuses because they’re simply used as reward-granting stand-ins. The actual play style of Forging Bonds is as easy as selecting a difficulty level and battling one map for each 15 stamina you spend.
Like in almost every game mode before it, whatever opponents you fight on that map are randomized but scale based on the difficulty you choose.
The catch is that some of these enemies have random item drops.
As you can see in the image of the event’s main screen I posted above, each of the four focused heroes correspond with a colored heart:
Olivia — Red
Sumia — Orange
Maribelle — Green
Libra — Blue
When battling, RNGesus decides which kind of color you receive. There just happens to be weighted odds for finding one color over the others.
This boosted chance cycles every couple of hours, and really does make a difference. In all the times I’ve been playing, Sumia has had the boosted chance, and as of now I have over 400 points lined up with her and just 150 lined up with Olivia otherwise. Maribelle and Libra have gotten no love, apparently.
The division of one’s points matter, because unlike other in-game events such as the Tempest Trials where there’s a single string of rewards to unlock by playing, Forging Bonds offers four completely separate strings of rewards:
That’s right, if you didn’t enjoy the grinding for points before, now you get to do it four times over with no guarantee that you’ll get the points for the character you want! Isn’t that just wonderful.
For someone like me who has Stamina Potions literally wasting away en masse in his reserves, this isn’t so much of a problem. I can just wait for a day where the character I want to focus on has a boosted chance and go ham on those battles. Especially since there’s two weeks of event to get through.
For most other players, especially novice players, I can wholeheartedly understand why this would be far more frustrating than it has any right to be.
Seriously, I played Monster Hunter. I know the pain that comes when the desire sensor denies you the exact thing you’re looking for in place of an item you have half a billion of.
But that does leave a substantial question. Are the rewards worth the effort of struggling to get them?
There are three primary rewards that come out of Forging Bonds. The first is the source of its namesake: The support conversations.
In traditional Fire Emblem games, support conversations are discussions two characters have together that build their characters up and offer benefits like stat buffs when they fight together in battle. In the modern FE titles like Awakening and Fates, getting high enough support levels between characters also leads to marriage and subsequent recruitable ‘child’ characters.
In Heroes, the system of supports implemented was dumbed down to simply offer stat buffs and the occasional aesthetic alteration (like having the S-rank supported units snuggle in the hot springs when completing Tap Battles). It would be nigh impossible to add legitimate conversations when every character can support with every character from any and all Fire Emblem games ever made, after all.
The support conversations that can be unlocked with the four characters in Forging Bonds are much more like the prior example.
See the theme of the event, in this Ylissian version at least, is that the four heroes want to defend a town but can’t wait for reinforcements to be sent by Chrom.
Naturally the Order of Heroes arrives and offers their services, making the Ylissian Travelers more like companions in the context of the storyline this event sets up.
As a result, they have support conversations with you, the player, as you earn friendship points with them. Despite the fact that you may or may not have summoned them to join your army in the meta context of this as a video game.
After achieving some level of support with each character on the given roster, the overall story of the event also moves forward. So theoretically, by achieving an S-Rank support with all four heroes, eventually you’ll see a completed story arc.
It’s a cute idea, but flawed by its own premise in my opinion.
There’s something empty about these supports because there are no outside benefits to them.
You aren’t more likely to earn friendship points for that character once you begin to see their support conversations. Because they aren’t units you need to have to participate, seeing the support conversations offers no benefits to you if you do happen to own those units.
They’re just flavor text through-and-through. It’s actually somewhat underwhelming as a reward.
To be fair I haven’t gotten to S-Rank support with any of these heroes so I’m not sure how crazy the supports get, and that might just make them more worthwhile. Consider this a rain check on that idea.
With that long story aside, it’s pretty clear that the event probably isn’t worth players’ time if the namesake of the event itself isn’t really worthwhile, right?
Not quite. There are other rewards to accrue, after all.
The most notably rare and worthwhile are the special accessories that correspond with each character. Once you reach 100 friendship, you earn something like a flower hairband for Sumia.
Those 100 friendship accessories also add additional friendship points that stack when equipped to heroes you fight in Forging Bonds with, so they’re worth picking up in practical terms as well as aesthetic ones.
Then there are EX versions of each accessory that are available when you earn 2,500 points for each character:
These EX variants aren’t practically useful like the regular ones… But I’d be lying if I said they weren’t each good-looking enough to not be worth the price of admission.
Then again I’m a sucker for putting cute accessories on my characters, so these rewards are inherently a draw for someone like me. That then begs the question of whether there are other rewards more useful to players who aren’t into the aesthetics.
Again, the answer is yes.
See between all of the different main reward tiers for accessories and support conversations are basic rewards. Badges for leveling up and the like.
After a while these rewards become exclusively Hero Feathers, which players can use to upgrade their units into different rarity levels.
Feathers are somewhat hard to come by considering it takes 20,000 to bring a four-star hero into a five-star hero, so those are definitely great items to go for (even if you can only get about 16,000 from all four paths together).
Unfortunately the same cannot be said about orbs. Usually special events love to give players orbs because that, in turn, encourages them to keep up the unhealthy addiction to summoning that we’ve all developed. But for Forging Bonds, only one orb sits at the top-level reward tier for each hero.
So you can get four orbs in total by playing Forging Bonds.
Now to be fair there is also one orb given away daily by playing a match once, but even so that brings the total orb haul up to a measly 18. Not even enough for a full round of summons on a given banner.
Honestly that’s pretty disappointing. More orbs would actually encourage me to participate in the event more than the support conversations do, because even if they are the focus they don’t provide any sort of long-term benefits.
At least Intelligent Systems seems to recognize that considering the day one reward for the event coming out was 20 orbs:
Honestly, as far as content goes, that’s just about all there is to say regarding Forging Bonds. Like I said toward the top, it’s an intriguing approach to setting-up an event that falters due to its over-reliance on RNG coupled with lackluster, sometimes useless rewards that don’t encourage players to deal with that chance.
I also personally have some smaller, more nitpick-y issues with the approach as a whole.
Namely the fact that despite being an event clearly set in Ylisse where the characters are hoping to protect their homeland, the game itself doesn’t set up a world that matches the story-created expectation.
The maps seem randomly chosen, so while players will occasionally fight on a map based on a map from Fire Emblem Awakening, that chance is very rare. It’s a small detail, but it’s the kind of world-building this event missed out on that would have done it much more justice in the long-run.
Especially considering events like Tempest Trials have already shown a propensity for focusing on maps from specific games’ canons.
At least the music on the main screen of the event is pretty nice, so I’ll give the developers that much.
And maybe there’s more credit I should be giving the developers. Perhaps I’m being somewhat harsh on this event as a whole If I am, and you have your own opinions on it, please feel free to let me know in the comments down below!
Like I mentioned up top, I like to think of myself as a chronicler of the history of Fire Emblem Heroes at this point. But that also means I’m open to changing my opinions on things as time goes on.
So who knows, maybe the next version of Forging Bonds will take some of these critiques and run with them to create something better. I can feel something interesting under the surface, after all.
Luckily for my sudden onset of insomnia tonight, it seems I have a new distraction to mull over beyond Superstar Saga. And writing overly long diatribes about Superstar Saga that I’m going to have to cut down to a more manageable form for a general newspaper audience.
Seriously, Sarah, if you wind up reading this… I’m sorry that I might wind up being more of a pain than I’m worth for the next couple of days with that review article.
But this isn’t the place for pre-emptive apologies. That can come at the end of this post. As the title suggests, we’ve got some Fire Emblem to discuss.
This morning, Intelligent Systems has graced the world with an update to Fire Emblem Heroes, bringing us into the 1.8 version of the game. Thankfully, there isn’t a hell of a lot to this big update like there was with the last few, so I hopefully won’t be hating myself when I have to get up later.
The major addition with this update is a little feature we’ve been waiting on for quite some time: Seal Forging.
Now, for those of you who are uninitiated in the unending and relentless cult of Fire Emblem Heroes, Sacred Seals are items you can equip to your units that allow them to utilize a fourth passive skill on top of the “A,” “B” and “C” level skills they can be summoned with or inherit.
These Sacred Seals can make a number of new possibilities open up for unit building and team composition overall. A few of my personal favorite examples include giving a unit like Reinhardt the “Quickened Pulse” seal that allows his special attack to pop off more often or giving a unit like Eirika a seal like “Fortify Resistance” so she can passively buff an additional stat for her allies at the start of a turn.
We’ve had a number of means of unlocking these Sacred Seals in the past, most notably through special Sacred Seal missions that cycle through on occasion, as rewards for completing Squad Assault challenges and as tier rewards during Tempest Trials:
The issue many players have had with these seals is that most have been stuck at a basic level 1 status, with no sign of additional level 2 or 3 variants being released anytime soon.
Enter: Seal Forging.
Though to allow Seal Forging to enter the conversation, we do have to take a step back. You don’t just get the ability to forge Sacred Seals right away, after all.
Thus, enter a new Intermission mission that players can unlock after they defeat Chapter 13 in the main story of the game.
Strangely enough this Intermission is the first of its kind and seems somewhat out of place as a result of being only one mission with no additional associated quests. The developers do make this strange addition make sense in the context of the story’s plot, however.
The Order of Heroes’ old ally Zacharias turns out to be their new enemy Prince Bruno, who fights against them because his bloodline makes him have an insatiable bloodlust because of something something evil dragon magic, so on and so forth in that classic Fire Emblem flavor. However, he revealed at that point that he still cares about his friends in the Order, and wants to help them help him so he can be friends with them again.
That’s the brief blurb about it, anyway.
This Intermission kicks off just about directly after that happened, when Anna leads the team to an ancient ruin called the Eternal Sanctum after Zacharias told her they could unlock more of their power there.
You go, you conquer, and at the end of the mission the team finds instructions for the Seal Forging ritual, which the team takes back home and unlocks for the player’s future use.
Really it’s as simple as that, even though I made it much more wordy than it had to be.
Once you unlock the option to forge Sacred Seals, you gain two abilities: Creation and Enhancement.
These options do exactly what you’d expect just off the names alone.
Creation mode: As the name suggests, allows a player to create a brand new Sacred seal that they do not already have. Currently there are only a few options with the “Spur” skills and brand new “Deflect” skills, with the latter being more expensive than the prior to create.
Enhancement mode: Again, as the name suggests, allows a player to boost the power of an enumerated Sacred Seal they already own. With this, “Breath of Life 1” can grow to eventually become “Breath of Life 3,” providing all the benefits of a third level skill as an add-on to a hero.
Both of these abilities take Sacred Coins, an item you receive as rewards for getting good rankings in the Arena Assault mode. Before now these items were completely useless and just taking up space, so I’m glad they can now be used for something.
Though, because I never took them seriously, I never actually spent a lot of effort earning them… So looks like I’ll have to take Arena Assault mode a bit more seriously from here on out. They are also adding them as rewards in other places like quests and through Tempest Trials from here on out, so that’s definitely a plus!
That’s really about all there is to say about Sacred Seal forging at this point. All and all I’d say it’s a quite welcomed addition as a means of making units more powerful for both casual and Arena play. Plus, it fills in some knowledge gaps as far as letting us know what certain things do that previously had no purpose, so it’s satisfying in that regard.
Yet, I wouldn’t argue I’m personally blown away by this part of the update. It’s definitely nice, but I’m not enough of an Arena junkie to feel like I’ll get an exorbitant amount of use out of the system outside of an underlying drive to collect everything.
I can probably blame Pokémon for that one now that I’m thinking about it… But that’s another story.
Seal forging isn’t the only thing that was added in Version 1.8. It was certainly the biggest thing that was added, but there are a number of more minor aesthetic and mechanical adjustments that are actually wonderful additions in terms of making the entire user experience with Fire Emblem Heroes more smooth.
There are three other changes that the game felt were important enough to spell out in more detail as a part of this update, so I figure I’ll break them down the same way.
Now this is a change I can get behind. When playing Fire Emblem Heroes, I’m a huge culprit of the ‘look at a mission, then change teams up to fit said mission’ phenomenon. If that is, in fact, a phenomenon most players encounter.
Either way, the inconvenience of this issue is now a thing of the past. Instead of having to jump through seemingly 20 different pages to go from the entrance of a mission to the team editing screen, you can now go to team editing right away thanks to an extra button just at the bottom of the confirmation screen.
As you’ll see again with the other two things here, this change is all about convenience for the player, as just the fact that it was added at all leads me to believe other players had just as much to groan about as I did in regards to how long it took to get to the editing teams menu.
So good on you for listening to that bellyaching and turning it into constructive criticism, Intelligent Systems. I certainly know I appreciate the change.
Much like going to the team editing screen from a battle confirmation screen was a pain, so was going from a battle confirmation screen to the menu showing off whatever quests and missions you had available. If you were trying to accomplish a mission with a certain goal on a certain level, flipping through those screens was almost a necessity.
Luckily, thanks to Version 1.8’s push for convenience, that problem is also a thing of the past.
Now when you’re looking at missions you can go directly to wherever that mission is relevant for. Need to beat the Training Tower’s Tenth Stratum another six times? Well, here’s a button to go straight there. Plus, it works in reverse, which means you can go from the battle confirmation screen to the quests and missions tab and vice versa. Way cool.
However, I think my favorite part of this change is that it also added these:
Markers showing off which options include mission-specific things you can complete is honestly incredible. It again removes the need to flip between two pages to pick up on the information you need, but in a much more streamlined way.
I would probably argue this addition is my favorite part of this entire update, just because it’s exactly the sort of thing I’ve been internally asking for since the day the game came out.
With this one, what you see is what you get. Now there’s a more convenient button available (if you turn it on in your settings menu) to turn auto-battling on and off. During a game mode where you have to fight multiple teams in succession, this also keeps it on across multiple battles.
Simple convenience is the name of the game here, folks. Not too much to say, but the effort to improve the user experience is cool to see seeping through every inch of this game as time goes on.
Beyond those three, a number of other things were done that I figure are best left up to the concise words bestowed by in-game text:
I haven’t played a lot with character supports beyond doing it for some stat buffs between my calvary units as a test run, but I guess it’s nice to see a more concise list of the benefits it provides right from the Support Rank icon. Don’t have much to say beyond that, however.
Voting Gauntlets don’t happen that often, and an aesthetic change as small as darkening out the members of a team you have selected other than the one that will appear in the Gauntlet is definitely more of an unnoticeable change unless you’ve been playing this game as long as I have. While I did notice this before even reading it in the change log, I’ll say pretty bluntly that it doesn’t change my life much at all.
Seeing every item you collect when using the “Accept All” option is a change that is arguably negligible enough to not have to be there at all, but I will admit there is something nice about getting a complete breakdown of what you’ll be earning should you be accepting items strewn across multiple mission and quest lines.
Gotta love bug fixes.
While that’s everything new with Version 1.8, I also figured it would be worth bringing up the new Voting Gauntlet that started today, if for no other reason than to look back at this when it’s over and lament whatever choices I’ve made in the here and now.
The theme for this gauntlet is “The Blood of Dragons,” which pits Manakete against Manakete in a battle of the ancient bloodlines.
Not much has changed with this version in regards to the Voting Gauntlet system, other than the fact that supposedly adjustments were made in determining which army is stronger or weaker (which I really hope isn’t an actual fix considering what a meme it has become amongst my friends to send pictures of billion or trillion point differences in scores that read in-game as being the “same” as one another).
Though mechanically things are the same, there are some different rewards this time around for putting in the time to play:
Like I mentioned before in the Sacred Seals forging portion, now Sacred Coins have been added as rewards for completing Gauntlet-related quests. Between those and orbs, there are a growing number of incentives to participate as time goes on.
Personally, I’ll be participating on the side of young Tiki. She was one of my first five star units ever summoned, so there’s sentimental value there, and I also happen to adore her unrequited love for Marth in the canon of the games in which she appears.
I’m a sucker for that sort of thing, okay? Sue me.
If Tiki fails I’ll probably jump on the Nowi train since I get the feeling she has a strong chance of winning… But that’s a bridge we’ll have to cross when we get there. For now, I’ll just keep focused on supporting my girl as far as she’ll go.
Well, that about does it for another unnecessarily huge Fire Emblem Heroes post.
Seriously this was another relatively small update that I managed to turn into a 2,200 word post. How I do that is beyond me, but I sure hope that it clears out whatever issues I have backed up in my psyche in one way or another.
If you stuck with me so far, then thank you. As a reward, I’ll treat you with this: My favorite picture out of Mario & Luigi Superstar Saga so far.
Nothing like a good old game of Donkey Kong to really bring the world together.
It’s either this one or blowing up the fat skeleton in the shipwrecked S.S. Chuckola, but that also requires some extra explanation to truly appreciate the fatso jokes, so… Yeah. For another time.
Like I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I’m actually working on an article for the Daily Titan reviewing the Superstar Saga remake, so expect to see that by the end of the week. In fact, I have far more to say about the game than I’ll ever be allowed to publish, even if it’s probably going online-only, so expect to see an unabridged version of that review here on the blog not too long after.
Until then, let me know what you think of Sacred Seal forging and the other small changes from this update in the comments below!
If nothing else, I know messing with some of this stuff is going to be a wonderful distraction from having to study for my statistics exam this week. Seriously not looking forward to that.