Tag: Tempest Trials

Jason’s Fire Emblem Heroes mid-April new events analysis

Jason’s Fire Emblem Heroes mid-April new events analysis

Could I throw any more pomp and circumstance into a single blog post title for something that probably doesn’t deserve it?

Welcome to my double new events analysis! I’ve been a bit distracted by the end of the semester so I didn’t have the chance to talk about the Grand Conquests event while it was happening over the last week or so. However, with a new version of the Tempest Trials here today, I figured I could lump them together and get my compulsive fill out-of-the-way in one fell swoop.

That said I’m going to start with the “brand new” Tempest Trials+, that way anyone interested in just the newest news can move on with their life soon after that if they desire.


Tempest Trials+

Now some of you may be wondering why I put “brand new” in quotes when referring to this new event in the paragraph just above this.

Well… To put it bluntly…

There’s really nothing that’s especially “new” about these updated Tempest Trials. There are certainly some quality improvements to the overall formula that I like, but I’m not sure it’s new enough to warrant very deep examination.

img_8003

Thracia 776 continues its current run of popularity in Heroes by taking our latest Tempest Trials slot. But what exactly is different about this updated formula compared to previous entries?

To put it simply, there are three big changes: The time frame of the event has shrunk, the reward tiers have changed and bonus allies have become more useful overall.

 

Honestly these two screenshots pretty much sum up everything rather succinctly, but I’ll spell it out a little just in case there are some people reading this who are new around here and haven’t seen a Tempest Trials post since I stopped writing them

  • Rather than lasting a full two weeks, the Tempest Trials+ sets only last 10 days.
  • Whereas main Tempest Trials installments had rewards up to 100,000 points, the Tempest Trials+ only have rewards up to 50,000 points like mini Trials.
  • Instead of there being two tiers of bonus allies, one offering an extra 40 percent to the player’s score at the end of a round and one only offering 20 percent, now all eight of the bonus allies offer 40 percent.

I personally have mixed feelings about these changes.

More bonus allies being useful is a great thing for everyone, as it can be hard to pull the brand new units that originally served as the 40 percent vanguard, but now older units and the Tempest reward unit are applicable.

However, making the time frame of the event shorter and shrinking the rewards to gain is potentially detrimental. The way I personally approach Tempest Trials is grinding them out idly with auto play during my drives to-and-from Cal State Fullerton. That system has allowed me to easily work out 100,000 points within two weeks and thus I’ve been able to enjoy the rewards they offer.

I understand that not everybody can commit to working out that much time the same way I do, but I think the loss of extra rewards is a bummer. Though the fact that the higher level runs only cost 15 stamina now is pretty great.

img_8011

Hopefully shorter Trials means more frequent Trials to make up for the exchange of rewards. That’s all I’m going to say on the matter.

With that said, I mentioned up above that I haven’t posted a Tempest Trials blog post in some time. The reason for that change was because Trials showed up relatively frequently without any serious changes between each. Granted, there was “development” in the overall story of Masked Lucina going around helping everyone, but not enough development to warrant talking about it.

For the most part everything boiled down to “show up at a new place, ask the new characters for help, go through trials and win.” Rinse and repeat.

Unfortunately, the Thracia 776 Trials here are no different. But because I happen to be talking about it, I figured why not go over the small stuff I always used to dive into. Just like old times

In terms of plot… Well, this is about it.

 

 

Game-referential exposition building up Reinhardt as the big bad this time around.

I won’t say I’m complaining as I haven’t personally played Thracia 776, so the little history lesson does what it needs to by setting up the conflict between Leif and Reinhardt.

Plus it offers Lucina the opportunity to be a history geek, which is my absolute favorite headcanon for her.

But there isn’t much to say beyond that.

That extends to the end-game battle against Reinhardt as well. While Leif sets up the fact that their ultimate battle in the original title took place on the river that has been recreated, I don’t have any sort of connection with it beyond that.

img_8012

It’s a nice map though. I’ll give the developers that much, they always do a great job recreating iconic scenes on these small-scale builds.

Now rewards are a somewhat more interesting discussion for me this time around. Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve taken the time to invest into all of my five-star units. After all, one can only rely on the slowly power creep susceptible horse emblem gods for so long.

I’ve had a ton of the powerful units just sitting in storage for some time now, so I made it my mission to give them inherited skills and sacred seals that way I can throw my weight around more with blessings and rival domain maps.

As a result, sacred seals have become way more important for me. That coincides perfectly with a Tempest Trials that offers really great seals!

Tempest Trials+: Thunder’s Fist Sacred Seals

  1. Seal Speed — Inflicts a speed debuff on foes after battling with them
    1. For a unit that wants to strike twice in a turn, lowering the opponent’s speed is fairly invaluable. Seal skills build up a good chunk of stat debuffs, so this should be useful.
  2. Fortress Defense — Grants up to +5 defense in exchange for -3 attack
    1. I didn’t enjoy the fortress skills too much until I began experimenting with units and found out how great a huge defensive buff can be on a unit with already sky-high attack. Thanks to Brave Lucina and Innes for teaching me such a valuable lesson.
  3. Drive Attack — All allies within two spaces of the unit receive up to +3 attack during combat
    1. Drive skills are another thing I’ve discovered the great power of during my time experimenting. Many of my dancing units now feature two versions of drive where they can to ensure a unit that’s nearby has an extra boost after being brought back to attention for another move. Looking forward to getting this one especially.

Luckily I’m excited for these seals, because I’m not super invigorated when I think about the unit that was added as a Trial reward:

img_8010

Based on conversations I’ve read in-game, it seems like Finn fits the archetype of ‘early game broken great knight’ that Fire Emblem games are famous for. However, just on quick research he seems much more interesting as a character who bridges the 15 year time gap between the beginning and end campaigns of Geneaology of the Holy War.

Also he’s Nanna’s father. Which I wouldn’t have expected in a million years.

Despite having an interesting character back story, I’m not sure I’m that excited for another lance-wielding cavalier as a reward. God knows Clive just disappeared into the aether after the Tempest Trials he came out in.

With that, however, everything I have to say about Tempest Trials+ is said and done. I’m not sure I would consider it too much of a plus just yet, but I suppose we’ll see if it becomes a better deal in the long run.


Grand Conquests

img_7904

Obviously I missed the boat on talking about this new game mode. I mentioned it when the event was teased back during the last major game update, but then life got busy.

Fun fact, I actually took most of the pictures you’ll be seeing on this post when I was at Universal Studios with my family last week. I meant to write this closer to then… But what can I say.

But enough excuses, what exactly are Grand Conquests?

Well to put it simply, “Three armies vie for territory.” It’s hard to dumb it down more than that.

I’m not one to dumb things down however, so what are Grand Conquests in-depth?

If you’ve ever played the strategy board game Risk or the Galactic Conquest mode of Star Wars Battlefront II (the original, not the well hated new version) then you already have a head start on understanding Grand Conquests.

When the event was first kicking off, players were able to register for entry into the game two or three days in advance. Everyone who registered got randomly put into one of three teams controlled by each of the main members of the Order of Heroes: Alfonse, Sharena and Anna.

Each army was initially allocated 10 of the 30 plots of land on the map. The first ‘game’ had 22 rounds as you can see above, and though I don’t believe I paid much attention to how much time each round lasted, once it ended the amount of land an army controlled shifted.

That shifting was based on the amount of points and control a team put into each area, as you can see on the chart in the above right-hand photo. Once the first ‘game’ ended, two more followed that lasted just as long, and much like the Voting Gauntlet there were additional rewards players could earn in each cycle.

img_7903

I think the change that came between each game was my least favorite part of the event. Players did not always stick with the same team during the transition. For example, I played for team Alfonse during the first two games only to suddenly find myself on team Anna for game three.

While I understand that idea probably came out of necessity to ensure there was balance in the player base — can’t have one team dominate every single game after all — I feel the idea took something away from the connection we could have had to the teams.

It would have been much more fun if I got to choose the team I wanted to be on at the beginning and fought for their honor, like with Voting Gauntlets.

But I digress.

How was the actual gameplay that came with this new game mode?

Once players selected a region they wanted to march on (limited to areas in their army’s control or those just on the outskirts for invasions), they were given the opportunity to select a difficulty level and allocate up to eight stamina spears.

The difficulty level is fairly self-explanatory, but the stamina spears were a new take on a classic mechanic. In the Arena, players are given three chances to battle a day (via “dueling swords”) unless they use extra resources to restore those battle chances.

The stamina spears worked similarly to dueling swords in that you needed at least one to battle in Grand Conquests. However, the spears slowly regenerated throughout the day like regular battling stamina. On top of that, there was an extra risk/reward aspect in that extra spears could be allocated for each battle to boost the amount of points you earned.

Every battle in the Grand Conquests were rival domain-scale fights. Very large maps with 20-unit platoons on each side that duke it out to earn points by killing off opponents and stealing camps/forts.

While I enjoy the style of gameplay that comes with this, I do wish there was more of a direct player versus player interaction.

One day we’ll reach a place where opponents won’t just be computer-controlled versions of player-built teams. One day…

After the battle ended, points were calculated in a similar way to how rival domains do it:

img_7910

Your score served two purposes. First and foremost, that area on the map had a higher chance of coming into your team’s control if you and other players all poured their resources into it and dominated the space.

More spaces, of course, led to more benefits after each game.

img_7920

However, score also accumulated in a player’s Grand Conquest Tier.

img_7917

There were 20 tiers in all. The higher tier the player, the more bonuses they offered to an area in terms of keeping it under that team’s control. Rising in tier also offered a number of rewards: Namely some orbs and full restores for stamina spears.

Sweet, sweet orbs man. They really are like crack.

And that in a not-so-small nutshell is the Grand Conquests mode. As another rotating event in the same vein as Voting Gauntlets and Tempest Trials, I quite like it overall!

Granted, there are issues in the execution like I mentioned (not choosing the army I wanted to support really does bug me), but overall this was an interesting twist on mechanics we’ve seen in play for some time now.

I’ll look forward to seeing Grand Conquests return sometime soon. Who knows, if enough is different next time around, I might just have to do a small series with these things like I did for Tempest Trials.


Hoo boy, amazing how I always wind up talking so god damn much so early into the morning. I swear I never intend these things to get long but they always do.

If you managed to make it this far, let’s try our hands at some fruitless audience interaction again.

What do you think about the new adjustments to the Tempest Trials formula? Do you think it’s going to be a healthy way to improve the game?

How about the Grand Conquests, do you enjoy those as a brand new way to play? What would you do to improve them going forward?

Let me know in the comments below!

Advertisements
Intelligent Systems won’t “Leif” us alone

Intelligent Systems won’t “Leif” us alone

So remember in my Daily Titan article archiving post from yesterday when I said I haven’t posted on this blog recently and kind of jokingly passed it off as not having enough time?

Well allow me to completely destroy all credibility in that regard by immediately jumping into another post all about Fire Emblem Heroes. Everyone’s favorite, I’m sure.

What can I say, it’s hard for me to stay away when this game updates itself and gives us some new people to play around with, especially now that I’ve personally gotten more into creating powerful units to fool around with. That or it’s just hard for me to get away from this writing crutch that I’ve rested on one too many times as an excuse to write more fun things that I’m interested in.

Either or works as an explanation honestly.

But that said, let’s quit all the meta talk and move into some Fire Emblem talk.


img_7887

Welcome to the World of Thracia 776 ©, the Fire Emblem game that literally nobody would have remembered existed if Reinhardt wasn’t added into Heroes with one of its first updates and became an overpowered meme machine.

Mm-mmm, That’s the kind of meme quality I’m after.

Though with that said, I think the elephant in this particular room should be addressed before I get too deep into things.

No, I will not apologize for using such a perfect pun in my post title.

Don’t bother asking.

But in all seriousness, my actual gripe comes from the fact that half of this new hero summoning banner is literally a re-tread of the only heroes from this game that we actually already have from that early update.

Like what’s the deal Intelligent Systems? I know that Reinhardt is a popular meme — as I’ve so graciously pointed out before — but are there really no more than three new heroes we can include from this generally unacknowledged title before resigning ourselves to new versions of ones that are already here?

They aren’t even special holiday variants guys. Seriously guys, come on.

But I digress. Even if they are partially re-releases, these heroes must have something to offer in their own rights, right?

… Right?

  • LeifPrince of Leonster
    img_7882

    • Where to begin with these new heroes… I don’t have that much of a connection to any of them, so I suppose I’ll have to stick with their possible competitive viability. Lief arguably has the best chance to fit in somewhere in my opinion. His weapon has a cool effect that boosts his own defense and subsequently boosts his attack based on his defense. Add that to the Spd and Def boost and he’s got a nice core if you disregard the just ‘ok’ special attack. Plus I’ve been getting more into Drive skills lately so I dig that. However… He comes with an energy drink. For some reason. If it’s a reference I don’t get it, but what I do know is that drink is literally useless outside of Chain Challenges and Tempest Trial runs. So clearly this boy isn’t meant to be used in too many other places.
  • NannaNordion Princess
    img_7883

    • Nanna is painfully forgettable. There aren’t too many cavalier healers in the game so she has a slight boost in intrigue there, but it clearly falls off a cliff from there. Her staff absorbs health, which is really only useful if you buff the staff to equal the damage of regular weapons. Restore is interesting but highly situational if the opponent doesn’t have stat negating abilities. Healing everyone with the special attack is also situational. A +2 buff to two stats isn’t anything to write home about. It’s just a mess. Granted, not pictured is a Drive Def skill, but even then it’s mostly good for passing off onto others. 0/10, would not want to summon.
  • OlwenRighteous Knight
    img_7884

    • Here we go, into the strange clones. It’s like when Eirika showed up in the last Sacred Stones banner as a totally new unit all over again. Except this time she isn’t even radically different since our previous Olwen was also a mage cavalier. Blue last time to be fair, but in this iteration she simply gains a slightly bugged version of the Gronnblade tome. I already have a +10 merged Gronnblade Cecilia, game. I don’t need a new one. Even if she does come with Swift Sparrow, which is a decent ability to pass along. Next…
  • ReinhardtThunder’s Swordimg_7885
    • Despite being another clone, this Reinhardt offers something interesting for himself at the very least. Rather than being a buffed up brave blue tome using cavalier, now he’s a buffed up brave sword using cavalier. Because that makes sense in the lore I suppose? I like his weapon a lot, since it’s along the lines of Elincia’s Amiti sword but works offensively and defensively. Plus adding onto that with Death Blow and Vantage is fantastic. Just switch out Pavise for something, get a new C skill other than the Spur x2 and he’d be pretty useful. It’s just a shame that weapon of his can’t be passed on… Especially because of it’s fantastic name. Meisterschwert. That’s on par with Mystletainn honestly.

Oh yeah by the way, there’s also a lance cavalier named Finn lingering around in the story mode who seems like the great knight early game protector-archetype character. But he’s a Tempest Trial reward character for the future, so we don’t need to worry about him yet.

All-and-all I’m not super excited about any of these guys. Leif and Reinhardt take two are probably the best looking units in the bunch, but I won’t be clawing at the seams trying to summon them desperately with the last of my orb reserves.

I’m back up to 70 at this point following my female Grima debacle, so I’d like to keep storing up for a rainy day at this point.

It doesn’t help that Mia from the Radiant games decided to show up unannounced as a red five-star unit instead of the two aforementioned characters I wanted.

img_7898

Even though there’s currently a banner running that features her as a focus unit.

img_7900

But that’s a gripe for another day. Because new character update also means new story missions! So let’s jump into that.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

So one thing I have to give props to for the team that designs Fire Emblem Heroes is the map design. Even though we’ve mostly moved away from maps that reference the original titles directly (outside of Paralogues of course), Nifl is still an interesting winter wonderland to see develop over time.

Plus the transition into the last map where most of the snow is melted away thanks to the flames of the enemy is particularly beautiful.

Unfortunately, losing out on referential maps also coincides with losing out on a lot of the referential character-driven dialogue. As much as I enjoy the overall story arc being woven, it would be nice to see the characters being added into the fray getting a little more time to shine.

But hey I haven’t even gotten into the overarching story, so why don’t we discuss that first.

Once again this chapter begins with a dream sequence.

That’s right, Gunnthrá is back again and ready to drop some exposition all up on us.

You just know that if a fairly plot important character shows up with secret knowledge about how to win a war and the intent to meet with your party soon following a multi-chapter build-up, everything is going to work out.

But hey, dream sequences are so overrated. We’ve gotta get back to where the actual real plot left off.

Feel caught up? Good, because that’s about all they give us to jump back into things. I suppose it does the job, and gives us more time to get into who these strange Thracia people are.

Except just kidding. They all get one or two lines and that’s it. Most of the missions have no plot, hurray!

Though to be fair, in this case I’m led to believe it’s 100 percent intentionally cast aside just to show how in-tuned they are with the Reinhardt memes.

img_7846

Clearly magic isn’t everything.

Also for real support these Fire Emblem meme generators, they’re awesome.

But back on track, after dealing with a couple of mindless battles the Order of Heroes finally arrives at the temple they’re supposed to meet Gunnthrá in. Except- Oh no! Plot development!

img_7881

Darn right it is, owl.

The story actually gets surprisingly dark and serious at this point kind of out of nowhere.

Yeah it looks like Surtr straight up set a trap by capturing Gunnthrá and tortured her (not that her in-game art changed to reflect that) trying to find out what the Order of Heroes is planning to do in order to stop him.

Except obviously nobody tells him what we’re planning, so he does the next best thing.

She’s dead, yo.

Yeah in a dark twist, someone actually dies in this mobile Fire Emblem game. A pseudo-main character no less.

I was totally caught off guard by this development honestly, how could they have done something of this caliber without totally telegraphing their plot thread ahead of-

img_7836

Oh wait they totally did.

Yeah, the whole death scene as a whole was hinted at a bit too strongly for my tastes. Kind of too obvious to really be a good twist.

Though to be fair, the fact that they killed a main character is still rather impressive. Especially considering they let us summon her… Months ago. In a Legendary Hero banner. Because she’s a Legendary Hero.

Who is now suddenly dead in the canonical story without having done anything.

But we can still use her if we summoned her…

img_7874

So how much bearing does the canonical story bear on the in-game mechanics then? Because I’ve always been under the impression that they’re fairly tightly linked due to the fact that heroes in Paralogue missions always mention they can join you in your main army.

Though more than just raising a strange existential in-game question, the fact that Gunnthrá was summonable months ago also brings up the question of why Fjorm needed to have a moment of emotional turmoil?

Like I get it your sister died, but did she really? I could go S-rank your relationship right now if I wanted. And if that wouldn’t be a total waste of stat buffs.

Also, evil laugh is evil. Just saying.

Except wait, plot twist take two. As suddenly as before, turns out she’s not really dead?

 

img_7881

Darn right again, owl friend.

Except just kidding again, she totally is dead. We just needed hers back for two seconds to Deus Ex Machina a solution for killing the ultimate invincible bad guy.

Just like she also telegraphed in her dream sequence.

So you go to follow the light because the invincible evil general who planned the ultimate evil ruse in this chapter and killed a main character… Kind of just lets you escape.

All is good in the world and now your party has a new mission to complete this ancient ritual and gain the power to defeat Surtr and get revenge. Even though your mission was already about revenge because Nifl was being destroyed as is.

So same mission, different route to get there?

The end.

Or is it?!

Dun dun duuuuuuunnnn!

But for real, that’s about it for the plot.

I know I made fun of it a lot in this post, but let’s be honest it is a bit too obvious and contrived as a way to move the story along this time around. It’s serviceable, but just a bit disappointing for my tastes.

Also I’m expecting a revival Jesus-style in the near future. But if they keep Gunnthrá dead, I suppose I’ll be impressed by the balls it took to kill off someone integral in this kind of silly mobile game.

Despite the fact that I already ripped that decision apart for being a little nonsensical from a gameplay perspective.


Fire Emblem Heroes also had a new big update just the other day. Version 2.4.0 baby!

I feel kind of bad about skipping over it before thanks to my class/work schedule, so I wanted to just run down exactly what was added into the game in my continued effort to keep a running log of the Heroes evolution over time.

But I’m already at 2,100 words, so I’m going to summarize it all with screenshots.

Totally not because I’m just lazy.

There are a few cool things that were added into the game this time around.

  • More Grand Hero Battles being available on a regular basis is pretty dope, especially for someone like Berkut who sucks but I love as a character.
  • I don’t use any of the heroes that are getting weapon upgrades in this cycle, though I have a Roy who might get some use now that he has a better Binding Blade. Plus it’s cool that OG Ephraim and Hector can use the weapons their variants own.
  • I’ll probably delve more into Tempest Trial changes when the next Tempest Trial run arrives, since I haven’t done a post on the special game mode in a while.
  • Aesthetic changes like a scrolling banner are neat, though somewhat negligible.
  • SPECIAL ORB PROMO MORE LIKE SPECIAL GIVE US YOUR MONEY!
    • Let’s see how many times these deals force me to spend money on the game for good deals…
  • New game mode: Grand Conquests?

Whoa, mysterious new game mode time. I’m going to love talking about tha-

Oh. It’s just a tease at this point. So I literally don’t have a lot to say yet.

Alright, guess that will be a post for another day.


With that, we come to the end of the line once again.

Obviously there was a lot to tackle here between the new characters and the overall Version 2.4.0 update. I didn’t even get into the recent Feh Channel that I still haven’t watched… But considering what they talked about there is likely coming out with all of these updates, I’ll just let it slide.

However, speaking personally, I think there’s one major takeaway from everything that happened here today:

Feh Plot Meme

I’m going to abuse the hell out of this. Get ready, world.

How do you all feel about the new Thracia heroes? Or the fact that half of them are just rehashed versions of heroes we already have?

Let me know in the comments down below!

Though if you’re more interested in other Heroes topics… Well… Just wait a few days. Seems like there’s some stuff coming down the pipeline.

Falling in love with the Fire Emblem Heroes 2.2.0 Update

Falling in love with the Fire Emblem Heroes 2.2.0 Update

Good god there’s a lot to cover here today. Guess that’s what happens when I’m so busy that I don’t have the time to address these updates as they come out.

Though… I suppose it is nice to be able to get it all out of the way at once rather than having three separate, incomplete posts.

Probably the only problem is the fact that this post is going to be a billion words long if I get to rambling on too much. Since I’m already basically doing that, I’ll zip it and jump into all the Fire Emblem goodness.

I’ll try to keep it brief. Promise.

It’s not going to be brief, is it?



The Version 2.2.0 Update

img_7240

Starting off our little marathon of coverage is this big puppy: one new Fire Emblem Heroes update fresh off the presses.

Battle Screen Layout

Probably the most obvious change right off the bat is a brand new battle mode select screen:

img_7314

Okay well it isn’t COMPLETELY new or anything. But it’s new enough.

Instead of there being two separate icons for the Tempest Trials and Voting Gauntlets, the two categories have been combined and now appear together in an “events” vortex. This change has cleared room for… Something.

I honestly have no idea what the new upper-left icon is. It looks like the Garden of Eden, or some kind of fountain of power. The name is obscured and we can’t select it yet, but supposedly it’s going to be maps specifically used for Legendary Heroes and their blessed allies.

Which will finally give me a reason to use my blessings.

Also included in the new events vortex is a brand new game mode, which is arguably the most significant addition to this update.

img_7315

Tap Battle Game Mode

 

Tap Battling is… Interesting.

Interesting is about the only really good thing I can think to say about them upon first impressions, however.

Let’s break things down.

Opening up the Tap Battle menu, as you can see above, makes everything seem very similar to a Tempest Trial, with the two-week timer ticking down.

However, the similarities stop there. An early noticeable aspect of the game mode is that it fills the same niche as Arena Assault by requiring no stamina, dueling swords or anything to play. You can literally tackle the labyrinth endlessly if you want.

If you do decide to tackle it, there are two game modes to work with:

 

 

As you can see, Casual mode has you tapping the Summoner at the bottom of your phone screen to defeat an enemy when they reach the red square in front of your units, whereas Expert mode requires you to tap the row of the unit that’s under attack.

I enjoy the aesthetic presentation of this mode, if nothing else. Being able to select whatever units you want to bring is an interesting idea as far as letting you choose a team you want to tap with, and it’s cool to see their sprites so close up against a wide-open background for once.

On top of that, even if the enemy placement is rather spaced out and boring on easy difficulty, there is also a hard difficulty that makes tapping along to the rhythm of the song a little more exciting:

img_7317

Multiple kinds of units appear in hard difficulty too, as opposed to just sword-wielders on easy.

There are also special boss stages every 20 floors, where you encounter a notable character that attacks each of your unit’s lanes in a set order until you can wipe out their health bar.

 

Each time you beat a level, you’re scored based on how much of a combo streak you keep throughout.

img_7299

The Summoner be looking cute in this graphic here. Just sayin.

However, as cute as the Summoner is, he can’t stop the ever creeping mediocrity of the event as a whole. While it all sounds interesting in concept… It frankly becomes dreadfully dull and underutilized in execution.

For one, as you might have noticed before, I said hard mode makes it more enticing to tap along to the song. THE song.

There’s only one song.

img_7309

Granted, we only have 40 floors currently, and there are 100 floors all together promised…

But seriously Intelligent Systems? ONE song? In a music-based rhythm game?

I’ll give them props for making each stage have a unique pattern despite going against the same base song… But it’s so painfully boring to just hear the same song over and over again.

Plus, each stage goes through five floors at a time in this game’s logic. With only 40 floors available so far, that means there are eight stages (with more being promised to appear every day). These stages are quick to run through on easier difficulties and feel less like accomplishments than they would have if each stage was a distinct floor to work through by itself.

With that said, I only mentioned them being quick on easier difficulties, right? Hard mode is definitely the way to go then, isn’t it?

Well, hold your hypothetical horses my dear reader.

Hard mode is more engaging, yes. In fact, I quite like the idea of there being options to change game style and difficulty to create a more customizable experience for players… But the game is set up in a way that makes it a superfluous addition.

Clearing each series of floors earns you a reward. However, each stage literally only has one reward.

If you beat a stage on easy, you can’t get a reward for hard. If you beat it in casual mode, you can’t get a reward for expert mode.

Despite this, the four permutations of play style are all given desperate rankings. So for example, if you get an S-rank on Easy/Casual, you don’t get the S-ranking on Hard/Casual. But you get no extra reward for taking the same stages on again other than bragging rights.

Seriously, as far as the informational post put out by Intelligent Systems says, there isn’t any sort of extra reward planned for getting full S-rankings on each permutation. The game simply claims it’s an “easy-to-play battle mode.”

Honestly if I wasn’t such a completionist with my games, I probably wouldn’t bother playing this mode after the first run of it. But I am, so I’m going to hate myself and continue playing it just in case something happens later.

Something just really bugs me about Tap Battles. I feel like there’s an interesting concept under the surface of a boring, empty-feeling game mode.

For example, I like the idea of bringing the units you want, but the choices you make have no impact on your time in-game. I understand why considering each map is specifically timed to go with the song, but there was so much more that could have been done.

Why not make it so a sword unit you bring is super effective against an axe-wielding boss? Have their attacks take away more of the bosses health bar, or something along those lines.

I don’t know… Maybe this will grow on me, but for right now I’d honestly say it’s bland and forgettable. Luckily it will keep updating and provide more rewards to retain interest, but what a missed opportunity.

Speaking of forgotten, however…

Weapon Refinery Update

img_7318

A slightly more anticipated part of this update, for me at least, was the addition of new weapons to refine.

Basically, every unit who uses Falchion can now upgrade the legendary sword with various effects. Lucina’s upgraded Falchion grants her buffs to all of her stats when she’s standing next to allies while Marth’s upgraded Falchion buffs his allies when he’s next to them, for example.

The other five units shown in the image above can also now upgrade their basic weapons into character-specific legendary weapons. For units like Raven, Felicia and Caeda, these buffs were hugely needed and welcomed.

Hell, I’ve had a Raven since probably my fifth 5 star summon, and only now am I considering using him.

I’m just hoping Eirika gets an upgrade to her sword soon so I can keep my child growing.

New Special Battle Map Rotations

img_7295

This is probably the most interesting update in the bunch, if you ask me.

Two different daily rotations have been added into the Special Maps menu.

The first offers players the chance to fight Grand Hero Battles of the past. Seven of the heroes have apparently been retired to this fate, which will give us the opportunity to take them on whenever we want – if it’s the right date.

I love that idea, since it shows they’re planning on making room for new Grand Hero Battles to be implemented in the near future without having to worry about bringing these back in rarified time slots.

Plus, there are quests available for a full year to get extra things like orbs.

img_7296

Who can complain with that?

The second rotation comes in the form of Special Training Maps.

img_7312

There are five of these maps with five difficulty settings each that give you rewards when you beat them the first time.

Of course, that means that there will be no rewards remaining after the first week, but they’re apparently built to help train the units that are described in the title. It’s a nice idea, though slightly less so than the Grand Hero Battle rotation if you ask me.

Extra Patch Notes

img_7313

The last part of the 2.2.0 update is outlined in full right here. For the most part I don’t have anything to add.

Except… Thank god manaketes don’t have to transform each and every time a fight starts.

I really appreciate that kind of quality of life change.



Love Abounds Summoning Focus

That’s leg one of this marathon done. You all still with me?

Good.

Well then, let’s talk about Valentine’s Day.

img_7250

While I’ve been waiting for this holiday-centric summoning banner to arrive for some time now, I’m admittedly not super excited seeing that it centers around the Binding and Blazing Blade heroes.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad it’s not Fates- or Awakening-centric again, but these games have easily the third most granted alternate skins.

Maybe if I get the chance to play these original games at some point in the near future, I’ll be a little more caring for the heroes. But until then, let’s see what these new holiday heroes are packing, shall we?

  • LynWind’s Embrace
    img_7319

    • The interesting thing about this Lyn is the fact that with her addition you can now have a team full of four different Lyns to take down your foes. Okay… Well that’s not the only interesting thing I suppose. I do actually like Lyn’s build. She’s a blue armored mage who can buff the movement of her fellow armored units, gains stats when she’s next to them and make the opponent use their special attacks less. Sounds pretty sweet, especially considering I don’t have any non-footsoldier magic units. Plus, I’ll have two of the game’s four Lyndis clones if I get her.
  • HectorJust Here to Fight
    img_7320

    • Alright, Hector is… I guess the opposite of interesting, in a sense. His skills are essentially the same as his regular counterpart, just with a buffed up weapon, a new special attack and different armor-benefitting skill. While it isn’t exciting, his original form is still known for being a beast, so I’m pretty interested in going after him as well. Especially since he looks pretty legit in that black outfit of his.
  • LilinaBlush of Youth
    img_7321

    • Lilina is arguably the unit I would want least on this banner… Even if I just cursed myself into getting her instead of Hector, since they’re the same color. She’s a green mage cavalier, which I already have in my own amazing form. Her skills are sub-par in my opinion despite making her a team leader, so I’m not going to lose any sleep over her. Sorry Lilina.
  • RoyYouthful Gifts
    img_7322

    • Roy is our second bow knight, behind Lyn funnily enough (it’s a position which I still think should have gone to Neimi, Intelligent Systems. One day soon, I swear). However, he seems to pale in comparison to his friend, with just Death Blow going for him honestly. At least, in my opinion that is all he has going for him. He shares the same weapon skill with Valentine’s Day Lyn and Lilina, but I’m just not super impressed by them I guess.

Eliwood is also here as a special hero, but he’s going to show up in a Tempest Trial later this month.

While I’m not necessarily in love with these heroes as a group, I do actually quite like their overall Shakespearean theme. It’s a neat aesthetic to take on for a Romeo and Juliet callback of sorts.

If I had to pick, I’d say I’m looking out for either Hector or Lyn. Green and Blue orbs abound.

However, because I’m unfortunately not super in love with these lovey dovey heroes, I’m not going to spend a ton of orbs this time around. I had about 100 at the time the banner dropped, so I’m going to be disciplined and only use orbs when I get back up to 100.

If I don’t get anything, I’ll just spend some time building up again using the many, many events all happening at once. That way I’ll also have a ton of orbs around just in case I like whatever is coming in the future.

Now that I’ve discussed my thoughts on the heroes, you know what’s up next.

Story time, lovelies.

Luckily, this time we only have a Paralogue to sort through, not a full chapter. That makes things much easier on my for now.

Plus it opens up the opportunity for more creative level design, in this case fitting in with that Romeo and Juliet style I mentioned before.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

See what I mean? It’s a very medieval-styled festival in my opinion. War of the Roses era stuff.

But how does that cute aesthetic tie a story together?

Well it starts with the Order of Heroes preparing to head out to a festival for Devotion Day. Because the holidays in Fire Emblem can never just be in their natural forms.

Sharena has a very romanticized view of the holiday:

However, her allies have a… Much less romantic view of things.

Classic Anna.

When you arrive in the world, you start to come across the done up heroes, starting with Roy and Lilina.

They’re pretty much just being cute and flirting with each other.

Even if I haven’t played the games they’re in, I can appreciate a cute ship when I see it.

Once you defeat them you come across their parents preparing to take part in the festival.

Frankly, the exchange between them all is hilarious. I really enjoyed this part, so I’ll lay it out in pictures.

I just really like the idea of Hector going up against these people having fun by slaying them with his legendary axe. It’s super great.

Beat the three of them and you arrive next on a battlefield with everyone… Except Roy for some reason. Guess he just gets the shaft here.

Or technically, I suppose it makes sense due to the exchange between Hector and Eliwood.

See, Hector sees his daughter Lilina going around with a gift while spending time with Roy and believes the two are off to get hitched.

He’s not so happy about that…

But Lyn quickly derails the argument.

img_7279

And fight you do.

When you defeat all of the holiday heroes, they lament their loss as usual. However, things take a different route when Lilina comes out and gives the gift she’s been carrying around to her father.

Obviously he feels bad knowing that the symbol of what he thought was his daughter growing up and moving away from him was actually her way of getting closer with him.

He also mentions the wonky continuity of Fire Emblem Heroes by talking about how he’s dead in her canon universe and they shouldn’t be together…

But hey.

Video game logic.

Once the heroes move on, Sharena decides to hand out presents to everyone, with her speech to the Summoner calling back to her idea of wanting to reveal her true feelings by suggesting once more that she had a romantic interest in him.

It’s a sweet ending to a sweet diversion in what has become a rather dark story progression.

Even if I don’t have a huge attraction to the holiday heroes, at least I feel nice having gone through the story these developers plotted out.

Now if only I could summon one of these fools so I would feel better about them.


Upcoming Events

You’ve all made it quite far into my little gauntlet of over-embellished written nightmares here, so for this portion I’m going to take it easy on you.

Because I appreciate and love you.img_7248

So many events, so little time.

Most notably, we’ve got another Tempest Trial on the way (with Valentine’s Day Eliwood as the reward, like I said before) and six summoning banners coming out in the next month.

It’ll be a grind to keep up with it all, but I’m as ready for the challenge as ever.


Golly gosh am I tired after all this writing. Wasn’t expecting to stay up so late to do it, but I guess the writing bug really hit me tonight.

I know I basically just said it in the short section above, but I wanted to thank anyone who came this far again for being so willing to put up with my late night rambling text bullshit.

Seriously, this was a massive undertaking that probably had no right to be such a massive undertaking. Could’ve just split it into multiple posts. If I was smart, I probably would have.

But that said, there’s a ton of things to reflect on that I talked about leading up to this. So let me know, what do you think of the 2.2.0 update? Or the new Valentine’s Day summoning focus? Or all the upcoming events?

Let’s talk about it in the comments below!

But even if not, I hope you all enjoy your weekends. I’ve got a bunch of work to do throughout, but it’s going to be great to rest a little too after this long, arduous week.

A Legendary Banner for a miniature Tempest Trial

A Legendary Banner for a miniature Tempest Trial

This likely won’t be a substantial post (he says hopefully before getting into the actual writing portion of things), but I felt enough happened in Fire Emblem Heroes today to warrant something before the inevitable one year anniversary celebration.

Coming soon.

First and foremost, there was a new Feh Channel released yesterday that updated everyone on new things coming around the bend.

img_7206

I unfortunately have not had the time to watch it. That’s a majority of reason why I’m expecting this to be short.

Basically, I didn’t have time because all of yesterday evening was spent helping to cover President Trump’s State of the Union address.

I was at the College Republicans club watch party, took my own photos, did a wee bit of live tweeting, got a bunch of interviews… It was a pretty nice experience overall.

Then there was some weird stuff going on that led to us not having an article on it quite yet for some reason? But uhh… That’s a story for another time. Namely a time when that article actually gets written and published. Which will hopefully be soon.

That said, if you’re interested in watching the Feh Channel check it out here. I’ll probably get more caught up on the subject matter later.

In the meantime, some of the updates elaborated on in the informational video have already begun to roll out.

My picture just above kind of spoils things, but not as obviously as the featured image for this post… So I’ll quit burying the lede.


img_7178

Ike has returned in a third form, this time as a Legendary Hero.

Seriously, anyone else remember when we were all wondering why Ike hadn’t shown up in game when he was clearly a title character all over the branding?

Good times.

Now a days there are three different versions of Ike: His normal appearance, a Brave variant and now a Legendary variant (which is incredibly reminiscent of his Smash Brothers counterpart, I might add).

He’s a pretty strong looking character too.

  • IkeVanguard Legend
    • Legendary Hero Ike comes equipped with some familiar skills and some not-so-familiar skills. His weapon, Ragnell, is the same as his normal variant and gives him distant attack counters. He also comes with a more advanced version of his regular special attack called Radiant Aether which allows him to slash an opponent’s defensive stats and regain 50 percent of the damage he deals as his own health. By itself that’s a pretty wild combination of things. Yet, he also comes with three more skills in the form of Warding Breath (granting him +4 resistance if attacked and increasing Special cooldown charge), Seal Attack and Defense (causing a -5 debuff to both those stats after combat with a unit) and Defense Tactic (granting all infantry and armored units in his 2 square vicinity +6 defense each turn). I have a Brave Ike in my collection but not a regular Ike, so I would definitely be happy to pull this guy.

One of these days I’m really going to have to play the Radiant titles so I understand why Ike was so popular better.

But until I do, I can live out the hype with this beefy looking unit right here.

Assuming I can summon him.

Which, spoiler alert, has not been going super well for me so far. But because there are also some other subsidiary units on his Legendary Banner that I would want (namely Summer Xander, Gunnthrá and Siegbert), I’m going to keep going at it.

In controlled bursts. Not looking to go too crazy when there’s presumably Valentine’s Day units coming up soon. Even if there are only four days on this banner.

Though with the exceptional grace of a beautiful transition, there is an extra source of orbs in our midst as well.


Another miniature Tempest Trials has arrived, not too long after our last New Years-themed event. A long time ago I complained about burnout associated with these suckers, but since I’ve discovered a grinding method that works for me I’m far more welcoming of it.

Even if that trial I complained about was themed after Ike’s games, ironically enough.

Maybe this is what it means to have a full developmental arc?

Who knows. After all, all of that is beside the point because really who can complain about extra orbs, medals and a new character? Especially when that new character is Marisa:

img_7207

You’re no Neimi, but you’ll do. Welcome to the team.

Part of my burnout treatment has been not talking about these Tempest Trial runs like I used to, but this one is special enough that I felt it would be worth delving into the plot a little bit further.

As always, it begins with Lucina (or Marth still, despite the fact that it seems like everyone knows something is fishy behind her mask) arriving at a new place to take on yet another outcropping of the threatening Tempest. This time with Heroes-specific units to greet her:

Fjorm seems interested in helping out, but as I mentioned is suspicious of the mask. It makes Lucina untrustworthy apparently.

I do understand that to an extent… But let’s be real, the mask is super sweet and I would trust anyone wearing it.



Editor’s Note: Don’t try to coerce me into things wearing Lucina’s butterfly mask.

Just figured I’d put that out there.



Fjorm has just one idea to prove that Lucina is a trustworthy compatriot:

But then, just as Fjorm is about to take the legendary Falchion…

WHOA!

Plot twist.

Fjorm wasn’t Fjorm all along! She was Loki in disguise once again.

From there she just says she’ll wait for you to arrive at the deepest part of the Tempest to fight her, but there was honestly just something about this plot twist I really enjoyed.

I don’t know, I guess it just worked well in reference to character traits Intelligent Systems has established thus far. You know me, I’m a fan of strong characterization.

It continues on too, considering Loki is actually Fjorm in the final battle of the Tempest Trial run.

img_7203


That about covers everything I have to say regarding this Fire Emblem Heroes update.

Like I said earlier, there should be more to come in the near future when we get to the anniversary of the game’s release. That’ll be dope for anyone who pines during the downtime without Fire Emblem posts.

For anyone who doesn’t pine for Fire Emblem posts… Well… Like I said, something about the State of the Union should be coming soon. I also have a few other plans in the next couple days I’m planning on writing about, so overall there should just be some nice activity going on around here.

So, until next time, what do you think about Legendary Ike? Besides him, who else would you want to get out of the new summoning banner?

Let me know in the comments down below!

Looking ahead to a Legendary New Year in Fire Emblem Heroes

Looking ahead to a Legendary New Year in Fire Emblem Heroes

Well, it seems as though we’re actually going to have a short Fire Emblem post here today because we got a pretty underwhelming and small update all things being equal.

Even if there’s going to be another update soon enough, a subject I’m also going to touch upon here to make things a bit heftier, I wanted to write this post now while I’m also thinking about the future of this kind of content on my blog.

That said, before I jump into all of that existential BS, let’s look at this new Legendary Hero Summoning Banner.

img_6852

Fjorm’s sister, Gunnthrá (gotta love these probably Slavic inspired names – if I have that Etimology right), is now available through a special summoning event.

Up until now, she’s had a number of cameo appearances, mostly as a disembodied and helpful voice teasing future events up until the beginning of Fire Emblem Heroes’ Book II story missions. Those missions, as it turns out, are essentially are the beginning of those future events Gunnthrá had been teasing before.

Isn’t it just nifty how that kind of premonition-y future sight works?

Despite that minor degree of plot importance and characterization in the past, Gunnthrá’s actually arrival in the world of Heroes now is a little downplayed to say the least. Literally, the developers announced she would be coming in a banner a few days ago, and now she’s here. There’s no new story missions or paralogue missions or anything offering some sort of further explanation as to who the character is or to offer her the chance to interact with her sister. She’s just here.

Have fun with your random chance to summon.

She isn’t a free gift through the story of the game like Fjorm was. To add her to your army, you have to brave the now infamous 12 character, 8 percent summoning chance banner. It has high potential to force you into wasting a lot of orbs for the chance to get her, only to wind up with one of the other two green heroes on the banner.

So, is she worth the risk?

  • GunnthráVoice of Dreams
  • Our new Legendary Hero is a green mage cavalier, making her an arguably apt replacement for the horse-based team staple, Cecilia. Her special tome Blizzard gives her +3 Resistance and adds to her Attack stat when the opponent has debuffs applied, an effect similar to the well-worn Gronnblade. She also comes with the special attack Glacies to deal massive damage based on her Resistance stat and three passive skills: Fortress Resistance grants her a +5 Resistance boost in exchange for a -3 Attack reduction, Resistance Ploy makes foes in cardinal directions suffer -5 Resistance and the new skill Chilling Seal inflicts -6 Attack and Speed to the opponent’s unit with the lowest defense as long as she’s above 50 percent health. As far as the wording suggests, this afflicts anyone no matter where they are on the map.

In my opinion, Gunnthrá seems interesting… But not necessarily worth the effort.

Of course, she does come with the ability to bless an ally using her Wind element, which gives said blessed ally a +3 Health and +4 Resistance boost during a Wind season if they go into battle together. Especially for a cavalier unit, this ability can probably give her a solid place on a horse team boosting someone like Reinhardt.

That blessing and her Chilling Seal skill sound interesting, but the rest of her packaging just feels… Okay. Nothing particularly awe-inspiring.

Not knowing her actual stat spread, she looks to be a highly resistant unit with low attack that’s compensated by a weapon with an effect less useful than its counterpart, the Gronnblade.

I think of the situation similarly to Pokémon in this respect. In a Pokémon battle, it’s always better to use a status move that buffs one’s own stats as opposed to one that debuffs an opponent’s stats. In the latter situation you defeat that opponent and start from zero, while in the prior situation you keep your stronger standing for multiple opponents to come.

Similarly, Gronnblade buffs a Fire Emblem Heroes unit based on the stat boosts you give to your unit, whereas Blizzard gives Gunnthrá a boost based on the debuffs attached to the single opponent you hit. Decent synergy if you hit the unit afflicted with your Chilling Seal, but otherwise not the most optimal.

On top of that, Gunnthrá is a limited time unit that’s hard to summon, making her inherently a little less desirable than a unit like Cecilia who can constantly be merged and improved, despite whatever power creep might be involved for their stat differences.

At least, that’s my opinion on the matter. It’s one of the reasons I don’t think I’m going to spend a lot of orbs on this banner.

Another one of the reasons is the aforementioned saturation of heroes on the banner. Like I said, there are 12 available:

  • Greens: Gunnthrá, Amelia, Spring Chrom
  • Reds: Ryoma, Sigurd, Brave Roy
  • Blues: Fjorm, Spring Lucina, Bride Charlotte
  • Colorless: Innes, Elise, Bride Lyn

If I was going for any of these outside of Gunnthrá, I would personally focus on Ryoma, Bride Charlotte and Bride Lyn.

However… My efforts right off the bat didn’t give me the best results.

img_6854
A sparkling new unit, but unfortunately a duplicate.

Yes, I did get a 5 star Sigurd. However, I already have one. If anything, that just makes him unit merging fodder. While that’s not an inherently bad thing, I would have much preferred getting someone like Ryoma.

That kind of disappointment from the over-saturation of the heroes leads to the third main reason why I won’t be spending a lot of orbs on this banner, despite it ending on January 1st.

Apparently there are going to be New Year-themed Heroes coming out.

And I’ve been spoiled on who they’re going to be by my friend Jonathan.

Obviously I’m going to talk about these guys when they arrive, but as for my first impressions:

Takumi is going to throw soup at people and that’s amazing, Azura is a cutie in that kimono, Corrin got his arrows as a gift from Lilith which is also amazing and Camilla… Well she’s Camilla.

I want them more than I want Gunnthrá, so for now I’m going to save the energy and orbs I get from the current Tempest Trial for later.

With that said, I believe that about sums up everything I have to say about this banner. Of course, the post as a whole is far longer than I expected because I need to learn to write less, but that’s a whole other story for another day.



Actually, it is somewhat of a story for today.

With New Years Heroes coming soon – a reminder of the more general arrival of 2018 in a couple days – I can’t help but reflect on my blog content a little.

2017 has been the first full year of my blog’s existence, and for the most part I’ve been keeping it afloat with a combination of archiving my Daily Titan articles and Fire Emblem Heroes posts.

The Fire Emblem posts are fun, but to be honest I think they’re a little bit of a crutch for me. It’s really easy to produce them in a sense because all I have to do is take screenshots on my phone and talk for a long time. For most other games I have to take external photos off my iPhone, which works… But not very well.

My Pokémon Ultra Moon tweets are a perfect example. I can get decent quality out of them, but I would definitely prefer to be able to capture those photos directly through some sort of capture card or something.

Because I can’t get nicer photos, I feel like I can’t write a lot on other subjects. So I don’t.

Fire Emblem provides a perfect solution to the problem: It’s easy to capture, fun to talk about and gives me plenty of opportunities to just write on a time frame I can handle.

Just writing practice in general is more or less the goal of my blog, besides making an archive of my work for future employers, so the content doesn’t make much of a difference in that regard.

However, the time frame is arguably a big part of the problem for me in my head right now. If it wasn’t obvious, I have to stay up pretty late whenever there’s a substantial update,so I can have something written about the 11 p.m. release out in the world by 8 a.m. the next day.

That’s arguably the job of a journalist I suppose, to be timely and quick with writing, so again this serves as decent practice… But it is a real energy drain for something that I’m feeling kind of iffy about sticking all my eggs in one basket for.

So, for 2018, I’m going to be thinking about restructuring how I do my Fire Emblem Heroes posts. They’re either going to get less abundant or I’m going to come up with a format that allows me to get them out faster and hopefully in a shorter form.

Working smarter, not harder and all that jazz.

I just wanted to get my thoughts out on that here so that anyone who reads this can potentially give me some advice on what they think.

How would you restructure what I do with Fire Emblem now? Do you have any advice or suggestions? Or do you like how I do things currently? Let me know in the comments below! For this I’m genuinely interested to hear what others have to say.

Also, on that note, let me know how you feel about the actual subject of this post originally, Gunntrá! Is she worth the hype? Or, as the case may be, is she worth the lack of hype?

That, after all, is the true question.

Farfetched? More like… Umm… Lute’s in Fire Emblem Heroes, everyone

Farfetched? More like… Umm… Lute’s in Fire Emblem Heroes, everyone

If anything, this post will have taught me that title puns can be hard.

Knowing that a Feh Channel update was scheduled last night, I’ve been saving up some orbs for a little while. While that’s slowed down my efforts to get a witch Nowi, I figured there was a good chance he announcements made during the update would be worthwhile.

Sometimes, a gamer’s intuition is spot-on.

If you want to check out the Channel update, I’m putting it up above here. Personally I haven’t had a ton of time to dissect it because I’ve been busy doing Daily Titan stuff (as you’ll see later this afternoon more than likely), but I know there’s tons and tons of interesting goodies coming in the near future.

One of those goodies happens to be relevant today, however. So that’s what we’re going to be chatting about today.

img_6508

Apparently, Intelligent Systems is keeping on the idea of “Brave Heroes” based on community preference at the inception of Fire Emblem Heroes. Frankly, I think it’s a welcome idea… Even if my favorite character has still yet to show up.

One day, Neimi. One day.

This time around, they’re taunting me too. Taunting my by including one of the best characters from the Sacred Stones that aren’t Neimi – Or, technically two of the best characters, but one will be coming later.

  • LuteProdigy
    • Alright let’s break this down really quick. Lute. Is. Amazing. From what my reddit-browsing friends have told me, Lute is really beloved and popular, which is a sentiment I tend to think I embody quite eagerly as well. She’s one of the best characters in Sacred Stones for both her battle skills and her personality, which is well-known for being equal parts cocky and quirky due to her early life living as a magical prodigy in an isolated forest village alongside her highly pious friend (and husband in all of my play throughs of the game) Artur. In Heroes, she comes with a new Weirding Tome that grants +3 speed and has a speed ploy effect. Beyond that she can rally Attack and Resistance on an ally, she has a natural HP and Resistance boost and she comes with a Resistance Ploy as well. Arguably she has the worst skills of the new heroes… But hey, sentimentality means a lot for me here.
    • Also did I mention she’s probably the only character who has a single word title? It’s pretty hilarious.
  • MiaLady of Blade
    • When the Radiance games hit Heroes a little whole ago I talked about how I have very little experience with them outside of Ike in Super Smash Bros. That hasn’t changed, so Mia isn’t really in my wheelhouse of understanding. I do really like her art in this game though, so she certainly has that going for her. She’s a mercenary (because who isn’t from these games apparently) who takes multiple sides to pay off her debts and eagerly spars with Ike whenever she has the opportunity. In Heroes she comes with a Resolute Blade that grants her +3 attack while boosting special attacks by 10 points, Luna as a special attack to be boosted, a skill called flashing blade that adds a cooldown charge to special attacks when she has higher speed and vantage. Good old reliable vantage. Can’t complain too much here, honestly.
  • DorcasSerene Warrior
    • The Blazing Blade follows the same pattern of experience for me as the Radiance titles. In other words, I have no experience playing the Blazing Blade, though I have played as Roy in Smash Bros. Amazing how that seems to tie together, huh? That said, I have next to no experience with Dorcas either. Lute gets all the love this time around, sorry man. In my research I see that Dorcas is good friends with Bartre, commonly the butt of jokes for being a useless but frequent pull when summoning. Good sign.  He does also love his family greatly and does everything to protect them though… So I guess things balance out somewhere along the way. In Heroes, he comes with a Stout Tomahawk that grants ranged counterattacks, Draconic Aura to boost attack, an ability called Fierce Stance that boosts his attack by 6 when attacked, Quick Riposte to make automatic follow-up attacks when damaged and Infantry Pulse to lower his special cooldown when he has higher health. All and all a pretty solid looking set, honestly. He seems like a great axe user, even if I don’t much care for him as a character.

Once again, the story behind the Paralogue for these Heroes doesn’t do too much to catch my interest… Besides involving Lute, of course. That said, this story-based section should go fairly quickly.

Fingers crossed.


As usual, three missions that provide nine orbs all together are here in this Paralogue – with an extra three through missions, of course.

Normally I wouldn’t say too much about the menu screen. But… Well, what can I say. I’m a bit upset that Lute isn’t on the photo for the mission listing. Or on the bonus daily items listing for that matter.

img_6509

Why guys? Why does Lute get the short end of the stick?

Anyway, I digress.

This Paralogue follows the Order of Heroes as they return to protect the same land that was under attack back when the first Brave Heroes were arriving on the scene. When they arrive, they first find Mia and Lute… Well, doing their things.

Good ol’ cocky Lute. Gotta love her.

Once the two of them are beaten into the ground, you move on to the second map, which has a nice surprise waiting within:

img_6519

Joshua returns from the Sacred Stones, bringing with him a classic gambling addiction. He’s an absolutely wonderful and fun character in his original game who has a lot of depth, so I’m glad to see he’s getting some time in the limelight again. He’s also the originator of my love for Swordmaster units. Have you seen the critical animation for Swordmasters in Sacred Stones?

It’s incredible. ’nuff said.

As a matter of fact, he’s going to get more time in the limelight soon, as it seems a new Tempest Trial is on the way (presumably Sacred Stones themed <3) where he’s going to be the reward character. Plus, his title proclaims him to be the “Tempest King.” An odd choice for his original game canon, but not all that odd if you consider he’s going to have an important role in the story of Fire Emblem Heroes.

I’m really looking forward to seeing what they do with him, in fact!

Unfortunately, for now he doesn’t get much more than a cameo. A wonderful, snarky little cameo. Then, once he’s gone, the rest of the story goes on without much interruption… Or excitement, unfortunately. Right up until the end when you free everyone from their contracts.

If this focus didn’t have heroes I care about from my favorite Fire Emblem game, I feel like it would frankly be a little underwhelming. Seriously they picked great characters to represent Sacred Stones.

Even if they didn’t pick the best one.

Come on Intelligent Systems, you better make things right one of these days. I’m still holding out for the best archer.


I still find myself questioning the decision to call this banner the “farfetched heroes” banner. I understand to a certain extent that they’re all quirky characters who seem to have personalities that bounce off of one another, but I still don’t know why that particular title was chosen.

I’m not going to complain too much about it, however, because I’m still hoping to pull Lute sometime soon.

Oh that’s right, I mentioned saving orbs earlier for this right? Well… I saved up about 40 orbs. Didn’t get a Lute. Didn’t get anything in fact, which is why I kind of skipped out on talking about it.

Please game… I won’t give you shit for skipping out on Neimi anymore. Just love me again. I promise to keep feeding you the orbs you crave.

Alright, when I start giving weird ultimatums to a video game, it’s definitely time to go to bed.

Like I said before, I’ll likely be posting again tonight about two articles I’ve published in the paper, and otherwise I’ll likely be busy writing yet another article for the paper. Because there’s never any rest.

Except for Thanksgiving week next week, which will be a godsend. Plus, it will probably give me the opportunity to do a deeper dive into the Feh Channel update, which I’ll really have to do sooner or later.

Until then, tell me what you think of these new heroes in the comments below! Are you as excited about Lute as I am? Or has Mia caught your eye? Or Dorcas for that matter, can’t leave the big, strong man out of things.

Okay for real, time for bed. Catch you all next time.

Trials of the Holy War

Trials of the Holy War

The time for Tempest Trials has come once again in Fire Emblem Heroes. Unlike the last go around, I wouldn’t say I’m needlessly exhausted and upset with the event. Perhaps the set of mini trials in between the main installments really were what did it for me. Who knows.

Whatever the reason was, I’m not expecting to take an angry spin on this one like last time. However… Part of that might be because I don’t have all that much to say about these Trials in the first place.

All things considered, beyond the different underlying motivations of the characters and the unlockable elements involved, the actual playtime involved has simply become somewhat monotonous and same-y. Not all that much to say about it overall.

So let’s just address some of the basics of what makes these Trials different than what we had in the past.


img_6422
The theme for this set of Tempest Trials is Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War. Like I said when we got new heroes from this older title, I have very little experience with anyone involved outside of whatever research I’ve done.

Granted that research has improved my attachment to a few of them and informed me enough to understand where the characters are coming from in the “plot” of these Trials, but still. I’m generally left without any comments on maps or music or anything of that nature like I would usually have.

I do think its worth mentioning that I’ve gotten my hands on both the characters I was really looking for out of the three added the other day:

They both came rather easy so I didn’t have to waste too many orbs, which was sweet.

If anything that means I can focus on the summoning banner for the Tempest Trials if I want… Though I’m sort of in the same boat as the general public in thinking that the whole approach taken here is a bit duplicitous.

img_6432
Rather than having this new character, Ayra, show up in a Grand Hero Battle or something along those lines, the developers at Intelligent System have put her in a totally separate summoning banner than the other Genealogy heroes. One that’s running at the same time as the other banner.

Plus, she’s a red unit in the same focus as another red unit, Eldigan. So the chances of getting her are cut, and if you want to even attempt to get there you have to deal with pulling time away from the other banner with Sigurd, Deirdre and Tailtiu.

It is a pretty lousy, orb-draining thing to do, arguably a strong attempt to force players to spend money on the game… But to be fair, I’m not sure Ayra is that worth getting in the first place outside of how cute she is. So I might not try too hard to go after her.

Possibly duplicitous practices aside, let’s talk about the Trials themselves.

The “plot” this time around boils down to Lucina encouraging Seliph to tackle the Tempest to protect Julia, as you can see above, while he has the chance to meet with his parents Sigurd and Deirdre so they can help him fight. Time and space shredding excuses around canonical timeline barriers abound.

img_6427
The main bonus allies are the four new heroes from Genealogy featured in the two summoning banners I talked about earlier.

Luckily, Sigurd fits my most powerful cavalry-based team remarkably well, so I immediately have a great advantage walking in. I’ve already swept through entire runs with just one team alone thanks to that team, and it’s an amazing feeling for sure.

The secondary bonus allies are Eldigan and his sister, who came in some time ago, Arvis from the current Grand Hero Battle, and Arden, one of the main rewards from these Trials.

img_6430
By rising in the ranks high enough, you can also earn three Sacred Seals from these trials:

  • Brash Assault: Unit automatically follows-up when attacking a foe that can Counter if they have less than 30 percent health.
  • Attack Smoke: Inflicts -3 Attack on all foes within 2 spaces of a selected attack target.
  • Guidance: Allows infantry and armored units to move to an ally with this seal that’s within two spaces and has full health.

It’s also worth noting that some of the rewards on certain tiers are Sacred Coins, which is something we were promised back in the update when we got the ability to upgrade our Sacred Seals. Pretty cool to see that coming to fruition.

My horse-based team makes this run of the Trials quite easy for me, like I mentioned before. I made it to the final map pretty quickly in fact, only to find that Julia is the main villain taking over… Whatever castle this is:

img_6428
Honestly this fight is pretty easy too, compared to most of the others in the past. She’s certainly no insane powerhouse like Hector or the Black Knight, that’s for sure.

I will say, even if the fight isn’t all that difficult, the scenery of the map you fight on does make it pretty worth to get there.

Seriously, these backgrounds are super pretty. Just saying.


Well, that’s all I have to say about this run of the Tempest Trials. Remarkable I know, considering I haven’t even hit 900 words. I’m amazed I was able to be this… Somewhat concise with all of this.

Some of that might honestly be because I’m starting to run out of things to say about these after so long. Honestly, after going after the few things that are new, there isn’t that much else to dig into. Perhaps from here on out that means I might not write so much for Tempest Trials, if I even write anything at all. Who knows.

We’ll see as time goes on I suppose.

In my empty attempt at trying to push for audience engagement this time around, how’s this for a question. What do you think of the fact that Intelligent Systems put out a second summoning banner just about a week after the first one to force players to split their time and resources for summoning? While it’s not necessarily that new remembering the double summoning banners for Fire Emblem Echoes back when the game was first coming out, this time around things just feel a bit more scummy to me.

Is that impression just in my own head though? Or do you agree?

Let me know in the comments below, and until next time I’ll be off doing work and likely stressing over the upcoming visit of Milo Yiannopoulos at CSUF. Because yeah, that’s happening soon. Time sure has flown this semester.

Fire Emblem Heroes Version 1.8: Forging with Dragons

Fire Emblem Heroes Version 1.8: Forging with Dragons

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.

img_6296

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.

img_6315

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:

img_6097-1
“Distant Defense” was a particularly good one out of the Tempest Trials category, as was “Quickened Pulse.”

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.

If you don’t remember what happened last time in the ongoing Fire Emblem Heroes saga, you can see me ramble about it in my post about the Crimean heroes some time back. If that’s a ‘too long, didn’t read’ kind of situation for you, then here’s the basics:

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!

img_6298
Remember this image, it’s going to be relevant again later in this post.

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.

Changing Teams

img_6312

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.

Quick Questing

img_6298
See, I told you this particular image would be relevant again.

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:

img_6317

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.

Easy Auto-Battle

img_6318

The option is actually here in the bottom right-hand corner (^^^), in case you missed it.

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:

img_6295

  • 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.

img_6299

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:

img_6298
Take three – Possibly my most prominently used photo in any post ever just from this one alone.

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.

img_6285

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.

Ike’s Tempest Trials: Too par for the course?

Ike’s Tempest Trials: Too par for the course?

After a week of being checked out in terms of blogging, I have to say it feels like a nice little personal accomplishment to have something video game-y around here two days in a row. Sure it’s pretty general Pokémon news followed by yet another Tempest Trials post, but just getting myself to do it is nice.

Though, as the title of this one suggests, I’m actually not expecting to write all that much for this one. It’ll probably be more of a short “here’s what’s going down” post without a lot of fluff because there isn’t too much fluff to add. These trials aren’t unique for being miniature, there’s no new mechanics being implemented or tweaks to the formula or anything of that nature. No, this time, it just seems like Intelligent Systems have hit a consistent stride in putting these out.

So much so that I frankly almost dread the perceived time sink undergoing these trials may become moreso than I’m interested in seeing how they play out. It’s an odd bit of existentialism for a game that I enjoy, but it’s something I’m probably going to have to work out on my own so I won’t bore the world with those details here.

Instead, let’s get right in and see what’s new this time around.



Editor’s Note: I’m coming back here to say I thought this would be short before it wound up being 2,000 words or so. For anyone I may have even momentarily misled, I hope you accept my sincere apologies.



img_6180

Coming about a week or two after the Blazing Blade-themed Tempest Trials Mini is a brand new set of trials based in the world of Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance and Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn. Besides this new world of emphasis, however, Moment of Fate doesn’t provide too much that’s novel in its own right, as I mentioned before.

That much is evident right when you enter the Tempest icon and get an introductory scene where Masked Lucina joins the Greil Mercenaries to help them save their world much like she has with a number of other groups thus far.

As usual, I do appreciate the continued world building we get following a single character in her drive to stop the Tempest, as I’m sure that wide-spread narriative is eventually going to culminate in an ambitious “save the universe” push through either a final Trial or more in-game story missions.

In this case, however, the tying narriative feels… Underwhelming. The six panels I presented above are essentially all the story you get before getting dropped straight into things. It’s simple and it works, but at this point perhaps the formulaic nature is starting to get a little stale.

Though I will concede that it’s interesting how Lucina continues to come in with preemptive knowledge on just who the chief antagonist of the Trials will be:

img_6187

The detail might be small and easy to brush aside, but I would honestly be interested in seeing some sort of a backstory at some point showcasing whether Lucina always has advanced knowledge because she knows more than she lets on about the villains behind the Tempest in some intense conspiracy or because she does some extensive recon before meeting up with your allies in the fight.

Or, I guess arguably the most logical answer given her canonical character is that she knows everything because she’s from the future. But even that could make an interesting twist on the whole affair, letting us see her learning about the aftermath in an area ruined by a Tempest before she goes back to save that area in the past.

Just some food for thought.

Once you’re past the underwhelming nitty-gritty of the story behind these Trials, everything continues to be business as usual.

img_6188

In a small-scale interesting twist, the Bonus allies have been reversed this time around. Rather than having the heroes you can summon on the Tempest Trials-themed banner serve as the +40% bonus heroes, they sit down in the +20% instead. Aside from Ike, who of course gets to be at the top of the pack. Joining Ike instead this time around are the three summoning banner focus heroes from Crimea that got released on September 15.

That twist luckily comes in my favor, as I’ve had a good string of pulls in Heroes since these three were put in the game:

My Elincia-led Pegasus squad finally gets its time to shine.

That said, the battle system itself is the same. Get through X number of battles based on the difficulty you choose, where each team you use is worn down in every battle and you only have access to a certain number of teams also based on your difficulty.

Enemy units still keep their damage and unit loses when your team loses, and though that’s quite an old change at this point, I’ll never stop praising the developers for implementing that.

At the end of a run you come face-to-face with the Black Knight, just as Lucina warned at the beginning of everything:

img_6190
I don’t have any personal experience with the special map you fight him in because I haven’t played the games these characters come from, but I do enjoy the grand throne room look. It’s dope.

Unlike the Black Knight, who is actually a huge pain in the ass.

In my post about the Crimean heroes, I talked about the Black Knight appearing in the newest story missions. At the time I mentioned his skills seemed pretty broken, the kind of thing that would make him a wonderful unit to use on an heavy Armor-based team. I still stand by that, but the flip side is true in that he becomes that much harder to fight when he’s a good unit.

Take a look at this:

img_6191

Reinhardt is arguably one of the best units in Fire Emblem Heroes. Particularly on a team of cavaliers, he’s well renowned in the game’s meta for being a unit that one-shots practically any unit through a combination of his high power, mobility and special multi-attack tome. I think he’s the only unit besides Hector who had consistently been considered S+ tier among fan rankings with or without skill investment.

Yet even with a team specially built to support him, my Reinhardt wasn’t able to kill the Black Knight even after activating a high damage-boosting special move. That’s pretty crazy.

Of course I was personally able to beat him after whittling the guy down, but I did have to use another team to do the job. It’s a pain to have to deal with the extra steps, somewhat adding to the monotony of taking on these battles over-and-over, but thanks to a collection of good teams I have at least racking up points overall isn’t a problem for me like it once was.

In the end it all becomes worth it, as what would racking up points be without rewards to collect for the hard work?

This time around the character reward is none other then our buddy the Black Knight himself:

img_6189

That’s right, beat the guy down enough and he’ll eventually submit to your command. There’s something poetic to that I suppose, and it adds some levity to the idea of having to take on his challenge repeatedly.

The other token Sacred Seal rewards are a bit more hit-and-miss this time around, however. The first two are a +1 Resistance boost and Fortify Defense to benefit adjacent allies at the start of each turn. Nothing particularly special.

The third Sacred Seal is Panic Ploy at 40,000 points, which is actually well worth the effort. Panic Ploy makes it so every unit in all spaces across cardinal directions that have 5 less health than the equipped unit start a turn with stat buffs becoming stat reductions instead. It’s a rare ability on units you can summon, so having the ability to choose someone to put it on via a Seal is actually really nice.

Oh, and let’s not forget the small mountain of Orbs, feathers and crystals you can pile up while making your way through the reward tiers. Those are always nice.


Beyond that, there’s honestly nothing new to say regarding these Tempest Trials. There could be something interesting in the post-game cutscene with Masked Lucina moving on to her next challenge, but I don’t have the precognitive abilities to tell what that’s going to be two weeks from now, so this is just about the end of the road. Now we’re off on a journey to slog through the battles to make those reward tiers over the next two weeks.

If you hadn’t noticed, this post has honestly been a little more clinical and negative than usual, with lots of talk about slogging through repetitive battles. I’ve certainly noticed it. That could just be because I’m a little tired and in a weird mental place lately, but realistically it occurs to me now that perhaps the close proximity to our last Tempest Trials Mini has led to a preemptive downfall of this one in my mind.

Don’t get me wrong, I will literally never complain about the rewards we get for participating in these events, but my personal play style tends to encourage going after as many of those rewards as possible to hoard those suckers for a rainy day. Since the second Tempest Trials, I’ve always hit the top tier of rewards so suckle every last Orb from Intelligent System’s only occasionally benevolent teat.

Because of that, I think I’ve developed a habit of burning myself out on Heroes whenever a Trials period comes along. The two weeks that have Trials every month or so are the only times I use Stamina Potions, as I have so many of those that I can consistently slam them out, mindlessly battle in one hand until my energy is gone and repeat to rack up as many points as possible in as condensed a period as possible.

Perhaps that means the fault is in my own hands for feeling exhausted about these Trials before they begin. I know what I’m getting myself into and I know I just went through it, so I’m just not in the right frame of mind to do it again.

But that argument in itself implies a deeper root issue. Did the Miniature Trials throw off my Heroes Circadian Rhythm, as it were? Did having a small version of this same event in the middle of the usual refractory period we get extend some underlying exhaustion I’ve yet to come to terms with?

Perhaps. That certainly seems like a logical argument.

At the same time, however, I’m not sure I can argue whether this is an inherently good or a bad thing. Obviously the developers wouldn’t intend to burn out their players, so I’m sure it’s not some conspiracy against me personally. It’s just something I have to come to confront in my own overly-complex logical approaches to what should honestly be a mindless experience.

That said, I will argue that perhaps it’s time for something new to come around in Heroes to freshen things up a little more. Because if we start to continue a frequent schedule of Trials and Miniature Trials, I’m not sure I’ll be able to keep latched on for very long.


Existential reflections on this game out of the way, I will actually leave well enough alone and end things here. It’s about time I get some sleep before I continue to ramble way past what’s necessary, and I’m sure everyone’s tired of hearing me talk for a long time about small things the last couple days.

So, as usual I’ll leave with a question for the audience. For those of you who play Fire Emblem Heroes too: Am I just mindlessly rambling about things that are in my own head? Or does this particular Trials run seem more exhaustive and underwhelming than usual? Is there anything else you’d like to see come around to shake things up?

Let me know in the comments down below!

The 1.7.0 Update: For Love? Or for Stats? Plus more Fire Emblem fun

The 1.7.0 Update: For Love? Or for Stats? Plus more Fire Emblem fun

As I’m sure anyone watching my blog has noticed that I’ve been rather busy the past few days. Driving around for internship/Boom-related events, starting daily production for the Daily Titan with some late nights, working on stories like DACA and our interview with President García, plus more in that I haven’t gone into half of the actual schoolwork and personal things I’ve had to deal with beyond work.

As much as it’s better to be busy than bored, I’ve been a little stretched thin. Unfortunately that means some things have to fall through the cracks, and some big Fire Emblem Heroes stuff happens to be what fell through said cracks this time around. It’s a shame too, there have been multiple things that I otherwise would have loved to talk about in a more timely manner.

But look at me complaining about missing fun stuff because work and responsibilities got in the way. Probably time to move on to what I’m talking about today before the world’s smallest violin busts out a tune.

Since I gabbed about the game’s Brave Heroes update last time around, quite a few things have happened. First and foremost:

img_6052

That’s right, I got me a special Lucy.

Humblebrag that may be, but Lucina is one of my favorite characters given her high prestige as my Super Smash Bros. 4 main fighter. So I’m excited about it and wanted to share it with the world.

The last Voting Gauntlet also wound up being much more of an intense game than I’ve seen in some time. As I predicted at the beginning of the competition, Ike won.

img_6071

The guy is so popular that it was hard to imagine he wouldn’t, and I got off with plenty of hero feathers thanks to my lucky intelligent deduction, so you’ll hear no complains from me. Camilla did put up a good fight though, and the intense competition both in the overall Gauntlet and within my friend group (as we literally split down the middle with our support) made things way more engaging.

Also we got 4 orbs every two days for each of the three rounds. That’s a nice incentive as well. Feel free to keep nice stuff like that flowing, Intelligent Systems.

Then as things moved into September, we got an event calendar for the month that preempted a bunch of cool things coming in the near future:
img_6081

A few of these events have started already, and those are the crux of what I’m here to talk about today. So let’s get going and split it up appropriately, shall we?


Version 1.7.0

img_6070
Ironically this version update is the biggest news to come out of Fire Emblem Heroes in a long time… Yet I don’t have a ton to say about it.

Fire Emblem has become known not only for its high difficulty strategy-RPG gameplay, but also for its comprehensive unit support systems across many of the games in the series. In Fire Emblem Heroes, only one of those things has been represented since the initial release.

Until now, that is.

Ally support systems are in the game, and with it comes endless possibilities for ships in serious and in meme-worthy contexts. As someone who has loved shipping in Fire Emblem games since my first venture into Sacred Stones, I’m more than excited to see that we can pair up characters to our hearts content.

Just like in the main series titles, allies who fight near one another in battle gain support rankings that range from C to S when undergoing support training. However, an interesting component to Heroes’ model comes from the fact that you can constantly switch who your hero supports. You could have an S-support with a unit only to break that off and start another one back at C, and you can do so as many times as you want.

img_6100

While I haven’t had the chance to build much support beyond basic C-level stuff, it seems as though the characters interact in a cute little cutscene to show how much they enjoy each other’s company for every rank you climb. You can view the little vignettes that come with this whenever you want.

In battle, supporting allies gain bonuses depending on their rank and distance from one another:

  • C-rank grants units +1 resistance from one space away, double that when adjacent.
  • B-rank grants units +1 resistance and defense from one space away, double that when adjacent.
  • A-rank grants units +1 resistance, defense and speed from one space away, double that when adjacent.
  • S-rank grants units +1 resistance, defense, speed and attack from one space away, double that when adjacent.

However, on the battlefield itself, it doesn’t appear as though supporting units get special indication beyond a heart over the support partner when you select one or the other. Perhaps there’s more if you get higher that I haven’t seen, but in this case there’s no way for me to know.

I do hope they add in a small heart animation when units fight side by side though. That would be amazing.

The other interesting thing to note about ally support is that you, the summoner, can get in on the anime-themed shipping action as well!

img_6101

That’s right, what would a modern Fire Emblem game be without a self-insert character to pair with any unit you desire? The concept behind how this works is exactly the same so long as you replace each instance of “two units” with “one unit,” as you technically count as the second presence in the room.

The scaling benefits are also slightly better for summoner supported allies:

  • A C-rank grants the summoner-supporting unit +2 resistance and +3 health at all times.
  • A B-rank grants the summoner-supporting unit +2 resistance, defense and +4 health at all times.
  • An A-rank grants the summoner-supporting unit +2 resistance, defense, speed and +4 health at all times.
  • An S-rank grants the summoner-supporting unit +2 resistance, defense, speed, attack and +5 health at all times.

Okay by slightly better I actually mean infinitely better. These are some amazing stat buffs to be able to bestow upon one ally.

Which, of course, brings us to the question that serves as this post’s title.

Are you the kind of player that will pair your units together because you canonically love them as a pairing in the story of their games/the story of your imagination’s choosing?

Or are you the kind of player that will pair your units strictly to build the strongest team imaginable, letting no stat points go to waste?

Personally… I haven’t decided which category I am. In all other circumstances I would wholeheartedly go for option 1, as I ship literally anything and everything in any video game I play, TV show I watch, book I read and more. But for Fire Emblem Heroes the pure stat buffs are awfully tempting… Especially on my cavalier team.

I would kill for some high-leveled units to get even stronger.

But for the summoner support especially I’m at a loss. Who do I want to be with? Do I pair myself with a powerful unit like a Brave Lyn to make her a battling monster? Do I pair with a sentimental unit like Eirika from my favorite Fire Emblem game (despite her actual husband being available)? Or do I pair myself with a unit like Nino, my first true Fire Emblem Heroes waifu? I literally have no idea.

Oh well. I’ll have time to figure it out.

Overall, I would say the Ally Support system is a welcome addition to this mobile title that, despite being somewhat barebones right now, easily serves its purpose and has opened the flood gates for people to do whatever they please in terms of customizable relationships.

In a sense it’s somewhat ingenious to have the feature in a mobile game styled like Heroes is where each player can build their own experiences with unit pairing. Sure it’s only porting an already existing idea over, but I still think it lends itself uproariously well.

And if I ever summon her I’ll be able to finally get revenge on the restrictive Echoes by shipping Genny and Tobin.

While shipping is easily the biggest addition to Version 1.7.0, it isn’t the only one.

Though there isn’t a lot, so the pictures above basically sum everything up.

A search option for skill inheritance is a great idea, one that I’m sure already has, is continuing to and will from here on out save people tons of time when building teams. The rest of the stuff boils down to some aesthetic and deep mechanical adjustments that I don’t feel like I have to dive into that deeply.

If anything, I just think it’s safe to say that I appreciate the game developers for constantly updating things to make the best user experience possible. So far nothing they’ve done has failed me yet and it seems like the community as a whole enjoys the changes too.

Keep it up Intelligent Systems, and I’ll keep up giving you some free publicity whenever you start up new developments. New interesting developments.

New interesting developments such as –


Tempest Trials Mini: To Die on the Battlefield

img_6087

A new Tempest Trial, which launched just today!

In other words, this is the section of this post that kept me from getting that much sleep last night. Thanks game, you always know how to prod at my insomniac button.

The Trials start off about how we’ve come to expect them at this point. Masked Lucina has teamed up with the four top Bonus Allies for this go around (Eliwood, Lyn, Hector and Ninian) to help lead them into the Tempest so they can protect their world.

 

However, she does warn them that the character at the end of the Trial is a special kind of foe:

img_6091

After you break through the usual barrage of battles (seven at the highest Lunatic difficulty in my case), you come across that special foe. The build-up is intense, the anticipation is great, and in the end…

img_6093

It’s Hector. Given the description Lucina gave for him I suppose it makes sense that this is the character who’d show up at the end, but I wouldn’t liked to see something more novel-

img_6094

I’m sorry, what was that? 85 health?

43 defense?

30 speed?

Pavise?

And Distant Counter?

My god… This unit is completely overpowered.

I actually legitimately think it’s glorious just how overpowered he is. Hector is already considered to be one of the most powerful units in the game and they buffed him to high hell for this event. Thank god they keep units weak after you lose a fight, otherwise this might have been next to impossible. He actually beat down quite a few of my units before I was able to finally take him down the first time, ending the first of many future runs at the same challenges that I’ll be playing for the next week.

Oh, uhh… Also the background is pretty.

img_6095
Or it would be if I got a picture without Mathilda in the way… Sorry.

Hector kind of overshadows it, but I do think it’s quite nice. Thought that would be worth mentioning.

img_6096

Mechanically speaking, not all that much is new this time around. Everything that has been added throughout the last couple of Tempest Trials runs have made their return, and I definitely appreciate their continued appearance. Weaker opponents upon losing a fight and switching to a new team still probably being my favorite. Though a close second is the two daily rounds of extra bonus points for completing runs on top of the separate daily rewards you receive for completing said runs that really encourage continued habit-building playing.

This particular event only lasting a week instead of two weeks (hence the “Mini” modifier) also means there are less reward tiers, making everything easier to collect. Bonus Allies become that much more worthwhile as a result, since they continue to boast stat boosts across the board on top of their value as point multipliers.

Now, it may sound like I just glossed over the idea that the event is shorter and has less rewards, which is something I’m sure plenty of people have found reason to complain about… But frankly I glossed over it because I think it’s rather nice.

As my very complaint-filled introduction at the beginning suggested, I don’t have a ton of time to spare as of late. Thus, having a smaller and more manageable event with easier goals to reach is a godsend if anything.

On top of that the rewards are so tightly packed that it feels like we’re getting plenty of bang for our buck in quantity.

img_6097

Though that does bring up another point. These rewards are… Fairly disappointing overall.

Don’t get me wrong, things like free orbs are a commodity I’ll never complain about, and with my huge stockpile of Stamina Potions I have no doubt that all of those sweet little spheres will be in my inventory in no time flat. But these Trials tend to be known for big special prizes throughout the point accumulation process that serve as driving forces.

This run doesn’t really have that, for me at least.

Masked Lucina is the character reward, and even my love for her doesn’t change the fact that I already own a five-star version to use. Defense 1 and Quickened Pulse are also pretty ‘meh’ rewards, as they are Sacred Seals I already have (though I do encourage anyone who doesn’t have it to go after Quickened Pulse).

Distant Defense is brand new at least, and it certainly looks like it will be right at home on a bulky unit I own sometime soon. However, that’s about it beyond the orbs. Maybe I’m just feeling picky, which I know I shouldn’t considering there’s a full Tempest Trial coming at the end of the month that I’m sure will have all the cool stuff we could ask for.

img_6085

One thing this trial does have going for it is a pretty dope summoning focus banner based on the Bonus Allies. Basically everyone on the list is a super cool and powerful hero to have, so even though I haven’t decided whether to use my own orbs yet I know the risk will certainly be worth it for some.

For now, however, I’m sticking with Masked Lucina as my main multiplier. Girl puts in work with those stat buffs.

Unless more comes up as I play through the next week of fights, that’s really all I have to say about these Trials. I like the idea that miniature versions can exist, and I hope that means more events will be encouraged in the future, but this particular run doesn’t add too much to the overarching plot line or the pile of special prizes we’ve seen in the past.

If nothing else it simply serves as a nice transition into a focus on some Blazing Blade content. Speaking of, how’s about we move into the next thing.


Bound Hero Battle: Ephraim & Eirika

img_6074
Though I don’t normally talk about these events, the fact that Sacred Stones has been the focus makes it worth at least bringing up as a farewell of sorts.

The mid-to-late portion of August was spent in the world of Sacred Stones between new heroes and a Grand Hero Battle. By the looks of it, this event may be the last hurrah for it on Heroes for a while as things move into The Blazing Blade with the mini Tempest Trial.

Though I think it’s a shame, more than one game does deserve to have the spotlight. Life moves on and all that, so I’ll just look forward to the next shot we might get at Neimi. #NeverGiveUpNeverSurrender

In terms of the Bound Hero Battle itself there isn’t all that much to say. It features one difficult battle with three challenge levels that offer scaling rewards.

 

Hard mode gives out two orbs, Lunatic gives out three orbs and Infernal gives out a whopping four orbs. Nine orbs ain’t too shabby.

img_6077

For the actual playable map itself, I can’t honestly decipher which map from the original game it’s trying to emulate. This one seems just a bit too simple to really give any substantial hints in my opinion, though it has been driving me crazy enough that I tried doing some outside research on the matter.

My best guess is probably Ephraim’s first castle siege map in Chapter 5X or the much larger equivalent you get later on in Chapter 9, though I don’t know for sure. I just know that with the cavalier team I’ve been able to assemble since summoning Brave Lyn it honestly hasn’t been a huge hassle to at least get through Lunatic difficulty. Infernal is another matter entirely, but I have a few days to figure that out at this point.

Oh, and as an added note, thank god for Serenes Forest having these maps available to see. If it didn’t my wall would probably have a very distinct Jason-shaped hole in it right about now.

img_6086

The Bound Hero Battle also comes with a summoning banner featuring Eirika, Ephraim and Seth. The only one on the list that I don’t personally own is Ephraim, and considering he’s also on another banner that’s running at the same time…

img_6084

I probably won’t be summoning off of this focus. Sorry Ephraim, I’ll snatch you up eventually.



Boy oh boy that was a lot. On the bright side, I think that should cover my personal obligation to talk about Fire Emblem Heroes for a good while.

Or for at least a week. At which point we get new heroes according to the schedule. Then we’ll get another Bound Hero Battle, a full Tempest Trials run and some Fire Emblem Warriors-themed maps after that.

… Yeah alright, maybe there’s more coming up than I expected. Guess it’ll give me a nice break from the already ever-present slog of school if I make the time to talk about them.

Which of course I will, so look forward to some of that!

How do you feel about character pairings coming to the mobile Fire Emblem hit? Or about the prospects of a potentially more frequent miniature version of the Tempest Trials? Or about the many events coming down the pipeline? Let me know in the comments below!