Tag: Tempest Trials

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.

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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.


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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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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:

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“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!

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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

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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

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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:

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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

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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:

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  • 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.

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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:

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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.

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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.



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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:

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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.

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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.

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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:
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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

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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.

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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!

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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

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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:

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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…

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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-

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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…

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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!

The Fire Emblem Heroes mid-April trilogy: Starter Support, Version 1.6 and the upcoming Tempest Trials (take three)

The Fire Emblem Heroes mid-April trilogy: Starter Support, Version 1.6 and the upcoming Tempest Trials (take three)

As promised, here we go again with the Fire Emblems. Because of all the work I’ve got slated this week between DT orientation and my Gladeo internship, I decided to make this a larger overarching post regarding lots of stuff that’s going on in the game right now. It’ll be easier for me that way, rather than splitting things up into three smaller posts, and I’m sure it’ll probably be easier for anyone who actually pays attention to these notifications on social media.

Speaking of, shoutouts to Kaleb for reminding me to treat my Fire Emblems to a nice dinner, and to Gerry who’s probably going to try summoning as soon as he sees this.

Now without further adieu, let’s get going shall we?



The Starter Support event

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The Starter Support event isn’t a new happenstance in the world of Fire Emblem Heroes. What it entails boils down to a new summoning banner called the Hero Fest, which has an increased chance to summon strong and highly desired heroes, as well as an influx of extra orbs to help summon said powerful heroes.

Though I didn’t pay it much mind before, this time around I have tried my hand at the Hero Fest.

We’re only a few hours in and the banner has already hurt me.

As I mentioned in my previous Fire Emblem Heroes post, I did not partake in the previous Hero Fest. However, the content of this banner was extremely enticing from the moment I opened up the game:

  • IkeYoung Mercenary
    • Hails from the Radiant series, Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn and Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance
    • A powerful sword-weilding red unit that holds the sword Ragnell, giving him a built in long-distance counter, and abilities to make use of his high attack stat as a means of buffing his power further.
  • JuliaNaga’s Blood
    • Hails from Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War
    • A green tome unit who wields the Book of Naga, helping her serve as an effective dragon killer alongside the powerful special attack Dragon Fang.
  • NinianOracle of Destiny
    • Hails from Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade
    • A blue dragon unit who also has the ability to dance for allies, giving them a second movement or attack option during one turn. Also comes packed with Fortify Dragons, allowing her to increase the stats of adjacent dragon characters.
  • GennyEndearing Ally
    • Hails from Fire Emblem: Gaiden and it’s remake Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia
    • A colorless cleric unit who can use the Gravity attack to slow other units to one movement space per turn and who comes with the rare Wrathful Staff, giving her staff attack similar damage calculations to regular weapons.

Seriously, all of these heroes are great! Even if Genny is more of an intrinsic fan-favorite level of great as far as the unofficial hero ranking lists are concerned.

It’s hard to pass up Ike, an intense and widely popular swordsman; Ninian, a blue dragon that has an ever-coveted singing ability; and Genny, hands down my favorite character from Echoes. I can pass on Julia, however. Nino and Summer Elise already fill the niche she would try to take up more than well enough.

The Hero Fest banner increases prospects of summoners pulling these focus heroes by increasing the initial summon rate from 3% to 5%. That may not seem like a lot, but in a game where summons are totally based on the random number generator, that 2% makes a pretty big difference in the end.

In fact, those three desirable heroes with a boosted drop rate is such a great deal that I decided to start blowing my orb surplus already. I know I keep bringing up my surplus like it’s a child I’m frivolously wasting away or something, but as I’ve said before it really is more of an issue to me mentally. The safety associated with having lots of orbs is one of my personal idiosyncrasies when it comes to FE:H.

Unfortunately the used fruits of my labor have not blossomed into any flowers of brilliance based on the first big binge I undertook.

For context, I did my first two summons with all five orbs just to boost the rates of getting the focus Heroes overall, then stopped summoning green heroes as, like I said, Julia is not in my sights this time around.

While having a second Eirika is cool, as is getting my hands on new characters with Mae and Athena… Overall most of what I got was either garbage or skill inheritance fodder.

Feels bad, man.

On the bright side, the other part of the Starter Support event is a log-in bonus of two orbs a day for ten days. Not necessarily consecutive days I might add, but it’s going to be consecutive for me. Add those free orbs to the six-month anniversary free orbs AND the orbs that we’re going to be getting from the next Tempest Trials (to be discussed later), and thinking it over does admittedly make me feel less bad about the desire to funnel orbs into the Hero Fest banner.

Whether you take the positive or the negative approach to looking at summoning, here’s hoping things wind up going well down the line. For me and for everybody else putting their money on the line for the next week!



The Version 1.6 Update

Editor’s Note: A couple of the things technically associated with this update were items that I discussed in my last post about the six-month anniversary of the game – namely the changes to the summoning system. A lot of the reasons for updating the game tied back to the fact that it hit that milestone, after all.

Thus, I’d recommend going back and taking a look at that post for some of the summaries of things that have changed. I’m going to be talking about some new ones of course, but that’s a good place to start.img_5861

In regards to what has been changed in Version 1.6, the biggest thing first and foremost, besides the summoning alterations, is probably the addition of the Arena Assault game mode.

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Arena Assault sits alongside Squad Assault as a challenge requiring players to have plenty of powerful units to show their worth. Although Squad Assault focuses on playing through a series of story mode maps and Arena Assault focuses on playing against teams put together by other players, both follow similar ground rules.

In the Assault games, the aim is to beat a number of challenging fights in a row. For the two Squad Assault maps (as a second was added with the 1.6 update), this entails five story missions. For the Arena Assault game, this entails seven battles against player-built teams.

The catch is that once you beat a round with your team, the units on that team are unusable for the rest of the challenge. Thus players need a large collection of powerful units to truly succeed, as just having one ultra powerful group of units won’t help when they get cycled out of usability.

Beyond featuring different battles, Arena Assault offers quite a few other differences compared to its predecessor. Namely: Special items.

These items are awarded to you for completing runs of the Arena Assault and have a variety of cool effects. One restores all of your unit’s health whenever you need it. One gives each of your units an extra space to move. One allows them to take a second turn in a round. One buffs all of their offensive and defensive stats for a battle. So on and so forth.

According to the chart we were given, when you win three matches against teams with lv. 35+ opponents, you earn one item. Five matches earns you two items. Seven matches earns you three items. Simple as that.

You can only take three of these items with you per-run of the Arena Assault, so collecting and using them sparingly is going to be the name of the game. However, I can see them being very useful in the right circumstances, especially since you get more rewards the further into the challenge you manage to get.

Just like in the regular Arena, the higher your winning streak is, the higher your overall rank will be. Both will allow you to receive goods at the end of a season, each of which which lasts a week at a time.

Your rank at the end of each season earns you both Hero Feathers and a new item called Sacred Coins. While the use of these Sacred Coins has yet to be unveiled, I’m willing to bet there’s going to be a store that will open after the first season ends that will allow players to buy special items for future runs.

On top of that, there are going to be daily missions available for participating in Arena Assault runs:

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Requiring players to get through a certain amount of battles consecutively may seem unfair to some extent… But considering the Arena Assault games cost literally nothing to participate in (unless you decide to use your special items), it’s definitely a nice way to provide some extra goods over a long period of time.


That just about sums up everything in regards to Arena Assault, so let’s move into the second big addition of the Version 1.6 update: The Catalog of Heroes.
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Here’s an addition to the game meant to scratch that “Completionist” itch hiding out in probably just about every gamer out there.

The Catalog of Heroes serves as a database housing the information of every hero in the game based on the amount of heroes you personally have seen or summoned.

Heroes you haven’t had any interaction with whatsoever (not including battling them) are completely unavailable for you to look at. Heroes who you’ve seen through means like story cutscenes are available as silhouettes with names, but not much else.

For heroes you have personally summoned, however, you get a bit more.

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The screen you can access with heroes you’ve summoned give you a couple of things to do. Not only do you get the names and miniature biographies of the character in question, you also get to see their portraits and battle sprites at all times, plus you can hear whatever noises and soundbites those include. The new and cool feature of the Catalog is that it allows you to reread the character’s summoning text and the text you unlock when you bring your five star unit up to lv. 40.

The Catalog of Heroes boils down to being a slightly interactive checklist, letting you keep track of which heroes you have and have not gotten access to during your time playing the game.

On the one hand it’s an arguably negligible addition if you don’t care much about collecting. Rereading the text from one-time only events is cool, but otherwise most of the other things the feature offers were already available if you still have copies of units in your barracks.

On the other hand, if you are a collector, having a comprehensive list of characters in one place is actually super dope. There are little visuals cues included that fans of the Fire Emblem series will appreciate, namely the fact that characters are displayed in order of appearance. Both for games and for characters specifically.

For example, Marth and his merry band in the original game appear before Alm and Celica’s armies in the second Fire Emblem game. Yet there’s also organization within the games, as you can see with Fire Emblem Awakening, in which the order goes from Chrom to Robin to Lissa to Frederick to Sully… So on and so forth.

While I’d say the feature is neat and visually appealing, I’m personally not super concerned with collecting EVERY single character considering the sheer amount of characters and the degree of randomness required to summon them. I appreciate the addition and I’ll probably use it frequently enough, but I wouldn’t call it a game changing addition.

For me personally, at least.


Finally, just like last time a major update rolled around, I’ll handle the smaller-scale updates in more of a lightning round format.img_5862

  • The boosted hero merit cap is pretty dope, since it means each hero has the potential to provide an extra 1,000 hero feathers. Never a bad resource.
  • Having a card to represent the Log-In Bonuses are cool and all, but it’s purely aesthetic. Nothing too weighty here.
  • Toggling units in the Training Tower is something I took note of early and took advantage of very quickly. Seriously, especially when you’re doing things like the monthly ‘Beat level 10 with only x kinds of units’ missions, this is an immensely helpful way to get the best bang for your buck while training.
    • I also figured I would add that there’s a new way to look at your list of teams while building them on the Allies screen, but since I didn’t see it anywhere on the update logs I felt like it seemed to fit alongside this change.
  • I haven’t noticed a strength adjustment in the Training Tower as of yet, but I guess that’s probably useful.
  • Again, a change in experience and skill points in either the Arena, the Training Tower or both isn’t something I’ve noticed, but I’m sure it’s helpful.
  • More aesthetics, this time on the settings screen. Ohh. Ahh.
  • The idea of skipping teams with no members when selecting what team you want to go to battle with is a relatively small change, but it’s a nice quality of life improvement all things considered.
  • I don’t have the Summer Gaius, but I guess maybe he was just too sexy for the game’s good. Who knows.

Now, even with all of that out of the way, I technically haven’t actually hit every single update as of yet. But that’s only because the final piece of this puzzle takes the form of my next overarching topic of conversation:



The Tempest Trials: Reunited at Last

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So obviously this event isn’t active as of the time that I’m writing this. It starts tomorrow, but I’m going to be off working most of the afternoon so I probably won’t have a lot of time to write about it then.

I could stay up really early into the morning to talk about it, of course… But considering that’s what I’m doing right now, I don’t feel like it’ll be the best plan of action for me to do two nights in a row.

Luckily, we preemptively know just about everything that’s going to be different about this cycle of the Trials, so I’ll be able to discuss my thoughts without having to experience it. I’ve already slogged through two previous entries in the series for some background, after all.

In case you want to catch up on my adventures through the trials, you can here for the first and here for the second.

The second version of the Trials made the overall experience much easier by fixing things so that enemy teams would be easier to take down over time, even after your teams start to get worn down.

This version promises to add more value to the Bonus allies while still making it simpler to hit higher goal markers, something I know I’ll be shooting for.

Bonus allies have been a staple of the Trials since the very first event. Essentially, eight units provide an extra score multiplier to your overall run when used on at least one of your teams. Four of those units are considered more valuable and give bigger bonuses than the other four, and those heroes are the focus of a summoning banner that runs throughout the duration of the Trials.

This time around, my diligence during the last Echoes summoning banners has served me well.

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Because I already own a Delthea and a Sonya, I’ll be able to make use of the bonuses they provide without having to blow any orbs on this banner. Considering the Hero Fest is more of an area of interest for me right now, that’s certainly nothing to complain about.

Starting with the Reunited at Last event, Bonus allies are now being given more value. When you use them on a team, not only do they get double experience and skill points, they are also going to get extra stat buffs. +4 to attack, defense, resistance and speed as well as a whopping +10 to health.

Not gunna lie, that’s crazy. 10 extra health alone is nothing to sneeze at, and when you add on the rest of the stat buffs there is plenty of incentive for me to use both Delthea and Sonya to breeze through everyone and everything.

Adding that incentive to using the Bonus heroes is great, especially since the extra score multiplier will make it that much easier to score all the prizes. We already know that Clive, who appeared in the most recent Echoes-themed level set, is going to be the unit prize.

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I’m afraid I won’t be able to predict what the Sacred Seal rewards are going to be, however… That’s one of the unfortunate detriments to doing this preemptively.

Using the Bonus heroes more won’t be the only way Intelligent Systems has increased the chances of getting the rewards this time around. One of the other changes implemented will make the first two attempts at the Trials each day worth triple their overall score. On top of that, they’re adding lower level units to the normal difficulty runs, and although that doesn’t apply to me I do appreciate the attempt to make completing runs easier for new players.

Ties in well with the Starter Support event, after all.

The only other big change to the Trials will be the addition of a continuous auto battle function. Due to the tedious nature of slogging through tons of runs at the event in the past, this change is really valuable to make a casual experience out of grinding. That casual approach might not be the best considering you could lose more easily, but still. I can certainly see myself using it just to rack up points without needing to be too attentive.

That’s about all I’m about to talk about regarding the next Tempest Trials. Like I said before, I won’t be able to predict the Sacred Seals, the special final battle map or how everything is going to tie into the overarching storyline of the Tempest (other than the fact that Alm and Celica will be reunited, obviously) due to the fact that I’m writing this before the event takes place.

If there winds up being something significant I see that I desperately want to mention, maybe I’ll put something out here for it. Otherwise, those details might just become a small mention in a later post.



Alright so let me be honest, I’m a little burnt out right now. I’ve had a couple long days in a row on account of Daily Titan orientation and I probably stayed up a little too late writing this, so I’m going to make my conclusion here nice and simple.

You’ve already read like 3,100 words, so you deserve to be spared of my tyranny.

Out of the three facets I discussed in this post – the Starter Support event, the 1.6 update and the Tempest Trials – which do you think provides the coolest things to the game? Obviously one option technically adds more than the rest, but each do have their own individual focuses and merits as far as helping players and fans, improving the inner and outer workings of the game as a whole and providing more fun challenges in the game.

Let me know in the comments down below, and I’ll see you again probably in the next couple days as I talk a bit less about video games and a bit more about my life outside the digital domain.

Tempest Trials, take two

Tempest Trials, take two

I warned you all that this would be coming today.

The Tempest Trials have returned in Fire Emblem Heroes, and this time they’re based in the land of Valentia, home of Fire Emblem Gaiden and its remake Fire Emblem Echoes.

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Unlike the last Tempest Trials, this one comes with a little less pomp and circumstance. While the Ylisse-themed trials had an extra paralogue series aimed at explaining how the entire calamitous event began, this one simply comes with a small conversation introducing it to a new world:

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It wasn’t much, but I did find it interesting to note that Masked Lucina continues to be the bridge for Tempest Trials appearances. Given her initial appearances and overall role in Awakening, when she served as a warning for the coming apocalypse by the Fell Dragon Grima and aimed to stop its rise, it makes a lot of sense.

It’s also pretty cool from a lore perspective, I would say. Gives the chance for these events to tie together and be more engaging as they go along and hit more worlds.

Beyond this lessened storyline impact, much of the inner workings of this event are the same as the last one. As a result, I’d recommend going back to look through my post on the first Tempest Trials for the major overarching details. The rest of this post is going to focus mostly on what has been added or changed this time around.


First and foremost, the major difference between this version of the Tempest Trials and the last version is the locale. Instead of the battles taking place on maps from Fire Emblem Awakening, they take place on the maps from Fire Emblem Echoes.

In the most difficult Lunatic-level run, the first three battles take place on maps from Alm’s in-game route (featured in the “World of Shadows” Paralogue) and the second three battles take place on maps from Celica’s in-game route (featured in the “Rite of Shadows” main story chapter).

The final battle takes place in the ritual sacrifice room underneath Duma Tower where you have your final bout with Berkut in Echoes. I won’t spoil anything here, but the fight has some emotional repercussions in the games story, so having that map as a background is pretty awesome.

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This game never ceases to amaze me with how it can recreate maps in such a small format with pretty impressive accuracy.

One of the coolest things about this map is that it continues the tradition in Fire Emblem Heroes of using the origin map’s music to accompany the fight. While Alm’s maps use the battle music from Chapters 1 and 3 from Echoes and Celica’s maps use the battle music from Chapters 2 and 3 from Echoes, the final fight in the ritual sacrifice room uses the music from Chapter 5 where the in-game battle takes place.

It’s both fitting and brings up good memories from that part of the game. All and all a nice touch.

Plus, Celica is the big contender to deal with rather than Veronica, which is phenomenal considering how hard it was to get past her.


The next change regards differences in the missions that have been added to correspond with the event:

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Now, instead of there being a larger reward for completing runs in the trials over the course of the two weeks, the reward missions for completing runs are going to recycle every day and come with smaller prerequisites. Completing the run once, twice or three times rather than 15 times in a more long-term format.

The rewards for these daily missions will also be doubled once the event is halfway done, starting on July 14th.  At the very least, this makes aiming for the stamina bottle way more worthwhile, as each of them provides enough energy to accommodate about 5 runs at the Trials on their own.


To accompany this new mission system also comes changes to the format of battles and the multi-team selection mechanic as you progress through battles.

The update log specifies two proprietary changes in this field:

First, the scores you can receive in normal and hard difficulty runs have been increased. This is good for people who are new to the game at least, as it makes it easier to rack up points when you don’t have that many good units to cycle through. However, I only attempt the hardest difficulty so I can earn as many points as possible even with losses, so it doesn’t affect me that much.

Second, the more significant and honestly much needed change, comes into play as battles progress.

Inevitably, your units will begin to burn out the further into the challenge you get. Health and death are not restored when you move from one battle to the next, so even the strongest of teams can get worn down. This fact hasn’t changed, but what happens when you move from one team to the next has.

During the last Tempest Trials, when you began with a second team, the opponents on whatever battle you’re fighting were restored to full capacity with just a small health deficit.

Now the opponent’s team receives the same treatment yours does. Whoever you kill before your team loses stays dead and all the damage you cause carries on.

Finishing the final battle against Veronica in the last Trials was frankly a nightmare. Even if you got close to winning and lost, all of your work would be undone when you started with the next team. It meant you had to be nearly perfect to make it to the end and follow-through for a victory.

My teams were less than perfect, so I had to work up to the higher-tiered rewards by racking up as many points from loses as I could.

The fact that you can wear down your opponent’s team is frankly a godsend. I’ve already won more times in one day than I did in the entirety of the other event’s two week runtime.

It makes everything feel faster and more engaging to play, which fixes my major complaint of getting burned out on Tempest Trials runs far too quickly the last time it came around.


The last major change to discuss are the rewards to shoot for.

In Fire Emblem Heroes, sacred seals allow heroes to have an extra skill to utilize for building battle strategies. However, you can’t have more than one of each kind of seal, so it would be useless to provide the same rewards a second time around.

Thus, there are two new sacred seals and a brand new hero to aim for:

The lower-level seal at 20,000 points is a +1 Resistance buff. The higher-level seal, pictured above at 40,000 points, is Phantom Speed 1. This seal automatically adds 5 points to your unit’s speed stat whenever a skill activates that compares your unit’s speed to another unit’s speed.

The character reward this time around is Tobin, one of Ram Village’s children and childhood friend of Alm. Arguably one of my favorite villagers too… Though I’m not sure I fully understand his designation as “The Clueless One.” If anything, I remember him being more of a confidant and advisor to Alm.

That’s beside the point, however.

Compared to the last character reward, Masked Lucina, Tobin looks to be a little underwhelming. Lucina was a completely blank slate that allowed for complete customization of skills through inheritance, which was an interesting prospect. Tobin, however, comes prepackaged with an Armorslayer+ and the skills Pivot, Attack +3 and Seal Speed 3.

While I give the game some points considering I made my Tobin a mercenary during my playthrough of Echoes, meaning I appreciate the idea of him holding a sword (even if it isn’t my personal token Levin Sword that slaughtered fools), these skills don’t seem fantastic or make him standout particularly well.

Hopefully I’m proven wrong by a good stat distribution, but I suppose I’ll find that out once I unlock him. He has attachment value at least, so I’ll be happy to get him for that if nothing else.


Besides the two additional summoning focuses corresponding with the Tempest Trials and with the Alm & Celica special battle, that just about sums everything up in regards to the new event.

I’m building up my orb surplus after splurging to get Eldigan after all, so I probably won’t be spending any on those. Even if the second chance at getting Genny, my favorite Echoes unit, is appealing.

How do you feel about this second Tempest Trials? Do you appreciate the changes to the format as much as I do? Or would you have liked to see more done?

Personally, I’m pretty happy with the changes. Between getting through a number of updates in Duel Links coming down the pipeline, I’ll gladly be working my way up to that 5 star Tobin.

Some Fire Emblem after the fireworks

Some Fire Emblem after the fireworks

Hope everybody in the states enjoyed their 4th of July this year! Mine was rather quiet, not counting the fireworks that began to explode around my neighborhood after a certain hour. Pretty much just spent some time with the family, had Korean BBQ for lunch, watched some movies and enjoyed the fireworks shows in both Washington D.C. and in New York.

If I had to put in my two cents, the Macy’s 4th of July Firework Show had the undoubtedly superior display of bombs bursting in air, though PBS’s A Capitol Fourth had nicer musical acts and such leading up to a subpar series of fireworks.

But I digress, I’m not a fireworks review blog after all. Not yet anyway, haven’t felt the burning desire to review them that badly.

No, I’m here to move past the stars and stripes, the explosions of color in the sky and the insane hot dog eating contests so characteristic of America’s birthday to instead talk about Japanese interactive media localized so those like me can enjoy it. As usual.

Because video games.

Of course, the video game I have to talk about today is Fire Emblem Heroes. Big shock, I know… But there’s a pretty legitimate reason for it today. Plus I don’t have too much more to say about how much of a dick Yami Bakura is or about the Awakening characters trailer I saw released today for Fire Emblem Warriors.

That’s… A lie. I’ll be honest, I have quite a bit to say about that little trailer. However, most of it boils down to me fan-girling about being able to play as Lissa swinging a giant axe around or getting to play as Lucina with and without the Marth disguise. So I figure it didn’t need a whole separate thing for itself when I can just sum it up here.

Anyways,

In the aftermath of a recent Voting Gauntlet:

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Somehow I lost all three rounds. Elise beat me while supporting Sakura, Priscilla beat me while supporting Lissa and Elise beat me again when I tried getting revenge by supporting Priscilla. Don’t think that’s ever happened to me before.

And in the days leading up to our second Tempest Trials:

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It’s Echoes themed, which has me pretty excited. Especially since one of my favorite characters, Tobin, is the special hero reward this time around. But I’ll go more into that when the event actually drops.

A large update for Fire Emblem Heroes, Version 1.5, dropped for the world to enjoy. The update has actually added quite a bit, and I’ll sum up all of it, but arguably the two main additions are the “Chain Challenge” and “Squad Assault” story map battle modes.

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Chain Challenge

Here’s a new game mode taking the conceptual ideas from the Tempest Trials event and applying them to a wider experience.

And giving us the chance to get a crap ton of goods, which is a better incentive than almost anything to keep on chugging through this game, I’d say.

 


All of the game’s story maps and paralogue maps have been grouped together to give players the chance to play them in a new format. Much like the Tempest Trials, each map is fought in succession, and you’re allowed to take one to three teams worth of chances at each.

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The rewards for completing these are either feathers or orbs. Both are greatly appreciated items in this game, and after a while they really start to stack up.

 


By the time you get to the Lunatic-level challenges for the newest maps, you can get up to 8 orbs per three maps.

While not necessarily a lot on their own, all of these maps put together provide a heck of a lot of orbs for everyone’s summoning desires. In fact, just the prospect of having these orbs for the future has encouraged me to break into my stash to try my hand at summoning an Eldigan.

Fun fact, while writing this paragraph about how I was struggling to summon Eldigan and feeling bad about wasting a good chunk of my orb surplus, I actually managed to summon him.

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Amazing how the power of complaining about things seems to have an effect on games like this. Now that I have him and his legendary meme-worthy sword, I can start to save up my supply again.

Feels good.


Squad Assault

Squad assault is just mean.

 

Right now there’s only one Squad Assault map, and like the Chain Challenge mode it also seems to take cues from the ‘permadeath’ feature Heroes started using during the Tempest Trial last month. However, there’s more of a twist to this version.

In Squad Assault, to earn the two orbs and sacred seal rewards, players have to take on five battle maps in a row. The battle maps are based on story missions, like the first map from the “World of Mystery” series and the first map from the “World of Conquest” series from what I saw in my first attempt.

However, after each map, the four heroes you used to beat it are cycled out. So if you don’t have 20 good units to beat through each of the five battles in the series, you’re going to have a bad time.

Also you aren’t allowed to let any of your units die on any of the individual maps. If any unit dies, you automatically lose and have to start back from the beginning of the series all over again.

Just. Mean.

Granted, it isn’t a timed event, so you theoretically get as many attempts as you want… But it is still a little frustrating to even think about.


Other updates

This portion is going to be more of a lightning round, since it’s a lot of smaller improvements and edits that are relatively short to sum up. At least, theoretically they’re relatively short to sum up. Who knows how much I’ll wind up blathering on about it.

  • EXP adjustments

    • Not only will it now be easier to train cleric units due to an increase in experience points from healing, there are also going to be more experience points rewarded for defeating enemy units stronger than your own and less detractions for battling enemy units that are weaker than your units. Small changes relatively speaking, but all welcomed changes nonetheless. Training isn’t a huge burden in this game admittedly, but making it easier to get units to level 40 can’t be bad by any stretch of the imagination.
  • Sorting options

    • When searching for units to build teams, use in tributes, accomplish certain specific challenges and more, we were only able to use one method of categorization at a time prior to the 1.5 update. While this worked just fine in its own right, as categories like “movement type” or “rarity” are useful and generally all I’ve ever had to use, now it’ll be that much easier to pick out specific units in the barracks by categorizing using up to three sorting methods at a time.
  • Summoning screen user interface

    • Again, another small change, but each of these smaller user interface and aesthetic changes do contribute to making a smoother game experience. In this case, now the time remaining for each Summoning Focus will be displayed at the main screen for each of the focuses. While this information was available one click away from where it is now in the detailed information screen, having it on the main page is just a bit more convenient. They also added an extra “more information” link that brings you to the page detailing the focus that was previously only available from the update bulletin board. So that’s cool.
  • Purchase interruption protection

    • I’ve never had this problem myself, but apparently communication errors have been issues for people who tried to purchase orbs for a summoning session. Now there’s an option to complete a previous purchase so that the issue doesn’t require a complete restart of the application.
  • Larger Barracks

    • As someone who has become frugal with his orb purchases in the hopes that one day a focus I really want to see arrives, I’ve yet to have to expand my barracks past the initial 200 base units allotted. However, for people who really like hoarding units I suppose, the overall maximum unit space in the barracks have been expanded from 500 to 1,000. Small details once again, but I imagine some collector out there appreciates the extra space.
  • Additional Improvements and Changes

    • Here’s where we get into the nit-picky stuff that even the update page I’m working off of delegates to small sentences, so I don’t think I have too much to say about much of it myself. I’ll drop this here and probably leave it at that:
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I will say, the added danger area setting, special conditions tracker and sacred seal information displays are all useful changes I can personally get behind, at least.

Some frankly much needed changes to the structure of the Tempest Trials events have also been implemented with this update… But I feel like that will be a better topic to broach when I write up my post about the new Tempest Trials after it drops on Friday.

So if you enjoy me talking about this game, look forward to that.

If you don’t enjoy me talking about this game… Well I’m sorry. I personally happen to enjoy writing about this game, so I really appreciate you putting up with it one way or the other.

Now then, onto my standard end card questionnaire. What do you think of the new Fire Emblem Heroes update? Do you feel it’s substantial and improves the game widely? Or would you have rather they done more, either on top of what they did or instead of what they did.

Let me know in the comments below! I’ll probably be off getting more feathers and such from these Chain Challenges.

Mystery of the Emblem heroes arrive from Archanea – Updated

Mystery of the Emblem heroes arrive from Archanea – Updated

Don’t do this all too often, but Heroes updated again today and essentially invalidated large chunks of this post, so I figured I would address it in an update here as well.

When I talked about how I felt Legion and Clarisse should have been the heroes featured in the newest summoning focus, I apparently did not anticipate that the characters could and likely would show up in Grand Hero Battles.

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In hindsight it seems rather obvious (though I suppose you can say that for most things in hindsight). Characters like Xander who had been in the game through missions without being a summonable hero did wind up coming to the game later as Grand Hero Battles, where you unlock them by beating a particularly hard map.

Since Legion and Clarisse are boss characters from Mystery of the Emblem, I suppose it also makes sense for them to be unlocked through especially hard fights.

The Legion fight is particularly interesting, however, as it’s the first Grand Hero Battle that has an extra difficulty level: Infernal.

Dramatic letter coloring is dramatic.

Infernal is pretty much just a step up in difficulty that comes with an additional four star Legion and 2,000 feathers. Both are decent rewards to work to get, as duplicate characters can pass down skills and feathers are generally a rare (but highly useful) commodity.

I tried to beat the fight on Infernal but didn’t exactly get very far. Most of my best heroes aren’t well-equipped to tank heavy damage, which they have to be with a map that continuously spawns hard units to fight.

But… Oh well, at least I got this one:

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Anyway, that’s about all for this update. I figured it wouldn’t be a big enough thing for its own post, but I also didn’t want to just delete what I had on this post already. Keeping it around for posterity and timely remembrance and all that.

Just keep in mind as you read through the rest of this post, which I essentially tried to frame around the idea of there being a missed opportunity with these heroes, that even the greatest of thoughts can ultimately be wrong without all of the pieces at play.



E3 has just about come and gone for the year. While I’m planning on putting something out talking about some of my personal high points from the conference, I’m not quite prepared to do that right now.

So instead, here’s an update on the most recent update for Fire Emblem Heroes that came out last night. While not quite as expansive as the Tempest Trials release, we did get four new heroes to play around with:

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From Fire Emblem: New Mystery of the Emblem comes Katarina, an assassin who aspires to be a tactician, Athena, a foreigner from a town bordering Archanea who speaks with a accent, and best friend/rivals Roderick and Luke, two cavaliers serving under Marth in the Altean army alongside Katarina.

I personally have not played New Mystery of the Emblem, or the original Mystery of the Emblem for that matter, so I don’t have much experience with these four new heroes. Though, I was surprised during my research to find that Athena appeared in Shadow Dragon as well. I have played that game, but I honestly don’t remember seeing her.

One thing I can say about the four heroes that were chosen is that I feel like there was a missed opportunity somewhere along the lines. Let me explain.

 

The plot line of the new Paralogue that was added for this summoning focus feels more like a filler arc in an anime than just about any other Paralogue I’ve seen added into the game. Which, I might add, is really saying something considering the one before it focused on heroes randomly pulled together for wedding-based shenanigans.

In essence, it follows the primary members of the Order of Heroes (Alphonse, Sharena and Anna) entering into the new lands of Mystery of the Emblem hoping to free heroes that have made contracts with Veronica and, in Sharena’s case, make new friends.

 

Once you arrive, the first hero you encounter is Katarina, being aided by Roderick and Luke. When you defeat her, she bonds with Sharena and takes your team on a trip through the land to help free her other friends.

Arguably the most interesting thing about this series of Paralogue missions to me is the fact that heroes who aren’t a part of the summoning focus appear on top of the characters who are a part of the focus. As far as I can remember, this is the first time something like that has happened, which makes these missions stand out in their own right. For example, along the way you discover Athena being attacked by discount Gollum named Legion:

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Okay technically they’re on the same team in this mission, but that’s not what I’m looking to point out. What I’m looking to point out is that this is a seriously strange characterization for any character.

You also come across an archer named Clarisse, who arrives when you find out that (big shocker) Katarina was actually tricking Sharena the whole time and spent the previous missions leading your team into a trap.

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Considering every other mission thread in the past has had the heroes making a contract with Veronica stay under that influence until the final battle, the feigned friendship act is honestly pretty obvious the whole way through.

By the end, it is revealed that Katarina truly does appreciate the trust and friendship Sharena entrusts in her and hopes that they can work together again in the future… Despite the fact that she led the Order of Heroes into a deathtrap. It’s a sweet, if not hokey, moment that also results in Sharena having a moment with Alphonse talking about the value of her trusting nature compared to his more hesitant and cautious one.

The more separate nature of the narrative and moral-based conclusion to this Paralogue is what makes it feel like a filler episode of a show to me. Something about the writing gives me the same kind of impression.

I say everything about this setup feels like a missed opportunity because every hero besides Katarina that you can summon is pretty much utterly wasted. Roderick, Luke and Athena have no speaking lines at all across any of the three missions. Meanwhile, Legion and Clarisse not only have plenty of speaking lines but also seem like much more interesting characters. I understand it’s because the four heroes they chose go together at the beginning of the game’s story, but still.

Seriously, I’d use Clarisse, her design is great and I like her seemingly scalding attitude. Plus her Clarisse’s Bow inflicts -5 attack and speed on enemies within two spaces after each attack. Now that I’m more into serious battle strategies, it’s a pretty sweet sounding weapon.

Oh, also, the summoning focus comes with three additional missions.

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Figured I would just throw this in there. I’m not really sure what a smooth way to transition into it would be and it’s the last thing I have to talk about for this update. So… Yeah. That’s about that.

However, I’m not much of a fan of unceremonious endings, so I’ll add on an update for my progress in the Tempest Trials as well.

Because players of the game were able to amass a total of 2,639,517,292 points since the beginning of the event, everyone who participated gets a pretty nice reward for their trouble.

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Personally, I have been able to collect at least enough points to reach the main goal I’ve set out for:

 

The Trials as a whole are admittedly more of a slog than I expected they would be. Each round takes a long time to complete, so even though I have more than enough stamina bottles to be able to get all the rewards, I haven’t felt like sinking in enough time to repeat the same fights over and over again.

Nevertheless, I will continue the uphill climb so I can hopefully get the new seals and a five star variant of Masked Lucina. She’s a rather interesting character, all things considered. Besides getting access to Falchion as a five star unit, she gets no skills at all. As a result, it seems like Intelligent Systems planned the character out specifically to be a build-your-own blank slate. I can’t say I’m opposed to the idea, in fact I’m rather excited to figure out how I want my Lucina to fit into a team!

There, NOW that’s all I have to say about Fire Emblem Heroes for the day. Thus it’s time for the obligatory comment questions at the end of the post.

How do you feel about the new focus heroes? Do you feel they should have gone with different heroes to summon instead like I do? And, of course, who would you like to see arrive in the world of Fire Emblem Heroes in the future? By now I’m sure my own answer to that question should be obvious. I’ve been waiting for a Sacred Stones-based summoning focus for quite some time now.

Also don’t ask why I’m feeling so much more fourth wall breaking than usual as far as blathering on about my lack of knowing what to do, because I’m not sure.

The Tumultuous Tempest Trials hit Fire Emblem Heroes

Now here’s a special event I can really sink my teeth into.

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Today a special event called the Tempest Trials dropped in Fire Emblem Heroes. Like the text I screen captured above says, the event has introduced a new game mode in which you fight through a series of maps that bring to the table an element highly characteristic of Fire Emblem games as a whole: Permanent character death.

Or at least, permanent death in a certain sense.

Before I get into that, however, I figure I should hit this particular discussion in what I would consider a ‘chronological order.’ In this case, starting with a discussion of how the event fits into the game’s lore. After all, this more massive undertaking of an event does present an interesting addition to the continual plot of the game.

To explain the event in storied terms, one new Xenologue has been added:

The Xenologue only has one mission (with three difficulty levels that each give 3 orbs – leading to a net 9-orb profit as per convention at this point), and it isn’t a particularly hard mission. At least, it isn’t particularly hard for the units I have. However, there is quite a bit more plot surrounding this one mission than what a supplemental map usually receives.

Here’s the gist:

The ever-present antagonist of the game, Princess Veronica of the Emblian Empire, has teamed up with a mysterious new shape-shifting entity called Loki… Who for now apparently prefers to take the form of Anna.

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I’ll just leave the Marvel‘s The Avengers crossover joke here. There’s plenty I could do with it, but it doesn’t quite seem worth the energy right now.

Loki uses Veronica’s assistance to bring forth the Tempest, a magical vortex meant to bring about chaos by… Well… I’ll let Loki (in a different form – because shapeshifting) explain what it is.

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Yeah, essentially that. Tearing the worlds of Fire Emblem games apart, slamming them together in screwy, cacophonous ways. Cats and dogs living together. Mass hysteria. So on and so forth.

The mission ends with the Tempest opening and a new special hero, Masked Lucina (or Marth, as per her canonical cover when she arrives from the future in Fire Emblem Awakening – though that plot is also plenty complicated to explain so I’ll leave it there), coming forth to help fight off the despair and chaos brought about by the disaster.

And that, in a nutshell, is all you need to know. Worlds are colliding and heroes from all those worlds are coming together to fight against Veronica’s contracted heroes in a series of maps. Or at least, mostly worlds from Fire Emblem Awakening, since you’ll see in a second that the 3DS title is the focus of this particular iteration of the event.

Although the actual method of opening the Tempest is left vague at best, the overarching narrative is admittedly pretty engaging considering it’s mostly just supposed to outline a new challenging game mode in a mobile title.

After all, that’s exactly what all this plot has led up to: The Tempest Trials game mode.

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Coming to an increasingly overpacked menu screen near you…

Over the course of two weeks, players can enter the Tempest Trials and put their stamina on the line to take on a number of successive battles, the number being outlined by the difficulty level they choose.

For example, choosing the highest caliber Lunatic difficulty presents a series of seven battles to fight through. These battles, as I teased at before, implement permadeath for the teams chosen to take it on. The damage units take carry over from one battle to the next, and if a unit dies they don’t return to help you for the next stage.

“But Jason, expecting players to take on seven battles with just four heroes is ridiculous,” I hear you saying from behind the comfortably fluorescent screens through which you’re reading this text.

Well, you’re right, and that’s why the difficulty levels also outline the number of teams you’re permitted to use during the particular challenge you’re undertaking. Here’s how it works:

It’s battle number five. You enter the field battered and bruised, your units not quite strong enough to take on the challenge presented. After just a few hits, you lose. Game over. Those four units you started your journey with are permanently dead.

However… They were just Team 1.

Enter Team 2, freshly composed of units that aren’t quite in your A+ squad, but that just so happen to be a great combination in their own right. Now, it’s Team 2 versus the world.

But it would be unfair for the game to throw you back into a challenge without in some way acknowledging that you did your best with the fatigue of successive battling, now wouldn’t it?

Of course.

That’s why all enemy units start off with slightly less health when you begin to use a new team against them. It’s a small gesture, but an appreciated one. Your Minerva thanks the game developers for implementing such a system as her axe cleaves straight through the Gaius who has slain your first squad with much less trouble.

Maniacal laughter rings out, echoing across the darkened blue walls of your room, upsetting the silent stillness of the Super Mario Galaxy poster set up above your long unused desktop computer.

All is good.

In a fully hypothetical sense, of course.

In all seriousness, at the highest difficulty level, you get four chances. On top of that, the permadeath element only applies to your current run in the Tempest Trials. Once that challenge is over, you get all of your heroes back.

In a free-to-play title where the heroes you have are received through what is essentially a random chance game of color roulette, the merely pseudo-permanent nature of this inevitable death is greatly welcomed.

Personally, I only have enough units to make two good teams with one team of middling strength. So… For me, I basically have two chances to get to the end. Radical.

At the end, you come across Princess Veronica herself, fighting alongside her contracted heroes with all the same overpowered tendencies as she has had in the game’s story mode.

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Fun Fact: As my friend Jonathan pointed out to me, since I neglected to realize it when I first saw the map at about 1 a.m., the final map is based on the Dragon’s Table in it’s appearance in Fire Emblem Awakening, a game in which it is a pretty significant set piece. Pretty awesome stuff, honestly.

In my few attempts at the Tempest Trials thus far… I have yet to beat this final map. Luckily, the game still rewards you with points even for a loss, and there are two weeks or so for me to figure out the best way to win.

That provides me a nice Segway into the next leg of this journey: The rewards.

Obviously a big challenge event like this can not expect to gain traction without implementing a series of prizes players can receive. If you ask me, the prizes offered up for the Tempest Trials certainly seem to be worth going after.

After each victory or loss in the Tempest Trials, you receive a certain amount of points based on the factors outlined in the lefthand picture above. When you receive a predetermined amount you get a prize like orbs, as seen in the righthand picture above.

While there is a certain economy of scale in that the more points you accumulate the more saturated your prizes will be (more orbs, more crystals, more feathers, etc.), there are some prizes that are clearly what you’re meant to aim for. For example:

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A four-star Masked Lucina is the prize at 6,000 points, with a five-star Masked Lucina similarly available at 30,000 points. There are also two sacred seals available at 20,000 points and 50,000 points, with 15 additional orbs available between 50,000 and 99,999 points.

Currently I’m sitting at a solid 400 points based on my cumulative efforts. It’s certainly a long road to trek.

However, it will be all worth it for the new unit. Lucina wearing her Marth mask in Awakening is a pretty big source of my imagined personality preferences for her when I play through the game, so I’m looking forward to having the special, meaningful character in my roster.

But I digress.

Though that’s about all for my coverage of the Tempest Trials as a whole, it’s also worth mentioning that a new summoning focus has come with it.

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None of the heroes in this focus are new, but they are all popular characters from Awakening who provide point bonuses if you use them while fighting through the trials. I might not personally spend my accumulated orbs on this, but it is a nice addition.

Alongside starting to do work for my Internship and beating Fire Emblem Echoes, this event should help keep me rather busy for the next couple of weeks. Frankly, I’m looking forward to it. It’s only been out for a few hours, but I essentially stayed up until well past the witching hour to pull this post together, so clearly I quite enjoy the prospects of the event.

How do you feel about the Tempest Trials, if you play Fire Emblem Heroes? Are you excited about the challenge? What games and special characters would you be interested in seeing coming in as prizes in future iterations of the event – assuming they continue to release new versions in the future, of course.

Let me know in the comments below! Because for now, I’m off to get some sleep. The automatic scheduler will take care of putting this out at a more reasonable hour.