Tag: Voting Gauntlet

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!

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The Heroes we chose, the Power we crave

The Heroes we chose, the Power we crave

Before Fire Emblem Heroes hit mobile app stores, there was a promotional “Choose Your Legends” event that had fans of the Fire Emblem series vote on heroes they were interested in seeing in a game which had only just recently been teased at a token Nintendo Direct for the series.

When the voting period ended and the results were released, not much was very surprising about the results. Taking the top rungs of the ladder for the men were Ike from Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn and Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance as well as Roy from Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade. For the women, Lyndis from Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade and Lucina from Fire Emblem Awakening took top billing.

In the six months since the game has launched, we have not heard much regarding these four chosen heroes, the most popular in Fire Emblem history if you believe in the sanctity of a community-driven vote. Democracy at work.

But now we know just what has been cooking for these fan favorites: A new distinction as “Brave Heroes,” bringing along with them a new look, new weapons, new skills and a certain extra sense of prestige.

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Okay, technically we knew about these Brave Heroes a couple days ago when a new episode of Feh Channel was released…

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Which you can watch here if you’re interested.

But that came out so close to the actual release of these guys that I figured it would be worth waiting to talk about them.

So, now that they’re here, what are the Brave Heroes we chose packing?

  • Lucina – Brave Princess
    • Lucina wields the legendary lance Geirskögul, which gives her +3 defense and gives allies with physical weapons within 2 spaces +3 attack and speed during combat. She also comes with the special attack Aether, boosting her damage while recovering health, and the skills Sturdy Blow (to add attack and defense during initiated combat) and Drive Speed (to grant her allies +3 speed within 2 spaces during combat).
  • Roy – Brave Lion
    • Roy wields the legendary sword Blazing Durandal, which gives him +3 attack and adds +1 to the special attack cooldown of his enemies if he has a higher attack stat. He comes equipped with the special attack Galeforce, granting him an extra turn if he initiates combat, and the skills Steady Blow (to add speed and defense during initiated combat) and Desperation (which allows for immediate follow-up attacks if he’s below 75% health). Roy is also a cavalier now.
  • Lyndis – Brave Lady
    • Lyn wields the legendary bow Mulagir, which gives her +3 speed and nullifies the bonuses of magic users from skills like Fortify ‘X’ and Rally ‘X.’ Her special skill is Draconic Aura, a consistent damage booster, and she comes with three skills: Swift Sparrow (to add attack and speed during initiated combat), Sacae’s Blessing (disabling counterattacks on foes with swords, lances and axes) and Attack Smoke (which inflicts -7 attack on foes within 2 spaces after combat). Brave Lady Lyn is also the first Bow Knight added to the game, giving her vast mobility and range.
  • Ike – Brave Mercenary
    • Ike wields the legendary axe Urvan, which gives him an accelerated special attack cooldown and makes it so consecutive attacks deal 80% less damage. Fun fact, 80% is a hell of a lot considering this is a game where 40 damage is usually a one hit kill. His special skill is Aether just like Lucina has, and he comes with three skills: Steady Breath (granting him +4 defense if attacked and adding +1 to his cooldown), Beorc’s Blessing (which nullifies the Fortify ‘X’ and Rally ‘X’ and more bonuses from flying units and cavaliers) and Threaten Defense (which lowers opponents defense by 5 within 2 spaces after combat).

I mentioned it before, but the results of the Choose Your Legends event are pretty obvious in hindsight. On the one hand, I can totally see why:

  • Lucina is arguably the most popular character from Awakening, the game that saved the Fire Emblem series from extinction a few years ago. She’s the central tie for essentially everything that happens in that game, and that makes her a very interesting and dynamic character. Plus, she got a chance to be in Super Smash Bros 4 (which as you’ll see is a common theme in this list).
  • Roy was one of the two characters, alongside Marth, who bolstered the popularity of Fire Emblem in the United States. They both appeared in Super Smash Bros. Melee and got American audiences interested in the previously obscure RPG, enough so that the next game in the series was released here. Speaking of…
  • Lyndis is a main character from the Blazing Blade, which in America was known simply as “Fire Emblem” because it was the first game in the series to be released there. In fact, though I’m not entirely sure considering I haven’t personally played the game, I believe Lyn is the very first character you encounter in that game as the main character in the tutorial stages. Add to that her legendary status as a one-hit-knock-out assist trophy in Smash Bros. and you have someone quite memorable to many fans.
  • If Lyn is considered quite memorable, Ike is truly a character anyone who has even heard of Fire Emblem can recognize. As a main hero in two Fire Emblem games and a fighter introduced into Super Smash Bros. Brawl, he has had quite a strong presence in much of the series’ history. In fact, much of his popularity probably stems from the memes that Smash Bros. spawned. Not only is he a cool heavy-hitting character that uses a flaming sword, but cries of “Aether,” “We like Ike” and “I fight for my friends” characterize a large breadth of jokes that get passed around for the game. Ike even appears in the opening title screen for Heroes, and the long stretch of time before he was added to the game had many players asking for him to appear.

But on the other hand, that inherent popularity of these heroes makes their appearance here entirely too predictable. In a way, I would almost argue that makes it a boring list of characters to highlight despite how much “fan favoritism” balances that out.

However, I would also argue the way the heroes look and their awesome skills help to balance that out even more. They seriously look and play amazingly just from the offset, so even if I feel we were jipped by not giving other heroes the chance at alternate skins (of which Lucina now has three for whoever is keeping count), at least they’re still worth getting.

Though if I had my way, those abundant votes for Neimi in that original voting session would have held more sway. Just saying.

Another special thing about this new summoning banner comes from the fact that the game is trying something new with it: Allowing players to get one of the Brave Heroes for free.

This unprecedented bit of generosity helps play back on the community-driven aspect of the Choose Your Legends event. Players chose these heroes to represent their favorites, so they all get to have at least one as a thank you for playing the game.

Who did I choose, I hear you ask?

Well…

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Though it was a tough choice between her and Ike, I had to go with Lyndis. Namely because she’s the first Bow Knight introduced into Fire Emblem Heroes. The horse-mounted archer class is probably my favorite in the series (again dating back to Neimi in Sacred Stones), and on top of that it fits perfectly onto the horse-themed team I’ve been building for some time now.

I’ll probably blow some orbs trying to summon the rest of the three available Brave Heroes, but I likely won’t go crazy over it. They’re all cool and limited-time rare, but I still feel like I should be saving my orbs for a rainy day after a number of recent binges.


Now onto what is strangely still one of my favorite parts of these updates: The story.

This time around it’s pretty bare bones, so those of you who don’t enjoy my endless ramblings are getting lucky.

This Paralogue comes with the usual assortment of bonuses you would expect. Three difficulty levels to get nine orbs, three extra missions for more orbs… But this time, it also comes alongside a log-in bonus to help players get 20 orbs.

In terms of the actual story, this Paralogue is frankly more fluffy than most of the others on our ever-growing list.

And I don’t mean fluffy as in “Let’s watch Anna try to take some click-bait swimsuit pictures,” I mean fluffy as in “This Paralogue is literally just a nod to players about this being a player-driven choice and event.”

It begins with a rather thin premise of enemy forces gathering in an old temple in Askr.

As it turns out, that temple was the original resting place of the weapon that you, the player character, now wields that gives you the ability to summon heroes from the various worlds. So then, why is the Emblian empire stationing themselves there if the one weapon the temple is known for has already been taken?

Well… They don’t really explain that.

They just explain that Brave Heroes, who are exceptionally stronger than normal heroes because of the strength behind the love and belief of others that resides in them (which is another thin way of saying we all voted for them), are there now.

“A legendary rite” say the writers with a wink and a knowing grin.

Interestingly enough nothing goes any deeper than this. Everything about this Paralogue can essentially be summed up as “Hey look at this fan service we’re giving you, hope you enjoy the free stuff.”

Don’t know what it is with me and fake quoting things tonight, but it’s certainly happening a lot.

That aside, in the end you just go through the three battles:

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But nothing of substance happens until the end when the four are together and talk in vaguely meta terms about being chosen.

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And that’s all she wrote.

However, before I move on, I did want to mention an interesting point tying the four heroes together. In their selected descriptions, each of them mentions the fact that these forms are based on their fathers in one form or another.

Lucina is wearing armor similar to her father’s armor. Lyndis is utilizing the bow and horse riding skills of her father. Roy is using his father’s sword and rides a horse like him as well. Ike, finally, is using his father’s axe to battle.

This is arguably a small detail, but I think it’s a really cool way to add some extra world building into the mix. I can always appreciate some extra world building.


The Brave Heroes summoning focus isn’t the only way Intelligent Systems is making good on the Choose Your Legends event from before the game’s launch.

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The eight highest ranked heroes (four men and four women, including the regular forms of the previously discussed brave heroes) will be pitted against one another in a voting gauntlet.

I personally only have a Roy and a Camilla in my hero storage banks, but neither are leveled up at all, so this will probably be the first gauntlet in which I don’t actively support a hero I use to gain extra points.

That said I’ll be supporting Ike to start. Because I’ll be honest, it’ll be quite the shock for me if he doesn’t wind up winning.

While I won’t personally be buying into them, there are two summoning focuses in place to summon the characters in question:

 

 

My orbs are better spent in other places I would argue, even if a regular Ike or a Hector are heroes I could stand to have eventually.

One thing I think is interesting to note is the fact that of the eight available heroes, six are red units (five of which being sword users specifically). The other two are axe wielders, which means they’re inherently at a disadvantage. Though using the units themselves merely gives you a benefit and isn’t required, thus making it so their one-on-one disadvantages are essentially null, I still think it says something that so many of the community’s favorite units use swords.

It probably says that everyone thinks swords are cool. Which is true.

Swords are great.


Finally, I also figured it would be worth mentioning that the Heroes developers are doing some interesting outside marketing/engagement using players of the game.

The most prominent of those efforts is putting out tweets and giving rewards out if enough people retweet it. This is the second time they’ve done it, and unlike the first time I actually decided to do my part this time around:

They also have a game set up on the official Fire Emblem Heroes website called a Quick Hero Battle mode that lets you choose units that have an advantage over a unit they throw at you repeatedly for 30 second bouts. You can play the game twice a day (unless you post about it on social media, in which case you get more play time) and the current prizes are phone wallpapers of the Brave Heroes.

Don’t have too much to say in regards to these, I just think it’s an interesting little outreach that was worth at least bringing up. Hell, anything that can help encourage me to keep more engaged in social media is probably a miracle in and of itself.


Now, with all of this said, I officially take my leave. I’ve got a doctor’s appointment in the morning, so it would probably do me some good to get more sleep than I’m giving myself.

What do you think of the Brave Heroes? Which one is your favorite and why? Let me know in the comments below!

Happy half a year, Heroes!

Happy half a year, Heroes!

You may think I’m strange for celebrating the six-month anniversary of a mobile game, but I can assure you that I haven’t been obsessivly counting down the days since release. I’m just jumping on the celebration boat Intelligent Systems has set afloat!

After all, if Duel Links and Fire Emblem Heroes have taught me anything, it’s that mobile games apparently really enjoy celebrating half a year’s worth of existing.

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It’s strange to think that this game is already half a year old. To be completely honest, I’m not sure whether or not that seems like a long time ago or not long ago at all. The last semester of school I endured was such a slog for a variety of reasons that I feel like things changed completely between the beginning of Spring 2017 and now.

Yet, I can still distinctly remember the day when Fire Emblem Heroes dropped as if it were yesterday. I remember riding down one of the elevators in the College Park building on campus with (I believe) my friend Megan there next to me, trying out a game that had just been announced not long prior, one that I was very excited for in the midst of still playing Pokémon Moon. The classic music and game art was so refreshing for a mobile game that I instantly fell in love.

Then I remember sitting in front of a classroom in the basement of the Education building waiting for my honors history class with Professor Hall to begin while writing an awfully long-winded and ridiculously in-depth review of a mobile game to be published in the school paper. One which eventually my buddy Kaleb had to help me cut the hell down because seriously who wants to read that much about a dumb mobile game except me?

Hell, even in this small niche I’m trying to carve out for myself I’m not totally convinced anyone wants to read my long-winded speeches about this game. I certainly never expected Fire Emblem Heroes to blossom into being the biggest thing I talk about into this void I call my blog after that initial review I wrote, but here we are. I suppose the game is just a gift that keeps on giving.

Hopefully the new Arts & Entertainment editor for the Daily Titan will be as accepting of stupidly intimate game reviews as Kaleb was…

That’s probably more than enough waxing poetic for one day. I was the one who made a joke about celebrating a six-month anniversary at the beginning of this post, after all. Now here I am talking endlessly about fond memories for a game only six months old.

Though I suppose I can appreciate the overall sentiment of celebrating this. In a time where we’re constantly barraged by stimuli of all kinds and live through an interconnected virtual web that has the memory of a fruit fly, any new venture that manages to last six months without really losing a hefty degree of zeal from its fan base certainly seems like something to celebrate.

ESPECIALLY in the field of free-to-play mobile games. I’m sure most of those things die off fast from frustrating their core player base alone.

Plus, it’s not like I can complain about a celebration. The game is planning to celebrate their anniversary with free goods, after all!

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Give me all of your orbs, Feh…

The most important thing going on for the game’s six-month anniversary, I’d argue, is the big orb dump. The game will be providing two log-in bonus events that provide players 20 orbs if they log in ten times over two week periods. One starts today and goes until the 21st, while the other starts the 22nd and will go until September 10th.

40 orbs? Not a bad deal, Nintendo. I can respect that.

As I’ve expressed plenty of times in the past, one of my biggest idiosyncrasies when it comes to Fire Emblem Heroes is a strange peace of mind and security that comes with hoarding a large quantity of orbs just in case a certain hero arrives that I desperately need in my (probably somewhat pathetic realistically speaking) virtual life.

My last hoarding session was cut off somewhat pre-maturely by the arrival of the second summer heroes banner, but since I managed to summon summer Elise:

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Perhaps the Loli bait is strong with this one, but she’s grown on me. Something in the way her face is drawn is just way too cute.

I’ve been pretty good about saving up again. Sorry Xander, as much as I love your Lilith floatation device, I gotta start saving up again. Plus most of the tier lists say Elise is better anyway. So there.

Speaking of summer heroes, this six-month anniversary celebration began the day after our last Voting Gauntlet ended. I don’t have a lot to say about it, but I felt it was worth bringing up, so this seemed like a good transition.

Overall I did pretty poorly.

 

I lost the first two rounds when backing my girl Elise against Corrin before joining my friends to back Robin against Corrin, but she steamrolled me both times. Then I supported Corrin in the final round and…

Naturally we destroyed Gaius, who is ironically my favorite guy from the first summer summoning banner. Funny how that works.

These Voting Gauntlets don’t tend to mean much outside of getting some extra feathers, however, so really that’s about all I have to say on the matter. Except for the fact that they added some extra orb rewards on each cycle of the rounds, which was a much appreciated addition.

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Keep that up I’d say. It definitely encouraged me to participate in the event more often.

Getting back into the meat and potatoes of this post, the six-month anniversary celebration isn’t just a couple of orb showers.

Though they haven’t arrived yet, part of the celebration will include two limited edition special map challenges and two presumably prize-heavy quest lines toward the end of August. Given the nature of those events I don’t believe I’ll be talking about them on here that much, but just know they’ll more than likely include lots of orbs, lots of colored level-up stones and some new Sacred Seals.

Also later this month, starting on Thursday actually, there’s going to be some events meant to help Fire Emblem Heroes newcomers… Though the events will also be beneficial to veterans like myself, if not more beneficial. A second “Hero Fest” banner will be coming for a week, allowing players to get the chance at popular heroes with an increased summoning chance. Plus, there will be a secondary log-in bonus to coincide with the starter support event that I believe will overlap with the anniversary bonus and give us an additional 20 orbs.

That’s at least 60 orbs, not including whatever we’re going to get from those special maps and quests I mentioned before.

I didn’t personally take advantage of the first Hero Fest when it rolled around since it happened during my very first orb collection binge (the one that got me to 200+ orbs I might add), though I get the feeling this one might sway me more easily if the heroes are desirable enough.

The reason this Hero Fest might sway me is also thanks to the final part of the anniversary celebration: Core summoning changes. Two of them to be exact.

First, a free first summon has been implemented.

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Pretty much what you read is what you get with this one. Every time a new banner is released, the first five orb cost to summon one hero is waved. One hero free of charge.

While it isn’t much, the teaser given in regards to this change stands pretty true. Everyone can try each banner at least once, and there’s no harm in that when you have the possibility of drawing one of the rare focus heroes in that first summon.

Because that’s what we all say before sinking money into the pit hoping to get that hero we’ve already invested time and effort into finding.

Anyway…

Second, the rates of summoning four star and three star heroes have been switched. Now, starting with every summoning banner released on August 7th and beyond, it will actually be more common to summon four star heroes rather than three star heroes.

 

This change, despite not applying to the ‘Summer focus’ and ‘Life and Death focus’ banners we already had before today, is actually really beneficial. If nothing else it makes it a lot easier to get your hands on higher leveled units that take less investment to train up if desirable, and there are a lot of abilities you can inherit that come from four star allies.

Since it ties in with a lot of what I talked about already, I figured it would also be worth brining up the Bound Hero Battle that began today featuring Cecilia and Lilina from Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade.

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This special map collection offers a challenging map layout with three difficulty levels for summoners to try their hands at. The catch with each difficulty level is that you can’t lose a single unit. Once one of your four heroes dies, you automatically lose.

It’s a bit of a brutal task for sure, but those who have the skills to take it on can net themselves an extra nine orbs to put in the bank. Don’t think I’ll be able to beat the Infernal level since it really does live up to it’s name, but I’ve already beaten Hard and have a good strategy going for Lunatic, so we’ll have to see.

The special map challenge also comes with a brand new summoning focus:

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With the focus on Roy, Cecilia and Lilina, this banner overall isn’t really for me. I already have all three heroes in my collection, so the increased chance at nabbing them really isn’t all that appealing. I still figured it would be worth mentioning, however, as this banner is the first to implement both the free first summon and the swapped summoning chances that I mentioned earlier.

I used my free summon and got a four star Stahl. He’s pretty useless… But the fact that I got a four star with my free summon kind of proves that something in the new system is working, right? I like to think so, anyway.

All of these new things in the game also coincide with the version 1.6 update, an update that includes a variety of changes also worth talking about… But changes that I’m not sure I have the energy for tonight.

Seriously, it’s right around 2 a.m. and this post has taken me much longer to write than I anticipated. While rambling ceaselessly in the early hours of the morning has served me well in the past, I’m afraid I’m just a little too tired to keep going. Probably in part due to feeling sick over the last couple of days, something which honestly should have driven me to bed sooner anyway.

Ah well, ’tis the life of a Masochist I suppose.

Because I have some time with my friends later today (during normal daytime hours) and orientation for the Daily Titan throughout the week, I think I’ll skip out on the version 1.6 talk tonight. If anything I’ll include that as a post-lengthener when I talk about the Hero Fest on Thursday, though it could come earlier if I feel the writing mood come on.

Either way stay tuned, it’ll be here.

Until then, let me know how you feel about the six-month anniversary celebration for Fire Emblem Heroes in the comments below! Are you as excited for all the cool give-a-ways as I am? Or are you more stuck in the kind of temporal confusion and awe in regards to time passing that I was toward the beginning of this post?



Before I sign off and hit the hay, I also thought this would be worth mentioning.

The other day I tried something strange by posting a tweet from my Nintendo Switch. To test the feature out I tweeted about the results of Splatoon 2’s first Splatfest.

A disappointing outcome… But that’s beside the point.

While posting to social media from my game console was an undoubtedly strange experience… It wasn’t necessarily one I was all that opposed to. Particularly if it’s the only real way to get the pictures I take on that device off of the device so I can show cool things off to the world.

Thus, although it probably won’t be an earth shattering change, I may just wind up posting to twitter independently more often with Switch-based content. That in itself could lead to more individual social media posts in general… Though for now I doubt it since I still like to tell myself I’m not a huge fan of using social media.

Still felt like it would be worth mentioning here as sort of a shameless self promotion. After all, if you’ve made it this far into the post you clearly enjoy my company to an extent, so it might be worth checking out my Twitter for some sort of an evolution in the future.

Even if it’s mostly a conduit for getting these blog posts you see already in front of more eyes as it currently stands.

More Fire Emblem Heroes summertime fun is on the way

More Fire Emblem Heroes summertime fun is on the way

Boy, Intelligent Systems sure is looking to wring all the money it can out of its gaming audience this summer, aren’t they?

Of course I say that in jest (as much as I can muster out during my early morning writing binges), as I happen to really enjoy what they have been doing and what they will be doing in the near future.

It’s only slightly in jest, however.

My friend Jonathan has been going nuts with all of the frequently added characters he’s wanted to get, and though he succeeded in getting Delthea and Sonya from the Echoes banners (like me!), he did have to spend some real money to do it. I’m starting to feel the same way at this point, as I just barely started to replenish my surplus when today’s new banner dropped.

Speaking of:img_5784The new Nohrian Summer summoning banner follows in the footsteps of the Ylissian Summer banner that we saw about a month ago, only focusing this time on the royal family of Nohr – as the name suggests.

I’ll be completely honest and admit that I probably would have been much more excited for this if we had gotten Hoshidan royalty, as I have much stronger personal connections with the Birthright side of Fire Emblem Fates than the Conquest side. However, beggars can’t be choosers. The special heroes we got are still great and rather quirky in their own rights.

Four members of the Nohrian royal family are here to spend time at the beach with the boys and girls summoning heroes on a day-to-day basis:

  • CorrinNovice Vacationer
    • A princess caught between her ‘birth’ family in Hoshido and her ‘adopted’ family in Nohr who comes to be the hero that leads one side or the other to victory in a war between the two nations. Unless you played the Revelations version of course, in which case you’d have a completely different story. In this special summertime edition of Corrin she appears as a tome using wyvern rider who attacks with Finding Nemo characters. If that’s not enough to make her enticing, I don’t know what else could.
    • Notable Skills: Each of the heroes in this focus comes with a weapon that grants a +1 attack and speed boost to all allies within 2 spaces during combat, which is a useful idea… Even if in execution a +1 boost isn’t necessarily the most helpful thing. Corrin’s weapon of choice is a blue tome, and she also comes equipped with a decent spread of skills right out of the box, including the Dragon Fang special attack, a +4 speed and resistance boost during initiated combat and the ability to fortify the defenses of fellow flying units.
  • EliseTropical Flower
    • The Nohrian royal family’s youngest sibling, Elise is a princess known for her charm, boundless childlike energy and great horseback healing capabilities. Finding her adorning a lei while on a summer vacation grants her a different set of skills, however, as she becomes an infantry unit who excels at using flower-based green tomes.
    • Notable Skills: Each of the heroes in this focus comes with a weapon that grants a +1 attack and speed boost to all allies within 2 spaces during combat. Elise’s weapon of choice is a green tome, and she comes with skills that grant her +2 speed and resistance, allow her to provide a +3 attack and resistance boost to allies as well as a skill that gives fellow green tome users extra ‘special points’ through battling. Honestly her skills are probably the least impressive when compared to the others.
  • LeoSeashore’s Prince
    • Being the younger of the middle children among Nohr’s royal siblings, Leo tends to be a little abrasive – particularly in the face of being teased by his siblings. Despite this, his strength wielding the mystic tome Brynhildr is unquestionable and gives him a cocky edge alongside his vast intellect as a mage knight that nobody can really deny. His summer attire loses a lot of the heavy black armor he’s known for wearing in place of a simple blue cloak, and his mystic tome has been replaced by a book discussing the ever beloved(?) tomato. Which he can launch at his enemies using magic. For some reason. It’s strange, though I’d argue his older brother’s gimmick is a bit stranger.
    • Notable Skills: Each of the heroes in this focus comes with a weapon that grants a +1 attack and speed boost to all allies within 2 spaces during combat. Leo’s weapon of choice is a red tome, though he also comes with the Iceberg special attack, the Seal Resistance skill and Attack Ploy, allowing him to lower the attack of anyone in cardinal directions with less resistance than him.
  • XanderStudent Swimmer
    • The crown prince of Nohr, known for his stalwart attitude and willingness to fight against even the mightiest of forces if it’s necessary to protect his siblings. Out of all the characters here, Xander easily has the strangest additional ‘summer attribute’ in that he apparently cannot swim and needs the help of a floatation device to stave off what seems to be a fear of the water. However, this strange attribute becomes one of the most endearing things I’ve ever seen when it appears he uses a floatation device modeled after the dragon form of Lilith as an axe. Though I get the feeling it would be even better if Corrin had the Lilith-themed gear, just the fact that he has this makes him the one character I’m pining after for this focus.
    • Notable Skills: Each of the heroes in this focus comes with a weapon that grants a +1 attack and speed boost to all allies within 2 spaces during combat. Xander’s weapon of choice is an axe, and he comes with the powerful Bonfire special, a skill called Fire Boost that gives him +6 attack if he has more health than his opponent and a skill that lowers the special cooldown for infantry units with less health than him. His skills are another reason I really want to add him to my team, I’d say.

For real though, look at this:

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Look at this wet and glistening beefcake swinging around an amazing dragon floatie around. It’s as magnificent as it is ridiculous and I am 100% down to add him to my teams.

In fact, I’ve already spent the 50 orbs I’ve collected over the last week or two (or however long its been since I summoned Sonya) on green orbs for him. To little avail thus far, but the summoning focus lasts for more than 30 days, so I’m sure I’ll have the chance to catch him… Even if I feel like shit to some extent because I gave up on my orb collection so early.

At least there’s more opportunities for orbs coming down the pipelines. Though I’ll mention that after I get into what has become probably my favorite part of these events: The story.


Three new Paralogue missions providing nine orbs and three corresponding missions provide for a nice bit of an orb boost after already burning away quite a few. Though the storyline you have to move through to get these orbs is… Interesting. To say the least.

Last time around I mentioned that the strange approach Anna took to taking pictures of summery heroes seemed characteristic of the game’s writers crying out for a vacation.

They really stepped it up this time around and helped me double down on that opinion.

While Anna once again hopes to document heroes in their swimsuits to sell to the highest bidder as a means of filling the Order’s coffers, this time she’s decided to abandon her goal of starting her own playboy magazine in place of starting… What I can only think to describe as her own pornography website.

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I’m honestly not sure what to say, though Alphonse sums up my overall impressions fairly well:

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Anyways, that just about bookmarks everything once again. You go to the Nohrian islands to find scantily-clad heroes under a fighting contract so you can get pictures of them. Starting with the girls:

Then hitting the boys as well, since Anna is an equal opportunity monetarily-driven pervert as it turns out:

Then, once you get to the end of the line with Anna’s movie collection complete, she finds that loopholes once again ruin her plans.

This, of course, leads to a comical overreaction from a character now afraid of going bankrupt. Though this one takes the cake as one of the strangest experiences I think I’ve had as a gamer.

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Never before has a video game character asked me to strip down and put on a skimpy swimsuit. Caught me pretty off guard, though I’m not sure if I’d say doing so was a good or a bad thing in the grand scheme of things.

That odd experience was really the biggest thing this part of the ‘filler arc’ had to offer, and I’m already pretty much out of things to say about it. Just off of one full stamina bar I was able to collect all of the orbs available from this story focus, so I’ll probably be spending some time trying to get my hands on Xander while playing Splatoon with my friends and grinding up cards against Yami Marik in Duel Links on the side.

Which, by the way, is another super cool event going on right now. However, I don’t have too much to say about it beyond the fact that I love being able to use Marik now, so I didn’t think it would be worth a whole post on its own. You can check out some information on it here if you’re really curious about what the deal is there.

Speaking of probably not being worth a whole post on its own, one of the reasons I’ll be working hard to get a Xander summoned is so I’ll be able to use him in the Voting Gauntlet coming up on the horizon:

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This summer hero-themed gauntlet looks like it’s going to be way more exciting than the healer unit-themed gauntlet we had in the last go around, and I’ll definitely be backing my boy Xander all the way even if I don’t personally have one to use. Though if he loses I’ll probably go with Gaius. Or I’ll improvise if both are taken down, I suppose.

We’ll see how it all turns out with time.


Another thing relevant to the game that I figured would be worth noting in this post is the launch of Feh Channel, where the in-game item delivery owl (called Feh, appropriately enough, not-so-coincidently matching the anagram for the game’s name) tells you all about everything you want to know about the future of Fire Emblem Heroes.img_5760

The channel series, if it’s a continual venture and not just a one-off clever way to do what is essentially a Nintendo Direct, will be nice and informative going forward. Just the first video that has been done really gives us a solid low down on everything that’s going on over the next month or so.

I’d check it out for yourself here, as there really is a lot of interesting information about things like the upcoming voting gauntlet, tempest trials updates, summoning appearance rate changes, a new game mode, the mobile app’s sixth month anniversary (can’t believe its already been that long, personally) and more.

The format they use with the owl is a little bit strange and admittedly annoying to an extent, but it’s still great if you want to get a look ahead of time at what I’ll likely be talking about here. If you don’t want to sit through the long-winded approach – which I can’t imagine why not if you’ve read up to this point in a post like this on my blog – everything boils down to this:

Screen Shot 2017-07-28 at 2.01.47 AM
Image courtesy of the Nintendo Mobile Youtube account

I’d say the Grand Hero Battle against Valter at the end of August has me most excited in terms of looking ahead. Seeing another Sacred Stones character appear suggest that perhaps the game will be in the limelight soon enough… With Neimi hopefully riding the coattails. I’ll never stop being excited for her.


All in all it’s going to be a nice distraction from school starting up again, since at this point I’ve got Daily Titan orientation coming up soon alongside preparations for a new work opportunity I’ve been invited to take part in. I’m sure I’ll have more to say on that soon enough, but for now just know that I’ll be stressing myself out well before classes even begin for the semester.

Though I suppose relieving that stress is what video games are best for.

How do you feel about the new summoning focus? Or about any of the upcoming updates we’ll be seeing in Fire Emblem Heroes? Let me know in the comments below, as I just love discussing all of this stuff if that wasn’t obvious enough already.

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:
img_5474
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.

My night at the beach… Sort of.

My night at the beach… Sort of.

To be fair, this is beach-themed. It’s beach-themed and I am writing this in the late hours of the night (or morning if you want to get technical).

So… I’m going to count this as one of my trips to the beach this summer. Even though it’s really just me playing more video games. Because you can’t really video games at the beach, now can you?

Oh wait, I did do that last year… Never mind.

Anyway, dumb attempt at a clever opening monologue aside, welcome to my regularly scheduled big Fire Emblem Heroes update. I’ve actually been fairly busy the last few days doing some work for my internship (hopefully some Gladeo stuff should be coming around in the next couple of days for me to talk about), so I haven’t been able to update everything as I’ve been going.

Figured I would update it all in one fell swoop, all under the banner of this strange, strange special character addition.

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That’s right folks, if June was the month of the brides, July is the month of summer fun for the colorful cast of Fire Emblem characters… From Ylisse. Because apparently only the Ylissians get nice things like summer vacations.

Now, just who do we have filling out our roster of summer-themed heroes?

  • Robin (female): Seaside Tactician
    • Can’t have a collection of heroes from Fire Emblem Awakening without including Chrom, Lucina or Robin somewhere in the mix. Lucina’s gotten more than enough love in the time Heroes has existed, so I’m glad to see Robin finally getting some more time in the sun. And no, not because she’s scantily clad and running around spearing seafood. Not strictly, at least.
  • Frederick: Horizon Watcher
    • Never did I ever think I would see this great Ylissian knight don casual clothing, hit the beach with his friends and chuck seashells at people. Seriously. The guy that usually flattens enemies with his horse and impales those who do disservices to his lords chucks seashells at people. Easily the best character added solely for how strange he is, and that’s saying something considering…
  • Tiki: Summering Scion
    • Have you ever wanted to see an eons-old half-dragon of divinity with a pension for feeling heartbroken about the deaths of her friends in the hundreds of years she hibernated decide to smack a watermelon with a stick and use the combined items as an axe? No? Well have this anyway.
  • Gaius: Thief Exposed
    • Besides the fact that “Thief Exposed” is a ridiculous name to bestow upon anything in this context, I don’t have a lot of things to make fun of with old Gaius here. In fact, if there was anyone on this list I would want, it’s him. Not only does he get the skills Vantage AND Astra, but he also shoots the blue ice cream pops from Kingdom Hearts at people. It’s pretty dope.

I’m sure you know exactly what’s coming next at this point.

 

 

New heroes equals new paralogue. New paralogue equals three new missions. Three new missions equals nine new orbs, plus an extra three for included special missions. The return of two orbs daily. Rinse and repeat, as usual.

Oh, but this time they also included an extra event to get us some boosted Skill Points for playing over the weekends.

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So that’s pretty cool.

In case it wasn’t all that obvious, I don’t want to spend an exorbitant amount of time on this like I usually do. As much as I love writing far too much about a relatively small amount of content with this game, it is already pretty late and I have some stuff going on tomorrow. However, the writing in this game never ceases to amaze me with how bizarre it is.

If you thought things got weird when the girls of the game were wandering around in wedding dresses… Well…

 

 

Surprisingly, talking about liberation from one’s clothing isn’t even the weirdest thing Anna talks about in this miniature storyline. It actually gets much, much creepier from there.

To sum it up really quick, you and the rest of your colleagues from the Order of Heroes decide to go to a beach in Ylisse to relax for the summer. However, Anna has ulterior motives with the casually dressed heroes under contract with Emblia to defend the beach.

 

 

 

She basically wants to take the four new special heroes and use them to make her own Playboy-esque pictures to sell so she can help fund the army.

I’ve had a couple of hours to stew it over and I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about this plot point.

However, it just about goes how you would expect. You fight a few maps, Anna fails to get any of her pictures, she actually winds up losing money thanks to a letter from an alternative version of herself and everyone fills her in on the value of spending the summertime making friends and relaxing rather than dwelling over money.

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Seriously this game has more Hallmark card morals than Hallmark cards as far as I can tell.

The “lore” for this event doesn’t get much deeper than this, so that’s really all I have to say on that matter. Except that getting through this event makes me feel like like the writers for this game are trying to send a message that they could probably stand for a “liberating vacation” of their own.

The map environments are quite pretty however, I have to say:

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It’s obviously hard to tell with a still image, but the water flows back and forth with a little bit of froth. It’s really nice.

With the summer beach fun out of the way, let’s get into a little lightning round for all the other updates in my games I’ve neglected, big and small.


Clarisse Arrives

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My upset rantings from a couple of weeks ago were once again proven to be obsolete as we received the second boss character from the recent Mystery of the Emblem Paralogue  through a special map. I updated that post when the first character came through, so I figured I would update that post again with this little blurb here.

Otherwise, don’t have much to say about this. I like the character, she seems cool and I got a three star version of her. However, with my current collection of heroes, I’m not having much luck at the harder difficulties for her mission.


The latest Voting Gauntlet: Battle between the ladies of the cloth

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Admittedly I’m not super invested in this voting gauntlet. Because healers aren’t prominent or even necessarily good to battle with in this format, you don’t see the headlining characters strongly supported in the battles at hand with this gauntlet.

I suppose there’s an argument to be made for having a balanced cast to prevent any unfair match ups (experiences like Ephraim vs. Eirika one time do come to mind), but when people aren’t using the characters featured it makes it harder to feel invested in the team support. At least in my opinion.

However, I have been supporting my teams all the same. I started with Sakura, the best younger sister from Fates… But she swiftly got beat by Elise. Guess people didn’t agree with me, but at least I can take solace in the fact that people can have their own opinions… They just can’t make up their own facts. So my opinion still stands.

Anyway, now I’m supporting Lissa from Awakening in the fight against Priscilla from the Radiant series. Whether I win or not, at least I know… Everyone who plays gets tons of rewards at the end.

Rewards are good.


Champion of Valentia

 

In other non-Heroes related Fire Emblem news, I finally beat the main story in Fire Emblem Echoes over this last week! It was a long time coming, as I’d been putting it off for quite a while due to other things, but I certainly don’t regret a moment of it.

Seriously, Echoes has easily skyrocketed to being one of my favorite Fire Emblem titles over the time I’ve played it. The characters are wonderful, the story is engaging, the graphics are easily characteristic and exemplary of all the advancements made in the Fire Emblem series in recent years and dungeons are simply wonderful.

I sincerely hope that the popularity of this game encourages the return of similar first-person dungeon exploration in future titles. I would understand if they want to keep it unique to Gaiden and its remake, but in my opinion they would be remiss to not capitalize on how fun the mechanic is.

There are also a striking amount of similarities between this game and the Sacred Stones from my point of view. That added some extra investment personally, as it reminded me of my favorite game in the series. Plus, on top of that, I eventually realized that Valentia is the ancient equivalent of Valm from Fire Emblem Awakening, much like Archanea is the ancient equivalent of Ylisse. Seeing that kind of world building across generations is always phenomenal.

I do have my problems with the game, however. There’s a certain element of “keeping to tradition” with Echoes in terms of its character interactions that I can respect… But disagree with at heart. If you want to keep the original support system from Gaiden and keep the canonical relationships canonical, that’s fine. In fact, I quite enjoy most of the canon in-game relationships. Alm and Celica, Gray and Clair, Clive and Mathilda, Mae and Boey, so on and so forth. They’re great.

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But for this being a modern Fire Emblem game… They really aren’t enough.

Particularly on the coattails of Fire Emblem Fates, which gave you the chance to essentially learn about, befriend and create your own relationships between two complete armies and their children, Fire Emblem Echoes was sorely lacking.

All of the characters I would love to see have more development essentially don’t. This lack of development is almost uncomfortably disappointing, as many obvious options for connections to at least talk are simply missing. For example, many of the initial villagers from Alm’s route can’t talk with one another despite being childhood friends. Genny, the little sister surrogate from Celica’s route, can’t talk with Celica or any of the other people she starts the journey with. Or, in fact, anyone besides Sonya from later on in the story.

I could go on and on. Saber should be able to talk with Celica, Delthea should be able to talk with Clive, Silque should be able to talk with Jesse. Most of these names are just garbled nonsense to people who haven’t played the game, but trust me. They have hinted relationships through different outlets that get unfortunately ignored by the lack of support conversations.

Again, I can appreciate sticking to conventional things and keeping canonical relationships alive. But if you’re going to revamp a game, to the point where entire characters are added and given integral parts of the story (Editor’s Note: Love you Berkut <3), the least you could do is add extra conversations into the game that I would assume aren’t entirely too hard to implement.

But I digress, as I’ve already probably talked about this game far too much in this unconventional space as is. Time to move on, shall we?


Yami Bakura is a dick

 

Enough said.

In actually non-Fire Emblem related news… I love this character and I love the event he comes with in Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Links. The blood red sky full of eyes and mouths are rad, and when I first started playing the game this event was happening the first time, so it comes with a certain amount of nostalgia as I see how much further I’ve come.

However, dueling him is way too god damn hard thanks to a mechanic he abuses that ends the match within five turns, so it’s a real pain in the neck to collect any points and prizes from him. It annoys me, but not enough to go into immense details about here.

Plus Yami Bakura is great, so I can’t really stay that mad with him. His theme music is still my favorite.

I also figured I would mention that Konami has impressed me recently with all the notices about updates that are coming and have come to the game. Tons of overpowered skill rebalancing, revamping some graphics, adding lots of new and cool cards and more. It’s actually really nice to see how much they seem to be listening to the community with this game.

Good on you, Konami.


2,000 words in and I’m finally done. Geez, I really need to stop doing this to myself. Every time I say I’m going to write short, get in early and get out fast, I always wind up going above and beyond the call of duty without intending to. I do enjoy the writing, but I always hate myself in the morning when I have to drag myself out of bed.

For now, however, that’s neither here nor there. It’s about time I let you all go on with your lives.

What do you think of the summer heroes? Which one of the four Ylissians are your favorite in their special getups? Also, because I’ve been considering it myself, are you interested in a more extended discussion on Fire Emblem Echoes? I thought about it when I finished the game initially, but I’ve been so busy that I didn’t think I was going to get anything official out. However, if the demand is high enough, I just might.

Maybe I should get a better way to capture images off my 3DS. That could encourage me to talk about those games more, since I know part of my interest in the mobile games comes from the ease of getting screenshots.

But once again I digress. For now it is time to sleep so I can stop rambling on and on like this.

My 2017 Spring Break obsession

While a lot of people took off on exotic vacations for this often beloved week off in the middle of the semester, or did not have a week off this week at all from what I’ve gathered from a few of my friends, I’ve had a bit more of a subdued break so far overall.  Between some work business I’ve had to make sure I’m around to do, some exams I have coming up right after vacation ends (always a good time) and helping my family at home while my Dad is off his feet, it has definitely been more of a stay-cation for me this year.

Now that’s not to say I’m complaining about it, after all just having the extra time for rest-and-relaxation has been more than enough for me considering how stressful my school load has been between four classes and being a newspaper editor. Plus I got to see my Alma Mater’s spring play, Shrek the Musical, so that’s always fun.

At the same time, having the time off has given me the chance to try out a game that I’ve honestly been considering trying for some time:

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Yu-Gi-Oh Duel Links, another honestly stellar mobile game to add to my collection next to Nintendo’s ventures of Super Mario Run and Fire Emblem: Heroes. I used to watch the card game-based anime as a kid and I was pretty into that, but my interest in the game never extended much further than that – I tried learning how to play the game as a kid but it never really went anywhere. When I saw a YouTube gamer I follow start uploading content on Duel Links, however, I found myself almost instantly hooked.  The layout of the game is great and intuitive, the music is exciting and the free-to-play model doesn’t get in the way of advancing in the game itself (which is always a god send in the mobile market)… Add onto that the strategy-based thinking that Yu-Gi-Oh lends itself to when you understand how the game works and you’ve got a very appealing package for me.

Fun fact, I was actually planning on making a blog post around Saturday when I first downloaded the game to make a joke about how I probably didn’t need the extra distraction in my life because of how much work stuff I have to do in my aforementioned classes and on the paper. Then I got so busy actually playing the game and having a good time that I wound up using just about all of my free time playing it rather than doing things like writing for this blog.

Okay that might be overexaggerating a little, since my time has also been split between my family, homework and hangouts with my friends from high school… But honestly it’s not that much of an overexaggeration. This game is seriously like an addiction for me, and I’d be close to saying I have a problem if it weren’t for the fact that my other stuff is still getting done either way.

Will I be posting a lot of Duel Links content here?  Maybe, maybe not.  I haven’t honestly decided whether or not this game is something I’d like to share my thoughts on like I have with Pokémon or Fire Emblem or whether this is more of a personal pleasure to do on my free time. This might just be one of the only big things I say about it, since if anything I might occasionally post about a new deck I’m particularly proud of or a new event that swings in, but otherwise it might not be the most apparent thing around here.

Though speaking of big decks I’m looking forward to building, I figure I should at least tease this out for any fans of the game or show as something I’m currently building up cards around:

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That’s right, this is happening. And man is it going to feel satisfying when it does.

Duel Links may have been taking on all my free time, but that doesn’t mean I’ve been ignoring my other current mobile love interest, Fire Emblem. I’m rather behind in posting about what’s been going on, and I’ve come to accept the fact that I won’t always be on top of the ball in that department thanks to life, but I figure I should at least show off this photo collage to prove I at least planned on doing something with these events.  It’s the thought that counts, right?

Quick-fire Fire Emblem thoughts:

  • The game’s first large-scale Voter Gauntlet took place at the beginning of March. It consisted of eight heroes in a tournament tree where players could pick their favorite, complete missions to earn flags and use said flags to boost the hero’s score so they’ll win in their match-ups.  It was honestly a pretty engaging event, as I know I got pretty into it at least, and the end result was surprising all things considered.  While it seemed like Ephraim would win easily, being the only lance user in a tournament that housed six sword users and a staff user, in the end popularity beat out nostalgia and found Lucina as the champion.  Personally, I followed Eirika for the first two rounds until she got beaten by Lucina and then joined the ultimately winning party, so I got a good amount of rewards from the whole experience.
  • Six new heroes were introduced to the game from Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade.  Karel, Ninian, Rebecca, Jaffar, Priscilla and Lucius have made their way into the cast of characters available to summon.  Blazing Blade is a game I haven’t played still, but a few of the units are still interesting to me, enough so that I’ve been looking to summon them with the extra slurry of orbs that have been released through various events throughout the month.  In particular, the singing manakete Ninian seems like she would be fun to use, Jaffar has a close relationship with one of my favorite units, Nino, so I’d love to have them together, and Priscilla is appealing just because my assistant on the Daily Titan has the same name and she’s amazing.  Unfortunately, while all these characters seem fun, random chance hasn’t exactly blessed me considering I’m up to a 4.75% chance to summon the focus heroes and still haven’t with the event ending tomorrow.
  • A new system has been added to have units inherit skills from other units.  In essence, you tribute one unit with a skill you want for a unit you want to see that skill on, then you can unlock and use that skill with the inheriting character.  So far I’ve only had the chance to give my five star Eirika a battle activating skill that boosts damage based on her high resistance stat, but I’ve gotten my ass handed to me by vantage inheriting Takumis enough to know the true horrifying potential of this system.  Seriously, screw vantage Takumi, it’s like the world found a way to make an overpowered unit even stronger and it is the most annoying thing.
  • Minerva’s brother Michalis got his own Grand Hero Battle, which wouldn’t necessarily be big news in general except for the fact that Minerva is one of the main units I use so it felt significant in some small way. That’s about all I have to say for him, however.

Don’t know what it is about 2017 that’s made it so mobile-centric for me… But I guess I can’t complain. It’s certainly taken my mind off the Switch and the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Seriously I’ve had some time to try the game out with my friend who has a Switch and it has made me consider spending that extra cash that much more.  Not enough to do it quite yet, but the temptation is undoubtedly strong.

Hope everyone else is having as nice a Spring Break (or potentially lackthereof I suppose, in which case I apologize for the pseudo-gloating in this post) as I am so far, and look forward to some pretty interesting journalism-related stuff likely to be coming down the pipeline in the next couple of days!