At the beginning of March, patch 2.3 of Fire Emblem Heroes went live. This juggernaut of a phone game has been going strong for over a year and this newest patch to the game indicates one of the major reasons why.
The Early Days
Fire Emblem Heroes is a Gacha Game that features the extraordinarily massive cast of the Fire Emblem series. Once a more obscure Nintendo Series, thanks in large part to Fire Emblem Awakening, this series entered mainstream. Like all Gacha Games, in game currency is spent to summon new characters. This is a gambling mechanic because there is no guarantee that you will get the desired characters. Real money can be used to increase your odds of success. However, like any slot machine, winning is never assured.
But enough about the only mechanic that is seen as negative in Fire Emblem Heroes. Lets talk about what this game does right. I started playing Fire Emblem Heroes around the start. I was also playing Pokemon Go on my phone so it was easy to make comparisons between the two phone games. The biggest selling point of Heroes is the constant stream of content in the game. Even the orbs currency, the Gacha mechanic, is handed out regularly. It is very possible to enjoy this game without spending any money at all.
When the game launched, there were 9 main story chapters with additional ones added over time. The story was nothing to write home about, but given the limiting parameters of being a phone game, this was to be expected. However, what is shocking is that this problem was eventually fixed. More recently, with Book 2’s story being added, moral dilemmas of the main series have been added to the fold. This is one of many examples where the fans spoke, and the game developers listened.
The Voting Gauntlet
One of the most controversial things added in Fire Emblem Heroes besides the Gacha mechanic is the Voting Gauntlet. Nothing in the game has gone through more revisions than this event. Even now, fans still have mixed feelings about it. I’ll say that the voting gauntlet involves players voting for the favorite heroes and battling other players units to gain points for their chosen hero. There are many complexities of the Voting Gauntlet, that would require its own article.
Fire Emblem is well known for being a game that can be incredibly difficult to newer players. The reason for this is because when units die in Fire Emblem, they are gone forever. There are no resurrection spells. Given the powerful narrative of the series, emotional connections with these units you control is inevitable. However Fire Emblem Heroes given its nature cannot have permanent death as a mechanic since real life money might end up wasted. However, the developers found a way to create this Fire Emblem experience in a brand new way.
Tempest Trials are a mode in Fire Emblem Heroes where the player must complete increasingly difficult maps in rapid succession. There are a few catches however. If a unit falls during the run, they are considered “dead” until the run is over. The second catch is you get a score at the end based on two factors. One of said factors is how many units are alive at the end. This gave the player’s desire for a mode where keeping units alive really counted. The rewards are also fantastic considering Tempest Trial’s higher difficulty.
With all these things in mind, lets talk about patch 2.3. This addition to the game brings a couple new game modes as well as a much needed improvement to Fire Emblem Heroes.
First, a new game mode called Blessed Gardens was added. While not the most inventive mode since all the maps are recycled, this variant does make use of an item that was added in an earlier patch. Only characters that have been given a blessing, which is a fairly rare item in this game, can participate in this mode. The rewards are fairly significant in this mode granting many rare items including the already mentioned blessing items as well as Orbs to spend on Gacha Summoning.
The other game mode is in my opinion, much more interesting. For a long time, Fire Emblem Heroes got some flak for the fact that the maps were smaller than normal in the series. The player can only field up to 4 units at a time. Enter Rival Domains, a mode that uses Genealogy of the Holy War style maps. Without talking about the fact that Genealogy is an amazing game and anyone reading this should go play it, this game mode fixes the too small problem.
In this map variant, the player fields an entire squad worth of units. This can include units from players on the friends list as well. Also like Geneology of the Holy War, these maps have multiple objectives. To get the best score possible in this mode, the player needs to understand how to achieve all said objectives as quickly as possible.
Fighting Power Creep
Finally, a third problem many players have had with Fire Emblem Heroes is the fact that the older units continue to be outclassed by new ones. While this is inevitable given the nature of a Gacha game, the game developers found a solution to this problem as well. Select older units can get additional weapons. This allows them to overcome power creep. In addition, some of the fan favorite units get weapons that are what makes them famous. Giving the fans what they want, especially in this case is in my opinion, the biggest drive of this game.
All in all, the newest Fire Emblem Heroes Patch gives a lot to this game. I am excited each morning when I log on to see if something new was added. To me, this is the hallmark of a successful online game. Content should be constantly new and refreshing. New and unexpected experiences are what brings gamers back to worlds they have already explored once.Tweet