Let's talk Fire Emblem Heroes?

Version 1.5 was released today and, well, I thought this would be a mobile game that I got bored of after the first week or so but here I am, months after release, still playing daily.

Are other folks as equally as entranced and entertained by the game? I am honestly so impressed by how well the core of Fire Emblem translates to a mobile platform and the reduced scale is ideal for an idle five-ten minute period during the day. I also have no prior experience with “gacha” games, and have no desire to spend real money, but am really enjoying the RNG/gambling aspect of amassing heroes.


I really like it, but I’ve stopped playing regularly. The bride’s, easter bunny and now summer event kind of soured me on the game to be honest. Doesn’t take much to understand who the creators think their audience is… and as a Fire Emblem fan since the GBA I don’t feel like I’m part of it?

I also expected the game to evolve mechanically but it seems like most updates are geared towards keeping the gacha machine running. I don’t blame them, and as Nintendo’s 3rd mobile game ever, I’m still impressed with it overall.

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The seasonal character variants aren’t anything new to the sort of gacha mobage that FE Heroes is a part of. So you’re either going to like it or not, but it’s a part of FE Heroes as a mobile game and a reminder that it’s not aspiring to be a traditional title.

In regards to the Bridge captcha and everything else, I thought this was a well written piece on it.

I’ll just throw some thoughts up.

The gacha system on its surface is good until you scratch a bit more until you realize it’s bad again. The game has had droughts of orbs, to be honest, but usually is pretty good around the seasonal events of dolling out a large enough amount that you can at least buff up your 5* drop rate. They also surface the rates up front and it starts at 3%, after 5 pulls, goes to 3.25%, and grows from there at similar intervals. That’s within a banner though, so if you really want to pull a 5*, you need to focus your orbs on one banner. If it rotates out and you invested a bunch in it without getting anything, you’re SOL. The real sinister shit is the IV system that gives similar units (Lyn) different stats. So you could roll a Lyn that has -ATK, -SPD or something, but it’s 5 star. Well, in reality, that unit is trash.

In terms of the game itself?

Tempest Trials, for me, showed some severe flaws in the game. If you don’t know what that was because you missed it or whatever, the basic idea is that you enter a “dungeon.” The dungeon will have, we’ll say 5-7 maps, based on difficulty. The enemy stats are randomized and so are their skills. You go in with your group of 4. If they wipe, you pick a new group of 4 to go back into the map. If you killed any enemies, their hp is reduced slightly. If you lost a unit, won the map, on the next map, that unit will be lost. The way they phrased that in promotional materials was way more severe than what it was.

You did this to try and grind for the unique units and seals. You needed to grind a lot. Fire Emblem has some real shallowness in the game play department. Fire Emblem Heroes is at it’s best when you’re not “playing.” The dragging, clicking, all of that feels so time consuming, but pulling off a strategy feels great. The game is only complex within team and unit building. I have my own complaints about the Soul Inheritance system that could get it’s own essay. The game is great in terms of letting people, elsewhere, express great strategic thinking - if you need proof there’s some great videos of people clearing some of the hardest content with 3* units.

Grand Hero Battles are the highlight of that game for me because the second to second operation of the game stays the same. It becomes a puzzle to be solved. That is when the game is at it’s best. “I have these materials and this is the set up, what can I do.” Tempest Trials was pure RNG. Your materials to set up with were severely limited. The different configurations of skills created so many scenarios that it was difficult to just try and suss out some clear way forward.

There’s this prevailing theory that gacha games don’t need to hold up for long periods of time. They just need to work within 10 minute chunks. I play Puzzle and Dragons. It has it’s own systems. It operates like a mutated match 3 game. The various leader skills in that game and how moving the orbs works adds a crazy amount of depth. Instead of moving orbs the cardinal directions 1 space, instead you can pick up any orb and move it anywhere else. This also displaces other orbs. Move an orb a space to the left, the orb that it is moving over will move to the right. You have a variable amount of move time to move the orb. At the beginning, you make just a single match. Get experienced and you can pull off 7-10 string combos, depending on the board.

Puzzles and Dragons has some major power creep, both in the player’s abilities and in the dungeon’s mechanics, but with it has come some truly interesting mechanics. There are bosses that need a minimum threshold combo. They’ve introduced bosses that have a maximum amount of damage they take, or else they heal off of the damage. There are leaders in the game that even change the size of the board, fundamentally changing some play styles. There is so much variation and interesting things within that game and it has a staying power that feels like you can sit down and play it for a while.

Fire Emblem Heroes doesn’t have that. There’s always enough content coming out that you have something to do, but the way stamina works really pushes back on experimentation. There feels like a good tier of units that are just broken, and yet they all feel the same - it’s just that tier has better numbers. I play it here and there, waiting for it to improve, and just not sure if it will.


I agree with you that, as someone who fell in love with the franchise during the GBA area for the gameplay, the fact that the creators are more openly embracing and pandering to the “waifu emblem” crowd is… dismaying to say the least. I have found myself begrudgingly ignoring the fan service banners as they are released.

While the game still lacks a depth, I have enjoyed the skill inheritance mechanic,and have found the new inclusion of Tempest Trials, and the two new modes released today, “challenging” or requiring a minimum of thought with regards to team competition, etc. I do like that the Grand Hero Battles have progressively felt more and more like puzzles and wish they would occur a little more regularly.

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I really liked it for the simplified Fire Emblem gameplay and I got my lovelies Lyn and Lucina. That said it lacks the depth I want from the series and I can get it from the main series on 3DS.

I bounced off of it pretty quickly like I do with almost all gacha games. If I were a bigger fan of the franchise as a whole I probably would have stuck around longer. I’m a fairly casual fan of the series though so I didn’t really care all that much about most of the characters in the gacha. I know some really hardcore FE fans who love it though so it doesn’t seem like a bad game or anything.

my first fire emblem was radiant dawn and my favourites were the laguz so
heroes has no catboys, and therefore is trash

nah for real I played it every day for months but I’ve dropped off it now. didn’t uninstall it yet, but, I mean I probably will.

Squad Assault and Chain Challenge are actually really challenging, even as someone who’s been playing since launch. It’s good to know that IS is trying to embrace endgame content since I was getting kinda bored of the game after the Awakening Tempest Trials ended. That being said, the business model sucks ass, especially with the random free orb droughts that happen for no discernible reason. I still love Arena, but I think the game needs at least a balancing pass to lessen the usefulness of skills like Vantage or Fury, which pretty much work with any build in the game.

i played it really obsessively for a month or two after release, entirely non-IAP. When I finally had a week where I had a 5* unit that was featured in arena I aimed to score in the top 5k

turned out having those higher base stats just meant I was getting matched against people with +10 mages that I don’t think it was possible for me to beat deathless, so I just dropped the game entirely.

I gave it another shot a couple weeks ago but I think its just not for me, and with the gacha rates being as low as they are its not even very fun to just log in daily and roll when a new banner comes out : /

Like michael mentioned, puzzle and dragons has waaay more variety. its kept my interest for over three years now and I don’t have time for more than one mobile game at this point

I feel like this kinda attitude kinda dismisses the fact that these things can still be criticized?

Saying “well it’s a gacha game and they all do it” isn’t an excuse? Especially when it’s not something that’s really inherent in the mechanics of a genre (though even if it somehow were that still wouldn’t really be an excuse.)

Also like it’s just kinda an obvious conflict problem considering the game is trying to pander to two, maybe three different disparate groups. It has a bunch of classic fire Emblem units, some from games that never made it out of Japan, which is clearly targeting the people who have either liked the series for a long time or are appreciative of its legacy.

It has the… I really DONT want to use “waifu simulator” terminology or anything with “waifu” in the name because I feel that term is super reductive and kinda racist, but unfortunately that’s all I have. So yeah, it’s targeting that crowd.

And then it’s targeting the gacha crowd which surely HAS overlap with the other two but is also its own separate group as well.

So yeah I dunno. I didn’t like Fire Emblem heroes when it came out because it felt like kind of a mess for targeting so many different people, and I don’t like it NOW because just. Boy those events are fucking gross as hell.

I’m not saying they can’t be criticized. I was just stating what sort of game it is and the market it’s part of. What people feel about the gacha nature and the game’s content is certainly up for debate.

Personally, while I haven’t played the game much recently, I’ve really had fun with it and I’ve thought about coming back with these updates. And even as a longtime FE fan, I’ve found the events pretty great overall. I’ve seen a lot of positivity in various forms toward event characters and the general lighthearted goofiness along with the obvious pandering. Stuff like Spring Festival Xander with his carrot lance and Swimsuit Tiki with her watermelon axe are absurd and cute, but there’s an audience for that.

The main goal of Heroes from Nintendo’s perspective is of course to make money (duh) and draw newcomers toward the core Fire Emblem titles. And they’ve succeeded at least in some regard with that. I had tried to get my best friend to try Fire Emblem for years, but she was always put off by the permadeath mechanic even though the more recent entries have Casual Mode. I got her to try Heroes, and not only was she taken by the characters in the game (she really wants Swimsuit Robin!), she finally gave Awakening a chance and loves the game.

Heroes won’t have that effect on everyone, and some will be put off by the presentation, but I’ve seen firsthand how well it works as a lure for newbies. And from my own time playing It, it’s a very engaging mobile title with a bite-size, simplified take on FE gameplay that works well for standing in line at the grocery store.

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I finally have a good arena team, but I need a dancer/singer. I’ve got:

  1. a Hector with Vantage 3 and Miracle
  2. a healer with Rehab to completely refill his HP after Miracle activates
  3. a Reinhardt with Fury 3
  4. a 4th that is variable, usually my 4 star Tharja, 5 star Lucina or a bonus hero but I might upgrade Olivia.

I’ve had bad luck fishing for waifus. I had about 100 Orbs saved up when the easter event happened. Got a Chrom and 2 Xanders. Had 60 saved up at the start of the summer event and pulled a Gaius. I did pull a Robin after getting another 20 Orbs.

I feel like the summoning algorithm has changed a bit. There are no reds in the summer focus and 4 of my last 5 spreads have had 1 or fewer reds. It’s enticing to spend the whole 20 instead of just pulling the focus colours and punting the rest.

I do find it funny that flying units can clear mountains, but can’t get past a church pew or a wall that is outside.

I tried Heroes on a whim and found I really enjoyed it! The battles are the exact amount of tactical rpg battle I like. Right about of stats. No chances to miss or critical hits so there’s no ugly surprises out of no where that screw your plans up. Whole thing happens on one screen. I like a tactical game where you can rely on the numbers. I put a few buck in at the start to level up my castle to max level (increases rate of EXP gain) but otherwise just relied on the drip of orbs they provide through quests and login bonuses.

I’d never really played a Fire Emblem before. I’ve liked the idea of being into Fire Emblem for a while but I bounced off of Awakening a couple years ago. The social links were fun but the battles were such slogs and favored such defensive, slow play that I just kind of gave up.

I think it’s a perfect commuting game.

I would deffo pay for versions of Awakening and Fates with the social links and narrative using the Heroes battle engine (I don’t care how they make it work!).

I played it a lot for the first couple of months but then fell off. It’s probably changed a fair bit but at the time teams seemed to be filled with that Archer guy and I have felt under pressure (self-imposed probably) to play it for a certain amount of time each day just to keep up. That’s all on me though really, it seemed pretty solid as a game.

I’m enjoying it. I’ll admit that it’s my first gacha game, but I grew up playing Advance Wars and a bit of Fire Emblem so the gameplay works for me.

I put about $40 in (see first gacha game comment above), but I think I’m done with trying to keep up with the whales in Arena. The content is steady enough that I don’t feel the need to put more money in.

The Grand Hero Battles are the highlight for me so I hope they implement more of that in the future.

I wanted to pick it up as soon as it came out, but then I realized my phone (4s) was too dumb for it :frowning:

Oh well.

I’ve been playing since launch and I actually think the tactical aspect of the game is DEEPER than a traditional Fire Emblem game. Since movement is so oppressively low, positioning matters a lot more than in the main games. Even armor units had 4 movement, which is enough to circle around and attack an enemy from behind, giving other units room to finish them off. Not so in FEH: you need to be extremely careful not to box yourself out from a kill. Repositioning assist skills therefore become immensely important. On top of that, specials are no longer random; they activate on a countdown. Because they’re predictable, they become part of your strategy and you can plan around them.

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If I ranked games based purely on: Time Played or Amount of Enjoyment, Fire Emblem Heroes would probably be my Game of the Year so far.

I have spent some money on it, but mostly because if I play a F2P game for more than about a month, I want to pay money to give money back to the developers. I really enjoy collecting different characters, and giving them abilities to make them either the best they can be, or just really unique. I love how, if you’re determined to put resources into them, you can make basically any hero useful (even if they aren’t the optimal hero for their role.

The Arena Rotations, Grand Hero Battles and the Tempest Trials give me an incentive to try out heroes from every new update. Plus, the number of free orbs actually means I can usually get at least one new character every time a few are released. I really like the core Fire Emblem games, but find that my sheer ineptitude at it holds back my teams from getting strong (and forces me to focus on a few good team members). Here, there isn’t much of a penalty for levelling up everyone you like (other than time, and maybe losing characters you potentially could have used more optimally). I’m looking forward to fill my strategy gaming fix with this until the Switch Fire Emblem game comes out (I skipped Fates and am skipping Velencia too).

Currently waiting for a good character to give Close Combat to: when Takumi was one of the Focused heroes, I ended up getting 2 spare ones, and I don’t use him enough to want to merge for +2, so I’m waiting for a semi-tanky ranged unit to improve instead. Sacrificing Hector to give the sweetheart Eirika Distant Counter has made her my favourite unit.

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I’ve played it at least briefly every day since it came out, though I don’t generally spend as much time with it now as I used to. I enjoy the gameplay enough that it’s a more compelling mobile time filler than almost anything else. If I’m in a situation where I need something to occupy my hands, it works super well, and I enjoy it generally apart from that.

I haven’t spent any money - I’d be happy to do so, but the cost of orbs just feels too steep for my tastes. I’ll continue playing it for the foreseeable future, though. I don’t go super hardcore: I’ve only got about 10 characters at max level, I haven’t merged anyone or promoted any characters to 5-star (though I’ve brought several up to 4-star), and while I try to get most quests done I don’t stress if I miss a couple.

I have a ton of fun with it, though. The only gacha system I’ve dealt with previously is Love Live - which I still play somewhat, but I came into that pretty late and I’ve never fully understood the game outside of the performances. I kinda just prefer that one as a fun rhythm game.