When you first start playing Fire Emblem Heroes, you'll get an assortment of random heroes that you can bring with you into battle. However, playing the game and completing stages will grant you items called orbs that you can use to add even more characters to your squad.
The summoning process is relatively straightforward, but there are some important things you need to know before you start spending orbs all willy-nilly.
Fire Emblem Heroes Summoning Guide: Everything you need to know
As the game notes when you first tap the "Summon" menu, you'll receive a discount on summoning if you spend orbs in bursts rather than in little sips. For example, if you summon one character for the base price of five orbs, the next three characters you summon — as long as you don't exit the summon menu — will only cost four orbs. The fifth character will be discounted to three orbs.
The other thing that might be tripping you up is the term "focus." For example, the two pools you can summon from right now are "Focus: Legendary Heroes" and "Focus: Deep Devotion." Basically, this is a way of highlighting a certain group of heroes for a temporary amount of time — which will sometimes result in a slightly higher chance of summoning those specific characters.
Here's how it works: Characters in both the five-star focus category and the regular five-star category have a 3% chance of appearing when you summon, but if a character is in both the five-star focus category and the plain five-star category, they will actually have a 6% chance of appearing. Get it? 3% plus 3% equals 6%.
If you tap "Details" at the bottom of the "Focus: Legendary Heroes" window, you'll see which characters have a higher likelihood of appearing when you summon from this pool by looking at the "five-star focus" category. In this case, it's Marth, Lucina, Tiki and Robin. The "Focus: Deep Devotion" pool will instead have a higher likelihood of yielding Lyn, Roy, Camilla and Takumi.
It seems that these five-star focus categories will rotate regularly, so some weeks there will be a higher likelihood of getting Roy, but other weeks you'll have a higher likelihood of getting Marth.
According to the in-game help menu, here's the rate at which characters of each rarity will appear from summoning:
• Five star focus heroes: 3%
• Five stars: 3%
• Four stars: 36%
• Three stars: 58%
Additionally, the in-game help menu notes that summoning multiple four-star characters (or lower) in a row makes it easier to eventually summon a five-star character.
"If you summon five times in a row without getting a five-star hero, then the rate at which you can get a five-star hero will increase after the summoning session ends," the in-game guide says. "You can see your current summoning rates via the Appearance Rates option. Once a five-star hero is summoned, the rates will return to normal after the summoning session."
Here's the full breakdown of how much your likelihood of summoning a five-star character will increase with each subsequent summon of a four-star or lower character.
• Five times with no five-star characters: .5% total increase
• 10 times with no five-star characters: 1% total increase
• 15 times with no five-star characters: 1.5% total increase
• 115 times with no five-star characters: 11.5% total increase
Is your brain hurting from all this math yet? Basically, the big takeaway here is to make sure you spend your orbs in bursts of three or so rather than one at a time — that way, you'll take advantage of the discounts you'll get from summoning several times in a row.
Feb 15, 2017, 9:35 a.m.: This story has been updated.
More Fire Emblem Heroes tips, tricks and guides
If you're still struggling to figure out Fire Emblem Heroes, we're here to help. Check out our handy guide on how to get started if you're new to the series, along with explainers on using Hero Feathers, changing nicknames in the game, boosting your characters with Unlock Potential, upgrading character star ratings and adding friends in Fire Emblem Heroes.