Genealogy of the Horny War (Fire Emblem Thread)

@“◉◉maru”#p150362

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@“◉◉maru”#p150362 Alternatively, Shining Force II.

The more time I spend on this forum, it becomes clear that this is The One.

@“kyleprocrastinations”#p150360 Yeah as @“◉◉maru”#146 alluded to, Awakening turned the series into what it is now. Everything before is mostly different in terms of focus and tone. Sacred Stones does move in the direction of a world map where you can manage items; Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn feature more in-depth base camp team management; but neither of these undergird anything like the kind of social sim mechanics present in Awakening onward. Sacred Stones' scenario was written by Awakening director Kouhei Maeda, but you already mentioned your greater interest in writing at the character level. I like the cast of characters in FE8 and 7 etc. but admit it does take a certain kind of effort to stand them next to each other on the battlefield turn after turn to build up a bunch of points in order to get them to say two words to each other.

I have two (and a half) "recommendations" which I am unable to tailor to your expressed interest—you should just play Shining Force II—but why not:

1) You may know already Genealogy of the Holy War was the first to feature a second generation of characters. In nearly every other way it is not like Awakening, but it may appeal on the basis of historical significance.

2) Radiant Dawn more than most other FE games^1 incorporates character writing into the main scenario. Post-Awakening games^2 tend to feature almost segregated Main Narrative and Support segments, where in RD and Path of Radiance the character writing is expressed in terms of what characters think about the main conflict, how they are participating in it, etc. Again, not what you're looking for, but a step toward making the characters "the point" beyond FE7 and FE8's support conversations. FE9 still has the support conversation structure as in 6, 7, and 8, but FE10 does away with it entirely and just has you talk to relevant characters in between chapters (no need to build up support points).

^1 [size=12]those I have played[/size]
^2 [size=5]those I have played[/size]

2.5) ......have you played Persona 3 or 4?

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@“kyleprocrastinations”#p150360 I like the Awakening style of world map that I can have a respite in between main story battles and do some grinding if I want.

I would say definitely definitely definitely play Sacred Stones! It is the first game that had a map where you can decide where to go, there's the tower of Valni to grind at, as well as skirmishes. The cast is super vibrant, colorful, fun, and interesting. The story is one of the best in the series. There is no time pressure - you can train up every unit as much as you want and the game gives you a lot of really fun training projects. It's also the start of having multiple promotion paths and two different protagonists so lots of replay value. The supports are easy to get unlike in FE6 and FE7 where you have to really go out of your way.

Equally -- Engage would be a great choice! It has everything else you're looking for. A fun cast with big personalities, a good amount of challenge that you can tackle at your own pace, very cool boss fights, new classes, and emblem rings offer a ton of new dimension to the game. It's story isn't great, but it's not as bad as people say... it sets up the conflict well enough.

If you haven't played Path of Radiance, definitely check it out too. You won't need to grind, you get bonus exp that you can give to your units to keep characters you like on the bench viable. It and its sequel have great stories and great characters. There is some more pressure than you would get in Sacred Stones or Engage, but it's not the hardest game. Like Captain said, if you like Path of Radiance, lucky you because Radiant Dawn goes even further with a lot of its ideas.

Conquest, Shadow Dragon and Binding Blade are really just there for when you're "clocked in" like you said, but they are very fun if you can get down with having that extra pressure.

3) Listen to Tradegood

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@“captain”#p150377 Sacred Stones’ scenario was written by Awakening director Kouhei Maeda

This is good info! Awakening has my favorite scenario, so heck yeah, I'm in.

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@“captain”#p150377 ……have you played Persona 3 or 4?

Lol, they're high on my to do list.

@"Tradegood"#p150383 excellent, Sacred Stones will def be the next FE when I loop back around to the series. I'll have to figure out a way to play Path of Radiance later. It sounds like it's got some of the sauce. And I'm sure Engage will find it's way into my home one way or another.

Thanks for being my Fire Emblem sommeliers everybody!

@“kyleprocrastinations”#p149985 my hunch - and this could be wrong, but just going off of which ones you said you like/don‘t like - is that you won’t like Engage that much, but may vibe with Path of Radiance. Radiant Dawn I don‘t think you’d like but it pains me to say that because that's my favorite one

Path of Radiance: lovely cast of colorful characters, some nice support convos. Being the first half of a duology you won't be matchmaking because the story is going to continue. Map design is alright - it kinda just felt like a GBA game in 3D, whereas some of the latter console ones experiment a bit more.
One thing that I really like about the Tellius games is the "base" - in between chapters you get breathing room to view a few cutscenes, shop, forge weapons, redistribute skills, etc. It's a perfect medium between the "always on" GBA games and the excessive monastery chores in the Switch games
There isn't really reclassing or much customization, but you do sometimes get to pick which weapons a unit uses (e.g. if an axe cavalier promotes to a paladin, you can pick sword/lance/bow as a secondary weapon). Skills are distributed via scrolls, and it'd take too long to explain exactly how it works but I like the system and it's not way OP like awakening nor is it like 3H where you have to go out of your way to earn skills.
Both PoR and Radiant Dawn have a very fun mechanic called "Bonus EXP" where you earn a pool of experience by completing various challenges e.g. clearing the map in a certain amount of turns, keeping green units alive, etc. You get to distribute Bonus EXP at the base before the next chapter

Radiant Dawn: best "macro" story in the series and does a great job of working character into the main scenario. However, support conversations have been very neutered in this game, replaced by generic text you can only view if two supported units stand next to each other in battle. Some supports do open up base conversations and paired endings though, so that's a nice consolation.
This game has the most unique structure in the series, as you switch Lords no fewer than 15 times over the course of 40+ chapters. Some chapters you're playing with an army of demigods and the next chapter you could be playing with the bad news bears. It's probably the best game in the series at teaching the player how to be good at Fire Emblem because there is such an emphasis on playing with the pieces that you have at any given moment
One of the biggest achievements of Radiant Dawn is the map design, which is incredibly unique and still boasts some of the series' best maps. Only Conquest can really rival it. Maps are big and cinematic, a real upgrade over Path of Radiance

Engage: very very fun gameplay mechanics and some of the most challenging levels the series has ever had. It's probably the best gameplay in the series, though Radiant Dawn has a few advantages over it. Characters are colorful but pretty one-note. There's lots of very fun supports, but you aren't matchmaking anyone other than your main lord. It feels more like a follow-up to Fates than a follow-up to 3H (in a way it is - it's the team that worked on Fates, which is different than the 3H team). Unlike Awakening and Fates and 3H, it's a notable departure from "Skill Emblem" where characters have 5 skill slots and can run absolutely busted builds. Engage only allows 2 skill slots and a lot of the best skills in the game are movement skills (Canter, Reposition) or simple stat boosts (Speed +4). I personally like the pared down skill system, but if you prefer the game for RPG elements, this may be a negative

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@“Hunter”#p150421 Some chapters you’re playing with an army of demigods and the next chapter you could be playing with the bad news bears. It’s probably the best game in the series at teaching the player how to be good at Fire Emblem because there is such an emphasis on playing with the pieces that you have at any given moment

This is really intriguing. One of the things I really liked about Echoes was not having to choose who to have in the party because everyone is in for most battles. What I mean by that is sometimes I like when an RPG chooses my party for me, like the first chunks of Final Fantasies 4 and 9. Having to deal with a given party can lead to some interesting problem solving. I like having a big cast to choose from, too, but sometimes it can be overwhelming.

@“kyleprocrastinations”#p150465 if you liked that aspect of FF4 then I could see you resonating with what Radiant Dawn is putting down. It plays with this mechanic in some really interesting ways

For example, normally when people talk about FE units, availability, or the number of chapters they are in, plays a big role in how good a unit is. More time with that unit, more time to customize them and get them snowballing. However, because of the structure of this game, we get some really weird cases. Ilyana, a unit who is maybe the most available unit, is actually hurt by being in so many chapters. You don’t want to train her when she’s on the bad news bears bc the less available units need the exp way more, but if you don’t train her then, then she’ll be pretty bad when she’s amongst the demigods.

Another favorite thing the game does - and I’ll refrain from posting story context - is ask you to split your army into three groups. The next six chapters rotate group A —> B —> C —> A —> B —> C. A lot of units get to shine in this structure bc the army is spread so thin. Also, on replaying the game it’s fun to optimize dividing your army knowing what is coming in each of those chapters

I beat Rev, and what an awful ending. Glad I rushed through the last few chapters as fast as I could. I‘m not even talking about the story because I didn’t bother. Instead the “stealth” chapter where you open doors was such a troll, Like everything with this game, the gimmick is not a bad idea, but the execution is awful. It‘s way too punishing for your first time through but once you’d done it once you won‘t get fooled again. The other levels around it were so uninspired, the moving platforms and elevators were just so repetitive. Even the decent chapters got repetitive with “use dragon vein to cut through impassable terrain”. I’m comfortable putting this one at last on my personal ranking of FE games.

However -- I came across these amazing cosplayers acting out supports. Love them and wish they did more <3

https://youtu.be/wLKEX4qz8Ow?si=mjfwrKILdke1C_lr

I just finished playing Engage and the only other FE I've played to completion is Three Houses. Just had a question for some of you with a lot of FE experience: Has the avoid stat always been bonkers? It never really caught my attention in Three Houses like it did here.

I ask this because in my play through my Chloe was basically an unkillable god, sorta neutering the challenge of the second half of the game. Felt like getting Cid in FFTactics all over again. I noticed early that she had an abnormally high avoidance compared to my other characters and was dodging a ton of attacks, so I started raising her avoidance any way that I could. I didn't realize just how effective this would be, I got her to the the point that most every single attacker (including the final boss) had a 0% success rate. I would just send her off on her own and she would 1v6 and come out on top. The only threats to her ever were archers, that for some reason generally had ~ 30% chance to hit for most of her health. She would just fly into the middle of the pack and take the archer out first, if there was more than one I'd just use my archer with Lyn to astra storm snipe them from across the map.

Is this just one of several ways to trivialize the game? My impression of things before was that Fire Emblem had a decent sense of balance from the years of iteration. If I upped the difficulty to maddening mode would that change how things work?

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@“Herb”#p151223 Has the avoid stat always been bonkers? It never really caught my attention in Three Houses like it did here.

Haha you've unlocked the strategy of dodge tanks! Avoid has always been a pretty big modifier for both enemies in your team. In some ways I think they might have actually nerfed it, for one thing enemy bosses don't stand on thrones in Engage and get +30 avoid. It really depends on the game, they're not really balanced against each other, they all just do their own thing in terms of balance. In games like FE6 and SoV, everyone has very low accuracy. But compared to engage they don't offer as much customization to let you cheese it.

Chloé has a ton going for her in terms of speed, skill, luck and being a flyer you get get ~~terrain bonuses~~ good control over positioning. Add in Marth's personal skill and yeah it's easy to make her busted. I also liked using her and deployed her in almost every map. I didn't get the feeling she _trivialized_ Hard, but you could have been very lucky with level ups, and she is a good unit to give your Dracoshields or Seraph Robes to help her withstand the occasional hit. A lot of the challenge in Fire Emblem is to push to play on the next hardest difficulty, lowering turn counts, playing for efficiency, or limiting which units you use, so I mean, you can always tweak difficulty for yourself if you feel like it's been trivialized.

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@“Herb”#p151223 The only threats to her ever were archers, that for some reason generally had ~ 30% chance to hit for most of her health.

The games also kind of lie to you when it comes to the [% hit](https://fireemblemwiki.org/wiki/True_hit#Fates_onwards). In FE6-FE13 they used a 2 RN system, meaning it rolls two random numbers and averages them, meaning that there's a curve that makes hit percentages above 50% more likely to hit and below 50% less likely to hit. Since FE14 to today, they have a more complicated formula where greater than 50% is more likely to connect, but less than 50% is closer to the true random number, but I'm no mathematician and don't fully get hybrid RN. I think everyone's just trying to reverse engineer it, I don't know if we actually know what the formula is. Nintendo lied to us before, they'll lie to us again.

[IMG]https://imgur.com/nQKlAfB.png[/IMG]

@“Tradegood”#p151229 Thanks for the explanations. Fliers get terrain bonuses? Shows how functionally illiterate I am at the game. I was assuming terrain bonuses didn‘t apply to flying units since they’re - ya know, not on the terrain.

It's funny you bring up that % hit chart cause I sorta assumed in my head that they probably fudged the numbers in that kind of manner, but then today Chloe went and got hit by a frickin' 2% chance leaving me dumbfounded.

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@“Herb”#p151234 Fliers get terrain bonuses?

oh wait, what am I thinking... they don't get terrain bonuses haha. More like, you can position yourself more strategically not having to consider terrain.

Genealogy of the Holy War is a cool title, but they could've saved a few syllables and called it Fire Emblem Crusader Kids.

Think about it……….

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@“Herb”#p151223 Has the avoid stat always been bonkers? It never really caught my attention in Three Houses like it did here.

Yea! Super interesting question - so on the whole, Fire Emblem games can kinda be split into two philosophies: the "player phase" games and the "enemy phase" games. These design philosophies describe the cadence of battle and when you're doing most of your work. The GBA era games and Tellius games are pretty firmly "enemy phase" games - your units are pretty dodgy or good at taking hits; the map objective is "rout" more often than not; enemies are concentrated in larger groups but they don't hit quite as hard. The Marth games, Fates, Three Houses, and Engage are all very much "player phase" games. On top of being the converse of the GBA/Tellius games, the more recent ones also have a lot of skills that are only active on player phase. Player phase games also tend to have a heavier emphasis on using effective weaponry to one-shot enemies before they can kill you.

There can be some weird balance because when it comes to the enemy phase games, the game is built around dodgetanking, and so even though it's a very effective strategy in those games, it never feels super busted. In the player phase games, dodgetanking is kind of a mixed bag... In Fates it just flat out doesn't work.

In 3H it's super super busted. It's hard to call it the "meta" because I'm sure some nerd who has played every route 17 times will talk say "actually the meta is creating this stride-rescue-warp-dance-rescue-dance of the goddess-gambit-edelgard-war crimes chain to one turn the chapter." However, if you don't know the game inside and out (maybe you've only played each route 10 times) one of the most reliable builds is:
[URL=https://i.imgur.com/KyA8uwA.jpeg][IMG]https://i.imgur.com/KyA8uwA.jpeg[/IMG][/URL]

Super super fast flying unit (avo +10 as a class bonus) - already lots of avo - throw on weapon prowess for some more hit and avo, and Alert Stance+. Fly your unit into a horde of enemies, dismount them on a nice dodgy avo+30/40 tile, click "wait" for that extra 30 avoid from Alert Stance+, and watch all of the enemies miss. Bring in your army on the next turn to help kill off any of the stragglers. The back half of that game is a complete cakewalk with this strategy (I don't think Petra saw an enemy with more than a 0% hit rate past chapter 15 or so). Gambits can be annoying for units with low charm but the game gives you all of the tea in China to patch that up. It's a super reliable strategy on every chapter, and every house starts with at least a few characters who can do this extremely well (Ferdinand/Petra for BE, Felix/Ingrid for BL, Claude/Leonie for GD).

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@“Herb”#p151223 Is this just one of several ways to trivialize the game? My impression of things before was that Fire Emblem had a decent sense of balance from the years of iteration

Yup! Overall it's a pretty balanced series. From the ones that I've played, _Awakening_ is the only one that feels like a janky mess mechanically/with respect to balancing. _3H_ has some aforementioned balancing issues - first five chapters of Maddening are very difficult and then the game cools off significantly before becoming a joke post-timeskip. For the most part, I'm pretty happy with how they've balanced most of the games while also introducing new mechanics.

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@“Herb”#p151223 If I upped the difficulty to maddening mode would that change how things work?

This answer may surprise you, but yes! It actually completely changes how all of this works. What I've held off saying until now is that dodge tanking in _Engage_ is actually considered pretty bad! There aren't that many ways to significantly increase Avo in Engage. There are the avo+ skills from Marth, but they are very costly - 2500SP for avo+20. I think they tweaked the SP economy pretty significantly since I played the game - it used to be that every unit only got about 3000SP throughout the entire game, and there were no skill books or any way to increase that number. The Well thing did not exist upon release. So even if you wanted to build a dodgetank your options were pretty limited
The big issue, however, is that on Maddening enemy AI is smart enough to avoid your units in the case that they either do 0 damage to them or have 0% hit against them. In _Fates_ , the AI is even smarter and will avoid you if their hit rate is below 10%. Trying to dodgetank can lead the AI to do some weird, unpredictable things (like come stand next to you in your Corrin fog and start dodgetanking you). Also, in the later chapters, the enemy will wreck your shit for trying to do stuff like that:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CQWlDROHxoA
(notice how the AI is smart enough to see that it does 0 dmg but then also factor in the chain attacks)

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@“Tradegood”#p151229 Since FE14 to today, they have a more complicated formula where greater than 50% is more likely to connect, but less than 50% is closer to the true random number, but I’m no mathematician and don’t fully get hybrid RN.

_Three Houses_ uses 2RN. _Fates_, _SoV_, and _Engage_ all use hybrid. Hybrid is... interesting. Under 50% it is the same as true hit. 4% displayed is a real 4% chance of hitting. Above 50% it's a function of Sine(?????). I don't really understand the formula or the thinking behind it but the takeaway is that it is very very close to 1.5RN - would be between the blue and red lines past 50%. For at least the first three years after _Fates_ came out everyone thought it was 1.5RN. The main thing to takeaway is that it helps you the same way 2RN does.

Unfortunately, we've collided with my area of study - behavioral economics - and I'm not going to let the opportunity go to waste to talk about it. Daniel Kahnemann (he wrote that book "Thinking Fast and Slow") won the Nobel Prize in economics a while back for developing Prospect Theory with his partner Amos Tversky. Prospect Theory essentially gets at this distance between "real" percentages and "perceived" percentages. Humans are especially bad at perceiving very low percentages and very high percentages. We may see "5%" on screen but then act disproportionately cautious, perceiving that 5% as something like 15% or so. Another way to demonstrate this theory is through our disproportionate response to "equivalent but inverse" events - losing $100 feels a lot worse than gaining $100 feels good. If I tell you that I think losing $50 is as bad as gaining $100 is good, then you can calculate my coefficient of risk aversion and extrapolate that in all sorts of directions and tell me how much I'm paying for car insurance and which Fire Emblem moves I would make or not make. It's neat stuff
The 2RN graph is almost the exact inverse of a percent vs perceived percent graph, which is brilliant - it essentially makes it so that you're pleasantly surprised by the outcome nearly every time. You feel good about your skill as a strategist. You love Fire Emblem. You think Fire Emblem is good. You think Fire Emblem is fun. You frolic in Eden. You have not bitten the apple.

...It can make things a little easy though. I understand the shift away from it

@“Hunter”#p154422 Thanks for all the info. I'll have to try getting my teeth kicked in on maddening next time I play through one of these.

I am seeking impressions of Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes.

Thing is I am not really a fan of Three Houses, I do not care for all the social/dating sort of stuff. Sorry if that is a reductive view of the game, I know people love it, but it was not for me.

However! I do enjoy the original Fire Emblem Warriors as a fairly casual Fire Emblemanite, because I found the musuo gameplay fast-paced and exciting, it feels slicker than others in its genre.

As a result I am interested in the follow-up, but I have read in places that there is more emphasis on the social stuff from Three Houses, which gives me pause. So I guess it would be great to know what exactly the game loop is and how intrusive that stuff gets.