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Silas Crowley

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  1. It depends on what your objective is. Are you trying to start a roleplaying thread? Or a FE-centered roleplay site? For a roleplay, the idea is usually themed at a central spine of emotions; it's about how you want your readers to feel. In the case of FE we're often drawn to a sort of... "shonen" atmosphere of small characters growing into tough, competent units we favoritize and rely on, or the aesthetics of the game. It's rarely the lore that keeps people interested. If you want a suggestion- I'm personally inclined to darker settings, because they're good for conveying depth in a background of dystopia. If people aren't being made to act a certain way: you can explain where human nature goes wrong all on its own, without stigma or stale writing, as protagonist-centered literature often happens to be after your first few novels. But without getting off on a tangent: Fire Emblem roleplays tend to burn out quickly on their own, so I advise trying to come up with a compelling setting and/or plot. The latter portion is optional simply because your fellow roleplayers are capable of initiating their own plot, if allowed. Good luck.
  2. @Armagon Dragon Veins are still nothing more than trivial event triggers. I criticized what was said about them because they were being treated as an "innovation"; I don't doubt that old FE games didn't do a whole lot with events, but even if true that also fails to be relevant when we're talking about FE as a whole, and the fact that Dragon Veins just made inserting events easier in newer FE installments- yet, that they can be used by any royal / anyone who has dragon's blood takes over-simplifies the event trigger mechanic. FE6's water-freezing event required you to at least use one specific character. Not just any royal could do it. In Fates, your (potentially) most powerful unit, Kamui, could just use ALL Dragon Veins you stumbled across. There was little dialogue or story centered around the Veins either. If it had been something unique tailored to each level- such as a machine that only a Mechanist could operate, or using Felicia / Flora to freeze water exclusively- then the mechanic could've been more interesting. Dragon Veins aren't really a new feature. They're just a standardized event trigger. See: Summoning. I never said the player should be able to summon Dracoliches; I'm not really against it as long as it's not truly cheese, but you're ignoring what I was talking about, which is Necromancy. The ability to summon monsters which have a weapon or damage type your party lacks is absolutely a depth-adding mechanic. You could, if you wished, focus on training mages and tanks instead while just raising Bonewalkers / Maelduins (or whatever) for bow-based damage. The ability of having a unit able to raise something like revenants around themselves could also be a good mechanic; revenants aren't going to "play the game for you" or overwhelm whatever ambushed you, but you might get 1-2 turns of survival to save that unit. Like any other spell or equipment, summoning would also need durability and limitations. If you can only raise zombie meatshields once in a chapter, it just becomes another tool to balance with the rest of your arsenal, something you may choose to make use of but not something that would trivialize the game's difficulty. If you could indeed raise summons to tank briefly for you, then you might be able to use more Archers in a level, something which might be quite good if you were up against a lot of fliers in a chapter. See: Iago / Staff Savant. Iago does have staves even without Staff Savant. Unlike normal sorcerers, he has the ability to use them in conjunction with tomes. If we could use Staff Savant as-is... sure, it would be broken, but you should go back and re-read my posts prior if that's what you think I said because I specify that when something enemy-only is intentionally overpowered, the player should have a weakened version of it obtainable as an alternative. I think we should look at some of the mechanics Awakening used: "Plus" versions of skills, which are enemy-only. You can consider any non-obtainable skill of this kind to be a "plus" type skill for the purpose of my argument. A weaker, player-obtainable version exists for each, something that wouldn't have been hard to do. Say you defeated Iago in Lunatic mode; you could obtain a base-level Staff Savant scroll then, enabling one of your Sorcerers to use staves and offering a smaller variant of the skill's effects. See: Phantoms in FE8 I don't understand how you can just say "not really" when I state that phantoms are an inferior alternative; they only had 1HP, and exclusively used axes, which offers very little to your arsenal. They can only take one hit as well and consume a turn to make. The ability to get a variety of weapon types out of your summons, as well as the ability to use summons for tanking, would be a preferable expansion to summoning as we have it. You should focus more on my Bonewalker example, which you seem to have gotten. This is especially good in chapters where you have a small number of units available to you, as you can use your sub-par summon equivalents in the stead of specialized units, which you might have neither the desire nor the resources to commit to. In summary: "Iago doesn't have any personal Staffs. Are you referring to Staff Savant? Yeah, that breaks the game. The monster-summoning Messiah tomes? Do you want to cheese the game with Draco Zombie Summons? Dark Magic being locked to enemies? See Fire Emblems 1 through 4. And 15, of course." You say you don't want me to make you repeat your points on game balance, but you've made me re-state a lot of things I've already said. The only new thing you've added to the discussion is you want to critique me for "wanting the perfect fire emblem game where the player has everything at their disposal", which isn't much better than the rest of what I've been answering because it's another extreme statement that doesn't try to look into what I've said. Summoning could've expanded into something good, and rare skills derived from previously enemy-only skills would've been the ultimate endgame rewards, a new and rewarding mechanic for achieving difficult challenges. It isn't off-topic to say why I think Echoes isn't going to sell well and why I think that is. I will not make a different topic, as this one suits the subject just fine. @Tryhard It does get to opinion at this point- but I think it is sensible to expect innovation, because the FE franchise has had many years and new entries to experiment with. At this point: yeah, I do want new tools and mechanics, without losing existing ones like Axes or Darkness tomes, both of which were some of my favorite weapons. Awakening did well and Fates was recycling its engine. There should've been more than what was in Fates considering how many advantages the development team had to work with. It doesn't matter to me that these things weren't in the old FE games for the most part. They were in most of the newer games, and they were fun, complete additions that gave the player more tools. If Echoes is supposed to be a remake of Gaiden, shouldn't it be expanding on it and using features from the FE games that came after it? If I had any love of Gaiden, I would've been glad to see the experiment that it was expanded upon and added-onto. As-is, Echoes is just using an antiquated formula for a game that didn't do well. I wouldn't mind if enemies were to obtain previously player-only items, either. Let's say Falchion is in the game, but it's in the hands of a corrupt royal rather than the protagonist: now, in order to presumably face enemies which only Falchion could deal with, you'll have to first rebel against that same noble and claim the holy sword. While somewhat generic this example plot has more potential than a lot of the newer FE writing. Giving an enemy something that's usually player-only is an excellent mechanic, although only as good as the plot / story purposes behind said item. @Ranger Jack Walker As you've said, it would be stupid if all I was saying was any mechanic not changed between games is just dull or lacking in innovation, but being that I'm complaining about mechanics we've lost or almost had to fruition (Summoning) you either got lost somewhere or you didn't pay attention, so you shouldn't be calling anyone stupid.
  3. I'm seeing "Enemy-only things are in every FE game" and "FE is being innovative" shot back at some of the things I've said in the same breath. But maybe I'm just not understanding this; really cool items and abilities are being locked to enemies, to the point where Echoes doesn't even let you touch a finger on really dark magic. I'm also not so keen on the way Fates and Echoes seem to have nerfed a lot of things; plenty of stuff was broken in Awakening, yet- the "fixes" to that more or less just made other things broken, such as Replicate and Warp. This applies less to Echoes (currently; it all depends on the DLC) It isn't innovative. Dragon Veins are actually not a unique thing; in most Fire Emblem games, chapters offer you the ability to go somewhere to trigger an event. That's all a Dragon Vein is. It's a royalty-locked event trigger, which is arguably a step down from previous mechanics, in that they're now generic and less dialogue-rich events. They did make gameplay better, but I would've rather they done this the old way; i.e, having to move someone like Flora or Felicia onto lakes to freeze them, rather than using a Dragon Vein to do this. And going straight for Imhullu when I say I want us to have Enemy Only things is a really obvious extreme; no, I didn't say you should give the player weapons that make you invincible, but what about Iago's staves? What about the monster-summoning Messiah tomes? What about mostly-fine dark magic that's still locked to enemies? You just can't have dark mage guys in your party...? That and giving axes the axe (horrid pun) was a stupid move. I know a few devoted players who really loved the axe, and they had charm even though I'm a mage kind of guy. What I meant was that the ability to summon monsters would've been really cool. Summoning phantoms in FE8 was actually very useful and interesting, even if it was a tougher strategy to use effectively. Summoning 1-2 zombies and using them as meatshields would actually open up some options you don't normally have in this game, as those would be expendable units you'd intentionally put into fatal situations to advance your actual units with. You almost never do that in FE, unless you've just made a mistake you're willing to go through the rest of the game with. The phantoms are used in the similar way, but they're inferior to and less flexible than monsters, which have specialized roles. If I lacked lance-users or archers in a chapter, then a valid counterplay could be to summon Bonewalkers when I needed them! Users of both those weapons would of course remain the superior option, however, so it's not as if we obsolesce real units with necromancy. I'm saying things like a special staff-sorcerer, or the use of advanced summoning / necromancy, and yes even some wild tomes like Grima's Truth (which isn't the strongest weapon, but its infinite durability would've been handy in the endgame, where it's just a chore because you can afford to keep replacing your rapidly-breaking weapons) would've been good to have. Making these things enemy-only doesn't make me feel impressed, nor does it make these things truly 'special'. It only restricts their use, leaving you with less strategies to use that you could've potentially had, none of which are really broken; even if they were- they could just be balanced, or have less-powerful obtainable versions the player can acquire as optional/challenge objectives. It's more or less a bad mechanic to make excusably "broken" items, which the AI is afforded because its intelligence is inferior to a human's- err, usually. Saying it's too strong or that it would become boring if obtainable isn't a valid argument: because of A: the ability to balance and even make separate player-obtainable variants of such items/abilities, and B: that it can be just as 'special' if it is a rare or difficult-to-obtain reward, i.e; having to fulfill secondary objectives in a hard chapter while fulfilling your main objective.
  4. There's other ways to make something special without locking it off to enemies. A good tactic some games use is for an object/character to be enemy-only, but it becomes player-obtainable later under special conditions; i.e, fulfilling a challenge. The problem with Echoes, though, is that you can't really be a necromancer / darkness mage despite that there's very good magic of both categories in it... It's just enemies-only, and those happen to be my favorite things. If you've always been a Sword / Lance guy, then Echoes is probably the game for you, but that's very flat for me. I wouldn't even care if there were less powerful, obtainable versions... just that I could have them and be a valid sorcerer. I don't like that axes and the like are gone, Gaiden or not; they ported stuff over, changed a lot of old features and even changed the canon sexuality of characters from Gaiden, so why is it a stretch to include our old weapon types? Is staying true to Gaiden so important that we should just ditch the weapon triangle and continue to limit player options? Echoes would've been better if it carried good features from other games over. It's not a true remake as-is, so it might as well exploit past successes and experiment. I'd rather see a Fire Emblem where I can raise the dead, explore grey or even black morality, and make at least a few decisions that alter the path of the story. That's no more difficult than making a 3-branch game (Fates) But honestly, I'd rather someone compete with this series. It's a good genre! The core mechanics are robust and interesting, even if at times derpy or random. However- to be quite honest, I never liked the direction Awakening took the series in; it wasn't a bad game, but waifu-petting and p2w phone games don't jive with me.
  5. Man, you can say whatever you want about Gaiden or what have you; that isn't the problem. Fire Emblem is quickly drying up- the pool of interest it can draw from is shrinking, and I feel like the majority of casual gamers are experiencing a very natural disinterest in the game. Why? It hasn't actually done anything new. Any new features Echoes had were impressively lazy and minimal. Etrian Odyssey, Pokemon and plenty else have done the dungeon-crawl sort've overworld before. FE: Echoes brought nothing new to the table, aside from smaller features and some rather nonsensical reworks, such as demolishing weapon variety and locking-off a bunch of cool magic and skills to Enemy-Only. Alm/Celica is no more interesting than any FE protagonist before and, dare I say, has a staggeringly similar personality to the protagonists we've been using for 20 years. Echoes suffers a lack of innovation. I at first loved, then hated Fates; why? Because it gave me the illusion that we were going to have choices, character development and a lot of options. Instead- ... magic was slashed, there were a lot less spells despite that they had plenty to recycle from Awakening, and poor balancing ruined the appeal of PvP (tell me how fun it is fighting a full Replicate + Warp team every time you look for a match) without much else to fill the gap, beside playing around in your castle... which isn't going to entertain you for long, because even then, you don't have much to work with. I'm going to stop before this becomes a Fates review, and restate my thesis: Fates failed to give adequate choices and baited the availability of them, and likely in some effort to improve upon the game's shortcomings, I believe IS provided the player with even less freedom thinking it might have been what put-off the players. I like the old games as much as the rest of you, but we're in a new age, and it's getting to the point where even solo hackers here can write better code than IS did in the GBA releases; that wouldn't actually matter much, but having played a lot of the hacks the community has made, man- some of us do storywriting infinitely better than IS. Shout-out to Alfred Kamon; Midnight Sun's story really enthralled me up until the very bitter end. Fire Emblem needs more diverse features. You know how lame it is that all those Messiah tomes are pretty much enemy-only? All the cool stuff is walled off. Why can't the player ever summon skeletons or cast the really badass magic? The best stuff is always locked off to enemies, characters have linear short-lived development that usually dies off after their recruitment, and I haven't really seen a great or original Fire Emblem story that made the most of its assets in... I don't know, maybe never. They need to make more things player-obtainable. High-tier magic, special effects, even some of the crazier skills like Dragonskin or Iago's staff-sorcerer class; counterplay is already built-in for what the players use to negate these things. There should be rare, extremely difficult, possibly missable objectives for really cool stuff like that which we struggle to obtain. Fire Emblem needs to give the player story choices. They experimented with this in FE7's & FE8's different lord paths. It felt kind of like you made a decision which impacted the tone of the story, and that was cool. Fates seemed like a recreation of this... but, honestly, not a good one: Kamui's decision to support Nohr felt like he had every reason to not do it, and he confirms this in speech, but he's doing it anyway in what seems to be a forced plot made for no reason other than to play on Nohr's side. I hated it. He had almost no character development. I rapidly lost immersion on something I'd been hype for months leading up to release, but the plot was genuinely so bad I lost that interest in a dissatisfying decline. I don't care if it's an Avatar or another Lord I'm playing, but for the love of Naga, I don't want to be a flat piece of cardboard who makes no real decisions all over again! I won't buy echoes primarily for this reason- that I have no actual options in the store, that the main character I'm playing is completely disinteresting, and that I'll never be able to do anything to change that. I'd rather gouge my time late into the night and beg people for help working on a rom-hack than send IS money to keep making the same mistakes. And why else are the rest of us here-? Why do people who love this series work so hard to make fan-games? It's not to worship the vanilla series; nobody's putting Kamui or Chrom into their games, so we're obviously not in love with IS storywriting. We do these things to ad-lib and correct the shortcomings of the series. And when we do, the results are pretty kick-ass... Staff of Ages, Midnight Sun, and plenty others I haven't gotten to yet are all just damn amazing. These are made by small, unpaid teams of people who achieve greatness on creativity and passion alone. But, that seems to tell me there's a lack of both those things in the current developers of FE... We'll keep seeing dumb scams like cheap phone-games and waifu systems until people get sick of it again, after which the series might die for good. I have no actual love of IS anymore. I have nothing against characters having romances and children- that's actually a great story mechanic, but it was so artificial and skin-deep! They didn't use the tool well, and while Echoes separated itself from this mechanic, it did cater somewhat to that audience; there were gay pairings that didn't exist prior in Gaiden, and a lot of things are abritarily as they were in Gaiden, only it appears now that the story is forced and flatter than before. At some point- someone's going to do the same thing we do, except they're going to put together their own engine and sever themselves from the Fire Emblem name, then make a superior game of the same genre. There's nothing protecting the core mechanics of the game... and if they're really improved, the end product would be incomparable to what we're getting.
  6. Thanks, and I'd be happy if so. I want to do an FE8 where you play a traitor in Grado who steals something precious to prevent it from being used for war. A quick shot of ideas I had: Story - Older protagonist; military veteran, ex-court mage. Not much else going for him. - Grittier, less hopeful story. Protagonist is not royalty. Friends are hard to come by. - Just one path despite the FE8 fork (can change later on if successful) but a different ending for each path, presuming there's ever a 2nd. - A story where obstacles are more attached to character development; unlike most FE, a problem might emanate from an ally character rather than an enemy, such as resolving a grudge or a mental disorder through a journey. Gameplay - The mod is going to focus very heavily on small-to-medium sized maps that are very dense with content. Most of these are interactions for either rewards / loot (challenging the player / rewarding a bold strategy), or effecting the battle map using Magic Rituals, as the protagonist was one of Lyon's scholar-sorcerers. Maps will last longer, focused moreso on new characters introduced, their interactions with the protagonist and how your actions shape their judgement of you. Sometimes, the worst scenarios can't be avoided, but you can be prepared and instill doubt by showing honor. - "Magic Rituals" are varied. Changing the weather is probably the most basic example. Next up is utilizing Necromancy to spawn Monsters as green NPCs, giving up the potential EXP gain of enemies in order to lessen an enemy wave's threat. My goal is to focus on this and make this sort of 'berserk ally spawn' a dynamic mechanic where the player learns how to control units that you can't directly control. - The difficulty is going to be very high, but in the sense of punishing rather than trial-and-error. If you're going into a trapped zone- you will be more or less warned, and both the risks + rewards will be intense. Some things will fall to paying attention and player intuition. - All-original player cast. However, player cast will not be large; you're a fugitive at worst, and a criminal at best, for most of the game. Even good people usually will not trust the protagonist. The player is not necessarily a villain but rather a vigilante who has stolen a weapon of war to prevent its misuse; a misunderstood vigilante patriot. - Interactions with NPCs (Green) units can be mixed; sometimes, talking is really beneficial or outright necessary, and other times you can recruit a rare ally or two. It's important to pay attention to story and dialogue before chapters, even those which passed many chapters before, to have an idea of how these green NPCs will react. But many times- even if someone decides to help you against your Grado pursuers, they won't necessarily be joining your party... - Many more Enemy (Red) units who aren't necessarily affiliated with your main antagonists can be interacted with. However, it's just as varied as Green interactions, with some "Talk" opportunities being fruitless and most iffy to mediocre. Reds doubting the main army might sometimes join you, but usually on conditions. - I want to implement Skills if at all possible; ideally, attached to classes, as well as available from rare skill tomes that're a bit pricier than stat booster items. - The possibility of Ally Betrayals, where depending on what strategies, rituals or tools you use, your own units might turn Green or even Red when your protagonist's actions cross intolerably against their own beliefs. Art Ambitious, but humble. I can't sprite and I'll graciously accept any aid as I go along. Overall I'm not trying to make a revolutionary experience, but I am definitely going to put people into a situation they haven't seen before- at the very least, it will be different. I got tired of FE games where the protagonist was young, infallible and somehow managed to lead enemy soldiers against their own countries... over piles of their former compatriots. It just didn't feel cohesive with me, and I wondered if other people felt the same; the answer I found is more or less that they do. They just haven't had an experience to contrast it with, though. My idea is that getting a unit to turn blue isn't the only thing you should be mindful of: it's that, like human judgement, allegiance is going to sometimes be fickle. Now over time and as chapters move on, your recruits will naturally become loyal, determined allies, but only if they make it that far. You'll need to pay attention to what you're doing on the map and how it relates to your characters; something that I really intend to use as a tool to better bring characters and their sub-stories to life, as bricks that constitute the main story. The hardest part of this is going to be resources and balancing: one because I'm a newcomer with low skills, two because my ideas are nonetheless fairly crazy and I'm going to have to fine-tune bosses, ambushes, recruitable enemies and the like. I need to keep things constantly challenging- and not too abrupt on difficulty anywhere, otherwise my players will feel tilted or outright cheated, which is an immersion-breaking experience I don't want. Nevertheless, you will probably lose and suffer a bit along the way, but my goal is to make it so you can feel "well, that was my fault, more or less" and keep going with keen interest. That's what I want to impart to players. And maybe, my biggest goal is that if this idea of conditional, tentative alliances jeopardized by your actions really takes off, it might catch the larger public's eye and provoke a new designer choice by professional developers.
  7. Hey. I'm Silas; for the past ten years or so, I've just been a roaming roleplayer. I've had good times and bad. My most recent years were spent in BYOND games, mostly just one I poured a lot of effort and passion into, although it didn't pan out. I've seen this site before and attempted the process of ROM-hacking, but I wasn't very talented and didn't manage much. That said- I've had a lot more free-time since I left my prior vices and I thought about trying to make a compelling story through an FE, probably FE8. But I didn't have the confidence to announce myself here, or really try to make one. I'm sure it'll be difficult, but I will be making an effort: I have always respected this community just out of my love for the FE games and that, in essence, you've been fulfilling the potential the original games lacked- but could've realized. I'd like to thank Alfred Kamon for giving me the inspiration to join, and make a serious undertaking for a project of my own. It's not that I feel like I can manage this on my own or anything because of them, but just that their project Midnight Sun was a hugely inspirational work for me, and I enjoyed it probably more than I can really express. About me; I'm more or less a tryhard, and at worst- an edgelord. Hope I'm of use of the community somewhere along the line!
  8. Hey Alfred. I don't know if you'll read this, but I hope you will. I've spent the last three years in a community acting as a ex-admin / developer / avid fan, a sprite-based hack 'n slash type of game that also featured a roleplaying window. It was pretty similar to what you'd find on a forum in terms of literacy, but in a chatroom-like media, grafted onto this sort of Seiken Densetsu type of game. Roleplaying could help you acquire hidden abilities and was necessary to increase your power; you wrote your development. I achieved a lot on my characters, but what I enjoyed achieving the most was making an entire branch of magic called Mournegale and a race of pretty much monster-blooded dark mages, and while my creations were pretty edgy with gaudy overtones- it got really complex and my passion was real. Unfortunately, things didn't work out with that game, and after a lot of feuding strife I bailed, ghosting off that place forever. Then... I drifted, taking more hours at work to compensate. I'd find shitty things to do like weeding or cleaning, just to stimulate my mind. And then I happened on a video of your game; the prologue, played by ol' MJ. I'm a jaded writer. I've been at this kind of thing for ten years. You can guess my initial reaction. I was expecting a lot of Sues and Stus; honestly, I was just watching to learn more about romhacking. But then... a funny thing happened: your story kept me watching. Then, after watching up to Chapter 4, I said screw it and refused any more spoilers in favor of playing the game myself. I cannot believe what you did to me. I immediately noticed the immense detail-work you did. I don't doubt it was hundreds of hours, and all of it comes together into something of such a depth, I feel a deep lament for how many people will miss out on it; not for the discontinuation of the hack, but simply because it takes insight to really understand what you did. That quintessential thing that mystified me! And I came to realize it only near the end: your heart was in every moment of this creation, and I related to that completely. Even in self-expressions of yourself manifesting into entire characters balanced miraculously into the best FE story I've ever witnessed. Do you know what you made Awakening or Fates look like? You exceeded FE8's story quality, by far. Your force of creativity charged in and destroyed the mediocrity of this franchise. Everything about this game is so fantastic, I can't even say I'm spoiled. I still have a feeling where it's almost like I doubt it happened, and indeed it is too good to be true; I'm not telling you to continue the project, and having burnt out of my own creative frontier too (it's painful, and it's hard to understand without experience, I know) I wanted to tell you something. Not just my praise, either. It's really sincere, too. I'm a very corroded personality who doesn't enjoy much either; this game really did something, and I'm sure it hit other people hard too. You say you've lost will for the project, but I think what happened was you found time and aspirations. Truth is, I'm pretty sure I know what happened to you; you just burnt out, dude. You're making art. Not just a stupid game people pass time with. It's art. It has an emotional momentum that knocks people over inside their own hearts. It's really profound, and hard to describe to its constitution. And... the currency required to create it is equally ephemeral. I can't say what'll motivate you. But, when you say you feel like it'd just be doing it for others... Maybe, that's worth an experiment. Real artists go out and interact with people. It could just be you'll observe your current experiences and discover a muse in the dynamic of your changed life. Even if what you come to express isn't strictly you from the core, if it's you from another layer or a perception of humanity seen in others, then perhaps it's the untapped inspiration to realize a new creativity in the Sunpath of Midnight. Based on the brilliance of this thing... I doubt you're really done. I'm just a talentless random, but I really wanted to send you this message. I'm not convinced you've lost the desire to finish this piece.
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