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SnowFire

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  1. Hmm, I'm not sure if making a Super-Dimitri really qualifies as a challenge restriction! Makes Reunion at Dawn even more hellish, sure, but in a restricted Monastery + No Paralogues run, I'd be more inclined to consider doing it anyway since some various late-game builds will be harder to pull off without cool Paralogue goodies or a bunch of skill training from Explore actions, and a stat-jacked Dimitri could be just the thing to fix that. I was worried about how exactly Byleth was going to recruit anyone under these conditions + losing Dedue for good, but right, the Ashen Wolves to the rescue to fill the ranks.
  2. Re Eltosian: Eh, the exception that proves the rule. There's somebody who does Ironman challenges of Lunatic+ Awakening, too, but it involves very very specific strategies that make the game not actually very Fire Emblem-y. (Lots of sitting around with a range-2 weapon equipped in enemy phase to ensure Counter doesn't kill the 4 overleveled units you deployed.) That's cool somebody did it, but I've also watched strong players do Ironman attempts of FE12 Lunatic (never mind Lunatic Reverse!) and fail at it. (And note that the linked video involved the +2 Def boon, Knight Kris cheeze... and still barely survived with 1 HP after unequipping Kris's Lance... to FE13's credit, you can still beat Lunatic+ with a silly build like +Lck -Spd Robin, that isn't a big deal, but that isn't true of FE12, where many Kris builds just can't win.) Re MadBoar's list: I'm not sure I'd count "personal challenges" and the like, i.e. whatever "ranked" FE9/FE10 means. That you got the maximum amount of bonus XP every mission, I guess? There's no way to check that, though, short of streaming the entire playthrough and knowing in advance the optimal amount to get, so I don't think it's really an expected playstyle. In the same way, Hector Hard S rank all chapters is definitely quite difficult, but that's mostly due to the bug where the extra chapters don't increase the par on the Tactics count at all. The game will still give you an S rank if you skip some of the X chapters (i.e. the Kishuna nonsense) to make it so that getting the optimal Tactics rating is more feasible, and I can't really see much reason to "ban" that strategy. I'd definitely argue that Shadow Dragon H5 is *much* tougher than Echoes Blitzkrieg award (both at E)! I got Blitzkrieg no problem, but SD H3 kicked my butt, let alone H5. I could probably handle H5 now if I went back to it, but SD Hard has some nasty tricks that Echoes does not have - ninja reinforcements with crazy stat inflation, battle saves are not as powerful as Mila's Turnwheel, etc. I'd also argue that 3H Maddening shouldn't be so high up. It's certainly very frustrating at first, but once you get access to various cheesy things, the player can fight back against all the broken, notably with stuff like Snipers with Killer Bow+s and a 90-100 crit rate on Hunter's Volley that will just murder nearly anything in the game from high range, including full monster lifebars once a gap in their shield is opened, or unhittable Alert Stance+ Evasion Ring flyers for safe baiting. I'd call it easier than Awakening Lunatic+.
  3. It looks like this topic was on the silly side, but I'll just echo @Fabulously Olivier and say that Edelgard is Authoritarian Left. More specifically, I have no idea if this is intentional, but there's a reason that Edelgard gets compared to Napoleon, and it's worth laying out the reasons every once in awhile, as I think that's definitely the closest political analogy IMO if we want to make one. The church/state situation was similar. The Gallic Church was semi-independent of Rome but basically a tool of the Old Aristocracy. Napoleon was a French Republican, and the Republicans took out their frustrations on the Church very directly, what with all the famous things like the Cult of Reason, establishing a new secular calendar to avoid Saint's days, and taking the Church's stuff. Edelgard is less interested in the Church of Seiros's wealth than the French Republicans were, but she is interested in their secrets (read: crest stones, draconic power, etc.), so close enough. The aristocracy situation isn't a bad analogy to the situation of Crests, the source of the nobility in Fodlan. Edelgard talks about wanting to sweep out the incompetent nobles (e.g. Caspar's brother) and promote commoners with talent, which is pretty much exactly what the Republican government did, suborning some of the old noble order (e.g. the nobles who work with Edelgard). And it seemed to work pretty well in both cases, at least judging by military efficiency - before Byleth returns, the Empire seems to be doing pretty well in the war, able to threaten the rest of the continent. And the French fight off everyone else pretty well... at first. (Not just military, too, most of conquered Europe ends up keeping Napoleon's changes to law & the civil service, implying they were pretty good changes.) And of course part 2 to the above is "biting off more than you can chew", as France doesn't stop at merely beating proto-Italy, Austria, Prussia, etc., but decides to keep going to Russia. And Edelgard does lose in the end despite a good start in 3/4 routes. However, the power of the nobility is greatly damaged, as happens even in Dimitri's route. Napoleon took power in a coup while he was exceptionally young for the era, which automatically sets him up to relate to young anime main characters sweeping away the crusty world of their elders. He became a general in his mid-20s! And Emperor in his 30s! (Helped by the leaders of the old-guard French army being super-royalist and defecting or quitting, of course...) And finally the great contradiction of why a Republic became an Empire. Republicanism was just too important to trust to a Republic, so better have Napoleon solve everything personally. He obviously still kept some democratic functioning going on below him, but he centralized power and ignored advisors who told him he was making Big Mistakes, very similar to Edelgard taking all power into herself in the name of equality, and potentially making mistakes as a result.
  4. Now we're getting somewhere. Look, if you say that you've had trouble making Niles work, that's cool. I believe you. That leaves open the question of whether Niles sucks, it was a personal playstyle issue, some sort of ferocious RNG screw, or maybe some combination. But nobody is going to contest your experiences happened, in the same way that if someone says that they beat FE7 with a god Dorcas, just believe them. But where this gets weird is calling people - on a Fire Emblem fansite, let me remind you - "naive". You do know what that means, right? "Deficient in worldly wisdom or informed judgment / not previously subjected to experimentation or a particular situation" to quote Merriam Webster? It's not just "wrong", it's uninformed wrong. That might be appropriate if someone is offering opinions off of pure theorycraft that don't take into account other facets of the game, like if I were to rag on some Tear Ring Saga character just because his stats looked wrong, or if someone was to rag on Three Houses Dark Knight without ever using it nor playing Maddening. But FailWood posted their Lunatic clear achievement. If he says that he made good use of Niles - whether because Niles is good, it was a personal playstyle issue, or some ferocious RNG blessing - believe him.
  5. That's an interesting bit of history! Nevertheless, I was making a more general point than just Hawkeye, and of course there are many reasons why any one character gets added and, more importantly, stays added. A whole ton of Marvel characters have done brief stints in the Avengers in the comics, but Hawkeye has been with them for a long time to be semi-iconic (along with Captain America, sure), and it's especially notable because unlike Cap he's probably more famous for his team stuff than any comics focused on just him. Anyway, if you want to make the Hulk impressive, throw in a Random Guy fighting too for scale. Obviously Hawkeye has other stuff that worked for him in addition, but that's at least one of the reasons he stays around. Shows up reasonably commonly (Sokka isn't a bender in Avatar The Last Airbender, etc.) It's a larger principle than just combat worth - Marge Simpson needs to be sane and normal to make the rest of the Simpson family zanier and crazier, Sherlock Holmes seems smarter by having him tower over a normal smart person (a doctor, even!)'s intellect in Watson, etc. (EDIT: I checked with a friend who is a big fan of Marvel, and he says that in terms of total time, Captain America, > Iron Man > Vision > Thor > Wasp > (Scarlet Witch, Hawkeye) in some order. Ah well, guess he was around a little less than I assumed. But still around a whole lot!) Anyway, I think Fates wanted to tell a story in gameplay about just how awesome and scary the royals were in the same way that you don't really want to fight the Hulk, so it could well be an intentional choice to have a lesser recruit join right before a better one. In fact we even have a much more direct example of this in FE12: Samto/Samuel, the Navarre imposter, joins literally the chapter before Navarre, but is worse at him than everything. That was clearly an attempt to hype up Navarre that people think he's so cool, that inferior swordmasters dress up as him. (Unfortunate for gameplay though, poor Samto gets to become one of the many FE12 characters to ride the bench.)
  6. First off, I'll probably pass on this so no need to listen to my advice on rules! The players who do want to play should be listened to first. That said... I realize you say it's a "casual" draft, but I don't think you really need the restrictions on early-game unit picking. Drafts self-balance on that: if there's a run on earlygame units, then players will make sure to draft whatever is remaining. Besides, on Normal mode, pretty sure Alm/Celica can solo their Chapter 1, so even a drafter who does get totally locked out won't be out of luck. (Okay, that's not quite true, the early Alm Act III map with the swarm of Dark Mages would be a major problem for an Alm solo... but you'll have more deployment options than just the Ram Villagers if you want support for that map.) The other option is to just explicitly allow some out-of-draft usages with an asterisk, similar to how in draft speedruns you can deploy undrafted units at a time penalty. (And it'd probably be Silque getting subbed in rather than an untrained Villager anyway.) I will say that if you want to ban a centralizing concept, you might want to ban Invoke. A drafter who takes Genny w/ Invoke will single-handedly render most other Celica mode picks moot as Invoke is basically a free win all the way up to and including the final boss, but kind of a lame one since you're letting neutral units do all your work for you. Genny (and other Clerics/Saints) will still be very, very good even without Invoke, so. Might also be worth explicitly saying if the DLC Cipher characters are legal, for all that they join sufficiently late that they're not a big deal. (Vaguely important in that they can be recruited by either Alm or Celica, so it is a way to get spare bodies onto a route that didn't draft many characters, at least once their joining map is beatable.)
  7. Even if we presume that Subaki Really Is Terrible (say his combat was Juno-level rather than merely meh, since Mir brought up that comparison before), it wouldn't shock me if him & Hinoka being close in join time was intentional rather than a mistake. Why is Hawkeye a member of the Avengers? So that the characters with all the special superpower abilities have something to compare it with. Fates falls into the nobility-worshipping camp and wants the player to know that Corrin's family and the royal characters really are just special snowflake awesome people better than everyone else, and isn't that cool that your brothers and sisters are so awesome, and they all think You The Player are even awesomer than them? While Fates's balance is pretty good for most characters, the royals are famously better than everyone else, and this was pretty clearly an intentional choice. So you can argue that Subaki's purpose really is to get outshone by Hinoka, so you can be impressed at the power of the Dawn Dragon bloodline or whatever, just like Japan's royalty allegedly descending from Amaterasu.
  8. Re Shanty Pete: I'm not really a Wallace expert, I'll admit. My assumption is that if you somehow wanted to seriously use him, the stat hit from early-promoting at L10 (rather than L15 or say) would be significant enough that it'd really cut into "what's the point of even building this guy". For the short term, yeah, if you're just using him as a hole-filler, the early promotion in Lyn mode would be fine. Hmm, that's not quite my point. I certainly agree that BEXP generally tends to wash out over most of the cast (although, as you note, it's less significant for the Stefans of the world, so not entirely a pointless to thing to bring up.) But we're attempting to shine a light on the gradations of the worst tier in the game to get a definitive True Worst. You can certainly throw Rolf, Bastian, and Lucia all in the "never seriously used in a good playthrough, therefore all are equivalently bad" basket and be fine, but if we're trying to hypothesize some differences if they're used anyway, I think BEXP is a valid thing to bring up. Maybe better via analogy: imagine FE7 had a BEXP system. You COULD use it (foolishly) to get a 20/10 Sniper Wil "early" if you pour everything into him, and the result would be a genuinely good unit for the midgame comparatively thanks to the favoritism, as the midgame is not remotely balanced around handling a powerful promoted unit then. Meanwhile, FE7 Karla gains less from this, because even if you save BExp for her, the final maps won't fold over to a 20/20 Karla in the same way that a midgame map might have trouble damaging 20/10 Wil. Basically, BExp + favoritism being viable is inherently more useful on early-joining characters. To be clear, this is a very weak endorsement, but it's the kind of thing that can matter at the bottom of the barrel.
  9. To talk a bit more on the Path of Radiance crew, I think Rolf vs. Bastian/Lucia/(combat Elincia) comes down to different scenarios. If we assume that we are in some sort of scuffed Maniac Mode playthrough that's suffered unintended casualties and desperately needs to deploy fresh bodies from the bench, the Crimean knights (excluding Geoffrey, who's genuinely good) are okay as role-fillers (and for Elincia, as a staff user, as noted). Meanwhile, Rolf will be a poor replacement for a dead Oscar indeed, and will not be a worthy investment of XP / forges if you're trying to fix a troubled playthrough. Also, Maniac BEXP is quite reduced compared to Hard. So Rolf is clearly worse in such a scenario. On the other hand, in the scenario of a player who really knows their PoR, is not suffering surprise casualties, and just wants to see what a lesser-used unit can do... Rolf has the advantage of simply existing in such a case, and being in a game where favoritism is reasonably powerful. So sure, Rolf at least gets to do what little tricks he does have. (Such a player can also save-scum some good BEXP level-ups in a way that late-joining prepromos can't... granted, this kind of save-scumming BEXP level ups is even better on Knight Ward'd early joining cavalry with range-1 counters who can now crush entire armies, of course, but it's still something Rolf has that Bastian/Lucia don't.) Meanwhile, such a skilled player likely has already built and protected better Sages / Swordmasters if they wanted them, so subbing in Bastian and Lucia is just a downgrade to what this skilled playthrough already has. It's not like they can front-line on Clash! even with some favoritism. As a side comment, while we're ragging on archers, FE7 Wil is pretty awful. He normally evades worst-of lists because he joins early enough to offer some chip damage, but his early-game contributions are nowhere near as notable as Actually Important early-game units like Marcus or Oswin. And if we look at mid-game and beyond, he's definitely one of the least rewarding characters to build. There's some value in having one archer, but Rebecca is basically just better than him, and she's not even good, and then Louise joins later. There's also stuff like Geitz or promoted Lyn to compete with. Nino will at least have some payoff if you give her some favoritism (best candidate for Afa's Drops!!1!), but what's even the point of favoritism on Wil? While I don't agree with Shadow Mir's logic about diminishing returns in having too many flyers in Fates, there's definitely diminishing returns in too many FE7 archers. (Yeah, Karla still "wins" this for FE7 as a whole, but something to be said for the contest of "worst Eliwood mode character" between Wil, Nino, early-promoted Wallace, and friends.)
  10. If you're going by in-game rules, no matter how silly, then Duma wins for free vs. Medeus, Grima, Julius, and Anankos because he can only be killed with Falchion or Nosferatu. None of this half damage nonsense the other dragons sport, we're talking flat immunity. You can squint and say that Grima uses their past Robin form and class changes to Sorcerer or something, but that is real shaky given that Tactician can't cast Nosferatu natively, so doesn't seem very canon. Rhea probably wins though if she uses her Archbishop or Saint forms which do have Nosferatu, and the Mogalls don't even her scare that much since she can drain off of them with the Sword of Seiros. (She can still lose if you see her durability as so bad as to get one-shot by Duma's eye beams, or she has to hike a really really really long way and gets softened up by too many Upheavals.) I suspect Rhea will handle the rest without too much problem by using her dragon forms, multiple HP bars for the win. Probably Anankos next? You have to run around and take out his weird space limbs first, so even with no reinforcements, that gives him time to get in a lot of shots. Then probably Medeus, then Julius, then Grima. (Grima curses being in a game where 99 HP falls extremely fast, Dragonskin or no... for the PCs that face him, it's very possible to get Dualstrike at an 80% rate+ meaning they can be forced to survive 12 hits from Brave weaponry in a single action, Dragonskin doesn't cover the help attacks, and there's a bunch of potential Luna procs.) So we have Rhea > Duma > Anankos > Medeus > Julius > Grima. (I'm excluding "The Creation" from Echoes as not a valid form for Grima here, for the record, for all that it's proto-Grima.) If you go by out of game rules, tough to say, especially since we usually see them after they're senile and crazy and thus not at the peak of their powers. As noted, past-Anankos is crazy stupidly powerful when he was sane, but he's hard to judge since we mostly learn about this in DLC. Medeus, Duma, & Loptous are basically garden-variety scary dragon. Grima is somewhat lesser, being a created evil entity from dragon's blood, and is scary mostly because of mass human sacrifice that powered them up (which I presume is illegal due to the rules about no outside help). Rhea is Not Actually That Powerful if taken strictly as a draconic brawler (she certainly can't take on armies single-handedly, at least); she's clearly far lesser than Sothis, but her power more comes from political savvy and charisma. So we end up with Anankos > Medeus = Duma = Julius > Grima > Rhea. She's not an evil dragon, but Ashera would probably wipe the floor with all of these, clearly being a tier above merely a goddess but more like half of a monotheistic-deity. (The only reason she's remotely beatable is explicitly due to the aid of her equally as powerful other half, as even her servants are invulnerable otherwise. She won't have any trouble damaging Duma, at least!)
  11. Random comments: Hanneman: While vanilla Archer is a pretty terrible class for Hanneman to be in, if you're running an eventual team of 12 characters, you'll have spare characters during all the 9/10/11 deploy count missions. I ground up Hanneman's archer skill ranks by giving him a Knowledge Gem and class changing him to Archer whenever he was on Adjutant duty. It's annoying but doesn't require skirmish grinding. (And of course if you're willing to skirmish grind some, go nuts.) And Hit+20 is kinda important on him, make sure those Thorons connect. Echoes Killer Bow: The Killer Bow breaks the game hard to the point that I generally assume it's an aftergame item. It's not like the game cues you on what weapons have what combat arts and that you should spend essentially all of your Chapter 3 money on Killer Bows. Anyway, I think Archer Atlas is fine with just a forged Iron Bow - throw Curved Shots to fix Atlas's questionable accuracy all day, and range lets him cover for his bad speed and enemies doubling & killing him on the front lines. Per the discussion in the "make a game harder", I don't think backtracking to the Sea Shrine is really that big a deal, considering that enemy reinforcements are generally *good* for you assuming that you don't let them pile up on story maps. Birthright Azama & Subaki: drattak didn't explain the pick at all, but saying Azama is bad is crazy talk - he's one of the best units in Birthright, being a rare tank (along with Scarlet). Being able to bait and provide healing utility is great, along with mixed damage threat thanks to the Bolt Naginata existing. Subaki, as others have noted, there's no "1 flyer max" rule so even though he's worse than Hinoka, he certainly puts in use. (And heck, some people like to make Spear Master Hinoka cosplaying as Oboro for some extra stats, meaning you might need a new volunteer to get into Sky Knight anyway.) Path of Radiance losers: Much as Rolf is very, very bad in PoR for the reasons everyone knows, I have to think that availability concerns combined with system issues make it at least somewhat competitive between Rolf and the Crimean latecomers. An "optimal" playthrough won't use any of them and leave them moldering in the barracks. But, given the way bonus XP works, if you really love Rolf, you can at least shower him with BEXP and have some overlevel super-kid run around feathering fools for most of the game. On the other hand, an attempt for favoritism on Bastian/Lucia/Elincia is largely going to fall flat: even if you save up some BEXP for them as soon as they join, they won't be able to get as overleveled comparatively as super-Rolf was for the mid-game, and they only exist for just a few maps. It's a tough call, but Rolf does have this minor redeeming quality over the late-joining cannon fodder.
  12. On Sacred Stones: I think a lot of the wackiness with SS's difficulty is that it bounces around much more than many games. There's quite a few maps that are XP farms where the enemy will just stand around in a daze and let you safely bait just a few at a time forward for your lowbies to XP grind on (which isn't bad once in awhile lest it be impossible to safely train the Marisas of the world, but is maybe a little too common). Then there's maps with some Surprise BS that can be very dangerous (Vigarde's Berserk Staff crew if your Restore-user isn't around at the time, spiders in the fog, etc.). And then finally there are just some very dangerous maps, especially ones that involve moving enemies sweeping in on you Echoes/FE2 style, as well as some of the lategame maps with weakness-hitting weapons hiding in fog or otherwise hard to avoid. I don't think the dangerous maps are THAT common (the one in Eirika's route where she's ambushed from two sides, Darkling Woods), but they do exist, just in a sea of safer XP-farm maps like the hatching eggs map. Throw in old-skool no battle saves, no turnwheel for experiences that might feel like a breeze except you already forgot that one time where you had a 30% chance of character death when you exposed that unit to too many ballista / wyvern knights / whatever, but lucked a few dodges out. Anyway, a vague ranking from afar on the harder end of the spectrum... Awakening Lunatic+ without DLC on Classic: I have no idea what they were thinking with L+. Admittedly, balancing around some of the broken strategies the player has is tough, but Counter is such a beyond stupid skill on enemies. The source of the infamous "reload the map until you get a skill loadout that is vaguely winnable" strategy. New Mystery Lunatic Reverse Classic: I'm mostly going by reputation here, but the FE12 Prologue is already close to the mathematical limit of "winnable at all" on "merely" Lunatic, especially with the "wrong" Kris build or if you're not abusing battle saves / restarts to rig crits. L-Reverse just seems sadistic. (I know that once you get into the main game, there's various tricks such as General Arran, lots of Archers/Snipers, etc. to cope, but you can't GET to the maingame if you can't beat the prologue, which is already life-shorteningly stressful on Lunatic. People who show off their 0% growths clears and so on inevitably also include convenient crits/dodges after their battle saves.) Awakening Lunatic+ with DLC on Classic: Still bananas and you have to beat the first three chapters (not at all trivial!), but at least you can safely grind up Galeforce strats on DLC maps much earlier. New Mystery Lunatic Classic: See above, albeit mostly for the Prologue now, for all that range-2 Dragons are pretty rude. But surviving the Prologue is sufficiently horrible that it's worthy of mention. (Also, I think we all played this emulated here which enables certain anti-frustration features like save states, but god help cartridge players, even though Battle Saves exist.) There's some variations of "Casual mode turned on" for all of the above, and eventually Fates Conquest Lunatic Classic shows up for the "fair" end. But think the above four aren't bad for "very hard to actually successfully complete". (While there are some games like Radiant Dawn Hard which are more "Frustrating" and "Hard to build your favorite units" but are still basically completable if you set your sights lower and accept deaths.) Also agree that even Three Houses at its most sadistic is held in check by Divine Pulse a good deal - at least in Echoes, Alm/Celica death is still outright gameover (as is Chrom/Robin death in Awakening Casual), while even 3H Classic just lets you DP through.
  13. If you're interested in playing 3H for a 4th time, you might as well do SS? But it's hardly required, so peacing out after 3 playthroughs is fine too. There really is not that much more added to SS that wasn't already in Verdant Wind, aside from a new mostly nonsensical plot excuse for a final mission. The one exception is a plot element that is also covered in the DLC and covered better there. If you haven't done the DLC yet, I'd certainly recommend Cindered Shadows over Silver Snow.
  14. Going that hardcore into DLC Aux Battles seems like it'd be so anti-fun that it'd kill the point of the challenge... that said, some broken weapon grinding with a Knowledge Gem might definitely be legit with such a challenge. Your damage is going to be lower due to no *-faires in the Advanced / Master classes and no Deathblow / Fiendish Blow, so this is a time where hitting S+ for getting a -Faire the "hard way" would be notably helpful so your damage keeps up. I'm hesitant to hype it up too much, but for those who fork out the $$ for Switch Online, one of the random effects from the glowy squares is to increase weapon XP, as well as restore gambit usages? Maybe depleted spell usages as well (not 100% sure)? That seems like it'd be fairly potent (if RNG) in such a run when gambits are more important and spell charges are limited.
  15. Yeah, I picked a bad example - was just trying to think of a sample really long-range monster that couldn't be easily trolled with Thoron, Mire, Caduceus, and friends. Ah well. (The extra defense would really help against birds since they tend to double you I guess? But you don't actually fight that many enemy bird monsters post timeskip if I recall correctly, the big bird problems map is Sothis's paralogue which is too early for the FK trick, although I guess maybe AK certification would help a little.)
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