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    Fates: Conquest

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  1. Genealogy Day 14: Getting Out of This Mess First off, I have Raquesis's group (quick reminder: That's Raquesis, Azel and Sigurd) retreat to a distance where they can fight but survive the bow knights, attacking and killing the armor knights as they retreat to their ideal formation, selectively killing the ones who could get in range, to minimize damage taken. Thankfully the bow knights have inferior HP, so Raquesis can kill these ones no problem. Second, I find a spot northward in the forest for Erin, one directly between the mage and bow knight attack ranges but not in either of them. Literally just a single square pocket between the combined attack ranges of the two groups. If she goes straight north from this square next turn, she'll be pretty much in the clear to get past the mages. She'll get in range of some of the mages, but not enough to risk her life or get her too badly beaten to fight the pirates. And that's assuming she even needs to go through them at all, given that most of the bow knights are going to die next turn. Finally, I have Midir, in a ballsy move I may regret, keep going towards the pirate by the borders of Silvail, banking on Finn luring the lance knights away by being closer to them as he retreats down the road to Augusty. He can't take their combined firepower, and unfortunately while the mooks' stats line up perfectly to get him to 1 HP with miracle, the boss ruins any plans to rely on that. I'll have to give him backup in the form of Raquesis and company next turn. I check the results, and this is utterly fascinating. The enemy AI in this game places SUCH importance on how much damage they'll take in return that even when the end result is still death, they'll suicide into a higher defense, lower attack unit rather than suicide into a lower defense, higher attack unit. That's extremely different from the AI priorities of most games in the series I've played. Anyway, everything went surprisingly smoothly, and I also discovered back at the base that Aideen was just about to promote, so, I had her heal someone up and do that. She actually has pretty good offensive stats, making it a shame that she doesn't have any skills. Oh shit. One of the villagers helpfully reminds me about the dracoknight swarm that I'm pretty sure will come after I seize Madino. I'll have to remember that when I decide who to send back to deal with Eldigan's charge. I hear this because I'm having Midir go around to the villages to get money to give to his wife, who is sorely short on gold due to having expensive staves and little in the way of income since neither she nor her husband is good at fighting. This unfortunately, since I resolved not to look up which village does what, means I waste a +3 strength booster on him that Dew could really have used. Damn. Oh well, he's getting decent levels. I have Lex sneak behind the castle guards to take out the pirates at the villages by Madino, managing to just barely slip by while Raquesis and Azel bait the armors out of formation. Unfortunately, the vast majority of them double back and chase after Lex for reasons I can't wholly process at the moment. Yet again, it astonishes me how difficult it is to make describing the actual gameplay interesting. The encounters are massive, clumped together and brief. It's not as boring playing it as it is describing it, but way more interesting things happen way more rapidly most of the time even in the games prior on this list that had major pacing issues. I find that whenever I'm mostly just playing the game and not commenting on the story or on game mechanics, it's sometimes very hard to make what I'm doing sound remotely engaging. As such... I'll try to fast forward to something better. So, Azel kills the boss and now has the bolt sword, and he'll be using it exclusively from now on unless he has to fight things that fight in melee. Dew will keep the wind sword, and the fire sword will go to Ayra. And I am informed of the moment that Dew and Ayra become a couple by proccing a lover's crit the very first turn to destroy the big ballista Dew had been chipping away at! Score! He'll be a thief fighter in no time, which is just ENOUGH time to start putting the wind sword to good use! So, just secured Madino, and we've gotten to the really juicy part of the conspiracy, where Lord Byron is framed and on the run. I have to say... while this definitely has the best plot of the entire series, the way it's told, not to mention several of the moment-to-moment story beats, leaves something to significantly be desired. I'd love it if we actually got to SEE some more of this political conspiracy behind the scenes. We see a bit of it, but, just to give an idea about how little of it is actually shown: I don't think we've ever actually seen Reptor or Langbalt speak a word. They're a huge part in this whole grand conspiracy, and they're major players behind the scenes, but they have literally no screentime beyond their portraits being flashed in the opening text crawl of the goddamned prologue. This really feels like the sort of thing that would be made way better with the Echoes treatment, where we can get some extra story content and scenes. And while we're on the topic, since this episode is gonna probably be heavy on shit that I won't get much discussion mileage out of, allow me to take a moment to list some other changes that occur to me after my time playing this game, changes I'd like to see in a remake: 1: Teleportation magic is just a thing. Castles have easy access to it and can easily transport people and things from allied castle to allied castle, within a certain distance. This would be established in-universe as the means by which news travels so blindingly fast, and the gameplay impact of this would be that any unit can teleport from any allied castle to any other allied castle. This would drastically cut back on annoying backtracking. Warp would still be useful for letting you do it anywhere, or it would be modified to be more like the warp staff in other games, similar to this game's obscure and difficult-to-obtain rescue staff. 2: As I said, more cutscenes that Sigurd isn't witness to. This game does have some, but it restricts all of them to stuff that's happening on this chapter's map at the furthest. Thus we never get to see any of the shit going on in the Grannvale court until chapter 5, which is disappointingly late in my opinion. At least at the beginning and end of chapters, we should get to see stuff happening elsewhere on the continent. I'd love it if we got to see Byron and Kurth interact so we can actually see more of what they were like, and maybe have Byron's death in chapter 5 be a hugely emotional moment where we realize everything Byron's gone through to get Tyrfing to Sigurd, his last (and unfortunately star-crossed) chance of getting anything right. Really drive in that this massive intergenerational tragedy took THREE generations to avenge, not just two, which is something I only just now realized while discussing this. 3: Massively, MASSIVELY overhauled enemy encounters. More enemies, more spread out, belonging to smaller and more numerous formations. And on a related note: 4: SHIT TO DO AT THE CASTLE. Currently, foot soldiers and especially armor soldiers are left completely in the dust because they can't efficiently do anything, because there's so much moving around that has to be done. The game provided its own solution to this but basically never actually tried to make it a core concern. MAKE REINFORCEMENTS ATTACK THE CASTLE. Make it important to have a platoon of units hanging around the castle to help protect it from damage. Make every chapter have a defense chapter built-in to it. This is a job that any unit can do, not just ones that have high mobility, and it's such a waste that this game basically never gives you the opportunity to do it. So... Taillte? That name looks weird no matter how you spell it, so I guess I'm just biased towards Tiltyu, but at least that one sounds plausibly girly and cute. Speaking of, I wonder what they're going to do with Claude now that Three Houses is a thing? That's weird... this time the “castle seized” jingle happened before the end of the cutscenes. I don't remember that happening before now. And yet again, I'd like to draw your attention to the fact that crucial plot points depend on instant transmission of information. Sigurd captures Madino, and the literal instant this happens, Dierdre is just overcome with an anxious and impatient desire to leave the safety of the castle and walk all the way over to Madino to see him. Think about that. In a game that doesn't remotely discuss how news travels, the plot ABSOLUTELY, PIVOTALLY DEPENDS on the news of Sigurd conquering Madino reaching Augusty FASTER THAN SIGURD CAN. Okay, now, Dierdre is going “here Shanan, take care of my baby while I make a quick stroll ACROSS THE FUCKING COUNTRYSIDE, ON FOOT.” “I won't be long,” she says. HOW WILL YOU NOT BE LONG, DIERDRE? HOW COULD THIS TRIP POSSIBLY NOT TAKE TOO MUCH TIME FOR IT TO BE SAFE TO LEAVE A BABY WITH AN INEXPERIENCED PRE-TEEN BOY? Most of my “this is stupid” energy in the past regarding this moment was reserved for what happens next, and how stupid it can be depending on who you leave in that area just north of Augusty to witness Dierdre's kidnapping and do literally nothing. But now I realize this is just an outrageously contrived and bizarre plot point across the board. ...That said, it STILL hurts me right in the gut to see that sort of horrible shit happen to them. This game, for all of its myriad faults with its gameplay and writing, really picked a series of events to happen to our main character to really, MAJORLY punch him in the gut, and punch him so hard that the audience feels it. I think that's really what makes this plot so memorable and beloved: the sheer emotions it stirs in people who play it. Just how much it makes us miserable for Sigurd and how much it makes us want to fuck up the shit of everyone who's wronged him. Fuck the fact that we barely know Dierdre or arguably even Sigurd, we don't NEED to know them all that well to feel bad about this, because this is shit that we wouldn't wish on our worst enemy, and the game knows it. Sweet Christ does the game know it. And it's also the sort of thing that isn't really used often, so we haven't become numb to the hunger. The shit that happens at the end of part 1, that specific act of inhuman cruelty, very, very rarely happens in fiction, so it doesn't feel like a cheap ploy to get us to sympathize with underdeveloped characters, even when, cold-bloodedly, it kind of is. Alright, and now we come up to Eldigan and the Cross Knights. Time to get a load of them and try to figure out why I don't remember having any issue dealing with these guys at all. OH! THAT'S RIGHT! I REMEMBER! BECAUSE WHEN YOU USE RAQUESIS AND PROMOTE HER TO MASTER KNIGHT, THE CROSS KNIGHTS CAN'T DO SHIT TO HER! All you have to do is talk to Eldigan, and the cross knights just die because their attack power is garbage compared to her monstrous defense. Keep in mind, Raquesis starts out with a base defense of 7, gains 1 defense from talking to Beowulf, gains another whopping 7 upon promotion, and on average will gain 4 more by level 20 with her growth of 20%. That's 19 defense on average. With that defense value, the Cross Knights, with their strongest weapon, the javelin, do FOUR DAMAGE TO HER. And my Raquesis is a tiny bit blessed and also level 29, so she has 23 defense. The cross knights literally can't touch her, so it's just a matter of guarding the castle and having my toughest guys pick them off. Should be a breeze. As long as we can reach Eldigan. Which I do, after giving the magic ring to Raquesis and then weeding out a few of them. They won't fight Raquesis, but they will fight her new husband Azel, who thankfully has awesome evade thanks to his thunder sword and his total of 20% bonuses from standing next to Raquesis. Funny enough, I have to give a point of praise to Eldigan. Unlike most Camuses, he does actually wind up being convinced in the end that killing Sigurd for that sack of shit Chagall is a terrible idea, even if he immediately dies for it. Anyway, his death prompts the appearance of dracoknights... who I now discover have 1 more point of movement than pegasus knights, even before being promoted. ...It may have been a mistake to have Erin stick near the not-yet-crossable shoreline. ...Guess I'll sort that out tomorrow!
  2. Given that I've seen swords only slightly less ridiculous in anime, that's actually quite reasonable for a psychotically oversized anime lance. Canonically, that's an anti-cavalry lance. This is what anime considers to be an "anti-cavalry sword":
  3. He pretty explicitly said that the plan after taking over Nordion was to go straight on to Evans.
  4. Hell, just people who want to have to think on their feet and make up strategies on the fly rather than through memorization would love it. I'd play that mode in a heartbeat. As for settings I'd add... This is a pretty outrageously psychotic idea I've thought about for a while: Murphy Mode: On/Off If Murphy Mode is set to on, everything that can go wrong will go wrong. Every single RNG enemies use for their attacks and abilities is 00. That means that as long as there is even a 1% chance of them hitting, critting, or activating a special skill, it always happens. You are forced to account for the worst case scenario in all of your strategies, or see the worst case scenario play out catastrophically right before your eyes. I draw the line at giving the player corresponding terrible RNG though; making the player incapable of hitting without a 100% hit rate would likely make most games impossible.
  5. I would be all for this sort of thing, as long as the default difficulty modes were still well-designed and worth being the default ones. Also, random enemy skills would be absolutely awesome depending on the style of game. Many parts of Conquest would completely fall apart with random enemy skills, but in something like Birthright with a better endgame, random enemy skills would be absolutely amazing. Like Lunatic+ except without a metagame revolving around like three people.
  6. It wasn't just unjust imprisonment that prompted the invasion. Chagall also sicced an entitled psychopath on his sister and his castle's citizenry out of pure spite, and then, and this is the big and crucially important thing, transparently and openly attempted an 90% baseless invasion of Sigurd's country while they were at their most vulnerable. It's pretty damned specious to remotely consider Sigurd the aggressor in this conflict, or not understand why he did what he did.
  7. Genealogy Day 13: The Terror of the Ten Foot March I just noticed, I think this game might have different sound effects for attacks that do a little damage and attacks that do a lot. I was initially concerned Lewyn might be a bit of a load before getting Forseti. Jesus was I wrong. He hasn't seen a single round of real combat since those bandits when he first showed up, but he could easily do enough arena cheese between this chapter and the last that a little gold gift from Dew (after he bought the Paragon Ring) was enough to let Lewyn get the Pursuit Ring. And now he's a complete and total menace. Low defense, to be sure, though he's still great for player phase and against mages. And obviously once he gets Forseti, enemy phase won't be an issue for him. Speaking of which, strategy time! There are a couple of things I need to do at once. First off, I need to neutralize all of the pirates before they go after villages I can't reach. But I also need to head off the numerous armed patrols gunning for Augusty, namely a team of lance armors to the east (sending Lex after them), a team of mages to the northwest (sending Lewyn after them and having Finn and Midir take out the pirate nearby), and an army of axe armors and bow knights (sending Sigurd, Azel and Raquesis after them). I also, obviously, just got the brave sword and I'm about to have Ayra sell it to Erin immediately so she can get some shit done. ...Christ I wish this game let you have wyvern riders before the last two and a half chapters of the whole game. I always like them way better than pegasus knights. The speed disadvantage is literally never an issue. In nearly every instance in living memory the wyvern riders have been better than the pegasus knights in all practical areas. For similar reasons I'm also really, really, really missing my insanely badass Lex!Fee right about now, but of course that was only a sane idea because it was a mounted-only run. Now that this is instead an ironman run, Ced's too good to screw over, and he's a prime candidate to inherit the Valkyrie staff. Also, having a flying staff user with an improved staff rank and a decent magic growth will be nice. But I do miss my “wyvern rider in feathers”. Sylvia is currently staying in the castle for now, since she can't really keep up with any of these groups, and she'll make the in-and-out-of-castle shenanigans of the first few turns a bit easier. Plus, she's not getting any support points while indoors I believe. And given this is ironman... this bitch dyin' a widow. I need all the auras I can get. Speaking of support points, the second Dew and Ayra fall in love, it'll only take 25 of the 50 optimistic minimum turns for this map to get Dew promoted by tossing money around, thanks to being level 15 and having the Paragon Ring. However, I accidentally stick Raquesis in a place where she could die if all enemy attacks connect, because I sorely underestimated how much attack power the armor grunts had because I was getting complacent again. I managed to salvage it as much as I could by both giving the enemy more tempting (but non-killable) targets and giving her Sigurd's aura. It's highly unlikely she'll die, but I'm obviously still nervous. Thankfully... for some reason... one of the armors doesn't make the full march to attack her. I could have SWORN he was in range though... Unfortunately, Raquesis's magic attack power, even with an el tome, is absolutely pathetic. Her only real flaw. I'll have to give her Azel's magic ring, because jesus fucking christ. She's not one-rounding anything at 1-2 range with that attack power. Not this late in part 1. ...Unfortunately... yes... this is yet another busy day. I'm sorry. My schedule's just gotten nuts lately, and Wednesdays are especially tight even at the best of times. It's getting pretty late now, to the point where I'm concerned I might make a stupid tactical decision due to mental fatigue. ...And that would be dangerous here. Because the situation I just got myself into is a bit intense. Okay. First off, I failed a spot check somehow and missed the lance knights stationed to the southeast, and they just started going full charge after Finn and Midir. Secondly, all of those axe armors Raquesis failed to kill up north are still there, and the bow knights are charging as well. Third, Erin is caught between these two groups and the fire mages and is trying to get past them to intercept the sea-traveling pirates before they pass through the arbitrary yellow “you can't go through here because plot” anti-flier field over the sea. I've gotta figure out how to fix all of these issues simultaneously, and... that's... probably gonna be a challenge. Hopefully that's enough of a cliffhanger to make up for the short post!
  8. In their defense, he's pretty dang old. Genealogy Day 12: Chapter 3 ahoy! Right, so, hopefully we'll get to... chapter 3? You know, when the chapters are so small in number but massive in size, it's kind of weird to have a prologue and epilogue. It's all well and good to have a prologue and endgame chapter when your game is like 20 chapters long... but when it's only ten? That just makes the chapter list feel... anemic, in some sense. You FEEL that missing chapter a lot more than usual. Well, I suppose they could have just wanted the big finale of part 1 to end on chapter 5. But anyway, on to actually getting there. I fight Clement, he still doesn't show any signs of being a bad person. More of a guy who owns some really inconvenient real estate and found himself the only thing standing between invaders and his country's sovereignty. “Will I go down... in glory?” (Dies) Man, this honestly makes me feel bad for the guy. Also, I don't think I've mentioned this before... but the map music keeps playing while the “castle captured” jingle plays, it's just low volume. Which can sound kinda weird at times. I also don't get why they did that when it's not like the music was playing right before it. It's generally some other conversation music from the cutscene right before. Yet again, I find the dialogue of Manfroy WAY better in the original translation, where he's got much more smug and slick word choices, especially for when he points out that Chagall was the one who killed the king, he merely suggested it. Chagall: I... Damn it all! How is Sigurd's little army even this strong!? This isn't fair! I mean, I know that should make him come across as a whiny manchild, but he's also, y'know... correct? It IS totally ridiculous how much I can do with this handful of soldiers. I will admit though, I do prefer one of Manfroy's lines in this one: “With Kurth's death there remains but a single scion to Naga's holy lineage, and that old fool hardly needs our help to die.” Interesting. The original translation had the unnamed dark mage say “next we betray the king, and once you become emperor...” when talking to Manfroy. But here they say it's Arvis betraying the king and Arvis “styling himself as emperor”. Was the original a mistranslation? The new one is definitely more accurate to what actually happens, but I liked how they were at least a little vague about their evil plan in the original. But there's one line that in hindsight was clearly wrong in the original: “I just wonder if someone as arrogant as him can keep quiet.” The new one saying that someone as prideful as him couldn't bear to be burned at the stake as a pariah for having dark blood sounds way more accurate, and looking back, the original line made it sound like there were concerns about the security of the plan that the dark mage just completely glossed over by moving on to the next subject. Jeeeesus christ. Yeah, this game seems to have a recurring theme of bunching all of the enemies into big groups, which... really makes combat really on game-breaking enemy-phase power, which is in plentiful supply in this game. Honestly though, it's really disappointing looking at it in the context of this marathon. Look at that massive blob of units. What kind of challenge is that? Just that single formless blob of enemies that can easily be cheesed with hit and run strats or just raw stats, and then nothing else after that until I get to the castle? The only thing that's scary about that group is how many of them there are. Well, that and the ridersbane that Zyne is carrying. But I'll just have to player-phase snipe him with Azel. But seriously, of my four heavy-hitters, only one of them was gained through what I'd call “abuse”. Azel required babying, but all the exp he got was the finite non-abuse amount you get for combat, which means that there's easily enough exp in this game to get a couple strong promoted units by this point. And that utterly breaks the game, because this game really, really rewards strong enemy-phasing. I mean, most games in the series do, but most of them also don't make it this easy to accomplish it, at least not on the harder difficulties. Between a very forgiving exp curve, tons of ridiculously powerful stat-boosting rings, overpowered weapons and skills, and tremendous promotion bonuses, It's ridiculously easy to turn damn near anyone in this game into an unstoppable enemy phase menace, and so far this game isn't giving me much reason to do anything else. Yeah, after multiple hit-and-runs with Azel (who has the best 1-2 range power of my set of four promoted fighters), the entire army was slaughtered, and I managed to get Dew two strong levels killing off the three troubadours when the rest of the army was gone. Now I'll have him kill the ballisticians because why the hell not? Might as well challenge myself at least a little and get some reward out of it. Never mind! Not a challenge at all! Thanks to the auras, Dew can completely dodgetank the ballistae. Oh well, not like I wasted much time, Dew arrived at the end of the cavalry fight anyway. I'm gonna give Raquesis the kill on Chagall both to get her the Physic and to get some pre-emptive revenge for what's going to happen next chapter. And Chagall is a complete and total coward who doesn't even attack when it's his turn. He just uses the physic staff to heal. I never noticed that before! Nice touch, even if it makes this a lot easier. Alright! He's down and Augusty is seized. Let's see the new translation of the chapter finale, and GET THE FUCK OUT OF THIS AWFUL, AWFUL FUCKING CHAPTER. … ...Yeah, uh, Eldigan, with all due respect... ...Which is literally none... ...FUCK YOU. This new translation especially makes it worse, but this even applies to the old one... You are officially the least sympathetic Camus in the entire goddamned franchise. YOU ARE WORSE THAN XANDER. Xander at least was idiotically loyal to a beloved family member who once deserved that kind of loyalty. First off, what do you mean you “suppose” you were arrested? And the fuck do you mean by “I'm indisposed for barely any time at all, only to find Grannvale has made itself a home in Augustria behind my back!” Your king shoves you in a cell, invades your castle, signs your own fucking sister's death and/or RAPE warrant, Sigurd bails her out and helps her rescue you, and yet here you are, talking to your best friend with an air of “I'm gone for five minutes, and you do THIS behind my back!?”. HOW ARE YOU FUCKING SURPRISED THAT THIS IS THE END RESULT OF WHAT CHAGALL DID!? Can you even CONCEIVE of a way Sigurd could have handled this in which you wouldn't be pissed off at him and your sister would still be in one piece? ELDIGAN. WHAT. THE FUCK. IS WRONG WITH YOU!? This hostile, “you're on thin fucking ice, buster” attitude is patently ridiculous. The knowledge that his sister is safe, his citizenry non-pillaged, and his freedom won thanks to Sigurd's intervention would each individually be enough on their own to keep any remotely sane person from being this one-sidedly mad. He's acting as if it's a herculean task to trust Sigurd, a courtesy that's only afforded to him thanks to their history of friendship. As if he would have killed LITERALLY ANYONE ELSE ON THE SPOT IF THEY DID THIS. Imagine how awkward a conversation THAT would've been, next time he talked to Raquesis? This is a guy who dotes on his sister so much that THE TOWNSPEOPLE ARE SPREADING INCEST RUMORS. I REFUSE to believe that this is in character for him unless literally nobody told him anything about what happened to Raquesis, INCLUDING RAQUESIS HERSELF, in the ENTIRE SIX MONTH PERIOD that takes place between Chapter 2 and Chapter 3. Fuck this. Fuck this entirely. … ...Alright, I'm done. Anyway... let's get moving, and do at least the beginning setup of chapter 3. Okay. So. This text crawl about how things get progressively worse for Sigurd in the six months between chapters 2 and 3... if this game gets a remake, I'm hoping that this is expanded on, that Eldigan's hostility in chapter 2 is toned down, and that THIS is used as the opportunity to strain their relationship, as Sigurd's basically forced to put up with his higher-ups making it impossible for him to do what he needs to do to get out of Augustria. If Eldigan was aware that Sigurd wasn't in the wrong in chapter 2, but the politics surrounding them basically forced them to either kill each other or betray their countries, causing a perpetual spiral of strain on their relationship... that would make for a far more compelling and tragic story. As it stands, Eldigan just... sucks ass. Okay, just got to the Briggid conversation, and... first off, the fuck is up with their castle? It looks like acid rained on it. The top looks melted and slick. Second off, big mistake, I feel, translating Briggid's stance on their acts as just being “heroic thieves”, which sounds fucking weird, instead out outright stating that they're Robin Hood types who give to the poor, like the original translation did. Another weird thing is that despite the opening text making it sound like a hopeless deadlock, both Sigurd and Eldigan independently say that Grannvale was on the verge of giving Augusty back to Chagall when Chagall attacked. I do like that the translation change to Shanan being instructed to watch over Dierdre changes from “that ought to put you at ease” to “he at least should keep you in good cheer”, to make it clear he's not actually expecting combat strength from Shanan, or indirectly insulting his wife (who admittedly probably deserves it) by saying she's so weak that she'd be safer if protected by a 13 year old boy. On to the obligatory start-of-chapter arena runs, purchases, etc. ...Okay, this just occurred to me, and I can't believe it took me this all these years to really think about this... why can a BLACKSMITH repair tomes? What the fuck are magic books made of? ...IS THAT WHY FIRE TOMES ARE SO HEAVY!? Alright. I know I said this about last chapter, and we know how that turned out... but the beginning of this chapter is looking great. Lots of stuff that ideally needs to be done at once for one thing. Which means multiple teams need to go out, and there are a lot of pre-deployed smaller battalions around... it's feeling more like a harder version of the first map. I also like how all of the back-and-forth non-linear castle progression is restricted to a relatively open area that's about half the map size, to prevent massive pains in the ass when it comes to going back and forth. Yes, I think I'm going to have a lot more fun tomorrow than I had last week.
  9. Almost assuredly not the case. I'm morally certain that I was exposed to this map's terrible pacing before; I just didn't care. I think the big thing was that I was a teenager when I really, REALLY played this game, and had the patience of a saint. 99% of the reason I played Fire Emblem back then was for the satisfaction of watching my strong units curbstomp as much as possible. That made FE4 one of my favorite Fire Emblems for obvious reasons, as it's great for making those kinds of characters... as long as you're willing to ignore all the bullshit you have to do to make that happen with a lot of units. Now, the most recent time I played, the only time I really looked at the game with jaded adult eyes, I was doing a mounted-only run, which probably helped a lot, but not completely, because I was still letting myself use anyone who either promoted into a mount, or would breed someone who would have or get a mount in gen 2. That meant I was still using Aideen, Azel, Lewyn, Raquesis... Maybe it's just this time, now that I'm on a schedule and this is sort of an obligation and not a do-whenever thing, combined with losing Ethlyn and Quan, I've become more acutely aware of how shit the pacing of this chapter is?
  10. I'd be interested in finding out that comparison too! Hopefully you'll stick around or remember to check back in a bunch of months to see and tell me how it went for you! Genealogy Day 11: Let's get moving So, thankfully, the slow part of this level is finally over with, and it's time to move forward. I got Arden's pursuit ring, I checked all the conversations, I'm gonna have Beowulf go over to activate Raquesis's stat boost when that comes up after seizing (they're already really good though), Lewyn is at Evans ready to intercept Fury/Erinys, and the return ring has been sold, ready for Sigurd to buy right after seizing so he can eventually get back to the action quicker. ...Christ, I wish I still had the return staff. But let's move on. So, we get to the conversation with Mr. Exposition envoy who seems to only serve to inform Sigurd of the nasty rumors going around about him and to tell the story of Sigyn and Kurth. ...Now, after seeing the expositional nonsense that plagued FE3, it's kind of jarring, but I'm kind of getting reminded of that with this exposition here. Of course here it's nowhere near as bad, but that whole “let me tell you the whole story” thing was really giving me flashbacks. Looks like Return is an action you can do after visiting a castle. Possibly even after attacking when mounted. And while it's an extreme action that can't be used just anywhere, it could be a very useful panic button. I'll have to attack with Sigurd and see if that is the case. Anyway... so apparently Fury's name is Erin. I'll keep that in mind. And that was the last of Clement's substantial dialogue for the chapter, and no, it looks like we'll just have to take the villagers' word for it that Clement was a sack of shit. His dialogue isn't substantially different, and he seems to look more like he's backed into a corner and scared of his country being taken over. Certainly nothing like Evil Benjamin Franklin, and certainly to Chagall. Alright, I got Beowulf's conversation with Raquesis and... well, I generally found this conversation awkward no matter which translation, but I think I like the original a bit better. However... fun fact: for some reason, I always remembered there being some line, some verbal tic or “Er, yeah,” or SOMETHING in that conversation that hinted that Beowulf was talking complete shit about knowing Eldigan. That he was making it up just to hit on her. I didn't see it in the new translation, but when I looked back at the script for the old one... it wasn't in there either. Weird. Guess I'm just totally mis-remembering something here. Also, I just noticed this translation turned the “animation” menu into the “options” menu... which only has animations as a setting. To the point that they must have had to do some kind of hacking tomfoolery to put an “animations” unselectable label over the menu, which I've never seen in any other FE game unless I'm mistaken. Odd change, though having “anime” be one of the options was a bit goofy. Alright, Dew's level 11, and I think I have a plan for him: I'm gonna give him the Paragon ring once Raquesis doesn't need it, and then he's going to gain 20 exp a turn giving money to Ayra once she's his wife. A little bit of that happening simultaneously with the rest of the group doing things, and he should be a thief fighter in time for the beginning of chapter 4. It's kind of pathetic that I have to resort to this, but damn it, I want to use him. The better he is, the better Larcei and Ulster are, and also, he's a thief. Letting him actually steal would be insanely useful for my cash flow. Also, yes, this settles it: Lex is marrying Briggid. Patty needs her Paragon! I'm not going through this twice! The incoming lance cavalry (which I resolved to take care of before getting in the range of all the ballistae and the sleep staff) were swiftly taken care of by a combination of baiting with Azel and standard player phase tactics. However, when I walled off the sword cavalry with Lex and Azel due to there being no space to retreat my non-enemy-phase units, I noticed that yet again, weak sword users prioritized attacking Lex, who has higher defense (though with Azel's defense ring, only by a little). I'm starting to think that the “smart” enemy AI has a significant priority on accuracy when it can't kill anyone. That or the weapon matchup gave them much better odds of surviving Lex than Azel. Speaking of odds of survival... ...This is pretty scary. Particularly from an ironmanning perspective. A bunch of enemies, of a wide variety of weapon types, including magic, all safely enveloped between five ballistae and a sleep staff user. I can immediately think of options where nine times out of ten it'd work just fine. But it's that tenth time that worries me. The ballistae don't do much damage, and have pretty terrible accuracy, but they do enough damage to worry me and have at least an extant chance of killing a very good number of units in my party with prolonged exposure... including my main healer. What I might have to do is have Dierdre warp up to Amphony and then silence Clement from the cliff, the only direction from which she's closer to Clement than the ballistae. Also, I get, in a sense, that the massive terrain time sink for some obstacles, like killing the ballistae (which you can do without fliers, if you climb a shitton of mountain peaks), might be to make that something that you just flat out have to deal with, or be super clever and plan ahead for, if you want the best ranking. But it's still really fucking tedious to do regardless. I won't be killing the ballistae that way, but I just generally resent the “this is really easy without self-imposed challenges” design philosophy that shit like this represents. I want to feel cunning and clever, not cowardly and cheap, when I discover ways to abuse systems to win. Just got Lex the psychotic bonuses that come with promoting. He's now a massive tank, with 19 defense and 23 strength. His speed is also pretty good, if only that mattered. Interesting that this version of Lewyn and Erin's talk doesn't mention Queen Rahne by name, when the original does. I doubt it means anything, but it's curious all the same. Alright, we've got Erin, and... well I wish she weren't utterly useless when you get her, for one thing. Making a new unit sit out on the chapter they're introduced in is a serious dick move. I fail to see much use for her in this chapter when every single group of enemies is covered by ballistae. I may very well give her the hero sword next chapter just to help her catch up. Her stats are... okay, but not great. ...Just noticed Arden's new class name. What exactly was the point of changing “Sword Armor” to “Armor Sword”? That makes even less sense! And due to the time sink getting Raquesis over to the central path to use her aura turned out to be, she's promoted! Finally she's a Master Knight, with its promotion gains of FUCKING SEVEN IN STRENGTH, SKILL AND DEFENSE. AND THEN FOUR IN SPEED. Raquesis's strength, speed and defense are all in the twenties, she has pursuit now, she's basically an unstoppable monster. And she hasn't seen a single bit of real combat outside of an arena. It's really quite silly, if you think about it. And the best part is that Azel's a level away from promoting too, so they'll both be mounted for the rest of part 1! Huzzah! I managed to get them there, and it only took a ridiculous amount of favoritism on Azel and... (Checks turn count) ...Ninety turns for Raquesis! Well, this whole level has just been a shitshow from beginning to end, and I'm gonna be glad to see the back of it. But let's get moving, shall we? And aside from getting my hands on MK Raquesis, that effort was a total waste of time, because the aura dodgetanking idea I had was completely worthless, as the lance armor at the edge of the enemy range... did not take the bait. Looks like taking out Clement and then rushing in guns blazing is the only option. Thankfully Dierdre is by this point almost in position, with two charges left on her silence staff. Anyway, now that some of my other guys have promoted, Sigurd's looking significantly less impressive, though still a pretty good unit. But Raquesis definitely has him beat at this point, and she's only one level ahead of him. So, let's wait until Dierdre is in position, and then make our move. ...Or I could forget to move Raquesis the fuck back after I got her to run away from Eva with the help of Sylvia, and watch Eva run the fuck into the enemy army, get put to sleep, and then slowly turn that very literal statement into a euphemism. Ah well. I was going to do it on purpose in a few turns anyway, since I'm gonna want to send Raquesis in to deal with this horde safely, but full disclosure: when it happened, it was by accident. Facing the final onslaught of castle Mackily through the annoying ballista bottleneck, Azel finally reaches level 20, and goes back to the home castle to promote! Bonuses aren't nearly as good as the madness that is female master knight, but still, he's got a horse now, and he knows how to use it! ...And now it's getting late, and I'll have to wrap this up. ...I feel really bad. I started this day thinking all the slow stuff was over, but most of the stuff I'm doing gameplaywise is barely worth describing, because this bottleneck is still so dull to get through, and it's become increasingly apparent to me that there's only a handful of groups of enemies per each of these castles, which makes it very hard to give engaging commentary without giving a detailed play-by-play of my every move, which barely seems necessary as they're so simple, and would only serve to have me get less shit done. I NEVER remembered this map being this outrageously terrible in ANY of my previous playthroughs, which causes me to suspect it may entirely be the fault of losing the return staff and Ethlyn. Hopefully having Raquesis will help pick up the slack, but that return staff is gone for the rest of part 1 no matter what. But anyway, next part, we'll... actually beat chapter 1! And then maybe start having fun again, now that we've got all these cool mounts? Maybe? PLEASE?
  11. From what I remember of Mangs going over it, it seemed really interesting. 'Course, it probably helps that I'm a huge Castlevania fan. But that kind of atmosphere was the sort of thing I was hoping to get from Nohr when I heard it had wolfmen. I had these mental images of fighting horrible monsters in a land consumed by endless night, which... well, I mean, we all know how the tone of Fates turned out.
  12. Honestly, I think overdoing the monastery as implemented was a mistake for another reason too: it ties us perpetually to Garreg Mach, which in part 2... gets really weird. At least in Fates the ridiculous spacetime shenanigans surrounding My Castle justified why we could scamper on back to the exact same home base after every single battle. Here it just gets bizarre, but more importantly, it also severely limits what we get to see of the other countries outside of combat.
  13. Multiple tiny little niggling QOL issues in Three Houses: The inability to highlight individual enemy attack ranges on the preparation screen. How annoying it is to navigate the fast travel menu because none of the maps are in cardinal directions yet you still have to shift from room to room anyway, rather than just having a cursor and selecting the room you want by moving the cursor freely. The lack of a "use" option on the convoy menu. You have to pull stat boosters into the inventory before using them. Imagine if this game had tonics! That would be a nightmare! The lack of the Fates and Awakening "pick which skill to unequip" prompt when you have too many skills, meaning you have to wait until the next map before equipping them, and often you'll forget you even got it until you check back later.
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