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  1. Looks like I'm late to the party, but I wanna chime in on something regardless : There are heavy implications that the Nabateans were at best (or at the very least, became in due time) unpopular with humanity. Besides the whole episode Sothis had with Agartha in the distant past, it's noteworthy how Nemesis and co. became so beloved by fellow humans for performing what was straight up dragon genocide that Rhea/Seiros to get allies had to, not only use propaganda (through her own church and the empire she co-founded) to paint them as fallen heroes, but also removed all evidence that dragons ever existed in Fodlan (with her fellow dragons becoming "saintly beasts" of sorts instead) just to protect the survivors from further attacks. Developer interviews even chime on this detail: As for why Edelgard's secret history (the only surviving records of how things were before the church imposed its version of history) is so different compared to what every other route tells you, it's because of this: (The War of Heroes is the name of the war between the Empire & Nemesis seen in the first animated movie btw). Given everything Verdant Wind tells you before the final battle, what this description confirms is that Nemesis' response to Rhea's own propaganda was something among the lines of: Which incidentally explains why to Wilhelm the First (Edelgard's great-great-grand daddy, Adrestia's 1st emperor, and the person who left the secret records to his descendants), the whole war was just a conflict of interests rather than a standard good vs evil fight. Nemesis' rule represented humanity being ruled by humans. Meanwhile, Seiros' efforts to tarnish Nemesis and co.'s reputation, while also salvaging her living kin, were the opposite (more so given the role her Church assumed in the Empire). And this is the knowledge Edelgard operates upon that no one else knows. ... Also it goes without saying, but 3H's stories run on storytelling bias. So the church being ultimately portrayed as a positive thing in the routes where it's one of the player's biggest allies, is par for the course really.
  2. I know this thread's meant to be mostly gameplay related, but I'll be going over some datamine-related stuff now that people are bringing up more interesting points. 1. Fair enough. The Crimson Flower maps are even stored on a separate place inside 3H's data compared to the other routes, so there's no actual evidence pointing the ones from AM/VW/SS were once meant to be used there as well. 2. Also a fair point. I will say though, that the internal order for the Monastery Exploration data also points out Crimson Flower's slots might've been potentially saved in advance compared to the other routes, so it's left ambiguous if what we have with CF is truly a voice acting/recording and line-writing issue, or if it's simply a side effect of the route being envisioned as being different from the start. The full order in case you don't wanna check the link is the following btw: White Clouds > Crimson Flower > Silver Snow > Dummy Slot(?) > Azure Moon > Verdant Wind > Junk > Cindered Shadows. 3. Perhaps? On one hand, it's no secret a lot of fat had to be trimmed from 3H to get it out on time (like seriously, it's page on The Cutting Room Floor is massive). On the other though, Three Houses is also a very narrative heavy game, meaning that if it doesn't have a good reason to reuse a map available, then it just...won't (which is noteworthy, 'cause the generic Kingdom map is reused a ton in it), so that already cuts away the pool of locations Edelgard's route can use compared to 3 Hopes. It's a neat idea tbh, though I think Fort Merceus could also be a location they could've used in said instance, not unlike how Ludwig takes over it for Three Hopes' Scarlet Blaze at one point. In this case however, Silver Snow (and only Silver Snow, because as far the devs were concerned: Silver Snow is the Empire route; and Crimson Flower is the Supreme Ruler/Hegemon route) was meant to be the hardest route from the begginning, which is backed up by two different translations of the developer interview: ...And the means of which they did so - AKA losing Edelgard - does have noticeable effects in gameplay: You lose her as an unit. So like you mention, it's not really worth training her at all during SS and that gets annoying given how much she's forcefully deployed in the main story. You lose her unique relic and battalion, meaning you get no Raging Storm, and no 2-use-Raging Flames gambit which would've been awesome to have. You lose the House Leader deployment slot, meaning that, even if you had previously trained another unit which could fulfill Edelgard's niche, you're still gonna end up playing with one unit less compared to Azure Moon & Verdant Wind anyways for most of the main story. And while this comes off -and in my opinion, is- cheap, the findings of my 3H difficulty spreadsheet did identify that most of that route's difficulty is entirely unrelated to what you have to face in it 99% of the time, so I see no point with arguing against it unless you wanna elaborate a bit more on your point I guess. I agree as well with Edelgard's unique class being perfectly usable as long you're fully commited to make her an Armor from the start. From personal experience (as in, by having everyone stick to their canon classes while trying to make them work no matter what), I dare say Dimitri got the worst unique lord classes of the House Leaders as he ends up as a sort of jack-of-all-trades for infantry units that really struggles to function in Maddening without his Battalion Vantage + Battalion Wrath combo (then again, I must also admit Dimitri in my last Maddening run also got horribly RNG screwed, so the odds were never really in his favor). And before I forget: apparently there's evidence the Armored Lord, Great Lord and Wyvern Master classes were pretty late additions in the game, which explains a lot about how the final lord classes ended up implemented while also raising a few questions in the process (like, most of non pre-rendered animated movies must have been added near the end of development... right????).
  3. The point I tried to make with that paragraph was to highlight hows strong and widely believed is the "common knowledge" that CF is "unfinished" even though there's no actual data to back that up besides production values for animated cutscenes (and even that has a far better - if somewhat mundane and anticlimatic - explanation), which is given away by the replies that got the most amount of views in it. It's also worth noting the video was done super early around 3H's launch and made by a Mekkah who had only played/seen the Crimson Flower and Verdant Wind's routes by then, so dude had no clue whatsoever about what kind of game he was talking about when he said, and I quote, that CF is "the path the developers put the least amount of effort into". I agree as well, which is why I made emphasis on the idea that CF is thought as incomplete simply because it's far shorter than the other stories all while ignoring everything else surrounding it. It's a solid idea, but then we run once again into the issue CF's balance would need to be redone from scratch to account those chapters are there. Best case scenario, the Alliance & Kingdom get only one more map each as that would disrupt the difficulty scaling the least, but that would still fail to satisfy everyone given it would be a half-measure which pisses off both the camp that likes CF's current lenght, and the one which wants the route to be just as long as AM/VW. As the title of the post goes, "fixing" Edelgard's route is nowhere near as simple nor straightforward as people make it up to be. 1. As the analysis shows, CF not having enough room to breathe from a gameplay standpoint was more or less intentional, so there's not much one can do about it given the devs never really planned it to go on for more chapters. Realistically, a 3H remake could adress that complaint but mainly because those often add a ton of content to the OG game anyways. 2. About the story being important to 3H, oh man you truly have no idea (I go more in-depth into my other post if you're interested). Yeah, I also feel CF not being a secret in the final game more or less distorted people's views on it, Death of the Author style. I agree as well Silver Snow also needs something unique to truly stand out (as by structure, it's the sort of experience that works best as a standalone game rather than as a story branch of a multi-route game), with but it's admittedly hard to say what exactly, given the main source of it's challenge largely stems of how much you're handicapped compared to AM/VW. Maybe Byleth getting an exclusive battalion or heck, even the Knight-Captain's Sword from Warriors: Three Hopes could be a cool addition from a gameplay perspective. The devs did admit CF was originally 3 times harder to access than what we got, so it is plausible to claim that could've very well been a prerequisite at some point given how strongly KT's dev team reacted over having been railroaded into SS against their wishes (there's sadly not much evidence to back up the idea however).
  4. Around a week ago, I did a thread in reddit about the gameplay intricacies Three Houses has + how CF’s identity is defined by those, and one person commented I neglected the distribution of all the movies present through all routes. In spite of the point brought up there not having any connection to the topic at hand, it did leave me thinking on something. While the idea itself - overall movie distribution - has potential for a breakdown, it would be also criminal to not factor in as well how the game also uses fullscreen CGs (short for computer graphics) to supplement its movies. So in the end, I ended up accounting both for my analysis. Truth be told, I wasn’t expecting to find much with it compared to my previous efforts (that, and sorting everything was kind of a pain). In spite of it, I do think what I noticed after comparing all the data has some merit worth sharing, which is why I ended up making this post and the titular theorem in the end. (Also, happy 4th 3H Anniversary everyone!) A Three Houses Animated Movie/Fullscreen CG Breakdown. (Click above to check the spreadsheet). Like always, context is king: Why are Animated Movies/Fullscreen CGs a Big Deal? Because they’re cool! They’re effective means for displaying important scenes and moments when used well. Those are also often used to argue just how much production values a game has (after all, hiring dedicated animation studios can’t be cheap), which in Three Houses’ case is a contentious topic due to their distribution and presence not being even. At all. Before moving on, please check first the movie/full screen CGs breakdown spreadsheet, as I’ll be talking about some notes listed in it explaining the Silver Snow Theorem. What IS The Silver Snow Theorem? As I was taking notes from how 3H spreads its animated movies and fullscreen CGs across the game, I began noticing that the game, intentionally or not, follows highly specific criteria to decide not only when specific movies/GCs would be used, but also which scenes would get them, and that’s highly relevant because Three Houses loves to recycle its own content whenever possible. It got so specific, as a matter of fact, that it reminded me of this quote the developers once made about the routes’ development, back in May’s 2020 Nintendo Dream issue: It was at that precise point that everything clicked to me. Thus, you can think of the Silver Snow Theorem as the unwritten rules Three Houses follows to a tee which determines how… cinematic, each of the four branching stories are by Part 2: If a story beat present in Silver Snow is shared with another route, then any animated movie used in SS, when possible, will also be present in it. If another route adds more content over the template Silver Snow provides, then it’s likely it will be able to secure an animated cutscene if required. If another route decides to deviate from Silver Snow and do its own thing however, then it won’t be able to get any animated movies for its unique moments unless those happen to be the route’s ending and the animated epilogue mural, thus forcing the path to rely on CGs instead. Thus, on broad terms, the Silver Snow Theorem consists on the following: The amount of movies and fullscreen CGs present in a route’s main story by Part 2, is directly and inversely proportional respectively, to how much the narrative follows Silver Snow’s story beats. Just so we’re all on the same page, let’s take a look at what Silver Snow - the base from which the other three stories spawned - does. Besides Part 1/White Clouds, from Chapter 12 onward, the key story beats which get their own animated movies, in sequential order, are the following: Ch. 12: The Empire invades Garreg Mach and Byleth protects it. Rhea turns into a dragon to help Byleth, gets overwhelmed, and Byleth is pushed down into a cliff. (Descent) Ch. 13: Byleth’s “reunion” with Edelgard. Both fight up until they reach a stalemate, and part their own ways (Reunion: Silver Snow). Ch. 17: Death Knight lures Byleth out of Fort Merceus after fleeing or being defeated. Then TWSITD blows up the fort with missiles (Javelins of Light). Ch. 19: Edelgard is defeated in her palace and Byleth gives her the coup de grâce (Death of the Flame Emperor). Ch. 20: After invading Shambhala and defeating Thales, dude blows up the base with missiles as a last-ditch effort to kill Byleth before debris crushes him. Rhea protects everyone, but gets lethally wounded in the process. (Courage and Tragedy). Besides these, there’s also the interesting case of the intro for the 2nd Gronder Field Battle (Rematch). While in Silver Snow, the battle does canonically happen but is skipped for story reasons, evidence points out the cutscene meant for it was conceived very early in development (to the point all 3 House Leaders used their endgame classes in its beta version), likely for the sake of having it used by the other routes in the future. Incidentally, the Chapter 13 Reunion scene (Reunion: Silver Snow) by concept can be tweaked/altered based on the fact Dimitri and Claude will be on it instead, so it was flexible enough for the 3H devs to do whatever they want with it. A relatively similar case can also be applied for Part 1‘s Flame Emperor reveal, mainly due to the mystery surrounding it needing slight changes in execution because either Dimitri and Claude will be your House Leader instead of Edelgard. Finally, the only CGs Silver Snow uses for Part 2, besides the Introduction Mural for each month in the War Arc, is the one where Rhea’s rescued (Event - Ambitions in the Dark), which is very fitting given the theorem. Thus, things for the Church route end up looking like this: Final animated movie count: 20 (+12, used for Ch. 1 - Ch. 12 intro murals). Exclusive animated movie count: 3 (Reunion Cutscene; Ending; and SS Epilogue Mural). Full screen CGs used: 8 (+ 8, used for Ch. 13 - Ch. 21 intro murals, as the route skips a month) Unique CGs used: Potentially 1, if the player assists to Edelgard’s coronation in Ch.11. Now it’s time to go over how things turned out for the other three routes. The winner of the theorem goes first: The Verdant Wind at Dawn As much flack Claude’s route gets in 3H over being “Silver Snow +”, the hilarious part of all is that building over its foundation paid dividends thanks to the theorem. Following Silver Snow’s template up until the second to last chapter meant that Verdant Wind: Could reuse every animated movie mentioned previously in Silver Snow (i.e: Descent; Javelins of Light; Death of the Flame Emperor; and Courage and Tragedy). In the case of “Courage and Tragedy”, this movie was also slightly tweaked for this route by having its name changed and the soundtrack used in it altered, both now going by the unifying name of “The Curse”. Could add its exclusive animated movies over SS’ story beats, namely*: one for Fort Merceus’ infiltration* (Citizens of the East); and another used after the “Shambhala + Thales go boom with Rhea getting wounded” scene (Resurrection). Add up Claude can also access the movie “Rematch” due to Gronder 2’s battle being visited for story reasons, and also get a proper reunion + ending movies for his final boss, and you get the most movie-tastic experience Three Houses offers. Lastly, Verdant Wind ends up not really having any need for fullscreen CGs besides the one where Rhea’s rescued. So… Final animated movie count: 23 (+12, used for Ch. 1 - Ch. 12 intro murals). Exclusive animated movie count: 5 (Reunion Cutscene; Almyran Reinforcements; Final Boss Awakens; Ending; and VW Epilogue Mural). Full screen CGs used: 7 (+ 9, used for Ch. 13 - Ch. 22 intro murals) Unique CGs used: 0 The negative is that Verdant Wind ends up coming across as too Silver Snow-eske, but as mentioned previously, that’s a big positive when accounting for the theorem. And since we’re done with the winner, it’s only natural to move towards the underdog: A Path of Crimson Flowers If there’s any proof of how much the Silver Snow Theorem can screw you over, it’s Crimson Flower. The source of the problems Edelgard’s route fares, as far the theorem's concerned, start with how it deviates from Silver Snow as early as Chapter 11, meaning: It can’t use “Descent” due to the story mandating the complete opposite scenario (Rhea’s the enemy now). It can’t use “Reunion: Silver Snow” because Edelgard isn’t the enemy. It can’t use “Rematch” due to story reasons. It can’t use “Javelins of Light” because the Death Knight isn’t an enemy, and due to story reasons. …You get the drill by now. Where does that leave it then? Well, besides having previously used a fullscreen CG for the Coronation scene (whose story event also has the same name), plus an unique ending and epilogue mural as movies, any other scene past Ch. 11 whose counterpart from other routes is an animated movie, end up using fullscreen CGs instead, meaning it goes by 5~ chapters without any animated movies. Not to mention, the route is also 18 Chapters long compared to the others paths, so any potential CF has for multiple story scenes worth having CGs is very much limited (case in point; the Edelgard’s route misses 4 fullscreen CGs the other routes get to introduce the months CF doesn’t use). As a result, its final count is the following: Final animated movie count: 15 (+12, used for Ch. 1 - Ch. 12 intro murals). Exclusive animated movie count: 2 (Ending; and CF Epilogue Mural). Full screen CGs used: 10 (+5, used for Ch. 13 - Ch. 18 intro murals, misses 4 months) Unique CGs used: 5 And with it done, only one path remains: Beneath the Azure Moon Azure Moon is by far our most fascinating case, as under the Silver Snow Theorem, Dimitri’s story does both right and wrong. Here’s what it does right: It built over Ch 11’s Flame Emperor’s reveal with its own animated movie: “Loathing”. It can use “Descent” for Chapter 12. It can get its own reunion movie. It can use “Rematch” due to story reasons. And here’s where it erred; It diverges from Silver Snow as soon Gronder 2 ends in late Chapter 17: It can’t use “Javelins of Light” because of story reasons. It can’t use “Death of the Flame Emperor” due to story reasons. It can’t use “Courage and Tragedy” because going to Shambhala isn’t part of the main story. As a result, the theorem impacts Dimitri’s path the following way: besides having 2 exclusive fullscreen CG which elaborate more on his past around Part 1, the route eventually goes 4~ chapters without any animated movies after Ch. 17’s main story mission, the second longest besides Crimson Flower’s. To fill this void, more fullscreen CGs were called upon, and this route stands from the others in how it uses slight variations of its illustrations twice to form a sequence of events, namely, during Rodrigue’s sacrifice (Event - Revenge), and the “Dimitri’s in the rain” scene (Event - A Reason to Live). So overall, for Azure Moon we have: Final animated movie count: 19 (+12, used for Ch. 1 - Ch. 12 intro murals). Exclusive animated movie count: 4 (Flame Emperor Reveal; Reunion; Ending; and AM Epilogue Mural). Fullscreen CGs used: 13 (+ 9, used for Ch. 13 - Ch. 22 intro murals, and excludes 2 slightly tweaked CGs used for sequences). Unique CGs used: 7 (see above for the multiple frames thing). And counting all four routes, their overall amount of movies and CGs look like this: It's intriguing how the theorem shows Silver Snow casts a lingering shadow over Edelgard, Dimitri, and Claude’s stories, with some routes clearly benefiting more from its foundation than others. It’s highlighted as well just how narrative-driven Three Houses is overall, and how it will go above and beyond to have important scenes happen one way or another, regardless if turning them into animated movies is not an option for one reason or another, as seen with Crimson Flower and Azure Moon. And while jury’s up as for how intentional Silver Snow’s effects on the other routes were during the planning stages, I do believe KT learned something from 3H development given that for Warriors: Three Hopes, they wasted no time it getting rid of the Silver Snow foundation by swapping Byleth for Shez and using the pre-timeskip phase as just the prologue for all three routes (a genius move IMO, since it meant the stories wouldn’t need to be bound to any sort of structure established by a template, not unlike one certain route from 3H does). Before closing things up, I wanna briefly go into why skipping some animated movies in a route would be a big deal for the theorem, as I was admittedly a bit vague when stating omissions happen “because of story reasons”. Feel free to stop reading now if you don’t really care about it (many thanks for reading up until this point tho!), but if you wanna stick around, then… Let’s go!: Rematch: The Plot Reaper The Second Gronder Field Battle between all 3 factions as a plot point is vital to the Silver Snow theorem and the routes which benefit from it. The main reason is due the battle’s losers determining who will go and fight the Empire in the second half of Part 2: If the Alliance loses during the fight, then Dimitri & the Kingdom will get this responsibility (Azure Moon). if the Kingdom loses, then it’s all up to Claude and the Alliance to get the job done (Verdant Wind). If both the Alliance and the Kingdom lose, then Byleth’s Resistance Army is the only hope left (Silver Snow). In spite of the movie used for this scene being set in a way Byleth could support any of the three factions like it's Part 1 counterpart, as a plot point, the Empire winning doesn’t serve any purpose to the narrative. So in hindsight, it's not surprising the battle straight up never happens in Crimson Flower. Javelins of Light: The Ticket to Shambhala Long story short, in Silver Snow & Verdant Wind, the Death Knight - and by proxy, Hubert - being aware that TWISTD it will blow up Fort Merceus to smithereens serves as a way to have Byleth/Claude’s gang go to Shambhala after Edelgard’s death, thanks to Hubert’s foresight and unexplained futuristic-missile-detecting abilities. As a result, if going to Shambhala doesn’t have any narrative purpose in the story the route is trying to tell, then the movie just isn't gonna be reused. Faeghast went a bit more in-depth about how 3H uses the missiles in the plot for those interested, but this is more or less the gist of it. And finally: Death of the Flame Emperor: But Dimitri…? This one’s more easy to tell, but regardless: The main reason the movie isn’t reused thrice with Azure Moon is due to the heavy focus the Dimitri & Edelgard relationship gets in its main narrative. Plus, Dimitri vs Edelgard being set up as the very final fight of the story would require a different (and most importantly, “ending-like”) movie to take place instead, more so if Edelgard isn’t gonna be in her Emperor Class… And while there’s an enough solid argument to say the cutscene has no place in Verdant Wind (which I 100% support btw), the reality of the situation is that, as far the Theorem’s concerned, Claude’s route is not different enough to justify not using it. Like always, many thanks to everyone who reached the end of this post! Let me know if you think the Silver Snow Theorem might actually be onto something, if it’s just something I imagined one day, or if you have some feedback or anything to add to the topic. BONUS (since it doesn’t really have a place in the theorem post) Gonna mention this here since I couldn’t find a way to make it fit into the Theorem, but oh man Part 1 has so many animated cutscenes it's insane. There are 47 movie files in total, and from those, 27 are used only in White Clouds (with one being exclusive to Blue Lions).
  5. A few weeks ago, I did a keen analysis on how Three Houses manages difficulty for every one of its four routes which I’ve been slowly improving thanks to the feedback I’ve received on it (many thanks to those who helped btw!). From all the notes I’ve gathered, something very interesting stood out about how the game handles challenges with each path, which reminded me of a certain possibility I raised a past post I did in reddit surrounding Black Eagles’ development and the hidden intentions lurking within. And you know what? I think it’s time I make it into an actual theorem because it’s really bugging me out that much. After all the stuff I’ve seen about 3H’s gameplay and how it handles challenges per route, I am convinced that “fixing” Crimson Flower isn’t as straightforward as people make it up to be. Before getting into why gameplay evidence of all things has convinced me of such, I wanna cover all my bases first just in case someone (and somehow, ‘cause a part of me finds it unlikely) has no clue what I’ll be talking about. So… Here's context: Why “Fix” the Odd One? ...Also known as Crimson Flower. Three Houses has four routes overall. From those, Crimson Flower is the only one which has 18 story chapters while the others get 22 (or 21, in Silver Snow case). Saying this made people mad back when the game was new would honestly be an understatement given there’s a youtube video called “Edelgard deserved better” done sometime after its launch which has over 250k views as of this post. Incidentally, the idea of “fixing” CF is far from new, and the go-to direction most attempts I’ve seen, do it by crafting a small 4 chapter arc after the main plot (so it can reach the 22 Chapter quota Dimitri and Claude’s routes follow, which the idea inherently assumes it was the original goal of the route), eventually leading Edelgard and co. fighting “those who slither in the dark” in their headquarters, something which is mentioned it will happen a few times during the route, but as a very distant… thing, due to Edelgard’s n°1 enemy being not them in the main plot. This gets to the point that an S-Support and even a few solo endings touch upon it in a way that might or might not be mean spirited from the devs’ POV???. Anyways, now that’s out of the way, it’s time to jump into the actual meat of the theorem: No House Stands Equal - Three Houses' Difficulty from a Design Perspective The key findings of my exhaustive attempt at analyzing 3H’s difficulty (which you can check by clicking on the title above) is that Three Houses, from a gameplay perspective, handles difficulty by messing with factors like: Average Enemy Level between Chapters (+ their Suggested Level, which is directly related to the AEL). Available resources, and the timing in which new ones are unlocked and/or lost. When the game stops using Intermediate Classes for enemies (in a more conventional Fire Emblem context, this would be like saying “when the game stops throwing Unpromoted Enemies at you). And more. Thus, at a macro/superficial level and, according to the info at hand, Three Houses does the following: The Average Enemy Level almost always increases by 2 per Chapter, regardless of the chosen difficulty. The Armory/Vendor/Battalion Guild stock is updated 3 times; first in Ch. 3, then in Ch. 8, and last in Ch. 14. Part 1 ends in Ch. 12 with a Suggested Level of 23. Your chosen House Leader gets their unique battalion in Chapter 13. The most number of bosses you’re forced to take down to clear main story missions is 4 in Ch. 16 once (3 if you play carefully), and then 2 for other maps that do this. The game stops throwing Intermediate Class enemies around Ch. 18~ for main story maps (17 for Silver Snow, 16 for Azure Moon, and 18 for Verdant Wind, for those curious). Your chosen House Leader’s paralogue is unlocked around the second half of Part 2 (Ch. 19 for Dimitri, and Ch. 17 for Claude). The difference in enemy levels between the successive Enbarr invasion missions is always 1. And finally, the route ends in Ch. 22 (or 21 if you’re in Silver Snow) with a final Suggested Level of 42. This pattern is followed religiously in all the routes which happen to share a lot of content up until Chapter 17 (or 16, in Silver Snow’s case) due to story reasons, yet despite this, there’s still many quirks exclusive to certain routes which make one experience different from the other. Silver Snow, for example, is meant to be really hard according to the devs, and as the spreadsheet reveals, it does this by handicapping the heck out of the player (very squishy starting cast with no Relics besides Byleth’s; one deployment slot less, far less resources; losing your House Leader + N°2 midway through the game; etc). Due to this, Azure Moon and Verdant Wind by design are more beginner friendly by simply having none of that (AKA more balanced casts that stays with you; more Hero Relics; more resources, etc), while still deviating in other areas. Azure Moon for one, gets the most resources between all routes to play with, still gets their exclusive units handicapped in other ways, and in the late game, it has a “turret & mage infestation problem”, for a lack of a proper term. Conversely, Verdant Wind gets just a pretty decent amount of tools, has no actual handicaps for their cast, and their late game isn’t so overly specific in enemy variety as Azure Moon’s. Fairly straightforward stuff so far. But as you might have noticed, I haven’t mentioned Crimson Flower once, and that's for a reason. Crimson Flower, by design, is not built like the other three routes. ♫ One of these is not like the others ♫ To explain what makes CF challenging, I need to go back again into into how 3H manages its difficulty, because unlike the other three paths, this one follows its own set of rules: The Armory/Vendor/Battalion Guild stock is updated one third and last time in Ch. 12. Part 1 ends in Ch. 12 with a Suggested Level of 25. Edelgard & Hubert get their unique battalions in Chapter 12 (is Hubert a lord too…?). The most number of bosses you’re forced to take down to clear story missions is 4 in Ch. 15 once (3 if you play carefully), and then 5 for both Ch. 16 and Ch. 17. The game stops throwing Intermediate Class enemies in Ch. 14 for main story missions. Edelgard’s paralogue is unlocked in Ch. 15, midway through Part 2. The difference in enemy levels between successive story missions goes as follows: Ch. 11 to Ch. 12: 4 in Normal & Hard, and 3 in Maddening. Ch. 17 to Ch. 18: 2 in Normal & Hard, and 3 in Maddening. And finally, the game ends in Ch. 18 with a final Suggested Level of 37. And this isn’t even considering how every story mission from Ch. 12 onwards is exclusive to it for story reasons, or even factoring the other tweaks exclusive to CF, such as: having one Chapter less to receive funds and recruit students/teachers; having 2 units that join in Part 2 with innate access to Mastermind; its second half of the game being full of enemy pegasi/wyvern riders; its last chapters having a high number of monsters with anti-magic barriers, and with weapons used in no other route; and more stuff which I won’t cover here for brevity’s sake. Dedue's Monster form is legit the strongest Giant Demonic Beast in the game in both raw stats and weapon. Everything mentioned so far about Edelgard’s route highlights that, compared to the other three paths: it scales up the difficulty earlier; makes its resources available earlier as well; and raises the challenge of its last two chapters considerably. Incidentally, this in turn explains why the path is a viable option to obtain the “Yellow Title Screen” after finishing it on Maddening difficulty despite having fewer Chapters; it's because its difficulty was optimized to work with that specific length in mind. Here is where the crux at hand lies. Why “fixing” Crimson Flower isn’t just adding more chapters to it and calling it a day. Edelgard’s route, structure-wise, does not feel it was meant to be as long as the other three paths. This is important because, as well-intentioned the idea of “fixing” the route is, adding more chapters over what’s already there would completely throw off its balancing and potentially and unintentionally make it the hardest route of the four by numbers alone (and this is is still accounting that you would have to fight even more bosses later on…). To illustrate what exactly I mean by this- I'm going to propose 2 experiments. First, let’s imagine an hypothetical scenario where KT and Intelligent Systems listen to the fan uproar over Crimson Flower’s shortness and add more chapters to it. The catch? There won’t be any other changes done to the base game. As a result, CF’s unique scaling stays due to the assumption it's presence is unrelated to its short length, meaning: There's still 4/3 levels of difference between Chapter 11 and 12, for Normal & Hard/Maddening). The level scaling remains consistent with no alterations unlike the other routes, up until the Last Chapter in Maddening Difficulty where the Average Enemy Level increases by 3. This is how the route’ Suggested Levels' would look like for its chapters, compared to Dimitri and Claude’s stories, as well the Church's. Now everyone's finally- Wait a second... (Click here if you wanna check it on the spreadsheet) (Note: Suggested Level is the value shown when you're about to start a mission. In-game, it's used as an indicator of the map's difficulty and the level the game expects you to be in order to beat it) From my understanding, the whole point of the idea of “fixing” CF comes from the desire of making it a proper equal to Azure Moon and Verdant Wind, not unlike how in Warriors: Three Hopes, Scarlet Blaze, Azure Gleam and Golden Wildfire are equal in length and difficulty scaling (at least by the time the game ends). From the get go, we can see how this experiment has failed, because now Crimson Flower has the highest average enemy levels for its late game. To properly “fix” Crimson Flower in this instance, we would need to either redo its difficulty scaling from scratch to make it match the other routes, or just simply give it one Chapter less like Silver Snow, in which case, it still fails the experiment's purpose. As a result, we now move to our Second Experiment: We will make Edelgard’s route unfinished. To do this, we will assume CF was meant to always have 22 Chapters, and as logic dictates, it's unique difficulty scaling would serve no purpose. This means that, as far difficulty parameters go, there's now a 1 level difference for enemies between Chapters whose missions are played back to back, impacting now both Ch.11 to Ch. 12, and Ch.17 to Ch. 18. Here’s how the Suggested Levels' would look like in this case: (Scaling it for Maddening wasn't easy...). (Click here if you wanna check it on the spreadsheet) These numbers look far more harmonious, yeah? Not only that, in this one you can clearly tell by the sequence the numbers follow that something is very off with Edelgard’s path- Not only it's somehow easier in Normal and Hard, something which is meant to come after Ch. 18 clearly isn’t there. Will it come around later as free DLC, as the rumors say? The evidence says it’s likely, though we dunno if it will happen yet. This isn’t our reality though, and I have a big hunch on why it was never on the cards in our case. Both interviews which speak about the route’s development always coincide on one vital area: ——————————————————————————————————————————————— From all four routes, CF was the only one which was meant to be a secret. Picture this: you’re developing a video game with four routes that happens to love recycling its own content a lot, and you even have solid in-universe reasons for it too! And yet, you decide to hide one of the four just because. The reasoning here isn’t important. What is, however, is its secrecy. You want people to play the game, and have some of them stumble across it by accident and be surprised. Under this train of logic, I ask the following question: Would it work to its benefit, if it was very similar to the other three routes regardless? The answer to this question would be probably not. From then on, it becomes important to have that one route be different. Not follow the same rules the others do. Otherwise, what is the point of having it be a secret? Edelgard’s route, as the theorem, proposes is the odd one out on purpose. Its identity stems from how it was conceived as the route which would be super hard to access, before the plan changed because Silver Snow was received poorly by KT’s testing team + devs. And because it’s the odd one out, trying to make it fit a very different mold isn’t gonna be an easy job, to the point you have to wonder if it would be best to just redo the whole thing from scratch instead. In my humble opinion, this very well explains why the route is so different in both gameplay and outside of it, but I'll digress on the latter since that one's not the point of this post...
  6. Ohh I wasn't aware this existed. I'm totally gonna find a way to add it to the spreadsheet once I get the time!
  7. I meant in that sense yeah. A part of me still doubts it was a mere accident because: 1. it works as an interesting way to implement that you're not getting any help from any other faction compared to AM/VW (Claude not being for Fort Merceus even means you don't get ally NPCs in that map), 2. because TCRF shows Seteth was at one point considered to be given Dimitri/Claude's deployment slot for Ch. 16's story mission before they switched their minds; and 3. also due to the insane difficulty spike the game pulls at the last minute with its last map. Besides that, you won't see argue against game being hacked together at the last second before release because that is most likely what happened to it if its page on TCRF says anything (like, no FE game before and after 3H has had such a gigantic amount of scrapped content). I've been asking many people about it in general, and most of them also agree that CF getting less months of EXP Proficiency isn't that big of a deal in the end (and in some cases it's even seen as a plus), so I ended up cutting that out. Added both points to the spreadsheet (also damn I can't believe I forgot Raphael also gets Rally Strength). Added this too.
  8. Fair point. I will add to the sheet somewhere what's the big deal of the Hero Relics compared to the other weapons soon-ish since that's a very important thing that should've been mentioned. Also and from personal experience, while this doesn't make the weapons themselves bad per se, I do find funny how the Sacred Weapons are more often that not never useful to their intended users (ie. besides Claude's case, Bernie's personal skill has horrible synergy with The Inexhaustible, and neither Lorenz nor Lysithea have business using the Hammer-Like Sacred Axe unless you really wanna turn them into a dedicated Axe user for some reason). The devs admitted Silver Snow being super hard was 100% intentional and the datamine points out its lack of deployment slots in shared maps is deliberate, so I highly doubt it. A similar bump is also present in Crimson Flower between Chapter 11 and 12 too, as well between its Chapter 17 and 18 though to a far lesser extent (except in Maddening). Now that you bring it up, I should've made clear I meant XP in the skill level sense (like, Authority Lv, Sword Prowess, and such) rather than actual XP obtained during battle, so I'll reword that in the doc once I have time (those bumps in enemy levels do mean you're never gonna be equally as prepared to handle them compared to the other routes though, and you'll be forced to make out the best of those maps to catch-up fast). It depends on a case by cases basis, but I agree that overall very few Master Classes can't be treated as "endgame" material overall unless you've been planning to use some specific build or something (which would be an instance where the issue in question pops up I guess). The former. While the classes overall don't really feel that balanced in general (has there ever been a game where Wyvern Lords aren't stupid good btw?), it does very much feels each route was balanced quite differently and that a good chunk of design decisions were taken to account for the factors it has. For example: I highly doubt it's a coincidence that the only route which gives you access to the Sacred Shield Gambit (Azure Moon) just so happens to be the path which starts spamming magic users and ballistas/viskams/onagers/fire orb in the lategame to an insane degree (like, the last map has honest to god 30 magic users from Hard onward); or that the shortest route of the four (Crimson Flower) both gives you lategame stuff earlier while also adding a ton of factors that increase its difficulty far sooner as well, which highlights how it was never really intended to be "on par" with the other routes and how, in a hypothetical scenario, extending it would require to redo it's difficulty and design choices from scratch just to make it stand as a proper "equal" to the other 3 routes. I kinda disagree on this??? I mean, if you play on Normal & (for the most part) Hard you probably won't even notice them, but having knowledge of how these factors change how you play the game is key if you wanna beat the game as optimally as possible. Knowing about these is also quite handy for speedruns overall, as for example, Azure Moon having "Beat 1 boss" as a victory condition in its late-game speeds things up considerably compared to Verdant Wind, more so given how many battalions with Stride it gives you to abuse at your leisure. I'll say blind run, mainly because you'll find out all those specific quirks easily if you stick with the proficiency and classes the students are naturally inclined towards by default, which is why I make a big deal over which Paralogues are are available by default vs which ones are more conditional either in accessibility and/or in rewards (which is something most people are NOT gonna figure out playing blind, and I say this from personal experience). Anyways, many thanks for the comments and feedback so far y'all!
  9. A lot has been spoken about Three Houses. Story, characters, themes, you name it. But what about Three Houses as a game? And more specifically, all the design choices made in each route which directly impact their difficulty? Well, I started this exhaustive project a week ago in my spare time to see what makes each route its own "beast" from a design perspective, and I think I've reached an answer of sorts. The results were a bit predictable with some paths, while with others it was arguably more.... surprising (click to check the whole thing). The factors I took into account were: Starting Roster (AKA who you get in Ch. 1 when you pick a House) Available Church faculty. Available Hero Relics, Sacred/Rare Weapons and equipment. Available Battalions & Gambits. When the Item Shop, Weaponry & Battalion Guild is updated stock-wise. When each route stops throwing Intermediate Class enemies at you. Difficulty curve, based on the Average Level of the enemies fought in each chapter's story mission + the Suggested Level the game wants you to do them. And other route-specific quirks. I wanted to consider a ton more stuff like map & enemy layout per route but by that point the whole thing got super ambitious and bloated, so I decided to trim down the fat and keep what's essential for the overall experience in my opinion. Three Houses is kind of its own beast compared to most Fire Emblems, so I feel different factors had to be considered compared to the other games to deem what makes one route harder than the other and such. Given all the info I gathered, I think we should now have a definitive idea of which routes are the hardest vs which one are the easiest. I will hide the conclusion just in case any of you wants to check the whole doc. first, but if you don't really care about it or have already seen it, then... Here it is then: Anyways, many thanks for checking this post! Let me know if anyone has any issue with some data, or has some ideas how to improve on it. EDIT: Forgot to mention that by default, recruiting other students makes the overall experience easier no matter the route, which is why I focused so much on what exactly you get in a... vanilla state, so to speak.
  10. Quick update from the leaker; he finally uploaded Mauvier's full page and it turns out.... ...his page (as well the ones from the other Hounds) lack stamps. Make of that what you will. Oh and story spoilers from the leaker's own mouth (which will likely affect recruitment odds): Do note the leaker showed no proof for the reveal in question, so there is a good chance the info could be intentionally fake.
  11. Then again, Sommie is listed separately from the playable characters, so we're back to 4/3 (if you can take screenshots with Ephraim) recruits we still know nothing of:
  12. Quick update; VincentASM(?) just uncovered the playable cast for Engage is most likely gonna be 36, meaning there's still 3 more recruits unaccounted for.
  13. Yeah at this rate, 35-36 characters seems to be the most likely amount we'll get at launch (or 39 if you're felling very optimistic).
  14. A bit of a quick update, but I noticed VincentASM translated one of Somnie'sl achievements screens shared on the JP twitter, and there is a chance we could be getting 40 playable characters at the very least if the bit about "Allies" does indeed mean playable units:
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