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About NolanBaumgartner

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    Stud For Micaiah

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  • Favorite Fire Emblem Game
    Radiant Dawn

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  1. Mercenaries are typically well-rounded units who can later opt into classes with more weapon options (Hero being the most common promotion), while Myrmidons focus heavily on speed and mastery of the sword (hence being groomed for the Swordmaster class). The dynamic works OK because these classes are melee and there's value in being a jack-of-all-trades who can dish some damage here, tank some damage there and pull out a different weapon if necessary. It doesn't work as well for bow-based classes because they are ranged, meaning there isn't as much value in withstanding hits from melee units and it's always tricky to add weapon flexibility to archer units from a gameplay balance perspective (you don't want them to be too good in melee range). Because FE units rely heavily on the doubling mechanic for damage, a "slow" archer is simply not a good archer unless their growths in most other stats are way out of whack. And you can't take away too much Strength from the "fast" archer either or else they will double for 0 damage more often than not. Which is why the direction from IS as of late has been to make players choose between the range and better stats of the Sniper or the mobility and weapon choice of the Bow Knight., rather than picking between different buckets of stats.
  2. Something that 3H has over most other titles in the franchise is that it's far more replayable, thanks to the flexibility afforded in recruiting and building characters. With enough effort you can field a completely different team composition than your last playthrough, as well as leaving certain characters behind to fight them in future battles. The Monastery segments can seem like a drag, but New Game+ is a godsend here - if you want to, you can easily cut down the grinding such that it feels like a more immersive base than in previous titles. And of course, you have four different routes to try. The build flexibility is a double-edged sword, as noted in many prior replies in this thread - but it makes the game a lot easier to pick up again. I don't think I ever completed a FE title more than twice before 3H, but this one is the sort of title that makes me not want to buy other video games for a long while. I thought 3H was bold to have the branching storylines, but I'd say every route except AM feels incomplete - with CF getting shortchanged the most. It's been discussed ad infinitum in this forum already, but I don't think the game delivers 100% on the ambition. As much as I like 3H, I don't get that "wasted potential" feel from other titles - e.g. Fates: Revelation was a terrible idea to begin with; Awakening made conscientious trade-offs to cater to new demographics. IS simply needed to put in more time to flesh out what was already good world-building and story telling, but the end result being a route being four full chapters short is a bit ridiculous. Are we going to see either the class flexibility or the branched routes in the next major release? For the former, I think IS will mostly keep the system but likely play up more to the individual strengths and weaknesses of characters to allow for some diversity - but not flipping the roster 180 in between playthroughs. Narrative-wise, they will almost certainly go back to more linear storytelling - the branching routes work because with few exceptions, the game's roster congregates in one spot and is recruitable very early on. But that greatly limits what kind of stories you can tell - not only you can't have a sequel set in Fodlan (as it would force 3H to have a canon ending), would IS really want another story set neutral grounds among nations at an unease peace with nearly all the roster being of similar age and provenance? I also wonder what IS will do to involve the player in the story. Byleth is the result of IS trying really, really hard to have the player self-insert without fitting awkwardly like Robin in Awakening or not feeling like "you" such as in Fates. But the end result is that Byleth is just not an interesting character, more like an empty vessel through which the player represents themselves in the story. The end result is better than Robin, but it's hardly a positive either. Here, I hope IS will drop the customization/self-insert attempts and deliver a compelling major character instead. But I have a feeling the self-insert component and running-around-as-"you" is what they believe to be a major selling point among modern FE titles.
  3. What bothers me the most about handwaving the Edelgard vs Agarthan war is that it was foreshadowed throughout Crimson Flower. Hubert openly states his wish to eradicated them - his paralogue showed the tension between the two parties quite explicitly. When Edelgard conquers the Alliance, Thales literally tells Edelgard that his men were busy looting ancient weapons located in the country. Thales punishes the killing of Cornelia by wiping out a large chunk of the Empire's army. Edelgard even tells Thales he won't get his way after the war. After all this hype we get... absolutely nothing. The inevitable war becomes a footnote. As the shortest route it's pretty clear CF didn't get the attention it needed, with 3-4 chapters missing - that would've been the perfect length to deal with the Agarthans.
  4. Edelgard is not hated as a character, but she's a major antagonist in all routes except one due to her actions throughout the story. She's not going to get universal acclaim for getting in the protagonist's path in violent ways. But I find the discourse around her character generally healthy, acknowledging she's a complex character as well as garnering her fair share of fans (myself included). Byleth is the protagonist walking along a predetermined path and void of a personality, so there isn't much reason to dislike them - or feel strongly about, really. They're a vessel for the player.
  5. Ferdinand changes a lot through the timeskip in Crimson Flower, but pre-timeskip he kinda has his head too far up his ass to be flexible with his beliefs. I think the problem would be convincing him the Agarthans exist at all, after all the students are exposed to them as a result of Edelgard's alliance. And he's not someone I'd bring to an in-person reveal, if you know what I'm saying... And now that I think about it, it's hard to say whether Edelgard would've independently followed through the alliance. Hubert doesn't just provide the suggestion but also serves as an anchor when facing Arundel/Thales. If she's going at it solo maybe she doesn't have the confidence to do something as bold as working with her abusers. Tough to say.
  6. I don't see Hubert as either overbearing or manipulative He dedicates himself wholly to serving Edelgard, with his decision-making squarely aimed at benefiting her in some way or the other from his perspective. He obeys her whether she disregards his advice or chides him for his actions, and doesn't seem to have any plans that would make him anything but a servant to her. Insofar as the Agarthans alliance goes, how much of it was really Hubert's suggestion? Edelgard even takes the helm as the Flame Emperor. Without the tacit support of Arundel/Thales she can't become Emperor before her father passes, after which her opportunity window would close and she loses the one chance to take action. I think Edelgard independently arrives at the conclusion it's the pragmatic thing to do. I do agree her actions would be quite different if Ferdinand was her retainer instead, but that's because Hubert is an enabler, while Ferdinand would very likely challenge and outright refuse to cooperate with her morally grey actions. Would that be a good thing for Edelgard? That's up in the air. Ferninand's father, Arundel/Thales and the noble cabal seize power for good once Ionius dies, the Agarthans keep building strength behind the scenes and Edelgard is powerless to do anything. It would essentially be up to Byleth and Dmitri/Claude to do something about the white elephants in the room.
  7. Like you, I'm Team Edelgard all the way but for someone who doesn't see Chapter 11 coming, it must be frustrating having to pick between what they feel is the right thing to do and the investment they already have in building Edelgard and Hubert as units. They're forced into an D&D-esque choice that doesn't really fit the way Fire Emblem narratives progress. At the beginning of the game you're supposed to have your side sorted out already, with the SS route resulting in an asymmetry where you can deviate from Edelgard but not the other two lords. It would've been much better to add SS as an DLC or as NG+ content, informing the player ahead of time they can make the decision to side with the Church provided they teach the Black Eagles.
  8. Despite not every route reaching #22, there are still 47 "unique" chapters across all routes... on top of all the paralogues (22?). It's about the same chapter load as Fates on release, which was literally split into two different games. Then there's all the monastery stuff that's essentially the base concept in a much more ambitious scale. Awakening was only 25 + similar number of paralogues. Radiant Dawn was 43 (?) with no paralogues. Echoes was a straight-forward remake of a simple game. 3H is probably IS's biggest undertaking in the FE franchise, considering the amount of stuff crammed into the game. So I can in part understand why most routes feel like they're lacking something. But with plans to release DLC's anyways, I think we could've done without Silver Snow at first if it meant tightening up Golden Deer and actually giving Crimson Flower the attention it warranted.
  9. Different characters do learn different skills and have different skill growths, which plays a huge role in deciding what your team composition will be like, independent of stat growths. I do like that you have the freedom for off-the-board reclassing, yet characters are clearly optimized for certain classes and playstyles. Because it's entirely possible to complete a "normal" playthrough without recruiting most characters, I find the flexibility necessary, specially in a game where bad RNG can render a character useless.
  10. That scene with Kronya/Thales/Edelgard is largely for exposition purposes so the player could see they were in league with each other, so I'd chalk that up to being an inconsistency. It wouldn't be far-fetched if Thales decided to keep up the act - say, Edelgard puts on the mask, she decides to call herself "Flame Emperor", Thales goes "well then, Flame Emperor..." and the conversation follows. But that context can't be given at a point where the player isn't supposed to know the Flame Emperor's true identity. So you're right that in retrospect, the scene is contrived.
  11. That part actually makes sense. Edelgard has to maintain a veneer of formality and feigned ignorance because she needs Thales for the time being, and she doesn't have to switch acts if she simply pretends Arundel is still Arundel. I'm not sure if the writers thought that far ahead, but I'd also wager referring to him as Thales would probably be triggering to Edelgard - considering the torture he inflicted on her. So calling Thales Arundel also shows strength, not putting him in a position where he's above her. Likewise, Thales' position stems from people not knowing he's "replaced" Arundel so he has no reason to deviate from the act. It enables him to be in the same room as Edelgard and others, so to speak. When Edelgard assures Thales she will deal with him later, I feel like that's the sort of interaction that could never happen if the act wasn't there.
  12. Now that I've completed Cindered Shadows, I'll keep Hapi at the top. Yuri's stock definitively rose. They did make him wear a few too many hats, but I think it fits his character - reminds me a lot of Leleouch from Code Geass lol. Balthus and Constance have their place but I won't be rushing to recruit either in the main story.
  13. I'd say 3H has the most robust cast in the FE franchise. I find the game does a good job showcasing character growth over the course of the timeskip and generally making them feel like they matter even when they don't have a strong connection to the overarching plots. That comes in part due to the setup where you can interact with nearly all recruitable characters from the getgo, but the writing is generally better too. I find even the catchline/stereotype characters like Raphael and Bernadette endearing and believable despite their silly shticks. Because of the different storylines, however, it makes the supporting characters feel pretty irrelevant in the grand scheme and therefore less memorable. The game does take itself more seriously than the average FE title, so it doesn't have as much silliness or plain weirdness that stands out. And of course, Byleth is deliberately written to be nondescript outside of charting the path of the three lords. Most of them fall between "good" and "excellent", but I'd say only Edelgard is truly outstanding enough to compete with the other Fire Emblem franchise heavyweights. Which is fine. Spreading the quality across the board was the right choice, because despite its flaws 3H's characters and narrative will certainly stand the test of time.
  14. Commoners only accept their conditions as such if they're blissfully ignorant of the possibilities before them. Not letting them be stakeholders and decision-makers is fundamental to their acceptance of the noble class. That way, they believe nobles to be strong and wise in a way commoners could never be, and hence make peace with their own powerlessness. The Church of Seiros, like real-life religions, serves to simultaneously validate the nobility's privileged status (through the Crest system) and keep commoners in ignorance (through control of thought and education). The BL ending is normally unworkable in the real world because giving impoverished and uneducated peasant/worker masses sudden power makes them realize how screwed their society is structurally set up, made to privilege a select few and keep the masses in poverty and servitude of the ruling classes. And yet the same masses are not sophisticated and prosperous enough to figure a way out of their own systemic oppression, leading to the oppressed becoming the oppressors - after all, their reference point of success/prosperity is the formerly ruling class. The most relevant modern example of this is the decolonization of the world post WWII, where the decline of European empires mostly led to failed attempts to suppress independence movements or hasty democratization, followed by bloody civil wars as the newly freed people struggled to fill the power vacuum left by their former conquerors. This was on the backdrop of the Cold War, where the US and the USSR leveraged their massive military and economic power to encourage proxy wars on a global scale, taking advantage of the fragmented new countries. You could also perceive contemporary countries like Iraq and Afghanistan as symptomatic of the same problem - sudden democracy among poorly equipped and deeply divided people leading to easy manipulation and seemingly endless civil war. We know Fodlan is very fragmented as a continent - the Empire, Faerghus and the Alliance rely heavily on different noble houses exercising control of their little fiefdoms to maintain the rule of law. Commoners don't seem to have much access to literacy or education at all, with the Church playing a pivotal role in providing whatever access there is - even the cream of the nobility's crop is brought up under the eyes of the Church. So keeping commoners obedient and complacent plays a major role in preventing internal strife. So suddenly empowering them with meaningful decision-making is bound to make them demand major concessions from their rulers, considering the absolutely massive difference in every facet of power (except population count) between commoners and nobles. Either major conflict or re-working of whatever participatory framework Dimitri came up with would be inevitable, and it would be impossible to maintain the nobility structure without chipping away at its privileged hereditary status (which Dimitri appears to perceive as fundamental to maintaining order and fighting threats). And seeing as Fodlan is not alone in the world, these commoner-nobility struggles could easily be exploited by major foreign nations like Almyra - again, forcing a reckoning that undoes the fundamental premise of Azure Moon Fodlan. That's why I dislike the AM ending strongly - suggesting that Dimitri balanced a "participatory" system in a world where the masses are uneducated peasants, with a hereditary feudal nobility that relies strongly on religious beliefs to maintain its position, without any sort of elaboration just feels incredibly wishy-washy something you'd expect in a Hallmark movie or a bad fantasy novel adaption. And we know Dimitri isn't exactly a smooth operator or outstanding intellectual, either - he's a nice guy, but being nice doesn't solve the fundamental problem of 9 illiterate peasants wanting a lot of things from the one noble from a Crest house.
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