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Lord Raven

Defining Efficiency

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That's implied in some of the extra text where it says stuff like historians wondering how the player, with his poor tactical record, managed to secure victory, and such.

Oh, that's true. They're quite funny, actually!

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Can someone please explain to me what the hell just happened within the last 10ish posts!?! This conversation is difficult as fuck to actually follow now.

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Okay... Too much stuff to outright reply too, gonna just pick the important/key stuff.

Alright people, if this is going to devolve into a "why turns matter" argument, let's do it properly.

The starting point is, of course, the point Snowy brought up. A character with good mobility, durability, offense, or other utility is considered a good character. So why does good mobility, etc., make a character good?

Mobility is good because it allows for more options on the player phase as well as the chance for more strategies. Gatrie has a movement that is well below the 'average' for example. So when we use him, he can only be used by a player willing to intentionally slow himself down to allow Gatrie to keep up. Otherwise Gatrie is outright incapable of keeping up and can only be used as a rear-guard or when the strategy doesn't require much movement.

Offense: Dead enemies deal no damage. This seems like a obvious one. When your enemy is dead, you run a lower risk of having units die on you. Failing to 1RKO is a bad thing as it means a unit who could otherwise have been used to attack, heal, or even simply move to a 'better' spot needs to waste his time clearing up a mess.

Defense: Even the best players get attacked from time to time, and durability helps a unit survive. Being able to take extra hits means you are at less risk to die during the enemy phase and, on the player phase, less likely to need a sage healing you, freeing them up to attack.

Utility: Depends on the utility, but generally skills are great things to have. Healing allows for added flexibility of units (potions just don't cut it and waste a units turn entirely), skills allows for more use in combat, rescue-dropping loses a lot of value, but does still allow for some flexibility as well, and so-forth.

LTC is a factor. You can't slow down for Gatrie? If LTC doesn't matter, why can't he "keep-pace"? You could just spend turns having Gatrie catch up, after all. This is exactly the point Anouleth was making, that yes, LTC runs aren't the only way to illustrate who is good, but when you can do stuff that contributes to LTC runs, it's usually because you're good. Mobility matters, you said so yourself. So does everything. The idea isn't that LTC'ing is the only playstyle that matters, but it's a good way of comparing a lot of factors. Having good mobility is awesome for rushing forward, and doesn't matter if you individually pull every unit to you, like you can in a "Turncount does not matter" scenario. Mobility is awesome, but it's severely downplayed in a world where you don't mind spending 6 extra turns so your mages/priests/armors can keep up. I don't always do the most efficient clears, but I can reasonably see how seeing who can do efficient clears is a way of discussing a lot of important relevant factors.

Gatrie's movement means he will inevitably fall behind unless the player is using a strategy that allows for his low movement. Unlike other backline units, Gatrie can't double, wants to attack at 1-range, and has no utility value, meaning his hanging back doesn't just reduce his usability, it outright flatlines it.

Pikachu's post

The big flaw in those statements is that it is assuming that the only way to reliably tier characters is based on turncount and speed, which is not necessarily why most people play.

Mia is not more reliable against anything. Certainly not when it comes to 2HKOing. She is dependent on luck to ORKO everything but Sages, but Gatrie can typically ORKO them himself. Gatrie also has the advantage of ORKOing Paladins and Generals, which are pretty common, and his 1-2 range is far better (Mia won't ORKO Sages at 1-2 range, for instance). Mia's advantage is that she has a *chance* of ORKOing. After Gatrie promotes he's outright superior.

I think we're having a disconnect here as to which Mia/Gatrie we're talking about. I'm talking about the FE9 Mia/Gatrie, you seem to be talking about the FE10 maybe?

That's not true even in a fast LTC playthrough, let alone the turtlefest I am talking about. When I beat 4-E-1 in two turns, I did not have to heal once. Rhys and Mist and a Sage can easily keep up if you're not concerned about turn counts. And if you have a unit hurt, just let them use a vulnerary!

You also two-turned it. Using vulneraries wastes a units entire turn, ETC. BORING!

If you play the game slowly, nobody should ever be at risk of death. If someone is at risk of death, then slow down. It's not like you're worried about turncount.

While I am not worried about turncounts, I don't want units dying and having to hold a unit back is a negative on flexability.

Again, that's only useful for an LTC player. A non-LTC player is happy to take extra turns to avoid dangerous situations that require durable units.

So being forced into accepting that I need to wait for a more durable unit is suddenly a good thing? You seem to be confusing 'we don't care about turncounts' with 'all aspects of a unit are needless since we can take more turns'. A more durable unit is better than a less durable one. The reason may be different but it's not like saying 'LTC doesn't matter' suddenly means 'all standards are meaningless since we can just take more time'.

That's not true at all. If you staple a band to Ilyana's pale, malnourished forehead, she ends up with about 22.4SPD at max level. Tormod reaches 25.4 and Soren reaches 25.2, aside from the bit where they can take a band themselves. In that case, Soren and Tormod would have 27SPD, a full five points again.

Wrong. Try 22.65. (AKA: 23 SPD with rounding) The first band that boosts SPD comes from Oscar and Shinon has the second one with the third coming from the chapter 3 boss. Tormod and Soren will have lower/similar speeds to Ilyana prepromotion due to lower level/low STR respectively and post promotion their differences in SPD don't become so pronounced until 20/20. Most of them will either double or fail to double most of the same enemies and, due to earlier joining, Ilyana is more likely to hit 20/20 than Tormod is to top it off.

Coming late and underlevelled is no different from coming early and underlevelled in FE9. Ultimately, Tormod and Ilyana take the same amount of experience away from other units, the only difference is that Ilyana takes it through CEXP and Tormod takes it through BEXP.

If Ilyana took it from BEXP instead, she would only need one more level than Tormod. Ilyana has the option to gain levels through early-game Cepx, but Tormod does not. Advantage: Ilyana.

Celerity is a significant skill. And FE9 is so short on good skills that it doesn't matter if Tormod can't take one. You don't have so many skills that everyone is going to get one.

List of good skills in FE9 that cost 10 capacity: So suddenly being capable of taking and comboing vantage, wrath, adept, guard, or resolve is suddenly not a good thing? Heck, Ike and the paladins are likely to take Aether/Sol anyways, so that's a lot lower demand.

Wow, you think I didn't know that? Have you ever thought about the numerous circumstances where it is beneficial to use a Vulnerary instead of relying on a staff use? Or about how trivial it is to consider the cost of a Heal vs. a Vulnerary?

Situations where a vulnerary is the best action: When the healer is nowhere around, there is no need to kill a enemy, and you will die if you don't do it.

Situations where healing is the best option: When you are near a wounded unit, when you need EXP, when another unit needs to kill a enemy, when you need more than 10 HP to survive a EP, or generally any situation in which a unit isn't isolated, will die if they don't heal, and doesn't gain more out of killing the threat.

I don't see why you're so against Titania being above Mia. Wait, yes I do. Fanboyism is a powerful thing Snowy and there's nothing wrong with it in small doses. Still, just like how I don't bitch about Cath not being at the Top of the list in the FE6 tier list, you shouldn't bitch about Titania being better than Mia.

The sheer amount of Titania fanboyism back in the day was more than enough to put me off her forever. It literally reached a point where if someone didn't use her they were considered retarded regardless of the reason why. That's why I ended up loathing her (I used her, but outside the early-game, didn't find her so special and liked using other units instead).

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Can someone please explain to me what the hell just happened within the last 10ish posts!?! This conversation is difficult as fuck to actually follow now.

I've been trying to lead people from Snowy's original point to efficiency is based on turn counts and reliability by making them logically get from point to the other, but all I think I've succeeded in doing is showing that no one understands why efficiency is a good measurement anymore. But anyways,

I would say that killing an enemy in one round of combat being better than killing an enemy in two rounds of combat is obvious as well, but apparently not. Merely the fact that every person who ever played Fire Emblem agrees that it's better doesn't seem to be enough.

The fact (even though it isn't a fact) that every person who ever played Fire Emblem agrees that fast is better than slow isn't enough. Why? Because everyone can be wrong. We could all be idiots blindly following an idea that doesn't make sense when examined. Which is why it needs to be examined, so we know it's a good measure.

What makes you so sure? For all we know, E Rank could be the best rank that the designers intended us to aim for. And the plans of the designers aside, it's not really obvious that better ranks are better. Some of the ranks are pretty counter-intuitive, such as hoarding money rather than spending it on useful things. It doesn't seem obvious at all that it's a good thing.

It doesn't matter what it is called, so long as one rank is defined to be better than another it is not possible for getting the better rank to not be better because that is the better rank's very definition. However, questioning whether ranks contradict our other premises for beating the game better is valid. If ranks do, in fact, contradict our other premises, then either ranks or our other premises are incorrect and one of them needs to be done away with or changed to coincide with the other.

Though I have to question why you brought up better rankings as beating the game better if you think it doesn't actually do that.

We have access to the averages, so there is no need to rely on anecdotal evidence. Anecdotal evidence can be useful to show that certain strategies are possible or impossible, or to estimate EXP gain, but it shouldn't be used as a basis for estimating a character's stats.

While you've grazed the point, I'll go ahead and expand on it. We can deal with luck by largely removing it from the equation. If something isn't likely or reliable, it can safely be pushed aside due to luck rather than a character beating the game better or worse. Therefore, beating the game better involves beating both faster and more reliably and the same time. One without the other is not beating the game better.

EDIT:

Mobility

Offense

Defense

Utility

So, like the others, you're basically saying all that stuff makes a character good because it helps beat the game. Or rather, that a good character is a character that is good at beating the game. Which means a character is better than another if they beat the game better. So, Snowy, how does a character beat the game better than another.

Edited by nflchamp

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LTC is usually the measure for efficiency because it measures what characters need to do in order to clear chapters and beat the game (though sometimes character actions like Seizing and recruiting are excluded).

Now why is clearing chapters faster better than clearing chapters more slowly? I would say that it isn't necessarily, but like Anouleth said characters become homogenized if we're allowed to take as mnay turns as we want. Healing is irrelevant to clearing if we can just use vulnararies or only have to expose units to one unit a turn, dancing is useless, offense is fairly irrelevant since the number of rounds it takes to kill enemies isn't important etc. Maybe a system where there was some sort of turncount "cap" for each chapter would work, though depending on the harshness or leniency of said caps I think they would either be very similar to LTC or not distinguish differences between units enough.

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Wrong. Try 22.65. (AKA: 23 SPD with rounding)

Not how statistics work. Try again.

Situations where a vulnerary is the best action: When the healer is nowhere around, there is no need to kill a enemy, and you will die if you don't do it.

Situations where healing is the best option: When you are near a wounded unit, when you need EXP, when another unit needs to kill a enemy, when you need more than 10 HP to survive a EP, or generally any situation in which a unit isn't isolated, will die if they don't heal, and doesn't gain more out of killing the threat.

OK, good. Now, when the mounted units move far ahead of the unmounted healers, scenario 1 prevails. Perhaps you'd actually need to try this for yourself, but there are many actual circumstances that can arise in the game where Marcus, Seth, Titania, etc. are only able to heal with a Vulnerary, and nothing less comes out of it because enemies that they would have killed on player phase die on enemy phase instead.

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It doesn't matter what it is called, so long as one rank is defined to be better than another it is not possible for getting the better rank to not be better because that is the better rank's very definition. However, questioning whether ranks contradict our other premises for beating the game better is valid. If ranks do, in fact, contradict our other premises, then either ranks or our other premises are incorrect and one of them needs to be done away with or changed to coincide with the other.

This is getting silly. S rank > E rank is obviously the game designer's intent. The fact that this is even in question is making me think you guys are trying to be overly philosophical about the game.

Cut the crap. 5 stars > 1 star, S > A > B > C > D > E rank, and so on. You already see this progression in weapon ranks, it's the way grades progress in university (replace E with F and S with A+)... The higher ranks are harder to achieve, for instance hoarding money is harder than spending it freely. There's no secret deception behind what the game devs intended, it's very straightforward and for good reason.

While you've grazed the point, I'll go ahead and expand on it. We can deal with luck by largely removing it from the equation. If something isn't likely or reliable, it can safely be pushed aside due to luck rather than a character beating the game better or worse. Therefore, beating the game better involves beating both faster and more reliably and the same time. One without the other is not beating the game better.

I agree that reliability is often overlooked when discussing efficiency. So, let's examine reliability in detail.

The game is luck based, there's no way around that. With very few exceptions, you'll never have strategies where your characters pull 100 display hit against every enemy. Similarly, unless you play fixed mode, luck will largely determine how your characters turn out, which creates all sorts of contingencies.

So, when devising an efficient strategy to beat a chapter, it will inevitably have some risk involved. But, there are ways to quantify the value of this risk. There are two scenarios to consider:

1) If the LTC strategy fails, you can simply take another turn to complete the chapter.

2) If the LTC strategy fails, something catastrophic (eg/ character death) forces a reset.

1 doesn't entail much actual risk. You're taking your chances on a high reward, but if that doesn't pan out, you can still achieve the more reliable clear that eats up an extra turn. IMO the best way to quantify turns used is through a probability weighted average.

80% chance for 2 turn

20% chance for 3 turn

0.8(2) + 0.2(3) = 2.2 turns

2 is more problematic since a failure comes at a higher cost, namely a reset. In such a case I find that Merc Raven's N/P approach is most effective.

2/0.8 = 2.5 turns

I think the reason reliability isn't discussed that often is because players intuitively shy away from anything that requires a noticeable amount of RNG abuse. And, using our quantified approach, we can show that a 12% chance to 3 turn is pretty garbage if we otherwise have to reset.

3/0.12 = 25 turns

What's interesting is higher ranked characters already satisfy this criteria of being "more reliable". It just doesn't make sense for a character to be highly ranked for consistently pulling unreliable LTC strategies. Having better combat paramaters makes you more reliable, plain and simple. Throwing FE9 Titania into a group of earlygame enemies has a near 100% chance of success, whereas doing the same with Ike will likely get him killed. Obviously we won't do something as stupid as throwing earlygame Ike into a pile of halberdiers, so we'll use him in a reliable way at the expense of the utility he could've provided in a more aggressive role.

I don't see where this metric really fails. Take FE10 Haar for instance. Thunder mages obviously affect his reliability, so we make him avoid such enemies, or kill them with a brave weapon, or give him nullify. Whatever choice we take, we're trading efficiency for reliability in a sensible way.

So, like the others, you're basically saying all that stuff makes a character good because it helps beat the game. Or rather, that a good character is a character that is good at beating the game. Which means a character is better than another if they beat the game better. So, Snowy, how does a character beat the game better than another.

It's been said time and again in this topic: Low turning has no intrinsic value, but a playstyle that puts such pressure on the player is what ultimately allows us to differentiate between units based on their combat qualities (offense, defense, mobility, etc). Without the pressure of beating the game efficiently, combat advantages begin to lose their meaning as flaws begin to lose any meaningful negative impact.

And Snowy:

Wrong. Try 22.65. (AKA: 23 SPD with rounding) The first band that boosts SPD comes from Oscar and Shinon has the second one with the third coming from the chapter 3 boss. Tormod and Soren will have lower/similar speeds to Ilyana prepromotion due to lower level/low STR respectively and post promotion their differences in SPD don't become so pronounced until 20/20. Most of them will either double or fail to double most of the same enemies and, due to earlier joining, Ilyana is more likely to hit 20/20 than Tormod is to top it off.
If Ilyana took it from BEXP instead, she would only need one more level than Tormod. Ilyana has the option to gain levels through early-game Cepx, but Tormod does not. Advantage: Ilyana.
List of good skills in FE9 that cost 10 capacity: So suddenly being capable of taking and comboing vantage, wrath, adept, guard, or resolve is suddenly not a good thing? Heck, Ike and the paladins are likely to take Aether/Sol anyways, so that's a lot lower demand.
The sheer amount of Titania fanboyism back in the day was more than enough to put me off her forever. It literally reached a point where if someone didn't use her they were considered retarded regardless of the reason why. That's why I ended up loathing her (I used her, but outside the early-game, didn't find her so special and liked using other units instead).

Save this discussion for the FE9 tier list.

Edited by Vykan12

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Gatrie's movement means he will inevitably fall behind unless the player is using a strategy that allows for his low movement. Unlike other backline units, Gatrie can't double, wants to attack at 1-range, and has no utility value, meaning his hanging back doesn't just reduce his usability, it outright flatlines it.

This has absolutely nothing to do with what I said. Here's what I mean: You're saying LTC doesn't matter, then say that Gatrie is 'inflexible' because of his movement. But, Gatrie is very flexible in a scenario where turns don't matter. Armor knights become incredibly good if you don't mind slowing down for them. Why not stick Gatrie out in front of your party, draw in enemies and have them do little to no damage to him, let him counter, and then finish off the enemies with your full force, who were waiting just outside of enemy range? The fact of the matter is, armors generally have the highest defense, and can do this. They can also hold chokepoints for ridiculously long amounts of time, work very well when you'd rather wall off than move forward, need less healing, etc. These are things Mia, or at least most myrmidons or sword locked units, cannot do. I'd argue that without turn counts being a factor, armor knights are one of, if not the, best class in the series.

You cannot "Fall behind" unless you are either incapable of passing certain terrain that must be crossed, or you are aggressively moving forward. Why should I care if I have to waste a turn letting armor knights catch up, if I don't care about turn counts? When a unit can reduce the amount of time it takes in order to do something, it shows that unit's flexibility to do something. To be able to do something in a more "efficient" manner demonstrates your ability to do something. This probably needs to take into account reliability, as said before, but saying that doing something faster doesn't matter then harping on a unit's low move is backwards.

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The big flaw in those statements is that it is assuming that the only way to reliably tier characters is based on turncount and speed, which is not necessarily why most people play.

If most people played for the cute lolis, then that wouldn't necessarily make a loli cuteness tier list interesting to discuss.

And how many times do we have to say this? Nobody thinks that the only way to tier characters is based on speed. We do have ranked tier lists as well, after all. It's just commonly agreed that right now, turncount and speed is the best criteria to base tier lists on.

I think we're having a disconnect here as to which Mia/Gatrie we're talking about. I'm talking about the FE9 Mia/Gatrie, you seem to be talking about the FE10 maybe?

Yeah, we were talking at cross purposes.

You also two-turned it. Using vulneraries wastes a units entire turn, ETC. BORING!

While I am not worried about turncounts, I don't want units dying and having to hold a unit back is a negative on flexability.

So being forced into accepting that I need to wait for a more durable unit is suddenly a good thing? You seem to be confusing 'we don't care about turncounts' with 'all aspects of a unit are needless since we can take more turns'. A more durable unit is better than a less durable one. The reason may be different but it's not like saying 'LTC doesn't matter' suddenly means 'all standards are meaningless since we can just take more time'.

Thank you for finally admitting that characters that beat the game faster are better.

Wrong. Try 22.65. (AKA: 23 SPD with rounding) The first band that boosts SPD comes from Oscar and Shinon has the second one with the third coming from the chapter 3 boss. Tormod and Soren will have lower/similar speeds to Ilyana prepromotion due to lower level/low STR respectively and post promotion their differences in SPD don't become so pronounced until 20/20. Most of them will either double or fail to double most of the same enemies and, due to earlier joining, Ilyana is more likely to hit 20/20 than Tormod is to top it off.

Due to having a higher base level and more movement, Tormod is more likely to hit level 20/20.

In addition, what the fuck are you talking about? Soren has 2 or 3 more speed than Ilyana at 20/1.

If Ilyana took it from BEXP instead, she would only need one more level than Tormod. Ilyana has the option to gain levels through early-game Cepx, but Tormod does not. Advantage: Ilyana.

Yes, and I admitted that it was an advantage, that Ilyana can gain it through CEXP instead of BEXP. Not really a massive advantage since we have plenty of BEXP, but it's inaccurate to describe Tormod as somehow "behind".

List of good skills in FE9 that cost 10 capacity: So suddenly being capable of taking and comboing vantage, wrath, adept, guard, or resolve is suddenly not a good thing? Heck, Ike and the paladins are likely to take Aether/Sol anyways, so that's a lot lower demand.

Actually, I and plenty of other units like to give Ike Wrath and Resolve. I certainly don't get why you'd give Ilyana Resolve when the main attraction, the increased strength, is wasted on her, and she doesn't have nearly enough durability to pull it off. The same applies to Wrath, or Guard. All these skills have far better recipients: someone who can actually fight two enemies at once might be a good start.

The sheer amount of Titania fanboyism back in the day was more than enough to put me off her forever. It literally reached a point where if someone didn't use her they were considered retarded regardless of the reason why. That's why I ended up loathing her (I used her, but outside the early-game, didn't find her so special and liked using other units instead).

I couldn't care less about your personal biases, or about your lack in taste in units. If Titania being a 9 move ORKOing goddess for 95% of the game doesn't qualify as "special" in your book, I wonder what does qualify.

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I couldn't care less about your personal biases, or about your lack in taste in units. If Titania being a 9 move ORKOing goddess for 95% of the game doesn't qualify as "special" in your book, I wonder what does qualify.

Snowy has a thing for purple hair. That makes Mia and Ilyana special.

Or perhaps he meant that Titania wasn't "special" in the kind of special you use to describe the really stupid and really ineffectual kid eating paste in the back of the classroom.

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