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FE8 Difficulty & Balance Patch

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[spoiler=Screenshots]

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[spoiler=Wait what are these showing?]1) Seth's base stats are reduced, especially in HP, STR, SPD and DEF. Seth received a few very needed nerfs - lower bases, reduced growths, and a tweak to the EXP formula in the earlygame, which although an indirect nerf, hinders Seth's early EXP gain far more than any other character is affected.

2) An example of a chapter 9 Eirika Shaman, showcasing their new defensive slant. Slightly higher offensive stats but much stronger defensively. Most enemies didn't gain much or any DEF/RES in this patch, instead I opted to raise HP to maintain balance of lower strength, high SPD units.

3) Marisa is significantly buffed in terms of bases. This is her in chapter 10 Eirika route. Marisa didn't receive any other buffs, so this is all she gets. How do you think she compares to Joshua (who was unchanged)?

4) Trainee 1st tier promotions are buffed significantly as well, especially Amelia (who is generally considered the weakest character in the game). Also, notice the CON gain. Trainees are no longer stuck on useless CON! Oh, and those are more or less average stats for Amelia before promotion as a level 10 Recruit. If you do the comparison, it might not look like she got buffed much (before promotion gains, at least!), but she does have a number of small buffs in a few areas of gameplay, as does Ewan and to a lesser degree, Ross.

5) Late game bosses are strong, but not ridiculously strong. Lyon is heavily buffed but still has fairly low AS - much higher than his usual ~5 AS though - so even though he's sporting 55 mt like usual, and now 29/30 defences with a whopping 88 HP, he's not too hard to gang up on and take down if you're careful.

6) Most dark magic tomes have been buffed, since they did sorta suck before. Luna with it's terrible hit but 10% crit was particularly notorious for usually being completely non-threatening, except the fact it often had maybe a 2% chance to simply kill you.

FESS Difficulty & Balance 1.1.zip

(Alternate download: Google Drive) I uh uploaded here first, then later realised I could just attach the file on the forums directly. Doesn't hurt having two versions in case one goes down I suppose.

This is a patch that I've been working on for the last month, give or take, mainly for my own entertainment, but since it's done, it felt like a shame to not release it in case more people would be interested. As the name suggests, this patch aims to do two things - 1) Increase the game's difficulty and 2) Address some various balance issues in a number of places, at least as I perceive them.

As many people would agree, The Sacred Stones is one of the easier FE games - even if you don't just have Seth demolish his way through the game, there are few seriously challenging chapters, and plenty of other characters who can be trained up quickly and destroy the later parts of the game. Many of those characters, and especially Seth, needed a bit of a tone down. Similarly, many characters are close to worthless if played in a traditional (no grinding) style, due to joining very low levelled, late, and often not being noticably better than similar units when trained. Those characters needed some kind of buff and/or niche to make them more worthwhile. Thus, this patch comes in. This patch is for anyone who wants to play FE8 again, but feels the original game is too easy, and wants something more comparable to recent FE games higher (not top) difficulties.

In terms of difficulty, my goal was somewhere around perhaps HHM in FE7, or maybe F4 in FE11 - so I didn't want to make a super challenge for FE vets, just something where the enemies have a little more bite to them. In terms of balance, I wanted to make every character at least viable, and no character feel almost mandatory, for simply completing the game (LTC, speedrun or anything like that wasn't a goal or particular consideration). I was not trying to make every character equally good - such goals are almost impossible, and somewhat subjective. But I wanted even the weakest characters in vanilla to feel worthwhile and rewarding to train, and the strongest to not be overbearing. I feel (and hope!) that I succeeded.

This is not a massive redesign of the game or a huge project. Don't expect things like new characters, sprites or ASM hacking. Everything I did was done with Nightmare, and all but one thing with publicly available modules (one module I made myself). This patch is simply doing the things I said it would - rebalancing the game and increasing the difficulty.

I'd like to thank two people, who helped make this patch - one directly, and one indirectly. Kaoz/Chaosmaster helped a lot, suggesting various ways to rebalance characters, as well as other things I might want to adjust. I spent a lot of time talking to him about things I could tweak and how to do it. Vennobennu also helped indirectly, well over a year ago, since he told me how to remove the "mode coefficent" part of the EXP formula (and this is what my nightmare module I made as a result is for).

Now that's out of the way, here's a changelog for those interested.

[spoiler=Summary Changelog]Difficulty:

Increased enemy stats (HP majorly, STR/SKL/SPD/LUK slightly).

"Mode Coefficient" EXP removed (this basically means you gain less EXP for high level units until chapter 8)

Strong units nerfed slightly

Balance:

Strong units weakened slightly by reducing bases, reducing growths, altering base level, etc. This includes Seth, Franz, Gerik, Duessel and others.

Weak units buffed slightly by increasing bases, increasing growths, altering base level etc. Trainees have had their 1st promotion buffed. This includes Ross, Neimi, Amelia, Ewan, Marisa, Knoll and others.

Shaman/Druid has slightly more defensively oriented stats, inspired by FE13, to give them both a more distinct feel from other magic users.

A few other miscellanious changes.

[spoiler=Detailed changelog]All enemy and NPC units unpromoted/promoted base stats increased: HP +4/+6; STR, SKL & SPD +1/+2; DEF & RES +0/+1

All enemy units growths increased: HP +30%; STR, SKL, SPD & LUK +10%

Unpromoted Monsters gain 1 less base HP, 10% less HP growth and 5% less STR, SKL, SPD & LUK growth (mostly because Ghost Ship is too much of a difficulty spike otherwise)

"Mode Coefficient" EXP removed (see bottom of page for info)

Base stat & level changes (note: X>Y means the character is autolevelled from X to Y. All unlisted stats are unchanged):

Seth: 26 HP (-4), 12 STR (-2), 10 SPD (-2), 10 DEF (-1), 7 RES (-1), C Swords (-2)

Franz: 19 HP (-1), 6 STR (-1), 4 SKL (-1)

Moulder: 8 SPD (-1)

Vanessa: 10 SPD (-1), 5 DEF (-1)

Ephraim: Level 7 (+3)

Orson: 33 HP (-1), 14 STR (-1), 10 SPD (-1), 12 DEF (-1)

Gerik: Level 8 Eir (-2), Level 8>10 Eph (was 10), 29 HP (-3), 12 STR (-2), 11 SKL (-2), 11 SPD (-2), 7 LUK (-1), 8 DEF (-2), 3 RES (-1), 12 CON (-1)

Tethys: Level 1>3 Eph (was 1), 11 SPD (-1), 4 DEF (-1), 3 RES (-1)

Saleh: Level 1>4 Eph (was 2>4), 17 SKL (-1), 7 DEF (-1).

Cormag: 29 HP (-1), 9 SPD (-1)

Duessel: Level 8>11 Eir (was 8>10), 39 HP (-2), 16 STR (-1), 11 SKL (-1), 11 SPD (-1), 16 DEF (-1)

Neimi: Level 3 (+2), 18 HP (+1), 6 STR (+2), 7 SKL (+2), 8 SPD (+2), 5 LUK (+1), 3 RES (+1)

Natasha: Level 2 (+1), 19 HP (+1), 3 MAG (+1), 9 SPD (+1)

Amelia: Level 4 (+3), Level 4>7 Ch. 13 Eir (was 1>4), 18 HP (+2), 5 STR (+1), 4 SKL (+1), 5 SPD (+1), 7 LUK (+1), 3 DEF (+1), 4 RES (+1)

Marisa: Level 10 Eir (+5), Level 10>12 Eph (was 5), 27 HP (+4), 9 STR (+2), 15 SKL (+3), 16 SPD (+3), 12 LUK (+3), 5 DEF (+1), 6 RES (+3), C Swords (+1)

L'Arachel: Level 7 (+4), 20 HP (+2), 8 MAG (+2), 8 SKL (+2), 12 SPD (+2), 14 LUK (+2), 6 DEF (+1), 10 RES (+2)

Dozla: 12 SKL (+1), 10 SPD (+1)

Ewan: Level 6 (+5), 18 HP (+3), 5 MAG (+2), 4 SKL (+2), 7 SPD (+2), 8 LUK (+3), 1 DEF (+1), 5 RES (+2)

Rennac: 30 HP (+2), 11 STR (+1), 17 SPD (+1)

Knoll: Level 10 (was 9>10), 23 HP (+2), 13 MAG (+1), 2 LUK (+2), 5 DEF (+3), 11 RES (+1)

Syrene: Level 6 (+5) 31 HP (+4), 14 STR (+2), 16 SKL (+3), 20 SPD (+5), 13 LUK (+1), 11 DEF (+1), 15 RES (+3), B Swords (+1)

The Creature Campaign bonus characters all have the same bonuses as enemy units do (+6 HP, +2 STR, SKL & SPD, +1 DEF & RES) because well they're bonus characters anyway, they need all the help they can get (and it's less editing to leave like that)

Lyon's Phantoms are stronger (+15% STR, SKL, SPD, LUK growths) because I felt like it.

Growths changes:

Seth: 80% HP (-10%), 45% STR (-5%), 40% SKL (-5%), 40% SPD (-5%), 20% LUK (-5%), 30% DEF (-10%), 20% RES (-10%)

Amelia: 70% HP (+10%), 40% STR (+5%)

Ewan: 55% HP (+5%), 55% MAG (+10%), 40% SPD (+5%)

Knoll: 80% HP (+10%), 25% DEF (+15%)

Promotion bonus changes:

Journeyman > Fighter:

+3 HP, +3 STR, +1 SKL, +1 RES, +3 CON (was: +2 HP, +2 STR, +1 SKL, +1 RES, +3 CON)

Journeyman > Pirate:

+4 HP, +2 STR, +1 SPD, +1 DEF, +2 CON (was: +2 HP, +2 STR, +1 SPD, +1 DEF, +2 CON)

Journeyman > Journeyman (2):

+3 HP, +1 STR, +2 SKL, +2 DEF, +2 RES, +1 CON (was: +2 HP, +2 SKL, +2 DEF, +2 RES)

Journeyman (2) > Journeyman (3)

+5 HP, +1 STR, +1 SPD, +3 DEF, +3 RES, +2 CON (was: +4 HP, +1 STR, +2 SPD, +2 DEF, +2 RES)

Journeyman (2) > Hero

Now gives +2 CON (was +3 CON), no other changes

Recruit > Cavalier:

+2 HP, +2 SKL, +3 SPD, +2 RES, +3 CON (was: +1 HP, +2 SKL, +2 SPD, +2 RES, +3 CON)

Recruit > Knight:

+3 HP, +3 STR, +1 SKL, +4 DEF, +1 RES, +4 CON (was: +2 HP, +1 STR, +1 SKL, +1 SPD, +2 DEF, +4 CON)

Recruit > Recruit (2):

+3 HP, +2 STR, +3 SKL, +2 SPD, +2 DEF, +2 RES, +1 CON (was: +2 HP, +1 STR, +1 SKL, +1 SPD, +2 DEF, +1 RES)

Recruit (2) > Recruit (3):

+3 HP, +3 STR, +1 SKL, +1 SPD, +2 DEF, +2 CON (was: +2 HP, +2 STR, +1 SKL, +1 SPD, +2 DEF, +1 RES)

Recruit (2) > Paladin:

Now gives +2 CON (was +3 CON), no other changes

Pupil > Mage:

+2 HP, +2 MAG, +1 SKL, +3 SPD, +1 DEF, +2 RES, +1 CON (was: +1 HP, +1 SKL, +2 SPD, +1 DEF, +2 RES, +1 CON)

Pupil > Shaman:

+4 HP, +1 MAG, +1 SPD, +3 DEF, +2 RES, +2 CON (was: +1 HP, +2 MAG, +1 SPD, +1 DEF, +2 RES, +2 CON)

Pupil > Pupil (2):

+3 HP, +3 MAG, +2 SKL, +2 DEF, +3 RES, +1 CON (was: +2 HP, +1 MAG, +1 SKL, +2 DEF, +2 RES)

Pupil (2) > Pupil (3):

Now gives +1 CON (was +0 CON), no other changes

Pupil (2) > Sage:

Now gives +1 CON (was +2 CON), no other changes

Stat cap changes:

All Trainee (1):

15 STR, SKL, SPD, DEF, RES & CON (Was 20 in all)

Journeyman (3):

30 STR, 28 SKL, 26 SPD, 30 DEF, 24 RES (Was: 26 STR, 29 SKL, 28 SPD, 23 DEF, 23 RES)

Recruit (3):

28 STR, 30 SKL, 29 SPD, 27 DEF, 27 RES (Was: 23 STR, 30 SKL, 29 SPD, 22 DEF, 26 RES)

Pupil (3):

29 MAG, 29 SKL, 26 SPD, 24 DEF, 30 RES (Was: 29 MAG, 28 SKL, 27 SPD, 21 DEF, 30 RES)

n.b. These 3rd tier stat caps are the ones in the Japanese version. Some are a bit odd like Journeyman's 30 DEF, but overall they seemed more appropriate to use. The 1st tier ones are just for effect, they're almost unreachable caps still (Ross has a 0.2% chance of reaching 16 Strength... if you give him the ch. 7 Energy Ring.)

Weapon changes:

Luna now has 75% hit, 0% crit and 11 wt (was 50% hit, 10% crit and 12 wt)

Nosferatu now has 13 wt (was 14 wt)

Fenrir now has 15 wt (was 18 wt)

Gleipnir now has 21 mt, 16 wt, effective vs. monsters (was 23 mt, 20 wt, no effective bonus)

All 1-2 ranged Lances (Javelin, Short Spear, Spear) and Axes (Hatchet, Hand Axe, Tomahawk) have -1 mt

Other misc. changes:

Shaman & Druid base stats: +1 HP, +1 DEF, -1 MAG, -1 SKL

Shaman & Druid growths: +15% HP, +10% DEF, +5% RES, -10% MAG, -10% SKL, -5% SPD

Including the universal growth & base stat buffs this gives:

Bases: +5/+7 HP, +0/+1 MAG & SKL, +1/2 SPD, +1/+2 DEF, +0/+1 RES (for Shaman/Druid resp.)

Growths: +45% HP, +5% SPD, +10% LUK, +10% DEF, +5% RES

This makes Shamans & Druids slightly more defensively oriented, similar to FE13.

Boss stats increased. Excluding HM bonuses (which are slightly larger now due to higher growths):

Prologue-ch. 3 & ch. 5x have 4 HP, 1 STR, SKL & SPD

Ch. 4-7 gain 6 HP, 2 STR, SKL & SPD

Ch. 8-11 gain 6 HP, 2 STR, SKL & SPD, 1 LUK, DEF & RES

Ch. 12-14 gain 8 HP, 3 STR, SKL & SPD, 1 LUK, DEF & RES

Ch. 15-18 gain 10 HP, 3 STR, SKL & SPD, 2 LUK, DEF & RES

Ch. 19-20 gain 12 HP, 4 STR, SKL & SPD, 2 LUK, DEF & RES. Riev also gains 2 CON

Lyon (end) gains 12 HP, 1 MAG, 4 SKL, 4 SPD, 4 LUK, 2 DEF & 6 CON

Formotiis gains 5 STR, 10 SKL, 2 SPD, 6 DEF & 6 RES, but stat caps have been lowered to 31 to avoid a stat overflow bug while suspending (in effect this means 30 or 31 MAG/SKL/DEF/RES and about 21 SPD/LUK)

Note: "Mode coefficient": Normally, until the end of chapter 8, the game does something a bit weird with EXP. If your level is at least the same as an enemies level when you kill them, then the bonus EXP you get for killing them treats your level as though it's half of what it actually is. If that sounds confusing then here's some example numbers: A level 6 fighting a level 8 enemy gets 11 EXP for hitting and an additional kill bonus of 6 (+ a fixed 20 EXP) for killing, making 37 EXP total. A level 8 fighting the same enemy would get 10 EXP for hitting, but here's the weird part: Because their level is equal, it's treated as being level 4 for the kill bonus, so they actually get a kill bonus of 12 EXP (+ the fixed 20 EXP), making 42 EXP for killing. So a higher level character is getting more EXP, what. The main reason I've disabled this isn't because it's weird though - it's because it makes things harder, and especially makes Seth less able to get tons of EXP early on (it's not unusual for Seth to be level 6-8 at the end of chapter 8, in this patch, he probably won't be higher than 3). For reference, with the mode coefficient disabled, now our level 8 unit gets 10 EXP for hitting and an additional 0 + 20 for killing, making 30 total.

The patch is currently complete - however, there is a chance I will make some more changes, likely minor ones, especially if people feel there is a character or perhaps other aspect of the game I have not sensibly balanced yet.

If there are any questions, perhaps about why I did something a certain way or anything else, feel free to ask.

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I actually like a lot of what you've done here, I'm gonna give this a spin later on tonight and i'll try to give some feedback when I beat it. Just looking at things though, some dudes like Duessel probably don't really need much of a nerf (any point in speed he loses is HUGE) when the enemies are getting better, although I won't really be able to tell for sure until I get to his chapters. I'm guessing Kyle and Forde are going to be a lot worse too (especially Forde) since their stats are VERY underwhelming for their level. Sure, they're cavaliers, but in just an every day run of the game, they're already kind of a letdown in the main game. With better enemies, i'm sure they'll be much weaker here too.

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I actually like a lot of what you've done here, I'm gonna give this a spin later on tonight and i'll try to give some feedback when I beat it. Just looking at things though, some dudes like Duessel probably don't really need much of a nerf (any point in speed he loses is HUGE) when the enemies are getting better, although I won't really be able to tell for sure until I get to his chapters.

Thanks for the feedback. Duessel is definitely a lot weaker and probably never doubling much any more, so you might be right. His STR and DEF bases and growths were very good before, and in my experience he was still solid right up to about chapter 15 or 16 even with gaining minimal level ups, but going into the late game that slow speed really limits him. I'm certainly consider reverting his dropped speed, perhaps the dropped HP as well. He's still really good for the chapters right after he joins, after all, so it makes sense he'd be a little weaker in the long run.

I'm guessing Kyle and Forde are going to be a lot worse too (especially Forde) since their stats are VERY underwhelming for their level. Sure, they're cavaliers, but in just an every day run of the game, they're already kind of a letdown in the main game. With better enemies, i'm sure they'll be much weaker here too.

Heh, well, Kyle ended up being my MVP, although I think part of that was due to getting speed blessed (only about 2 points up by promotion, but he also had a speedwing so it was actually +4, and maintained that high speed forever). Cavaliers high move and two weapon types are still really good, enough to easily balance out slightly weaker stats elsewhere. Perhaps you're right, though. I just did a quick stat comparison with a handful of vanilla units, and he looks (at equal levels): Better than Neimi, worse than Ross, worse than Ephraim, worse than Cormag. Of those Ephraim and Cormag got nerfed, Neimi got buffed and Ross got buffed slightly. But this doesn't factor in the move and weapon types advantage he has. So Kyle... probably fine? Forde perhaps could benefit from a minor buff, perhaps +1 speed, +1 skill in order to augment his intended strengths (that +1 speed especially will help him, with enemies being faster now)?

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Per chapter what I think was the impact of the changes.

Prologue: Seth does not double the boss anymore. Had to clear in 3 turns.
Chapter 1: Enemies seemed a bit tougher but not too hard. Sadly Silver lance Seth still one rounds the boss and is the most efficient way of doing so. Cleared in 4 turns.

Chapter 2: Brigants spawn with 6 to 8 speed. Dunno if they did so before but I assume not. 3 speed Ross and 4 speed Gillam face getting doubled and in the former even onerounded. Seth does not double most enemies making him a perfect bait to weaken all the iron axe users. Cleared in 5 turns.

Chapter 3: 12 speed thief and 11 speed merc with 8 speed brigands all around. Colm doesn't double brigands anymore and Gilliam's armor is useless. Neimi got her base stats increased but she's still level 1. (and with her lack of enemy phase will likely still make her unlikely to reach promotion ever.) Sadly the boss has a steel axe which weighs him down and making him easy prey for Seth still. His 31 health will survive 2 Steel sword hits which is nice to give cake to other units. Cleared in 6 turns. High speed hand axes hurt.

Chapter 4: At first glance this chapter was a bit of a letdown. With 3-4 speed each the enemies didn't seem buffed at all but then I realized they all got 30-40 health. (the zombie ones) they aren't hard but persistant and take longer to clean up. Still the least improved chapter so far. Cleared in 5 turns.

Will Edit when I got more.

Edited by Silith13

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Neimi got her base stats increased but she's still level 1. (and with her lack of enemy phase will likely still make her unlikely to reach promotion ever.)

Ah, oops. Neimi was a fairly late change, at first she just got a small buff (1 point IIRC) to STR and SPD, but eventually after talking to Kaoz we decided raising her level would be better. I guess I forgot to go back and make that change in the chapter editor.

Neimi was one of the units I used in my team, since she was one I wanted to most try out here. Generally in FE, as enemies get stronger, the accurate 2 range chip from archers becomes increasingly more valuable, so I wondered if just a small buff would be enough to make her useful. Especially as 1-2 range weapons are a tad weaker. She's always fragile, but her offence now is actually reasonable right from the start, and as her high speed and decent STR growths kick in she can start dealing very significant damage at 2 range. I think she's fine, based on my experience.

Anyway from the rest of your post it's sounding like Gilliam might need a bit of a buff. Although I seem to recall that because of heavy enemy weapons he wasn't getting doubled that much in the earlygame, even at base level.

(Also the enemies in chapter 4 'only' having 3-4 AS might not seem like much, but compare it to vanilla where they mostly have 1-2... yeah. At least at 3-4 AS not everyone is doubling).

Edited by Tables

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I'll try this over the weekend.

Could you buff the con promotion gains for Recruit(2)->Recruit(3) a wee more? the whole trick with Ewan's Pupil class is using all three types of magic. He's still going to be outclassed horribly by the stronger enemies lol.

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I'll try this over the weekend.

Could you buff the con promotion gains for Recruit(2)->Recruit(3) a wee more?

Amelia gets to 9 CON now, which is pretty decent - and what Recruit doesn't get in CON it makes up for in other stats and +15% crit. Compare the promotion gains for Recruit (3) to Paladin - Paladin gives 1/1/1/2/1/2/2/3, Recruit gives 3/3/1/1/2/0/2/1 - Paladin gives an additional 1 SPD, 2 RES, 2 MOV, D Swords compared to Recruit giving 2 STR, 2 SKL, 1 DEF, +15% crit. Neither of those jump out at me as being obviously superior choices.

The whole trick with Ewan's Pupil class is using all three types of magic. He's still going to be outclassed horribly by the stronger enemies lol.

Not really sure what you're trying to say here. He's going to be weakish at first - that's a part of his character, I wanted to still maintain that as best as possible, but now he will grow well, much better than in Vanilla in fact, due to slightly improved growths, improved bases and level causing a drastically reduced trainee period (needing to gain only 4 levels instead of 9, which could realistically be done in the chapter he joins), and much stronger promotion gains equivalent to an extra level up or two - he's going to be able to pull his weight as a backliner much more rapidly than in vanilla, and actually has a shot at being one of your stronger units by the lategame... with a little work. Is it enough to balance him? I don't know. I can't test everyone in a single playthrough. I used Amelia, and was happy with how she performed - weak at first, but caught up much more quickly than in vanilla, and ended up being one of my strongest units (sadly she growed a bit wonky, STR and SPD blessed and DEF screwed, when I wanted her to be more concrete-tanky as a Knight... ah well). And Ewan's in a similar position to Amelia - joins a bit later but has an easier time getting EXP, so I hope he'll be okay. Feel free to use him and give your own thoughts though!

Edited by Tables

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alrighty, so the hilariousness of Ross's broken potential wasn't changed, or Garica being inferior to alot of units once Ross was trained wasn't changed?

alright cool that makes total sense

Or Innes still being pretty bad in general, his only saving grace was that he wasn't neimi, and now that she's buffed...

Oh boy Vanessa sucks even more now due to being lance locked in a mostly axe heavy early game even further now!

Oh wow i just noticed that Forde is still the worst cavalier in the whole game!

Oh shit i just realized that Gilliam, part of the ever under powered Knight class has received NO BUFFS from this either, he really needs to be either at a lower level or with bases that are actually decent for his level.

i might have the unpopular opinion, but i am not impressed at all.

Edited by HF Makalov Fanboy Kai

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alrighty, so the hilariousness of Ross's broken potential wasn't changed, or Garica being inferior to alot of units once Ross was trained wasn't changed?

...Are we talking about the same game here? Ross is pretty bad, generally considered right on the lower fringe of usable. Once trained, he's at best slightly above average, but his growths are pretty poor. A minor buff is warranted. Garcia was one I considered buffing, since he's not really much better than Ross generally, but he's alright. Slightly slow but other stats are pretty solid, very useful earlygame at least.

Or Innes still being pretty bad in general, his only saving grace was that he wasn't neimi, and now that she's buffed...

Innes has very good bases - 15 SPD and nice CON means he's doubling regularly, and that's backed up by a very respectable 45% growth. 14 STR and 10 DEF are also good. Especially since harder enemies generally means archers get more valuable, I didn't see any reason to buff an already mid-tier character who was already getting an indirect buff.

Oh boy Vanessa sucks even more now due to being lance locked in a mostly axe heavy early game even further now!

There's like, two chapters of axeland left when Vanessa joins. Chapter 4 has no axes, chapter 5 is mostly lances and swords, chapter 6 onwards is pretty mixed. I was kinda on the edge about if Vanessa needed a nerf. She's pretty amazing in vanilla, but it's not because her stats are anything more than average, rather because flight is awesome. Flight is still awesome, so did she need a nerf? I opted to go for a minor one.

Oh wow i just noticed that Forde is still the worst cavalier in the whole game!

Also, Eirika is still the worst female Lord! Seriously, there's three Cavaliers, one of them has to be the worst. They can't all be the best Cavalier ever. Forde and Kyle have never been that far apart in usefulness, and now that Kyle's shaky speed is more likely to make him miss out on doubling, I'd say there's an argument that Forde is now better than Kyle anyway.

Oh shit i just realized that Gilliam, part of the ever under powered Knight class has received NO BUFFS from this either, he really needs to be either at a lower level or with bases that are actually decent for his level.

Hmm... Gillaim always felt like a character that was okay, a little weak offensively but his strong defensive stats made him useful for soaking damage. However judging from what Silith has said, that might not be the case, so he might well need a buff now. Probably something like +2 DEF, +1 SPD should be enough to keep him able to actually tank reasonably.

i might have the unpopular opinion, but i am not impressed at all.

Great. Thanks for the contribution. Maybe next time you can focus on the positive changes that were made, and present your opinions on what's missing more positively. And also use capital letters.

Edited by Tables

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lol i give criticism and i get ignored, dream of five all over again, well time to leave this thread.

>Makes insulting post focusing almost entirely on perceived missing balance changes rather than what is changed

>Gets post back explaining why changes suggested weren't implemented, but one or two changes suggested might occur

>Claims he's being ignored.

I have no idea what you're talking about. But mostly, I'd be more inclined to take you seriously if you used reasonable grammar and weren't taking so negative of a tone.

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Seconding that post above me. This is Tables' patch, and he is free to do what he wants with it.

I'm currently preoccupied, so I'll give this a whirl later. For now. . .with the various buffs and whatnot, will Syrene be one-Shadowshotted by an enemy Gorgon on Chapter 18 Hard Mode? I remember the numbers were extremely close in vanilla FE8!

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Chapter 5: Natasha was still level 1. I assume the base stats were increased. Not that it matters much. This chapter was the hardest chapter in the game before and now it's even harder. Enemies will whomp Seth hard and aside from the soldiers which are still easy pickings enemies are tough nuts to crack. On the left I had Franz Garcia Neimi Moulder and Vanessa just to hold off the archers and their mates leaving Eirika and Colm to tank the brigand reinforcements on the right.

Oh and Joshua starts with 14 speed. Guess how much Seth has.... yep. 10. Seth gets onerounded with a likely crit. In fact the best candidates to pull Joshua were Eirika and Vanessa now. Speaking of Eirika. She's the best offensive unit I have right now... Wuuuuuuut. She's the only one who can reliably double enemies. I guess Joshua joins this niece. Looks like Ross and Gilliam will spend the rest of the game sitting on the bench. There was too little time to baby ross and Gilliam joined with too low stats to start salvaging. Anyways. Cleared in 8 turns. Can forsee this in 7 turns but I played it a bit save.

Chapter 5X: Eiphraim still soloes this chapter. Uses most the healing items doing so now though.

Chapter 6: First attempt....... Vanessa getting doubled.. but she has 12 speed. Why. Just.... Nooooooooooo. Whatever these enemies are smoking give my units some. It seems doable though. I just reset because Franz died to a Mercenary who are rocking 12-14 speed.

Edited by Silith13

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Chapter 5: Natasha was still level 1. I assume the base stats were increased.

Huh, that's... odd. She's level 2 in chapter 5 in the editor. Unless there's a second Natasha hidden somewhere being used... I found another in the editor and changes that to level 2, so hopefully that'll be fixed when I put an updated version out. Not that Natasha's base level matters too much.

This chapter was the hardest chapter in the game before and now it's even harder.

Huh, first time I've seen chapter 5 called the hardest in the game. Personally I'd put chapters 6, 11 Eph, 13 Eir, 18 and 19 way above it, and probably also 9 Eir (for both villages), 10 Eph, 14 Eph, 15, 16 and 17 too. But whatever, different people find different things challenging.

Oh and Joshua starts with 14 speed. Guess how much Seth has.... yep. 10. Seth gets onerounded with a likely crit. In fact the best candidates to pull Joshua were Eirika and Vanessa now.

There are better methods ;). Seth can survive a crit and a normal hit at base level (17 mt vs. 10 def with WTD = 6 attack, against Seth's 26 HP), and if you've gained 1 DEF he can survive two crits if he's in the forest (4 damage per attack = 24 from two crits) - and in the forest Josh's hit rate isn't great, 36 hit and 21 crit if I calculated correctly (Josh has 104 hit, base Seth has 33 avoid + 15 WTA + 20 forest = 78 avoid). Or, you can just send Natasha up to talk to him without luring him in the first place (keeping a mount/Vanessa available to rescue her after might be an idea).

That said, I have been debating giving Seth one more AS. It would mean he could double a little more in the early game, and give him just a tiny extra push later on (since he's going to fall off hard in the lategame). I think Seth is fine though, he's filling the Jeigan role much more accurately now.

So anyway, a few minor updates I think I should do:

Neimi's level updated to 3 (done)

Natasha's level updated to 2 (done)

Gilliam: +2 DEF, +1 SPD? Would that be enough, or perhaps also +1/2 HP as well?

Forde/Kyle: I'm not entirely convinced these guys need a buff. Forde perhaps could use +1 SKL, +1 SPD just to make his doubling a little more reliable (he's pretty awful when he's not doubling), Kyle I think is fine.

Vanessa: I'm still umming and ahhing over her. Is she too weak combat wise now? She's going to be way worse than Tana at similar levels, that's for sure, but she also has a level lead on Tana.

Dozla: Honestly I'm surprised he hasn't been mentioned yet. He has +1 speed which is an improvement, and relatively speaking a lot more people struggle with doubling now so his biggest issue (terrible speed in a game where almost everyone doubles reliably) is less significant, but in exchange he gets doubled himself a little more and his durability is somewhat less impressive. Thinking of perhaps upping his STR by 1-2, his HP by 1-2 and maybe even his DEF by 1, keeping his speed shaky but letting him contribute more through stronger single hits and slightly more capable of taking a hit.

with the various buffs and whatnot, will Syrene be one-Shadowshotted by an enemy Gorgon on Chapter 18 Hard Mode? I remember the numbers were extremely close in vanilla FE8!

Syrene is MUCH stronger now. Like, she's not amazing but she's decent lategame filler. I was using her almost untrained in chapters 19 and 20, and while she's fragile there she could do damage and wasn't OHKO'd by anything bar archers and Morva.

To answer your specific question here: No, she survives with single digit HP, and has reasonable avoid against them too. Gorgons and Arch Mogalls are all pretty much MAG capped in the lategame, which isn't really surprising given they come close to MAG cap in vanilla, so their damage output is pretty reliable - 42 from Shadowshot IIRC, which deals 27 damage to Syrene's 31 HP. They have somewhere around 100-105 hit with it (perhaps a little lower, I'm looking at chapter 20 Gorgons here), against Syrene's 53 avoid when using a lighter weapon.

Edited by Tables

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Firstly the buffs to trainees, while well-meaning, are kind of pissing in the wind when you also buff enemy stats. Ross was already in danger of getting doubled early, and now he does get doubled. Amelia's +1 speed is not going to make a difference when by the time you get her, enemies have gotten between 2 and 3 extra speed from their increased speed growths.

Enemy stats have probably been buffed too much, and too blindly. Sacred Stones has never had a problem with human class scaling, as well it shouldn't since it literally uses identical growth/base data to FE7. The problem is mainly with monsters and their lower bases, vulnerability to S Rank weapons, and overuse of weighty Steel weaponry.

I feel like while nerfing everyone else good, you forgot to nerf Cormag.

No addressing the really terrible weapon rank dickings that some classes get? I speak, naturally, of E Swords for Falcos, E Bows for Warriors, E staves for Druid and Summoner, and E weapon ranks for Knight->General.

Other than that, looks good.

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lol i give criticism and i get ignored, dream of five all over again, well time to leave this thread.

You came in here and acted like a snarky crybaby. If this is a repeat of Dream of Five, I can understand why

I agree with Anouleth's weapon rank analysis though; Base E-rank for alternative weapon types upon promotion is pretty bad. I'd bump all Tier2 new base weapon ranks from E to D, and probably give SuperPupil C rank in Light & Dark.

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Firstly the buffs to trainees, while well-meaning, are kind of pissing in the wind when you also buff enemy stats. Ross was already in danger of getting doubled early, and now he does get doubled. Amelia's +1 speed is not going to make a difference when by the time you get her, enemies have gotten between 2 and 3 extra speed from their increased speed growths.

I have to disagree here, especially having actually played through and used one of the trainees (arguably the hardest one to use). Ross is going to be pretty terrible at first, yeah he's going to get doubled in chapter 2 but really, that should be about it. He comes with a 1-2 range axe with good hit rate to take potshots with, so he can avoid having to face enemies head on while being babied. He can't do much damage, but he can gain EXP, and that's generally enough - especially when you consider chapter 3 is full of walls to hide behind and gain a few levels easily, while chapter 4 enemies aren't fast enough to double him. He's still not exactly fast after promotion, but he's fast enough to not get doubled by most things (5.7 speed with 11 CON as a Fighter, 7.7 Speed with 10 CON as a Pirate or 5.7 speed with 9 CON as a Journeyman).

With Amelia - she's actually not getting doubled quite as much as you may imagine, and while she's probably not top half of characters, it was never the goal to make everyone equally good, just to make everyone reasonable without anyone being overpowered. I luckily had a save at the route split so I can check how her AS does there quite easily. 5 AS with a Slim Lance means she's only doubled by 9/32 of the initial enemies, and of course she gains EXP very quickly and has a good speed growth, so she's definitely trainable. Even with an Iron Lance (giving her 3 AS) she's only doubled by 15/32 enemies, so just under half. Her much higher base level cuts out about 1/3rd of the trainee suck period, and then better promotion gains make her more usable right afterwards as well.

Does she need more buffs? Honestly I don't know. She's already really good after getting trained now. She was comparing reasonably with Seth on my file by chapter 13 (albeit with much lower move), and of course trained much quicker from then on. Trainees are naturally quite hard to balance, if you want to preserve their 'trainee' aspect - obviously I could just buff up her base stats and level a bunch, but then you lose than 'very weak now, very strong later' feature they have.

Enemy stats have probably been buffed too much, and too blindly. Sacred Stones has never had a problem with human class scaling, as well it shouldn't since it literally uses identical growth/base data to FE7. The problem is mainly with monsters and their lower bases, vulnerability to S Rank weapons, and overuse of weighty Steel weaponry.

Perhaps this is controversial, but I feel that FE7 has the same problem with enemies having too low growths. HHM has big map changes that help keep the difficulty high, but the enemies themselves tend to be pushovers. Also, I might be wrong, but I believe enemy Hard Mode bonuses are larger in FE7, or at least they feel larger.

With that said... maybe you're right? It felt okay to me, overall. Perhaps I should make some changes to promoted human enemies though? Early on, the base increases are the main factor, and they're enough for the most part. Later on, the growths really kick in, and increase all enemies HP by about 10, STR/SKL/SPD/LUK by about 3 (plus the base stat increases). In FE8, you don't often have to fight large groups of promoted enemies, especially not human ones - the closest you come is chapter 19, and there well you typically either make a wall and defend or just warp to kill Riev. And since you don't often fight big groups of them, it's okay for them to be relatively strong, I feel. For monsters, I think that the lategame monsters getting a big buff is good - they definitely need it because of as you say, sacred twins rip through them so effectively, even when they're in large numbers. Chapter 20 was long, but I rarely felt like I was in a difficult position during it because of said weapons, and endgame wasn't really that hard.

I feel like while nerfing everyone else good, you forgot to nerf Cormag.

Cormag did get nerfed ;). He lost 1 HP and 1 SPD. Maybe I'm wrong but I feel like -1 SPD will hurt Cormag a fair bit, his base speed is pretty mediocre for his level and with enemies getting faster, he's going to struggle to double a reasonable amount of things.

No addressing the really terrible weapon rank dickings that some classes get? I speak, naturally, of E Swords for Falcos, E Bows for Warriors, E staves for Druid and Summoner, and E weapon ranks for Knight->General.

It's actually something that never crossed my mind to do. This would be a fairly easy change to make as well, to smooth out a few weapon ranks on promotion, and would probably be quite nice. Just looking over the list of classes that gain a weapon:

Warrior: C axes, D Bows already which is fine.

Hero: C Sword seems pretty high because Fighters can promote straight into it which is really good, but D axes is fine. Could drop this to D/D weapon ranks?

Ranger: D/D is okay

Great Knight & General: Because these gain two extra weapon types (only one from Cav but it goes up to 3 at least), I think that D/D/E ranks would probably work best. It means they have two decent ish weapon ranks, and a third that you can put a little effort in to raise if you prefer. Probably E Axes for Great Knight as Cavaliers can promote to it, and E Sword for Generals.

Wyvern Lord: C/D is fine

Falcoknight: C/E is pretty sucky on the swords, especially since that's possibly the weapon you'd prefer to use because of their low CON. C/D or D/D would likely be better. Or perhaps D/D, but lower Pegasus WLv to E so they gain 30 WEXP (not that gaining 10 less WEXP is a huge deal typically).

Sage: Hmm... with there being so few tomes, starting at C rank basically means access to every relevant tome instantly. Is that something I want to keep? I think probably not. So likely D/D/D here? Sorry Moulder, no instant Elfire without AS loss for you.

Bishop: Similar to above but now it's C staves. I kinda like this as a perk for Bishop, and honestly I'd say Sage is better than Bishop currently (because slayer is pretty much only relevant in chapter 18, by chapter 20 you have Ivaldi) so a minor nerf there and no change here seems fine.

Valkyrie: I kinda like keeping C/D here because it makes going for the S rank in the tome more realistic. Staves give WEXP so fast already, and work on a separate EXP scale, so I think it makes sense here.

Mage Knight: Same as above

Druid: Hmm... they currently have C/D/E, which is okay, since no staff using class promotes to them, and Summoner is more of the dark magic 'support' class. I don't think this is worth changing.

Summoner: Here however D staves makes so much more sense. D/D over C/E, I think.

This list make sense? Most of it was just thinking on the fly, so maybe not all of them are great ideas, but that's why I'm posting them before implementing.

Other than that, looks good.

Thanks, and thanks for the feedback. Given me lots of things to consider.

I agree with Anouleth's weapon rank analysis though; Base E-rank for alternative weapon types upon promotion is pretty bad. I'd bump all Tier2 new base weapon ranks from E to D, and probably give SuperPupil C rank in Light & Dark.

Oh yeah, forgot Super Pupil. C/D/D I'm definitely happy to do. I'm not so convinced about C/C/C... although it is a perk for Ewan, and it's not like that's going to break anything. Maybe C Anima, C Light, D Dark? That way, Super Pupil gives you anima/light with a higher Wep rank than Sage would, plus also Dark.

Edited by Tables

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Pupil->Pupil2 gets nothing new aside from extra Anima WEXP. Pupil2->S.Pupil gets D-Dark and E-Light (by default).

Considering that everything that gains Light (Valk, Sage, etc) go straight to D-Light except for Super-Pupil, I'd suggest doing the C-Light as an offset to Pupil's naturally lower Con. Also, D-Dark only lets you use Flux. C gives Luna and Nosferatu access. B only gives access to Eclipse. Is bumping Super Pupil to C for Luna and Nos that big of an issue? Your only other Dark magic user is Knoll who comes with C, and by the time you get Ewan to Superpupil, you've had to promote him twice to get this far. Why would you want to stick him to Flux only when he'd have probably close to B-anima at this time, as well as buffing Light from E to C?

Also, with Shine and Flux (both D-rank, both 8 WT, but Flux being +1Mt over Shine) Anima will be leading the tome use as Elfire will be extremely available by the time Ewan is running C-Anima, and is lighter + stronger than both Divine (C-rank Light) and Flux (well ok not lighter but still +2 stronger), which he'd be getting at base super pupil regardless.

Edited by Elieson

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Considering that everything that gains Light (Valk, Sage, etc) go straight to D-Light except for Super-Pupil, I'd suggest doing the C-Light as an offset to Pupil's naturally lower Con.

Super Pupil now has 7 con, the same as Sage, so the CON issue doesn't exist any more.

Also, D-Dark only lets you use Flux. C gives Luna and Nosferatu access. B only gives access to Eclipse. Is bumping Super Pupil to C for Luna and Nos that big of an issue?

Honestly, Super Pupil could probably get A Dark, A Light on promotion and it wouldn't be much of an issue. High rank tomes are just not all that useful in general. Like maybe that could be something to change (well I already partially did with Dark) but I don't think it's all that worthwhile or much of an issue, they still have a niche. C Dark wouldn't be too broken, Luna is heavy but can at least hit reasonably hard, Nosferatu might let him recover while attacking, so I guess I could do that as well. I guess C Dark is actually more like D rank anything else, yeah.

Also, with Shine and Flux (both D-rank, both 8 WT, but Flux being +1Mt over Shine) Anima will be leading the tome use as Elfire will be extremely available by the time Ewan is running C-Anima, and is lighter + stronger than both Divine (C-rank Light) and Flux (well ok not lighter but still +2 stronger), which he'd be getting at base super pupil regardless.

Personally I'd be going Thunder in general. Elfire has 2 mt more, but Thunder loses 3 AS less and has 5 crit, plus is way cheaper. But whatever, that's not hugely important.

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Getting that x2 damage on the S-rank light tome would be great to use on a non-bishop.

Chapter 6: Still easy. I find that enemy stats can vary WILDLY. An enemy that could be 2HKO'd by Seth's Silver Lance would have 5 HP left the next try and fall back to the troubadour. Cavaliers having randomly 7-12 speed is also annoying considering they are in the fog and cannot be prepared for. Knights are a real pain in the ass if you didn't take a magic user along. (You know like I did... sigh*) Eirika still best combat unit. lol.

Edited by Silith13

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You find chapter 6 easy? I'd say it's among the 5 hardest stages in the game. Definitely the hardest before the route split, at least.

I find that enemy stats can vary WILDLY. An enemy that could be 2HKO'd by Seth's Silver Lance would have 5 HP left the next try and fall back to the troubadour.

Enemy stats should be basically fixed if you restart the game each attempt, but otherwise, this is just how the GBA FE's work, sigh.

Cavaliers having randomly 7-12 speed is also annoying considering they are in the fog and cannot be prepared for.

There's one Cavalier that has boosted stats, who starts in the north. All of them should be pretty consistent statwise - well, consistent by GBA FE standards - except that one strong guy. I don't know why they made him much stronger, but I found he wasn't much of an issue (he has about 9 AS because he's weighed down IIRC) so I just left him.

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Would it be possible to make Boss Lyon Summon Phantoms?

If not, maybe enemy Phantoms could continually pop up as reinforcements.

Necromancer could gain the ability to use all types of magic like Dark Druid.

Also I'm wondering if making Dozla unpromoted would make him better or worse? Would he be a pirate or Brigand?

Edited by Emperor Hardin

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Would it be possible to make Boss Lyon Summon Phantoms?

If not, maybe enemy Phantoms could continually pop up as reinforcements.

I'm going to say probably but it's outside the scope of what I want to do, and also what I know how to do easily.

Also I'm wondering if making Dozla unpromoted would make him better or worse? Would he be a pirate or Brigand?

Pirate would make more sense, but I don't think it's a change I'm a big fan of. It's a pretty big change to how the character behaves, and also would require an Ocean Seal to promote him back up, which you only get one of. As for if he would be better or worse, well, it would depend entirely on what I did with his stats in the process. If I kept them all the same and made him a level 15 Pirate he'd be better. If I dropped his stats by his promotion bonuses, he'd likely be way worse (having 5 more slightly quicker level ups doesn't make up for a big drop in stats to begin with, especially when he also needs to consume a promotion item). I'd be much happier just giving him a stat buff.

Anyway at this point I think I'm pretty close to implementing changes I've been saying and putting out a version 1.2 patch.

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