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FE6: Project "Not Thracia"

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Project "Not Thracia" - A Novice's Attempt at Reworking FE6

Overview

Let's be honest...Roy's never felt great to use. He moves very slowly, has a late promotion, and doesn't offer value at the vanguard. Oh, and FE6 hit rates? Ugh! So, inspired by Leif and a few Thracia things, it occurred to a few friends and me that we might be able to change some of that. With nothing more than a misplaced sense of optimism and some faint memories of learning x86 ASM in college, I began this FE6 rework: Project "Not Thracia."

 

Notes:  

  • This was designed & tested exclusively on FE6 HM.  
  • No custom animations/sprites were added; this is a basic hack with minimal ASM.
  • Uses gringe's translation patch.

 

Patching Instructions

  1. Install a UPS patcher from (http://www.feshrine.net/hacking/patchers.php).
  2. Apply .ups patch. You'll want to check the "ignore" box for errors!
  3. Enjoy!

 

Gameplay Changes

I personally love FE6 HM; it's my second favorite difficulty from FE4-SoV, right behind FE12 H4. With that in mind, we set out to try to make a few adjustments while not messing with how the base game plays too much. Here's a few high-level categories we identified:

 

Spoiler
  • Bad units = not fun: Vanilla FE6 HM can be pretty punishing if you veer off the optimal path. PRFs have been added, and some units have been reworked to close the gap between good and mediocre units. You won't find any units that were optimal before being outshined, but the lower tier units aren't outrageously unusable now.
  • Rewarding fast play: Chapter 6 can be a pretty interesting map if you finish quickly! It's a little difficult to grab all the chests with just one thief and go fast...so on Chapter 3, there's a stealable Chest Key.  

 

armor.thumb.png.6bd862803fafcde9fede7ad3c7e40a66.png

 

  • Incentivizing interactions: Cath is a pretty awful thief, but her recruitment is an interesting challenge. She now carries a Brave Sword (the only Brave weapon the player can't get in vanilla) as a nice reward for recruiting her.  

 

cath.png.66218019f030632f18549c536e77292b.png

 

  • Bonus damage: Anything on a horse SHOULD be vulnerable to any anti-horse weapon, right? Nomad and Troubadour lines have been adjusted to take effective damage from weapons that only affected the Cavalier line.

 

ljRrUKf.png

 

  • Class balance: Generally, this is fine, but why is the movement cost on desert tiles 3 for Warriors? It's 2 now.  
  • Item availability: You can't buy Lightning tomes until Chapter 11, even though you get a Guiding Ring in Chapter 8! To that end, the Chapter 7/9 vendors now sell Lightning tomes.  

 

For a complete list of changes made, see this README.  

 

Leadership System

This was the biggest change to the game I made, and it takes two things into account:  

  1. FE6 support grinding is slow and tedious for the efficient player.  
  2. FE6 hit rates can be janky.  

 

Spoiler

Through a bit of elementary ASM injection and consuming the entire support system, there is now a "leadership" system implemented. Using lore and some approximation of how commanders would lead on the field, certain units are identified as "commanders" to others. An example would be Marcus being Lance & Allen's commander; see the README for the complete list. This is represented by an asymmetric C-rank support that gives +5 HIT/AVO to both the commander and the commandees when they are within 3 tiles, e.g. Marcus gives +5 HIT/AVO to Lance and Allen, and also recevies +5 HIT/AVO.

 

HjPCrCJ.png

 

The ASM comes in when implementing this for Roy, who is identified as the commander for every single playable unit in the game. At Chapter 12 and Chapter 17, the bonus advances a rank (i.e. B rank at Chapter 12, A at Chapter 17), which scales up the HIT/AVO bonus by x2 and x3 respectively. This is to represent Roy's growth as a tactician.  

 

But wait...isn't Roy still a bad unit? That leads into the next section...  

 

Unit Calibration

Here are some of the more interesting changes that have been made and a brief discussion of the thought processes behind them. There are a few that I didn't bother to go into detail here, see the README for the full list.

 

Spoiler
  • Roy: +1 base movement and a pre-C17 promotion make him far less painful to use. The Rapier's MT has also been boosted by 2, along with its durability. He's still not a great combat unit, but he can hold his own early game and transitions well into a utility unit with leadership bonuses. He's also been given a Flame Brand, which is essentially a Light Brand PRF that doesn't slow Roy down, gives +3 DEF on equip, and has 2 less MT. Totally not inspired by Leif.

 

wE0DWfw.png

 

  • Sophia: For a character with relative importance in the lore of the game, she sure is bad in vanilla. She now rocks +1 base MOV (a separate promoted class as to not affect other female Druids) and starts as a Lv9 Shaman with B rank staffs, as well as a Torch + Barrier in inventory. An LTC'er/0%'er's dream.  

 

GGlcUi6.pngcLwWWdK.png

 

  • Saul vs. Elen: Elen now sports a whopping 100% MAG growth, and Saul's slightly bulkier. You've got to make a choice: high MAG for an extremely potent staff user with extremely poor bulk, or average MAG for a bulkier staff user.  
  • Zeiss/Tate: Base D rank lances? No thank you! Both now have base C lances. Axereaver/Killer Lance utility, here we come!  
  • Wade: In vanilla, he doesn't do much more than bring an Iron Axe for Marcus...and since the Project Exile patch is rebranding the Pugi, I thought to myself...what better way to immortalize the Pugi than to PRF-strap it to a mediocre unit? Now it helps Wade contribute until it's broken.

 

wade.png.9f4b1634a8bffdd4b52fa1bfea3ba904.png

 

  • Fae: Our favorite chicken dragon was nothing more than a status staff sponge...until now! Up to 6 base MOV from 5, she now sports a 1-2 range 60-use Divinestone that deals effective damage to the Wyvern Rider class line as well! 

 

y8ypl49.png

 

  • Bors/Wendy/Barth: Ah...the armors. We wouldn't have been comfortable buffing their movement to 5, since this obviously affects enemies, too, but each of them have more pronounced stats that that they excel in. Are they good now? Definitely not...but at least you can try to have fun with that triangle attack.  
  • Wolt/Dorothy: Instead of short-term bow utility and a transition to the bench, Wolt and Dorothy can each bring something to the table! They're still (arguably) not a match for the Sacaen nomads, but Wolt's SPD has doubled to enable him to deal more damage early game, and Dorothy has picked up both some bulk and a very, very heavy 2-5 range PRF. The range doesn't display correctly for it, unfortunately, but it definitely works.  

 

tower.png.9139a13dfb9eea3ee04d097a02cda8c9.png

 

  • Lilina/Fir: Level 1 units with high growth rates are almost never worth using over their higher-base alternatives, but these two now come with 100% more fun! FE12's Aura and FE5's Mareeta's Sword have been slightly tweaked and worked in as PRFs for these two units respectively. Are they better than Lugh/Rutger now? Nope. Are they way more fun to use? I'd like to think so.  

 

ZuGZkLV.pnglEfyTkx.png

 

  • Lugh vs. Lilina: Lugh's speed has doubled from 6 to 12! A 50% growth with base 6 SPD does not make for a speedy mage, but that's a non-issue now. This should create a clear decision for you to make: will you choose the quickboi banana or the slowgirl PRF nuke?
  • Raigh: Since he's missing his hard mode bonuses in vanilla, Raigh's gotten a little more punch packed into him now.
  • Hugh: Hugh now comes as a Lv1 prepromoted Sage with some impressive weapon/staff rank; this should make the price tag feel more worthwhile.
  • Treck/Oujay: Straight up bad units in vanilla, with little reason to try to use them. Treck's growths have been raised to Carion's and his base weapon ranks increased; Oujay has more respectable bulk, speed, and weapon rank. You still won't find them optimal, but they ought to be serviceable now.  
  • Geese: Gonzales outshines Geese in vanilla, but with a slight boost to STR/SKL/SPD and a whopping +14 RES, Geese can fill his own niche now.
  • Juno: Dayan comes with respectable combat, but Juno doesn't. It seemed a bit odd to us that the eldest of the pegasisters would be such a letdown in combat; her bulk and speed have been upgraded, and she now sports C rank swords. Immediate Wyrmslayer utility...just in time for Chapter 21!

 

Weapon Calibration

Some weapons have atrocious hit rates, but buffing these also powers up enemies that use them. For example, I wanted to make Short Bows a little scarier/useful, so they've got +5 to hit from vanilla. Other weapons, like the Steel Bow, are rarely enemy-equipped, but are important for the player (e.g. Steel Bow for Sue), so that has a +5 to hit as well. See the README for the complete list!  

 

Links

[v2 Patch download]

[v2: README + changelog + credits]

 

A big thanks to the folks on the HMNG discord and the FEU discord for helping make this foolish dream of mine come true.

 

FAQ (gathered from Reddit thread)

 

Q: Will you be making any additional changes to this hack?

A: If the hack is received enthusiastically, then, yes!

Q: Will you be supporting the other translation patch?
A: If interest leads to another iteration, I could look into rebuilding these changes onto the other patch, but it's tedious work. I'd need motivated testers to make sure the build is stable and bug-free. That being said, every change and both ASM routines are accessible and documented on Github. There's nothing stopping anyone with the right skills from rebuilding the patch. I'd be happy to support anyone who'd want to take the initiative to do that.

Q: How can I support the hack?
A: If you like what you see and/or you're interested in helping tune a next iteration, the best thing you can do is give the hack a playthrough and get in touch with me. I don't plan on working on this anymore, besides emergency bugfixes, but enough interest could change my mind. Naga bless, and have fun!
 
Q: Is this compatible with Leafy's FE6 Recolor project?
A: Yes, it is! When patching, you'll want to check the "ignore" box.
 
Q: Which translation patch does this hack support?
A: gringe's!
Edited by pnt
Clarity of leadership section.

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This can be helpful for people who are scared of everything that is said of FE6 hit rates and so on!
I really like that you used lore to create new weapons and for St. Elimine thank you so much for helping Roy, Sophia and most importantly, Fae!

 

Didn't the Flame Brand exist in Thracia btw?

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Thanks for the feedback! That's one of the motivations behind implementing the system.

In the translation I played, I believe it was called a "Flame Sword." It provides a +5 boost to MAG in Thracia, and MAG doubles as a RES stat (just in case you didn't know!).

A few reasons the Flame Brand exists as it does:

  • The fact that it's fire magic is meant to align with the motif of fire (the Binding Blade spewing flames and all that), and the utility of a 1-2 range early game magic sword is inspired by Leif's Light Brand.
  • Having the PRF simply BE the Light Brand felt a bit on the nose to me, and there are enemies that equip the Light Brand. It's also useful when obtained for sword-locked units.
  • It gives +3 DEF as opposed to +5 RES because it was important to me that the bonus wasn't just an empty duplication. The slight boost to bulk early game can help Roy stay in the thick of things until he gains some survivability until it breaks.

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Hm, definitely a fascinating patch overall. I like the idea of leadership being involved, and its definitely nice to see some of the stupid design choices fixed (like nomads not actually riding horses).

I don't know if the patch would personally be to my taste, though. One of my favorite things about FE is the support system offering insight to the lives of the characters and a reward for certain characters working together. Without them, it'd definitely be a different experience.

But, then again, no harm in trying it out. If I remember, I'll leave some feedback once I've actually played it some.

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I feel the same pain...I love the extra lore that supports provide in GBAFE! I feel that it really enriches the game's experience...that being said, having units stand next to each other forever and not focusing on efficient play bothers me.

If IntSys remakes FE6, I would LOVE to see them fix the GBAFE support system. If I were a better ASM hacker, I'm sure I could implement leadership w/o salvaging support.

Thanks for your interest and feedback!

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7 hours ago, Gregster101 said:

Will there be a capture mechanic?

Nope. Sounds like a pretty interesting idea, but it's "Not Thracia" after all :P . I don't have the knowledge to implement or properly rebalance the game around a capture system.

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21 hours ago, pnt said:

In the translation I played, I believe it was called a "Flame Sword." It provides a +5 boost to MAG in Thracia, and MAG doubles as a RES stat (just in case you didn't know!).

It's so helpful! Considering that this game has a bit of Kaga influence, I liked the idea of giving Roy a PRF a lot!

Gonna give it a try to provide feedback!

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6 hours ago, Spectraman said:

what is FE4 SoV?

"FE4-SoV" can be read as "from FE4-SoV," SoV = Shadows of Valentia. It's just a short way of explaining that I've cleared every Fire Emblem game except for 1, 2, and 3.

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I had a chance to think about some changes after some feedback from other sources.

The big & ambitious change:
- I'd like to insert cherrypicked support conversations between chapters/as on-map talk events to make up for axing the whole system. I could do some conditional checking to see if characters are still alive, or even if they're promoted (to indicate their active use).

What's definitely going in:
- Yodel needs S light magic. It makes no sense that he doesn't have this.
- Switching out "Beyond the Distant Skies" when it returns inexplicably midgame.
- Moving Murdock's Hero Crest to the Chapter 13 Hero.
- Moving Zephiel's Knight Crest to Chapter 12 Cath.
- Moving Brunja's Guiding Ring to the top Valkyrie on Chapter 15.

The thing I'm in the middle about:
- +1 of each status staff. I want the player's early-game staffbots to feel more powerful; I feel pretty good about this one, but I'm not sure where to put them. Current ideas for locations include:
- replacing the C13 "Al's Sword." I was thinking of writing it in as a cursed weapon that the local villagers want to have nothing to do with.
- replacing the C16 "Mend" with a Sleep staff. We're robbing a castle, so why not have some powerful treasure lying about?
- giving a Silence staff after C16x. The Bishops are spamming it anyway; why not have a soldier find one lying around?

Things I'm not sure about:
- revert conversation changes. I'm not super adamant about keeping the changes I've made, but I've basically gotten two very vocal "CHANGE IT BACK" shouts.
- revert Shanna's STR+1 buff. I could go either way on this; if anything, it makes her less RNG-screwable.
- start bosses that have both a 1 range and 1-2 range weapon equipped with the 1-2 range weapon?

 

As always, feel free to give any thoughts on what's already implemented & these prospective changes.

Edited by pnt
Another thought.

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Test patch file: https://github.com/nagasen314/fe6-not-thracia/raw/develop/fe6-nt-experimental.ups

Includes changes for:
- Yodel (S rank light)
- Moved promotion items (C11A/10B village Orion's Bolt is a Knight Crest; C12 has a stealable Knight Crest, C13 has a stealable Hero Crest, C15 has a stealable Guiding Ring).
- Extra status staffs (C13: Berserk replaces Al's Sword, C16: Sleep replaces Silver Bow, C16x: Silence given for free at chapter's end).
- Beyond the Distant Skies no longer returns mid-game.

Edited by pnt
Details

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I tried patching this on a clean unedited Japanese ROM and it didn't work. This does need to be patched onto a clean ROM right?

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1 hour ago, Syndixel said:

I tried patching this on a clean unedited Japanese ROM and it didn't work. This does need to be patched onto a clean ROM right?

Hi, there! No, that actually isn't the case; it needs to be patched on top of a ROM with gringe's translation patch. Check the very end of the FAQ section; I believe I've linked it.

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1 hour ago, pnt said:

Hi, there! No, that actually isn't the case; it needs to be patched on top of a ROM with gringe's translation patch. Check the very end of the FAQ section; I believe I've linked it.

Ah, I didn't see that. Thank you! It works just fine now.

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Not sure if this counts as necroposting, but I just felt like saying a few of my thoughts/feelings about this patch. I'm about halfway through and recently reached Arcadia, and I've been loving it. I never actually beat Fe6 HM before, but I feel like a lot of the added features like prfs and Roy's army wide support bonuses make things super convenient, and make Gonzales less of a pain to use. The Flame Brand and Tower Bow were also pretty great, until they broke, and the latter kept Dorothy relevant up until she fell behind better units, but that was two more chapters that I used her for compared to vanilla, so that's a good in my book.

 

However, despite making Dorothy more viable, as well as other characters, I feel like Sophia is even worse off than before, considering she comes in with stats of a level 1 unit at level 9. Sure, she's got some staff utility now, and will have the best movement of any mage after promotion (without using Boots) but her stats are downright terrible, and it feels even worse now that she's level 9. The main stat I'm talking about, of course, is her speed, because she 4 speed, 3 con, and flux has 5 weight, meaning she comes out with -1 attack speed, so anything with more than 4 AS doubles her, and considering her low defense and hp, means she's basically dead the moment combat starts. Granted, these problems are all from vanilla fe6, and not your edits, but I feel like she needs a lot of the buffing help you've given other units more. Not anything major that makes her not fragile, considering you've still got too escort her, but considering how everyone else is better and she's lost out on 8 potential levels to catch up with at least unprompted enemies, I think some stat raises are in order to at least make her more like a level 9 unit.

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I noticed that Wendy started with 4 Strength. I understand she's the weakest of the three, but four strength seems way too low. 6-7 strength seems better, IMO.

Edited by Syndixel

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On 10/4/2019 at 6:32 PM, sdaht15 said:

I feel like Sophia is even worse off than before,

I just want to say that I personally really enjoyed Sophia in this hack and thought her balance changes while minor made her stand out as a very solid unit. First, the free Barrier and Torch staff go a long way and by spamming those she'll easily hit level 10 by the end of the chapter. Since she can find a guiding ring at the end of the chapter this means she can instantly promote to druid which will bump her staff rank from B to A. With A staves, she can now use warp which was also attained in chapter 14. Compared to Saul she will have higher magic unless Saul is very magic blessed and compared to Ellen, Sophia requires far less investment into to make useful. I'd argue that until Niime joins in chapter 19/20 Sophia is the best staffer in the game. Now there are a couple really big maps before Niime joins that having a warper comes in handy and being the best of them puts Sophia in a real solid spot for her usability. Even after Niime joins she can contribute with Physic, Restore, Torch, Barrier, Sleep etc. 

The point I'm trying to make is that even though Sophia's combat is still complete booty, her amazing utility really makes her stand out. It can't be understated how good A staves are and for a solid 6 or 7 chapter stretch she's the best staffer in the game and that counts for a lot in my book.

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On 10/30/2019 at 7:22 AM, EmeraldEnchanter said:

The point I'm trying to make is that even though Sophia's combat is still complete booty, her amazing utility really makes her stand out. It can't be understated how good A staves are and for a solid 6 or 7 chapter stretch she's the best staffer in the game and that counts for a lot in my book.

I suppose that's fair. I did use Elen a whole lot, so she already filled the staff utility slot for me, and since I use Lilina, it would've been pretty inconvenient to use the guiding ring on Sophia of all people, especially when her survivability is worse than Elen's, and the best way to keep her alive is to just not give her a tome in her inventory. Good to know someone else got good use out of her.

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