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Alastor15243

Alastor plays and ranks the whole series! MISSION COMPLETE! ...For now.

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People mentioned other religious traditions in ThreeHouseslandia. Dedue's C-support with Mercedes states that Duscar has its own polytheistic religion, but it's not well explored and its a stupid support because people who think all the religious traditions should just get along and learn from each other are wrong.

10 hours ago, Samz707 said:

Seriously it annoys me how we aren't even give any real chance to have Byleth be suspicious, the best we get is a few situations and it's more "I don't believe in the Goddess" rather than any actual distrust towards the Church. 

Which is strange, since distrust for the earthly institutions of religion were more common in the European world the game seems to be inspired by than actual atheism.

6 hours ago, lenticular said:

I tend to think of the Monastery as being similar to skirmish grinding in Awakening, social stuff in My Castle in Fates, or sidequests in Shadows of Valentia. It's there for people who want it, is a part of "optimal" play and will definitely make the game easier, but it's fine to skip some or all of it if you don't want to engage with it.

The difference is that you don't have to run from place to place nearly as much, you don't need to grind support points in MyCastle to recruit characters, and you can clear out all the MyCastle rewards in about five minutes if you have arthritis.

It's kind of annoying to run around a twisting faux-Gothic structure with an over-the-shoulder camera compared to moving a sprite briskly across a simple overhead map.

5 hours ago, Samz707 said:

Valentia side-quests can, for the most part, be done at any time at your own pace, almost all of them aren't time-sensitive, not to mention that you can grind in Dungeons at any time.

Side-quests in SoV are also relatively short, all things considered. There's about thirty or so of them, most of when you'll complete naturally. When they do take longer, it's usually because you have to go and get actual items by, you know, playing the game. Hunting bonewalkers for oil or whatever.

5 hours ago, Alastor15243 said:

I won't be able to answer this for a while, so, question for the time being: Have you played like this, skipping every single free time you can for the entire run? And do you say from experience that this is a well-rounded experience without any balance issues due to having too little of something you can only get by doing this?

I think I heard someone suggest that as a challenge run once, but I never actually saw if anyone did it. Maybe I'll try it out eventually, I hear Silver Snow and Verdant Wind are basically the same game so I could spice one of them up by doing that.

Anyway, those are all my posts for the playthrough, see y'all when FE17 is announced.

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7 hours ago, Shanty Pete's 1st Mate said:

I don't see how arts like Ruined Sky or Atrocity are "overkill". Most enemies aren't going to be felled in a single hit by either the Lance of Ruin or Areadbhar. So combat arts that make this a possibility are definitely useful. Dimitri's Crest is a bad one, true, but at least Umbral Steel is a relatively plentiful. Dust can similarly help secure one-shots that a normal attack from Crusher couldn't deliver, but as I'm not particularly high on the Relic, neither am I too inclined to defend the art.

Also, what "difficulty to justify" is going on with the Relics? Take Thunderbrand, for instance. As an E-rank Sword, it's competing for space with... an Iron Sword. It's expensive to repair, sure, but the first 30 hits are free. If you have a Crested unit in a physical sword build, there's basically no downside to bringing along Thunderbrand. It's not some big "commitment" that must be justified. Same applies, to varying degrees, to most of the Relic weapons.

I dunno about you, but most of the time, I find conventional weapons are more than enough for victory. If my units are capable of achieving victory easily with generic weapons, what reason is there to use the relic weapons?? Also, one hit of Areadbhar or the Lance of Ruin won't defeat something on its own, but something else on top of that will, at least on Hard. Anyway, the problem I have is, the game's storyline makes a big deal of crests and the Heroes' Relics like they're super amazing and all that, but when it comes to gameplay, I am left scratching my head and thinking "THIS is what the story is hyping??? Really? Try harder, IS, because I am NOT impressed" (a feeling that is especially strong when it comes to the Crusher).

4 hours ago, AnonymousSpeed said:

The difference is that you don't have to run from place to place nearly as much, you don't need to grind support points in MyCastle to recruit characters, and you can clear out all the MyCastle rewards in about five minutes if you have arthritis.

It's kind of annoying to run around a twisting faux-Gothic structure with an over-the-shoulder camera compared to moving a sprite briskly across a simple overhead map.

At the same time, My Castle gates some of its content behind the need for online features and the passage of real time, which I consider far more egregious. And that ain't even getting into the fact that anyone outside of Japan got shafted in terms of DLC for no real reason.

Edited by Shadow Mir

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10 hours ago, lenticular said:

What I do not understand is why people don't like the Monastery but then do all the Monastery activities anyway. And what I doubly don't understand is why people don't like the Monastery, do it all anyway, and then complain that the game is too easy.

Because let´s think for a sec what you lose out on when skipping the everything Monastery related. I assume that we are someone who´s just really fucken tired of the Monastery and skips on the first possible day, to the last day of the month.

So, what do we lose out on?

Because let´s think for a sec what you lose out on when skipping the everything Monastery related. I assume that we are someone who´s just really fucken tired of the Monastery and skips on the first possible day, to the last day of the month.

So, what do we lose out on?

First are the calendar activities. We can´t Explore, but what that means we´ll get into later. You can´t battle, which means you can´t grind – you won´t get experience, gold, stuff for Annas quest and other quests as well as metal to repair forge weapons and most importantly – no paralogues for you either. Relics? Bye. Weapons? Bye. And then we also can´t do Seminars, which means less weapon (for Byleth) ranks and no motivation side effects. Oh yeah, no Resting either – no motivation bonus and the Sword of the Creator has exactly the 30 uses till upgrade.

Now, let´s really get into it with the inability to Explore. So, honestly, where to start? Oh yeah, let´s go with the easy stuff first – not exploring means you can´t recruit characters. Which would tie back into no Paralogues, which would tie back into no Relics/SacredW. but that doesn´t matter anyway, since no Battles. It also means no Saint statues. Also, no additional shops – meaningful because of the smithing materials they sell and no Annas shop, which means none of the good stuff. Also also, no access to the Abyss – characters, Renown shenanigans, or even worse, Abyss classes. Additionally, you can´t increase Byleths weapon ranks – Flier Byleth? Forget it. Magic Byleth? Forget it. No Fishing, Gardening, Cooking, Meals, Teatime – some of these activities giving precious amounts of Prof Exp. No Gardening also means no additional stat boost, no meals mean less Motivation + support points, no Fishing and no Cooking would have meant less Meals/Cooking overall. Oh yeah, forgot the Sauna, the Choir practice. Did I forget something major? I mean yeah, no random items but that´s somewhat w/e. Hmmm, don´t we also possibly lose out on the Dancer? I don´t remember the sequence of events well enough. Also, we lose out on some of the Turnwheel – the statues each give one I think, and the Red Canyon paralogue also gives +1, no? Oh yeah no DLC stuff - the Chalice being the biggest victim here. Is there more I forgot about?

Now there´s another factor in the whole discussion: Prof Rank, which will be massively delayed. Which means less Activities (which we don´t actually need to care, cuz what are we gonna do with them points anyway), less gold, less adjutants. It also affects which weapons/items are available in the shops, or am I confusing that with the smithing?

So, what´s the consequences of all this for the gameplay. Your units will have less weapons and less advanced weapons too. They will be massively delayed too – weapon ranks will be as well as level, which means certifying becomes extremely uncertain. That in turn slows down overall builds coming together. Weapon Ranks are also important for Mages. Physic? Warp? Rescue? Dark Spikes? Also, what about Battalions – you´llalready have trouble getting WR to qualify for classes, how are we getting WR for Battalions and what about Mov type WR? Additionally what´s with characters like Dorothea, who will be really useful with their Hidden Talent. How long would that take to blossom?

Did I forget anything? 

 

10 hours ago, lenticular said:

The game is balanced to be beatable without any bonuses from the monastery.

With the above in mind: naw.

 

Not to mention, if you are someone who wants to enjoy the story, or maybe better the characters, then the monastery is your everything and you have NONE of it.

 

They should have made the monastery the Fire Emblem, that´s how important it is. 

Edited by Imuabicus

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7 hours ago, AnonymousSpeed said:

Which is strange, since distrust for the earthly institutions of religion were more common in the European world the game seems to be inspired by than actual atheism.

That's basically the attitude Jeralt exhibits. Teach doesn't, because the game doesn't let them have a personality. 

7 hours ago, AnonymousSpeed said:

Anyway, those are all my posts for the playthrough, see y'all when FE17 is announced.

Nooo we'll miss you. Good luck having an actual life.

6 hours ago, Shadow Mir said:

I dunno about you, but most of the time, I find conventional weapons are more than enough for victory. If my units are capable of achieving victory easily with generic weapons, what reason is there to use the relic weapons?? Also, one hit of Areadbhar or the Lance of Ruin won't defeat something on its own, but something else on top of that will, at least on Hard.

The Hero's Relics could net you a faster victory, or one with higher odds. Also, they look cool and have a lot of personality. Anyway, even non-Crest arts that kill with Relic weapons are to the merits of those weapons. Like on my latest VW playthrough, I've been using Luin on Lorenz with Frozen Lance. In some cases, that reaches a one-shot that a Steel Lance would miss.

6 hours ago, Shadow Mir said:

Anyway, the problem I have is, the game's storyline makes a big deal of crests and the Heroes' Relics like they're super amazing and all that, but when it comes to gameplay, I am left scratching my head and thinking "THIS is what the story is hyping??? Really? Try harder, IS, because I am NOT impressed" (a feeling that is especially strong when it comes to the Crusher).

I mean, you're not wrong about this (about Crests, at least). Then again, suppose the Crests had major gameplay effects associated with them. That would increase the imbalance between units, and cause folks like Caspar, Ashe, and Raphael to get even more flack. So I'm willing to accept some gameplay-story segregation here.

5 hours ago, Imuabicus said:

Oh yeah, no Resting either – no motivation bonus and the Sword of the Creator has exactly the 30 uses till upgrade.

Minor point - the Sword-of-the-Creator has 20 uses. It gets its uses recharged at the chapter 10 glow-up, and then at the start of chapter 13. So it has up to 60 "free" uses total. Also, you can repair and forge weapons in the Marketplace menu, and you get plenty of Umbral Steel by defeating monsters. So repairing it, along with other Hero's Relics, should still be possible.

4 hours ago, samthedigital said:

Has anyone mentioned how bad loading times are? That makes the monastery and such feel even worse.

Yeah they suck. Especially if I try going to Abyss, whuch requires another loading bar. The "jumping Professor" minigame is fun, but it'd be nice if the sprite adjusted by the class you put them in. Or if you had the chance to use different characters. 

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13 hours ago, Alastor15243 said:

I found myself compelled to do every tedious little task to arm myself for all the random bullshit I began paranoidly expecting behind every corner (keep in mind I was ironmanning a game that I was slowly discovering wants ironmanners to die), and I deeply resented the fact that the game expected me to take this much of my time in order to get materials that literally every other game in the series would give to me in a far more natural and streamlined way.

Yeah. I may be a bit of a Three Houses apologist/fangirl, but I'm not going to even try to claim that it's anything other than a terrible game to ironman, and I can definitely understand that trying to ironman it would make even a saint resentful. Mind you, I'm not sure that that's necessarily the game's fault, per se. I don't think that it's trying to be an ironman game and failing, I don't think that it's really doing anything to encourage ironmanning. Maybe you could say that the existence of a Classic mode is tacitly encouraging ironmanning, but equally, you could say that the existence of Divine Pulse is trying to discourage it. Not that I blame you for trying to ironman it either, mind. It's one of the perils of doing spoiler-free ironman runs of games generally. You never really know beforehand whether an ironman is a good idea, and the only way to find out is either to try it out or to spoiler yourself.

6 hours ago, Imuabicus said:

Oh yeah, no Resting either – no motivation bonus and the Sword of the Creator has exactly the 30 uses till upgrade.

I'm not going to comment on most of the specifics of this because I'm actually trying to do the run and will report back when I am done, since that seems better than theorycrafting over what we think would happen. However, I do want to point out that this is just factually inaccurate. If you choose to skip ahead to a future date then the game will automatically do Auto-Tutor for tutoring sessions and Rest for free time. It's impossible to skip ahead without getting the effects of Rest. So while other stuff might be an issue (again: I'm trying it, so we'll see), I'm certain that this won't be.

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14 minutes ago, lenticular said:

Yeah. I may be a bit of a Three Houses apologist/fangirl, but I'm not going to even try to claim that it's anything other than a terrible game to ironman, and I can definitely understand that trying to ironman it would make even a saint resentful. Mind you, I'm not sure that that's necessarily the game's fault, per se. I don't think that it's trying to be an ironman game and failing, I don't think that it's really doing anything to encourage ironmanning. Maybe you could say that the existence of a Classic mode is tacitly encouraging ironmanning, but equally, you could say that the existence of Divine Pulse is trying to discourage it. Not that I blame you for trying to ironman it either, mind. It's one of the perils of doing spoiler-free ironman runs of games generally. You never really know beforehand whether an ironman is a good idea, and the only way to find out is either to try it out or to spoiler yourself.

Come to think of it, while I know I've at bare minimum gotten close to the subject, I don't think I ever explicitly stated as such: starting with Fates, my first attempt of every new game has been a blind ironman. By sheer luck I hit a jackpot with regards to the first game to do it with, and I've made a habit of doing it ever since, because when every misstep in your strategy is massively magnified in consequence, it makes you hyper-aware of just how fair the game's difficulty is. It made my first playthroughs of Birthright and Conquest just about my fondest Fire Emblem memories ever, and it made by CF run...

...No, I should talk about that in the playlog proper.

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On 7/27/2021 at 6:17 PM, Alastor15243 said:

One of the many, many, many things that bothers me about Three Houses is that the game's entire presentation looks like there was a machiavellian saboteur among the development team, determined to allocate resources to all the wrong areas. The game is one of the ugliest games in the entire series, and a big part of that is the fact that damned near half the ways they tried to make the graphics better only serve to call more attention to the game's design shortcomings.

Take these story scenes for example. On paper, this is a massive, massive step forward. We've got story scenes where, instead of portraits standing in front of a 2D backdrop, with the closest they ever get to movement being little hops and slides in the GBA games... now we have actual 3D models. We have characters walking and talking and gesturing in 3D space!

...Except...

...Okay, set aside the fact that these characters are still against 2D backdrops, just grotesquely warped like a skybox. And set aside the fact that the 3DS games managed to do this shit with 3D backgrounds, as well as numerous other things as the games progressed.

The main issue I have here... is that these characters are still just standing around and talking. They don't swing their weapons, or climb trees, or jump, or even sit down. Even when the scenes call for us to believe they are doing these things.

What does this “advancement” accomplish? What new scenes can we bring to life in a way that static portraits on a 2D background could not? What has this achieved, other than completely stripping away the mind's ability to fill in the still-very-much-present gaps with the power of imagination? What does this do other than make the pretense of these characters doing things their visual representations obviously aren't even more asinine?

When I played Awakening, I remarked that its model-using story scenes usually amounted to little more than standing around, talking and gesturing. But that was a case of a development team clearly knowing their limits and not pushing them. For the most part they made sure significant action was saved for their nice fancy cutscenes where they could be done justice, and made sure to write the scenes while keeping in mind they didn't have the budget to bring too much action to justice, and therefore didn't include too much action. They made sure that when they didn't have the budget or technical know-how to surpass the power of the player's imagination, they didn't try to replace the player's imagination.

This is wisdom that Fates completely failed to heed, to my sense of humor's immeasurable delight, and Three Houses also failed to heed it in a completely different way, while somehow also failing to bring story scenes to the level the 3DS games managed to accomplish.

The only genuine benefit I can see to structuring story scenes like this, rather than simply using normal 2D backdrops and the shoulders-up portraits for all the characters that they did in fact make, is that it allows more than four or so characters to be on-screen at the same time. Which, of course, is absolutely crucial to have all those scenes where your whole house is on screen at the same time to say their mandatory one or two lines of dialogue.

Let's just say I don't think they did enough to justify it.

And that's one of the reasons I think the presentation tier should never have been removed. Fire Emblem is the only series that I know that can get "uglier" with a successive installment.

Edited by Maof06

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19 minutes ago, Maof06 said:

And that's one of the reasons I think the presentation tier should never have been removed. Fire Emblem is the only series that I know that can get "uglier" with a successive installment.

I'd say the Zero Escape series got uglier with each subsequent installment. They started with 2D images reminiscent of Ace Attorney

Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors - Wikipedia

Then they decided to go 3D and...

Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward Only Has Japanese Audio In Europe -  Siliconera

It looks kind of plasticy and off. The character designs still managed to carry it though. It's not the worst 3D graphics in the world, it just kind of looks low budget, but made with care that gives it charm.

But then for the third installment they stuck with 3D and, for me at least, it some how managed to look way worse.

Zero Escape: Zero Time Dilemma Review - GameSpot

I think they tried to go more gritty and realistic, while the second installment went with a pretty bright colour tone. And when your 3D is not fantastic, you definitely shouldn't try to make it look realistic.

I also mentioned Ace Attorney there, which managed to handled it's transition to 3D much better, but even though, I think I can personally say I preferred the aesthetics of the old 2D games better. But at least each subsequent 3D Ace Attorney title manages to look better than the last. And while I like the older style a lot more, I can't exactly describe the newer style as ugly.

I'm sure there are other examples of games that have newer entries that look worse that older entries, but Zero Escape is just what immediatly jumped to mind. But I'd say it's a less isolated incident than Fire Emblem alone.

Edited by Jotari

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6 hours ago, Shanty Pete's 1st Mate said:

Minor point - the Sword-of-the-Creator has 20 uses. It gets its uses recharged at the chapter 10 glow-up, and then at the start of chapter 13. So it has up to 60 "free" uses total. Also, you can repair and forge weapons in the Marketplace menu, and you get plenty of Umbral Steel by defeating monsters. So repairing it, along with other Hero's Relics, should still be possible.

5 hours ago, lenticular said:

I'm not going to comment on most of the specifics of this because I'm actually trying to do the run and will report back when I am done, since that seems better than theorycrafting over what we think would happen. However, I do want to point out that this is just factually inaccurate. If you choose to skip ahead to a future date then the game will automatically do Auto-Tutor for tutoring sessions and Rest for free time. It's impossible to skip ahead without getting the effects of Rest. So while other stuff might be an issue (again: I'm trying it, so we'll see), I'm certain that this won't be.

Shows how much I know about the game.

How much Umbral Steel do you get without Paralogues and grinding - not that there will be much competition over it I imagine. 

Yeah getting the SotC repaired is noice, but the motivation increase is near irrelevant - we can´t tutor anyway, auto-tutoring is w/e and what are you gonna reach with 50 motivation anyway. 

Which leads to the question - is setting goals for students monastery? I think it is, since it´s teaching and we only teach on Mondays. 

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Three Houses Day 4: First Exploration

Alright. Time to explore strange old worlds.

Time to boredly go where most of us have gone before.

First free time event, and it's mandatorily exploration because they're showing off each of the options in sequence here.

I know they force a seminar at one point, but I don't think they ever force a rest. So that probably means I'll never use it, because it's objectively the worst option. You get nothing from it but +5 durability for the sword of the creator. The other benefits are dwarfed so radically by exploring the Monastery that it's frankly ridiculous. Which is a massive shame, because it's easily the quickest option.

Professr: So, this is my room...

...You've been here for multiple days, and this is the moment you're saying this to yourself for the first time? Where have you been sleeping until now?

Professr: I thought I heard a girl's voice... but I must have been imagining things.

...Is the avatar, like... actually, literally, intentionally, canonically mentally disabled? She's had at least three separate conversations with Sothis, and she still hasn't fully mentally registered that there's a time-bending loli literally living rent free in her head?

Anyway, I check the bulletin board, and there are three quests. I'm pretty sure the game won't let us skip the this exploration period until we've done this, so that's yet another bit of pointless busywork the game adds to repeat playthroughs.

Seteth: These are the student's quarters. To better help you supervise them, you also have a room here. Your room is here at the end.

...He says to Professr, from a vantage point where he can't conceivably have not seen her already walk out of her room.

Yeah, while I realize this is the sort of thing you aren't likely to notice unless you're going over the script with a fine-toothed comb, it still doesn't say very good things about the attention to detail of the writing team. This implies the people who wrote these lines didn't think about the scene they were writing long enough to realize how utterly ridiculous it would be in-universe for Professr to be hearing this stuff now.

Anyway, apparently the nobility of the various countries are entirely comfortable having their children sleep in the same area as students from rival countries and of the opposite sex, but not keeping their children a floor above the peasantry is where they draw the line. Just thought that was amusing to note.

I say hi to Dedue and I'm met with a very stern warning not to cross Dimitri in any way, or Dedue will “take action”. Kind of jarring for this to be the next line he has in free exploration when the last one was him saying he's in my debt for saving Dimitri's life and he's ready and eager to repay the favor.

So Dimitri offers to “show [me] the ropes” with regards to the various facilities in Garreg Mach, which feels profoundly weird since by the sounds of things he hasn't been here longer than a week.

...Unless this isn't their first year.

...Come to think of it, how many years are there at Garreg Mach, and if there are upperclassmen... why do we not meet a single one of them? Is this just a one-year school? Then, naturally, I expect to be reminded of the numerous instances I've obviously forgotten of people talking about how they'll all have to say goodbye at the end of the year.

...Or discover that the game just really hasn't given much thought to how this school works beyond the bare surface level.

That's always possible.

...And I've just written an entire page without even leaving the dorms.

We are on day four, and the commentary-to-gameplay ratio still feels like we're on day one.

Dimitri: This probably goes without saying, but no matter which facility you use, it will take up a considerable amount of your time.

On the one hand, this is bullshit, because there are plenty of places that qualify as “facilities” that don't take up any of your activity points at all. The greenhouse and fishing pond being good examples.

On the other hand, truer words have never fucking been spoken.

...It seems the game does let you finish exploring early, funny enough, after you do the red quest. Let's see if it actually gives us the “are you sure” prompt or if it just says “you cannot do this right now”.

...Okay! My mistake! Looks like those tutorial quests are optional!

Okay, this is a relatively minor complaint, and in fact it's mostly an excuse for me to rant about this also being the case in a game where it's far less excusable, but...

...Why exactly is the run button not a shoulder-button in a twin-stick game?

Granted, it's still technically possible to move the camera with the “elbow” of your thumb while pressing down the B button with the tip of it, but it's a hell of a lot more awkward than it would be if you were pressing the shoulder buttons, and you have nowhere near as fluid of a range of movement.

Breath of the Wild is a really cool game. Even though I consider it mostly a failure to be a proper Zelda game, the thing that it is instead of a Zelda game is great enough that I had lots of fun.

But the control scheme is hot garbage.

B to dash? X to jump? And no way to customize the controls yourself? I practically drooled with excitement when I heard about the Switch software update that lets you re-map the functions of joycon buttons, thereby adding custom controls to any game, but when I tried to map B to a shoulder button instead, alas, that means you have to press that shoulder button whenever you want to do menu B functions as well, which made trying to play BotW with a control scheme I'd be much happier with (pretty sure it was X for runes, B to jump, ZR to dash, R to aim your bow, and L to throw weapons) an absolute nightmare on my muscle memory when navigating menus.

...Anyway, yeah, given there's no real-time combat in this game, it's more of an annoyance than an actual issue.

Hey, so, in talking to Ashe, and remembering the gender-imbalance of Blue Lions... I've got a question for you guys: if you had to genderbend one of the guys to make the house gender-equal like the others, who would it be and why?

For me it would either be Dedue or Ashe. Dimitri, Sylvain and Felix feel completely off limits based on what I've heard about their original Japanese storyline, because, again, their masculinity apparently factors heavily into it, and they're all hugely influenced in different ways by the values and expectations of their culture.

...But if you put a gun to my head and forced me to make it one of those three, hands down I'd pick Sylvain. Why? Well first, like I said at some point during Fates, I would be very interested in seeing someone try to write a straight female version of Sylvain's archetype, and also because as far as I understand it, Sylvain's character arc would still work pretty dang well with Sylvia: a misanthropic hedonist getting their thrills while they can before their family can breed them like a racehorse in an arranged marriage due to the Crest-bearing status they never asked for. It would actually make some interesting parallels and contrasts with the dutiful Ingrid who's accepted that role, though for all I know those parallels are already discussed in their supports and I just haven't seen them yet. I could believe that.

Alright, I'm at the garden now, talking to the gardener, or as my friend jokingly called her, “best girl”. Why? Because when shit hits the fan at the end of White Clouds, she's so goddamned committed to her job that she cares for, grows, protects and maintains the crops you planted there in a now abandoned and ruined monastery, for five fucking years, in the wild and undying hope that you would one day come back for them.

...Yes, that is totally the explanation, and not that the timeskip causes a veritable gauntlet of nonsense where numerous supports and gameplay mechanics act like it never happened.

But yeah, I plant Dedue's seeds, and I'll be able to harvest them next time I choose to explore (again, even if that next exploration is canonically five years later). When you get more professor levels, it becomes a really complicated and intricate system of seed-mixing that determines what seeds grow what plants and what the harvest quality is, but as far as I can tell there's literally no way to figure out the system in-game without trial, error and memory, so just keep that in mind. One thing I find myself doing is snapshotting the yield result of a certain winning seed combination so I can remember it for later.

Right. So, here we are at the dining hall. This is far and away the best (practically the only) way to keep your students' motivation up, which is crucial for skill training, for reasons we will be getting to during our first lesson. However, it is a massive resource sink, requiring you to get food from various different sources (fishing for fish, gardening for plants, and skirmishes for meat).

Oh, we'll be getting to fishing.

So, the first professor rank has a comically low exp cost, to the point that just visiting the dining hall and sharing a meal with Annette and Mercedes was enough to do it. I just found it kinda funny how rapidly the first bar went up compared to the overflow into the next level's bar.

I get more max activity points from it, but those only come into effect the next time you come here. It doesn't give you an extra point for the day you get the level.

Flayn: Hello there, Professor. Well, I call you that, but I am afraid I am not a student here myself...

That's okay, Flayn. That doesn't stop literally anyone else.

Your only options to respond to this are... rather aggressively friendly, shall we say, for the literal first words you ever say to this apparent little girl, to the point that Professr should consider herself damned lucky she's a woman:

That's a shame.”

Where can I visit you, then?”

Flayn: My brother would not be pleased if he heard you saying such things.

I should think not.

Flayn: The monastery is kind enough to provide a sanctuary for my brother and I. He's the only family I have.

...There is an entire circle of purgatory devoted specifically to people who say “and I” when it isn't grammatically appropriate because they think it sounds smart.

Well, at any rate, now it's fishing time.

Fishing is this... weird, bare-bones rhythm game where you have to time the overlapping of rings on a screen. It consumes bait, which you can get mostly from the market. There are five tiers of bait, and you can get 10 a month of the first three tiers each and 5 a month of tiers 4 and 5.

Doing this is basically your only means to get fish for meals, both of the moitivation-increasing kind the game just introduced, and the Fates-like stat buff kind that the game will be introducing later. It's damned useful gameplaywise, as you can pretty easily survive off of fish alone, and fish supplies the two best cooking buffs, speed and defense.

It's also boring as all hell, which would be bad enough...

...but it's also one of your finite and limited sources of professor rank.

Which means that if you're doing everything you can to improve your professor rank and be as ready as possible for the challenges ahead... you are doing this minigame forty fucking times a chapter.

I am going to do this. The second the marketplace opens up and I can buy my month's supply of bait, I will be fishing until I've used up every last bit of bait, without commentary, from beginning to end, doing nothing else but the actual fishing. Because I want you to know exactly how long this takes. Hell, I want to know how long this takes. Because I've never actually timed it, but it feels like it takes fucking forever.

But anyway, I'm pretty sure that's everything I can do.

...And then it gets to Ferdinand's birthday, and we have the option of buying him flowers, or, later, taking him to tea. Bit of a dick move for Ferdinand fans, no, that you can't do his birthday tea party until after the timeskip?

But anyway, I don't do anything because I don't plan on recruiting him, and giving flowers to someone I haven't even talked to yet feels hilariously weird.

And now it's mission time. Time for the mock battle.

Finally. In hour fucking four.

Also, really weirdly, the chapter name and the mission name are different. Which is why people keep referring to the infamous Chapter 13 interchangeably as Hunting by Daybreak or Reunion at Dawn, which are the mission and chapter names respectively.

But yeah. This is a really basic chapter, with only 5 units (avatar and exactly half of your house, with the leader being mandatory), which I suspect was done to artificially make the Battle of the Eagle and Lion feel more grand in comparison.

This feels... weird to me. This game sets two records. In terms of number of battles instead of average playtime, this game is by far the quickest to unlock the battle prep menu for you. But as a corollary, it's also the quickest to tell you that you have too many units and you have to leave people out. Absurdly quick, in fact.

Consider: this game is making me choose between three of seven units to deploy... and I haven't had an opportunity to use a single one of them.

That has never happened in Fire Emblem. Ever.

Well, I'm not going to dwell on this too much, just kind of an observation. I don't like it, but the reasons why are relatively mild compared to my complaints with basically every other aspect of this game's roster system, so for now I'll let it slide and not dilute this playlog with petty rants. Well, more than the playlog will inevitably be anyway due to the off-the-cuff nature of this.

I'm bringing Dedue, Felix and Mercedes. Healer's a no-brainer, and Dedue and Felix's personal skills in the early game are absolutely insane, but I'll wait until we get to training before I discuss my party and plans in depth.

Alright, I'm about to deploy, but I'm sorry, there is one thing I have to comment on: this game has us back to using 3D unit models on 3D maps. And I can't help but notice they put these big character portraits in front of all of them, and I suspect that they had to do this because in playtesting, the 3D models were difficult to tell apart at a glance, especially at the beginning where everyone's wearing near-identical school uniforms.

...Which is unfortunately and ironically where every student looks their best. With the exception of the part 2 outfits, damned near everyone looks better in their school uniform than they do in the atrociously dull outfits most of the classes in this game have, and I'm grateful that, with the unfortunate exception of mounted classes, you can make it so that they wear their Monastery outfits in other classes too.

Still though, back to the point, I maintain that the idea of putting 2D sprites on 3D maps was a really good idea, and I never had any trouble telling units apart in the 3DS games because their little pixellated heads were so distinct. They looked fantastic, and I think even if this game had better art design for its assorted classes and generics, they still would have been better off if they took those class sprites that they made anyway for use in other parts of the game, and used those for the 3D map too.

Ah yes, and as a form of gameplay and story integration, these mock battles have mandatory casual mode. Makes sense, and while it all but ensures this will be a cakewalk, it's just Chapter 1, so whatever.

We get our first critical, and while the cut-in is passable, the actual crit impact is... like... nothing. Yes, this is a mock battle, but even in normal gameplay, there's almost no audible impact to the crits. No big satisfying sound that's half the fun of scoring them! You'd barely know they happened sometimes unless you look at the damage, especially for brave arts where the cut-in doesn't even happen at all.

I can't help but notice Mercedes's Live to Serve personal skill doesn't actually happen during the healing process like it did in Fates. Weirdly, it happens afterwards as a renewal or lifetaker or vulnerary-style effect. And the visual for it is pretty pathetic, little more than a green number, with few sparkles or even a zoom-in on the health bar increasing. This confuses me, because between nosferatu and the crest of flames and the like, the coding framework to make this skill work like the original one surely existed.

So, Claude is all “Are you really gonna fight two houses at once?”... when I only went into range of one of them. The initial guard of both houses is down, all that's left of Claude's house is the group holding their ground behind barricades far away to the west. It's as if the game expected me to read its mind and just know about its invisible aggro flags that mean that attacking the eastern house would aggro the western one but not the other way around.

This is a sign of things to come.

Also, the game never explains why neither house will even try to attack anyone but you. In the Battle of the Eagle and Lion it's a massive free-for-all where everyone's beating the shit out of everyone. But here, everyone gangs up on you, and given Claude's line back there they basically acknowledge it, and yet there's no explanation why.

Professr gets a decent level up, in particular strength, magic and defense (along with luck and HP). Though it's amusing to realize she didn't level up at all in the previous chapter.

Anyway, the Black Eagles are down before the Golden Deer get anywhere near getting involved. Felix gets a great level in the process as well, getting basically everything I wanted except speed.

Ah yes, and here is where it's starting to become obvious that all of these units only have four move. Because like goddamned clockwork, the game that comes right after a remake decides the weirdest random dated shit is some brilliant new feature they need to put in the next game. Like 4-mov basic classes. Or a nerfed-to-shit hit and evade formula. Or not having a weapon triangle.

If I seem like I'm just constantly being reminded of random shit to bitch about, that's because I am in fact constantly being reminded of random shit to bitch about. It's not one core central reason why I hate this game. At times it feels tailor-made to specifically piss me off. It does so many things, big and small, that I find either incomprehensible or just outright terrible, and it's damned near impossible to keep track of them all. This game is a massive, massive machine of moving parts, and going through it is like being personally reminded of every single individual cog, and going “Oh yeah! I remember that thing! I hate that thing!”.

But I will take this moment to praise something that's come up in this battle: the new magic system. See, in this game, instead of spells using weapon durability, or even costing HP like in Echoes, it works on a vancian spell charge system a la Dungeons and Dragons or early Final Fantasy. You get a certain number of uses every map of each spell. Five uses of heal, six uses of wind, etcetera. Personally, I like this a lot, and especially with white magic. So many staves have effects that massively encourage hoarding, and if you get a small but renewable number of uses every map, that's way better at encouraging the player to actually use them, and then giving them practice with using them. Working out the best situations to use them in.

...However, the presence of this system also... magnified my disappointment for something else this game wound up doing. I'll get to that when we get to the class system.

Hilda: Ouch! Was that really necessary?

Dedue: Had to be done.

OOF. Man, I love when unrelated voice lines just line up perfectly like that. Comedy gold. I think my favorite I've ever seen happen was in Awakening, when Gerome and Brady were teamed up on a DLC map for reasons I can't recall. They were fighting Sanaki, and Brady could only do one damage.

He procced astra.

He then proceeded to do five consecutive 0-damage attacks, and the second the fifth one connected, Gerome, very annoyed, went “enough,” zoomed over to Sanaki on his mount, and killed her in one hit with his axe.

...Is it ever explained how we can use real melee weapons, real fire, real life-leeching spells, and real arrows aimed at a woman in a skimpy dress and a fur coat, and still not cause any serious injuries here?

No, it is not. And in total fairness, that has never been explained in any Fire Emblem game that was stupid enough to try that.

But at any rate, Manuela's down, and with that, the mock battle is over.

Not a particularly engaging battle. Mostly revolved around baiting people in as they approached and then swarming them all at once with all my guys. But whatever, it's only Chapter 1.

Professr got strength and defense again, and her defense is now as high as Dedue's.

And with that victory, I'm given a chance to save, and I'm using this as an excuse to bow out for today. My dinner will be here any moment, so it's time to proofread.

Stay safe, everyone.

Edited by Alastor15243

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42 minutes ago, Alastor15243 said:

Professr: So, this is my room...

...You've been here for multiple days, and this is the moment you're saying this to yourself for the first time? Where have you been sleeping until now?

As Jeralt has been on the run for Arceus knows how long, he probably learned to channel Ryu and sleep wherever. Can''t say it's a stretch that Byleth would've learned to do the same under those circumstances.

44 minutes ago, Alastor15243 said:

Byleth got strength and defense again, and his defense is now as high as Dedue's.

Uhhhh....

8 hours ago, lenticular said:

Yeah. I may be a bit of a Three Houses apologist/fangirl, but I'm not going to even try to claim that it's anything other than a terrible game to ironman, and I can definitely understand that trying to ironman it would make even a saint resentful. Mind you, I'm not sure that that's necessarily the game's fault, per se. I don't think that it's trying to be an ironman game and failing, I don't think that it's really doing anything to encourage ironmanning. Maybe you could say that the existence of a Classic mode is tacitly encouraging ironmanning, but equally, you could say that the existence of Divine Pulse is trying to discourage it. Not that I blame you for trying to ironman it either, mind. It's one of the perils of doing spoiler-free ironman runs of games generally. You never really know beforehand whether an ironman is a good idea, and the only way to find out is either to try it out or to spoiler yourself.

Speaking of, I have been watching someone's ironman run of 3H here on SF. They said it was their first time doing such a run, so I naturally told them that 3H was one of the worst FE games for such runs (the only other ones I'd consider bad for that type of stuff are Thracia, Binding Blade, Radiant Dawn, and Gaiden/SoV).

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57 minutes ago, Alastor15243 said:

...Come to think of it, how many years are there at Garreg Mach, and if there are upperclassmen... why do we not meet a single one of them? Is this just a one-year school? Then, naturally, I expect to be reminded of the numerous instances I've obviously forgotten of people talking about how they'll all have to say goodbye at the end of the year.

 

Monica is an upperclassman. Granted she's been "missing" for a year, but the fact that she never joins any of your houses when rescued suggests she went to the year ahead with her old classmates.

57 minutes ago, Alastor15243 said:

 

B to dash? X to jump? And no way to customize the controls yourself? I practically drooled with excitement when I heard about the Switch software update that lets you re-map the functions of joycon buttons, thereby adding custom controls to any game, but when I tried to map B to a shoulder button instead, alas, that means you have to press that shoulder button whenever you want to do menu B functions as well, which made trying to play BotW with a control scheme I'd be much happier with (pretty sure it was X for runes, B to jump, ZR to dash, R to aim your bow, and L to throw weapons) an absolute nightmare on my muscle memory when navigating menus.

 

Huh...I didn't know that was an option on Switch. I wonder if you can remap classic controller buttons. Because I have a gamecube shaped classic controller which I like to use, but  it inverts the L1,L2 and R1,R2 buttons which makes it a major pain when swapping between using it and joycons.

57 minutes ago, Alastor15243 said:

But yeah, I plant Dedue's seeds, and I'll be able to harvest them next time I choose to explore (again, even if that next exploration is canonically five years later). When you get more professor levels, it becomes a really complicated and intricate system of seed-mixing that determines what seeds grow what plants and what the harvest quality is, but as far as I can tell there's literally no way to figure out the system in-game without trial, error and memory, so just keep that in mind. One thing I find myself doing is snapshotting the yield result of a certain winning seed combination so I can remember it for later.

I just spam the most expensive seeds with the most expensive fertalizers...I never realized it was any more sophisticated than that.

57 minutes ago, Alastor15243 said:

 

...Which is unfortunately and ironically where every student looks their best. With the exception of the part 2 outfits, damned near everyone looks better in their school uniform than they do in the atrociously dull outfits most of the classes in this game have, and I'm grateful that, with the unfortunate exception of mounted classes, you can make it so that they wear their Monastery outfits in other classes too.

 

Huh. I actually like a lot of the Part 2 outfits more than the Part 1 outfits.

 

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33 minutes ago, Alastor15243 said:

Shit, that's what I actually meant by that. Poor phrasing I guess.

Ah, right. Looking at it again I see you're complaining about the class outfits.

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2 hours ago, Alastor15243 said:

Professr: I thought I heard a girl's voice... but I must have been imagining things.

...Is the avatar, like... actually, literally, intentionally, canonically mentally disabled? She's had at least three separate conversations with Sothis, and she still hasn't fully mentally registered that there's a time-bending loli literally living rent free in her head?

For all that I do not hate to defend Byleth, I am pretty sure that if I ever started to hear the voice of a literal goddess in my head, it would probably take me a long while to get used to it. Still would have been nice if they'd added some sort of hint of recognition, though. "Either I'm imagining it, or it's that girl again" or something like that.

 

2 hours ago, Alastor15243 said:

Anyway, I check the bulletin board, and there are three quests. I'm pretty sure the game won't let us skip the this exploration period until we've done this, so that's yet another bit of pointless busywork the game adds to repeat playthroughs.

 

2 hours ago, Alastor15243 said:

...It seems the game does let you finish exploring early, funny enough, after you do the red quest. Let's see if it actually gives us the “are you sure” prompt or if it just says “you cannot do this right now”.

From memory (and from the "no monastery" run I'm now doing), I believe that the only monastery quests that are the initial quests from Rhea to speak to the house leaders and then pick a house, the quest from Jeralt to go up to his room and grab battalions, and the quest from Jeritza to unlock the battalion guild. Everything else is optional.

2 hours ago, Alastor15243 said:

Hey, so, in talking to Ashe, and remembering the gender-imbalance of Blue Lions... I've got a question for you guys: if you had to genderbend one of the guys to make the house gender-equal like the others, who would it be and why?

For me it would either be Dedue or Ashe. Dimitri, Sylvain and Felix feel completely off limits based on what I've heard about their original Japanese storyline, because, again, their masculinity apparently factors heavily into it, and they're all hugely influenced in different ways by the values and expectations of their culture.

Definitely Ashe. Mechnically speaking, female-Ashe would gain quite a bit by getting access to Pegasus Knight and Falcon Knight, whereas female-Dedue would lose out by not having access to Grappler or War Master. In terms of story and character, I like urchin girls as an archetype, I think that having Ashe be female would alter the dynamic between Ashe and Ingrid in interesting ways and -- most importantly -- female-Dedue would make the dynamic between Dedue and Dimitri a whole lot creepier than it already is, and it's already pretty creepy.

2 hours ago, Alastor15243 said:

But yeah. This is a really basic chapter, with only 5 units (avatar and exactly half of your house, with the leader being mandatory), which I suspect was done to artificially make the Battle of the Eagle and Lion feel more grand in comparison.

This feels... weird to me. This game sets two records. In terms of number of battles instead of average playtime, this game is by far the quickest to unlock the battle prep menu for you. But as a corollary, it's also the quickest to tell you that you have too many units and you have to leave people out. Absurdly quick, in fact.

Consider: this game is making me choose between three of seven units to deploy... and I haven't had an opportunity to use a single one of them.

That has never happened in Fire Emblem. Ever.

I've always assumed that it was just out of a desire to ease new players in gently by not going straight into larger deployments. It would also be highly unusual for a Fire Emblem game to have 9 units deployed in Chapter 1. Thinking about it, though, what I wish they'd done was a somewhat extended prologue that ramped the number of units up gently and also gave us a chance to get to know at least a few more characters before we pick our house.

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2 minutes ago, lenticular said:

I've always assumed that it was just out of a desire to ease new players in gently by not going straight into larger deployments. It would also be highly unusual for a Fire Emblem game to have 9 units deployed in Chapter 1. Thinking about it, though, what I wish they'd done was a somewhat extended prologue that ramped the number of units up gently and also gave us a chance to get to know at least a few more characters before we pick our house.

...Shit, this reminds me of something I need to discuss, a way I think they should have done the route split differently. I'm experiencing so much information overload here that I have to set reminders for myself and I missed that one.

4 minutes ago, lenticular said:

Definitely Ashe. Mechnically speaking, female-Ashe would gain quite a bit by getting access to Pegasus Knight and Falcon Knight, whereas female-Dedue would lose out by not having access to Grappler or War Master. In terms of story and character, I like urchin girls as an archetype, I think that having Ashe be female would alter the dynamic between Ashe and Ingrid in interesting ways and -- most importantly -- female-Dedue would make the dynamic between Dedue and Dimitri a whole lot creepier than it already is, and it's already pretty creepy.

Very, very valid points. Jury's out for me on Dimitri and Dedue's relationship, haven't seen it yet, but I agree with everything else; totally forgot this game brought back genderlocked classes. Like I said, it's a ton of things I struggle to keep track of that piss me off about this game.

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Honestly, if I had to gender flip one of the dudes to make an even male-female split for Blue Houses, I would actually go with Dimitri. I do want to note that the ONLY reason I would make Dimitri female is for social experiment reasons. I am very curious as to how female!Dimitri would be received by a certain aspect of the fanbase. Would female Dimitri still be as popular with the ladies if he were no longer the handsome "husbando material" otome prince? Would female Dimitri steal a certain segment of Edelgard fans (and male Dimitri haters), suggesting that maybe it was less about Edelgard's ideals and more because she's waifu? I'm genuinely curious.

Minus the social aspect reasons though, I guess still Dimitri or probably Dedue. I would not gender flip Ashe because if you kept his personality the same, he'd be another girl who's nice and cute without a whole lot to them. He'd be basically a second Annette in personality. It's nice to have a dude on Blue Lions who's actually socially adjusted to shit.

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41 minutes ago, Sunwoo said:

Honestly, if I had to gender flip one of the dudes to make an even male-female split for Blue Houses, I would actually go with Dimitri. I do want to note that the ONLY reason I would make Dimitri female is for social experiment reasons. I am very curious as to how female!Dimitri would be received by a certain aspect of the fanbase. Would female Dimitri still be as popular with the ladies if he were no longer the handsome "husbando material" otome prince? Would female Dimitri steal a certain segment of Edelgard fans (and male Dimitri haters), suggesting that maybe it was less about Edelgard's ideals and more because she's waifu? I'm genuinely curious.

It would be an interesting experience. There are few rpgs that have a violent female main/supporting character. Kaine, Zero, and Velvet from Neir, Drakengard, and Tales of Berseria come to find. I guess it's a headache for the marketing team to show it's a nontraditional main character. 

My guess a female!Dimitri would be massively popular for being a rare archetype, and players wanting to "fix" her.

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On the topic of 3H without using the Monastery, I must say that all three of my Hard Classic playthroughs, one for each route except Silver Snow, I did nothing except a battle, Paralogue or generic, every weekend.

  • I did the bare minimum on the mandatory exploration days (including one session to Crimson Flower unlock) and never more.
  • Seminars were never done.
  • Nor did I ever Rest.
  • Neither did I make a single support happen other than the absolute minimum of C+ Edel for her route.
  • I never recruited anyone outside of the assigned house, other than the Lysithea on CF b/c she required nothing to get.
  • Though I chose what each student should study, I always assigned th lectures themselves to auto, and I always selected the top option on one of those three-choice questions asked, without me even reading the question. 
  • Birthdays and holidays were never celebrated.

So, how did it work out? Perfectly fine.

  • Not exactly a surprise, since a diet of constant battle -the one thing I was willing to entertain- kept me leveled or overleveled.
  • I was also flush with Gold, which gave me an unspent war treasury of 2-300k I think by the end of Verdant and Azure.
  • I never forged anything, precious resources are to be accumulated and buried with their owners, not put to practical use while they live.
  • Hidden Talents remained hidden, but those meant nothing to me.
  • Relic weapons were never used- again, they're as good as grave goods to a stingy fool like me.
  • I think my Pulse use was limited, I wouldn't use it just to undo a bad RNG roll.
  • Since I recruited no one, I think I had but one Adjutant at most, it didn't matter.
  • Professor Rank, despite me basically ignoring it all I could, still managed to cross to C at some point in VW and AM during the 2nd half. But I don't think it reached C+. I forget off the top of my head if I hit C on Crimson Flower. Delayed Master Classes aren't a big deal.

Difficulty-wise, 3H wasn't hard under these conditions, but it was okay for me.

Edited by Interdimensional Observer

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11 hours ago, Jotari said:

I'd say the Zero Escape series got uglier with each subsequent installment. They started with 2D images reminiscent of Ace Attorney

Loved these games. I don't think the 3D in VLR looks bad, per se, but... something was definitely lost, moving away from 999's sprites.

7 hours ago, Imuabicus said:

Which leads to the question - is setting goals for students monastery? I think it is, since it´s teaching and we only teach on Mondays. 

I wouldn't count it as Monastery, because it doesn't require you to use the "Explore" function. You can even change Goals before a Seminar, to control which students attend.

5 hours ago, Alastor15243 said:

Anyway, apparently the nobility of the various countries are entirely comfortable having their children sleep in the same area as students from rival countries and of the opposite sex, but not keeping their children a floor above the peasantry is where they draw the line. Just thought that was amusing to note.

Genuinely disappointing that the Three Houses don't each have their own... House. Like, the Black Eagles have a catty sorority, the Blue Lions have a preppy fraternity, and the Golden Deer are Delta House (or, for a younger audience, Oozma Kappa).

5 hours ago, Alastor15243 said:

Hey, so, in talking to Ashe, and remembering the gender-imbalance of Blue Lions... I've got a question for you guys: if you had to genderbend one of the guys to make the house gender-equal like the others, who would it be and why?

Ashe, but she transitions during the timeskip. I know, I know, wishful thinking. And I'm not counting on Nintendo/IS to handle this sort of topic in a way that would be warmly received.

5 hours ago, Alastor15243 said:

Flayn: The monastery is kind enough to provide a sanctuary for my brother and I. He's the only family I have.

...There is an entire circle of purgatory devoted specifically to people who say “and I” when it isn't grammatically appropriate because they think it sounds smart.

It's an overcorrection, but this could be chalked up to Flayn's own demeanor. That is, of being overly formal, and speaking in a manner out-of-step with her apparent age.

...Out of universe, it's probably just a grammatical error.

5 hours ago, Alastor15243 said:

It's also boring as all hell, which would be bad enough...

...but it's also one of your finite and limited sources of professor rank.

Which means that if you're doing everything you can to improve your professor rank and be as ready as possible for the challenges ahead... you are doing this minigame forty fucking times a chapter.

There's an argument for stocking up on bait, and saving it for the "Fistfuls of Fish" event. Where you can get higher Professor EXP yields per piece of bait, as you're getting more fish.

That said - attaching Professor EXP to an essentially unlimited activity was bad design, full stop.

5 hours ago, Alastor15243 said:

But anyway, I don't do anything because I don't plan on recruiting him, and giving flowers to someone I haven't even talked to yet feels hilariously weird.

You've made him sad. Now he's Ferdinand von Crier.

5 hours ago, Alastor15243 said:

But yeah. This is a really basic chapter, with only 5 units (avatar and exactly half of your house, with the leader being mandatory), which I suspect was done to artificially make the Battle of the Eagle and Lion feel more grand in comparison.

They might've just wanted to make the battle a quicker one, and/or not overwhelm the player by making them handle seven newbies at once. I mean, what kinda game would plop nine units on you in the very first FE4 it's FE4 goddamnit.

6 hours ago, Alastor15243 said:

Ah yes, and as a form of gameplay and story integration, these mock battles have mandatory casual mode. Makes sense, and while it all but ensures this will be a cakewalk, it's just Chapter 1, so whatever.

Ironically enough, Chapter 1 was my single hardest experience on VW Maddening NG. Somehow, in a single week, the other houses have jacked themselves up to, like, level 8. I managed to get 3 Game Overs, which ties with the maximum number of Divine Pulses I've had to do on any chapter since. Even in the dreaded Chapter 2, I only needed 2 pulses.

6 hours ago, Alastor15243 said:

Also, the game never explains why neither house will even try to attack anyone but you. In the Battle of the Eagle and Lion it's a massive free-for-all where everyone's beating the shit out of everyone. But here, everyone gangs up on you, and given Claude's line back there they basically acknowledge it, and yet there's no explanation why.

This is a disappointment. Maybe they didn't want to "confuse" the player with the concept of multi-army battles? Then again, there are more than a few of those in this game, and this map would've been the perfect one to introduce the concept.

6 hours ago, Alastor15243 said:

But I will take this moment to praise something that's come up in this battle: the new magic system. See, in this game, instead of spells using weapon durability, or even costing HP like in Echoes, it works on a vancian spell charge system a la Dungeons and Dragons or early Final Fantasy. You get a certain number of uses every map of each spell. Five uses of heal, six uses of wind, etcetera. Personally, I like this a lot, and especially with white magic. So many staves have effects that massively encourage hoarding, and if you get a small but renewable number of uses every map, that's way better at encouraging the player to actually use them, and then giving them practice with using them. Working out the best situations to use them in.

Overall, I'm quite happy with how this game does magic, in charges per map. I think a refined system along these lines (say, with selecting a certain number of spells to bring into battle, a la combat arts), could be great for future games. That said, it does manifest somewhat as the "earlygame Mage problem" - whereby, not only do my Magic users start with few spells, but they're at half-cast-count each. Dorothea, for instance, gets to use 4 casts of Thunder and... that's it. She's basically done for the map. It can be a fair bit of inconvenience that holds in-house Mages and Healers back, and is quite atypical for their performance across the series.

4 hours ago, Jotari said:

Monica is an upperclassman. Granted she's been "missing" for a year, but the fact that she never joins any of your houses when rescued suggests she went to the year ahead with her old classmates.

I thought her old classmates had graduated by then? My impression is, Monica rejoins the Black Eagles (same year as everyone else), but only as a "background character". There are tons of nameless students you never personally instruct, so she's probably among their lot. So she's like them, but with a name and face.

Also the "we thought Monica ran away" is a hilarious plot beat, but I'll save it for when we get there.

3 hours ago, lenticular said:

From memory (and from the "no monastery" run I'm now doing), I believe that the only monastery quests that are the initial quests from Rhea to speak to the house leaders and then pick a house, the quest from Jeralt to go up to his room and grab battalions, and the quest from Jeritza to unlock the battalion guild. Everything else is optional.

Huh, even finding Flayn is optional?

3 hours ago, lenticular said:

Thinking about it, though, what I wish they'd done was a somewhat extended prologue that ramped the number of units up gently and also gave us a chance to get to know at least a few more characters before we pick our house.

Maybe the first three months could be set over "summer break". You're brought in as a mercenary, but work with the Jeralt and other Knights of Seiros - as well as a handful of students (The Lords and their Retainers) who are there for the "Summer Leadership program". The last mission reveals your ability to wield the Sword of the Creator - with that, Rhea recognizes you as the child she'd thought dead, and elevates you to the role of Professor. At that point, you choose your class, having already grown familiar with at least two of your students-to-be.

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6 hours ago, Jotari said:

Monica is an upperclassman. Granted she's been "missing" for a year, but the fact that she never joins any of your houses when rescued suggests she went to the year ahead with her old classmates.

I'd think that, but what really happened is more sinister than that.... But we'll cross that bridge when we get to it.

6 hours ago, Jotari said:

I just spam the most expensive seeds with the most expensive fertalizers...I never realized it was any more sophisticated than that.

Speaking of, there is a LOT in this game you need a guide to figure out. Probably even more than in Genealogy, which is saying something. For example, would you know that Mercedes's paralogue required someone else from out of her house (who she can't even support with) to access (for that matter, most post-timeskip paralogues that need two specific characters can have the same said of them, the exception being Petra and Bernadetta's paralogue, because they're in the same house. And then there's the fact that on one route, one of THOSE can be shut off to you despite the expiration date not having passed yet)? How about the fact that getting THAT from HIM requires a certain someone to defeat HIM in said paralogue? Or that you can get the Opera Co. Volunteers by having one of two specific characters stop by a specific location on the map when you're besieging Enbarr (the ONLY thing that hints at this is that if she's not recruited, Dorothea - one of the characters in question - will have this battalion)? In the same chapter, there is another copy of the Macuil battalion (have one of two other characters stop at the church), as well as stat boosters, up for grabs, but the latter require BOTH characters. Then there's the lost items; while a few are specific enough to make it obvious who they belong to, most of the descriptions are vague. Also of note, several elements of monastery time will require you to know the characters well to properly respond, like when a character fails a lesson (which is something I have pretty much never seen myself), for example.

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9 hours ago, Alastor15243 said:

...But if you put a gun to my head and forced me to make it one of those three, hands down I'd pick Sylvain. Why? Well first, like I said at some point during Fates, I would be very interested in seeing someone try to write a straight female version of Sylvain's archetype, and also because as far as I understand it, Sylvain's character arc would still work pretty dang well with Sylvia: a misanthropic hedonist getting their thrills while they can before their family can breed them like a racehorse in an arranged marriage due to the Crest-bearing status they never asked for. It would actually make some interesting parallels and contrasts with the dutiful Ingrid who's accepted that role, though for all I know those parallels are already discussed in their supports and I just haven't seen them yet. I could believe that.

So, like Manuela but horny^10?

2 hours ago, Shanty Pete's 1st Mate said:

I wouldn't count it as Monastery, because it doesn't require you to use the "Explore" function. You can even change Goals before a Seminar, to control which students attend.

At the same time you don´t ever get to take advantage of it outside of monastery related stuff.

 

Aren´t the DLC characters all upperclass folk?

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Hey, so, I don't think this schedule is working. At least not at this specific moment.

I'm gonna have to take today off regardless, given I won't have that much time for it today anyway, but more generally I don't think I can keep up the pace I've been going at into next week. I've been play logging about 4-6 hours a day this week, which I can afford to do because I don't have a conventional 9-5 job and usually have below-average total work hours, but my workload changes by seasonal demand and summers tend to be the busiest time of all, and as a result putting that much time into my hobby consumed basically what remained of my free time.

To give you a bit of a peek into the whole process, over the course of four days, during which I play logged for at least 4 hours each day, I have beaten two chapters, which has taken 4 total hours in-game time, and I've written a total of roughly 30 pages in word. I play logged that much this week because this game is so slow already, and I knew it would take literally forever if I didn't bring my play logging pace back up to earlier standards, and apparently I was right. But at this current moment I just can't keep that up without burnout being almost imminent, so I need to come up with a better solution.

Anyway, have a great weekend everyone. I'll see you on Monday, hopefully with a better solution. Though obviously if you ask me something here I'll probably reply.

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5 hours ago, Imuabicus said:

At the same time you don´t ever get to take advantage of it outside of monastery related stuff.

I wouldn't consider Seminars, or weekly instruction, "Monastery related stuff". Because they don't require using the Explore command to engage in.

5 hours ago, Imuabicus said:

Aren´t the DLC characters all upperclass folk?

While they all have major Crests, they comd from various backgrounds. Constance and Balthus come from noble families, but they're not exactly able to exercise that nobility just now. Hapi grew up in a remote village before being captured, while Yuri is an orphan with a mean streak.

1 hour ago, Alastor15243 said:

Anyway, have a great weekend everyone. I'll see you on Monday, hopefully with a better solution. Though obviously if you ask me something here I'll probably reply.

Thanks for letting us know! You have a good and restful weekend too! Get that motivation back up, ahah.

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