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Boomhauer007

Balancing the game analysis: Intermediate Class Skills

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Game has been out a couple weeks, long enough I think you can have meaningful discussion on it. We all know the balance is all over the place, so I thought it'd be fun to talk about what you would change to help that. If it catches on, I'd love to keep it going. Starting with one I think isn't too bad for day 1. I'm separating classes from skills i this entry to focus the discussion. The rest is my opinion.

Great skills: Death blow, darting blow, fiendish blow, hit +20

This is a player phase focused game, and those are great PP focused skills.+6 is huge at the beginning and good all the way to the end. And more hit is always nice and allows archers to mitigate their range penalty.

Niche skills: Vantage, Desperation
These aren't bad per se, but have limited use in this game. You need to have a plan with these skills. Just slapping them on a unit isn't going to accomplish much, but they can be really good with the right builds.

Meh skills Armored blow, poison strike
Poison strike is less good because the 3H is all about burst damage, only in the very early game are you hitting things you don't kill outright. I can't figure out what to do with this class to differentiate it from mage. Armored blow giving defense on player phase is just weird, I would instead have a new skill similar to Dedue's personal but higher; Defensive Stance: +5 def on wait.

Bad skills: Unarmed Combat, Miracle
There is never a reason to get these. You're doing something wrong if miracle is proccing in 3H, and +10 crit isn't a reason to give up a skill slot over just using gauntlets. However, I think +10 crit with fists would be a good replacement. Incentivize using fists, and +10 is meaningful when it's guaranteed two hits. For priest, give it +10 heal as an equipable skill. I know bishop has it innately, let them stack; it's not like Bishop can do much besides physic and warp with its lol 4 move.

Misc: Steal
This would be such an incredible skill to learn permanently in so many other entries, but there's nothing worth stealing in this game outside of a couple very specific items. That's not the skill's fault though.

Long post but if nothing else I had fun with it. Tomorrow I was thinking advanced class skills if anyone is interested.

Edited by Boomhauer007
clarifying that armored blow would not give defense on enemy phase

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Good analysis, hope to see you continue it. I basically agree with everything. Specific comments:

Hit+20: I'd say this skill is a little less powerful than the others (except for high-range archers) since many PC builds are already quite accurate most of the time, but it still definitely belongs in this tier.

Armoured Blow: Fates had the right idea with the Blow skills, in which Quick Draw (which is now Death Blow) was +4, Darting +5, Armoured +10, and Warding +20. Now they're all +6 like in Heroes and wouldn't you know it, the defensive ones are junk, because your defences aren't nearly as important on player phase generally (sometimes you kill an enemy before they counter, sometimes you're attacking an enemy who can't counter at all). I kinda like Armoured Blow in concept, but it needs to be much more potent... +10 strikes me as the minimum it needs to be to be relevant (and honestly it wouldn't be better than Death/Darting Blow even it were +infinity).

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In my experience, Hit+20 is useful for much of the game, but becomes less relevant later. Although it can still be useful for Bow Knights, one of if not the strongest/most popular Master class, so I think it's still worth getting for some characters on that path. It's probably on a tier below the +6 skills, though in terms of full game usefulness.

I remembered how strong Vantage/Desperation were in previous games, so I made sure a few of my units mastered them. I'm not sure I procced desperation or battalion desperation a single time in this game, and if I did, it wasn't relevant. The prevalence of multiple early Physic users made it unlikely for a unit to get stuck in situations that they needed it. Perhaps I could have been more strategic and restrained from healing to use it, but that level of tactics wasn't necessary in this game. Vantage procced a few times, but still not very often and never was relevant for a unit staying alive for me. Perhaps these will be more useful on Lunatic difficulty.

In my experience, expanded range attacks (bowrange +1+2, thyrsus, caduceus, black magic +1, meteor, etc.), no follupws on gambits, and increased validity of bows and magic on more of my characters (bows on anyone, mortal savant, dancer, and all healers using magic) meant that my units were very often fighting those who could not fight back and I was taking less damage in general compared to past games. High mobility in the endgame classes plus things like stride makes the endgame very player phase focused also. For that reason, the +6 skills are the most useful.

Edited by ra2bk

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It bums me out that the various Blow skills and other skills involving stat increases have the same numerical value. IS, we've been over this many times, not all stats have equal value. 6 points of attack don't equate to six points of defense, at least not in the view point of the player. Likewise for the early game stat ups, +2 attack is more valuabe than +2Res. And +2 Res is even in the level 10 tier of classes while the others are in the level 5 tier. In Fire Emblem Heroes you can see 2018 skills pick up on this idea compared to the launch skills, as defensive stat increases were stronger than offensive. You'd think they'd take what they learned into their next game, Three Houses. Death Blow should be +3 attack, Darting Blow should be +4 (exactly what you'd need to double somebody with the same AS as you), and Armored Blow should remain +6.

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Best to Worst

Death Blow/Fiendish Blow/Darting Blow: More damage or more damage potential is always great. Death blow has amazing synergy with unarmed combat to boot. 

Hit +20: Complete overkill on the original class and better appreciate by an axe user but more consistency is always nice. 

Vantage is a pretty nasty skill but not the best for faster lighter units who likely won't one shot anything if they get the first hit in. It can be abused though. Package it with wrath and it does hurt far more. Don't rely on it but it comes into play more often than Desperation. Mercenaries also get a boost to axe training making such a strategy more viable and if that doesn't work out Hero is an easy second choice with defiant strength.

Armored Blow: It does nothing to actually compensate for any weakness knights have and since most knights aren't going to take a lot of physical damage anyway it becomes total overkill for them. It's not bad but it's just overkill like Hit +20 except less important. In addition, it does not make you nigh-immortal like Armored Blow did in Fates with a whopping 10 damage reduction.

Poison Strike: Perfectly okay but is only useful for setting up other units to steal the exp rather than steal it for yourself. It's just sorta okay. Kind of awkward given how magic units are supposed to be atomic warheads and not really debuffers.

Steal: You'll never even remember you have it. Not a whole lot to steal anyway besides Dark Seals the first time you meet Death Knight.

Desperation is a skill that is incredibly niche and also placed on the wrong unit. Cavaliers aren't doubling things consistently but I suppose it can work with defiant skills which come way too late to be of any note. Add the fact that Wrath only works when attacked, not when attacking. Only Bernadetta can appreciate it early and she probably doesn't want to be a cavalier when Pegasus Knight is also staring her in the face. It only worked in Heroes because of how the game favors ORKO's and it was used by glass cannons with access to skills that make the requirements easier. Don't bother.

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It's pretty clear that Death Blow, Fiendish Blow, Darting Blow, and Hit +20 are the best skills by far.

I'd honestly like it if we could keep those masteries and just buff the masteries of other classes to compensate.

Some potential ideas for other intermediate masteries:

  • Avoid +10: Remove this as an innate ability on fliers (they're good enough as it stands) and add it to a class mastery to one of the classes. You could either put it onto mercenary, or add it back as the mastery skill of Pegasus Knight and move Darting Blow to a different class.
  • Crit +10: Would be a pretty decent mastery for a class with high skill.
  • Movement +1: This would be kind of interesting as the class mastery for cavalier. Basically doubling down on the class's raw movement advantage (compared to Pegasus Knight, which has less move but does not take any terrain penalties). This would require rebalancing the benefits from leveling riding though.
  • Weight -3/5: This is another ability that would make a powerful mastery. Like with above, it would require rebalancing the benefits you get from leveling armor though.

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This seems like a good idea to continue. I assume we have enough threads discussing units, so I think continuing with skills and classes is a great idea. Anyway, my thoughts:

Death Blow and Fiendish Blow are pretty great, though I haven't had a chance to play with Darting Blow yet.

Hit +20 seems like it'd be useful against enemies with insane avoid

Spoiler

Seriously, Chapter 17 Petra, why the HELL do you have 93 avoid? JUST GET HIT ALREADY

Might actually be necessary once Maddening/Lunatic comes out, but on hard mode its more a "better safe than sorry" kind of skill. Still pretty good though.

I agree with Desperation being pretty niche, but definitely a great skill if you can make good use of it. I gave it to Ashe (along with defiant strength and death blow) and just let him eat a hit or two to get below 25%. Then he nukes everything. Bow tournaments at the monastery are absolutely hilarious. Granted, that is a very high opportunity cost, and comes pretty late , and in situations where you're just running it because you have a free skill slot, you'd rather just heal most of the time. But nothing compares to the feeling of ridding the earth of all those who stand in my way by just having most precious boi look at them. Tl;dr, I think "niche" is a good tier for it.

Same with Vantage, Wrath is a great skill to pair with it, but unless you have that (or other ways to boost your crit), you're likely not going to one shot any enemies to keep them from attacking you, and you may as well just heal.

As for skills like Armored Blow, Miracle, Poison Strike, etc., they're kinda eh. Poison Strike is probably better suited to a different class, I haven't encountered many opportunities to use it. Armored Blow I haven't even bothered to equip. And isn't there a gambit that does the same thing as Miracle, but with a guaranteed chance?

Lastly, I actually like Steal (but then again, I've always liked Steal) Not really necessary, but it allows you to get a few items like

Spoiler

A couple of Lampos Shields, like the one the boss holds in Chapter 15 (I actually stole it then had Sylvain finish him off with a Knightkneeler art, then found out later that he had had a run-in with the guy after he tried to hit on his daughter. So that felt poetic). Also, Edelgard is holding a Master Seal in Chapter 17 for no reason. I don't think it's droppable.

Not to mention all those Dark Seals the Death Knight keeps bringing along for no reason. If he's trying to get rid of a surplus or something, couldn't he just hold a sale? Either way, I think Steal is decent, but it could definitely be a lot better with some more important stealables.

EDIT: Forgot about Unarmed Combat. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Ok, done.

In all seriousness, I don't think there's ever a reason to go unarmed over just using an actual gauntlet. If it gave a speed boost, maybe +3 or 4, you could maybe use it as a way to quad or avoid doubles. But it's only 1 weight less than the iron gauntlets, so as it is, there's no point in using them. I suppose increasing the hitrate of unarmed combat would be nice as well.

Edited by Anathaco

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I wonder if Vantage will see much more use in the upcoming difficulties... Ambush spawns do become a thing.

Edited by SatsumaFSoysoy

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I wish Thieves gave Lockpick instead of Steal.  As mentioned, there's not really anything worth stealing that doesn't drop that I'm aware of.

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This is very accurate. On all my units, I did the Death Blow / Fiendish Blow / Darting Blow combo with Hit +20 / Vantage thrown in to specific units.

Sylvain for instance as a Dark Knight takes some damage, but has massive damage output, so he's survived many assaults with Vantage. Really it's just lazy placement on my part, but It's a great skill that kept me alive. Hah.

I just wish Darting Blow wasn't locked to female characters. 

But for the most part, I just had everyone do the "Brigand/Mage/Pegasus Knight/Mercenary" route and skipped most the advanced classes (not useful masteries) and just went straight for Master.

 

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If Armored blow would actually increase defense by 10 or 12 it could actually work along with Armored Strike to add some Mt. 

A def Stance Version with higher rate than just 6 def could also work I think.. For most players EP isn't attractive anyway in the game. So they could kind of push it a bit.

Miracle as someone mentioned, we have a gambit which gives Miracle effect with 100%  on 4 units! They should have Miracle made in a way that it works exactly like this. Just limited to 1 Time per Battle. And you would have something to setup Desperation, Vantage and even some of the Defiant Skills. But even if they would improve Miracle, I think one unit using with Miracle Gambit is better then using a skill slot for Miracle.

Sometimes they really give the feeling that some skills are not thought out well or at least how these skills are available for some characters. This also applies to combat skills...

 

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Linked Gambits /  Linked attacks make +20 Hit  kind of redundant. I guess its useful for the first unit or two which may have issues hitting the target, but once you get 2 or 3 units linked up, you should have more than enough hit for the rest of the army to come in and sweep the boss.

 

Quote

 But for the most part, I just had everyone do the "Brigand/Mage/Pegasus Knight/Mercenary" route and skipped most the advanced classes (not useful masteries) and just went straight for Master. 

Advanced classes have better skill growths than intermediate classes. +3 per combat is better than +2 per combat. Advanced classes also have "Faire" skills, for +5 damage in a lot of cases.

 

The stat-growths seem to be better too. Warrior grants +40 HP / +15 Str, while Brigand grants +30 HP / +10 Str. Its only 1-HP and 0.5 Str every 10 levels though, so this actually isn't a very big advantage.

Edited by dragontamer

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