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Knight of Spear

Three Houses Route Order discussion

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Hello there, I've seen this topic on other sites but couldn't find one here on THE Fire Emblem site. This is just a thread to talk about what order someone should play Three Houses routes for maximum story, gameplay and spoiler-free enjoyment. What order would you reccomend to someone considering the game?

 

Spoilers allowed here, should have put that down the first time.

Edited by Knight of Spear

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I've only completed the Golden Deers route so far, and I'm still in the middle of my Blue Lions playthrough, but from what I hear, the best order seems to be either Golden Deers or Blue Lions first, then the other, and then saving the Black Eagles Edelgard and Church routes last

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If new and interested in the core story, Blue Lions is the way to go first, imo. It has the most story connections and it's the more 'standard' Fire Emblemesque route.

If more confident/a dino like me and you're fine with delving more into lore/eccentric characters, Golden Deer. I think it's easier in terms of actual gameplay difficulty, though.

Black Eagles is interesting but awkward, and shorter, which makes it a better second or third route.

Uh, I don't know if I can reveal much more without spoilers.

 

 

 

Edited by Crysta

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Honestly, it depends on what you want. You really can't go wrong with any of the routes.

However, an important thing to mention is the "entirety" of Part One is shared amongst the Three Houses, with the only difference being the students you use, the perspective on events, and the how these events pertain the main "story arc" of that House. So, an early chapter may have the Black Eagles wondering about the people caught in a rebellion, the Blue Lions wonder why a good man rebelled against the Church, and the Golden Deer wonder about the Relic that an NPC brought along.
Part Two is also mostly shared, saved for a notable exception in Edelgard's route. Most Part Two maps and general progression will have the player going from the same map to same map, like in Part One, but with the different perspectives and story arcs. However, there is some deviance in Part Two between certain routes, and the main finale of each route is different from one another.
* * * * *

Blue Lions - The most "vanilla" route and probably the best for beginners. It is more of a character driven story and has plenty of ties with the ongoing plot.
-- If someone had to pick just one route to play, I would probably recommend Blue Lions as it is the most "complete" story.

Golden Deer - The "lore" route, best for those who want to know more about the world of Fodlan. It is rather detached from the "main plotlines" to go off and do its own thing, at least for its individual story arcs.
-- If you liked Three Houses or really just want to learn more about its history and world, go Golden Deer.

Black Eagles, Church - The "default" Black Eagles route. I keep hearing it is essentially a subpar version of the Golden Deer route with a different ending, so it may be the weakest route. However, it shines the spotlight on the Church and Byleth which may be interesting to players.
-- If there was a route to skip or do at a later time, it would be this one. Woe be to those who accidentally end up doing the Church Route and Golden Deer Routes right next to each other...

Black Eagles, Edelgard - The "secret" Black Eagles route. It is shorter (and seems rushed) than the other routes, but it is also the most unique route and offers a vastly different perspective on the story, especially after the timeskip.
-- Go Edelgard route if you want a unique gameplay experience, or if you just really like Edelgard (and/or Hubert).

Edited by Sire

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Completed one, almost done with the other, so I'll give my thoughts.

Black Eagles (Empire) - This attempts to explore the story from Edel's PoV.  They didn't do her explanation justice IMO.  It's not bad, and offers a chance to beat up Cyril repeatedly.  It's also good if you want A Route Experience.

Golden Deer - You want to break the game.  Painfully.  Because flying archer with a personal bow isn't the most ridiculous thing the game has to offer.  Ahem. . .it covers some lore, but the interesting bits were also covered in certain supports.  Also, you have a thing against Dimitri.

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I don't think anyone just starting the game would necessarily come in with the assumption that they'll be playing all four paths, but perfect planning is to have a good, varied experience should they eventually choose to. I also believe it's most reasonable to ensure you have good coverage of perspectives no matter how many routes you end up playing, and that means Edelgard's route should be one of the first two.

Due to the nature of how the routes are constructed, I also feel that a) the Church route and Claude's route should not be played consecutively; and c) the Church route and Edelgard's route should not be played consecutively. By induction, the church route should not be played as one of the first two, and as a result of that, Claude should be one of the first two. Thus, this actually leaves us only two live combinations:

1) Edelgard -> Claude -> Dimitri -> Church

2) Claude -> Edelgard -> Dimitri -> Church

 

However if we reduce the requirement and treat Claude and Church as one route, this opens things up a bit and there really is no significant difference in experience provided that Edelgard is not left in third. Just start with her and do the other two, or start with one of the others, then Edelgard, then the last one. Easy.

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I'd say play Edelgard route AFTER Dimitri's and ONE of your choice between Curch and Claude.

This because Edelgard route explains basically nothing about lore-related things and also nothing about Edelgard and Dimitri relationship.
Due to the rushed nature of this route (and the total lack of movies/severe draught of CGs) the player is basically expected to know already what the characters are taking about when black screen syndromes strikes, and this produces several jarring moments, most prominent among all: the scene where the characters are discussing the "javelins of light" and the ending movie.

Like others have pointed the Church route and Claude's route are basically the same story, and the Church route is considered by far the worst version (and anyway Claude's has an unique final boss you don't fight in other routes, Curch Route final boss instead is shared with another route) so you could play only one of those two and... don't play them one after another or you'll get bored.

Edited by Dark Kain

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I messed up my order slightly, but if I were to do it all over again (I saved the GD/Church routes for last), I would've done:

Crimson Flower -> Verdant Wind -> Azure Moon -> Silver Snow

Doing Crimson Flower first gives you a broader perspective of who Edelgard is that she doesn't really receive on the Verdant Wind route, and comes wayyyy late on Azure Moon. Plus while it's shorter than the other routes (stupidly so, I may add), it gives you time to bond with one of the primary antagonists, which could make those later encounters more emotional.

Verdant Wind is a nice change of pace when finished with Crimson Moon because it dives more into the overarching lore of the game, which Edel's route didn't do, the pace should be changed enough to prevent burn out.

Azure Moon is just a really good character driven story, consider it the other side of the coin to Crimson Flower, except way more in-depth with Dimitri's struggle and his overall development. Just a really great story imo.

Silver Snow, I haven't actually completed this one yet, but I always see people mentioning it as the worst route, or just an inferior version of Verdant Wind, so take that as you will.

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i honestly don't want the fire emblem community to become undertale/fate fandom 2.0

i'll just say "play whatever you want first"

this is what i did too, and i managed to enjoy every single route without any problem nor worries about getting spoiled for other routes

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Edel (Black Eagles)'s route is better for a second playthrough, in my opinion, because many things you see in other routes make you curious about how her route would be.

For the first, either Blue Lions or Golden Deer. The former are more plot heavy and GD feels outside the grand scope, so I'd normally suggest BL.

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I'm of the opinion that:

1. If you're only going to play one route, play Azure Moon. It's the overall best route IMO, and stands alone very well without the need to play anything else, though of course they enrich it. It emphasises the things this game does best (setting work, character writing) and de-emphasises the things it does less well.

2. If you're only going to play two routes, make sure one of them is Crimson Flower. People like to rag on it being shorter, but it's entirely unique content, while the other routes share way too much stuff. Edelgard is the most important character in the game overall so getting more perspective on her is nice. Obviously I still recommend Azure Moon as the other, though I'd sooner recommend CF+VW than AM+VW.

3. If you're only going to play three routes, play all of them except the Church route. Very easy call, church route is the weakest and has waaay too much overlap with Verdant Winds (which is the stronger route of the two).

4. If you know for sure you're gonna play all four, I wouldn't worry about the order much to be honest. I guess I'd say that Crimson Flower is the most different so I'd put it in the middle somewhere (second or third), and I would avoid playing Verdant Winds and the Church routes back to back.

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First Azure Moon, it has the best cutscenes, the most traditional story arc and is a perfect intro into the world.

Then Crimson Flower, to understand the motivation of your oppenent and its driving forces

Lastly either Verdant Winds or Silver Snow, to find out what actually happened and who the true antagonist is.

 

 

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I find it interesting that people slag on Silver Snow - I very much enjoyed that one because it just gives a different perspective. It was (admittedly) a bit shaky on the Landing near the end. but getting the Church's perspective on events I think is good and you do know more about Byleths origins (which kinda puts a bow on every little hint you got throughout each path. I wouldn't really call it weak  (though Black Eagles as a whole loses massive points with me because they don't get their version of "Gronder Field Part 2" - which is hands down my my favourite part of the Verdant Wind/Azure Moon path).

 

I would say - if you're only playing one route - i'd play Dimitri's because i think while you don't get much in the way of Byleth at all - you get a really great story. 

If you want to figure out the mysteries - I'd argue you could do Crimson Flower, Verdant Wind, Sliver Snow. (probably having Crimson Flower as the filling in that sandwich - but it easily could be  figure out WHY Rhea goes nutso in CF (though it's kinda obvious but my one friend was 'shocked" when i said something so maybe not so obvious)

but i think you could play any order (or skip something) and figure it out yourself. (Originally I did VW, AM, CF, SS. when i finally put this away and come back to it i'd probably knock out the Black Eagle paths first, hit up Golden Deer, and finish up with Azure Moon). 

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Thanks for the input everyone. General consensus likes to put Lions and Eagles first. Is there any big gameplay gimmicks attached to the later routes?

On another note, I find it weird that people keep putting the Eagles before the Church route. By the game's own design, the Church is one of the defaults, so someone would ordinarily end up playing it first. Everyone seems to be saying it is a weak route overall, but this is a thread for giving a newbie a good first impression.

Edited by Knight of Spear

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5 minutes ago, Knight of Spear said:

Thanks for the input everyone. General consensus likes to put Lions and Eagles first. Is there any big gameplay gimmicks attached to the later routes?

On another note, I find it weird that people keep putting the Eagles before the Church route. By the game's own design, the Church is one of the defaults, so someone would ordinarily end up playing it first. Everyone seems to be saying it is a weak route overall, but this is a thread for giving a newbie a good first impression.

 

while like i mentioned - i don't think it's weak at all. but it's a YMMV kind of situation. 

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16 minutes ago, Knight of Spear said:

Thanks for the input everyone. General consensus likes to put Lions and Eagles first. Is there any big gameplay gimmicks attached to the later routes?

On another note, I find it weird that people keep putting the Eagles before the Church route. By the game's own design, the Church is one of the defaults, so someone would ordinarily end up playing it first. Everyone seems to be saying it is a weak route overall, but this is a thread for giving a newbie a good first impression.

It's not really hard to miss the choice so even on a first playthrough a lot of people end up there (and if you get the choice I'd say most new players won't go with the church, since they chose Edelgard to start with and the choice seems a bit extreme: "kill or protect" usually ends up in "protect").

That said my advice is pretty much the same as everyone else's, don't play GD and Church back-to-back, and I'd say also don't play the 2 eagles back-to-back as you may grow tired of the same cast. Leaving Edelgard's as last might also not be the best either as you basically play the whole game without her perspective, which can definitely bias your view on many things.

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All I can say is that playing Black Eagles first made me feel completely lost and confused in a maze of telling without showing. I had no idea a huge alignment decision was even coming up, the ability to even choose was gated behind a moon logic puzzle, and by the time I was forced to choose I knew next to nothing about the motivations, merits and flaws of the two sides I was choosing. I wound up hating the story on my first playthrough, and playing Golden Deer second has been marginally improving my opinion of it as I progress, but Golden Deer contains a few scenes I really think should've been in Black Eagles to better flesh out why the player would want to oppose the church beyond a vague and general air of the church being creepy. Edelgard's core beef with the church isn't even revealed until after you choose to oppose it and side with her, which annoyed the hell out of me, and for the rest of the story it felt like the game was just brushing over things it was assuming I already knew, like what Edelgard and Dimitri's post-timeskip deal was, or why any of the places we were visiting mattered.

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If you want to complete the game as fast as you can as well as knowing the truth of the world then go GD because Lysithea is broken because she gets warp at FRICKING B (just focus on raising her faith and go white magic route for double warp). After that take your deadliest unit with stride as well as a dancer and finish maps with "kill boss" objectives in 1-2 turns. I finished the dreaded Marianne paralogue just today in 2 turns because HP bars.

But if you want to experience the best the game can offer with it's story then go BL.

Edited by redlight

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1 hour ago, daisy jane said:

though Black Eagles as a whole loses massive points with me because they don't get their version of "Gronder Field Part 2"

I've been thinking about this myself. The problem for SS is the Gronder Field is one massive reference to the mock battle from Part 1, which was a battle between the three lords and their forces. In SS, you're not allied with any of the three lords, so thematically there's no reason for you to be there. In CF, Dimitri being allied with Rhea seems to have caused him to take up a more defensive role, so he doesn't leave Kingdom territory. Since Gronder Field is in the Empire, in CF there's no way for Dimitri to be there, and the impact wouldn't be the same if you were just fighting the Alliance.

25 minutes ago, Alastor15243 said:

the ability to even choose was gated behind a moon logic puzzle

I will never understand why people say shit like this. GETTING EDELGARD'S ROUTE IS NOT HARD. You get it by building support with her and talking to her in the monastery, in other words, by spending time with her. How is being able to join someone's side by befriending them "moon logic?"

 

EDIT: To address the actual point of the topic, I actually wouldn't recommend playing AM first because it seems to give the worst impression of Edelgard, meaning when you do play CF, you're going to end up hating allying with her. Your first choice of route definitely colors your impression of who's right and who's wrong, and it seems like Edelgard's most ardent haters played BL first (yes, this is conjecture, I know this won't apply to everyone). I'd go CF or VW, VW or CF, AM, SS.

Edited by Sid Starkiller

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4 minutes ago, Sid Starkiller said:

I will never understand why people say shit like this. GETTING EDELGARD'S ROUTE IS NOT HARD. You get it by building support with her and talking to her in the monastery, in other words, by spending time with her. How is being able to join someone's side by befriending them "moon logic?"

The choice to even get to choose requires you to have a random whim to talk to her one week and get a "choose carefully" decision of "go with Edelgard to do an unexplained thing" or "don't go with Edelgard to do an unexplained thing", with no indication of what either choice even means, that it would let you make a later choice, or why it would.

Edited by Alastor15243

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1: Why aren't you talking with everyone in your class once a month? If you're ignoring your students, that's your own fault.

2: If you like her, you're probably inclined to go with her. If you don't, you're inclined not to.

Edited by Sid Starkiller

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22 minutes ago, Sid Starkiller said:

1: Why aren't you talking with everyone in your class once a month? If you're ignoring your students, that's your own fault.

2: If you like her, you're probably inclined to go with her. If you don't, you're inclined not to.

1: Do you have any idea how much time the class sections take already? They're the major reason why this game takes more than twice as long as previous Fire Emblem games to complete. Imagine if Fire Emblem Fates punished you with a bad ending for under utilizing the face rubbing minigame. Or more to the point, think of what you need to do to keep Kaze alive in Birthright. Would you really say "well obviously you didn't care about him living because you didn't A support him"? Punishing me for missing or forgetting one conversation with one character on one week in a game I've already spent a consecutive day of playtime in and that hasn't yet revealed there are going to be branching paths yet by making me kill my house leader is absurd. And that's assuming I find the school minigame and characters universally enjoyable or even tolerable. Which I don't.

2: What exactly would have changed about the plot if they removed that decision? What was the point of even giving the player the ability to accidentally not have a "choice", setting aside the fact that by the time you have to choose you have next to no idea what the core value differences between the two sides are?

Edited by Alastor15243

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18 minutes ago, Alastor15243 said:

1: Do you have any idea how much time the class sections take already? They're the major reason why this game takes more than twice as long as previous Fire Emblem games to complete. Imagine if Fire Emblem Fates punished you with a bad ending for under utilizing the face rubbing minigame. Or more to the point, think of what you need to do to keep Kaze alive in Birthright. Would you really say "well obviously you didn't care about him living because you didn't A support him"? Punishing me for missing or forgetting one conversation with one character on one week in a game I've already spent a consecutive day of playtime in and that hasn't yet revealed there are going to be branching paths yet by making me kill my house leader is absurd. And that's assuming I find the school minigame and characters universally enjoyable or even tolerable. Which I don't.

2: What exactly would have changed about the plot if they removed that decision? What was the point of even giving the player the ability to accidentally not have a "choice", setting aside the fact that by the time you have to choose you have next to no idea what the core value differences between the two sides are?

1. Exploring at least once a month is basically mandatory, there's fast travel, you have just 8 students, talking at least with those is kind of a given even if you don't like that part tbh... and she's the house leader, what the hell.

2. I'm not sure if the part about going with her was needed, but it definitely, definitely makes sense that you need C+ support with her to have the choice. It's crucial to understanding and empathising with her. And the point is, by that time you're either choosing to kill her because you don't agree or to protect her because you don't agree with the other side. I'd say it's quite a conscious choice tbh. Much more than the house choice in chapter 1, think about it, if you choose BL you're stuck supporting a crazy hobo 5 years later. Now that doesn't make a lot of sense.

EDIT: also

Quote

And that's assuming I find the school minigame and characters universally enjoyable or even tolerable. Which I don't.

There's not a lot the developers can do about it, you don't enjoy a feauture of the game, it's a core feature, I don't see how this is anyone's fault. It'd be like developing a FPS with melee weapons because someone might not like shooting.

Edited by timon

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37 minutes ago, timon said:

And the point is, by that time you're either choosing to kill her because you don't agree or to protect her because you don't agree with the other side.

Except I barely even understand what the sides are by that point. The focus on Those Who Slither until now has left precious little time to really explore what the flaws of the church even are or why I'd go to such an extreme as to think it should be destroyed. Golden Deer only explored it a little bit more but those added scenes really, REALLY helped and should have been in Black Eagles.

And that's another thing: if the real reason why it's gated behind supporting with her is because that's the only way you could sympathize with her, then you should have had the choice to side with her before the fight. Edelgard crashes the holy throne party, and you side against her because the game says so. But there's nothing about her motives you don't know at that moment that you will know by the time you're given the ultimatum to kill her. Nothing changes. No further explanation of why she's doing what she's doing, no further reveals of any major wrongdoings by the church, you're just arbitrarily only allowed to side with the person you think is right after you beat the living daylights out of her. It makes absolutely no sense.

Edited by Alastor15243

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15 hours ago, Knight of Spear said:

Hello there, I've seen this topic on other sites but couldn't find one here on THE Fire Emblem site. This is just a thread to talk about what order someone should play Three Houses routes for maximum story, gameplay and spoiler-free enjoyment. What order would you reccomend to someone considering the game?

 

Spoilers allowed here, should have put that down the first time.

In order:

Black Eagles - Edelgard as going in without any expectations you shouldn't feel like you lost out on content (its the most bare) and most of the plot is reliant on you being clueless to the actual story behind it all.

Church route: While the first half being exactly the Black Eagles may be draining, the emotional payoff from being invested in Edelgard is important for this route to actually succeed. normally I suggest playing this route first but thanks to the former having less content (cutscenes, maps) its necessary that its played first so that the route isn't ruined for you. You're going to learn a lot about Byleth here as well as the major background plot. You can exchange this route and Edelgard's of you so wish and it can be a good decision if you want to mix up the gameplay some because its gonna be pretty similar from hereon out

Blue Lions: You're already invested in Byleth and Edelgard by now and this route is going to explain a lot that was only implied in previous routes, namely the relationship between Edelgard and Dimitri. This is more of a personal one and while it can be played first or on its own, I'd argue that doing so weakens the first two routes by harming player investment in Edelgard. Chances are, you're not gonna like her if you play this first and if you play this now... well you might come to hate her if you liked her before. Best route for a cool off between Church and Golden Deer.

Golden Deer: Most people consider the church route a poor man's Golden Deer, turns out its actually the fact that Golden Deer steals most of its content from the Church route that they're so similar. It does have a few unique cut scenes and its own little boss. you definitely want a buffer between this and the church route as they'll play pretty similarly. Claude is a good lord but you'll not likely have as close a bond to him as other lords unless he was your first since you'll learn about as much as you will about him as you would in any other route. Kinda awkward how they play up Edelgard's and Byleth relationship when there is none (because its stolen from the church route) but if you don't recruit anyone from Blue Lions and Black Eagles you can get some delicious drama pay off there. As I'm finishing up the church route now, I can say this is coming off as the weakest route tbh.

I played in order

Black Eagles - E, Golden Deer, Blu Lions, Black Eagles - R (in progress)

So, you know, check my bias.

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