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18 minutes ago, omegaxis1 said:

Which overall why Alm's entire concept of the two lives are the same is false. Because people put more merit onto certain lives than others.

Mycen did train the others, but the others only got taught how to fight. But Alm was taught specifically military strategy and tactics, which Alm himself stated he was taught by, hence why he volunteered. Mycen was specially training Alm to lead a war, whereas the others were just taught how to fight. Big difference in that regard. Also, keep in mind that Alm was only given the position he did because of his connection to Mycen. Even despite the doubts, it doesn't change that the reason the position was given in the first place was for connections. Otherwise, the opportunity itself would not exist.

No, it is very much a fair comparison. Because I'm comparing how true commoner that has nothing to his name compares to Alm, that was completely bound to things by birth. 

Anri had nothing to his name. He had no connections, no resources, nothing. His journey to attain Falchion was based purely on merit, unlike Alm. Marth is not mentioned is because he's not going about a philosophy of commoners and nobility. Marth was still given opportunities because of his connections based on birth. 

And that's just it. The philosophy that Alm goes about where the station of one's birth means nothing fails because it's Alm. You aren't sending a message that anyone can be great if the greatness you get is only a result of your blood ties.

If Alm really wanted to push his ideals that birth does not matter, he should have changed the system to be like Edelgard's: a meritocracy. But he stuck to a dynasty, overall still keeping bloodlines and nobility intact.

Why his has to be false? It's possible for a collective to be wrong about something. If he has to preach it to crowds, so be it. Though it's also posible to do it step by step. If it started with Clive, so be it.

Nothing says Mycen couldn't have teach it to the others too. Alm confirms he did to him, but that's not a confirmation that it was only to him. Once again, he had the privilege of opportunity, but what worth is it if he can't back it up with hard work? As easy he got it, as easy he could've lost it. As the saying goes: Don't rest in your laurels.

Alm is still just one man. Just because his birth means something means little if he doesn't prove it does mean something. He still worked hard, no matter if some things were handed to him. As I mentioned before, not everyone can truly rise to the same heights, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't try anyway, and so we shouldn't let things like our origins define our limits for us. It's us who must define our limits. It's a message worth teaching, no matter from who it comes from.

Not necessarily. Heck, he made Tobin a noble, and a few of the other commoner characters were knighted, which was also seen as a level of nobility. All due their hard work. Which does show that birth doesn't matter. It may matter for some, but they don't represent the entirety of humanity, and it shows that everyone can strive up to something.

 

Edited by Acacia Sgt

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5 minutes ago, eclipse said:

Celica feels more like an addition to the story, rather than a proper main character.

You'll also need to account for how writing and characters have evolved.  You've seen the "discussions" regarding a certain female character who's actually written as a main character.  When Gaiden was originally released, such things weren't the narrative style.  Women played a far more passive role in the stories.

I mean in the original gaiden that makes as it was on the famicom which was very limited in terms of dialogue and everything so a minimalistic approach is understandable. For a full on remake though on the 3ds with full voice acting? I expect a little more especially in the presentation department. Celica is definitely more of a deuteragonist in SoV than gaiden if you ask me. Again I don’t mind Celica being there but she feels pointless. Because her role is to be the kindness to reign in Alm’s strength but he doesn’t need her for that because he can do that himself just fine which overall just makes her existience come off as pointless 

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3 minutes ago, Ottservia said:

I mean in the original gaiden that makes as it was on the famicom which was very limited in terms of dialogue and everything so a minimalistic approach is understandable. For a full on remake though on the 3ds with full voice acting? I expect a little more especially in the presentation department. Celica is definitely more of a deuteragonist in SoV than gaiden if you ask me. Again I don’t mind Celica being there but she feels pointless. Because her role is to be the kindness to reign in Alm’s strength but he doesn’t need her for that because he can do that himself just fine which overall just makes her existience come off as pointless 

SoV tried to stay true to Gaiden's roots, which it did.  A little too much, in this case.  But to rewrite Celica into a proper main character would means straying from the classic Gaiden story.

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Personally, I think Celica plays quite nicely as she is when you consider Jedah. Both strive in the line of thought that humanity should remain under the guiding hands of the gods, and dutifully strive to serve their respective patron deities. Some consider Celica to be naive or dumb for trusting Jedah, but I think the reason Jedah was able to convince her in the first place as because Celica saw the similarities between she and him.

Which is precisely the tragedy. Jedah's plan had the trappings that it wasn't going to work (I think it was implied it wouldn't work, may need to recheck that), but he himself seemed confident it would. It was basically the blind leading the blind. From a narrative stand point, I like that.

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3 minutes ago, Acacia Sgt said:

Why his has to be false? It's possible for a collective to be wrong about something. If he has to preach it to crowds, so be it. Though it's also posible to do it step by step. If it started with Clive, so be it.

Nothing says Mycen couldn't have teach it to the others too. Alm confirms he did to him, but that's not a confirmation that it was only to him. Once again, he had the privilege of opportunity, but what worth is it if he can't back it up with hard work? As easy he got it, as easy he could've lost it. As the saying goes: Don't rest in your laurels.

Alm is still just one man. Just because his birth means something means little if he doesn't prove it does mean something. He still worked hard, no matter if some things were handed to him. As I mentioned before, not everyone can truly rise to the same heights, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't try anyway, and so we shouldn't let things like our origins define our limits for us. It's us who must define our limits. It's a message worth teaching, no matter from who it comes from.

Not necessarily. Heck, he made Tobin a noble, and a few of the other commoner characters were knighted, which was also seen as a level of nobility. All due their hard work. Which does show that birth doesn't matter. It may matter for some, but they don't represent the entirety of humanity, and it shows that everyone can strive up to something.

Because it's overall the case of a dynasty, where it's through bloodline and connections that gets the in. 

That's cause Tobin and Gray never indicated of being able to keep up with Alm. They keep mentioning that there's a gap between them and Alm constantly. Again, if this was a case where pushing that the station of one's birth does not matter, then they would be just as good, but no. There's a definite gap between them where Alm is always regarded as the superior one, and they are only worth being part of his greatness. And Alm is born for greatness, not strictly one that earns it. Being a prophesied child only pushes that Alm was literally had destiny on his side, where he was destined to win. It's not even a case that he earned it on his own, but he was always meant to earn it. 

Again, you're trying to say taht the message is there, but it... really isn't. The message fails because Alm doesn't go by purely merit, but simply following both destiny and the privileges he attained from his birth. Connections and opportunities, all because of his birth. Even having the weapon he did was something he could wield because of his royal blood. 

It doesn't go to the level it should, where one can earn titles, but still not the same where even the ruler can be earned. It's still keeping a bloodline system in place while providing a little more leeway. Alm doesn't stick to his ideals as he would have needed to. 

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2 minutes ago, eclipse said:

SoV tried to stay true to Gaiden's roots, which it did.  A little too much, in this case.  But to rewrite Celica into a proper main character would means straying from the classic Gaiden story.

Don’t change Celica(which you honestly don’t need to her character arc is fine) fine but that Alm does not come off as aggressive as he should be. Again, why does Celica need to be here if Alm doesn’t need her. Her entire role is to reign in his strength but he doesn’t need her for that so....what’s even the point then

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Agree 100%. Alm being as perfect as he is is why the theme of duality built into the structure of the story when Kaga wrote Gaiden doesn't work in Echoes. As dumb as some of Celica's actions are, she has actual fatal flaws that lead to her downfall (which would've been believable, even, if Jedah wasn't so generically evil).

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10 minutes ago, omegaxis1 said:

Because it's overall the case of a dynasty, where it's through bloodline and connections that gets the in. 

That's cause Tobin and Gray never indicated of being able to keep up with Alm. They keep mentioning that there's a gap between them and Alm constantly. Again, if this was a case where pushing that the station of one's birth does not matter, then they would be just as good, but no. There's a definite gap between them where Alm is always regarded as the superior one, and they are only worth being part of his greatness. And Alm is born for greatness, not strictly one that earns it. Being a prophesied child only pushes that Alm was literally had destiny on his side, where he was destined to win. It's not even a case that he earned it on his own, but he was always meant to earn it. 

Again, you're trying to say taht the message is there, but it... really isn't. The message fails because Alm doesn't go by purely merit, but simply following both destiny and the privileges he attained from his birth. Connections and opportunities, all because of his birth. Even having the weapon he did was something he could wield because of his royal blood. 

It doesn't go to the level it should, where one can earn titles, but still not the same where even the ruler can be earned. It's still keeping a bloodline system in place while providing a little more leeway. Alm doesn't stick to his ideals as he would have needed to. 

Even a dynasty has to work to keep what they have. They stand to loose what their ancestors accomplished if they don't prove they're worthy of it.

As I once mentioned before: Not everyone will reach the same heights. That doesn't mean we shouldn't get as high as we can. And Alm could've still screwed up. He worked hard to not screw up.

It is there. Alm still has to work to make use of the things handed to him. Which does show that birth doesn't matter. Even being born with privileges means nothing. You have to work to prove yourself like any other. That includes him.

As I mentioned before: Saber, Kamui, and Jesse founded their own kingdom. So did Anri and the other Archanean founders. You even have the case of Ordwin, who earned the rulership of Grust through his efforts during the War of Liberation. So yes, rulerships can be earned. While not on the same level, Tobin still earned the rulership of the title Alm granted him through his efforts.

Edited by Acacia Sgt

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3 minutes ago, Acacia Sgt said:

Even a dynasty has to work to keep what they have. They stand to loose what their ancestors accomplished if they don't prove they're worthy of it.

As I once mentioned before: Not everyone will reach the same heights. That doesn't mean we shouldn't get as high as we can. And Alm could've still screwed up. He worked hard to not screw up.

It is there. Alm still has to work to make use of the things handed to him. Which does show that birth doesn't matter. Even being born with privileges means nothing. You have to work to prove yourself like any other. That includes him.

As I mentioned before: Saber, Kamui, and Jesse founded their own kingdom. So did Anri and the other Archanean founders. You even have the case of Ordwin, who earned the rulership of Grust through his efforts during the War of Liberation. So yes, rulerships can be earned. While not on the same level, Tobin still earned the rulership of the title Alm granted him through his efforts.

Again, you're trying to think that preaching is the same as actually doing it. But this still isn't meritocratic. Alm preaches, but he keeps a dynasty that keeps bloodlines and nobility intact. The system remains, but only with improvements. That doesn't demolish the type of society that had gone through. It's still keeping the norm more or less.

Alm doesn't actually "work" in the sense that he had nothing. He's not like Anri, who did have nothing. Everything for him was predetermined from the station of his birth. Because he was born as Rudolf's son, and with a Brand, everything was already predetermined for him. He was destined to save Valentia, he was meant to wield Falchion, and he was meant to be raised with that destiny in mind. Mycen specifically raised Alm to follow along a predetermined path. It's not something that Alm had to get to by himself. He got it because things were prepared for him to take with the opportunities that was meant to happen. That's what you're not understanding. Alm had literal DESTINY on his side, and people that were trying to fulfill said destiny. 

What Saber does doesn't mean anything when this is Alm we're talking about. Alm doesn't actually create a society that removes the concept of dynasty or bloodlines. You're talking about what the others did, but THEY proved themselves as themselves. They earned their things through their own merit, but Alm didn't do his by merit. Everything he did was because he was always meant to get it. 

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Wrt to Celica not feeling needed in the story because Alm blends Mila/Duma together already:

Alm and Celica both want to help people, but the difference is that Alm wants to fight to make a difference (charging into the Thieves Shrine to rescue Silque, his speech at the end of Act 1 about moving the army forward to help as many people as he can find, and the Act 5 speech about man's strength and desires shaping the world), while Celica takes the (slightly) more pacifist road, trying to get Mila to end the war rather than keep fighting it, and when that fails, sacrificing herself to save Alm (I know she still fights a crapton of brigands, Terrors and Duma Faithful minions, but that's not important... or something. Gameplay. That's it.). When Alm says that all he knows how to do is fight what's in front of him, that's what he means. He helps people by fighting to save them. He doesn't know how to run a kingdom or anything, and throughout the game he consistently puts his army in dangerous situations to help people.

Wrt to Berkut being Alm's foil:

The way I saw it is that, as I said above, Alm uses his power to help people, Berkut uses it for his own advancement/because its what is expected of him. 

Wrt to the actual topic at hand:

I think this narrative would have worked if the writers got rid of that one line at the beginning of act 4 where it specifically goes out of its way to point out that they stopped at the border and sent a message asking Rigel if they were going to back off. Take that line out, and Alm progresses over the story going from "We aim to drive back the invaders. Nothing more," to "LET'S CRUSH THOSE BASTARDS". That would have at least placed a little more emphasis on the fact that Alm was supposed to be more aggressive. Whether or not the writers chose to expand upon that, maybe by adding a few lines with generic soldiers/Gray and Tobin/Clive and Lucas and Alm discussing whether or not they're making the best move, depends on if that was the message they were really trying to convey. Echoes seems, in my experience, to have multiple underlying themes that are present to a varying degree.

That said, every time I played Echoes the thing that stuck out to me was that basically everything happens as ordained. Resisting fate is basically pointless in this game, which I honestly liked. Alm becomes emperor/god-slayer as he was meant to, despite all his talk of making their own fates and living their own lives, while Berkut loses basically everything that his station gave him (Rinea's love is the only thing he keeps because he earned that himself). Duma and Mila were fated to go mad and then die, which is what happens. Celica becomes queen, etc. Everything neatly fits into this prophecy we keep hearing about.

TL;DR: Echoes could have handled the strength vs compassion conflict better, but the fact that they didn't doesn't completely invalidate the story, or Alm. 

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13 minutes ago, omegaxis1 said:

Again, you're trying to think that preaching is the same as actually doing it. But this still isn't meritocratic. Alm preaches, but he keeps a dynasty that keeps bloodlines and nobility intact. The system remains, but only with improvements. That doesn't demolish the type of society that had gone through. It's still keeping the norm more or less.

Alm doesn't actually "work" in the sense that he had nothing. He's not like Anri, who did have nothing. Everything for him was predetermined from the station of his birth. Because he was born as Rudolf's son, and with a Brand, everything was already predetermined for him. He was destined to save Valentia, he was meant to wield Falchion, and he was meant to be raised with that destiny in mind. Mycen specifically raised Alm to follow along a predetermined path. It's not something that Alm had to get to by himself. He got it because things were prepared for him to take with the opportunities that was meant to happen. That's what you're not understanding. Alm had literal DESTINY on his side, and people that were trying to fulfill said destiny. 

What Saber does doesn't mean anything when this is Alm we're talking about. Alm doesn't actually create a society that removes the concept of dynasty or bloodlines. You're talking about what the others did, but THEY proved themselves as themselves. They earned their things through their own merit, but Alm didn't do his by merit. Everything he did was because he was always meant to get it. 

It's not. It doesn't conflict. Again, Alm makes Tobin, a commoner, into a noble, all out due to his merits and accomplishments both while in the Deliverance and in the Kingdom's Brotherhood of Knights. It might not be a meritocracy in name, but it is kinda in spirit since someone like Tobin got rewarded for his merits, not his station of birth.

What matters if you have nothing or have something? In the grand scheme of things, having to craft the tool for the job versus being handed the tool matters little if you don't work to use it well and do a competent job with it. What you don't understand is that Alm himself had to play his part. For all we know he was destined to win because the prophecy accounted for the work he'd have to do in order to do what he was prophesied to do. He still had to show merit of the things it was told he'd do.

He doesn't have to create one. Many people think it's better to take things away than to teach and uphold people to use them well, for the most part. Because it's easier to blame something other than themselves when they screw up.

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7 hours ago, Ottservia said:

I've made my distaste of SoV's story no secret on this forum and after two and a half playthroughs of the game that opinion has yet to change. The reason for that is the titular protagonist, Alm. What bothers me about Alm(and I should stress this issue only applies to his SoV incarnation) is that he doesn't at all fit the story that he is a part of. Say what you will about Corrin, Chrom, Edelgard, Byleth, Ephriam, Ike, or any of the other lords but at least their character arcs and characterization fit the themes and ideas their stories set out to explore. Alm doesn't in a lot of ways. LIke he's a fine enough character in vacuum but he just doesn't work for this story specifically. SoV is a story about how strength and kindness and strength on their when taken to extremes will ultimately lead to a kingdom's ruin which are shown in the degenerating gods duma and mila. It is only in the marriage of those two philosophies that a kingdom can truly prosper. This theme is shown in a lot of ways but the primary way is with the protagonists Alm and Celica which are supposed to represent Duma's and Mila's ideals respectively. Their character arcs are supposed to be reflective of the story's themes of seemingly conflicting yet complimentary ideals which is why the romance between the two is pushed so heavily. The two are supposed to take these ideals of strength and kindness to the extreme and realize they need pieces of the other within themselves to overcome their struggles. Celica represents Mila's ideals just fine and is narrative punished for lacking the strength needed to protect herself or her overly kind nature which gets taken advantage of. The problem lies with Alm. He's too soft and kind and too much of a nice guy. He's not very ruthless or if he was the story never really puts much emphasis on it. Like he's more representative of Mila's ideals than Duma's. Him killing his father is supposed to be the climax of his arc where, in a lust for power and justice, ultimately ends accidentally killing his only remaining family but it doesn't really come off that way because he was never shown to be power hungry or ruthless. He never showed hostility towards Rudolf to my memory except maybe in Celica's dream sequence which never really came to pass. He was shown to be a protector of the weak, that aspect of his character remains consistent. Like in the early stages of the story it's actually quite good where he recklessly charges in on a bandit hideout to save silque or his steadfast determination to march on Rigel. However, those are really the two instances of this happening at least to my recollection. He's never really shown to question his actions nor are his actions portrayed in any negative light except killing his own dad. Like I said, Alm is way too soft here. He's too much of a nice guy light novel protagonist for this story to really work the way it wants to. It's strange because Gaiden, the awakening DLC, and even the manga characterize him just fine with all his ruthlessness intact. I wonder what happened here. Anyway, sorry for the rant I just needed to get that off my chest.

I agree completely, but isn't this basically a dead horse at this point? Tonnes of people have this very issue with Alm. I express the very point in my signature. Though looking at how many posts have been made in the past six hours since this post was made it seems like it's generated some buzz, but I don't know if anyone's really going to be coming to any new conclusions. This is a conversation that's been doing the rounds since the first week in which Shadows of Valentia was released. Hell I made a thread about this before the game even was released because I guessed it might be the case! I haven't read the first three pages of the thread beyond the OP (and I probably won't because I'm lazy, though I'll join in on the convo from here), but without reading it I can guess with some confidence the counter points would be  "you're looking at the game the way you want it to be instead of the way it is", "Alm was raised in Sofia so that's why he's balanced" with some counter counter arguments about how Alm being a perfect superman makes Celica's character much worse and some references to his Awakening dialog pieces and analysis of his minimalist Gaiden dialog for contrast. Am I close? Is this conversation literally that predictable that these are the things people are saying in this thread? Because it's all anyone's said on the subject for the past three years. Don't get my wrong, I'm going to jump in from here and be just as basic and repetitive as everyone else, I just don't think anything new is going to come from it at this point, unless someone has some new radical take or insider info on the development aspect.

Edited by Jotari

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Greith taunts Celica when the battle begins that because of the negligence of the Zofia royal family, bandits like him have managed to gain power and wealth, turning Zofia into a splitting image of Rigel were only the strong can survive. One could say that all her attacks on pirates and bandits throughout her route is one way that she takes responsibility of her position and amends some of the problems that arose from her father's decadence. There is a there lesson that neglecting ones duties, even during prosperous times, can and will lead to trouble down the road, and that compassion requires action for the virtue to be worth something.

A lot of people bash Celica's decisions in Act 4, and while I do agree that several of Jedah's speeches could have been rewritten (personally, I would have added him saying that he plans on getting Celica's soul by force if he needs to, and that the blood of anyone that gets killed in the process will be on her hands for not deciding to make a sacrifice. It would explain why the Duma Faithful still attacks you as well as add some extra weight to the decision), It should be noted that she she doesn't blindly trust Jedah. She demands to see Mila during the fight with Jedah, which Jedah agrees to before stating that his bargain was only with her and that her friends are technically trespassing on holy land and the fight happens. Both times she offers her soul, the decision is done rashly; the first at Dolth Keep when Mae is attacked, which she is reprimanded for, and the other when she sees the condition of Mila, acting before Jedah brings up that releasing Mila was outside of his control due to Mila sealing the Falchion herself.

I do believe most of Act 4 on Celica's part comes off as forced (mostly so that both armies are in the same location for the final battle), but it's not quite as unreasonable as some people make it out to be. It is mentioned throughout the game how the lack of Mila's Bounty has lead to famine in Zofia, and Rigel would be placed in a similar situation with Duma gone. This is addressed briefly in Act 5, where Alm states that he will help with farming efforts after the land becomes barren. It may not be far-fetched to assume that a number of rebellions and brigands mentioned in the epilogue rose up because of this very issue.

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48 minutes ago, Hawkwing said:

Greith taunts Celica when the battle begins that because of the negligence of the Zofia royal family, bandits like him have managed to gain power and wealth, turning Zofia into a splitting image of Rigel were only the strong can survive. One could say that all her attacks on pirates and bandits throughout her route is one way that she takes responsibility of her position and amends some of the problems that arose from her father's decadence. There is a there lesson that neglecting ones duties, even during prosperous times, can and will lead to trouble down the road, and that compassion requires action for the virtue to be worth something.

A lot of people bash Celica's decisions in Act 4, and while I do agree that several of Jedah's speeches could have been rewritten (personally, I would have added him saying that he plans on getting Celica's soul by force if he needs to, and that the blood of anyone that gets killed in the process will be on her hands for not deciding to make a sacrifice. It would explain why the Duma Faithful still attacks you as well as add some extra weight to the decision), It should be noted that she she doesn't blindly trust Jedah. She demands to see Mila during the fight with Jedah, which Jedah agrees to before stating that his bargain was only with her and that her friends are technically trespassing on holy land and the fight happens. Both times she offers her soul, the decision is done rashly; the first at Dolth Keep when Mae is attacked, which she is reprimanded for, and the other when she sees the condition of Mila, acting before Jedah brings up that releasing Mila was outside of his control due to Mila sealing the Falchion herself.

I do believe most of Act 4 on Celica's part comes off as forced (mostly so that both armies are in the same location for the final battle), but it's not quite as unreasonable as some people make it out to be. It is mentioned throughout the game how the lack of Mila's Bounty has lead to famine in Zofia, and Rigel would be placed in a similar situation with Duma gone. This is addressed briefly in Act 5, where Alm states that he will help with farming efforts after the land becomes barren. It may not be far-fetched to assume that a number of rebellions and brigands mentioned in the epilogue rose up because of this very issue.

That would have actually helped quite a bit. And they were so close to saying something like that but instead went more for "You're cool, but Imma gonna to kill all your friends real quick because those darn kids are on my property." Not only would it make more sense of the following battles, but it would also increase Celica's guilt and contribute to her decision to surrender by the end.

Edited by Jotari

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6 hours ago, Jotari said:

I agree completely, but isn't this basically a dead horse at this point? Tonnes of people have this very issue with Alm. I express the very point in my signature. Though looking at how many posts have been made in the past six hours since this post was made it seems like it's generated some buzz, but I don't know if anyone's really going to be coming to any new conclusions. This is a conversation that's been doing the rounds since the first week in which Shadows of Valentia was released. Hell I made a thread about this before the game even was released because I guessed it might be the case! I haven't read the first three pages of the thread beyond the OP (and I probably won't because I'm lazy, though I'll join in on the convo from here), but without reading it I can guess with some confidence the counter points would be  "you're looking at the game the way you want it to be instead of the way it is", "Alm was raised in Sofia so that's why he's balanced" with some counter counter arguments about how Alm being a perfect superman makes Celica's character much worse and some references to his Awakening dialog pieces and analysis of his minimalist Gaiden dialog for contrast. Am I close? Is this conversation literally that predictable that these are the things people are saying in this thread? Because it's all anyone's said on the subject for the past three years. Don't get my wrong, I'm going to jump in from here and be just as basic and repetitive as everyone else, I just don't think anything new is going to come from it at this point, unless someone has some new radical take or insider info on the development aspect.

Yeesh no need to sound so condescending about it. I just wanted to get that off my chest cause it’s been on my mind is all. Nothing more to it than that honestly.

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45 minutes ago, Ottservia said:

Yeesh no need to sound so condescending about it. I just wanted to get that off my chest cause it’s been on my mind is all. Nothing more to it than that honestly.

Condescension wasn't my intention. More...I don't know self awareness?

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Interesting; Alm as written in SoV being very ill-suited for SoV is just one of my main issues with Alm. The other issue is that he's a blatant Gary Stu like Corrin (though admittedly a bit better-written than Corrin). 

Oh, and I don't make Mary Sue/Gary Stu accusations lightly. So many people think it simply means something like "overly perfect character" and ask, "What about [insert OP character here]", or think it means, "plot centers around the character" and ask, "Isn't that just a protagonist (the answer to that, incidentally, would be no; the plot doesn't have to center around the protagonist; the protagonist just has to be the primary character in it)?"

A Mary Sue goes beyond either of those things: a Mary Sue generally occurs when glorification and gratification of a character takes precedence over writing the character. The story's plot gets wrapped and distorted around them; as far as everyone's concerned, they are the center of everything that matters, even when they probably shouldn't be. Common symptoms include, but are not limited to, the following: 

  • The character being unnaturally talented within the confines of their world. A character who's supposed to be a novice will easily overpower the masters at everything because that's who they are. 
  • The character is placed on a pedestal: everyone either wants them or wants to be them, and those that don't are evil or have something wrong about them, and they would love the character if it weren't for that thing that's wrong about them. 
  • Either a complete lack of flaws/limitations, or flaws/limitations are presented but not treated as flaws/limitations by the actual events of the story. There's no struggle to overcome anything on a character level.

 

Note that none of these, on their own, are indicative of a Mary Sue. But if you see more than one, you might have a Mary Sue. Alm has all three of those symptoms I listed, he does wrap and distort the story around himself, and it's easy to spot story moments where gratification/glorification of Alm's character is taking precedence over actually writing Alm's character. There's no way around it; Alm is a Gary Stu. 

Edited by vanguard333

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8 minutes ago, vanguard333 said:

Either a complete lack of flaws, or flaws are presented but not treated as flaws by the actual events of the story. There's no struggle to overcome anything on a character level.

Y’know I hate the term Mary sue for this exact mentality. I feel like authors and critics nowadays too often judge characters based on how many flaws and virtues they have like there seemingly needs to be some kind of balance. Like no, that’s a very narrow minded approach to writing characters if you ask me. Like a character should not be nothing more than a check list of virtues and flaws. That’s not what defines a good character. The only thing separating a good character from a bad one are their desires, how understandable those desires are, and if those desires generate meaningful conflict within the story. At least that’s how I see it.

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22 minutes ago, Ottservia said:

Y’know I hate the term Mary sue for this exact mentality. I feel like authors and critics nowadays too often judge characters based on how many flaws and virtues they have like there seemingly needs to be some kind of balance. Like no, that’s a very narrow minded approach to writing characters if you ask me. Like a character should not be nothing more than a check list of virtues and flaws. That’s not what defines a good character. The only thing separating a good character from a bad one are their desires, how understandable those desires are, and if those desires generate meaningful conflict within the story. At least that’s how I see it.

I never said a character should be a checklist of flaws & virtues; in fact, I completely agree with the part that I bolded; that's one reason why I specifically said, "none of these, on their own, are indicative of a Mary Sue".

EDIT: It's also the reason I made sure to follow up what I said about flaws with, "There's no struggle to overcome anything on a character level". A character without stated character flaws can still have something they need to struggle to overcome on a character level; that's one of the ways in which there is depth to conflicts presented in the story (the other being thematic struggle). 

Edited by vanguard333

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12 minutes ago, vanguard333 said:

I never said a character should be a checklist of flaws & virtues; in fact, I completely agree with the part that I bolded; that's one reason why I specifically said, "none of these, on their own, are indicative of a Mary Sue".

EDIT: It's also the reason I made sure to follow up what I said about flaws with, "There's no struggle to overcome anything on a character level". A character without stated character flaws can still have something they need to struggle to overcome on a character level; that's one of the ways in which there is depth to conflicts presented in the story (the other being thematic struggle). 

And that my friend is exactly why I hesitate to call Corrin a mary sue but that’s a discussion for another time

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10 hours ago, Acacia Sgt said:

It's not. It doesn't conflict. Again, Alm makes Tobin, a commoner, into a noble, all out due to his merits and accomplishments both while in the Deliverance and in the Kingdom's Brotherhood of Knights. It might not be a meritocracy in name, but it is kinda in spirit since someone like Tobin got rewarded for his merits, not his station of birth.

What matters if you have nothing or have something? In the grand scheme of things, having to craft the tool for the job versus being handed the tool matters little if you don't work to use it well and do a competent job with it. What you don't understand is that Alm himself had to play his part. For all we know he was destined to win because the prophecy accounted for the work he'd have to do in order to do what he was prophesied to do. He still had to show merit of the things it was told he'd do.

He doesn't have to create one. Many people think it's better to take things away than to teach and uphold people to use them well, for the most part. Because it's easier to blame something other than themselves when they screw up.

It's a case of one person that's a close friend to Alm that got it, but it's not a case of how the society now allows anyone to become a noble. Tobin is an exception, but not the status quo. Because we KNOW it's not meritocratic, but still a dynasty. Tobin just became a new noble with a new bloodline. But there's no selected successor like there is for Edelgard's, but rather Alm's son takes over the united Kingdom. 

No. Not at all. In the grand scheme of things, Alm less earned everything as opposed to having things given to him. Also, you kept saying that Alm can fail and be removed, but... no. Alm can fail to save Delthea, and he can fail to save Mathilda. The latter has Clive let his anger out on Alm, but Alm STILL holds his position as leader. In the end, he doesn't lose anything on account of his failures. And the narration even outright states that Alm's path wasn't something he traveled by own own skill, but something that had been manipulated and shaped for him to cross the entire time. Alm played a part, but not something that he earned purely through merit. 

You aren't making any sense there.

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I would also like to point out how many times Gray and Tobin explicitly mention how different Alm is from them and that’s why he’s better than them which is to foreshadow his royal lineage. That alone spits in the face of the whole noble vs commoner theme here

Edited by Ottservia

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10 hours ago, Jotari said:

That would have actually helped quite a bit. And they were so close to saying something like that but instead went more for "You're cool, but Imma gonna to kill all your friends real quick because those darn kids are on my property." Not only would it make more sense of the following battles, but it would also increase Celica's guilt and contribute to her decision to surrender by the end.

Honestly, I am curious if that was something that writers/translators wanted to edit, but didn't have the time or budget to bring the voice actor back in to record new lines. While I wouldn't call Echoes rushed, there were several moments throughout the game where I got the impression the developers weren't given a lot of elbow room to alter things. Supports, for instance, are pretty limited, and while there are gameplay reasons behind this (support bonuses can turn a 70% chance to hit into a 100%, which is nothing to scoff at. Having an "everyone supports everyone" system would either break the game or require that support bonuses be minuscule), it can come off that they were added when the developers realized that they had some spare cash to spend in the voice acting budget. It's not the only example, but it is one of the more notable ones.

***

On a side note, as much as I agree that Alm's recklessness or stubbornness should have backfired on him at some point, my question is how should it play out in gameplay and story? Every idea I could think of ends up falling into the "You won but not really!" or "Incompetent in a cutscene" traps that most gamers are all too familiar with and are best avoided. Far from saying it can't be done right, but I am curious on how others thought this aspect should have been implemented that manages work in both gameplay and story without pulling any cheap tricks in the process.

This isn't to say the game didn't run into this issue already. I could point to how Alm being granted leadership of the Deliverance is a little too large a leap, but if he was made second in command or a high ranking officer, then it either would have lead to players stating "You're the second-in-command of the army, though in practice Alm may as have have been made the leader given how little that affects things", or it would have added several frivolous gameplay additions to give the impression that Alm isn't the head honcho. Or how in first fight with Berkut is considered a tough opponent by several characters when in gameplay the level is laughably easy. And I've pointed out earlier how Act 4 on Celica's side can come off as forced so that Celica and Alm's armies can be in the same location for the final battle.

It should be noted that Echoes isn't alone here. I could point out how Awakening pulls the "we have to retreat from Walharts million strong offscreen army!" regardless of how strong your units currently are, as well as "We have to get help from the rebel army, despite the fact that they only physically appear once or twice!". Or how in Three Houses, crests are vital to the story, but in gameplay their usefulness ranges wildly, and even the most powerful ones aren't quite the gamechanger the story makes them out to be. Point being, problems likes these are nothing new to the series.

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11 minutes ago, Hawkwing said:

On a side note, as much as I agree that Alm's recklessness or stubbornness should have backfired on him at some point, my question is how should it play out in gameplay and story? Every idea I could think of ends up falling into the "You won but not really!" or "Incompetent in a cutscene" traps that most gamers are all too familiar with and are best avoided. Far from saying it can't be done right, but I am curious on how others thought this aspect should have been implemented that manages work in both gameplay and story without pulling any cheap tricks in the process.

This isn't to say the game didn't run into this issue already. I could point to how Alm being granted leadership of the Deliverance is a little too large a leap, but if he was made second in command or a high ranking officer, then it either would have lead to players stating "You're the second-in-command of the army, though in practice Alm may as have have been made the leader given how little that affects things", or it would have added several frivolous gameplay additions to give the impression that Alm isn't the head honcho. Or how in first fight with Berkut is considered a tough opponent by several characters when in gameplay the level is laughably easy. And I've pointed out earlier how Act 4 on Celica's side can come off as forced so that Celica and Alm's armies can be in the same location for the final battle.

It should be noted that Echoes isn't alone here. I could point out how Awakening pulls the "we have to retreat from Walharts million strong offscreen army!" regardless of how strong your units currently are, as well as "We have to get help from the rebel army, despite the fact that they only physically appear once or twice!". Or how in Three Houses, crests are vital to the story, but in gameplay their usefulness ranges wildly, and even the most powerful ones aren't quite the gamechanger the story makes them out to be. Point being, problems likes these are nothing new to the series.

Here's the thing you're misunderstanding here. I don't need his recklessness to backfire which would cause him to fail because that wouldn't make sense from a gameplay standpoint. What I DO want is the story to actually make a point of his recklessness/aggressiveness in some way. Like I dunno have a scene of all them looking over a corpse ridden battlefield in some level of disgust. You can have a couple of the other characters question if this truly just to which Alm could reply "Well they deserved it". Or have a scene where an enemy commander begs for his life saying he just wants to see his family again only for Alm to cut him down in cold blood. Those are the scenes we need in this story to showcase Alm's growing lust for vengeance and justice. He slowly grows to lose sight of his original goals and it is only after he accidentally kills his own father that he's able to snap out of it. 

Like you seem to too focused on the small details that don't matter instead of looking at the bigger picture. You're too concerned with minor contrivances and stuff that doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things. You gotta look at the bigger picture sometimes and ask why the events of this narrative are happening in the first place. 

Edited by Ottservia

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13 hours ago, Jotari said:

I agree completely, but isn't this basically a dead horse at this point? Tonnes of people have this very issue with Alm. I express the very point in my signature. Though looking at how many posts have been made in the past six hours since this post was made it seems like it's generated some buzz, but I don't know if anyone's really going to be coming to any new conclusions. This is a conversation that's been doing the rounds since the first week in which Shadows of Valentia was released. Hell I made a thread about this before the game even was released because I guessed it might be the case! I haven't read the first three pages of the thread beyond the OP (and I probably won't because I'm lazy, though I'll join in on the convo from here), but without reading it I can guess with some confidence the counter points would be  "you're looking at the game the way you want it to be instead of the way it is", "Alm was raised in Sofia so that's why he's balanced" with some counter counter arguments about how Alm being a perfect superman makes Celica's character much worse and some references to his Awakening dialog pieces and analysis of his minimalist Gaiden dialog for contrast. Am I close? Is this conversation literally that predictable that these are the things people are saying in this thread? Because it's all anyone's said on the subject for the past three years. Don't get my wrong, I'm going to jump in from here and be just as basic and repetitive as everyone else, I just don't think anything new is going to come from it at this point, unless someone has some new radical take or insider info on the development aspect.

Spot on, though not nearly as clear nor as concise.

On topic, just wanted to add my two-cents: basically, I agree with the OP, although I want to throw in that I don't think Alm necessarily should have been ruthless or have a bloodlust. As long as he's scrappy and reckless I think that would have been enough, and as people have said, he is in some spots, it's just not enough to make it feel cohesive.

Edited by Solvaij

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