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Hi everyone. This is my first post, and I apologize if I'm ignorant of common knowledge on this forum. I got into Fire Emblem just last year, and Path of Radiance is honestly the first RPG I've ever played. I finished a playthrough on easy mode through both PoR and Radiant Dawn, and wanted to do another run on a harder difficulty setting. I've been looking through this forum, and it appears my efficiency at playing the game is drastically below par (e.g. I don't finish a chapter on BEXP pace, I often place characters in situations that result in their deaths multiple times, my characters are often underleveled, etc). I know this a rather difficult question to answer, given how broad it is, but do you guys have any tips for how to play the game better? I know a lot of it will obviously come from experience, but I was wondering if there were some important fundamental concepts I had to get down to stop running around like an idiot.

I have some basic knowledge, such as the weapon triangle, attacking outside of range then inside it, but I feel like I'm also letting many mechanics wash down the drain, such as shoving (is it that useful?), rescue, Order/Direct, etc. Again, I apologize for asking such a broad question, but any help would be appreciated.

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Why do you feel that you need to be more efficient?  And how badly are you willing to screw up in the name of improvement?  Let's start there.

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10 minutes ago, eclipse said:

Why do you feel that you need to be more efficient?

Having to play faster makes the game much more interesting because it becomes more challenging, and more BEXP is a nice reward.

My tip is that you should use Titania more, she may gain less EXP than other units but that doesn't matter if you just let her fight frequently and maybe even give her bosskills. It sounds hard but since she is so good it actually isn't that bad. Make sure to always check enemy ranges too, and look for their inventories, you may just find something stealable or some dangerous weapon like a Poleax for example (it's not as dangerous as in other games but still)

Sometimes you can't reach enemies and you can't see the battle forecast. Then you'll have to do math. Damage is easy. Atk-Def. The weapon triangle gives you a 1 damage boost and 15% hit and avoid bonus, but if you're at a disadvantage then you suffer those as penalties instead. For Effective weapons, you first increase or decrease it's damage according to Weapon Triangle, and then you multiply the resulting atk by 2. Really simple calculations tbh.

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Just now, This boi uses Nino said:

Having to play faster makes the game much more interesting because it becomes more challenging, and more BEXP is a nice reward.

That's your take, which is valid.  However, you're not the guy that made the topic.  It helps to know what the driving force behind this is before suggesting anything, at least for me.

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25 minutes ago, eclipse said:

Why do you feel that you need to be more efficient?  And how badly are you willing to screw up in the name of improvement?  Let's start there.

I guess it's a weird thing to want, considering I can still beat the game the way I'm playing, but I really despise making dumb plays or having bad judgement without realizing it. It's just always been a peeve of mine. As for screwing up in the name of improvement...I'm not sure what you're getting at, but if it makes me better, I'd think I'd be willing to do it.

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Since you've at least beaten Radiant Dawn on US Easy, I'm assuming you've already figured out you need to pick a select group of units to train and stick with them throughout the game.  But in case you haven't, do that, and try not to give too much EXP to units you know you're probably going to permanently bench later.

Binding Blade (the one with Roy), for example, gives you a large number of subpar units in the early-game whom you probably won't use in your final party.  If you give as much EXP as possible to the better units, the ones you'll want to keep using throughout the rest of the game, it'll make certain particularly difficult chapters like The Ostian Rebellion easier.

More broadly, there are certain recurring trends with playable units that you'll want to pay attention to.  Keep in mind these aren't gospel and there'll be exceptions depending on the game:

  • Mounted units in general are considered superior to non-mounted ones, being able to fight just as well as regular infantry on top of having better Mov and/or Canto and/or Rescue utility.
  • Bow specialist Infantry (i.e. Archers) are usually considered bad, not only for having poor base stats, but being rendered obsolete by 1-2-Range weapons like Javelins, Hand Axes, and magic (especially Wind magic when it exists and it's anti-Flying).  Mounted Bow users (i.e. Nomads, Bow Cavaliers, etc.) at least tend to have better stats on top of the mounted utility described earlier.
  • Axe specialist Infantry are usually considered mediocre at best and bad at worst due to not having enough accuracy to hit reliably and/or not being fast enough to double-attack.
  • Armored Knights are considered particularly bad due to their lower Mov than other classes and their Def (even as high as it is) being rendered moot by their low Spd and/or Res.

Also keep in mind that turn count is the main (but not necessarily the only) metric of efficient play, and that unit evaluation is often based on difficulties above Normal (or Easy in Radiant Dawn's case, since US Easy is actually Japanese Normal) where enemy quality is higher.

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14 minutes ago, theLittleLaurel said:

I guess it's a weird thing to want, considering I can still beat the game the way I'm playing, but I really despise making dumb plays or having bad judgement without realizing it. It's just always been a peeve of mine. As for screwing up in the name of improvement...I'm not sure what you're getting at, but if it makes me better, I'd think I'd be willing to do it.

First, learn the battle calculations.  This should have most of the pertinent numbers.  The beginning stages deal with small numbers, so you shouldn't have too many issues calculating how much damage you're going to take per turn.  PoR uses the 2 RN system for hit rate calculation, which means the only hit rate that matches its displayed chance is 50%.  The further away you are from that number, the more likely something is to hit/miss (higher than 50% = hit, lower = miss).

Next, put your units in danger.  Risk a game over on a 35% displayed hit.  Get people's health as low as possible, more than what you can sponge off with healing.  That's how much abuse your army can take.  Take note of whether or not a unit is leaving a certain type of enemy alive at a sliver of health, or if they're just shy of doubling - this is your cue to either forge a weapon for them, feed them a stat booster, or use some BEXP to get them the necessary stats.  Same goes for "if I had one more HP, I would've survived that".

Once you understand the inner workings of the game, you can tailor your strategies to your army's strengths and weaknesses.  Instead of being afraid of a single hit, you'll be able to take on multiple enemies, and hopefully kill them on their turn (Titania's great for this early-on).  Javelins and Hand Axes are your friends.

Speaking of. . .give Titania a couple of early boss kills, because that's her main source of experience.  She'll most likely fall off later, but her job is to babysit your units so that they can surpass her.

Edited by eclipse

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22 minutes ago, eclipse said:

which means the only hit rate that matches its displayed chance is 50%

actually, 50% is a little higher than displayed, at 50.50%

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12 minutes ago, This boi uses Nino said:

actually, 50% is a little higher than displayed, at 50.50%

How often will that 50% actually display?  😛

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My main tips for getting better would be... challenge yourself by either requiring yourself to finish maps early (basically reset until you get it) or playing on a higher difficulty. It can be tedious and boring, but forcing yourself to think things over tends to be fastest way to improve. Going on youtube and watching speed runs, low turn count runs, or just runs on higher difficulties can also give you some great insights in what is possible and how you can use certain units/mechanics.

Some other common things:

  • Don't be too conservative with your resources. If you have a good weapon, just use it now, you'll get plenty of good things to use later on. Bonus experience is best used early on as well, because why wait with having a unit become good when you can have them be good earlier? And you get enough money that you can go pretty crazy with forging.
  • Giving other units an extra turn (Reyson in Path of Radiance) is stupidly good and the better you get at planning ahead, the better it becomes.
1 hour ago, Von Ithipathachai said:

Since you've at least beaten Radiant Dawn on US Easy, I'm assuming you've already figured out you need to pick a select group of units to train and stick with them throughout the game.  But in case you haven't, do that, and try not to give too much EXP to units you know you're probably going to permanently bench later.

I half agree with this, but I was to mention that you shouldn't take this too far. There's enough experience to go around that someone who you're not planning to use later on getting experience in a map isn't going to seriously hurt you later on. Obviously, don't go out of your way to set up kills for them, and if you have the option, give the kills to people who you plan to use longterm, but feel free to use whoever you have available.

Also, don't feel like you have to stick to a certain group for the whole game. If one of your units has been getting aweful level ups for a while now, don't feel bad about benching them and replacing them with units you get later on. Also, some maps may favor having another flier (even if they have horrible stats) over another good combat unit, because there's just so much space to cross and not so much enemies that you'll miss the extra combat unit.

Quote
  • Axe specialist Infantry are usually considered mediocre at best and bad at worst due to not having enough accuracy to hit reliably and/or not being fast enough to double-attack.

I feel like this only really holds for the gba games tbh, and even then a lot of them are actually pretty good in the early game (Dorcas, Hector and Garcia specifically).

Edited by Bartozio

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I think the best advice for this would to be to, as you said in your own post, just keep playing!  When it comes to Fire Emblem, gauging "good play" isn't the easiest thing in the world, because it's not about beating the game, but how you do it.  No one is just naturally good at Fire Emblem, it takes a lot of play time to build up knowledge and instinct.  I was absolutely horrible at the game when I started, even struggling with Sacred Stones (which is often considered the easiest title in the series), but now that I've played the series for years and played almost every game in the franchise, I find myself playing a lot faster and naturally.  Heck, even if you're given everything you need to know, it's difficult to use it without enough experience.  So as much as it might be kind of a cop-out answer, I'd say just keep playing the game (and other games in the series if you want to just get better at FE in general!).

Another good way to improve your own skill is to give yourself self imposed challenges.  Maybe you play through the game once normally, and then replay it using entirely different characters.  That should help you slowly figure out which units are better than others, and why certain strengths or utilities may be more important than some others.  One way that I tend to play a lot is an 'Iron Man' run, where you can't reset your game, even if one of your units dies.  This may not be the best type of play through for you right now, but I think that once you get to a point where you get more confident in yourself and your play style, it's a really interesting way to play the game.  Iron Man runs really help teach you to play more carefully and spend more time analyzing situations, as well as teaching you to use every tool and character you have available to you.

Other than all that, I'd like to stress that you should make sure you're still having fun!  It doesn't matter if you become the best player in the world if you don't enjoy playing anymore.  If improving and pushing yourself further makes the game more fun for you, that's fantastic, that's exactly how I am!  But if you find yourself trying too hard to play optimally and not enjoying it, make sure to take a step back and find what you really enjoy about Fire Emblem.

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13 minutes ago, CWGameplay said:

So as much as it might be kind of a cop-out answer, I'd say just keep playing the game

Well dang, that's what I was gonna suggest, too, even if it's kind of a cop out.

I'd say a lot of 'being good' comes down to game knowledge and experience and the easiest way to get those is to just play the game, so another playthrough on a higher difficulty seems like great idea! Maybe put yourself out of your comfort zone a little, as long as you're still having fun. I'm sure there are some characters/weapons/mechanics you haven't used before, but that seem cool or interesting to you, so try some of those (maybe not all at the same time, so you have something to fall back on) and get to know their quirks and limits. If you're playing on an emulator don't be afraid to use a few savestates. Radiant Dawn even has inbuilt ones. I don't suggest too much wiki diving (at least not yet), but if you do have specific gameplay questions Serenes Forest does have a very good resources for stats and mechanics.

https://serenesforest.net/path-of-radiance/

https://serenesforest.net/radiant-dawn/

There is also a wiki

https://fireemblemwiki.org/

And if you do get stuck, don't be afraid to ask for help on the forums.

And finally for some real concrete gameplay advice: Don't rush to moves, even if they seem obvious. Asses all your options before you move a character. Check the different attacks and moves your characters have and where that would leave them. Is that where you want them or would you rather use someone else? Don't be afraid to think about your situation a lot. And if something doesn't work out, try to think about what you could have done differently. Treat the game a bit more like chess initially and things will become second nature in no time.

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I'll give a little more advance advice. (Also I'll give my opinion as far what I've observed over the years playing the franchise and also hone in on this title)

Know thy enemy! This is common advice in war games. The game has an algorithm for the behavior of the enemies. Study them and you'll soon master the art of manipulation and have them do exactly what you want them to do. I'll give some general tips that are for the most part applicable.

Enemies love to go in for the kill. So if they have in front of them a few people they can attack, they'll go for the person they can KO. Also enemies love to go after people who can't counter back. If an enemies has an Archer and a axe user in front of them, unless the axe user needs one more hit till they die, they'll go hit the Archer. Conversely Archers will go shoot someone who can't fight back if there aren't any targets they can wipe out. Also enemies also tend to give priority to healers and your commanders, so they'll go attack them too. 

When a battle first starts, not all the enemies are going to rush you at once. 99% of all maps will have a select few who will start to move on turn 1, while some move after a few turns pass. Some don't even move no matter how many turns pass and just wait for you to step in their range. Most of the time (like close to 80%) if you attack a boss, all enemies will become mobile and start moving. Bandits and thieves make a bee line straight to villages/chests. Study your enemy is the main point! Grasping how they'll behave is always a good fundamental step to controlling the field. One thing that is always important to note, reinforcements always show up in nasty places to ambush you. Unless you have a powerful unit, don't send them out alone unless you are confident in their tankiness or dodging ability. Another good tip that isn't always reliable but should be taken into consideration with the Tellius games like PoR and RD, is that when enemies get to about 20% or less HP, they'll flee to a healing spot or next to their healer if they have one deployed. They'll also go toward allies who carry healing items if that is an option for them. 

As for general advice that applies to most of the titles and this one, like people mentioned already, archers are bad. They serve some utility but your not gonna want to take one to end-game or deploy them often. Horse people are great. Heavy armors are not so great and often get left behind. 

Thieves are great for stealing. In this game you only get two Volke and Sothe. If I were you and could keep them from combat, I'd go with Sothe when he becomes available. Volke charges you money every time you have him unlock something. Make sure if they level, they get speed since it matters when it comes to stealing. 

In the early GBA days and partially true here in the Tellius games, males are better than females. Back in the day constitution was use to calculate attack speed and even in the Tellius games they tend to be more favorable. For example Zihark is used more than Mia. This isn't always true but the majority of the time, they tend to be better stat wise. Fire Emblem as a franchise didn't fix this till post Awakening. 

Also try to keep one of each weapon type with you. Have a good sword user or two you've invested into, at least one axe user, a Lance, one or two magic users (plus a healer). It's good to cover the basics. Keep in mind most fire emblem games including the Tellius ones let you take about 10-13 people with you the majority of the time and including the final few chapters so have at least that many people trained up is a good idea. Push for 17+ and you'll start to see more difficult times advancing since you spread your exp thin. On the harder difficulties of this game series, exp starts to get scarce. Someone above mentioned it's okay to use a few extra people but I'm sure they meant that on the easier levels. On higher difficulties if you go past 13 people you'll see why that was a bad idea. 

That should about cover some good ground to become more ready to tackle the higher difficulties.

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I find some backward thinking very helpful: Start with the map objective, think about what you directly need to fulfill those and how you can get more of that.

  • To rout a map, you have to get into a lot of combat, so what you want is as many (productive) fights per turn as possible. There's a hard limit on fight on player phase, so taking a look at enemy phase is important.
    • An EP with no combat is a waste. The ideal EP would have so much combat that your character(s) end up with 1 HP and killed every enemy that dared attack them.
    • Every time your Archer gets attacked by a melee unit, or your swordfighter from range - you've wasted a round of combat. Same with your healers and dancers, of course.
    • If a group of enemies has a mix of 1- and 2-range, Hand Axes and Javelins, especially forged ones, are your friend to avoid wasting combat.

If you would try to go for a "perfect" enemy phase all the time, you'd probably go crazy - I don't mean them as "restart the chapter until everything's perfect", just as "keep those in mind when moving your units". In PoR in particular, you own units are quite a bit stronger than the enemies, so letting Oscar and Kieran just dart way ahead of the rest of the army is usually a safe - and effective - thing to do.

  • To beat a seize map, you need to get Ike and enough firepower to kill the boss to the seize location. If Ike just walks, he takes 6 or 7 steps towards the throne every turn. If Titania is carrying Ike, she moves him 9 tiles every turn. With Rescue, Take, Give, and Drop, you can also avoid fighting enemies while slowed down quite easily: Use Take->Drop, then re-rescue Ike the next turn and repeat. Have the character carrying Ike fall behind outside of enemy range, and next turn Give Ike to whoever darted ahead to fight a bunch of mooks on enemy phase, so they can use their full movement to boost Ike ahead.

Now, I don't play that single-mindedly myself. I like myself a 20/20 Rolf by the end of the game, or grind Mist's sword rank until she can slaughter wyverns with the Sonic Sword. And sometimes, dedicating some effort to train a unit up can pay for itself in a big way (case in point: Jill in RD is widely considered to be a great unit to throw ALL your resources into).
But I think it helps to have a bit of a mental distinction between what I'm doing to progress towards the current map objective, and what is more of a "self-improvement" for the character. The former is the task at hand, the latter is something you do to improve your team in later stages (i.e.  help Future Laurel, who is less important than Present Laurel) or even just because you might like to see Mist shred through enemy wyverns.

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3 hours ago, Tediz64 said:

Also try to keep one of each weapon type with you. Have a good sword user or two you've invested into, at least one axe user, a Lance, one or two magic users (plus a healer). It's good to cover the basics.

This is nice if you don't really know the game too well and what is good or bad, but on a replay this can be very not optimal. For instance, in FE7 to 9, bows and swords just aren't that good, so forcing yourself to invest in a sword user who can only kill on player phase and has to rely on dodging to survive is a lot less useful than just training up another lance/axe user. Fire Emblem very rarely punishes you for a lack of diversity, so just use the best units, even if those are all the same class with the same weapon type.

3 hours ago, Tediz64 said:

Keep in mind most fire emblem games including the Tellius ones let you take about 10-13 people with you the majority of the time and including the final few chapters so have at least that many people trained up is a good idea. Push for 17+ and you'll start to see more difficult times advancing since you spread your exp thin. On the harder difficulties of this game series, exp starts to get scarce. Someone above mentioned it's okay to use a few extra people but I'm sure they meant that on the easier levels. On higher difficulties if you go past 13 people you'll see why that was a bad idea.

I mostly meant using other people as utility, not training them up for later maps. For instance, in PoR in the boat map where you get Gatrie back, I love to use both Volke and Sothe, because having two thieves makes getting all of the chests quickly a lot easier. Doesn't mean I'm planning to use two thieves for my entire run, or even that Sothe is ever going to see combat or get exp, but it's still great to use him for that map, and some others with a lot of chests.

You also get a lot of great units later on during the game (at least in the older games), so it's fine to focus on only a few units early on (as in, a lot less than 13) and just slowly fill those slots with later additions. It'd be a shame to let those slots go to waste though, so until you get those later units, you can just deploy some units you don't plan to use long term, but have them help out for a bit. That doesn't mean you should feed them kills, but they can still help set up kills for the unit you do plan to use, and in a pinch them getting a kill isn't the worst.

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There is a lot of good advice here, and while I could reiterate some of the better ones, I think I will add something that feels particularly absent.

See how others play. You could watch a stream, or video, or read a writeup, or a screenshot LP; but don't do so passively. When something goes wrong think about why it went wrong, and what could have been done to play better. If you see some brilliant maneuver think about how you can apply that technique in your own play, or if it relies a level of luck that makes it impractical. When they play a map differently than you, ask did it work better? What is the player worried about, and how do they deal with that? Is there some part of it (like their starting move, rf how they dealt with the reinforcements, etc.) that you could use in your own preferred strategy? If they are doing a challenge run, how did that impact play? If they are using units you rarely do, pay attention to how that affected their strategies, and whether they might be worth using when you play. Sometimes other may even share details about a game that you might not have known, or find useful. I could go on, but the important thing is to think about what you are watching or reading.

As an extra addendum I figured I would add a link as well

https://www.fireemblemwod.com/

The site is primarily in Spanish, but some pages have English translations, and it has a lot of very useful information that is hard to find elsewhere.

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15 hours ago, Bartozio said:

I feel like this only really holds for the gba games tbh, and even then a lot of them are actually pretty good in the early game (Dorcas, Hector and Garcia specifically).

I would say it's also true in Fates, since Arthur and Charlotte suck massively.

Quote

Thieves are great for stealing. In this game you only get two Volke and Sothe. If I were you and could keep them from combat, I'd go with Sothe when he becomes available. Volke charges you money every time you have him unlock something. Make sure if they level, they get speed since it matters when it comes to stealing. 

I would say ignore Sothe because he needs too much babying, and Volke alone is enough.

Edited by Shadow Mir

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