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Fire Emblem Three Houses Magic System Analysis

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In this video, I make the claim that Three Houses balanced mages better than a lot other Fire Emblem games. Do you agree with that statement? Which games do you think did mages or the magic system better than Three Houses?

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I have to main problems with the magic system in Three Houses. 

 

First of all, the distinction between dark and black magic faire skills is completely pointless and limiting. There are only three characters that use dark magic effectively, and they are all hampered by certain magic classes, like mortal savant and dark flyer, having the wrong faire skill. Classes that do have dark tome fair are basically a compromise to every other magic class by taking up a skill slot for a useless skil. There's no reason why dark and black tomefaire (and spell use) couldn't be combined into reasonfaire. Pun intended.

 

secondly, I think spell use is kind off 'all or nothing'. The difference between having having dark/black/white magic use x2 and not having one of those skills is very big. It seems like this could have been a balanced so that spell use would increase more gradually over the course of the game. Maybe spell use could be tied to reason and faith ranks respectively, or maybe to class tier. 

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Not really.  I greatly dislike that I'm not able to control who gets which spells, and that heavily favors the ones who get normally rare utility spells (lookin' at you, Warp) and siege spells for free every map.

I want to go back to Tomes and Staves with charges.

 

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I'm going let this one slide, for now.  But ONLY this one.

We do not exist to give your videos/channels views.  If you're looking for exposure, then shove your channel in your sig.  It's one thing to foster discussion, but the sense I get is that you're doing this for future video material, which is skirting the advertising line, especially given the state of your posting history.

If I have to remind you of this again, it will be a warning.  Do I make myself clear?

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Haven't watched the video, I don't like getting information that way. Nothing personal, feel free to post a summary and I will definitely read it.


On the whole I'm quite happy with the magic system in Three Houses. I like that it's different from physicals. In many Fire Emblem games, magic is basically identical to physical attacks apart from targeting res; a Fire tome is basically a javelin with slightly different stats that hits a different defensive stat, even down to the fact it wears down in exactly the same way. That's kinda boring. In Three Houses, I liked that they wore down differently (recharging per battle), and that they don't take an inventory slot (which creates an interesting space where mages can use more accessories). Echoes, despite my issues with it overall, did take steps in the right direction here, and Three Houses basically perfects it. Also, personally, I loved that siege tomes and Warp etc. had per-battle limits instead of something I worry about hoarding for the entire game. But then, I'm not a fan of durability as the main metric to balance powerful things across a playthrough in general, and am glad that the more recent games have de-emphasized this.

Mages in this game also have the ability to strike from incredible range. A Valkyrie with S rank reason and Thyrsus using Thoron or Death can hit someone seven panels away. That's obviously an extreme example, but the point is that great range is a niche they fill (archers can somewhat do so as well, but the -30 hit per panel penalty in Maddening adds up fast). They also provide great linked attacks as a result, and on top of that their attacks ignore terrain avoid bonuses, so they're often the go-to for enemies who camp on those. That's a powerful array of things besides the usual "targets res" (which is still present and still matters for roasting armours) which is magic's only distinct mechanical feature in some other games. To make up for it, of course, mages have a slew of disadvantages: low move (this problem has been lessened a bit with the DLC but is still generally true), a lack of multi-hit weapons/arts, and almost anyone who is good at magic has relatively poor HP/AS/def which the magic classes themselves exacerbate. Physical builds and magical builds feel very different in 3H, but both feel valid and I always find I want both on my team.


I agree with the complaint that the Black/Dark split was stupid and pointless. On the other hand I definitely do like that each character gets their own unique spell list: it adds personality to the individual characters and provides a way to differentiate mages besides their stats. I do wish there was a way to see who would get what spell without looking it up in a guide, but I guess IntSys is just doing Serenes Forest the favour of increasing its traffic. 🙂

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The split between Black/Dark was executed very poorly, but I personally loved it lore wise. It was essentially the difference between "normal" magic, and magic created by those dark methods from those that had been experimented on (I'm assuming since Hubert worked with those that slither, he had access to their powers). I do like the idea of it just being all under "Reason" or something, but I understand the lore/story behind it, which I appreciated. But it did greatly hinder classes in how they implemented it.

I also personally love unique spell lists. Sure I miss customization, but I think unique spell lists make each character feel a little more unique and special. I do wish there was a way to maybe add just one spell to a person's list, through something equippable or using a spell a certain amount of times (like how fire goes away if you're not in specific classes). But overall I actually think the spell lists helped balance it, because certain tanks couldn't get access to certain spells.

I'm really glad they did away with staves, and unlimited stave use, while making Warp/etc. limited to some characters and decreasing use. 

So overall yeah, I think magic was incredibly well balanced in 3 Houses, essentially just building off Echoes (also great). At the very least it's one of my favorite magic systems in the FE series, probably because it really made me strategize who I made a mage/their uses/positions on the battlefield and what I chose them to do. For example, my Thoron users had different purposes than my 'close' range magic fighters, which was fun.

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Things I like:

Each character has a unique spell list. Makes unit more unique from a gameplay perspective, but I wished that they balanced each character's spell list better(ex. annette's list is terrible).

Use based per map rather than hp based. Never played Echos, but I'd imagine constantly having to heal ur mages would get annoying.

Things I don't like:

Why are they so fricking heavy? Most mages are so slow and get easily doubled and OHKO by basically every enemy(except armor knights). As you mentioned in the video, they have to rely on one shot, but on maddening most of they can't.

How many uses a spell has. Especially early game, why do spell usage gets halved? It makes mages so bad early game. After 4 rounds of combat, mages basically become useless. And why so little use for high level spells. They aren't that op considering how fricking heavy they are.

Move. Why are they so slow compared to other infantry units? I get that they have good 1-2 range, but they get so behind once most of your units especially once you reach advance classes. The 1-2 range doesn't make up for all the disadvantages they get. Like why use mages when archers/snipers are better range attacking units? 1. they don't get so easily weighed down, 2. not made out of paper, 3. can attack longer ranges and 4. can trade

I personally didn't find Black/Dark split that bad because I really like it for the lore (notice how only Lysithea, Hubert, Edelgard can use it, ppl that have been involved with TWSITD). But there should not have been black/dark tome faire, dark mage, dark bishop when very few units actually take advantage of this.

However, these issues aren't apparent much in hard.

Overall, the magic system is terribly balanced for maddening, but okay for hard/easy.

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Balanced isn't really what comes to mind when I think of 3H mages. 

Really not sure why they decided to lock mages to 4 move all the way until master classes, it's really difficult to use them in any kind of efficient play. Holding a move item means they can't hold a range boosting item, so they're screwed either way. 

Personal spell lists are the opposite of balance; you either have the good stuff or you don't and there's nothing you can do about that. No physic makes a bad healer, anyone with warp shoots up 2 tiers, etc.

Speaking of warp, refreshing spell lists per map is cool for most things, but super busted with high level support magic. Infinite warp and rescue in conjunction with a large number of defeat boss objectives allows you to skip a large majority of the game. 

Strong spells are absurdly heavy, combined with mages generally low speed they can't double anything. Combined with the crazy HP stats of maddening, and they have trouble one rounding anything.

The buff to bows also hurt magic imo. Lack of combat arts really starts to show later in the game, outside of fortress knights you're almost always better off using hunter's volley than using magic. Bow classes get +range inherently, where mage classes have to get S reason to get their range boost, and then they have to spend a slot for the skill. 

Black magic was a cool idea and the debuffs are great early game, probably the best balance quirk to me.

Long post, tl;dr 3H magic isn't balanced at all.

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I liked it for the most part. It worked better near the start of the game when you have to manage uses carefully. Before long, you have tonnes of spells, and it mostly doesn't matter which one you use as there aren't many enemy units with good resistance. Some of the spell lists did seem weird in terms of support spells. Like how does Manuela not have physic? I did like how different characters had different spells though. I just think it needed to be broken out better like you get one offensive, one support, one longer range, and one healing.

Some spells get absolutely busted with infinite uses too. Constance with 4 boltings (usually more with conservation crest) comes to mind. Not many chapters took much longer than 4 turns anyway. There just needed to be more scarcity of uses.

I'll also add that healing gave way too much experience. Like my physic users were always 5+ levels ahead of the rest of the team. 

I'd modify this system for the next game, rather than revert back to the older systems.

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I mostly like Three Houses magic, especially switching to uses-per-map, but the one big problem I do have with it is that it's way too easy to cross-train in faith and reason. By and large, every black/dark mage will also have some amount of healing, and every healer will have some amount of offensive black/dark magic. I think that a lot of the problems with faith magic in this game are derived from this base issue. Offensive white magic is largely a joke because everyone learning faith magic is learning reason as well. If the different schools of magic were kept apart, then it would be an interesting question: do I want the healer who can also contribute a bit of chip damage, or do I want the one with more utility spells? As is, all healers can contribute chip damage through reason magic, so the attacking white magic options are underwhelming at best. At the same time, because black/dark magic classes also have access to faith magic, that ends up making the faith magic classes mean so much less. There's almost no reason to ever be a Holy Knight when Dark Knight is just as good at healing; there's not much reason to ever be a priest when mage is almost as good at healing. War Cleric and Trickster would both be better if their ability to contribut secondary healing in a pinch wasn't something that literally every magic class was able to do already.

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I generally like the magic system in this game more than most of the previous magic system before it.  And I'll frame this response as someone who has played the game through a few times on Maddening, but has never really pursued LTC strategies.

I like that each unit has a unique spell list.  Particularly in conjunction with the open class list, it allows for distinction between magically proficient units and average units (much the way Combat Arts act for physical combat units).  Additionally, you can get different archetypes that can lead to interesting decisions, such as good spell list/low magic stat (e.g. Dorothea) and bad spell list/good magic stat (e.g. Annette).  That said it would be nice to have some supplements available for units with bad spell lists.  Maybe reduce the base spell usage for each character a bit, but also include a small number of spell-specific staves with durability that can be acquired from chests/steals/rewards.  I like not having to preciously hoard the single Fortify spell staff that I get over the course of a game, but it can stink that you are obliged to use certain characters to have access to a spell.  I do think the spell lists could have been balanced a bit better (I'm looking at you Annette), but I can't blame the devs too hard when this is such a new system and it probably wasn't clear what aspects of spells would be most valuable.

The weight issue is a bit of a concern, but it honestly doesn't bother me that much.  Yes, mages double much less frequently than in most previous games, but their damage output per hit is also significantly higher.  Getting 40-50 damage in a single strike would be unheard of in previous games and is outright commonplace by the end of 3H.  Admittedly, it does make the mages more vulnerable on the enemy phase, but frankly they shouldn't be in combat often anyway.  It's conceptually kind of silly that there were mages in previous games that could be used to tank enemy attacks (to an extent, at least).

Perhaps the most important change is that mages get access to spells and abilities that increase attack range.  I like the utility it provides, particularly given the poor movement of most classes, but there are examples where stacking everything up can lead to comical attack ranges (6-7 range) with no penalties.  I like that archers faces accuracy penalties on longer range attacks, and think mages could have stood to incur some kind of penalty as well.  They don't need necessarily to be the same magnitude penalties that archers face (as the hit% calcs are a bit different between physical/magical), but there should be something.

I never had too much grievance with the low movement range of mages, since the expanded attack range and free use of Physic usually covered any shortcomings (and hit and run tactics are pretty common for frontline fighters anyway).  If you aren't doing LTC, I don't see this as much of an issue.

One issue I have that I haven't seen mentioned yet is there is a pretty noticeable lack of good equippable abilities for mages.  Most mages' ability list is going to look pretty uniform by endgame (Reason Prowess, Black/Dark Tomefaire, Black/Dark Range+1, Fiendish Blow, and 1 one free slot) and lack good options until you get to S Reason.  A couple more useful abilities would nice for character customizing.  Uncanny Blow in the DLC is a good example, but being stuck using Magic+2 three quarters of the way through the game is not the most satisfying.

I've seen the argument in places that a more stark division between Faith and Reason mages could have been made, but I honestly don't mind how it worked here.  In most FE games your offensive mages picked up staves to do some light healing and healers picked up light magic to do some attacking (back when light magic actually was usable).  I think the distinction between Reason and Faith mages could be done with tailoring spell lists.  Already there are mages that are primarily healers/support (Mercedes, Flayn, Linhardt) and mages that are primarily offense (Lysithea, Dorothea, Hanneman).

A more generalized complaint I have is that many of the 'classic' spells at the same tier of power (e.g. wind/fire/thunder or cutting gale/bolganone/thoron spells ) don't feel nearly as distinct in this game as they have in previous ones.  It turns out a difference of a point of two of might and ten points of accuracy don't matter that much when units are dealing 30+ damage and regularly have accuracy of over 100%.  The more dramatic spell benefits (Thoron, Mire, and Death for +1 range, Dark Spikes for horse attacks, Luna to ignore defense, and siege tomes) really outpace the more conventional concerns of spell might an accuracy.  You can see some characters get a ton of spells that all feel very much the same (again, Annette), and that doesn't feel great.  I'd like to see more dramatic distinction between the elemental spells or just combine them to simplify things.  And adding in more class-advantage spells (like Dark Spikes) could be good too.  I get Excalibur is strong against fliers, but it isn't necessary when every single archer is already covering that base.

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Off the top of my head, the one elephant in the room with mages is... why is offensive white magic a waste of space? Seraphim is the only one that's even remotely usable.

15 hours ago, Boomhauer007 said:

The buff to bows also hurt magic imo. Lack of combat arts really starts to show later in the game, outside of fortress knights you're almost always better off using hunter's volley than using magic. Bow classes get +range inherently, where mage classes have to get S reason to get their range boost, and then they have to spend a slot for the skill. 

The thing is, using Hunter's Volley requires mastering Sniper AND staying in it, which imo carries a steep opportunity cost. It's also not something I'd expect to do regularly unless your name is Shamir.

Edited by Shadow Mir

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On 5/17/2020 at 7:25 PM, Boomhauer007 said:

1) Really not sure why they decided to lock mages to 4 move all the way until master classes, it's really difficult to use them in any kind of efficient play. Holding a move item means they can't hold a range boosting item, so they're screwed either way. 

2) Personal spell lists are the opposite of balance; you either have the good stuff or you don't and there's nothing you can do about that. No physic makes a bad healer, anyone with warp shoots up 2 tiers, etc.

3) Speaking of warp, refreshing spell lists per map is cool for most things, but super busted with high level support magic. Infinite warp and rescue in conjunction with a large number of defeat boss objectives allows you to skip a large majority of the game.

4) The buff to bows also hurt magic imo. Lack of combat arts really starts to show later in the game, outside of fortress knights you're almost always better off using hunter's volley than using magic. Bow classes get +range inherently, where mage classes have to get S reason to get their range boost, and then they have to spend a slot for the skill. 

1. You actually can hold both a move-booster and a range-booster. Switch to March Ring -> move -> switch to range-booster -> attack. Repeat each turn. Kinda cheesy but you can.

That said I agree with the 4 move complaint. The DLC helps here, if you want to factor that in, though at the cost of screwing over male mages. (Sorry Hubert, I still love you.)


2. Somewhat true, as a few cases like Annette and Lorenz do get a bit screwed over here (though, the balance would be fine if their stats were better to make up for this). Also, even among characters with good spell lists, those spell lists are different which is neat. Different people may value Mercedes' Physic+Fortify, or Marianne's Physic+Thoron+Silence, or Lysithea's Warp+Luna+Dark Spikes, or Dorothea's Meteor+Thoron+Physic, or Linhardt's Physic+Warp more, and that's cool. I kinda feel every mage without Physic save Lysithea gets a bit screwed over, but that might be just that the devs underrated Physic.


3. You can Warpskip a good part of other Fire Emblems using Warp as well (repairing it with Hammerne, that's 17 uses in the GBA games, for instance). The devs clearly don't care that Warp can be used to skip maps. If you do, then the problem is Warp itself, or perhaps its intersection with Defeat Boss/Seize objectives, not the FE3H magic system.


4. Mages also get +range from accessories, and can get it innately from Thoron/Mire/Death, or from Valkyrie. They don't have trouble competing with archers for range at any point in the game. Additionally, they perform far better at range. Sure, a Bow Knight can Curved Shot a target 5 squares away, but at a hit penalty of -40 (factoring in Curved Shot's boost). A mage with Thoron and Thyrsus matches that at no hit penalty at all. Additionally, mages almost invariably hit harder than Curved Shot does, unless targeting a flier.

Archers obviously have some advantages over mages, the biggest one being brave effects (either from Hunter's Volley, Point-Blank Volley, or the Brave Bow/Inexhaustible), but on the whole I find mages more useful in this game; I've run archer-less parties and done fine, mage-less parties lose out a lot because of the loss of healing/utility.

EDIT: realized I was wrong about the hit penalty for archers, it's apparently -30 for the first square beyond range 2 and -20 for each square thereafter.

Edited by Dark Holy Elf

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On 5/17/2020 at 11:28 AM, Shepherd said:

First of all, the distinction between dark and black magic faire skills is completely pointless and limiting. There are only three characters that use dark magic effectively, and they are all hampered by certain magic classes, like mortal savant and dark flyer, having the wrong faire skill. Classes that do have dark tome fair are basically a compromise to every other magic class by taking up a skill slot for a useless skil. There's no reason why dark and black tomefaire (and spell use) couldn't be combined into reasonfaire. Pun intended.

Agreed with this. Dark-themed spells can still exist, without being treated as a distinct subset of Reason. Just like how there are Fire-themed spells, but we don't have a "Firefaire". I would alter the Dark spells available too, in a way that reduces their might while emphasizing their debuffing potential.

On 5/17/2020 at 11:28 AM, Shepherd said:

secondly, I think spell use is kind off 'all or nothing'. The difference between having having dark/black/white magic use x2 and not having one of those skills is very big. It seems like this could have been a balanced so that spell use would increase more gradually over the course of the game. Maybe spell use could be tied to reason and faith ranks respectively, or maybe to class tier. 

I agree that this can definitely be an issue, with "some magic" classes struggling especially. Commoner Dorothea, for example, can use Thunder 4 times before she has to resort to physical weapons. I would change this by treating spells like combat arts - each class can equip a certain number of spells. I.e. Noble/Commoner gets 2, Monk gets 3, and so on. To compensate, magic-specialist classes would have fewer slots for combat arts; conversely, physical Advanced and Master classes get more than 3 arts.

Regarding spell counts, maybe reaching S-Reason could grant Reason uses x2 as an equippable, while Warlock and Gremory would get class-based Reason Range +1. Same with Faith magic. This way, Dark and Holy Knight can get double casting, admittedly at a loss to range.

22 hours ago, Dark Holy Elf said:

Somewhat true, as a few cases like Annette and Lorenz do get a bit screwed over here (though, the balance would be fine if their stats were better to make up for this). Also, even among characters with good spell lists, those spell lists are different which is neat. Different people may value Mercedes' Physic+Fortify, or Marianne's Physic+Thoron+Silence, or Lysithea's Warp+Luna+Dark Spikes, or Dorothea's Meteor+Thoron+Physic, or Linhardt's Physic+Warp more, and that's cool. I kinda feel every mage without Physic save Lysithea gets a bit screwed over, but that might be just that the devs underrated Physic.

Building off of this, in some cases, physically-oriented units get surprisingly good spell lists. Bernadetta, for instance, has a poor personal magic growth (20% I think?), but gets spells like Physic, Rescue, and Thoron. In a game with traditional tomes and staves, I'd have no reason to run Mage Bernie. But because of personal spell lists, she makes for a unique niche build.

Re: Physic, while it's a strong support spell, it's not super-impressive when used by Reason-oriented classes (no healing boost, no White uses x2); I don't necessarily see it as a huge loss to Dark Knight Lorenz or Warlock Annette, for instance. Like, Dark Knight Sylvain has Physic, and I found him healing consistently under 20 HP into the lategame.

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On 5/18/2020 at 3:16 AM, lenticular said:

There's almost no reason to ever be a Holy Knight when Dark Knight is just as good at healing

Speaking of which, another issue is that Holy Knight is arguably a downgrade compared to Bishop. Sure, you get a horse, but does it really make up for sacrificing the extra healing and doubled white magic uses that Bishop offers, especially when it's literally the only thing of note that it offers??? Dark Knight, while better, has the issue that one of its innate abilities is useless for pretty much all the magic units, as only one unit learns both black and dark magic.

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

Re: Physic, while it's a strong support spell, it's not super-impressive when used by Reason-oriented classes (no healing boost, no White uses x2); I don't necessarily see it as a huge loss to Dark Knight Lorenz or Warlock Annette, for instance. Like, Dark Knight Sylvain has Physic, and I found him healing consistently under 20 HP into the lategame.

You get a couple Healing Staves (one from Dorothea/Ingrid's paralogue, one from chapter 9) which are a great help with this, adding 10 to the power of healing ("a bit under 30" is quite a bit better than "a bit under 20"). Mages can easily switch accessories depending on whether they're planning to heal or attack.

And yeah, I definitely second the notion that good spell lists help make the idea of crossing a few physical characters over to mages as an idea. I don't think it's their optimum build, but Sylvain, Bernadetta, Ingrid, and Hilda all have magic builds that are at the very least interesting. Certification bases (especially Warlock) definitely help.

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I don't think "balanced" is the first thing that comes to mind when I think about the Magic system in this game. It has some interesting things many people already mentioned, such as being one more factor in making two characters from the same class feel different; unique spell lists are definitly a compeling feature, although I would like to see one or two very limited availability tomes that can teach a character a spell they don't naturally know. But even this particular feature of individual spell lists, outside of the majorly unique attack spells (Thoron, Bolting, Meteor, Luna, Dark Spikes, Banshee), is very, very underutilized.

Thanks to the inexistance of a weapon triangle and magic triangle, there is never a scenario where I think "Well, maybe I should use Lorenz here to cast Fire-related Spells instead of Lysithea casting Dark-related spells". Since mages are mostly slow, there is rarely a situation where you think "Thank god Annette has very light weigth wind spells, she is the queen of doubling!". Outside of spells with unique utility or range, you just cycle through them with X/Y looking for the best damage and chance to hit, and confirm. If I asked you right now what the difference is between Ragnarok and Fire, would you be able to say it outside of some Might and some Weight?  And it really is only that. More often than not, the difference between two spells is just some might and some weigth. Rarely, some crit. You could argue that's also true for weapons, but weapons utilize weigth, might, durability, crit chances, vulnerabilities and combat arts better in making each of them more unique, not to mention many enemies try to emulate the existance of a weapon triangle by often having Breaker Abilities equiped; which you can utilize, as well (But I, quite frankly, almost never do).

The above is the reason why I enjoy Hapi so much since she's been released - she's a damaging mage that has Banshee, which is mini-Encloser on a high damage and higher than average range spell, and also doubles as a monster shield breaker from far away thanks to all the magic range modifier we have available.

If the common, "do damage" spell had more usages, and mages had far more utility spells in offensive arsenal, I think the system would be more interesting. Lysithea, a mage that OTK units even in Maddening, happens to also have a Speed debuff damage spell, which ends as completly useless for it's debuff part. I guess part of it is actually requiring you to use stuff like debuffs, poison, other tools other than one rounding enemies. Being able to customize the number of spells for certain spells is also something I'd really like to be expanded on - the suggestion here was to have an equippable "x2 White Magic" uses, which I would love. I once made a Holy Knight Nosferatu Byleth build which completly sucked in Maddening because I wanted a Nosferatu tank like Linoan was for me in Thracia; in Three houses, he would just go out of spell uses and be a sitting duck. It completly limited by capability to customize, which annoyed me to no end.

And speaking of utility spells and Warp skipping, which was already mentioned here, I think the system in 3H is better for creating maps that better take Rescue/Warp into consideration (even if 3H itself doesn't). Since you have a limited amount of these spells uses per map, the devs can actually tailor the maps with these in mind;. when they are staves you use to different effects only a couple of times in the game for particular situations, they can never know how many you will have for a particular map, and can't balance it accordingly. Imagine if they balance a late game map, for instance, exclusively on the the player having X warps, yet the player has spent all his uses; or the other way around, and they balance a map on having few uses, yet they player held these staves all game and uses more charges of these than the devs intended and/or considered. By knowing "The player will have X  to Y warps, based on his group composition and chapter in the game", they can actually make maps that require some warp uses as part of your arsenal to tackle the challenge at hand, and not merely as a "skip"...So in this sense, I hope they continue to build in this system instead of scrapping it for another.

Edited by Maravalhas

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23 hours ago, Dark Holy Elf said:

You get a couple Healing Staves (one from Dorothea/Ingrid's paralogue, one from chapter 9) which are a great help with this, adding 10 to the power of healing ("a bit under 30" is quite a bit better than "a bit under 20"). Mages can easily switch accessories depending on whether they're planning to heal or attack.

Fair point, the Healing Staves are surprisingly effective equippables. They're the ideal choice to equip if you're going to heal... unless, of course, your mage is planning on any enemy phase action. I gave Sylvain Thyrsus, so that he could safely draw in, and counter, enemy Snipers and Bow Knights (aided by Bowbreaker and Black Magic Avoid +20). Therefore, I couldn't take up the Healing Staff on player phase, lest I lose the range to counter on enemy phase. Outside of such a situation, though, Healing Staff definitely helps healing (I made dure to have one on Mercedes, at least when I was training her in Warlock.

On 5/19/2020 at 3:16 PM, Shadow Mir said:

Speaking of which, another issue is that Holy Knight is arguably a downgrade compared to Bishop. Sure, you get a horse, but does it really make up for sacrificing the extra healing and doubled white magic uses that Bishop offers, especially when it's literally the only thing of note that it offers??? Dark Knight, while better, has the issue that one of its innate abilities is useless for pretty much all the magic units, as only one unit learns both black and dark magic.

Very true of Holy Knight - not sure if the way to fix it is making more offensive faith spells, or giving the class different skills (say, either Heal +10 or White Magic Uses x2, in place of Terrain Resistance). Or even make Terrain Resistance a better skill, by implementing more damaging/debuffing terrain. While I like the idea of Holy Knight differing from Bishop (offensive class vs. support class), it doesn't pan out in practice.

The Dark Knight thing isn't the class's fault, so much as a fault of the system that separates Black and Dark magic, instead of having a single Reasonfaire. It's not as though Dark Knight would become better by axing one of its Tomefaires. Might have been cool to give it Reasonfaire and Heartseeker, though, for continuity from Dark Mage/Bishop.

17 hours ago, Maravalhas said:

Thanks to the inexistance of a weapon triangle and magic triangle, there is never a scenario where I think "Well, maybe I should use Lorenz here to cast Fire-related Spells instead of Lysithea casting Dark-related spells". Since mages are mostly slow, there is rarely a situation where you think "Thank god Annette has very light weigth wind spells, she is the queen of doubling!". Outside of spells with unique utility or range, you just cycle through them with X/Y looking for the best damage and chance to hit, and confirm. If I asked you right now what the difference is between Ragnarok and Fire, would you be able to say it outside of some Might and some Weight?  And it really is only that. More often than not, the difference between two spells is just some might and some weigth. Rarely, some crit. You could argue that's also true for weapons, but weapons utilize weigth, might, durability, crit chances, vulnerabilities and combat arts better in making each of them more unique, not to mention many enemies try to emulate the existance of a weapon triangle by often having Breaker Abilities equiped; which you can utilize, as well (But I, quite frankly, almost never do).

I only quoted part, but I agree with most of what you said! The spells could definitely be diversified moreso. IS seems reluctant to sway too far from "every spell is 1-2 range, except for 3-10 siege spells". Echoes and Three Houses offered a handful of 1-3 range spells, but that's it. I'd change the system by keeping Fire the traditional 1-2 range, giving Thunder-type spells 2-3 range and boosted crit, Wind-type spells are all low-might/weight and anti-flier, Ice spells bolstering the user defensively, and Dark spells forgoing high damage for debuffs. I'd love to see a future game adapt a 3H-style spell system, but with the spells themselves changed. Would probably make accessible spells finite (like combat arts) in accordance with class, and also throw a few equippable tomes in (right now a mage's inventory is basically wasted space), but those are whole other topics.

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17 hours ago, Maravalhas said:

If the common, "do damage" spell had more usages, and mages had far more utility spells in offensive arsenal, I think the system would be more interesting.

Mage utility also suffers from being in a game that has gambits, rallies combat arts. Effects like Silence and Mire are good, but Ward Arrow and Break Shot can do much the same thing. That doesn't make the spells bad, but it does mean they don't stand out as much. Rallies and gambits generally don't have directly overlapping effects with spells (except for Rally Res with Ward, I guess), but they both give yet more utility that isn't restricted to mages. If you want a utility unit, you aren't limited to just mages any more; you could easily choose someone like Ignatz instead. It all just erodes the niche and unique identity that magic has.

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

Fair point, the Healing Staves are surprisingly effective equippables. They're the ideal choice to equip if you're going to heal... unless, of course, your mage is planning on any enemy phase action. I gave Sylvain Thyrsus, so that he could safely draw in, and counter, enemy Snipers and Bow Knights (aided by Bowbreaker and Black Magic Avoid +20). Therefore, I couldn't take up the Healing Staff on player phase, lest I lose the range to counter on enemy phase. Outside of such a situation, though, Healing Staff definitely helps healing (I made dure to have one on Mercedes, at least when I was training her in Warlock.

Yeah, definitely a fair point. You can trade Sylvain's accessory much like you would a fighter's weapon, but obviously you won't always be able to do it.

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

I'd change the system by keeping Fire the traditional 1-2 range, giving Thunder-type spells 2-3 range and boosted crit, Wind-type spells are all low-might/weight and anti-flier, Ice spells bolstering the user defensively, and Dark spells forgoing high damage for debuffs. I'd love to see a future game adapt a 3H-style spell system, but with the spells themselves changed

This would be really cool! I like the ice niche in particular, since that's definitely a spell line that lacks much identity as is. They definitely don't do enough to differentiate the spells as is (it's almost laughable how bad the crit rate on the supposed high-crit spells is), and I like the idea of giving each "element" a different focus. Perhaps my one quibble is I wouldn't want to hand out flying-weakness to the entire wind line just because that feels like it steps on the niche of bows; I do like wind's niche as low-might/weight though. Obviously the spells have generally tended this direction, but the differences could certainly be starker.

11 hours ago, lenticular said:

Mage utility also suffers from being in a game that has gambits, rallies combat arts. Effects like Silence and Mire are good, but Ward Arrow and Break Shot can do much the same thing. That doesn't make the spells bad, but it does mean they don't stand out as much. Rallies and gambits generally don't have directly overlapping effects with spells (except for Rally Res with Ward, I guess), but they both give yet more utility that isn't restricted to mages. If you want a utility unit, you aren't limited to just mages any more; you could easily choose someone like Ignatz instead. It all just erodes the niche and unique identity that magic has.

Mm. For what it's worth I found Silence way more valuable than Ward Arrow because it's range 10 (and didn't find Mire/Break Shot very useful period beyond being 3 range in Mire's case). Physical characters get some utility too but they're still way behind at it: they can't heal other allies (without gambits which are better used for other things), they can't affect enemies at a huge distance (Silence, Bolting, Meteor), they lack the long-range repositioning of Warp/Rescue. I think 3H is in a pretty good place here; physical characters have some utility (gambits, rallies, a rare few combat arts like Encloser), but magical characters tend to both have considerably more utility (for starters, they can use rallies and gambits too!) and their utility covers a range of niches which physical characters do not.

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12 hours ago, lenticular said:

Mage utility also suffers from being in a game that has gambits, rallies combat arts. Effects like Silence and Mire are good, but Ward Arrow and Break Shot can do much the same thing. That doesn't make the spells bad, but it does mean they don't stand out as much. Rallies and gambits generally don't have directly overlapping effects with spells (except for Rally Res with Ward, I guess), but they both give yet more utility that isn't restricted to mages. If you want a utility unit, you aren't limited to just mages any more; you could easily choose someone like Ignatz instead. It all just erodes the niche and unique identity that magic has.

The problem is, gambits are often limited to one or two uses if they're offensive gambits, and I'd consider Silence head and shoulders above Ward Arrow in terms of usefulness, especially since the only units that get the latter are... Ignatz... and Hanneman. At A bows. And neither of them is exactly all-star quality.

On 5/20/2020 at 1:50 AM, Maravalhas said:

Thanks to the inexistance of a weapon triangle and magic triangle, there is never a scenario where I think "Well, maybe I should use Lorenz here to cast Fire-related Spells instead of Lysithea casting Dark-related spells".

TO be fair, even when it was a thing, the magic triangle was pretty much never relevant for one reason or another; either it was senseless to have mages battle one another, or one side (often yours) is so much more powerful than the other it didn't matter.

Edited by Shadow Mir

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I think that weapons in this game seem more unique than magic for two motives: classes and arts. Each weapon has its dedicated intermideate and advanced classes, while magic has a great variety of spells but since it's the character the one who defines the spell list (which means the element or elements the character gets), using a spell or another loses its meaning.

In this game, I think there are like five elements in black magic, plus dark and white magic:

  • Fire (Fire/Bolganone/Ragnarok): rather basic, plain spells, so they are the base in this comparative.Ragnarok is the strongest in its tier, however.
  • Wind (Wind/Cutting Gale/Excalibur): slightly weaker, but higher precision and critical. Excalibur's effectiveness versus flying allows for niche use of the spell.
  • Thunder (Thunder/Thoron/Bolting): slightly higher damage output and critical but lower accuracy. Bolting is a tactical spell with gambit support utility.
  • Ice (Blizzard/Fimbulvetr): they trades accuracy for high critical chance. Lacks a mid tier spell. Characters that have spells from this element usually have other elements as fillers or have a mixed pool.
  • Other (Sagittae/Meteor/Agnea's Arrow): they act as fillers, since they don't have similarities with each other.
  • Dark: the additional effects they hold make them rather unique (debuffs, effectiveness, luna...).
  • White (Nosferatu/Seraphim/Aura/Abraxas +healing & support): since characters aren't likely to get a wide variety of offensive spells in this element (most of them only learn Nosferatu), offensive white magic becomes almost invisible. Using Nosferatu is a sign of something not going right (if you use it, it means that your healer got hurt).

In other threads, I've talked about the lack of specialization rewards. For instance, half of the cast can learn four arts of the same weapon type, but they can equip only three. You have to choose from positioning or damage in physical specialists, not happening that with magical specialist, who get their full offensive and deffensive spell pools AND space for arts.

Adding specific classes for element types could benefit the variety of spells (separating white magic into offensive, deffensive and support/utility), with all basic mage classes learning the base spell of that element when mastered, but having it as a skill to be used. In order to avoid full-loading a character with spells, the arts slots would define full sets of available combat arts AND magic. So if you define Ferdinand's as [Lance/Axe/Movement], he'd have access to eight weapon arts and up to five movement arts, instead of just three of them. The same would apply to magic, either you choose to have a wide array of combat magic, or you get healing or utility.

I think this way players would choose which magic suit better to given character based on the exclusive high level magic they'd learn in each element or the best combination. Any character could learn any of the first two tiers of spells (Fire/Elfire, Wind/Elwind...) by mastering its base and intermideate classes but, as stated above, only a few of them could be used.

By this system, you could assign magic to non-magical classes (just like you use any non-gauntlet weapon with any class), but the spell count would be halved (like in commoner/noble).

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On 5/17/2020 at 3:28 PM, eclipse said:

I'm going let this one slide, for now.  But ONLY this one.

We do not exist to give your videos/channels views.  If you're looking for exposure, then shove your channel in your sig.  It's one thing to foster discussion, but the sense I get is that you're doing this for future video material, which is skirting the advertising line, especially given the state of your posting history.

If I have to remind you of this again, it will be a warning.  Do I make myself clear?

Yes, I'm very sorry about that! I will not do it again! I had not properly read the rules

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On 5/18/2020 at 12:53 AM, Kiran_ said:

The split between Black/Dark was executed very poorly, but I personally loved it lore wise. It was essentially the difference between "normal" magic, and magic created by those dark methods from those that had been experimented on (I'm assuming since Hubert worked with those that slither, he had access to their powers). I do like the idea of it just being all under "Reason" or something, but I understand the lore/story behind it, which I appreciated. But it did greatly hinder classes in how they implemented it.

Lol I don't know if this thread is properly alive or not, but I really wanted to second this point. It's certainly annoying that dark magic and black magic aren't grouped under the same banner, but I think there are probably deep and well-considered lore reasons for this.

Tbh there's actually lots of mystery about dark magic still. Like why is Dark Mage/Bishop Hubert's canon class as an enemy, but Dark Seals are only ever accessible by robbing/killing the Death Knight? Why can Edelgard and Jeritza wield both black and dark magic (especially when Lysithea, who underwent experimentation very like Edelgard's, only has dark magic)? Why should dark magic even be the result of experimentation, and what does that say about basically every other dark mage in the game (with the exception of the fog caster in Ch. 3, all enemy dark mages belong to either the Western Church or TWSITD directly)? What do the Greek capital letters tell us about the spells/fake Relics, if anything? 

I'm not sure if any of those questions have answers, but I think all this is supposed to point to this idea that dark magic is an actual 'other', something truly unexplained, rather than simply another fantasy trope. The world feels more fleshed out because the mechanics behind dark magic point to something slightly different from what Fodlan knows magic to be in general. At least, it's a bit deeper than previous titles' use of dark magic, which is basically just "look I'm a bad guy who's read a book."

 

As far as the magic system more generally goes, I''d have liked to see some greater difference between Reason and Faith across the board. Like perhaps Reason goes back to being tome-based, but Faith remains innate to characters. Anything else I would say has already pretty much been covered by the above comments.

 

 

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