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Hawkwing

Borrowing Birthright This Time! What Difficulty Should I Start On?

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Last year I borrowed my cousins copy of Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest, and asked for some advice. Once again, I thank everyone who responded. I frequently referred to the topic throughout my playthrough and it was helpful each time.

This time, I asked to borrow Birthright, and my question is what difficulty should I play it on? I completed Conquest on hard casual, and in terms of pure gameplay, I would consider it the best in the series. It remained challenging yet fair throughout, it knew when to inform the player about a gimmick or mechanic and went to let the map design and enemy abilities speak for themselves, and I can count the amount of bullcrap specific to this game on one hand. That said, the sheer number of things to keep track of, combined with how long certain levels could last and how certain gimmicks could have been given a bit more time to stew, did result in me getting exhausted with the game.

I know that Birthright is considered much easier, so after beating Conquest, would it be a good idea to start a blind playthrough on hard or lunatic difficulty? I also ask how well does the game handle permadeath, as I am curious whether to start on casual or classic mode. I enjoy doing Ironman runs for most games in the series, and I have done blind Ironman runs for  Shadow Dragon and Blazing Sword, so this wouldn't be my first rodeo.

Thanks in advance.

(Also, I swear I am going to do a Ryoma Solo run of the game after my first playthrough, as I am legitimately curious if he really is that powerful.)

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I'd say hard. 

Also, in case you don't know (this is a spoiler, but I think it's too important to neglect to mention)... 

You'll lose Kaze if you don't have an A support between him and Corrin before clearing chapter 15.

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In terms of difficulty, yes, birthright is pretty easy (especially compared to Conquest)

Lunatic difficulty isn't on the level of hair-pullingly frustrating as Awakening, but their mentality for enemy design seemed to be quantity over quality (especially near the end), so keep that in mind if you decide to go lunatic. I've never actually played Hard mode, so I can't say for sure what that's like.

In terms of permadeath, I'll admit that I've never actually played an ironman before so I'm not the most qualified to give advice. I will say that you get most of your recruits before the last half of the game, then get like 3 towards the end.

1 hour ago, Hawkwing said:

(Also, I swear I am going to do a Ryoma Solo run of the game after my first playthrough, as I am legitimately curious if he really is that powerful.)

Oh yeah. He really is.

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9 hours ago, Hawkwing said:

 

I know that Birthright is considered much easier, so after beating Conquest, would it be a good idea to start a blind playthrough on hard or lunatic difficulty?

My advise is either try Lunatic Casual, or Hard Classic.

 

9 hours ago, Hawkwing said:

I also ask how well does the game handle permadeath, as I am curious whether to start on casual or classic mode.

Its a bit odd, as you barely get any replacement units after chapter 16, unless you intentionally save child chapters for after (thankfully losing a parent unit after locking in the S support don't loss you the paralogue), or get captured enemy units. Some of the child chapters become incredibly dangerous if you save for them for too late (for example Shiro will die turn one on his paralogue if you play that chapter too late, unless you can find a way to rescue staff him), which is mostly a problem for blind ironmans, and while Conquest has some excellent captured units you can use, the Birthright generic enemies end up kinda underwhelming. Then again you can grind up the bench-warmers into solid shape with grinding maps, so it might not be that much of an issue on Birthright.

 

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Play Lunatic. Birthright is still fairly easy even then, but you get the bragging rights of having beat the game on its highest difficulty.

The fundamental difference between Birthright in Conquest is apparent from the first map. You can stick Rinkah on a chokepoint turn after turn (on Lunatic) and she's completely safe. No lunge, no shurikens, no poison strike, no real rush to get through, nothing. Conquest would devour you for something like that.

Also throwing clubs can double so that's pretty neat.

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1 hour ago, AnonymousSpeed said:

Also throwing clubs can double so that's pretty neat.

They can't double, just like all the other throwing weapons.

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Go Lunatic without Ryoma. Since you already finished Conquest, you know his true destiny; let him embrace it. So that you at least have some moves to think about.
As much as Birthright corrected glaring balance issues from Awakening, the map design of both games is the basic problem, the difficulty is secondary. There simply is no "Interesting" setting.

 

7 hours ago, AnonymousSpeed said:

Also throwing clubs can double so that's pretty neat.

Enemy-exclusive 1-2 weapons can double. I guess that that is where your confusion comes from.
I too was surprised that such weapons could not be purchased, having played Conquest like a dozen times before trying Birthright once again.

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Started on Lunatic Classic yesterday, though I switched to casual the first chance I got. I'll likely still play the same as classic, but I'd rather not have to deal with starting a map from the beginning or loosing a good unit thanks to screwing up at the last second. I remember it taking a few playthroughs of Awakening before I was comfortable with ironmanning that game, and both the Fates games remind me enough of the thirteenth installment that I'll likely start doing challenge runs after I've completed them enough times to get familiar with what to expect.

I managed to get to the first map after the route split and did Mozo's chapter before calling it a day, and I have to say that the difficulty of Lunatic caught me off guard, but in a good way. I ended up resetting several times on every map after chapter 2 and before the split thanks to the difficulty, and while there was some trail and error, it was the fun kind. It wasn't trying and retrying a level just to find the correct way to proceed, but rather adjusting my tactics to continue with what worked and tweak what didn't. It never seemed impossible, but rather that I needed to approach an encounter from a different angle. It did make me wish Fates had some kind of turnwheel function (albeit a heavily limited one) to help same on time, though.

I may not have spent a ton of time on Birthright yet, but something I noticed immediately was that a lot of your units did come off as weaker compared to the soldiers you get in Conquest. Rinkah started at E-rank, Hana and Subaki could be killed in two battles, and Sakura didn't impress me as much as Elise did, though that could just be the lack of a horse. Yet, in a way, I find it rather clever that the units that start out in the "peaceful" kingdom aren't as immediately competent as the ones in the "warlike" one. Similar case with it being easier to gather money and experience in the prosperous nation while gold and exp is a precious resource throughout Conquest. The writing may have fallen flat on the worldbuilding, but I do have to compliment how it was implemented in gameplay.

Also, I am really looking forward to using the exotic weapons and classes that you constantly fought against in Conquest and only had the barest ability to use on your side. They were interesting to combat and looked fun to use. I am also curious how many battles there will be that feature Hoshidan classes as opponents. I know Conquest had its fair share of fights against Nohrian classes (almost too many; it barely felt like there was a war with Hoshido at points) so I am curious if Birthright does the same.

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13 hours ago, Hawkwing said:

Rinkah started at E-rank, Hana and Subaki could be killed in two battles, and Sakura didn't impress me as much as Elise did, though that could just be the lack of a horse.

Technically speaking one could level Rinkah in the Prologue, no? But yah… chapter 5 is I feel her one chance to getting shit done, as in chapter 6 the enemies are not exactly her best matchup, consisting to some degree of Mages and generally having WTD.

As for Hana and Subaki, yeah, the former doubles down on the glass cannon and the latter is a slow physical tank atop a fast resistant flying horse (his growths are quite similar to Bennys).

I feel Sakura is, I suppose one might say, easier to use and her PS aligns nicely with Hoshidos two range staves.

13 hours ago, Hawkwing said:

Also, I am really looking forward to using the exotic weapons and classes that you constantly fought against in Conquest and only had the barest ability to use on your side.

Spear Masters with Guard Naginata. Perfectly balanced as all things should be.

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1 hour ago, Imuabicus said:

Technically speaking one could level Rinkah in the Prologue, no? But yah… chapter 5 is I feel her one chance to getting shit done, as in chapter 6 the enemies are not exactly her best matchup, consisting to some degree of Mages and generally having WTD.

Don't you mean chapter 4? Because chapter 5 has her facing WTD against literally everything.

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18 minutes ago, Shadow Mir said:

Don't you mean chapter 4? Because chapter 5 has her facing WTD against literally everything.

And today I learnt there is a chapter actually called Prologue! So all the above becomes chapter 4 to get shit done and chapter 5 where the odds are against Rinkah.

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