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How would you change Swordmaster in Three Houses?

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4 hours ago, RaIsMyPet said:

Not to be a buzz kill either, but I noticed that if you "fix" swordmaster, then maybe you balance the class better, but make broken units more broken (or at least enhance them): just look at units good at swords: Byleth, lords, Felix, Petra, Catherine, or even Ingrid (who can really use more kill power).

I doubt it'll end up being all that game-changing, especially since many of those characters already do better outside of the sword classes entirely (Falcon Ingrid, Wyvern Petra, War Master Felix, etc.)

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41 minutes ago, RainbowMoon said:

I doubt it'll end up being all that game-changing, especially since many of those characters already do better outside of the sword classes entirely (Falcon Ingrid, Wyvern Petra, War Master Felix, etc.)

They do better for now and that's why they use those classes. But isn't the point of this mental exercise to make swordmaster or whatever intended master sword class (that is not Link) as compelling as others? Then you are at least giving those units more choices, and some of them may appreciate that (e.g. Catherine obviously, or Ingrid who could be struggling in killing gets salvaged by sword classes' much improved crit rate).

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Right now, most of those characters only become "broken" is they get into another class like wyvern etc. There's a large gulf between e.g. Petra's performance as a wyvern and her performance as a swordmaster, which means there's plenty of space to buff swordmaster before you start having a clearly positive effect on the power of those units. The only one you have to be a bit careful about is Catherine, just because she has swordmaster before the point in the game that she should.

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10 hours ago, Dark Holy Elf said:

Right now, most of those characters only become "broken" is they get into another class like wyvern etc. There's a large gulf between e.g. Petra's performance as a wyvern and her performance as a swordmaster, which means there's plenty of space to buff swordmaster before you start having a clearly positive effect on the power of those units. The only one you have to be a bit careful about is Catherine, just because she has swordmaster before the point in the game that she should.

Pretty much this. Even a buffed Swordmaster is never gonna be better than Falcon/Wyvern.

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42 minutes ago, RainbowMoon said:

Pretty much this. Even a buffed Swordmaster is never gonna be better than Falcon/Wyvern.

That generally comes with the territory for Fire Emblem in general. Especially since Swordmasters are foot locked. While they can be good at crit stacking, i.e Battalion Vantage with forged Wo Dao, Falcon Knight and Wyvern Lords just bring more to the table by comparison. The only foot locked classes that are good at attacking and have decent movement and/or range are assassin (but to a small extent), grappler, sniper, war master and gremory. Bishops at least are the more viable classes to pick for obvious reasons.

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1 hour ago, RainbowMoon said:

Pretty much this. Even a buffed Swordmaster is never gonna be better than Falcon/Wyvern.

Sigh. Look, you are confusing reason with result: that SM is bad is the reason you want to change it, instead of SM is bad because you could never make it good. You are hypothetically  designer now. If SM is still straight up worse and no those natural SM units want to use it, then it’s still not “balanced”, and you should buff it further, which is the point of “balancing”. Why CAN’T we buff it significant enough? Is that a taboo?

For example, if I give SM 6 move plus ability to attack 1-2 range with swords, and 1-4 range when full health (modeled after Link and Yiga Blademaster in botw; don’t take it literally as I’m just brainstorming idea here, not a complete product), then perhaps Catherine would really want to stay at SM now (and one wants to nerf her early game accordingly), instead of staying b/c it’s free and she’s lacking other boons.

Edited by RaIsMyPet

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4 hours ago, RaIsMyPet said:

Why CAN’T we buff it significant enough? Is that a taboo?

Because to buff it significantly enough to outclass Falcon and Wyvern, we'd have to make it a flying class, buff its stats to high hell and likely give it another skill or at least a better mastery ability. At which point, it's hardly "Swordmaster" anymore, let alone an advanced-tier class. It's just Falcon/Wyvern but with a sword, which isn't the goal here.

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One of the balancing factor of mounted classes in previous FE that's pretty much gone in FEH is stat caps. It used to be that mounted classes caps had, overall, much lower caps to infantry classes. How's that for a balancing factor to reintroduce?

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19 minutes ago, salinea said:

One of the balancing factor of mounted classes in previous FE that's pretty much gone in FEH is stat caps. It used to be that mounted classes caps had, overall, much lower caps to infantry classes. How's that for a balancing factor to reintroduce?

I'm personally not a huge fan of caps as a balancer, because they only matter very late (if at all). From a balancing point of view, if a class is too strong but is balanced by low caps, then it will still be too strong until the last few maps (where it might even suddenly be too weak). Additionally, as most games from Shadow Dragon onward have some sort of reclassing, one can easily change classes to avoid bad caps... I've definitely done this in Fates where I used e.g. Sky Knight/Falcon Knight until the last few maps where I switch to Spear Master for higher stats to keep up with higher benchmarks required.

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Rarely did stat caps fix Swordmasters in the old games, barring RD's, H5 SD's, and Lunatic New Mystery's endgames. In the great majority of games and their difficulties, low caps never got in the way of Paladins or Wyvern Lords, because a capped stat no matter its value tended to be sufficient. It didn't help Warriors either that they and Berserkers had exclusivity on 30 Str, because their other stats were poor and 25 Str (GBA Paladin) was enough for anything.

Edited by Interdimensional Observer

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7 minutes ago, Dark Holy Elf said:

I'm personally not a huge fan of caps as a balancer, because they only matter very late (if at all). From a balancing point of view, if a class is too strong but is balanced by low caps, then it will still be too strong until the last few maps (where it might even suddenly be too weak). Additionally, as most games from Shadow Dragon onward have some sort of reclassing, one can easily change classes to avoid bad caps... I've definitely done this in Fates where I used e.g. Sky Knight/Falcon Knight until the last few maps where I switch to Spear Master for higher stats to keep up with higher benchmarks required.

Hmm good point.

There's the in class stat bonus, still. There could be relatively higher in the infantry classes (except for the Move ones). As it is Swordmaster's 4 Speed is equal or overtaken by Wyvern Lord (also 4) and Falcon Knight (5), for exemple.

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2 hours ago, RainbowMoon said:

Because to buff it significantly enough to outclass Falcon and Wyvern, we'd have to make it a flying class, buff its stats to high hell and likely give it another skill or at least a better mastery ability. At which point, it's hardly "Swordmaster" anymore, let alone an advanced-tier class. It's just Falcon/Wyvern but with a sword, which isn't the goal here.

First, “balance” doesn’t mean “outclass”, not “homogeneous” either. It means “trade off”. I don’t know why you think only flying can make SM good enough. Say if I make it ignore terrain 6mov, buff astra to 60% per hit and +hit instead of -hit, and add a permanent 1-2 range wind cleaver effect, it would be probably good enough and it certainly still is SM, and even more SM because cleaving through air is a established troupe in asian martial art lore. If you don’t want an advanced class to be too good, then make a new master class.

Even in current game, Grappler line is a good example of trade off: fliers have better mobility, but punchers have more kill power overall.

Edited by RaIsMyPet

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Non-fliers can keep up with fliers but it usually involves better stats. (See the Fates class modifiers for a good example of when this was done decently, Berserker/Spear Master definitely have better stats than their flying counterparts.) Part of the reason fliers are so busted in this game is they legitimately have great stats even before considering their superior mobility: Wyvern Lord is 1 point from game-best str, one point from game-best spd, has the highest defence of any class without a speed penalty, AND they get an avoid boost. The other reason of course is that unlike most games, fliers get to have their cake and eat it too: they can avoid archer weakness and benefit from terrain evade boosts whenever they need it.

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13 hours ago, Dark Holy Elf said:

Non-fliers can keep up with fliers but it usually involves better stats. (See the Fates class modifiers for a good example of when this was done decently, Berserker/Spear Master definitely have better stats than their flying counterparts.) Part of the reason fliers are so busted in this game is they legitimately have great stats even before considering their superior mobility: Wyvern Lord is 1 point from game-best str, one point from game-best spd, has the highest defence of any class without a speed penalty, AND they get an avoid boost. The other reason of course is that unlike most games, fliers get to have their cake and eat it too: they can avoid archer weakness and benefit from terrain evade boosts whenever they need it.

Exactly. Balancing wouldn't simply entail buffing Swordmaster to unrealistic proportions, but also toning down Falcon/Wyvern (probably Bow Knight too) a bit so they aren't as universally good. Because the way they are right now, they've basically got everything a physical unit wants with minimal to no drawbacks. There's no reason not to use them aside from axe/flying banes, and even those can be easily worked around.

14 hours ago, RaIsMyPet said:

add a permanent 1-2 range wind cleaver effect, it would be probably good enough and it certainly still is SM, and even more SM because cleaving through air is a established troupe in asian martial art lore.

I don't really see the point of this. We've got archers and mages who can hit enemies from even farther away. Why have, say, Felix kill that enemy from two spaces away when Lysithea or Leonie can do it from four? Turning Swordmaster into a middling ranger class doesn't really accomplish much, tbh.

14 hours ago, RaIsMyPet said:

If you don’t want an advanced class to be too good, then make a new master class.

The topic is called "How would you change Swordmaster?", not "Let's make a new master class for swords." The idea is to make Swordmaster a stronger advanced class that would see more use, like Assassin or Sniper. The goal was never to make it on par with/better than Falcon or Wyvern.

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15 hours ago, RaIsMyPet said:

punchers have more kill power overall.

Only on offense, AKA: Once per turn.

15 hours ago, Dark Holy Elf said:

Non-fliers can keep up with fliers but it usually involves better stats. (See the Fates class modifiers for a good example of when this was done decently, Berserker/Spear Master definitely have better stats than their flying counterparts.) Part of the reason fliers are so busted in this game is they legitimately have great stats even before considering their superior mobility: Wyvern Lord is 1 point from game-best str, one point from game-best spd, has the highest defence of any class without a speed penalty, AND they get an avoid boost. The other reason of course is that unlike most games, fliers get to have their cake and eat it too: they can avoid archer weakness and benefit from terrain evade boosts whenever they need it.

Berserkers only have better strength and speed than Wyvern Lords (but did you mean in terms of caps, bases or both?).

Edited by Shadow Mir

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1 hour ago, Shadow Mir said:

Berserkers only have better strength and speed than Wyvern Lords (but did you mean in terms of caps, bases or both?).

Both, really, since my recollection is they line up pretty well.

And Strength/Speed are generally considered the two most important stats, so I stand by my statement. (Berserker also wins HP for what that's worth... not much but helps offset the losses in def/res.)

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18 hours ago, salinea said:

Hmm good point.

There's the in class stat bonus, still. There could be relatively higher in the infantry classes (except for the Move ones). As it is Swordmaster's 4 Speed is equal or overtaken by Wyvern Lord (also 4) and Falcon Knight (5), for exemple.

It seems they had the right idea with this, in taking Speed away from cavalry units. But then they screwed it up, by giving great modifiers to fliers.

17 hours ago, RaIsMyPet said:

First, “balance” doesn’t mean “outclass”, not “homogeneous” either. It means “trade off”. I don’t know why you think only flying can make SM good enough. Say if I make it ignore terrain 6mov, buff astra to 60% per hit and +hit instead of -hit, and add a permanent 1-2 range wind cleaver effect, it would be probably good enough and it certainly still is SM, and even more SM because cleaving through air is a established troupe in asian martial art lore. If you don’t want an advanced class to be too good, then make a new master class.

A class with permanent 1~2 range is hardly the series standard, though. Only in Radiant Dawn (Wind Edge) and Fates (Ryoma) is this a recognizable option for Swordmasters. In most games, their only physical option is at melee. And free move through forests cuts in on Assassin's mobility advantage.

Anyway, agreed with 6 move, better Astra (why cut it to a %, instead of just inflicting -5 Mt on each hit?), and then a boost to either crit or avoid.

On 11/26/2020 at 10:19 PM, Dark Holy Elf said:

The only one you have to be a bit careful about is Catherine, just because she has swordmaster before the point in the game that she should.

A fairly simple fix would be, have Catherine join as a Mercenary. Similarly, Shamir could come in as an Archer. They'll lose their Faires and some stats, but have unaffected attacking range at least.

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1 hour ago, Shanty Pete's 1st Mate said:

It seems they had the right idea with this, in taking Speed away from cavalry units. But then they screwed it up, by giving great modifiers to fliers.

A class with permanent 1~2 range is hardly the series standard, though. Only in Radiant Dawn (Wind Edge) and Fates (Ryoma) is this a recognizable option for Swordmasters. In most games, their only physical option is at melee. And free move through forests 

A fairly simple fix would be, have Catherine join as a Mercenary. Similarly, Shamir could come in as an Archer. They'll lose their Faires and some stats, but have unaffected attacking range at least.

Yea I can say that calvary units got shafted by this as well.

I haven’t played Radiant Dawn that much but, I’ve heard decent things about it so maybe I’ll give it a look.

Catherine and Shamir being their intermediate classes would being an interesting challenge as long as their stats are neutered 

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2 hours ago, Dark Holy Elf said:

Both, really, since my recollection is they line up pretty well.

And Strength/Speed are generally considered the two most important stats, so I stand by my statement. (Berserker also wins HP for what that's worth... not much but helps offset the losses in def/res.)

I see. However, I stand by Wyvern Lords being far better than Berserkers. Being axe-locked with poor defenses (in a game where defence is more important than ever, at that) and the possibility of croaking to random critical hits from cannon fodder is ewww.

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17 minutes ago, Shadow Mir said:

I see. However, I stand by Wyvern Lords being far better than Berserkers. Being axe-locked with poor defenses (in a game where defence is more important than ever, at that) and the possibility of croaking to random critical hits from cannon fodder is ewww.

Wyvern Lord being better due to mobility is a statement I can get behind.

If, hypothetically, both had the same mobility, though? A Berserker with a Bronze Axe hits harder and faster than a Wyvern Lord with Iron (even assuming they're at the same forge level; keep in mind it's cheaper to forge bronze), and also has more resistance to critical hits. And if you come up against something you're not worried about criticalling you (e.g. it can't counter, you're planning to kill it before it counters, you can survive its crit, or you can nullify its crit rate), you can switch to another weapon and have even more power and +20 crit yourself. It's really not that much of a competition.

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1 hour ago, Dark Holy Elf said:

Wyvern Lord being better due to mobility is a statement I can get behind.

If, hypothetically, both had the same mobility, though? A Berserker with a Bronze Axe hits harder and faster than a Wyvern Lord with Iron (even assuming they're at the same forge level; keep in mind it's cheaper to forge bronze), and also has more resistance to critical hits. And if you come up against something you're not worried about criticalling you (e.g. it can't counter, you're planning to kill it before it counters, you can survive its crit, or you can nullify its crit rate), you can switch to another weapon and have even more power and +20 crit yourself. It's really not that much of a competition.

The mobility is one thing, but I'm more concerned about the fact that axe infantry tend to be saddled with very crippling weaknesses that their strengths cannot make up for (and yes, Berserkers' crit evade penalty is definitely one of those). Berserkers hit harder, but neither that nor their high crit chance remotely makes up for the fact that if they're not locking themselves to bronze, they risk auto-losing any engagement, or at least being severely wounded.

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