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Axie

How do you think magic use should be approached in gameplay?

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36 members have voted

  1. 1. See title

    • Exactly as weapons
      12
    • Spells learned by character and consume HP
      8
    • Spells learned by character and limited uses per battle
      14
    • Other
      2


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so! i have been thinking about how magic as a weapon type is inherently bonkers unbalanced. ranged, accurate, hits defensive stat that mostly isn't even there, sometimes has nice additional effects. why not? other than the tellius games paying it absolute dust for their might values (remember when A-rank tornado had the might of the E-rank iron bow in PoR? oh, good times), magic only seems to be not very usable when its users are bad (which tellius... also does with RD. what was their problem with magic?).

the reason mixed classes have never quite worked in fire emblem is because magic is so much better that, if the character even remotely has the magic stat for it (not always the case *glares at fates*), physical weapons are obsolete. have you ever made arthur use a sword in genealogy gen 2 even with a physical dad for him? how much does your awakening avatar really use a sword as a tactician, unless it has a special effect?

the only time i recall really having a mixed character work in my hands was celica, because in gaiden, magic consumes HP and she has the option of saving HP by using a sword. it seems to me making magic unlike weapons and limiting its uses might be the way to go, and might actually allow intsys to stop gimping spellcasters as a balancing measure and let them actually have speed and defense sometimes.

however, both games that limit magic by not making it easily purchaseable and replaceable also work with a learning list per character upon level up (gaiden) or weapon rank (3H), which i do not enjoy. ideally, every character has access to every spell with the correct weapon rank (other than personal tomes and the like). i was thinking if introducing a compromise mechanic would be more interesting, such as

a) purchaseable tomes with very little, 3H-esque number of uses, but not much cheaper than weapons, forcing the player to be smarter with the convoy;

b) purchaseable tomes with little uses, with full or partial recharge after a map; however, if you deplete a tome's uses in battle, it permanently loses some uses, so at some point you'd need to replace the tome. it's more complicated but less of a logistical nightmare than a), and maybe could also be applied to things like holy weapons and dragonstones, so they can be reinstated to their former glory instead of being lame like they are now;

c) just plain purchasing and teaching a spell to a character in an appropriate class like in an old school final fantasy game lol.

have any of you thought about this and have a better idea to balance the use of magic in fire emblem or do you think any one fire emblem has already dealt with the issue well?

Edited by Axie

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Like weapons, because fuck balance Magic costing HP is bothersome +potentially lethal and sometimes you need a specific spell more then 2 times a battle.  

Additionaly make enemies better at dealing with magic. There is one game i know of that has enemies that are even remotely good at dealing with mages and thats Fates - Ninjas and Kitsune will laugh at magic damage for the most part. Outside of that which enemies classes are resilient? All the ones that use magic themselves and I see no reason for mage-on-mage action. It´s time for Magekillers.

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I personally like white magic as Staves cause I think it's better for balancing the more powerful spells, and it gives the game an interesting short term/long term dichotomy between using broken magic now to make your life easier this chapter, and saving it for a later chapter that you know the spell will be useful for. 

 

That being said I do wish newer games would come up with more unique spells. Maybe there could be a staff that allows you to trade items from far away! Or a staff that will show you who the enemy AI will be targeting. I think having staves like that with limited uses would be super interesting in a linear style fire emblem game.

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1 hour ago, Axie said:

the reason mixed classes have never quite worked in fire emblem is because magic is so much better that, if the character even remotely has the magic stat for it (not always the case *glares at fates*), physical weapons are obsolete. have you ever made arthur use a sword in genealogy gen 2 even with a physical dad for him? how much does your awakening avatar really use a sword as a tactician, unless it has a special effect?

 

This is a good point that I haven't really thought about. The way the devs usually balance magic being strong, is having mages be weak physically so they can't stay in the frontlines. If you have mixed classes, then they would bring out the best in magic, without having the negatives associated with being a weak mage. I think the best way to balance magic is to carefully limit who's able to use it. Maybe have it so that AS always gets bogged down by magic weapon weight no matter how big the units CON is, like how they do it in FE5. or maybe have a weapon level cap on mixed classes so they don't get access to the stupid broke tombs.

Edited by Whitfield1999

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Like weapons, I'm a big fan of resource management, I wouldn't throw a fit if they used the HP system/Three Houses but I honestly prefer it being as weapons.

For instance, lets say I get Bolting in Three Houses and my unit can use it 1-2 twice a battle, why wouldn't I effectively snipe enemies for massive damage twice in every single battle after I get it? (I presume there's some bolting equivalent.) but in FE7, you get a single bolting tome with roughly 5 uses if I remember, so you actually have to think carefully about who to give it to and when to use it, which to me is a pretty large bit of strategy. ( I pretty much love in-depth inventories in strategy games.)

I wouldn't mind I guess if they used an "In-between" system, so tomes exist as the main method but say, a max level magic user can use some of the weakest spells for free but I'd still want having to buy/find tomes to be a main mechanic, so you can get your basic fire spell for free but any big powerful spells are still limited.

At least in FE6 ,it feels like I can buy more swords/bows many more times than I can buy magic so I found myself having to have physical units do most of the fighting as I'd run out of magic eventually otherwise. (AKA There's more armories that only sell bows/swords than shops that sell magic.)

I think a better compromise would to maybe have magic users be less-effective in 1-tile range, since I (at least to me) get the idea that mages should be really powerful ranged units but if a swordsman gets up to them, they're in trouble, (Which Echoes kinda does with Dread Fighters since they're fast sword dudes that take reduced magic damage.) they're kinda high damage glass-cannons generally I feel, since they can mess up low resistance units but they themselves tend to have low defense.

 

Edited by Samz707

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6 minutes ago, vanguard333 said:

I say: it depends on the FE game. 

Seriously; I think the best way to handle magic use is whichever way works best with the rest of the game's mechanics. 

i mean, sure, but most of the time, magic has not been remotely balanced in itself, only balanced by who has access to it. for example, the DS games actually put negative base growths in defense for mages so you can't just reclass someone with a good defense stat to mage and wreck shit with magic because that's a clearly superior weapon type. wouldn't it be better to fix how magic itself works and allow a wider variety of unit types to have access to it, rather than "glass cannon" be its only flavour?

Edited by Axie

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I much prefer the short-term resource management of per-battle limits over the long-term resource management of per-game limits. If you give me a meteor tome or a warp staff and tell me that I get 5 uses for the whole game then I will probably end up never using them. Or rather, I'll get to the last chapter or two, realise I've never used them, and then spam them for very marginal gain.

For me, there are two main problems with per-game limits. The first is that -- asuming a first-time play through without spoilers -- a player has no way of knowing when the rare magics are best put to use so is almost always going to use them at the wrong time. Depending on the person, that may mean they'll use them too soon and then find a better opportunity later or it may mean that they'll keep on saving them for a better use in the future which will end up never coming. And sure, some people will end up using them at the perfect optimal times, but that's more by luck then judgement. Resource management only really works when you have a reasonable idea of what sort of challenges you're going to face in the future. This is why I like limited uses per map; I can actually see the full map at once and so I can actually make informed decisions about the best spot to use my resources.

Having limited uses per game can be fun and interesting on second and subsequent runs through the game, especially on LTC runs or other challenge runs that focus on optimisation. In those cases, trying to figure out the perfect place to use a rare item to get the most out of it is great. I just don't think that should be a priority when it comes to design decisions. It's something of a person preference thing, but I'd rather have a game that was great on the first time through than one that has better replayability.

The other problem I have is that per-game limits restrict the possibilities for map design. Every map in Fire Emblem has to be designed under the assumption that the player won't have access to meteor, warp, fortify, etc. because many players won't. If they created a system where the player was guaranteed to have exactly one use of warp in a given map then that opens up all sorts of interesting new possibilities that they could design around. This is more wishful thinking on my part than anything else, since I don't think this is something that IS have ever really done, but it is a road I'd like to see them take in the future.

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2 hours ago, Imuabicus said:

Outside of that which enemies classes are resilient?

The near-entirety of RD. Enemies there have but 4-7 less Res than Def on average besides a few classes (Tigers, Knights, Wyverns, Red Dragons), a gap small enough that physical units can with sufficiently strong buyable weapons basically not care. Although, RD is also saddled with slow mages and weak tomes, so it's a combination of factors that make magic quite bad in FE10.

 

2 hours ago, Samz707 said:

For instance, lets say I get Bolting in Three Houses and my unit can use it 1-2 twice a battle, why wouldn't I effectively snipe enemies for massive damage twice in every single battle after I get it? (I presume there's some bolting equivalent.) but in FE7, you get a single bolting tome with roughly 5 uses if I remember, so you actually have to think carefully about who to give it to and when to use it, which to me is a pretty large bit of strategy. ( I pretty much love in-depth inventories in strategy games.)

Or, you're like me who never uses it, because it's so rare. You never know when that "emergency" will strike and you're saving it for exactly then, but the crisis never comes, and so it's never touched.

To be fair, I didn't burn through all my rare spell or Gambit uses all the time in 3H either, since again, you never know.

 

I guess then if I hoard the good stuff in 3H and traditional tome FEs alike, that I'd prefer SoV. I do remember all the Warp-Rescue fun there. Or Fates, because infinite use weapons frees me to use whichever I want all the time.

Edited by Interdimensional Observer

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I'm all for per map uses, for all the reasons named above. Though for my own system, which is tabletop, I went with hp cost instead, which tends to work allright. (Not a fan of keeping track of the amount of spells used, annoying enough in DnD, let alone if each spell had to be tracked separately. In a videogame it is tracked for you so no problem there)

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I prefer personal spell lists and per map uses, although if that didn’t mesh with the game’s mechanics it’s not an absolute.

Ah, I remember the days of my first play through of fe7 when I didn’t know that much about how the game works and thought magic was broken just by virtue of being magic...

As far as res and mixed classes, I would rather MOST class types have one good defensive stat and one that isn’t so hot so that, as long as they didn’t suck in strength or magic, they would form fit whether they used a physical or magical attack on the enemy. Of course, this would also require some enemy types being a lot more common, unless they tried to implement this on a per map basis of some maps being all armors and the next one being all druids.

Edited by Sooks

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1 hour ago, lenticular said:

I much prefer the short-term resource management of per-battle limits over the long-term resource management of per-game limits. If you give me a meteor tome or a warp staff and tell me that I get 5 uses for the whole game then I will probably end up never using them. Or rather, I'll get to the last chapter or two, realise I've never used them, and then spam them for very marginal gain.

For me, there are two main problems with per-game limits. The first is that -- asuming a first-time play through without spoilers -- a player has no way of knowing when the rare magics are best put to use so is almost always going to use them at the wrong time. Depending on the person, that may mean they'll use them too soon and then find a better opportunity later or it may mean that they'll keep on saving them for a better use in the future which will end up never coming. And sure, some people will end up using them at the perfect optimal times, but that's more by luck then judgement. Resource management only really works when you have a reasonable idea of what sort of challenges you're going to face in the future. This is why I like limited uses per map; I can actually see the full map at once and so I can actually make informed decisions about the best spot to use my resources.

 

I think a better way would to simply have them be buyable (And not just out of Secret shops)/ more than one freebie.

I do admit the series is sometimes a bit too strict but I still want to have to actually manage my spell tomes.

So say you can get 2-3 bolting tomes for free and you can occasionally buy them but they're expensive.

I actually like how Three Houses lets you buy better stuff but you can only get 2-3 of them instead of infinite boots like that one secret shop in 6.

Edited by Samz707

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third choice is awful in FE games. in classic style / dnd isometric RPG it works since you can have irregular rest ,. but in FE where everything is at stake in one big battle, then theres ambush spawn (if any)

im 100% sure, there will be many people who is like me who like to save stronger spell when its critical only to forgot to use it ,and the battle ended anyway (while being harder for sticking to weaker spell)

why dont i use it when theres strong enemy? simple, i dunno whether stronger enemy will/will not appear unless its NG+

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as expendables weapon, its easier to manage, since you can stock it.

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reducing HP for spell is.. not better, but somehow works for me in Echoes. since you can heal anyway

but i dont want heal / support magic to reduce health. only offensive spell

--

or maybe you combine all those idea, so usable tome is there with limited use and stronger effect, while equipped like Echoes item, personal spell is also there for /permanent infinite use (but taking little HP). but i dont know how to balance it 🤔

Edited by joevar

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14 minutes ago, Armchair General said:

Isn't magic a little bit on the inaccurate side in the 3DS FE games?

Can´t speak for Awakening but in Fates that´s mostly the mages having some not so nice SKL stats - with the exception of Orochi who has SKL but no SPD. As for SoV... eh? I think spells are more accurate than physical attacks, but that may just be me misremembering.

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12 minutes ago, joevar said:

third choice is awful in FE games. in classic style / dnd isometric RPG it works since you can have irregular rest ,. but in FE where everything is at stake in one big battle, then theres ambush spawn (if any)

im 100% sure, there will be many people who is like me who like to save stronger spell when its critical only to forgot to use it ,and the battle ended anyway (while being harder for sticking to weaker spell)

why dont i use it when theres strong enemy? simple, i dunno whether stronger enemy will/will not appear unless its NG+

Hi, it's me - the guy who, in 95% of his FE playthroughs, will have his Bolting or Meteor tomes lying in the convoy unused for the entire game. They might be more useful in a later chapter, after all!

I honestly think that what you're describing is an excellent argument in favour of the uses per battle system - it makes the big guns more likely to be used simply because you know that it's not going to bite you in the butt five chapters down the road.

I do not know how the numbers develop in 3H in this regard, so this is fully speculative - but it might be good to even have some other restrains in place to nerf long-range spells in this kind of approach. One turn to charge, or a Hyper Beam-esk turn of exhaustion, or the mage needs to stand still while casting them, or even a combination of #1 and #3.

4 hours ago, Axie said:

(remember when A-rank tornado had the might of the E-rank iron bow in PoR? oh, good times)

Forged Thunder, the true legendary tome of Tellius.

2 minutes ago, Imuabicus said:

Can´t speak for Awakening but in Fates that´s mostly the mages having some not so nice SKL stats - with the exception of Orochi who has SKL but no SPD. As for SoV... eh? I think spells are more accurate than physical attacks, but that may just be me misremembering.

As far as I know, Nos-tanking in Awakening is considered to be utterly broken, so hitrates can't be too bad in that game. ;):

--

It seems like a bit of a waste to me when magic is functionally the same as the normal weapon types. Sure, it targets another defensive stat and tends to be the best 1-2 range around (only held back by the users being frail af most of the time), but it's still the same basic Atk vs. Def/Res that an Iron Sword or Hand Axe has. So yeah, #3 all the way for me, although I found Gaiden's system interesting, as well.

As an added benefit, individual spell lists are also a nice additional way to make characters more unique.

 

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i loved HP costs in Echoes because it was the rare moment in fire emblem where HP was as valuable as defense for those characters, and it got you very wary of how enemy phase was going to go since each counterattack whittled your health down further. But I look at spells like meteor and fortify and figure the game ought to have spell charges. It encourages the player to not hoard their best stuff, yet also not spam them for a cheesy win. Maybe Fire Emblem games can have a mix of HP costs and spell charges. For instance, your basic fire spell being pitifully weak yet free to use with infinite charges. And continue allowing the player to set the spell they want to use for enemy phase if they're okay with something that drains their health, of if they'd prefer to swing a weapon.

For me it's a hard pass on treating them as weapons. And perhaps they ought to add spells or spell upgrades that you can purchase from shops so that you can further customize your mages beyond their normal learnset. Y'know with Gaiden trying to hard so be final fantasy, I'm surprised that game didn't have spell charges and shops to buy more

Edited by Glennstavos

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I disagree with a lot of things in the premise of this, but I'll just answer the topic question.

There's no single "best" way to handle magic. The only game that did magic in a way I specifically didn't like was Path of Radiance because light magic doesn't have a weapon level and the prepromote sages come able to use daggers instead of staves, which are bad enough on their own but especially worthless for these two.

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3H system is pretty much as close to the ''best'' magic system you can get.

Only thing i would add is have some tomes/scrolls that can teach people spells they wouldn't otherwise.

Anything is honestly better than ''classic'' meaningless hoard encouraging FE durability system.

Edited by Father Shrimpas

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1 hour ago, Father Shrimpas said:

3H system is pretty much as close to the ''best'' magic system you can get.

Only thing i would add is have some tomes/scrolls that can teach people spells they wouldn't otherwise.

Anything is honestly better than ''classic'' meaningless hoard encouraging FE durability system.

I mostly agree with this. But...

2 hours ago, ping said:

Hi, it's me - the guy who, in 95% of his FE playthroughs, will have his Bolting or Meteor tomes lying in the convoy unused for the entire game. They might be more useful in a later chapter, after all!

I honestly think that what you're describing is an excellent argument in favour of the uses per battle system - it makes the big guns more likely to be used simply because you know that it's not going to bite you in the butt five chapters down the road.

I do not know how the numbers develop in 3H in this regard, so this is fully speculative - but it might be good to even have some other restrains in place to nerf long-range spells in this kind of approach. One turn to charge, or a Hyper Beam-esk turn of exhaustion, or the mage needs to stand still while casting them, or even a combination of #1 and #3.

I also like this. Just X charges per chapter works for the weaker tomes, but what of the strong ones? Having 2 shots of your best spell is very restrictive. Making up for the OP-ness by, say, nulling your Move until the end of your next turn would balance siege tomes, and I'd say you could buff the uses of Abraxis/Ragnarok/Hades/Whatever because of a drawback like that. May not work all that well, but it can't be any worse than what we have already.

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Why not both?

Seriously, let's have tomes/staffs AND learned spell lists. Have the former be stronger than the latter (particularly the long-range magic) for balancing purposes, both in stats and in not consuming the cost of personal spells. You still have to manage their uses, but you get more mileage out of them and they're not locked to another character. If you know a spell AND have the tome or staff for it, the latter is consumed but you get two perks:

1) You can use it regardless of restrictions as long as you're in a class with access to the character's spell list.
2) You get a "forged" version of the spell with better combat stats, staff range, effects, etc. (Actually forging tomes would not be a thing.)

Also, have some spells that are only in tome or staff form, like Elfire and Mend, to represent man-made variants of natural spells.

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I really really dislike learned spells. Especially in Gaiden/SoV where it consumes HP. I much prefer having purchasable tomes and staves. 

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49 minutes ago, X-Naut said:

Why not both?

Seriously, let's have tomes/staffs AND learned spell lists. Have the former be stronger than the latter (particularly the long-range magic) for balancing purposes, both in stats and in not consuming the cost of personal spells. You still have to manage their uses, but you get more mileage out of them and they're not locked to another character. If you know a spell AND have the tome or staff for it, the latter is consumed but you get two perks:

1) You can use it regardless of restrictions as long as you're in a class with access to the character's spell list.
2) You get a "forged" version of the spell with better combat stats, staff range, effects, etc. (Actually forging tomes would not be a thing.)

Also, have some spells that are only in tome or staff form, like Elfire and Mend, to represent man-made variants of natural spells.

Honestly that's what Ive wishes ever since playing Shadows of Valenti. The idea of limited uses is good, but it also locks mages into specific utility (bizzare a lot of the more fun spells on SoV can only be used by characters you pull a dread fighter loop or specific villagers). Tomes and natural magic combined gives freedom in both directions.

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7 hours ago, ping said:

Hi, it's me - the guy who, in 95% of his FE playthroughs, will have his Bolting or Meteor tomes lying in the convoy unused for the entire game. They might be more useful in a later chapter, after all!

I honestly think that what you're describing is an excellent argument in favour of the uses per battle system - it makes the big guns more likely to be used simply because you know that it's not going to bite you in the butt five chapters down the road.

I do not know how the numbers develop in 3H in this regard, so this is fully speculative - but it might be good to even have some other restrains in place to nerf long-range spells in this kind of approach. One turn to charge, or a Hyper Beam-esk turn of exhaustion, or the mage needs to stand still while casting them, or even a combination of #1 and #3.

lol. im complaining one thing while using argument to reinforce what i actually complaint huh? eh whatever XD

that restriction is actually done since long ago by Super Robot Wars srpg series. most ultimate attack and AoE need you to stand still (cant attack while moving tile). but oddly enough theres ultimate attack that can be used while  moving too...
#2 idea basically a cooldown, yes? thats not bad too

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whatever suits the game i guess, but i really like the idea of a character having a Unique/personal/ultimate spell at least for main character like Celica

tome spell for long range and strong-limited use. learned spell for spam / basic spell.

but i think healing should be staff that can be spent like calssic one. because costing HP is dumb for healing, and unlimited use is also weird for no drawback at all

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7 hours ago, Imuabicus said:

As for SoV... eh? I think spells are more accurate than physical attacks, but that may just be me misremembering.

Well, magic does ignore terrain bonuses in that game, so there's that.

12 hours ago, Axie said:

the reason mixed classes have never quite worked in fire emblem is because magic is so much better that, if the character even remotely has the magic stat for it (not always the case *glares at fates*), physical weapons are obsolete. have you ever made arthur use a sword in genealogy gen 2 even with a physical dad for him? how much does your awakening avatar really use a sword as a tactician, unless it has a special effect?

Personally, I find that mixed classes don't work in FE because very few characters, if any, have the stats to support mixed builds. For example, is there any good reason to have Camilla stay in Malig Knight when her strength is far, far above her magic, both in terms of base and growth?

Edited by Shadow Mir

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