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Benice

Should archers have 1-range with bows?

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More recent entries in the series, (As well as Gaiden) have given bows monstrous range, going as crazy as 1-5 range. Personally, I've always been a fan of bows being solely 2-range, maybe 3 with specific weaponry. I also don't really like bows having 1-range, simply because I feel like the whole point of bows is to be like they were in Fates: Really powerful and best access to 2-range, but lacking enemy phase. (I do feel like part of the problem with bows is the fact that hand axes and other 1-2 options are usually better anyways...)

Do you think that bows should have 1-range or greater than 2-range consistently, or is it better for them to have more?

Edited by Benice

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I myself prefer the lack of 1-range as a distinct weakness for the weapon type, though it'd be cool if bow users could attack each other at 1-range. Problem is, that system might feel a bit arbitrary with the way FE works. I also think 1~2 should be nerfed in potential to make bows feel more unique - if a hand axe is doing the same job as a bow, why not just use the hand axe for enemy phase potential?

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7 minutes ago, Benice said:

Fates: Really powerful and best access to 2-range, but lacking enemy phase.

Fates does indeed have a buyable 1-range bow - Dusk Armory only however - as well as the Sidelong Yumi which is 1-2 range, with penalties.

As for 1-range or no... yes if it requires you to equip a specific bow and no if it´s just a skill that allows you to attack with any bow at 1-range. 

As for more range... sure why not? Standardize 2-3 range and make some bows that go above that, too.

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Bows being 2 range when javelins and hand axes are the same makes bows feel pretty bad. So they should definitely have more than 2 range imo, at least under some circumstances. I think them lacking 1 range, or being bad at it in some way is fair balance for this, though there are other methods: Three Houses had well-balanced bows just by making the enemy phase eat a skill slot and having bows be lower on power (both in terms of weapon might and in terms of universal combat arts) than lances or axes.

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3H also had the more solid Mini Bow as well, being able to hit 1-2 range and having combat arts in exchange for no flying effectiveness. Bows in 3H are super solid in fairness.

Maybe for another game with CAs, certain weapons like the Mini Bow could be excluded from accessing them?

I'd love the see more range exploitation, I'm amazed there's been no ledge reuse or any sign of having height advantage increasing bow range either.

1 range.... I can't say I disliked 3H's approach, but C rank was also very accessible, maybe it should be harder?

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I'm thinking maybe a way to balance bows would be for Close Counter to A) have higher requirements for learning than C in bows, and B) have reduced performance, like lowered power and accuracy, maybe 0 crit. So you can't just throw a strong bow to your tank and have them slaughter everything at all ranges on the enemy phase. By the same token, melee weapons with 1-2 range like javelins and hand axes should maybe have some limitations on what they do when thrown, though their weight and inaccuracy in some games can be fairly balancing as it is.

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I kinda liked RD's solution, 2 range, and 2-3 at tier 3, but the accuracy penalty for shooting at 3 needs to be more than -20, I think.

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One thing I would like to see is more of an emphasis on archers as skirmishers. Have something along the lines of a Bow Knight or Horseman be an unpromoted class, and give them good mobility and Canto so they can reasonably perform hit-and-run tactics. It would feel a lot less punishing to have a character who can't fight back at 1 range if you are given more tools to keep them from ever being attacked there.

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Does anyone complain Mages have 1-2 Range? Well, depending on the game, maybe. Range 1 access isn't bad if Archers don't have the stats to do very much at 1 Range. Python and Leon don't kill everything in SoV, because they don't have the stats to do so, although Hero Alm or a Dread Fighter grind possibly can.

Close Counter ought to stay in some capacity. The Mini Bow (which was so weak I never bothered with it), and or a Crossbow subset of bows are other possibilities.

I'm not entirely sure why Bow Knights get the maximum Bow Range in 3H (and less so SoV, given Sniper promotes into Bow Knight instead of being an alternative). Archers on horseback can shoot far, but the need to use the bow on a horse does impose technical limits on its size, which limits the amount of force the bow can handle, which limits the force capable being put into each arrow, which means less maximum potential range.

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I like archers being able to attack or retaliate at 1 range, but you're right in saying that it kind of homogenizes them with other classes. I would be totally fine with archer range increasing either with the quality of the bow itself or a class skill that higher tiered archers get. Close combat as an equippable skill is cool too so long as there's plenty of competition with other equippable skills.

In general I like much of how Three Houses did it, except for the all encompassing dominance of the mini bow. Not only is it the best generic bow with the most durability for spamming combat arts, it could fire at the same maximum range that other bows could, rather than just being a 1 range locked weapon. If the range of bow combat arts in three houses wasn't tied to the art itself, but rather the bow, the balance between bows would have made much more sense. Being able to lob a 4 range hunter's volley with the mini bow 13 times and then repair it with a paltry amount of gold later is kind of ridiculous, especially when it removes any need for equipping the close combat ability. The only other bow you'd want as a complement is the killer bow to pad out the crit rate a little more on monster HP bars. Pretty dumb design, though you could also say snipers need all of these advantages (great range, passable enemy phase, very high crit rate) to avoid being outclassed entirely by gauntlets or mounted classes.

Edited by Glennstavos

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Back when I first started playing FE7, I was a pretty big fan of archery, so obviously I tried to use Wil and Rebecca as much as possible. While in the beginning I thought "wow, it's so cool that the developers really thought it through with archery not really being a viable option in melee, thus bows don't work in 1 range", later on I started to think that it's a bit... nah, scratch that, not a bit, but really bad. They aren't viable, for sure, but which archer would stand still and wouldn't even try to counter? They also didn't have access to other weapons, so that was also not really great. Oh, and on top of that, hand axes, javelins and magic - all of them had 1-2 range. So yeah, suffice to say I gave up on archers in FE6 and FE8 as well.

Then I saw SoV bow range and I was like: "Holy [redacted] [redacted] [redacted], that is the coolest thing ever! 1-2 range? Screw that, 1-∞{\displaystyle \infty }\infty range FTW!" Alas, that's broken. But who cares, even if it wasn't broken I'd use Leon as much as physically possible!!!

Well anyways, what I would do, is add more bow types. Oh, yes, and almost all of them would have 1 range. Now, that might sound stupid, but hear me out:

1 range: with few exceptions, I'd give every bow 1 range. However, it would only work in enemy phase (aka. countering an attack), and archers would take a slight hit to their accuracy, a serious hit to their power, and would be unable to crit. This way, it's still not advised to use them as "tanks", but they wouldn't be helpless in enemy phase. This might seem like a weird idea, since technically it doesn't really help them with the reduced accuracy and power, but I feel like this would be more "life-like".

2 range: no bonus, or penalty. The standard bow range.

3 range: some bows would be able to attack from 3 range. Accuracy would be slightly reduced (aiming from far is hard) but crit chance would be marginally increased (like sharpshooting kind of thing, few expect an arrow from far away).

3+ range: this would be a special category, with only maybe one bow in it - a sniper longbow thing. Any bow in this categry would be unable to counter in 1 range, and would have reduced accuracy and power in 2 range (but could still crit). When used at 3 range, it would have no bonus or penalty. At 3+ range, it would have increased accuracy, power and slightly reduced crit chance - it is supposed to be a sniper bow that only people who are really great with bows are supposed to use, thus they have better aiming capablities (or at least that's my reasoning behind it). Now, I want to say max range is 5, but I feel like 4 would be more balanced still. Also, these bows would be heavey, making double attacking almost impossible. I would like this category to really be like a "1 shot - 1 kill" one, which at the same time is kind of a "you miss, you die" thingy. High risk, high reward.

Now, this might make archers a bit broken - I didn't come up with numbers or anything. Currently, my favourite solution for this "problem" is the version SoV has, purely because it makes archers usable, but at the same time I think it's not a deep enough system. I've been actually thinking about this for some time now, and currently this is what I would advise, but I'm sure in some time I would change some of these ideas.

I've always wanted to see archers being calm, focused fighters, letting loose an arrow with the intention of it finishing off the enemy, ready for the consequences what missing the target would mean, but at the same time people who aren't readily giving away their lives once the opponent is upon them. Right now, I can't feel neither of these when using an archer. In some games they are there for chip-damage, in others they are there to crit every single enemy to death, both melee and ranged.

Also, a 1 range animation where they would draw a single arrow from their quiver, and stab the enemy with it would look really cool. It's also kind of a viable option for 1-range countering I think. Like, more viable than shooting an arrow in point-blank range.

 

Edited by coldhand25

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I'm a big fan of archers having a very large range. It gives bows their own little niche that no other class can pull off. Throughout Fire Emblem bows has been distinct from magic, but mostly in the sense that its worse in just about every possible way. Mages can attack from a distance too but without the severe drawback of not being able to attack up close. Archers have some gimmicks like being effective against flyers but with the right tomes mages can be effective against flyers too.

Most of the time there's just not really a good reason to use an archer instead of a mage, or even to use an archer at all instead of giving that slot to a second mage. A bigger range however changes this. It gives them something they are clearly better at than mages and gives archers a role no other class can fill.  

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13 minutes ago, Etrurian emperor said:

I'm a big fan of archers having a very large range. It gives bows their own little niche that no other class can pull off.

Mages can use siege tomes. Nothing archers can do even rivals a mage with a 3-10 range siege tome, outiside of Ballistas.

Edited by NinjaMonkey

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Just now, NinjaMonkey said:

Mages can use siege tomes. Nothing archers can do, even rivals a mage with a 3-10 range siege tome, outiside of Ballistas.

Sure but unlike anti flyer tomes those all tend to be rather rare and have limited durability to boot. 

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Giving bows more range is a nice way to make them not mega suck, so I’m on the 2-3 range as bow standard train. Also because hand axes, javelins, and literally every tome do the same thing but better. Why shouldn’t Archers be the best at attacking from range? I’d like to see the possible range still be bigger than 3 though, 5 range was cool. Broken, but cool. It would give bows their own unique thing to do and a reason to use archers beyond adding another class to your team, thinking you might maybe need flier effective damage one time maybe, or the better promotion from an unpromoted unit just happened to include bows.

Edited by Sooks

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Not innately unless it's a crossbow. While there's some merit to Close Counter existing, it needs to come with a heavy penalty such as being unable to double or halving your Attack Speed. Typically it's better to let them go above 2-range to make them less restricted, but that has its limits before becoming unhealthy.

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My preferred system is to keep Bows 2-3 (Longbows) or 2 (everything else) range, with generally better stats or availability than Javelins and Hand Axes. Possibly also giving certain Bow infantry classes (Archer, Snioer) innate Range+1. The ability to attack, or even just counter, with Bows at 1-range, makes them feel kinda samey with other weapon types. I can see a dedicated 1-2 range Crossbow-type, but they should suffer the similar penalties to Javelins and Hand Axes.

1 hour ago, NinjaMonkey said:

Mages can use siege tomes. Nothing archers can do even rivals a mage with a 3-10 range siege tome, outiside of Ballistas.

You don't even need rare siege spells in 3H. Combine a 3-range spell (Thoron, Mire, Death) with Thyrsus and Range +1 (from S-Reason), and you're slinging spells at 6-range.

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As a whole, no, that just makes them boring weapons. But I think bows should have at least one weapon that is 1-2 range that is an equivalent to a hand axe or javelin. Ie more range at the cost of accuracy (or in Fates case, the inability to perform follow ups, which as far as Fates weird weapons go isn't the worst of its ideas).

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2-3 Range isn't super unfair if it's across the board AND keep hand axes etc. the same damage out put and only 1-2 range OR make bows the only good 2 (3 with longbow) range damage output. There is a reason that the archer class units are consistently low tier in enemy phase focused installments in the series. Make there be a reason to use bows or it is wasted gameplay content.

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Close Counter as it is in Three Houses is already pretty balanced. It takes a skill slot and the user still can't initiate at 1 range. I actually found myself not using it very much.

But also, the biggest problem with Bows lacking 1-2 range isn't really that being locked out of 1 range is bad, it's that solid 1-2 range combat is almost always accessible with other weapons. If you want to avoid 1 range bows entirely, you need to either heavily nerf 2 range on other weapons or give Bows even more range. Higher range Bows would also give them an advantage in Three Houses combat system because it would be easier to position them such that there would be multiple enemies in their range to pair with allies.

Though I do think having a particularly weak 1 range bow is fine, just so the option exists.

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Rebalance by taking away something's identity sucks. It's like when hacks try to make armour knights good by giving them good resistance and normal movement speed. If you get hyperfixated on that then every unit will just feel the same. So, no - Close Counter was okay, and I'm actually okay with FE2/15 since bows were more specialising in range generally (high strength and versatile range at the expense of all your other stats sucking was actually a great way to handle archery), but 'bows are just good handaxes' (or 'bows have a handaxe', for that matter) is not only trash design, but boring. Make them better within the bounds of their limitations. I like universal 2-3 range, and FE7x's idea of 'WTD at 1-range, WTA at 2-range, WTN at 3-range, and promoted foot archers have 2-3 range with everything' felt like a good solution.

Edited by Parrhesia

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As a separate bow, yes. Close Counter is also a good reason for it.

But as the whole bow mechanic...no, that'll be a bit broken; a long range weapon without weapon triangle affiliation and effective against flier is already too much.

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