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Is Conquest a "fair" game?

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[This is brought over from a thread on the General Fire Emblem subforum in an attempt not to derail the thread over there any more than it already has been. As a quick summary for anyone who doesn't want to go back and read that thread, the topic of discussion is how fair or unfair Conquest is. That is, to what extent does it include luck or require having already played the game or read spoilers in order to avoid various pitfalls. My position, essentially, is that it's not too bad for a Fire Emblem game, but that's a low bar and it still has a good number of problems.]

41 minutes ago, Armchair General said:

Chapter 9's reinforcements is something that a FE veteran should pick up on because it has stairs at certain places.

To some extent, yes, but reinforcements tend to work differently from one FE game to the next meaning that you can't necessarily apply something learned in one game to another. For instance, in some games, you can stop reinforcements by standing on stairs but that doesn't work here. In some games, the only reinforcement trigger to worry about is turn count, so "I waited a long time and no reinforcements came" can reasonably be taken to mean that no reinforcements will come. Again, that isn't the case here.

41 minutes ago, Armchair General said:

Sure, Chapter 10 is pretty cruel; but it's there to reinforce the point that you can do everything right, but there will occasionally be something that nobody can predict. But, the prologue shows off the enemy using a Dragon Vein to evaporate an river and I'm pretty sure that the terrain data for the tile Takumi is standing on outlines it's effects.

I'm not really sure which point you're trying to make here. Is it supposed to be something that you can't predict or soemthing that you can? If the former, then that's a reasonable design choice, but hardly in keeping with the spirit of being a fair game. If the latter, I don't think it's reasonable to expect a player to meticulously examine the terrain behind every enemy. Some people might manage to stumble across the Dragon Vein before it's activated, but I can only imagine they're a very small minority. If a level is only fair if you're paranoid and obsessive then that's as good as not being fair in the first place.

41 minutes ago, Armchair General said:

As for the lottery, it kind of depends on what prizes are available. All I ever got was some random ranged weapons.

If you're lucky, you can get stuff like stat boosters, eternal seals, or brave weapons. If you're unlucky, you can get a bronze sword and a pile of cabbages.

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My point is that if you see stairs, you really shouldn't be hanging around them for too long or at least have a plan to fight off 2-6 dudes who are attacking from behind while you're dealing with your front line. The same could apply to forts, but that'll be a bit of an stretch in Conquest's case. But the point is: If you're consistently can't handle being flanked like this, you probably aren't in a good position for playing some of the FE games. Although, you'll occasionally get a hint or two about impending troops; that was mainly in Awakening.

 

As far as Chapter 10 goes, evaporating the ocean had turned what would have been an easy map into a desperate struggle for you to reposition your troops. And it also serves as a warning that the enemy can use Dragon Veins (although, this is actually pretty rare and it only becomes important in one of the final chapters). But it's fair in the sense that you can investigate the battlefield before the level actually begins; and you'd probably want to be scanning the battlefield because each route spawns a specific type of enemy, IIRC.

 

Overall, I think that Conquest is fair in the sense that you'll take the time to be more observant and  on to some of the series' hazards. But nothing will prepare you for the ninja spam, outside of killing them off or rotating your troops.

 

 

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Is CQ a fair game? Well, yes, but no, but actually it depends on the difficulty?

As far as I´m concerned CQ´s unfairness stems entirely from it´s map design, because it plays entirely to the strengths of the enemy. CH17 with the tight corridors and almost exclusively 1-2 range enemies, Ryomas corridors of lethal debuffing as the most egregious example, Sakuras divide and conquer fortress, Hinokas flying sqauds of doom etc. There´s other things too - Staff Savant and the skill that prevents debuffs from disappearing.

Otherwise it seems to be a problem of communication with the player and showcasing how mechanics work - Ch19 with the foxes, you only have 1 fox trying to show what they do as opposed to how it works with a whole formation you´ll then be dealing with. 

This plays into stuff like chapter 10/Hinoka - you aren´t made aware that yes, the enemy royals can and will in fact use Dragon Veins - that seems almost intelligent for the enemy AI programmed to do it as they may be. 

6 hours ago, lenticular said:

If you're unlucky, you can get a bronze sword and a pile of cabbages.

Yes, getting random food sucks, but don´t you dare disrespect the Bronze Weapons. 

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It's fair in the sense that I think it really expects people playing it to know the ins and outs of bullshit prior FE games have attempted.

If you're patient enough to learn how the game mechanics work, or you've played a lot of different Fire Emblems before, I think Conquest is pretty fair. It doesn't really ever just try to screw you over(Mostly), it just asks that you learn how to handle enemy spawns or how to whittle down groups of strong enemies. Once you get into the swing of things, it's a fun, reasonable challenge(MOSTLY) that puts the strengths of Fates to the forefront.

If you don't have the time or patience, no. It'll feel like a game that's trying to waste your time, and you'll probably get walled at chapter 10. Or chapter 4, more likely.

Edited by Slumber

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In terms of Fire Emblem I think Conquest is the most fair in the series, comparing to all other games it has the least amount of ''gotcha'' moments, no ambush spawns, no hidden skills, no FoW, you're actually told about most things prior to it occurring. The only reason why people will complain about map mechanics is if they either weren't paying attention or couldn't be bothered to check.

 

However I do understand the sentiment of it being ''unfair'', if you don't want to check things then the game will feel like it's throwing a bunch of BS at you, if you don't check skills you'll get surprised with death blows and strong ripostes. 

basically Conquest is like Catan, if you don't know all the rules and plan ahead, you won't know what's happening.

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11 hours ago, Theghostcreator said:

However I do understand the sentiment of it being ''unfair'', if you don't want to check things then the game will feel like it's throwing a bunch of BS at you, if you don't check skills you'll get surprised with death blows and strong ripostes. 

Isn't it counterproductive to neglect checking the battlefield in a strategy game? Sure, most of the time it's just an enemy with a standard assortment of skills and equipment; but Conquest is prone to giving enemies the occasional reverse triangle weapon, amongst other things that I don't recall.

Even 3H sneaks in the occasional poisoned weapon on Hard and I almost regret not accounting for it whenever I miss one of those. Almost, because those assholes are rare enough that it won't cripple my army; but it's enough to make wished that I nuked them with magic. But there's also that War Master or Grappler on the final level of AM with the high-crit gauntlets, that was more or less an unique enemy.

Edited by Armchair General

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Conquest is like, the only fair game in the series on higher difficulties.

  • No ambush spawns, FoW or gottem moments
  • No stat inflation (enemies on Lunatic have same stats as hard)
  • Difficulty in skills, enemy positioning and Dragon veins instead. Those change depending on difficulty.

All the info is visible to you. The game gives you enough tools to deal with anything it throws at you, you just have to know how to use them. Even for Ironmanning or stat screwage you get replacement units in form of captureable generics and kids.

There's nothing ''unfair'' about conquest, even if there're a couple bullshit maps like Fox and Ninja hell, but that's about the only 2 Maps i'd call shitty in Conquest. Most others are top notch and easily peak Fire Emblem design.

12 hours ago, Theghostcreator said:

if you don't want to check things then the game will feel like it's throwing a bunch of BS at you

That would be totally on the player then.

17 hours ago, Imuabicus said:

you aren´t made aware that yes, the enemy royals can and will in fact use Dragon Veins

Enemy Royals do have the Crown sign tho signaling they can use Dragon Veins, just like player royals have those signs. And in the Hinoka and Sakura chapters the game clearly states ''But if Hinoka/Sakura uses it...''

Not to mention they only use it at the end of Enemy phase, so you still have player phase to react to the map changes.

1 hour ago, Armchair General said:

Isn't it counterproductive to neglect checking the battlefield in a strategy game?

You'd be surprised how many complaints of conquest boil down to ''Each map plays differently'' because in most FE games you play the maps in very similiar ways.

Edited by Father Shrimpas

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2 minutes ago, Father Shrimpas said:

Conquest is like, the only fair game in the series on higher difficulties.

  • No ambush spawns or gottem moments
  • No stat inflation (enemies on Lunatic have same stats as hard)
  • Difficulty in skills, enemy positioning and Dragon veins instead. Those change depending on difficulty.

All the info is visible to you. The game gives you enough tools to deal with anything it throws at you, you just have to know how to use them. Even for Ironmanning or stat screwage you get replacement units in form of captureable generics and kids.

There's nothing ''unfair'' about conquest, even if there're a couple bullshit maps like Fox and Ninja hell, but that's about the only 2 Maps i'd call shitty in Conquest. Most others are top notch and easily peak Fire Emblem design.

That would be totally on the player then.

Enemy Royals do have the Crown sign tho signaling they can use Dragon Veins, just like player royals have those signs. And in the Hinoka and Sakura chapters the game clearly states ''But if Hinoka/Sakura uses it...''

Not to mention they only use it at the end of Enemy phase, so you still have player phase to react to the map changes.

You'd be surprised how many complaints of conquest boil down to ''Each map plays differently'' because in most FE games you play the maps in very similiar ways.

"And in the Hinoka and Sakura chapters the game clearly states ''But if Hinoka/Sakura uses it...''"

I'm a different person than the previous one... the game does not say what happens if these royals use it. It can be puzzled out beforehand, but this IS an instance of info not being displayed.

Also, on Hard/Casual Conquest... what do you think of reinforcements? Do those count as ambush spawns? Because I got hit with those frequently, and there WAS instances of enemies ambushing me from the side as well. It was annoying, I felt like I needed to know about these things prior in order to position further away, or speed things up so I'm in a specific spot by then.

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2 minutes ago, Oops! All OCs said:

Do those count as ambush spawns

definitely not, no reinforcements in CQ ever attack the same turn they appear, you always have at least one turn to assess the situation, it's 100% especially for Fire Emblem where often times ambush spawns are an excuse for difficulty.

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9 minutes ago, Oops! All OCs said:

"And in the Hinoka and Sakura chapters the game clearly states ''But if Hinoka/Sakura uses it...''"

Hinoka uses it at the end of the 1st turn tho and you see it's effects directly, and you have a nearby DV to counter it's effects.

And for Sakura you can very easily deduce it as it says ''you break down the walls, but Sakura''.... It very clearly aludes to Sakura rebuilding them

And honestly, every run i had where Sakura uses her DV i was able to clear the map. It's seize after all and her DV use should push you into seizing asap.

9 minutes ago, Oops! All OCs said:

what do you think of reinforcements? Do those count as ambush spawns?

No. Ambush spawns are those who appear and the start of enemy phase and attack directly, giving the player no time to react to those. There are no instances of that in Conquest. Every reinforcement you can react to in some ways, and the game gives you enough tools to deal with them (Pair up, Shelter, killing them first, etc.)

Quite a few FE make the game ''difficult'' by adding ambush spawns the player has no way to react to and it leads to a reset due to a ''gottem'' not player fault.

Edited by Father Shrimpas

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1 hour ago, Oops! All OCs said:

Also, on Hard/Casual Conquest... what do you think of reinforcements? Do those count as ambush spawns? Because I got hit with those frequently, and there WAS instances of enemies ambushing me from the side as well. It was annoying, I felt like I needed to know about these things prior in order to position further away, or speed things up so I'm in a specific spot by then.

No. That refers to reinforcements that appear before enemy phase and can move on the same turn they appear. Like in Binding Blade, for example. All reinforcements in Fates appear at the end of enemy phase.

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For the most part it's fair, the Lunatic versions of Ch.25 and Endgame though are really bad design that encourages cheese tactics instead of playing the map as intended, Inevitable End as a skill is bullshit and sucks the fun out of the game, at least for Ch.25 you can equip someone with Shurikenbreaker + Bow/Axe/Dual Katana or Calamity Gate and have them bait out the Master Ninjas, though you need to watch out for the Lunge Automatons that can fling any of your units into a sea of Ninjas if you get into their range. Also one of the 2 chests located all the way at the back of the map contains the only Silence Staff in Conquest which is basically required for Endgame if you plan to actually play through that map instead of rescue-pass skipping.

Conquest Endgame though, not only do you have to deal with the Inevitable Ninjas you also face multiple Enfeeble Maids/Great Masters that have both Staff Savant and Inevitable End, this combined with all other factors (infinite Freeze/Hexing Rod, beefed up enemies, endless reinforcements that self-destructs upon death, Takumi's map wide attack every 2 turns, etc.) and you get one of the most absurd maps in FE history. On top of all this there is no save option so if you fuck something up prepare to play the previous map again just to get back to endgame (not like ch.27 is difficult but it's still annoying)

Edited by Ari Chan

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On 12/1/2021 at 4:15 AM, Armchair General said:

My point is that if you see stairs, you really shouldn't be hanging around them for too long or at least have a plan to fight off 2-6 dudes who are attacking from behind while you're dealing with your front line. The same could apply to forts, but that'll be a bit of an stretch in Conquest's case. But the point is: If you're consistently can't handle being flanked like this, you probably aren't in a good position for playing some of the FE games. Although, you'll occasionally get a hint or two about impending troops; that was mainly in Awakening.

I'd like to shift away from hypotheticals and talk about my own personal experience with this chapter. I had started playing Conquest on Lunatic, because I had heard that it was hard but fair, that I would lose units or game over, but when I did it would be my fault and not because the game had thrown something at me that I had no way to see coming. I took my sweet time on that chapter. I think I was up to something around about turn 30 or 40. Very inefficient, but efficiency wasn't my goal; getting through the level was. I'd spent time waiting for status conditions to burn off, for instance. One side effect of this was that enough time had passed that, even though I had seen the stairs, I felt confident that no reinforcements were coming. I've never known a FE level that leaves reinforcements that late. And besides, even if reinforcements did come, I'd fully cleared the area around the stairs, so I shouldn't have to worry about being overwhelmed.

Then I carefully advanced a unit or two into the boss room, and nine reinforcement units appeared. In addition to the two units in the boss room (I had already killed one through the wall earlier in the level), this meant I had 11 enemy units to deal with. Now, keep in mind that you only have 10 units total for this chapter, and this includes non-combat units Elise and Azura, as well as just-recruited base Nyx and recruited-one-chapter-ago almost-base Odin. Killing 11 enemy units isn't happening. Even killing just the reinforcement units isn't happening.

I spent a decent while (maybe 20-30 minutes at a guess) trying to figure out if there was any way I could save the situation, but I couldn't come up with anything. I looked at killing as many enemies as I could, trying to run away, just trying to have my squishies run away but leaving my stronger units to fight, body blocking, various different combinations of the above, and I couldn't find any way of saving things. I tried to find a configuration that gave me the highest chance of the enemy missing, carried out my plan, the enemy didn't miss, I lost a unit (I think it might have been Azura, but I'd not swear to that), and I reset.

Now, to me, that didn't feel like it was fair or like my loss was my fault. Obviously, there were things that I could have done differently that would have let me beat the chapter, but I don't feel that I had any way of knowing about them in advance. I was subsequently able to beat the chapter, but only after I knew what the reinforcements were and when they would spawn.

Do you disagree? Do you think that I made fundamental mistakes and that I should have known better? And not just that I could have known better but that I should have done. Maybe I could have figured out that since there weren't any turn-based reinforcements that there must be tripwire reinforcements instead, but I don't think that's something that is reasonable to expect of the player.

17 hours ago, Armchair General said:

Isn't it counterproductive to neglect checking the battlefield in a strategy game? Sure, most of the time it's just an enemy with a standard assortment of skills and equipment; but Conquest is prone to giving enemies the occasional reverse triangle weapon, amongst other things that I don't recall.

I think it depends on the prevalence of the things that you're checking for. Like, in Conquest, you absolutely should be checking all enemies for skills but in Path of Radiance, that would be a waste of your time. There just aren't that many enemies with skills in PoR, and most of the ones that do exist either have marginal effects, low activation chances, or both. I can easily imagine that someone could play through the entirety of PoR without even realising that it's possible for enemies to have skills. So if you do get screwed over by an enemy skill activation, then yes, technically the information was there and you could have avoided it, but no I don't think it's reasonable to expect the player to keep on wasting their time checking for enemy skills after multiple chapters of the game showing you that there's no reason to.

Similarly, yes, it is technically possible to see that there is a slight shimmer of a Dragon Vein behind Takumi in Chapter 10 of Conquest, but the game doesn't go out of its way to make sure that you actually see it, nor does it give you any reason in past chapters to actually think that you ought to check for it.

A question for everyone: on the first time that you played Conquest -- assuming that you hadn't read spoilers, watched someone else play, or otherwise had foreknowledge of what was coming -- was it a surprise to you when Takumi first lowered the water, or had you seen the Dragon Vein or otherwise managed to predict what was going to happen? I'm assuming that the vast majority of people were caught unaware and that this wasn't something that we were actually supposed to see coming, but if a bunch of people tell me that they absolutely saw the Dragon Vein then I'll happily concede the point.

On 12/1/2021 at 8:59 AM, Imuabicus said:

Yes, getting random food sucks, but don´t you dare disrespect the Bronze Weapons. 

I apologise. It was absolutely unfair of me to lump a bronze sword in with a pile of cabbages. If you need me for the next three hours, I'll be giving penance for my disrespect to the glory of bronze weapons.

16 hours ago, Father Shrimpas said:

Conquest is like, the only fair game in the series on higher difficulties.

  • No ambush spawns, FoW or gottem moments
  • No stat inflation (enemies on Lunatic have same stats as hard)
  • Difficulty in skills, enemy positioning and Dragon veins instead. Those change depending on difficulty.

All the info is visible to you. The game gives you enough tools to deal with anything it throws at you, you just have to know how to use them. Even for Ironmanning or stat screwage you get replacement units in form of captureable generics and kids.

There's nothing ''unfair'' about conquest, even if there're a couple bullshit maps like Fox and Ninja hell, but that's about the only 2 Maps i'd call shitty in Conquest. Most others are top notch and easily peak Fire Emblem design.

No mabush spawns or fog of war, certainly, but I don't agree that there aren't any gottem moments. I've already said why I consider both chapter 9 and chapter 10 to fall into this category. Reinforcements don't have to be ambush spawns to be unfair. Conversely, reinforcements that move on the turn they appear aren't necessarily unfair. There's a high correlation between same-turn reinforcements and unfairness, for sure, but they aren't necessarily a one-to-one correspondence.

I also disagree that all info is visible to the player. Most information is, sure, but not all. Weapon triangle bonuses aren't, for instance, and they also change through the game as enemy weapon ranks get higher. I know that I lost a unit to doing the calculation for how much damage an enemy would do, determining that my unit would be left alive on one or two hitpoints, and then having them die because I hadn't accounted for the fact that weapon triangle advantage was now doing extra damage too. Are you telling me that was my fault?

I'm not saying that Conquest isn't fairer than any other Fire Emblem game. It probably is. It's certainly fairer than nonsense chapters like Foreign Land and Sky or One Survives. My point is that "fairer than other FE games" is a low bar and that doesn't make it fair on an absolute level.

17 hours ago, Oops! All OCs said:

"And in the Hinoka and Sakura chapters the game clearly states ''But if Hinoka/Sakura uses it...''"

I'm a different person than the previous one... the game does not say what happens if these royals use it. It can be puzzled out beforehand, but this IS an instance of info not being displayed.

I'll also add that there's a discrepancy between our DV uses and enemy DV uses in these chapters. All game, we have only ever been able to use each Dragon Vein once. Hinoka and Sakura get to use theirs indefinitely. I wasn't caught unaware by this in Conquest, but only because I'd played Birthright first and been caught unaware by it there. In Camilla's chapter, I was totally not expecting it when she used the same Dragon Vein on me for a second time. Otherwise, I would probably have been equally as surprised when Sakura/Hinoka did it.

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24 minutes ago, lenticular said:

was it a surprise to you when Takumi first lowered the water

surprise, yes, but not an unfair one because the game still gives you a turn to act on it. So in no way is it unfair. It's what makes the map that good, in fact.

Without it it would be just your above average defense map

24 minutes ago, lenticular said:

I've never known a FE level that leaves reinforcements that late.

Conquest isn't the first nor the last FE with zone based reinforcements, and blocking stairs is something you pretty much do in every FE if you don't wanna deal with reinforcements. 

Thracia has a map with 30+ turn reinforcements that keep spwaning, for example. I only know that because i kept grinding them for 35 or so turns.

24 minutes ago, lenticular said:

Do you think that I made fundamental mistakes and that I should have known better?

yes.

Maybe you could've retreated through the wall. Maybe paired up, and gone somewhere, or just rush'd the boss and seized. Or positioned your units differently, etc. I will have to see your formation to say for sure what you could've done.

24 minutes ago, lenticular said:

but no I don't think it's reasonable to expect the player to keep on wasting their time checking for enemy skills

If anything, FE shoud involve skills on enemies much much more (And map changing events ala DV). Conquest had the right idea. If it's all gonna be numbers you can chuck your Titania or whatever Handaxe/Javelin user you have in GBAFE to and close your eyes, it isn't really strategy is it.

24 minutes ago, lenticular said:

I hadn't accounted for the fact that weapon triangle advantage

Fates is the one game where you shouldn't really fuck with the weapon triangle. It isn't useless unlike most other games. While i do agree the Weapon Rank bonuses and triangle advantage/disadvantage should be explicitly visible, the weapon rank bonuses are already calculated in the battle stats (you will notice that Weapon MT + STR/MAG isn't equal to your atk stat, that's because Weapon Rank Bonuses) and the weapon trianlge in the battle calculation, so you should've learned earlier that weapon triangle deals bonus damage.

I always have a nice image for Fates weapon system and why i love it so much and why i consider it by far the best in the series
1JBHXyN.png
HwrSF2F.png

24 minutes ago, lenticular said:

All game, we have only ever been able to use each Dragon Vein once.

wrong actually. There are some Dragon veins you can use multipe times. It's pretty rare tho.

Not to mention in Hinoka you get enough DVs to counter hers until you reach her

Edited by Father Shrimpas

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I'd say Conquest/Fates in general is one of the most fair FE games. Not perfectly fair, just closer than most.

Is it possible to have losses which aren't the player's fault? Yeah. I'd agree with the chapter 9 example cited. However, this sort of thing can happen in every other FE game and is in many cases more likely in them. Obviously, the games with ambush spawns or fog of war are way more unfair.

I consider the vast majority of surprises in Conquest to be fundamentally fair ones. The Takumi dragon vein changes the battle but it's virtually unimaginable to me that you aren't able to react to it; you'll never immediately lose the battle because of it. It'll make you change your overall strategy but that's fair. I'd consider it analogous to bosses who gain a (scary) new move in the second half of the fight in various action games and RPGs.

Most Conquest reinforcements are similar in that you'll almost always be able to react to them, unless you were really in a bad position when they landed (at which point the fault is yours for being in such a bad position).

I'm surprised anyone would doubt that Hinoka was going to use her dragon vein a second time. I thought it was obvious. Why would the game limit her dragon vein use to a single, easily nullifiable move at the very start of the fight if it wasn't a lead-in to a something larger? And I believe you can still see the dragon vein under her if you look carefully.

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1 hour ago, lenticular said:

Do you disagree? Do you think that I made fundamental mistakes and that I should have known better? And not just that I could have known better but that I should have done. Maybe I could have figured out that since there weren't any turn-based reinforcements that there must be tripwire reinforcements instead, but I don't think that's something that is reasonable to expect of the player

In other video games, you can rig something to happen whenever you pass through an imaginary box; within the context of Fire Emblem, this happens when your units set one foot beyond an invisible threshold on the map. Sure, it sounds unfair when you consider that you weren't warned about the hidden troops in advance; but Birthright did the same thing with that chapter where you fight Benny and Charlotte. I was thinking, "there's three troops of cavalry coming at me and an empty fort, what the fuck is going on here? Eh, it's probably knights and shit." So I killed off the cav units and the midboss only to see a bunch of generals popping up...And a random mercenary. No, I didn't use the DV because I was playing on Lunatic. Took me a while to clear out the Generals, but it was a fun surprise. 

 

But the principle point of FE (and war games) is that you have to be ready to be on the receiving end of a pincer attack, like how you're forced to fight on three or four fronts on Shura's map in Birthright. After an hour or so of baiting bandits and clearing out the map, the AI loses their shit and calls in a bunch of goons around the boss for a final suicide rush. You don't see me complaining about it because it's something that I wasn't expecting, which is a good thing for a game to do.

1 hour ago, lenticular said:

A question for everyone: on the first time that you played Conquest -- assuming that you hadn't read spoilers, watched someone else play, or otherwise had foreknowledge of what was coming -- was it a surprise to you when Takumi first lowered the water, or had you seen the Dragon Vein or otherwise managed to predict what was going to happen? I'm assuming that the vast majority of people were caught unaware and that this wasn't something that we were actually supposed to see coming, but if a bunch of people tell me that they absolutely saw the Dragon Vein then I'll happily concede the point.

I was mostly wondering why that archer was stationary (and had a bunch skills that basically told me to fuck off) and how am I supposed to get to him of my forces were busy fighting off an actual invasion. After playing it through for a while, it felt a little bit too easy, since most of the rewards weren't that far away from the chokepoint. And then he dried out the harbor and everything made sense. Kind of wished that FE did more siege levels like this, honestly.

 

Sure, it was a surprise that caught me off guard, but it reminded me to expect more from the royalty, since it's nearly impossible for you to lose that map, which is a test to see if your army is strong enough for the challenges that the rest of the game has to offer.

1 hour ago, lenticular said:

I'll also add that there's a discrepancy between our DV uses and enemy DV uses in these chapters. All game, we have only ever been able to use each Dragon Vein once. Hinoka and Sakura get to use theirs indefinitely. I wasn't caught unaware by this in Conquest, but only because I'd played Birthright first and been caught unaware by it there. In Camilla's chapter, I was totally not expecting it when she used the same Dragon Vein on me for a second time. Otherwise, I would probably have been equally as surprised when Sakura/Hinoka did it.

I finished (most of) Conquest on Hard, did most of Birthright on Lunatic, so my opinion is a little bit tainted, here. But I certainly wasn't expecting it the Camilla fight to be easy, considering how there's an limited amount of places where I could camp at and how her burning everything opens up a new avenue of approach for the enemy cavalry. It took me quite a while to figure out how to cross the center of the map in one piece though, though. I forgot how I did it, but I remember having a certain skill equipped.

Incidentally, the next map actually forced me to work fast and let Ryoma fight the boss, who went down with a crit from Astra.

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3 hours ago, Father Shrimpas said:

Conquest isn't the first nor the last FE with zone based reinforcements, and blocking stairs is something you pretty much do in every FE if you don't wanna deal with reinforcements. 

I read up on the chapter before posting about it, just to refresh my memory. Turns out that blocking the stairs is basically worthless on that level since it doesn't block the reinforcements from spawning.

3 hours ago, Father Shrimpas said:

Maybe you could've retreated through the wall. Maybe paired up, and gone somewhere, or just rush'd the boss and seized. Or positioned your units differently, etc. I will have to see your formation to say for sure what you could've done.

That's not really the question that I'm asking; sorry if I was unclear. I'm not asking whether it was possible to get out of the situation once I was in it. That's basically unknowable, given that I certainly can't remember the exact positions and stats of all my units. Unless you're claiming that it is fundamentally impossible to get into a position with no solution (which would be an extremely bold claim) then we'll never know for certain whether I was in a truly no-win situation or just one that I personally wasn't good enough to get out of. My question is whether I should have known enough to have been able to avoid getting into that position in the first place.

3 hours ago, Father Shrimpas said:

Fates is the one game where you shouldn't really fuck with the weapon triangle. It isn't useless unlike most other games. While i do agree the Weapon Rank bonuses and triangle advantage/disadvantage should be explicitly visible, the weapon rank bonuses are already calculated in the battle stats (you will notice that Weapon MT + STR/MAG isn't equal to your atk stat, that's because Weapon Rank Bonuses) and the weapon trianlge in the battle calculation, so you should've learned earlier that weapon triangle deals bonus damage.

I don't disagree that it's one of the games where weapon triangle is at its most impactful, which is why it's even more of a problem that the bonuses aren't clearer.

I never bothered to do calculations for player phase attacks. Why would I? I can use the combat preview to get the answer much more quickly and easily. I only bothered doing the arithmetic myself when working out enemy phase attacks.

3 hours ago, Dark Holy Elf said:

I consider the vast majority of surprises in Conquest to be fundamentally fair ones. The Takumi dragon vein changes the battle but it's virtually unimaginable to me that you aren't able to react to it; you'll never immediately lose the battle because of it. It'll make you change your overall strategy but that's fair. I'd consider it analogous to bosses who gain a (scary) new move in the second half of the fight in various action games and RPGs.

If it helps you to imagine it, a. I was playing on Lunatic mode with everything that that entails and b. I was using a very defensive, turtling strategy. I had my strongest units (Camilla and Effie) blocking the chokepoints, they were in defensive stance, and I wasn't really focusing on killing anything that wasn't able to break my formation. In fact, it was beneficial to keep them alive, since they clogged up the enemy formation and made it harder for the actually dangerous enemies (especially the ones with Lunge) to get into position to attack me. These tactics were serving me well right up until the point when the water went away, at which point I was overwhelmed with these enemies who I hadn't killed, and my best units were in defense stance so weren't able to contribute as much offensively.

I don't know. Maybe I just had the absolute worst luck with Fates and chose literally the one single strategy that makes this unreasonable? Wouldn't be the first time that my luck with Fates was abysmal.

3 hours ago, Dark Holy Elf said:

I'm surprised anyone would doubt that Hinoka was going to use her dragon vein a second time. I thought it was obvious. Why would the game limit her dragon vein use to a single, easily nullifiable move at the very start of the fight if it wasn't a lead-in to a something larger? And I believe you can still see the dragon vein under her if you look carefully.

That's a fair point. Like I said, it was with Camilla in Birthright that I actually had this problem, and it's probably more reasonable to assume she only gets to use each DV once, since she'd still be able to fireball three times that way.

2 hours ago, Armchair General said:

I finished (most of) Conquest on Hard, did most of Birthright on Lunatic, so my opinion is a little bit tainted, here. But I certainly wasn't expecting it the Camilla fight to be easy, considering how there's an limited amount of places where I could camp at and how her burning everything opens up a new avenue of approach for the enemy cavalry. It took me quite a while to figure out how to cross the center of the map in one piece though, though. I forgot how I did it, but I remember having a certain skill equipped.

Whereas I was playing Birthright on Hard, and I absolutely did expect the Camilla fight to be easy because the rest of the game up to that point had been easy. (And it was still easy; just not quite as easy as I had originally believed.)

2 hours ago, Armchair General said:

But the principle point of FE (and war games) is that you have to be ready to be on the receiving end of a pincer attack, like how you're forced to fight on three or four fronts on Shura's map in Birthright. After an hour or so of baiting bandits and clearing out the map, the AI loses their shit and calls in a bunch of goons around the boss for a final suicide rush. You don't see me complaining about it because it's something that I wasn't expecting, which is a good thing for a game to do.

I think that FE games are fundamentally different from pure war games in that, with Fire Emblem, it's generally assumed that it should be possible to get through a map without losing anyone, whereas in pure war games, there are almost inevitably going to be casualties. If I were playing a war game and managed to get through a map without any losses, then I'd think that it was poorly balanced and way too easy (unless I'd managed to come up with some especially brilliant tactic).

And I don't want to come off as if I'm complaining. I don't think that Conquest is a bad game because of any of the things I've mentioned here. It's a game that I don't particularly care for because it doesn't match up to my tastes, but that's very different from it being a bad game. If it comes across as if I'm saying that it's a bad game or that it's less fair than other Fire Emblem games, then, to be clear, that is not what I'm saying at all. What I'm trying to do is question the received wisdom that Conquest is a fair game and that even on Lunatic, if you die then it's your own fault. That's the only thing that I'm disagreeing with.

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40 minutes ago, lenticular said:

I read up on the chapter before posting about it, just to refresh my memory. Turns out that blocking the stairs is basically worthless on that level since it doesn't block the reinforcements from spawning

...i played that chapter atleast 10 times and i am pretty sure the information in that wiki is wrong. In fact i am doing a CQ Lunatic run atm and i blocked just the stairs and no reinforcements came when i played the chapter a couple days ago.

42 minutes ago, lenticular said:

My question is whether I should have known enough to have been able to avoid getting into that position in the first place

Yes, imo, especially if you played FEs before it (which according to you you did)

45 minutes ago, lenticular said:

. I was using a very defensive, turtling strategy. I had my strongest units (Camilla and Effie) blocking the chokepoints, they were in defensive stance, and I wasn't really focusing on killing anything that wasn't able to break my formation.

Thing is, putting your strongest units in defense stance gives you less actions and is not advisable unless really needed. If i am pairing Camilla with someone up on that map, it means i am going on a strong offensive.

Camilla + Beruka Pair up for example should clean Hinata's side of the map alone. Effie would preferbly on attack stance with someone so she can kill units, as she particularly never doubles.

Leaving many units alive in a defense map in a FE is a recipe of disaster because in how defense maps work. You will most likely get overwhelmed. 

I think you picked Lunatic in Fates without really understanding Fates mechanics, which why you have the current impression, i guess?

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1 hour ago, lenticular said:

I don't know. Maybe I just had the absolute worst luck with Fates and chose literally the one single strategy that makes this unreasonable?

Yeah, holding up traffic like that would have worked...But again, Conquest was advertised as being hard and Takumi's antics just forced you to deal with a dozen or so enemies as opposed to the handling just the wave's reinforcements.

1 hour ago, lenticular said:

I think that FE games are fundamentally different from pure war games in that, with Fire Emblem, it's generally assumed that it should be possible to get through a map without losing anyone,

You will be punished when you least expect it in FE.

 

But my point was that you were initially caught off guard by people suddenly popping up in an area that you weren't fully prepared for and they're getting ready to attack you as soon as they can, which is something that is mainly prevented by having a rearguard or some reserves to fight off a flanking maneuver (although, this case is a little bit different).

 

1 hour ago, lenticular said:

What I'm trying to do is question the received wisdom that Conquest is a fair game and that even on Lunatic, if you die then it's your own fault.

Well, if you're going against the weapon triangle, it's your fault for missing.

If you aren't going through the opposition's weapons and abilities before you pick a fight, it's your fault.

If you aren't trying to draw the enemy into a position that favors you, it's your fault.

If you aren't using a hard counter against whatever, this isn't necessarily your fault if you only have two archers who's tied up with something else; but it almost comes back to being your fault, in a way.

But it's not your fault that you died to an enemy crit, though.

 

 

Edited by Armchair General

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1 hour ago, lenticular said:

If it helps you to imagine it, a. I was playing on Lunatic mode with everything that that entails and b. I was using a very defensive, turtling strategy. I had my strongest units (Camilla and Effie) blocking the chokepoints, they were in defensive stance, and I wasn't really focusing on killing anything that wasn't able to break my formation. In fact, it was beneficial to keep them alive, since they clogged up the enemy formation and made it harder for the actually dangerous enemies (especially the ones with Lunge) to get into position to attack me. These tactics were serving me well right up until the point when the water went away, at which point I was overwhelmed with these enemies who I hadn't killed, and my best units were in defense stance so weren't able to contribute as much offensively.

To be clear, I'm not surprised that someone would lose the fight because of the dragon vein use - it obviously makes the fight harder. I certainly lost the fight in the later turns the first time I tried it. Just that I can't imagine losing instantly. But if you've put yourself in a bad position - and I'd argue that letting enemies pile up in a defence map is a bad position, even if you might get away with it in easier ones - then yeah it makes sense that you might have ended up in an extremely bad, even unwinnable position, later on. To a certain extent this is analogous to barely hanging on in a fight due to sub-optimal play then the appearance of a couple (non-ambush-spawn) reinforcements putting you over the top into a loss, which can happen in any FE game and isn't, IMO, a bad thing.

On the plus side, if you weren't killing many enemies, hopefully you didn't lose too much real time?

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All reinforcements are bastards. That's why Echoes is the least unfair FE game. Thank you for coming to my TED talk.

On 12/2/2021 at 2:50 PM, lenticular said:

I apologise. It was absolutely unfair of me to lump a bronze sword in with a pile of cabbages. If you need me for the next three hours, I'll be giving penance for my disrespect to the glory of bronze weapons.

Not my cabbages!

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On 12/3/2021 at 5:24 AM, Dark Holy Elf said:

To be clear, I'm not surprised that someone would lose the fight because of the dragon vein use - it obviously makes the fight harder. I certainly lost the fight in the later turns the first time I tried it. Just that I can't imagine losing instantly. But if you've put yourself in a bad position - and I'd argue that letting enemies pile up in a defence map is a bad position, even if you might get away with it in easier ones - then yeah it makes sense that you might have ended up in an extremely bad, even unwinnable position, later on. To a certain extent this is analogous to barely hanging on in a fight due to sub-optimal play then the appearance of a couple (non-ambush-spawn) reinforcements putting you over the top into a loss, which can happen in any FE game and isn't, IMO, a bad thing.

I see your point, but I'm not sure that I agree with it. For a couple of reasons. First is that there aren't any points for artistic impression in Fire Emblem. A victory is a victory. You get given a goal, but it's up to you how you choose to carry it out. For instance, if it's a "kill boss" objective, then you can just as well choose to do it by methodically advancing across the map and killing everyone as you go or by warping in a single unit who can do high damage on player phase and having them assassinate the boss. Neither approach is inherently better than the other. Similarly, you can choose to complete a defense map by setting up defensively and holding choke points or by being more aggressive and taking the fight to your enemy. Both approaches are valid.

Second, related to what you said and also:

On 12/3/2021 at 2:00 AM, Armchair General said:

But my point was that you were initially caught off guard by people suddenly popping up in an area that you weren't fully prepared for and they're getting ready to attack you as soon as they can, which is something that is mainly prevented by having a rearguard or some reserves to fight off a flanking maneuver (although, this case is a little bit different).

I don't think that it's desirable to be able to consistently have everything so thoroughly in hand that you're always able to respond to any eventuality. If that is the case then it probably means that either the level is undertuned or that you're playing on a difficulty level that is too easy for your skill level. (Or if you're playing on the hardest difficulty and are still completely dominating every level, then that means you've effectively achieved mastery and the game has nothing left to offer you in terms of challenge.) Of course, there's nothing wrong with just wanting a big romp of dumb fun, but I'm looking at this purely in terms of playing for challenge.

If we're looking for the "hard but fair" design paradigm that Conquest mostly seems to be going for, then I don't think that it's good to require the player to overkill every level just to be prepared for potential surprises. If you need to always have something held back in reserve and should never be struggling just to get through, then that discourages a player from pushing at the limits of their ability and encourages playing on easier difficulty.

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24 minutes ago, lenticular said:

I don't think that it's desirable to be able to consistently have everything so thoroughly in hand that you're always able to respond to any eventuality.

Well, all the game is asking you is to  reposition your forces to either kill them off immediately or find a way to endure their attacks without killing them. Otherwise, you'll be taking more than one hit on enemy phase and nobody wants to deal with that if so and so can't tank the hits.

 

29 minutes ago, lenticular said:

Similarly, you can choose to complete a defense map by setting up defensively and holding choke points or by being more aggressive and taking the fight to your enemy. Both approaches are valid.

Only difference is how badly you want the EXP and rewards. Also depends on the enemy composition, since magical damage can ruin bottlenecking for 9 turns.

But while there aren't any mages on that level, the ninjas will quickly give you an excuse to advance and kill them off.

 

32 minutes ago, lenticular said:

If we're looking for the "hard but fair" design paradigm that Conquest mostly seems to be going for, then I don't think that it's good to require the player to overkill every level just to be prepared for potential surprises.

To my knowledge, Conquest doesn't usually spam reinforcements from behind your army on every map. Instead, it usually forces you to fight a war on two or three fronts; then it throws a curveball at you by summoning a handful of units from an area that you were half-expecting. You should have enough time to either put some distance between them or kill off whatever you're engaged with and turn around to deal with the extra troops.

It's not like they'll be armed with Wyrmslayers and Hammers.

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6 hours ago, lenticular said:

I see your point, but I'm not sure that I agree with it. For a couple of reasons. First is that there aren't any points for artistic impression in Fire Emblem. A victory is a victory. You get given a goal, but it's up to you how you choose to carry it out. For instance, if it's a "kill boss" objective, then you can just as well choose to do it by methodically advancing across the map and killing everyone as you go or by warping in a single unit who can do high damage on player phase and having them assassinate the boss. Neither approach is inherently better than the other. Similarly, you can choose to complete a defense map by setting up defensively and holding choke points or by being more aggressive and taking the fight to your enemy. Both approaches are valid.

That's fair. My general feeling is that letting enemies pile up in a defensive map is inherently risky. Even if I'm not expecting the water drain tactic, it feels like there's a lot that can go wrong. What if reinforcements appear behind my chokepoints, pincering me against the overwhelming forces I've allowed to build up? What if the enemy brings in a significant number of fliers which can bypass my lines (notably, Conquest 10 has already started throwing fliers at you from the start of the map, so this is an established risk)? What if I make a mistake and let my chokepoint holder get affected by Seal Defence? All of these situations are possible to deal with if you've let enemies pile up, but more difficult. So I would consider letting enemies pile up an objectively inferior strategy... but I fully admit it's largely due to a lack of knowledge of what tricks the game may have to spoil it.

6 hours ago, lenticular said:

I don't think that it's desirable to be able to consistently have everything so thoroughly in hand that you're always able to respond to any eventuality. If that is the case then it probably means that either the level is undertuned or that you're playing on a difficulty level that is too easy for your skill level. (Or if you're playing on the hardest difficulty and are still completely dominating every level, then that means you've effectively achieved mastery and the game has nothing left to offer you in terms of challenge.)

Yeah, I'd absolutely agree. And of course this means that any unexpected development has the potential to overwhelm you and lead to a loss. From that standpoint, you can argue that every single unexpected development (e.g. reinforcements of any flavour) is a form of unfairness. I guess my point of view is that there's a certain amount of unfairness in a SRPG I find acceptable, to keep you off balance a bit. But we can quibble over where that line is, what forms of "unfairness" are acceptable, and even if they should exist at all.

I'm obviously biased in that despite losing in part because of it, I loved the water drain tactic. It was in line with what we had been told to expect from dragon veins and felt like a brilliant way to up the challenge of the map in a way which was much more organic and interesting than the usual FE method of just throwing in extra reinforcements.

 

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