Jump to content
Jotari

Ambush Spawns are good (maybe)

Recommended Posts

Just now, Sasori said:

I most remember Awakening for their counter reinforcement. Few things in FE felt more unfair then a unit dying just because you could't foresee a enemy with such a annoying skill on it.

Oh yes. That very rarely happens outside of DLC or Lunatic+, but hooooooly shit when it does happen...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm pretty sure the majority of Warriors can have Counter randomly assigned to them in Awakening in any difficulty that isn't Normal, and one instance I can remember where a Warrior shows up in the ambush spawns is the infamous Mila Tree chapter which would be even worse if they happen to have counter.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm going to refer to reinforcements as enemy phase and player phase because what I have to say here touches on both.

While they can be annoying at times, I think they have their place in Fire Emblem and can be used well. Having to wait a turn to act is a huge detriment in Fire Emblem; one turn can mean the difference between life and death. If you know where they're coming from you can literally sit next to their spawn point and farm them for free EXP as they come. You could say "just add more of them" but you have to draw the line at some point, unless you want to go full PoR Maniac Mode. Enemy phase reinforcements punish spawncamping a lot more concisely than player phase reinforcements ever could... or if the reinforcements are meant to punish you at all. I don't think punishing the player is that bad for making the wrong move is that bad, provided they can discern the wrong move.

IMO the biggest problem with enemy phase reinforcements is how IntSys has been using them. They've settled into a terrible pattern, which can be described as:

  1. It has to be either one or the other. Now, this has been a thing since FE began, and it's a shame because the two timings would be great if used in tandem. In fact, use them both in the same reinforcement groups. Have the first wave of fort reinforcements be player phase and the rest be enemy phase, or have one or two "scouts" appear on player phase joined by the rest on enemy phase. There are 2-3 ways you can approach these, only one of them gets you ambushed on and it's on you if it happened. Likewise groups that wouldn't be fair going first can be all player phase, or all enemy phase if they're in a spot where it really shouldn't matter.
  2. Only on Hard, Maniac, etc. This "they're too hard for normal" way of thinking is the root of most problems and it's what makes #1 a lot more damning. Enemy phase reinforcements require a different enough approach that it's effectively a new game mechanic, and the consequences of playing poorly are not something to throw at new players on a higher difficulty. There's also the issue that reinforcements frequently only work one way or the other, and maybe arguments about going from coddling to sink-or-swim.
  3. We can add new reinforcement patterns on Hard and up. This speaks for itself and it's a dick move in tandem with the last two points.

That's how it started in Shadow Dragon, and while the DS games have map saves I don't believe they excuse poor or lazy reinforcement design, neither do rewind mechanics. I think New Mystery's the worse of the two though because a few of its Maniac+ patterns could be described as kaizo traps. I also have to give Fates credit where it's due, not for buying "ambush spawn bad" but for being consistent with the timings across difficulties. If it didn't commit to player phase only I fully believe Conquest could have used enemy phase reinforcements fairly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Jotari said:

I would define it as enemies who spawn on the enemy phase and can also move and attack the same turn. Different to enemies that can spawn mid player phase when you pass a certain point, which I would call Tripwire Reinforcements.

ok, but you might want to add that to your original post just to make sure anyone who start will expect the same concept.

honestly i was expecting tripwire to be the only  ambush spawn . imo its more fit into ambush spawn category since its pop up when you're near as opposed to spawning due to turn count. which in case you may or may not in the range of said reinforcement attack tile in the next turn

wish for every map ambush spawn the enemy had, we also had player ambush spawn... o wait, we had. but it rarely matter since every enemy are meant to die anyway (and it always comes either as weaker unit, or just plain outnumbered)

i would say reinforcement should have add more discerning rule to trigger it than just turn count. something like: only happening if you kill side mini boss that doesn't move, or if you take unbeaten path (side road/shortcut/etc), or you going out of your way to stole/clean all lucrative chests in far corner of map so it irks the boss of the map lmao

that way casual player whos not really bright will encounter less amount of ambush spawn

2 hours ago, X-Naut said:

Have the first wave of fort reinforcements be player phase and the rest be enemy phase, or have one or two "scouts" appear on player phase joined by the rest on enemy phase.

maybe im remembering wrong game, but i thought older FE game are like that? enemy that spawn first are more squishy, then get slightly stronger for the next wave

3 hours ago, X-Naut said:

Only on Hard, Maniac, etc. This "they're too hard for normal" way of thinking is the root of most problems and it's what makes #1 a lot more damning. Enemy phase reinforcements require a different enough approach that it's effectively a new game mechanic, and the consequences of playing poorly are not something to throw at new players on a higher difficulty. There's also the issue that reinforcements frequently only work one way or the other, and maybe arguments about going from coddling to sink-or-swim.

the duality of FE fans, having it happen in later difficulties will break it because dont want added unknown element, but on the other hand always pursue higher difficulties to the point maddening and the likes become benchmark of how good the game, use randomizer, or use/play mods that shake everything up, just to feel new experience

 

want to add more why it become problem: FE players want to clear the map ASAP whether theres reward or no. it just become second nature somehow. also permadeath

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Alastor15243 said:

Given that this situation only comes up when reinforcements spawn really, really close to you, so close that the idea of moving past them would even be in the cards if they weren't invincible,

The only time Ambush Spawns, or your suggested alternative function differently from other reinforcements is when they are really close. Your solution has transformed an enemy phase problem into a player phase problem, and which will end up being worse isn't all that clear-cut, especially when we haven't seen how badly IS would mess up your reinforcement idea in practice.

 

6 hours ago, Alastor15243 said:

I'd say what that set of reinforcements might do to your army without that turn to prepare is a way bigger concern than the single turn added to your turn count.

You are dismissing the values of a turn a lot, you might need that turn to recruit an ally, or save some loot from the enemy, or you might need that turn to save your allies by ending a map. Plus this is ignoring a lot of other dangerous positions that not being able to move past a space can add, for example what if you need to kill an enemy that turn (perhaps an enemy siege tome wielder, or status staff wielder, or killer weapon wielder, or effective weapon wielder, or looting thief, or sacking brigand, etc...), and you can't reach them thanks to the spaces that are now impassible for the player (but not the enemy...). You might need to pass through those now impassible spaces to retreat after luring in a large group of enemies, or recombine you army after sending a portion of it off to complete a side objective, etc. Plus if a map has multiple turns of reinforcements, that could extend the problem for multiple turns.

 

2 hours ago, X-Naut said:

 

  1. It has to be either one or the other. Now, this has been a thing since FE began, and it's a shame because the two timings would be great if used in tandem. In fact, use them both in the same reinforcement groups. Have the first wave of fort reinforcements be player phase and the rest be enemy phase, or have one or two "scouts" appear on player phase joined by the rest on enemy phase. There are 2-3 ways you can approach these, only one of them gets you ambushed on and it's on you if it happened. Likewise groups that wouldn't be fair going first can be all player phase, or all enemy phase if they're in a spot where it really shouldn't matter.

I can think of one time FE actually did this, in FE6's notorious chapter 7 on HM the first set of cavalry reinforcements from the south are end of turn reinforcements, but the rest are ambush spawns. The Elibe games are actually rather inconsistent with regard to the timing of reinforcements, with the most of the early-game reinforcements of FE7 being ambush spawns, but the rest being end of turn reinforcements.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
49 minutes ago, Eltosian Kadath said:

The only time Ambush Spawns, or your suggested alternative function differently from other reinforcements is when they are really close. Your solution has transformed an enemy phase problem into a player phase problem, and which will end up being worse isn't all that clear-cut, especially when we haven't seen how badly IS would mess up your reinforcement idea in practice.

Okay, I'm still seriously having trouble visualizing this. Can you paint me a picture of a specific scenario in which the player will be grateful that ambush spawns happened instead of invincible non-ambush spawns? Because the disadvantages you bring up seem to me to be so situational as to only ever happen if the devs did it on purpose.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd be kind of annoyed if there were invincible enemies on the map. Ifbtheres something there, i want to kill it. Though to implement virtually the same idea in different way, how about some xebobladesque premonition ability for the protagonist (like Micaiha only more integrated) that shows you a vision of enemy reinforcements coming, maybe by having intangible ghostly versions of the up coming enemy with stats you can check.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ambush spawns are a good example of the tension between what is good for an individual map and what is good for the game as a whole.

For an individual map, it's often good to shake things up and throw unexpected problems at the player. It's fun to be put in a hole and then have to try to figure your way out of it. So you lost two units to ambush spawns? Great! You were supposed to. Your original plan has completely fallen apart and now you have to come up with a new plan. Every turn, you're scrambling, reacting. For something like a standalone trial map this would absolutely be a valid way of designing the level. Maybe not to everyone's taste, but I can imagine it being a lot of fun.

However, in the context of the full game, that sort of thing just doesn't fly. In a game with permadeath, the consequences of losing someone are much higher. Rolling with the punches for a single level is one thing. Doing so for the entire rest of the game is something else. Losing your strongest unit/favourite character/whatever to something that isn't your fault isn't something that many people are going to find fun.

For as long as they want to keep permadeath a thing, the game has to be fair and feel fair. Unfairness and permadeath just aren't a good combination.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Jotari said:

I'd be kind of annoyed if there were invincible enemies on the map. Ifbtheres something there, i want to kill it. Though to implement virtually the same idea in different way, how about some xebobladesque premonition ability for the protagonist (like Micaiha only more integrated) that shows you a vision of enemy reinforcements coming, maybe by having intangible ghostly versions of the up coming enemy with stats you can check.

Ah yes, that thing I suggested during the Binding Blade playlog?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
51 minutes ago, Alastor15243 said:

Ah yes, that thing I suggested during the Binding Blade playlog?

Did you? Slipped my mind.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, lenticular said:

For an individual map, it's often good to shake things up and throw unexpected problems at the player. It's fun to be put in a hole and then have to try to figure your way out of it. So you lost two units to ambush spawns? Great! You were supposed to. Your original plan has completely fallen apart and now you have to come up with a new plan. Every turn, you're scrambling, reacting. For something like a standalone trial map this would absolutely be a valid way of designing the level. Maybe not to everyone's taste, but I can imagine it being a lot of fun.

I'm not sure I agree with even that much tbh. You're still punishing the player for doing nothing wrong, which at its core is a pretty bad idea. And this still encourages overly defensive strategies, at least on its own.

This encompasses my stance pretty well however. I can agree that same turn reinforcements/tripwire reinforcements have redeeming qualities. But they're still not worth it in the slightest. I don't think them coexisting with the turnwheel is a satisfying solution at all either, though that seems fairly universal.

I really liked the no-exp reinforcements Conquest throws at the player at points, btw. I feel like that fixed a lot of the balancing problems reinforcements tend to pose.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, lenticular said:

For as long as they want to keep permadeath a thing, the game has to be fair and feel fair. Unfairness and permadeath just aren't a good combination.

Nah. I disagree.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Shaky Jones said:

You're just trying to justify losing Cord in your ironman, aren't you?

No. Cope? What cope? I'm not trying to cope. You're coping. Seethe elsewhere, coper. I don't need any cope.

Serious guys, I'm not coping. I just think the burden of proof for the statement "a game with permadeath should feel more fair than one that doesn't" is on the one making the claim. It's not cope. I just think that long term consequences for unexpected events are interesting as well, not just short term ones. C'mon guys, seriously, I'm not coping.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, AnonymousSpeed said:

I just think the burden of proof for the statement "a game with permadeath should feel more fair than one that doesn't" is on the one making the claim.

Well, why do you think taking things away from the player in this way is better?

Edited by Alastor15243

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ambush spawns are just bad game design in pretty much every scenario. The scenario I can see ambush spawns working is as follows:
- Ambush spawns are in effect when you are outside of the ambush spawn's range + x tiles. Let's say Range+5 or so. You physically cannot be attacked by them. Once you enter this range and get close enough, they either stop or turn into non ambush spawns. 
Ambush spawns add a sense of tensions and haste because they move immediately. You don't get that with non ambush reinforcements. 
The Percival bridge map is a map where I do not mind ambush spawns. You have ambush spawns from the left at the start, you cross the bridge and they turn into normal reinforcements. Meanwhile at the far end of the bridge, your starting posotion, backside reinforcements start spawning. If you're slow they'll be normal. If you're past the bridge they'll be ambush. It creates a sense of urgency whilst staying away from the ambush problem: Killing a unit that was out of range but now is in range because fuck you ambush attack.

And of course thematically and story wise you can do stuff with them, as long as they won't be able to reach your units when they spawn.

Edited by Vicious Sal

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, AnonymousSpeed said:

I just think the burden of proof for the statement "a game with permadeath should feel more fair than one that doesn't" is on the one making the claim. It's not cope. I just think that long term consequences for unexpected events are interesting as well, not just short term ones.

I'm not trying to prove anything. I'm stating an opinion. Do I really need to preface every sentence with "this is what I personally think and it's OK if you disagree"? Because, well, what I said was what I personally think and it's OK if you disagree.

The only part of what I said that I can reasonably see as being an assertion of fact rather than opinion was: "Losing your strongest unit/favourite character/whatever to something that isn't your fault isn't something that many people are going to find fun." So, OK, let me reword that: "Based on my observations of both my friends and people within Fire Emblem fandom, the impression that I get is that there are not very many people who find it fun to lose units in a way that don't feel like their fault."

If you think that the impression that I have is wrong, then please tell me why. If you personally love having your units die to ambush spawns when you're doing ironman runs, then please tell me why. If you don't understand the point I'm making and would like me to elaborate, then please ask me to. Just saying that you disagree without any context or elaboration adds nothing to the conversation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Agreed with all comments against ambush spawns. There are ways to make them less bad (like telegraphing them more) but nothing is fun about losing a unit for something that you couldn't know about. This goes double if you lose someone to an ambush spawn carrying a weakness-hitting weapon (or Awakening Counter, as mentioned). They don't encourage good play; in fact a lof of what they encourage is terrible play. One of the best ways to deal with ambush spawns on a blind run is to camp on all nearby forts and stairs (etc.). I've certainly done it. Does anyone consider this a good thing?

And of course FE has proven very well at this point that it can do difficulty very well without it, thank you very much.

What's frustrating is that FE does ambush spawns a terrible way because that's how they've always done them, but there are ways to make them work. Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle had a great way of doing it: if an enemy was going to spawn at the start of the enemy phase, you could still see the enemy and check its range, just not attack them yet (flavour-wise, they were about to burrow up out of the ground). You also couldn't stand in their panel to stop them appearing. So they were still an enemy-phase threat that you couldn't kill before they moved, but they never felt unfair.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Honestly even regular reinforcements can be utter bullshit.

Case in point, I'm on CF Chapter 12.

Just suddenly drop 2 mini-bosses, 2 bosses infront of you and over 5 pegasus riders with decent stats behind you.

That all start charging you.

Nothing makes me want to stop playing a game than the developers giving the equivalent of a big middle finger to the player like this.

That said, Ambush is always worse and has no real benefits but the designers need to remember that even regular reinforcements in high numbers/out of nowhere are also brutally unfair.

 

Edited by Samz707

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
38 minutes ago, Samz707 said:

Honestly even regular reinforcements can be utter bullshit.

Case in point, I'm on CF Chapter 12.

Just suddenly drop 2 mini-bosses, 2 bosses infront of you and over 5 pegasus riders with decent stats behind you.

That all start charging you.

Nothing makes me want to stop playing a game than the developers giving the equivalent of a big middle finger to the player like this.

That said, Ambush is always worse and has no real benefits but the designers need to remember that even regular reinforcements in high numbers/out of nowhere are also brutally unfair.

 

I've got this concept where basically you've got a spy who will tell you how long it looks like it'll be until reinforcements arrive, and since the setting also has a highly militarily significant increment of time named after a single "turn of the timeglass", the spy would just straight up tell you how many "turns" it will be.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
38 minutes ago, Alastor15243 said:

I've got this concept where basically you've got a spy who will tell you how long it looks like it'll be until reinforcements arrive, and since the setting also has a highly militarily significant increment of time named after a single "turn of the timeglass", the spy would just straight up tell you how many "turns" it will be.

That could sorta work but I still think the player needs to actually know what exactly they're up against.

Sometimes, it's just/mostly dudes from the front, sometimes it's mostly from behind and sometimes you're literally surrounded, you don't know what actual type of ambush spawn you'll get slapped with until it happens and that can 10 or more turns into a battle and potentially all of those turns just got wasted.

And well, Fliers can just ignore terrain, so good luck actually predicting how far back is safe when suddenly that nice big wall that you could rely on as a way to funnel the enemy suddenly means nothing, suddenly a large chunk of the map that's safe is now very much not safe and good luck body blocking them if they have ranged weapons.

So you have to move all your weak units far away in a mad-sprint so they aren't just stabbed quickly but this also puts all your frontal units in more trouble because now you have a few fliers that you have to worry about that honestly kind of thrown any real way to predict how much damage your frontline troops will take out the window. (Since well, they can just fly behind your units and stab them and if they decide to move last? well then they might very well just finish off anyone injured.)

Most of my trouble with fliers is that they often appear in unfair spots (Such as well, the right of Chapter 12 CF, where there's tons of vegetation to slow down trying to move your other units out of danger but fliers can just SWOOP RIGHT OVER IT, same with Early-Game Awakening's love of mountain terrain that stops your movement and fliers with 1-2 Axes.) where you simply actually can't get back in time if you've moved your army up thanks to the actual tiles and their layout.

You're trying to run away, with trees, foliage and mountain tiles stopping your movement, often reducing your units to only 2-5 squares of movement in one turn..while a Flier with 8 move gets to just fly all over that, it can very easily make the one extra turn you get  ahead of them not really amount to much.

While I've only played through it once, FE7 Normal at least has the decency to have the morphs in the final level that rush you (I think) have poor stats as well as only a small amount of them being fliers. (or at least, most of my units by that point could easily take 2-3 of them at once so the inevitable swarm was somewhat more manageable as well as the map having a one-tile bridge as a good choke point.)

At least it's not Codename:STEAM...where they thought infinite reinforcements as the standard and placing them near the points on the map you need to reach to end the level was fine.

Edited by Samz707

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Speaking of infinite reinforcements, I find repeating the same reinforcements turn after turn is the worst type of reinforcements. It's just really lazy and it promotes turtling no matter what phase they appear on.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
29 minutes ago, Samz707 said:

At least it's not Codename:STEAM...where they thought infinite reinforcements as the standard and placing them near the points on the map you need to reach to end the level was fine.

And I would say it was fine for that game. 

Remember the context. Lovecraftian aliens are taking over the Earth, everywhere, humanity is fighting a losing battle. All you are, is a strike team accomplishing only the most important objectives, ending with a pinpoint strike on the aliens' lair.

Given the above, infinite reinforcements makes sense. The aliens are that numerous, and you're not supposed to linger anyhow, you don't have the manpower for that. Get in, do what you have to, get out. It creates an appropriately hostile atmosphere in the gameplay.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, Interdimensional Observer said:

And I would say it was fine for that game. 

Remember the context. Lovecraftian aliens are taking over the Earth, everywhere, humanity is fighting a losing battle. All you are, is a strike team accomplishing only the most important objectives, ending with a pinpoint strike on the aliens' lair.

Given the above, infinite reinforcements makes sense. The aliens are that numerous, and you're not supposed to linger anyhow, you don't have the manpower for that. Get in, do what you have to, get out. It creates an appropriately hostile atmosphere in the gameplay.

Yeah but getting out is tough when some reinforcement spawns are literally right next to exits, in a game where aliens can interrupt your movement and stun you if you try to move. (And a good few maps without exploiting steam checkpoint refills are impossible to finish without having Aliens get cheap shots in by spawning behind you.)

It felt less like numerous aliens and more just lazily respawning the same one over and over again.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...