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Creating a unit from scratch


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Over the last couple of days I've been getting more and more interested in making a FE ROMhack. There's a lot of information on how to do it so I'm sure that that's gonna work out somehow, but there's something I can't find information on: When creating a 'new' unit for your game, how do you decide the base stats and growth rates? I know, I know, you can basically do anything with them scale the enemies or something, but let's say I wanted to insert a new unit into FE8, where most of the time you're fighting generic enemies, and I wanted that unit to blend in with the rest, so it's not noticably stronger or weaker. Is there a set amount of points that I could distribute as base stats? Can I take an existing unit in the same class, add up their growth rates to a total, and divide that total on my new units growth rates and call it a balanced unit?

I'm really hurting my head thinking about it, so I thought, why reinvent the wheel when someone on this forum probably has some wisdom in this regard already? :)

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It's very hard to hit a "sweetspot" for balance, as it differs per person, but I would say that its depending on how your enemy stats are spread throughout the game.

If the enemies are very difficult, then better characters are probably necessary. Vice versa if the enemy units are weaker.

There are other things to consider as well:

Does said unit have a great prf weapon? 

Do they have an amazing class promotion? 

These kinds of things need to be considered to have something "balanced", otherwise you have issues like FE4, for example.

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The thing is that what kind of balance is "good" is sort of an inherently-subjective question in a lot of ways. Even seemingly-simple questions like how you want player character strength to compare to that of enemies, and how you want that to change (or not!) over the course of the game, can be its own whole discussion.

If your intention really is just to add a new character to an existing game without changing much else about that game, I'd compare your new unit's bases, growth rates, etc. to those of other units that join at around the same level and/or point in the game. You might actually want to approach it by looking at characters' average stats at various levels, and using that to "reverse-engineer" what a good set of growth rates for a unit would be based on their base stats. If you want to do this, average values for each stat are generally calculated as...

base stat value + ((growth rate / 100) x (current level - base level))

...for each stat, though you also need to factor in promotion bonuses and stuff, too, if and when they're applicable. Obviously, this gets even more complex when you factor in things like base weapon ranks, what gear a unit joins with, any skills they may have access to should the engine facilitate that... And join time, too! Gwendolyn and Fir join one chapter apart in FE6, and they both come at level 1 with base stats to match. They're also both plopped into your party right at the onset of a bunch of axe-wielding enemies, which has the effect of making Gwendolyn much harder to train and Fir much easier, since Gwendolyn has an active disadvantage against a large portion of enemies directly following her recruitment while Fir is in the opposite situation. There's a lot to consider, and there really isn't any simple, surefire "guide" on how to balance units well. Just a whole bunch of things to remember to think about, really.

Edited by Topaz Light
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Alright, those are some great insights already. Thanks! 

What I'm actually planning to do with the ROMhack is have my friends each create their own unit. I thought it would be a good idea to take the bases and growths from generic units, and add on to that in the same way that Japan-exclusive DS remake did it (y'know, with the whole My Unit thing). So, ask them like three to five questions, each increasing a stat and or growth. There's no way to standardize this, I guess. 

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