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Dr. Buttass
Aug 12, 2013

AWFUL SOMETHING

Krumbsthumbs posted:

We're going to have to agree to disagree. We've seen Limstella skulking around multiple battlefields of the Black Fangs harvesting, it isn't unreasonable to check the Morph you left in charge in case she can be fixed. She couldn't be, so I see it more as a statement from a machine to another along the lines of "you're defective, and we have no more use for you" rather than a taunt to someone breathing their last. If you see that as a taunt, that's fair, but I do not see that as being professional.

I'm with Melth; Limstella is definitely doing something Not Strictly Necessary in having a little chat with Sonia there. Everything you include in a story, be it movies or novels or comics or video games, should either advance the plot, reveal something about the characters participating, or both; anything that doesn't accomplish either can and should be left on the cutting room floor. The conversation doesn't really impart any new, story-important information to the player, so that leaves revealing something about who Limstella is as a person. Now, if we assume that Limstella is an emotionless engine of Nergal's will with no thoughts or opinions of her own, the conversation doesn't make sense because it's pointless to Nergal's plans and pointless to Limstella. It doesn't really impart any critical information to Sonia about Nergal's plan or what she can do with her last few pathetic breaths in service of that plan; whether or not Sonia knows and/or acknowledges that she's a morph and not a human has no effect whatsoever on Nergal's plan. If she's just checking up to see if Sonia can be salvaged then there's literally no point in saying anything as opposed to just showing up and leaving without a word. Narratively, the conversation only works if Limstella is getting a bit of petty satisfaction out of telling Sonia that she's the thing she's always despised (or, like Fooly says, she's just muttering to herself while she works), either way betraying that Limstella does, in fact, have her own thoughts and opinions about what's going on around her.

PS: When Melth called Limstella "professional" in the context of the conversation, he was suggesting that the conversation was unusual because it's not professional and Limstella is showing a crack in her demeanor, not that the conversation was itself a further sign of professionalism.

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Melth
Feb 16, 2015

Victory and/or death!

Nihilarian posted:

Would it be worth it to burn a pure water or Barrier to make sure key people can't be statused?

Yes, if you could. I believe I mentioned those as options way back in the war room where I talked about statuses.

The trouble is basically that

1) on this map, you can't control the enemy target very well

2) on this map, you're often really pressed for time

Barriering one person is no good if the enemy can just staff someone else. And given their massive ranges, they often can- unless you just sit way back in which case the enemy bogs you down successfully.

And on the occasions where you CAN control the enemy target (for example, the early raid on the mage island where I had to watch for the sleep druid), I was often too busy to spare a turn drinking a pure water or using a barrier.


Dr. Buttass posted:

PS: When Melth called Limstella "professional" in the context of the conversation, he was suggesting that the conversation was unusual because it's not professional and Limstella is showing a crack in her demeanor, not that the conversation was itself a further sign of professionalism.

Yes, that's basically what I was trying to say (and I was a little confused about why Krumbsthumbs seemed to be saying that Limstella was not professional)

Melth fucked around with this message at 07:33 on Apr 12, 2015

Melth
Feb 16, 2015

Victory and/or death!

Sorites posted:

I feel like Night of Farewells is really hurt by the programming oversight that gave us 0-requirement chapters. If you didn't need to build up such a massive turn surplus, you could tackle this chapter at a more reasonable pace and have it feel less like clumsy juggling.

Couldn't you make that argument for pretty much every chapter on HM though? As I've said before, I don't really have a problem with the existence of 0 req chapters, in fact I think they improve the max ranking experience all in all.

And it's not like I didn't tackle most previous chapters as fast as I could while still getting all or almost all of the reinforcements.

Really, in my opinion the flaw with the level is the bridge and water gimmick being abused. This chapter really works hard to keep you on the defensive with huge swarms of air units flying in from several sides at once and like 12 long-ranged attackers of various sorts blasting away from inaccessible locations. But because of the water (and the way the bridges work) it's almost impossible to set up a good defensive formation, so you often can end up with no choice but to put a fragile person in range of one or more dangers. Or you just get so caught up in healing and restoring everyone and running around fighting on all sides and watching out for A, C, and D long ranged attackers that you forget about B for one move and then you lose.

The ENM version of this chapter works way better; it's both a more interesting challenge and much less aggravating. Because the enemy's air superiority is less pronounced and because there are just slightly fewer long ranged attackers, you aren't getting torn to shreds all the time. Further, there are more items to steal and a MUCH lower time limit. This encourages fast, aggressive play instead of just holding on for dear life. And it encourages you to use tactics you don't need to use elsewhere, like finding ways to rescue-drop two or three people in by air every turn or two to get from island to island stealing things before the bridges appear.

So in the HHM mode version you just have to hope your characters are tough or lucky enough to weather the storm and one basically never gets the chance to do anything but throw strong units at the problem and hope for the best. In the ENM version, you have to think carefully about your formation as you fly around rescue-dropping fragile units like Matthew and Priscilla into dangerous islands and have a detailed strategy and planned approach to begin with.

Sorites
Sep 10, 2012

I single out Night of Farewells because it's apparently got this vision of you taking it slow, almost-filling the turn quota, and having a cleaner strategy for it. Instead it's this stupid plate-spinning act. So the need for a buffer really changes the feel of the map.

Contrast Whereabouts Unknown. That's meant to be frantically storming a castle, and now it's super-frantically storming a castle.

Dr. Buttass
Aug 12, 2013

AWFUL SOMETHING
Incidentally the reason you come out of this map feeling like you lost when all the numbers say it was a resounding smash victory is because this map is difficult, not challenging. I've had some Stupid Internet Arguments about this distinction recently but I'm confident enough about it that I feel like it's a good thing to talk about and understand when dissecting games and seeing what does and doesn't work about them. Challenge is when you set the game to hard mode and the boss uses more advanced tactics; difficult is when you set the game to hard mode and the boss does exactly the same thing, but he has three times as much health and does four times as much damage. Difficult isn't testing your skills to a greater degree, it's just saying your skills arbitrarily count for less. That's what this map is doing; it's not showing you anything new or even particularly hard to deal with, it's just arbitrarily restricting your capacity to deal with it, and sometimes the RNG just randomly screws you over and no amount of skill or strategy could have saved you. Challenge is satisfying because when you finish it you know you had to be good at it to do it. Difficult is frustrating and unsatisfying because you didn't have to be particularly good at it, you just had to keep at it for way longer than you really needed to and still had to rely on luck anyway.

Dr. Buttass fucked around with this message at 22:58 on Apr 13, 2015

Sorites
Sep 10, 2012

Yeah, Bloodborne sure is a game.

Melth
Feb 16, 2015

Victory and/or death!

Dr. Buttass posted:

Incidentally the reason you come out of this map feeling like you lost when all the numbers say it was a resounding smash victory is because this map is difficult, not challenging. I've had some Stupid Internet Arguments about this distinction recently but I'm confident enough about it that I feel like it's a good thing to talk about and understand when dissecting games and seeing what does and doesn't work about them. Challenge is when you set the game to hard mode and the boss uses more advanced tactics; difficult is when you set the game to hard mode and the boss does exactly the same thing, but he has three times as much health and does four times as much damage. Difficult isn't testing your skills to a greater degree, it's just saying your skills arbitrarily count for less. That's what this map is doing; it's not showing you anything new or even particularly hard to deal with, it's just arbitrarily restricting your capacity to deal with it, and sometimes the RNG just randomly screws you over and no amount of skill or strategy could have saved you. Challenge is satisfying because when you finish it you know you had to be good at it to do it. Difficult is frustrating and unsatisfying because you didn't have to be particularly good at it, you just had to keep at it for way longer than you really needed to and still had to rely on luck anyway.

Hm. Well that's a distinction worth considering at least, although I don't think I agree that simply giving enemies higher stats does not sometimes test the player's skills to a greater degree. Sometimes that creates a satisfying sort of experience and sometimes it's a pointless frustration.

To give two examples from games I'd been talking about recently, both Sonny 2 and LotR: the Third Age (GBA) increase enemy stats on higher difficulty modes.

In the former, the result is awesome. The metagame changes completely and is waaaaay more interesting since the higher enemy stats mean there is basically no way to focus fire one enemy down quickly and thus trivialize the rest of the fight. Instead, you have to have a team and a build ready to stay in the fight for more than a few rounds and to use lots of abilities that are hugely valuable defensively (stuns for example) but that don't do enough damage to be worthwhile in the lower difficulties. In contrast, the new mechanic of having strictly limited turn time instead of the game being fully turn based- which I think would fall under what you call 'challenge'- often strikes me as a pointless nuisance.

In the latter, the result kind of sucks. On Hard you can still win legitimately, it's just tougher. On Grueling the enemies outclass you so thoroughly that any attempt at actually playing the levels as intended is certain death on most chapters. Instead you have to abuse the AI and various cheesy strats like not fighting at all and just having Aragorn spam Curse of the dead for 100 turns.


Sorites posted:

Yeah, Bloodborne sure is a game.

I know nothing about it, so I'm not sure I follow.

Geizt
Dec 10, 2014



I think the trick to making the game tougher via increasing stats is to not go too far with it. I mean, just putting out a Fire Emblem example, stuff like Lunatic+ mode from FE:A or the higher level Hard modes from Shadow Dragon. A friend of mine basically found that H5 was absolutely unwinnable without extreme luck even when he cheated to make everyone max level, and the same can be said for Lunatic+, where you can just lose the early game if too many enemies have too many skills and boosted stats.

Tae
Oct 24, 2010

Hello? Can you hear me? ...Perhaps if I shout? AAAAAAAAAH!
edit: I'm an idiot, wrong thread.

Tae fucked around with this message at 18:03 on Apr 14, 2015

vilkacis
Feb 16, 2011

If they're as exciting as the 43 different Marths you could get in Awakening, that's not much to get excited about.

Ed

quote:

Again, the booster box will feature a promotion card thatís a preview of the next series of cards, in addition to a download code to get ďPegasus Knight MinervaĒ in Fire Emblem If.


:what:



That's not only a fake, it's a bad one, too. At least Samto kinda looks like the guy he wants you to think he is, from a distance, in bad lighting...

vilkacis fucked around with this message at 17:45 on Apr 14, 2015

Rigged Death Trap
Feb 13, 2012

BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP

IF there is one thing I hate and like about Awakening it's the Art.





Pegasus Knight Minerva.
Hah.

the holy poopacy
May 16, 2009

Fun Shoe

Geizt posted:

I think the trick to making the game tougher via increasing stats is to not go too far with it. I mean, just putting out a Fire Emblem example, stuff like Lunatic+ mode from FE:A or the higher level Hard modes from Shadow Dragon. A friend of mine basically found that H5 was absolutely unwinnable without extreme luck even when he cheated to make everyone max level, and the same can be said for Lunatic+, where you can just lose the early game if too many enemies have too many skills and boosted stats.

Really it's all about leaving the players options. If the enemies are all pushovers, a lot of options become irrelevant in favor of whatever steamrolls the enemies most efficiently. Upping the numbers at this point creates enough difficulty that other tactics become more viable, increasing the number of usable options the player has, which creates challenges in navigating the options to find the best tactics. But if you just keep cranking the numbers, you wind up axing a lot of formerly viable strategies and the game is reduced to executing a small number of cheesy tactics.

marshmallow creep
Dec 10, 2008

I've been sitting here for 5 mins trying to think of a joke to make but I just realised the animators of Mass Effect already did it for me

Rigged Death Trap posted:

Pegasus Knight Minerva.
Hah.

Well she had to practice on something. Wyverns are promoted only in her game.

The Iron Rose
May 12, 2012

:minnie: Cat Army :minnie:
So I just marathoned this entire thread Melth, the day before my exams. What you're doing is super impressive - I had always loved FE7 above just about every other Fire Emblem game (it was my first), but I had always breezed through HHM because I didn't care about rankings. They really do add a remarkably difficult dimension to the game, and even as someone who considers herself a good player, your strategy and tactics are at another level entirely.

So kudos.

Also if you're still taking suggestions for a future LP, go for the LOTR game after this, or Sonny (now there's a game I haven't thought about in years!) maybe. They both sound more interesting than Advance Wars imo.

Melth
Feb 16, 2015

Victory and/or death!
After last chapter (and some further tests on Cog of Destiny) I was finally able to test some of my remembrances about exactly how status staves work in this game. I revised the previous war room on that accordingly. Notably, I was able to confirm my recollection that you cannot have Ninian use any kind of Dance on a person who has a negative condition and that the enemy will never use a condition stave on someone who has a dance condition already. Also, unlike some later titles, sleep does not give the enemy a 100% chance to hit in this game.

Melth
Feb 16, 2015

Victory and/or death!


Well THATíS an ominous title
And an awesome one.

On Eliwood mode, Cog of Destiny is one of the gameís two biggest, fiercest, battles. Itís just one giant fight against both more and stronger enemies than seen before. Wave after wave of enemies will charge out of their forts and overwhelm all but the strongest defenses. If you do win, even your promoted units will have gained dozens of levels.

The huge, mountainous landscape, unique and dramatic music theme, critical importance as the final end of the Black Fang and the return at last to the main plot, and relative difficulty make it a truly epic chapter. Many people list it as their favorite chapter of the game, though for me all such straightforward battles rank below the likes of the Dragonís Gate and Whereabouts Unknown and Battle Before Dawn.

Itís not so great on HHM, though itís still extremely memorable. The Cog of Destiny Valkyries are a legend in their own right. And then thereís the druids, the only female druids in the game and far more dangerous than Nergal himself. Unless your team is heavily arena ground, this will turn into a desperate battle for survival by turn 3 or so and the danger will only change form, not let up, for the next 15 turns.

To me, it feels too much like Night of Farewells, courtesy of the massive number of staff wielding enemies. As if that level wasnít crazy enough, these ones are both more numerous and more powerful. Much more powerful. However, this map is huge and wide open enough and theyíre passive enough at the start that theyíre not as big a threat. Plus thereís no need to steal from any of them.

That, actually, is another thing I donít much like about the HHM version. The normal version had quite a few items to steal scattered around the giant map in the hands of really powerful enemies, so getting all of them was quite an endeavor and added something to what could otherwise be a somewhat monotonous battle if one was playing smart. But in HHM thereís nothing to steal at all, and no goals or difficulties of any kind but to just slaughter the enemy. Too straightforward.

Chapter Summary:
Following the map they got from the queen with such difficulty, Eliwood and company at last arrive at the Shrine of Seals as Athos told them to weeks ago. But an ambush is waiting for them and Nergal has nearly regained his full strength.




Similarly, castle Ostiaís defenses are impregnable.




That, right there? Really cool, more so the more you think about it. And the Black Fang theme plays for the last time ever: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yCP2ovXJQhk

This is Lloyd or Linusís finest moment really. The last we saw of them was after chapter 23, when whichever one you didnít fight was led to believe you killed the other. Then they disappeared and even Sonia and Brendan had no idea if they were alive or not- it wasnít even implausible Limstella had gotten the other one. In fact, given that she gets Jerme or Kenneth and Ursula even if you donít fight them, she probably would have tried if given the chance.

Lloyd avoided Soniaís spies, prevented anyone including the royal family from noticing his movements, figured out Eliwoodís plans, and moved a giant army of all the remaining elite black fang to the secret location of the Shrine of Seals before you got there. And heís been waiting for you.




For several days Eliwood and all havenít seen a single other person, but apparently Lloydís spies have been tracking them all along. Hereís one of them reporting in now.

OH and prepare to not see these guys again; most of these enemy types only appear on the Eliwood version.




This whole speech, actually, is kind of a stock thing in FE. It shows up at least once in nearly every game. One of the enemy miniboss generals whoís been built up as good and honorable all game chooses to pick a completely avoidable fight with you when they know they canít possibly win, and they all give similar speeches telling their men that they can leave if they want. And the men always all choose to stay.

Usually this whole FE clichť annoys me. The general still comes off as a complete rear end for trying to kill you when they often know you didnít do anything wrong and that theyíre on the wrong side, and they know their men are loyal so they know theyíre killing most of their troops by fighting when they canít accomplish anything.
In Lloyd or Linusís case it works better though because they actually still have reason to believe- up until you talk to them after hacking through their whole army first- that you killed the other brother. I mean, would YOU believe that a non-human teleporting uber-sorceress whose very existence is a secret ambushed your brother and stole his life energy just the moment after he was defeated and his troops were slaughtered by Eliwoodís group? Of course not. They totally look guilty.
Heck, they ARE guilty. Theyíve been trashing the Black Fang for more than 20 chapters now, killing most of his friends and comrades systematically, and even they donít have all the evidence that would prove most of that is at least partly Sonia or Nergalís fault. For that matter, THEY donít even know Limstella exists. Theyíve never even heard of her!
Furthermore, these Black Fangsí lives are pretty much over as it is. The whole black fang, like 100% except for this group, is dead. If Eliwood didnít get them, Limstella did. And the king will likely sweep up the remainder in the next year or so for having failed him and knowing too much. Theyíve lost the group many of them devoted their lives to and almost everyone in it they knew. This is not a band that has much to lose, unlike Brenyaís or Selenaís soldiers for example.




Hey, I think thatís the first palette swap of Batta all game! They really donít reuse many of the Lynís story bosses compared to Eliwoodís story ones for some reason.




Thereís no music, and a wind-blowing sound effect heard nowhere else in the game. That really gets the desolation and spooky quiet before the ambush across well.




The Fang were comparably direct and forthright in announcing themselves when the other Reed brother was fought.




See as far as we knew last chapter, there was nothing left of the Black Fang at all. Nino is overjoyed and assumes theyíll listen to her.




Jaffar catches her before she gets killed by one of them and explains that to these early Fang, he and Nino were servants of Nergal and not real Black Fang. And Lloydís group has at least begun to catch on to what Nergal has done to the fang.




Yeah, about thatÖ

So the game really makes it seem like itís a good idea to have Nino talk to him. At the very least it sounds like it might unlock a sidequest or something. Itís a trap. At the end of this giant battle, thereís one last trap left and itís a nasty one.

If she talks to Lloyd, he will get off his throne and move to attack without warning on his next turn. If you donít know thatís coming, you lose right there. Got to restart the whole thing now. And thereís no benefit.

This chapter actually has 2 ridiculous Ďgotchasí that would not be out of place in FE6 or Awakening; the other one shall be brought up soon.


The War Room, Part 30

Although Iíve been using them for a while and have made mention of their great utility several times, Cog of Destiny is Physic Staves: the chapter, so now is a good time to finally talk about them.

Physic is a B level healing staff. It restores the same amount as a Heal staff (10 + casterís Mag) but costs 12.5x as much. In fact, a single charge of Physic costs 2.5 vulnerary charges! Thatís not money you want to just throw around.

Itís one of the rarest staves in the game. Without purchasing them from secret shops, you basically only get one (Pent carries it) but they can be purchased much earlier if you have the member card and some money on Kinshipís Bond or Dragonís Gate.

What makes it worth all the trouble is that, unlike almost every other healing staff, Physic is ranged. Just like condition-inflicting staves the range is min(Casterís Mag/ 2, 5). The applications of that are endless. The applications of that which are worth at least 250 gold per shot are at least still numerous. To give a few different uses:
1. Dealing with unexpected emergencies. This is the most obvious application of a physic staff. Sometimes an enemy gets a crit or you donít dodge as often as expected and suddenly a character far from your healer is almost dead. Without physic, you might have to restart the map. With physic you can carry on. As long as whatever risk you were running saves you 2 or more turns or nets some extra XP or the like, thatís totally worth it.
2. Circumventing unit count limits. On later maps, many of your troops will be operating in semi-independent squads doing their own thing on their own sections of the map. Ideally, each squad would have at least 1 healer. In reality, the number of troops you can bring to each map (and the number of good healers) is more limited than that. If one group doesnít need much healing but does need some, you might be able to get away with just having a person in another squad carry a physic staff and help them out at range from time to time.
3. Circumventing terrain or formation blockage. Sometimes you just canít get to the unit you need to heal or you donít want to because you want to have someone else throw a javelin from that spot instead or the like. Physic has your back.
4. Keeping the healer safe. Sometimes a powerful unit needs to fight a dangerous, moving enemy like, say, Vaida. If your powerful units needs healing, but your healer would be killed if they approached, Physic is the solution. Indeed, itís key to most strategies for killing Vaida on Unfulfilled Heart.
5. Keeping the healer from hogging XP. The opposite of 4, perhaps the enemies in question are really weak and might suicide to your strong staff user and deny XP to someone youíd rather train. Physic can keep you safely out of range.
6. Circumventing Kishunaís anti-magic field. You can stand right outside it and physic someone in the middle.

And there are many more. But there are 3 problems between the player and the unique power of Physic:
1) Acquisition. There is only one guaranteed Physic staff in the game- the one Pent comes with in Unfulfilled Heart. Thatís not enough and thatís much too late. The earliest Physic can be acquired is Dragonsí Gate in one of the secret shops. Itís easier to acquire at the secret shop in Kinshipís Bond. And thatís your last chance, donít waste it! Well not quite, you can buy them in a really secret shop in Victory or Death, but thatís basically the end of the game already. Do not miss your opportunity. Sell whatever you need to and use the silver card to buy 2 physics. 3 total is enough.
2) Getting the required B rank. Physic is a very high rank staff, a recently promoted Erk or even Lucius canít use it. Getting to B rank staves requires using staves a ton. Most people promote to have an E in staves, which means it will take 60(!) heals to get them that B required for physic. Start early and cure EVERYTHING. Notice what I did with Canas in this game; that was juuuuust enough to get him his Physic B right as I needed it. For Lucius, who promotes to have a C immediately, it still takes a significant 25 heals to get the B. This doesnít just happen on its own. Other staves can speed the process along slightly, but really thereís no substitute- especially in terms of price effectiveness- of just doing loads of heals. This isnít a problem (usually) for Serra and Priscilla or for your pre-promote magic users: Pent, Renault, and Athos.
3) Needing high Mag. Sure 5 square range is handy sometimes, but itís no game-changing like 12 range is. To really make the most of your physic staves, you need lots of Mag. Problematically, Serra and Priscilla suck in this stat. Pent is acceptable and Renault is poor. Athos is by far the best but has other jobs to do. This means you really need to train up your own promoted mages if you want a good physic user. Canas is a good candidate because heís wonderful at everything else, easy to train, and has solid magic power. Lucius has the advantage of needing much less grinding to get to the B and having even better magic power. Lucius, in fact, is probably the best physic user all in all until you get to Athos. Donít make the mistake of, say, promoting both Erk and Canas and trying to grind both up at once. You really want one good Physic user as early as possible. A second pre-Pent one is nice but not nearly as helpful, so donít divide up your heals among two people.

Battle Preparations & the Map:




Oh itís that kind of map alright. Looks almost as nasty as Night of Farewells at first glance, but actually itís not nearly as bad. True there are even MORE staff users and their Mag is even higher, but theyíre really spread out and the map is much more open. This means you can control who gets statused much better.

There are also a couple of people wielding Purge and Bolting, but the two bishops near Lloyd donít move and the others arenít much threat because the map is so big.

Much more problematic are the Valkyries, an extremely rare enemy type. Due to their fairly powerful class (8 movement, magic, staves, and massive speed are not to be taken lightly), and massive level, they are not to be taken lightly. Indeed, a single Valkyrie not blocked or killed immediately probably means you need to restart since they can get absolutely anywhere and kill all but your strongest troops. Theyíre the strongest normal enemies in the game and you have to fight 26 of them this chapter.

But take another look at this map. Sure at first glance it looks wide open and green, but actually itís fairly mountainous and closed in. The entrance to your starting area can be blocked off completely at 4 bridges or almost completely at 2 since few enemies will take the paths through the woods that would approach your west or northeast entrances. You could easily stall the giant swarm of enemies at those points.

Better yet though, take a look at the mountain passes around the blue box. Do you see what I see? If you position your troops carefully, 3 units (one per pass) can completely seal off that area. And you probably donít even need to guard the southern one since, again, almost no enemies will choose to make that approach through the woods.

And look at the arrangement of the long-ranged attackers and staff users. Yes there are a ton in total, but almost all are concentrated in and around the Shrine of Seals. You only need to deal with 4 near the beginning, and you can easily take out the Purge bishop before the Bolting sage.

Additionally, thereís only a single brigand on the map to destroy the bottom left village and he starts something like 7 turns away, giving you plenty of time to sneak a flyer in there.

The real difficulties come from 4 factors: a small number of units, a moderately short time limit, the power of the Valkyries in a straight up fight, and the top leftish cluster of staff users.

Looking at it again now after having completed it, this chapter is actually a more interesting strategic challenge than it first appeared and I can think of several creative and cool ways to finish it neatly and early. However, I beat it in a comparatively bland and straightforward fashion and did not restart for reasons youíll soon see.

The reason began with battle preparations, on which I spent a lot of time:




These guys here (minus Hector) are the noob squad. They are the only units other than Wil and Rebecca who are not already either level 20 or promoted. Many of them (Dart, Lowen, and Nino in particular) are already level 17 themselves. Guy and Lyn are about 15, as are Kent and Lucius. Only Dorcas and Oswin are actually still somewhat lowish level. Iím quite literally running out of bad units. But this chapter has an absurdly high XP requirement, so Iíve really got to find a way to train some of these people despite the difficulty.

The issues are that 1) almost all of the enemies on this chapter are magical and most of these troops are not effective against magic and 2) I can bring very few people to this chapter, and several of my slots absolutely must be taken up with very good healers to use Restore staves and with very strong promoted units to handle the Valkyries. This means I canít bring many of these guys.

That in turn means that the low level people I do bring will get a lot of XP each since it wonít be divided among many other low level people.

And that in turn means that I shouldnít bring any (or many) of the ones who are high level, because theyíll just end up hitting 20 and then not growing. I spent a while deciding who to bring because of that. Ultimately I decided on the lowest level and worst unit of them all: Dorcas for my first try, figuring Iíd probably switch him out for someone better on a second and more serious run.




Itís been a long time since I did much shopping and, problematically, you may recall that Iíve been in a gradually intensifying crisis shortage of anima tomes since Crazed Beast when Erk chewed through three whole tomes unexpectedly. The problem is that absolutely NO shops since then have sold fire or even thunder tomes. As a result, I had to sideline Erk and even Nino was reduced to using expensive and heavy Elfires as I tried to save my last few charges of Fire or Thunder for when sheíd really need them.

This chapter? Has Fire available. Itís time to do some shopping. In War Room #26 I explained the process I use to estimate how much to buy and this chart is the spreadsheet I developed with that method this time.

It was about time to clear up some Merlinus space anyway, so to gather than 18k required funds I sold all my torches, 1 use vulneraries, mines and light runes, and other useless odds and ends. This chapter doesnít actually sell javelins, handaxes, or vulneraries, but I could at least pick up everything else on the list. The shortage of javelins is going to be a potentially severe problem on Sands of Time, but at least Iím not badly off for handaxes.

I also elected to buy a couple more silver weapons- in particular I wanted a new silver lance because I was forced to use a significant amount of my old one on Night of Farewells and I foresee needing to give a weapon like that to my pegasi in the future anyway.



Objective: Kill all enemies
Secondary Objective: Get the Warp Staff from the bottom left village
Secondary Objective: Recruit Vaida
Secondary Objective: Do some shopping
Reinforcememts: Many. Notably, theyíre triggered by moving into certain areas rather than by turns (Just like on Crazed Beast). On the previous map I marked the trigger areas as well as the spawn points and what comes out of them. In total you face about 4 waves of 4 from each spawn point over 8 turns. Thatís 16 spawned Valkyries alone. Vaida spawns along with the bottom right wyverns with the first wave.
Turn limit: 20. Definitely doable. I could shave 4, maybe even 6 turns off that without bringing only my A-listers. The main difficulty is getting all possible reinforcements and forcing your way through the Valkyries at a reasonable clip.
Units Allowed: 9 plus Hector. This hurts. This hurts really badly. Yeah, itís totally doable, but this right here is the most challenging part of the level. Just one more person - even just to help with rescue drops or the like- would be a godsend.
Units Brought:
1) Hector. Required. Worthless vs mages and the map has almost nothing elseÖ except Vaida and the wyverns in the bottom right. Heíll need to recruit her and might be able to help soften them.
2) Eliwood. The man is back in town! Eliwood always has solid Res and mine has had a massive blessing in that stat, plus he can wield javelins (probably the best non-Luna weapon for beating Valkyries). That makes him actually one of my strongest promoted units for taking on this level. Being fast is also helpful.
3) Nino. I think I want to promote her unless her next few levels are awful. On Eliwood mode, this chapter is amazingly great training for Nino. Here itís really rough, but hopefully she can still get the last few levels she needs.
4) Priscilla. I do need restorers, and fast ones. Still, sheís not tough enough for this level so sheíll require a lot of rescuing.
5) Lucius. The best anti-magic in the game other than Canas, his great speed and amazing Res and Mag make him excellent here. Of course, he still canít take on a Valkyrie since heís lowish level and unpromoted. Good training to be had though.
6) Canas. Has Canas ever NOT been the best unit? This chapter is a whole new Canas paradigm though. Up till now heís mostly been in a healing or boss assassin role in order to prevent him from getting overleveled. But every single Valkyrie on this chapter is basically a boss, so for the first time heís going to be on the front lines. Heck, he IS the front line. Heís just perfect for this level. You desperately need healers, he can heal. You desperately need restorers, he can restore. You need physicers, there is no better physicer. You have to take down dozens of units with 20+ resistance, he has Luna and theyíre using anima. You have to tank dozens of extremely fast anima magic users, heís indisputably the best anti-anima tank in the game. And then you need to hit an extremely dodge-y fellow with high defenses on a throne. Luna, again.
7) Ninian. I seriously considered not bringing her because sheís been level 20 for a while and itís not the kind of mobile chapter where her dance is really helpful and I really wanted to bring other people. Still, she remains necessary for training low level guys well and a huge asset when it comes to restoring and healing. Plus Ninisís Grace and Filaís Might are THE way to deal with a giant swarm of powerful enemies at a chokepoint.
8) Erk. I need healers, and I really need magic tanks. Erk fits the bill. Plus at long last Iíll be able to buy Fire tomes again, so he can finally get back onto the battle field.
9) Fiora. You must have a flyer for this chapter. And Fiora has all the resistance, which is absolutely imperative. Sheís one of my most important units on this chapter, responsible for several special missions including shopping, visiting the village, and sweeping up the most problematic top left enemies to that I can secure an early victory. In fact, everyone else is basically supposed to create a diversions for her.
10) Dorcas. Hoo boy, training him is going to be rough. Heís the worst non-archer in the game probably, but heís also my last non-archer to be below level 10. ďWhatís the worst that could happen?Ē I asked, ďHeíll probably die and then Iíll restart and use Kent or something instead.Ē Afterall, there are a bunch of wyverns coming in the bottom right and there are woods here, so he should be able to handle those. With some help. Yeah, no, heíll probably die. Oh well, no better chance to train him.
Notable Units Rejected:
1) Heath. I wanted to bring Heath, but heís getting too high level. I need to save him for when heís really needed later on or heíll hit level 20.
2) Florina. Since sheís lower level, I wanted to use her instead of Fiora. However, my Florina has turned out horrible and on this chapter I desperately need Fioraís superior resistance.
3) Pent. On a retry, I expected to replace Priscilla with Pent. Heís a better healer, restorer, and physicer and he can actually fight and stand up to boltings and the like. Heíd be great here, but I didnít think he was strictly necessary as long as I had Erk and Canas.
4) Dart. Too high level, not much room left to train.
5) Lowen. Too slow and no res, heíd be torn to shreds. Plus too high level.
6) Oswin. Too slow and no res AND no movement AND he sucks vs wyverns. Heíd be almost untrainable here.
7) Lyn. Do you see ANYTHING on the level that attacks at 1 range? Me too; a pair of heroes who will instant kill her.
8) Guy. Like Lyn but slightly better.
9) Kent. Would probably be my first choice to replace Dorcas, heís got the speed to be able to kill some mages and would stand at least some chance against wyverns- especially if I gave him a Wyrmslayer or Lancereaver on a forest.
10) Sain. Sain is actually my one and only character (even Canas canít do it) who could consistently 1-round those Valkyries. No one else has as much speed and no one else has the power. If I were trying to focus on saving turns, Iíd give him a Ninisís Grace and have him kill 12 of them in one turn. I expected to have an easier time feeding kills to non-promoted people though and expected Eliwood to be able to lure more of them off to fight him, so I didnít realize how necessary Sain would be.

Itís going to be a long, rough battle so starting equipment is important. Starting formation matters less than on some other maps but is still important.

Dorcas canít fight many enemies on this level, so Iíve got to let him take on every one he can. Heís positioned so that (with some buffs) he can take down the bottom shaman with a handaxe and then kill the others on the enemy turn. After that heíll join the rest of the group in the main battlefield north of the double bridge. Late in the map, heíll head down to the forest to fight the wyverns. Heís got an assortment of hand and iron axes, nothing fancy, and a good vulnerary.

Fiora is in the best possible position for advancing quickly to the stores and then the village. The plan is for her to hook through the bottom and then left edges of the map so as to spawn Vaida as early as possible and assassinate the problematic enemies in the top left area early. That will let me make the final advance toward the shrine much more quickly, saving many turns. Sheís got 2 javelins, an iron sword, a vulnerary, and the silver card.

Eliwood is armed with 4 javelins (Valkyries take a lot of hits) and a vulnerary, and I almost gave him a pure water. Heís positioned to rush up to the nearby north forts and try to make a stand against the Valkyrie swarm from there. Itíll be a difficult mission, but he should be able to do it- maybe with a physic or two.

Everyone elseís formation details are relatively unimportant, but the idea is to drop Nino into range of the monks and then have everyone swarm up into the battlefield north of the bridge. Every single person but Eliwood and Fiora will be fighting there most of the map.

Nino has the remaining 3 charges of Thunder and Fire, an Elfire, a vulnerary, and a guiding ring for if I get her to 20. Priscilla is wielding heal, restore, physic, and a flux tome to give to Canas later.

Hector has his standard gear, plus an iron lance and javelin for after recruiting Vaida (who I stupidly planned on having rescue him out, forgetting that she canít rescue big people. Lucius is just brimming over with lightnings and a shine.

Canas is not currently carrying a flux, but does have Luna and Heal and Restore and Physic and, unusually, a Barrier. If thereís anywhere thatís useful, itís this chapter. He and Priscilla will be trading it off now and then. I hope to have him do as little fighting as possible so as not to overlevel him here.

Erk currently has only an Elfire and his heal staff, but Iíll be sending my new anima tomes to him post haste.


The Characters:




Weíve seen Vaida before and Iíve said what I have to say about what a terrible character she is, but what a great unit.




Alas, NOT the uber spear. But that thing is worth 9000 gold, an absurdly high amount. She needs other gear immediately if sheís going to fight, and I want her added to the team ASAP since my team has too few people.




The real champion of the Black Fang, Lloyd would really have gone far in life if his dad and brother werenít complete idiots. Heís charismatic, cunning, and incredibly skillful. The citizenry of Bern who like the Fang often seem to mean that they admire him particularly and itís him many of the other Fangs you meet most look up to.
Unlike Linus, heís not a reckless moron and he doesnít fight you because heís stupid and brutal, he fights you because he correctly believes you killed almost everyone he knew and incorrectly (but with very good reason) believes you killed his whole family too. People are always saying they wish Lloyd was recruitable and in the early days of the game, many people were spreading rumors that he was if you did the right things.

Look at those stats. And heís on a throne. You canít out-speed this guy and in fact heíll double almost anyone. His avoid is so high even LUNA isnít accurate against him and his defenses are very strong. And 21 Str on a swordmaster? Almost unheard of. Do NOT go next to this guy.




His weapon is his weakness. The Light Brand remains horrible. With it at range his damage is actually a mere 19 vs Res, which most real mages are completely immune to and he canít crit at all! On the other hand, it does make Luna have a weapon triangle disadvantage.

Oh and that Iron Rune he drops is a nifty item that makes the bearer completely immune to crits. It will be very handy in exactly one situation later on as youíll see...

Melth fucked around with this message at 07:06 on Apr 17, 2015

Melth
Feb 16, 2015

Victory and/or death!
Playing Through:




The first thing that strikes you when you play this map is its awesome musical theme. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eqK_WxZz-sk

There are few more dramatic and fitting tracks in the game, and most of them are concentrated in these last few chapters. Some are more fun to just listen to, but I donít think any sets an atmosphere the way this one does.




Well the details donít much matter as long as she and Erk end up in the bridge area, so here she goes.




Priscilla carries her and then Erk takes and drops her with each of them wielding Elfire. Theyíve entered the blue spawn region, so bishops and monks will start coming out of the middle fortresses.




Not much for Hector to do but pull Priscilla out so the monks instead get beaten up by the 2 mages.




Lucius also has few jobs early, so I might as well drop her.




Eliwood moves on north. He has entered the second spawn trigger zone, creating Valkyries.




And for the more interesting moves, Canas uses Barrier on Dorcas. Barrier is a staff that has the same effect as Pure Water but at half price and also gives some XP, so itís a much better deal. Basically the target gets +7 Res for 1 turn, then that decreases to +6 the next, and so on down to 0. When itís handy, itís very handy, so I generally save the staff and donít use it often.




And Ninian uses Filaís Might on Dorcas. Note that the Barrier staff effect is NOT a condition, so he can have both. Dorcas is now seriously buffed up, with +7 Res and +10 damage.




Heís still barely adequate. If he missed this handaxe throw I would just restart and use a different strategy since this is important.




He got the kill! Now my original plan was to leave this shaman here alive and have both of them die to the buffed up Dorcas (with Barrier he can just barely stand up to them). The problem is that heís also in range of the bolting bishop, and that 3rd hit will kill him. And the odds of all 3 hitting are still very high because his avoid is horrible.

So Fiora takes this one out instead. Theyíve entered the 3rd and final spawn trigger zone, creating shamans and druids. This will get the enemies flooding out at maximum possible speed, which also means Iíll finish killing them at the earlier turn. Itíll be more intense, but over quicker. The idea is to also get Vaida spawning quickly, but thatís easier said than done before the zone that makes her spawn is watched over by the two staff druids.




WellÖ that sucks.




On the enemy turn, Dorcas also gets an awful level. But I expect that from him.




Ouch! Well 1 shot of Purge down. Depending on how the Bishop moves it might or might not be possible to take him out before he runs dry.




And the Valkyries appear. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7AlEvy0fJto




Look at that speed! These guys double most of my team, and only 1 person even among my best units (Sain) can double them and thatís because he was blessed with like +8 speed over average. Unlike most really fast enemies, these guys actually donít wield heavy weapons, so thatís their real speed. Oh and I just noticed right this second that for some reason their Con and Aid add up to 25 like a mounted man instead of 20 for a mounted woman. Strange.
Also look at that Res. Canas will hit them with about 9 damage heís significantly blessed in Mag. Nino? Wonít scratch them with Elfire. Lucius wonít with lightning or shine. Erk barely does. And their Mag is more than high enough to 2-hit kill most low res units.




Those guys are nothing. THESE Valkyries are the real threat. Most characters CANíT even get the speed to double these people. Most mages will never get to 24 mag at 20/20. Fortunately these elite Valkyries are found only among the initial group, the ones that spawn are all level 8.




Alright, turn 2 begins with Eliwood running into a forest and preparing to take down this small mage squadron. Then heíll be perfectly positioned to move to the fort.




And Fiora get to the vendor. First things first, she buys numerous Fire tomes.




Back in the main area, Priscilla keeps Dorcas on his feet and gets a classic Priscilla level. She actually turns out much like these Valkyries if you somehow raise her to their level, but thatís not really as useful on your own team.




So a LONG time ago in chapter 13ís War Room I talked about the details of how trading works, and I also brought up tangentially that there are several rarely used and talked about advanced tactics you can do using Merlinus once he can move. This is one of them, seen at long last. Like 20 squares away, Fiora bought fire tomes and I made sure she had her inventory full first so they all got sent to Merlinus immediately. Then he moves into a position Nino and Erk want to be next to. And then Nino moves up and takes the fire tome and uses it, just like with trading.




When last you saw Nino, she was but the learner, but now she is the master and is weakening people to feed to even weaker allies.




Specifically Lucius.




Which pays off immediately. Heíll need all the Mag he can get to hurt these enemies.




Erk too visits the merchant and at last equips himself with some Fire tomes. Heís back!




Priscilla was too weak to fully heal Dorcas so Canas takes over. Canas, of course, could have healed Dorcas to full immediately if I used him first, but thereís more total XP generated this way.

These first 2 turns are fairly bland, mostly just a matter of the enemy and I running towards each other and killing a few minor foes.




One of the two bottom leftish Valkyries has a sleep staff, as noted on the map. Since their magic power isnít that good, the Valkyrie staff users arenít a giant threat by and large. Having this one miss Nino is nice, but not necessary. Iíll be keeping everyone packed in a fairly tight ball around my restorers when possible.




They called me mad when I gave Erk the Afaís Drops. Mad! But I showed them!




Things are heating up. Eliwood grabs the fort. With its defenses and healing, he can stand up to the Valkyries almost indefinitely.




And Fiora passes through the armory. Again, they donít have javelins or handaxes for sale, so Iím going to have a bit of a javelin shortage come Sands of Time.




And she continues her move, stopping at the village.




So, hereís the turn 3 central situation. Things are looking pretty rough and I have only this one turn to stabilize them or I lose.




First, Canas needs to weaken that Valkyrie. Then either he with a dance or perhaps Erk can finish it.




Oh, or that.




Priscilla keeps Lucius going. These monks and the troubadour are not really important except insofar as some are in my way. Whatís really key is to prevent any more Valkyries riding in.




Lucius was going to weaken a guy for Dorcas but instead killed him. Iím not really fond of crits as a game mechanic honestly. The unpredictability can completely screw up your strategy.




Now that left Valkyrie has a sleep staff, and enemies with staves will NEVER attack as long as they could use a staff instead. For that reason, I donít need to worry about it for another turn or two. So instead Iíll have Canas start dealing with the northern one.




On second thought, this guy with Purge left himself open for a tag team attack, I can take him out now.




And the north pass is blocked. If I can clear that space the Valkyrie is now standing in, I can just park Erk or Canas there alone in the future.




Now that the pass is blocked, hereís the range of the bolting guy- sole remaining long-ranged attacker for most of the map. As long as Dorcas stays out of that, he should be fine.




And thatís the spectacular range of this sleep wielding creep. Iíve got 2 turns to block that pass, plenty of time.




Dorcas kills an injured monk, leaving only one. One is no threat to even him.




That druid you may have seen approaching from the west has Luna. Actually, almost every starting shaman and druid on the map has Luna. But thatís particularly dangerous in the hands of a druid. Merlinus, though, has the luck to negate any crit chance. I may use him to sponge a hit or two before the end.




Speaking of every shaman having Luna, the ones going after Fiora all do.




His avoid is great A hit wouldnít have been problematic anyway, the key was just to make sure the druid came that way.




More things to heal for XP.




The enemy apparently has the same thought and undoes the handaxe wound Hector gave that troubadour. Darn, no feeding it to Dorcas now. They arenít too smart with their staves, but every single Valkyrie on the chapter has one- usually a physic. If they were smart with them, youíd never kill anything.




Now THIS was important. My whole strategy really depends on Eliwood dodging- or not being targeted by- this one Valkyrie with the berserk staff. If he IS hit I canít cure him, so heíll stupidly charge off his fortress and then get slaughtered. I was thinking about giving him a Pure Water, but decided the odds were in his favor enough I shouldnít need it.




Doesnít matter, Canas could have just cured her.




Iíd like this guy dead, but thereís no way to kill him in one turn. Perhaps Iíll get a second chance. Furthermore, Iíve noticed that the Valkyries arenít diverting to go to Eliwood as Iíd hoped. Iíll have to lure them in groups.




As Iíd hoped, the chokepoint square opened up and Erk is able to move in. He can hold that position more or less indefinitely now, leaving me to concentrate on the other passes.




Barring a roughly 6.4% of losing right here, same as any time I fight a guy with Luna, this should make it possible to give a very juicy kill to Dorcas or the like.




After actually checking the odds though, it seemed most prudent just to dance for Canas and heal him and have him do it himself.




Ooh, not bad. More speed is nice. My Canas is really getting too high level though. Iíve been careful not to use him to fight for most of the game, just healing, but thereís still a lot of XP he picks up killing or injuring bosses and other problem enemies.




Just some mopping up to do mostly.




Or, once again, I could get a crit while trying to weaken a unit for someone elseÖ




Dorcas gets this one instead at least.




Another bad Dorcas level.




Remember those 2 druids at the top of the map, way on the left? Hereís how enormous their staff range is from there. They control almost the whole field.




At the village, Fiora runs into Murdock who immediately recognizes this group Ė the one which is illegally running around near the Shrine of Seals and fighting a giant battle there- as the one that saved Zephiel.




Now I didnít point out the druid range for nothing. Fiora is injured, too injured to really make a go at the top Valkyries safely. Plus I calculate sheíll need more javelins. So Iíll start retreating her, but I have to avoid the sleep staff druid. Even with her 20 Res and at the edge of the druidís range, the odds are extremely good that heíll affect her.




Fighting continues in Erkís pass and he gets a good level.




Eliwood dodges again, as expected.




And Priscilla dodges again, but thatís still less important.




I THINK I have some of those guys after Eliwood now. If so, I want them to fight him here rather than in the woods.




Bolting range. It looks like thereís no chance of killing the guy before he runs out of charges.




So many crits this level. This one is actually helpful though.




Weakening more guys for Dorcas. That Valkyrie has no more sleep staff, so it will now attack.




But Hector needs healing.




So does Canas




And now to dance him into place blocking the pass.




And Fiora blocks this one.




Canas heals her as he moves in and the defenses are complete.




Thatís a pretty good level. More Def is very nice on someone like Erk.




Fiora also gets a pretty good level, though she really could use more speed.

And now, Eliwood goes up against a Valkyrie! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7vbehfrf9hU




It still gets another attack since these guys double everything-




Huh. Well that went unexpectedly well.




Iíd be annoyed at Eliwood gaining so few stats since promoting, but right now he needs the speed.




Hereís the scoreboard as turn 6 begins. There should be 1 more wave of reinforcements left, spawning on turn 8.




Ugh, the other Valkyries again lost interest in Eliwood so Iíll have to run over and remind them he exists to pull them his way.




Fiora takes down this one, the one that once had the sleep staff, and the western side of the map is much safer.




Priscilla gets Fiora ready to resume her previous mission. Remember, having her come back here at all was a HUGE set back. She was supposed to be fighting the top left Valkyries by now, but she didnít dodge any attacks. This detour sets me back maybe 4 turns.




On the main front, I keep making what opportunities I can to train the weak people and then rescue or dance them out. There arenít many.




And theyíre never really rewarding.




These are spawned shamans so they donít have Luna, so I can switch to let Lucius fight them after a heal.







Another dull enemy turn passes with no much happening. Thereís no good way to thin the herd of Valkyries, Erk does almost no damage, and they sometimes heal each other so no progress is made. Itís a really boring map to talk about.







A great level at least, that will make this easier.




I spend all of my time just rescue dropping people like Priscilla around so she never gets attacked.




And finding ways to occasionally actually kill a Valkyrie. Like 1/turn at best with Canas working to help.

Another excellent level up. Iím going to give all the credit to Afaís drops.










Dorcas gets some less broken gear from Merlinus, Canas keeps Erk going, and the boringness continues.




Dorcas will be fighting that last shaman in the bottom leftish.




Fiora is finally getting back to work. And thereís no more time to waste, so I positioned her at the edge of Sleep range. I need that guy to run down and then start Sleeping my other units so heíll run out of charges.




Hector pulls Priscilla out of the fire again. Most of my units have no real things to do but to just pick each other up and drop each other, and occasionally take a potshot at a Valkyrie. If I ever stopped doing that, Iíd stop making even this incremental progress.





Eliwood continues to try to pull more Valkyries off the main pack.




Sweet, thereís the uber-druid at work. You can see that even in almost the best imaginable circumstances he has good odds to put her to sleep. Hopefully heíll go for an easier target in future turns now that more are in his range.




Got to take every chance I get to kill Valkyries, which isnít many. If I ever injure one severely without killing it, it gets healed. So I have to make sure they donít get to low enough HP will still alive that that happens, instead making sure they die to counterattacks or that Erk just does enough damage with a switch to Elfire to bring one down.




Fiora skirts the edges of the map.




And the new sleep range is everything.




Def for the def god!




Just what Lucius needs on this level.




Last time something unusual happened: there werenít enough people to drop Priscilla after once again picking her up! What a twist in my routine! So this time I drop her and then dance her.




I want to start luring those heroes down, so I move Merlinus in. He has about 70 avoid and solid HP, so he can tank fairly well.




Best Erk ever? Best Erk ever.




Yes! As Iíd hoped, the enemy druid goes for someone who isnít Fiora.




9 turns, nothing accomplished. I havenít even managed to trigger Vaidaís reinforcements yet, so itís not like Iím close to the end of the map in turns of minimum time even.




Eliwood is running low on Valkyries, time to lure more. Thereís ANOTHER wave coming. This one here is the last one though.




Merlinus wasnít able to lure any heroes last time, so, again, no progress was made. Now he moves here to allow some possible trade chaining.




Canas gets out of the way and un-sleeps Priscilla.




See, Erk needs 2 things: another Elfire tome (his started with few charges) and a massive damage boost. Otherwise Iíll never get anywhere. Merlinus and Ninian here will let me accomplish both.




Now he can finally do some real damage. Of course he still canít double themÖ




Wow! With Elfire and Filaís Might, he can be almost as good as Canas with a lower crit chance for 1 turn!




The barrier staff has gotten passed around a few times, but now Priscilla needs it for Lucius, so she gives him the flux for Canas.




Those druids have Nosferatu, not Luna, which is actually almost as bad. They still hit like trucks. Even with this buff and his massive base Res he still takes massive damage.




And Priscilla would almost be instant-killed.




Fiora doesnít charge this turn. Iím still pretty sure that druid will sleep Priscilla or the like instead of her, but if he DOES go for her, I donítí want more than 2 Valkyries attacking.




More magic.




Ö darn. Well thatís that. At this point I should have restarted. So much had gone unluckily wrong that I was going to finish about 6 turns late in a best case scenario. On the other hand, I had some really great level ups- some of them actually on important people- and Dorcas had never missed despite his awful accuracy. So I decided to see if I could turn things around.




AWESOME! Eliwood has gotten no really good level ups since promoting, in fact he got mostly terrible ones. So bad that he went from ahead in every stat to actually behind in some. This level up doesnít undo all that damage, but it does push him back up to average in the stats heíd been falling behind in. His Luck and Def and Res remain really high.

That whole Filaís Might thing accomplished basically nothing, but hereís another kill.




Eliwood, on the other hand, is WAY better off now. That level up was just what he needed. Now he can kill many of these guys in 2 hits and they no longer double him.




I am running out of Filaís Might, but thereís no choice. If I donít use this, I will sit here for 20 turns and still have Valkyries left. Iíve got to break through Luciusís side and start sweeping the rest of the map. For one thing, Vaida wonít even spawn till I do.




More turns on which 90% of my units just stand there and rescue-drop people away from the front lines.







Sweet! My Erk has gained absolutely absurd amounts of Mag. And he used to be behind on speed- that really crippled him for much of the game actually- but now heís not only caught up but ahead. In fact, with this level heís fast enough that he can double a few of the slower Valkyries.




A bad level, except for the Res on this chapter.




And he hits max level killing the last shaman/druid on his front. Thanks, Filaís Might + Barrier!




Fiora is in trouble. She wonít wake up forever and two Valkyries are whaling on her. But look how beautifully empty the map is now!




I can spawn Vaida soon, so Dorcas and Hector run back to get into position.




At long last, someone doubles a Valkyrie! And for something like real damage too.




Merlinus has actually been really unlucky this chapter and never dodged anything; this is the second time Iíve healed him.




No time to waste. Iíve spent so much time getting nothing done that at this point I will kill everything on the map with Canas if I have to.




That druid is trouble. It can deal 27 damage, un-missing, to anything with a 10% chance of instant-kill. The heroes are nothing in comparison.




Canas donít care!




Whoo! I think my Eliwood is actually going to cap his Luck. And is speed is average again, while his Def has become amazing.




Heís broken through! Well not quite, but close to it. He can just charge left at this point. Unfortunately, that druid didnít actually attack Canas, so I still have to deal with it this turn.




Hector and Dorcas keep running south.




More Ninian trading things out of Merlinus.




Yeah, Iíve burned way too many of these on this chapter accomplishing almost nothing. THIS time it will make all the difference though. This time Erk is fast enough to double, so with this buff heíll 1-round kill them with 100% accuracy.




And of course the obligatory constant picking up and dropping of Ninian/Priscilla/etc.









Nino has actually gained almost no XP this level. See, Lucius was actually just better than her at lower level and had weapon triangle advantage so he handled the shamans. And she couldnít scratch the Valkyries and would have been instant killed in return. So she basically did nothing all chapter up till now.




Not bad.




This is my only chance really, I HAVE to kill this druid while it has Eclipse instead of Luna.




The other druid at last enters the fray.




Hooray! Canas hasnít really been managing his usual amazingness lately, itís nice to see that turning around.

Melth
Feb 16, 2015

Victory and/or death!


Wait. WAIT. Ok, Zephiel knows. He knows everything! I thought there was at least some ambiguity about who saved him with maybe only the queen and Murdock having put it together without being sure of the evidence. But no, Zephiel definitely knows that Eliwood and Hector and everyone laid it on the line for him. Whatís more, he seems to be telling people left and right. Vaida doesnít work for him anymore. Like she said in fact that sheíd never be allowed to work for the royal family again without Nergal as a character reference. So apparently heís just telling everyone or something. Or maybe the writers once again completely screwed Vaida up.

Either way, her showing up now is a horrible surprise your first time though. It doesn't really make sense, isn't warned about, and is triggered in a manner you can't possibly know about. Heck, unless you actually know what zone causes her to appear, she's kind of a problem on your later plays too. It's probably a loss late in the game on your first play of the chapter.



Sheís recruited.




SoÖ I screwed up. I HAD planned on having her trade with Hector and then rescue him, but I forgot she canít rescue him. So now heís stuck sitting there. Darn.




The top left Valkyries who were supposed to die like 10 turns ago are finally moving in.




Priscilla gives Nino the boost she needs to not die.




Another mediocre Priscilla level.




And ANOTHER Filaís Might just to scratch the enemies on this chapter.




Canas kills the Elibe universe continues. I spend all chapter keeping him in the back and get nothing done. Then I deploy him and he sweeps like 10 uber enemies in one turn.




Well thatís a bad start; Dorcas gets hit by the very first wyvern so heíll be taking poison damage all map long at this point.




But that looks promising.




Lucked out there. I donít want to waste turns restoring him now that Iím finally moving forward.




Well thatís not so good.




Yeah, odds are VERY high heís about to die, but thereís nothing for it but to continue. Also the reinforcement list I read was completely wrong. There are way more wyverns than expected.




Fiora finally wakes up, badly injured.




Without Filaís Might sheíd have been doing -2. This one is one of the low level ones and one of the few with an Elfire to slow it down.




Holy cow. Heís actually surpassed CANAS statistically. And this Canas is the best one I ever saw. His Def canít compete of course, and heís still inferior since he doesnít use dark magic, but Erk is now amazing.




Letís let that guy go again!




And Canas keeps firing away of course.




So at this point, Iím playing completely recklessly and running every risk I can that profits me in any way. Iím hoping to lose honestly so I can restart and revise my strategy, because otherwise Iím going to stick with these amazing results even though I completely botched the level.

If the game wants to hand me an absurdly lucky victory, Iím going to take it though.




And it looks like it does.




Dorcas is in trouble, way too many wyverns are spawning. But I kind of suspect nothingís going to even scratch himÖ




The real problem is going to be killing them. Dorcas has a sucky damage output. Nino could slaughter them though.




This is the early game Berserk Valkyrie. It doesnít actually have a weapon, so itís been sitting here blocking this spot all chapter.




The injured Fiora continues to be one of my most effective anti-Valkyrie fighters.




Canas heals her.




Next turn she kills the last druid. Those purge bishops are stationary, so no threat.




A bad level, but whatever.




Vaida re-equips.




Dorcas gets another bad level. All his levels to date have looked like sucky levels, but heís actually still above average. Thatís how bad Dorcas is.




Someone finally statuses Vaida.




Dorcas drinks a vulnerary to keep fighting. Hector has been softening up targets for him as the enemy ignores the guy with actual Def.




Iíve spent something like 6 restore charges on this map despite amazingly lucky staff dodges. I bought 2 whole extra restore staves on the one and only chapter up till now where thatís possible. If you donít do that, youíll pretty much run out last chapter and you will lose the whole ranking run.




Eliwood is finally free!




Itís a race to kill everything and Fiora and Canas are at the forefront.




And Ninian.




I donít know how Iím supposed to beat this guy without Luna because even Luna canít really handle it.




Wow! My Dorcas is so great! Heís almost like a level 8 or so good character.




Canas and Lucius volley back and forth with Canas gradually winning turn by turn.




Vaida is napping again.




More wyverns. Yeah, I read there were a total of 9 of them. This makes 15 or 20.




Hector charges right on in.




So does Nino. I hope every single one of them goes for her. If they do, theyíll all die and sheíll hit 20.




An excellent level.




Eliwood finally rejoins the real battle.




After many attacks, Canas finally kills Lloyd.




Not bad.




Wow. Do you realize what this means? Lloyd actually killed Luna! The two of them evenly matched!

What it really means is that I had to use Lunda WAY too much and now Canas is so overleveled that I can barely ever use him in the future.




Canas gets the iron rune.




Thereís still more to do! Fiora charges back in.




And gets an actually great level. Still really slow though.




Erk kills a Valkyrie. The map has turned into a boring puzzle of just trying to kill the straggler enemies, some of which are still quasi-invincible Valkyries as fast as possible while they do pointless time-wasting tactics like riding around casting Sleep.




And now that some enemies have gone for Nino, the bottom area is emptying a bit.




Another bad level.




One down (on the second try)




Erk weakens this one for Eliwood. Look how heís actually good enough to BEAT Valkyries in a magic fight now. Not just hold them off for a while.




Iíll need Vaida to sweep the bottom wyverns.




Another meh Priscilla level.




Turn 19, the map is in the bag, I just run around trying to heal as many people as possible on this last turn.










And the last hit of the battle! The whole Bern arc and the story of the Black Fang are now completely over.




Athos teleports in.




After the rough battle, the group is spread out across the plains, licking their wounds or mourning.




Eliwood, Market, and Lyn eventually head up the steps to the shrine.




And theyíre surprised to see Athos there. Afterall, they left him thousands of miles away and he sent them out to find the Shrine.




Like Gandalf, Athos is hugely trollish about his powers at times.




A just question.




And Athos takes it seriously, as he does all questions better than ďWhen did you arrive.Ē The trope of some adventure or trial not actually mattering except as a test of character or the like is kind of overdone, but it works well here because it seems to fit Athosís character- and more importantly Bramimondís as will soon be seen.




And he has a point. Unlike some versions of this kind of setup where the Athos analogue, say, wanted to see if they were worthy of training or some other such comparatively trivial thing where the secret tester comes off as kind of a manipulative jerk, the legendary weapons actually almost destroyed the world in the past. Giving them out to just anybody without making sure they were responsible people would be a bad idea. And think about the nature of this little quest.

It wasnít just a test to see if Eliwood could kill powerful people; what he had to do was be subtle and inquisitive and willing to take time to help people individually. It was a test of temperament and character, not just power and determination.




This is a potentially interesting bit of information regarding what really happened to Elimine, though itís not entirely clear just how to interpret it.




Athos explains why getting to the Shrine of Seals was important: Bramimond lives here and his power prevents anyone from obtaining the legendary weapons without him removing the seals.




And everyone teleports underground.




http://old.serenesforest.net/media/fe7music/054%20-%20The%20Eight%20Generals.mp3

Mysterious sounding music plays. Remember, one has no idea whatsoever to really expect of Bramimond the first time this scene comes up. You canít even do 19xx on the first run of the game. Just having Athos be alive was a major plot twist and now Bramimond too? Furthermore, Athos doesnít seem sure what to expect.

But at the same time, itís not a threatening sort of melody. Bramimond is strange and inscrutable but, unlike the similarly affected dark mage Nergal, is definitely not evil.




And no idea what to expect. They talk for a while and Bramimond is polite but unhelpful.




Hector tries yelling, his usual strategy.




And Bramimond yells back.




This is one scene I think they could have handled better. I mean, yeah, Bramimond acts different when talking to Hector but not really when talking to Eliwood as opposed to Lyn. Up until this bit it wasnít clear his voice was changing at all. They should have changed his speech bubble color or something.




Athos explains that Bramimond just acts like whoever is talking to him, with no remaining personality of its own. An interesting character.




So having the wise and helpful Athos talk to Bramimond is probably a good way to get him to be wise and helpful, and Hector shuts up. Itís also revealed that the whole test was also in part to convince Bramimond- as well as Athos- of the heroesí worth.




But itís not Athos that sways Bramimond. No, itís Eliwood who makes a reasonable but passionate plea for him to believe in them and in people more generally. And Bramimond gives one of my favorite lines in the game, remembering a friend who lived a thousand years ago and was much like his descendant Eliwood.




Agh, he blew up the continent! Or opened the seals, either way.




Everyone teleports back up above ground.




Uh oh. Bet you were expecting Nergal would just happen to get his power back in time for the final confrontation. Well this gameís story isnít nearly that straightforward. The Dragonís Gate turnabout was one of the best plot twists in FE, Athos being alive was another bomb shell, and there are still more coming even this late in the game.




Itís Nergal alright.




https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jrSJk6vHBaw

And his cool leitmotif




Weíve seen this before. He really seems to expect Ninian and Nils to just do what he says. Itís nicely ambiguous whether he just totally doesnít get people and understand why they would disobey him or whether, perhaps, he thinks Ninian and Nils in particular would be obedient to him. Perhaps he has some faint glimmer of subconscious memory that theyíre his children?




They, of course, refuse.




And Nergal explains his leverage. If they donít cooperate, heíll just blow everyone else up and then take them anyway. This guy is great. Itís rare and refreshing to see the hero of a story like this be the villainís hostage, rather than Ninian.




She acquiesces- or so it seems.




Remember this picture? Nergal doesnít. He doesnít see the trap.




And he blows everything up as he teleports out anyway.




And Eliwood wakes up at base camp or perhaps a safehouse for Ostian spies or something. Hours or days have passed, so itís unclear.




Eliwood would know; he was charging right in to try to save Ninian which is why he was knocked out and the others werenít. What he doesnít know is that this is because Nergal has pretty much devoured the quintessence of the entire Black Fang now thanks to their efforts.




Nergal, too, is rather trollish and just enjoys taunting us. And still doesnít seem the very real threat beginning to develop. Afterall, everything weíve done so far has completely played into his hands. Why WOULD he think the group is a threat?




And Athos gives Hector a heaven seal. That actually means every single one of them was in Nabata. Weíre told there are only 3 in the whole world, Pent spent weeks searching for one in the desert, only for Paul and Jasmine to try to steal it from him, Athos had this one, and Athos actually had the first one we received too- he gave it to Hawkeye to give to the group earlier.

Do the heaven seals have some connection with him? Or with Nabata? What WAS the ancient civilization whose artifacts are now strewn across the sands there?




Hector is a bit miffed that they donít work for him.




Oh wait, this one does. My Hector is now pretty much exactly average. A point up in speed, a point down in Def, etc. Maybe a liiiitle bit under average all in all, but still great.




Hooray?




And heís right! Iíve been waiting like 15 levels to promote him, now at long last he can get back into the action!




Well heís sure stoked about this.




This scene is apparently later, when everyone else has made plans and Hector has cooled off a bit. Wherever we are, Ostiaís marvelous spy network has found the group and let them send messengers to talk to Oswin.




And Hector sees that and comes running. Itís not clear to what extent itís typical that Oswin, rather than Hector handles communications with Ostia. We know they were largely out of contact with Uther up until Kinshipís Bond and after Pale Flower of Darkness there was one more scene about news from Ostia. As a knight, Oswin might well handle such mundane duties. On the other hand, Hector seems at least somewhat suspicious that the messengers never talk to him.




Nothing is more suspicious than ellipses.




Kind of nervous sounding isnít he? Heís been so for quite a while, but this subplot hasnít received much attention recently.




Oswin deftly changes the subject and Hector explains the plan for which legendary items to acquire.




I do like how Hector always calls him Graybeard.




Not as dumb as he lets on.




And he also kind of deliberately leaves Oswin an out here.




How remarkably not reassuring.




Again, itís clear Hector doesnít really believe that but is willing to go with it for now.




And we see how far heís come as he makes a speech about how heís been irresponsible in the past, but will no longer shirk his duties or just run off doing whatever he wants.



And thatís the chapter. ThatÖ was pretty much my worst chapter so far. It was my first try of the level and I screwed up in a few places and learned many tricks that would make things go better the second time, but I didnít restart. I could surely have saved at least 6 turns or so- maybe more- by restarting. I wouldnít be surprised if I could do this map in 10. All I really need is to bring Sain and cast Ninisís grace on him one time. One time, thatís all. He could kill all 25 Valkyries in a single turn with that on him and itís not like that would be some XP loss because it was totally impossible to feed any to anyone unpromoted without Filaís Might or something anyway.
Speaking of which, I could have saved several uses of that precious ring. And got Nino to 20.

And done cool stunts with Fiora by actually preparing her properly instead of sending her into an unwinnable fight. And not just barely managed to kill the wyvern spawns because I had no idea how many there would be.

Really I made many mistakes- as one would expect for a first run of a chapter as I try to figure out what actually works. But this time I didnít restart and the reason is Dorcas. Dorcas was NOT a good choice. He should have been killed 10 times over. The character completely couldnít handle this level, but there was no way for me to know that going in. It wasnít stupid to guess that he would be trainable- with some struggle- here, but after winning itís clear that he should not have been able to handle it. The thing is, if I restart now, he WONíT be able to handle it. And this is my only remaining chance to really give him much XP. I canít use Oswin for this either, thatís just a complete no-go. So Iíd gain a LOT less XP on my second try. And Iíd probably NEVER be able to use Dorcas, so Iíd be down a serious chunk toward the most important ranking category.
Plus I was really lucky with level ups on some actually important people. Eliwood finally stopped leveling terribly, Erk became amazing, and Canas did alright at least. Iíd lose all of that restarting.
Plus I dodged a LOT of staves.

So the thing is, if I restarted I could definitely implement a much cooler and more effective strategy and pull off the giant, smooth-looking win I often doÖ but the results would actually be inferior to this dumb luck first try. So while itís unsatisfying, itís the smart thing to do.

And for that matter, dumb luck is an exaggeration. The strategy I showed here was smart in principle, it just needed a few tweaks in light of what I discovered about the level. All I really needed to make it work would be to skip having Eliwood go up the right flank (other than for 1 turn to trigger the reinforcements) and to give Sain some javelins, a barrier, and a Ninisís Grace and throw him at the Valkyries after letting them build up for a turn or two. And if Fiora was just kept out of luna range (Completely possible, I CHOSE to put her in range of those shamans) and maybe had a Pure Water or a barrier cast on her early, she would certainly have been able to sweep the left troubadours as planned. That, in turn, would have spawned Vaida- allowing me to recruit Vaida- on like turn 5 or 6, which would make everything else easier too. Nino, rather than Dorcas, would have been a good wyvern sweeper and would have hit 20 fairly neatly off them. Lucius taking on the shamans and the early game tactics could be largely unchanged and it would have worked out with Lucius and Nino level 20, Sain up a few levels, Canas and Erk not up so many levels, Fiora maybe up one more, and maybe 10 turns under time instead of 1.

But you know what? Those 9 turns arenít worth it. I now have 30 turns in the bank- 28 counting the 1 turn losses on Sands of Time and Battle Preparations. I could spend a sizable 14 turns apiece on the two remaining 0 chapters. But how much XP do I have? That Iím not sure of exactly, but I know itís potential trouble. The line between 5 stars and 1 star is thin as a razor blade. Want an example?

On this run of this chapter, where I trained up my last low level guy and 2 of my other lowish level people and carefully avoided using most of my high level promoted people and also ground out as much healing XP as I could, I got about 3800 XP. 38 level ups. 5 starts requires 3650 minimum. Even 1.5 levels fewer would mean not getting 5 star for this level. So if I used ANYONE but Dorcas, I would guaranteed have fallen below the 5 star minimum for this chapter. In fact, letís imagine that I used my second lowest level guy: Oswin. Level 12 as opposed to level 9. Letís imagine that I got 3 fewer levels as a result. What happens? 1 star. Thatís right. The difference between 5 stars and 1 stars on a level with 3650 XP required for 5 stars is a tiny 150 XP. XP rankings are ridiculously tight, and the requirements in the last few chapters are insanely high (Victory or Death requires more than 6000!). And Iím basically out of low level people. Iím going to eat an XP loss of 3000 or 4000 or something on Victory or Death, so Iíd better be sure Iíve got a nice surplus.

So yeah, no restart.

Total Restarts: 33 (None. A single one would have been enough to completely dominate the level though)
Turn Surplus: 30 (Alright, this is the peak pretty much. Iíve built up this surplus and now itís time to spend it on the last few 0 chapters.)
Things I Regret Missing: The lockpick on chapter 11, that darned archer on chapter 11, this one brigand who attacked Marcus on chapter 12, 2 more brigands who ignored everyone else to attack Marcus on chapter 13x, and 2 archers who ignored Hector and Dorcas (DORCAS!) to attack Marcus on chapter 14, like 10 more enemies I could have killed if Hector could have survived one more turn on chapter18, Uhai who decided to take a 100% chance of death to Sain over a free hit on Hector, the chance to finish shopping properly with my silver card on chapter 21, the armorslayer that I would have acquired if not for a stupid minor mistake on chapter 22, these 3 wyvern riders who decided they preferred a 0% chance to hit Isadaora and then 100% chance of death against her to fighting a low level Heath, those 2 pegasus knights at the end of Crazed Beast that I just didnít have enough time to feed to Bartre, and the confused pirate and final archer on Night of Farewells.

Melth fucked around with this message at 07:05 on Apr 17, 2015

Geizt
Dec 10, 2014



I might have just missed it, but what was the second 'gotcha' in the chapter that you mentioned after talking about how Nino talking to Linus was a nasty trap?

Lord Ephraim
Feb 22, 2008

That's one way to get ahead in life, but nothing beats an axe to the face.
Glad to see someone else get a godly Erk pulling his weight. Afa drops well spent. You probably don't need to promote Nino.

I got a question: do the bonus items you obtain using the Mario Kart Double Dash extra disc count towards your funds.? The free weapons doesn't hurt either.

TheKingofSprings
Oct 9, 2012
Been lurking this thread for a while and thought I'd drop that the guy who creates Smash, Masahiro Sakurai's making a presentation at a Fire Emblem concert in the next month or so.

What this likely means, based on some data found in the latest patch is that Eliwood's kid Roy's coming back to Smash.

also Ryu from Street Fighter but hey, that's not important

Dr. Buttass
Aug 12, 2013

AWFUL SOMETHING

Geizt posted:

I might have just missed it, but what was the second 'gotcha' in the chapter that you mentioned after talking about how Nino talking to Linus was a nasty trap?

No, yeah, I didn't catch it either. I think Melth got distracted and forgot to bring it up.

Melth
Feb 16, 2015

Victory and/or death!

Dr. Buttass posted:

No, yeah, I didn't catch it either. I think Melth got distracted and forgot to bring it up.

It seems it wasn't as clear as I thought, so I added a new passage clarifying I'm talking about the way Vaida is triggered without warning by a condition you can't possibly predict without looking up maps online, nearly certain death on your first play of the level.

Geizt
Dec 10, 2014



Melth posted:

It seems it wasn't as clear as I thought, so I added a new passage clarifying I'm talking about the way Vaida is triggered without warning by a condition you can't possibly predict without looking up maps online, nearly certain death on your first play of the level.

Yeah, Vaida makes sense. Her and her near infinite wyvern spawn.

FoolyCharged
Oct 11, 2012

Somebody call for an ant?

Things I learned today: Even a retardedly underdeveloped Dorcas can gain a bunch of exp this late in the game. I mean sure it required a bunch of luck, but just the fact that it was doable period.

fade5
May 31, 2012

by exmarx
I remember the first time I got to Cog of Destiny on HHM, and I just stared at these Valkyries thinking "loving Christ they can nuke most of my team":


Then I decided it was officially Canas's time to shine, mostly because I didn't see any other way to stop the Valkyrie horde.

Since I wasn't playing for rank, my "strategy" similar to yours, only without caring about Canas getting overleveled:


So I had Canas and a freshly promoted Nino (B-supported) hold the line and nuke everything. I burned through the equivalent of almost 2 Luna tomes (I saved one at 1 use to Hammerne it), I think Canas ended up at like Level 18 or some insane poo poo, Nino got to around level 11, but man was it fun watching Canas just chump all those Valkyries like nothing. Five turns of Luna crit after Luna crit.:allears:

E: This LP has been really informative in showing just how different a ranking run is from a casual run. There's a bunch of differences that I was vaguely aware of, but the EXP thing has been a real surprise. I never imagined that the EXP requirements meant that you'd end up using literally everyone in your army at some point, or that you'd have to drag along multiple unpromoted units to such a lategame chapter like this (or that those units could successfully get levels instead of just dying horribly).

fade5 fucked around with this message at 18:20 on Apr 17, 2015

dude789
Nov 4, 2009

I'll make your ass sense.
Are you starting to get a good idea of who your final team is going to be? It feels like Heath and Canas are givens and Sain, Erk, Raven, and Fiora all have a pretty good chance of making it as well, but it seems like Nino, Lucius and maybe Florina could also make it with some more favorable levels in the last few chapters.

Melth
Feb 16, 2015

Victory and/or death!

dude789 posted:

Are you starting to get a good idea of who your final team is going to be? It feels like Heath and Canas are givens and Sain, Erk, Raven, and Fiora all have a pretty good chance of making it as well, but it seems like Nino, Lucius and maybe Florina could also make it with some more favorable levels in the last few chapters.

You mean like for LIght in particular? Well it depends a bit on The Value of Life, which has a dangerously high likelihood of getting some of the people I bring along to level 20. Barring that, I think I talked about this a bit but I'll go over it again:

The key is really Nils. Ninis's Grace and Fila's Might and even just regular dance give your generally underleveled and underequipped untits they need on that chapter. A fair number of people will be rescuing him around so he's always where I need him.
Canas and Athos are of course also great. Lyn will be nothing but dead weigh so I'll mostly use her for trading storage space to make sure I don't need to drop anything. Hector and Eliwood will be doing heavy fighting and Eliwood will also help with rescuing.

Honestly, I have to adapt my strategy to how my units and the enemy stats turn out. A point or two more or less in speed or something can require a big strategy change. Here's roughly what I did on my recent ENM max ranking:

1) NO ONE could beat Uhai safely, so I Ninis's Graced Sain and gave him a javelin, letting the snipers suicide to him while Florina and Fiora parked just safely behind him. Heath and Eliwood and others rescue-dropped Nils up toward the Kenneth room, Athos and Pent and Canas and most others also ran that way.

2) With the snipers dead but Uhai still a big threat, Fiora and Florina just surrounded him in his room so Sain could kill him at leisure. Buffed by Nils and Pent with Barrier, Canas and Athos and actually also Eliwood I think quickly swept Kenneth's room and were rescued out by everyone else.

3) Eliwood equipped an Axereaver and ran into Brendan's room. Uhai was killed, Florina and Fiora and Sain began making for the bottom left room. Bartre and I think Pent headed for the mid right room.

4) The fight with Brendan proved somewhat troublesome so I think I had Canas or Athos fire a Luna in to help out. Meanwhile I found out that Bartre and Pent needed help dealing with Darin, so Sain went that way instead.

5) Ursula and Jerme were slow to kill but no big threat. Eliwood continued to work on Brendan, Pent and Sain did what they could with Darin but Bartre and the others had to move for the top right.

6) Brendan dead at last, Darin mostly dead, Ursula and Jerme injured. Bartre with a swordslayer and the iron rune backed up by Canas kills Lloyd immediately, Linus is injured. Athos and Canas and Nils are rushed to the top middle area by Heath.

7) All injured morphs killed, Nergal can't be killed immediately since he has 2 minions nearby and Athos and Canas weren't close enough. Instead he's injured and his minions are taken out. On his turn, he's killed by Canas's counterattack.

8) The fire dragon is bum-rushed with Lunas and Durandal and Nils and Physic

A lot of trade chaining and rescuing around and other details that I can't remember perfectly are omitted. Really, getting people and items from place to place and keeping them healed is the main challenge.

So my team MIGHT look like: Hector, Eliwood, Lyn, Athos, Nils, Canas, Florina, Fiora, Heath, Sain, Erk, Pent. Or something like that

Melth
Feb 16, 2015

Victory and/or death!


The second and final replacement chapter in Hectorís Mode (the first being 11) is very similar to the first- perhaps more so than it is to Valorous Roland, the chapter it replaces. Itís just Hector and Matthew Legault against the world in a small dungeon full of thieves and treasure and with a 0 time limit once again.

Replacing doors to open and walls to break are numerous poison traps. These are not really as interesting as the fire traps in Valorous Roland and are mostly just a nuisance.

And again, the big choice to make is which route to take through the little maze. Kind of the opposite of Valorous Roland where it was all about finding the most efficient way to take every path at once.

Like Valorous Roland, this one really changes what we know about the Elibe universe by adding in undead beings of some sort guarding the legendary weapons. How these fit in with any of the existing religions is unclear to me. I wonder if THEY have quintessence.

And just like Valorous Roland, it concludes with one of the last really great twists in the story.


Chapter Summary:
Now that Nergal has Ninian, Athos is finally in a hurry and teleports the group around wherever they need to go. First they head to the distant Western Isles to collect the legendary axe Armads. Unperturbed by warnings that claiming it will mean heíll die in battle someday, Hector passes the trial by combat required to take the weapon and the group teleports back to Lycia to get Durandal, the sword of Roland. As they exit the cave, Nergal returns to taunt them and an unexpected disaster occurs.




Itís the same location as the chapter where one gets Armads in 6. Of course thereís no explanation in either game Iím aware of of how it ends up back there- entirely unguarded- if it was actually removed in this game.




Actually itísÖ just like chapter 11. But with poison.




Want some cheese to go with that whine?




Athos talks a bit about the axe




You had me at giant axe!




Athos now begins warning him about the ghosts of the soldiers from the scouring who now guard the legendary weapon in death. We find out sadly little about this arrangement.




And Athos explains why we get so few people this level. An archsage he may be, but he should really leave the tactics to Market. More excited guardians is more XP.




If he just argued a little more here maybe we could have bargained Athos up to 2 or 3 allies.




Athos lets him go with some cryptic warnings. Why Athos doesnít help Iím not entirely sure.




You know, this little bit- and Durbansís exact words later on- about what will happen to Hector donít really actually fit very well with what actually happens to him in 6. He doesnít die on the battlefield and heís not done in by his recklessness. Heís killed in a fortress where he was gathering his armies before attacking like a sensible person, and he dies in a dungeon cell hours after the battle in question.


The War Room, Part 21

You know, I never did talk about weapon ranks and XP much. Thatís mostly because it makes no difference usually, but I did talk about most of the other game mechanics. And if weapon XP was ever worth talking about, itís on this chapter.

I did mention before that every character has a rank from E to S with every weapon type (sword, axe, anima, staff, etc.) they can use and that all this affects are which weapons of those types they can actually use, with each weapon (iron sword, steel sword, etc.) having a rank from E to S. Oh and S ranks give +5 to hit and crit with that weapon type.

Every character starts with predetermined ranks in every weapon they can use. Other than getting new weapon types upon promotion, the only way to improve your rank is by using those weapons.

The way that works is that each rank has a threshold of ďWeapon XPĒ you have to reach to get to that rank and every weapon has a secret weapon XP/use stat. For most weapons itís just 1.

To get to D rank from E you need to gain 30 XP, to get from D to C you need 40, etc. up to 70 to get from A to S.

This isnít quite as time-consuming as it sounds because you gain full weapon XP even on a miss and you gain double weapon XP on a kill. So if you kill everyone in 2 hits, it would take 10 kills to go to D from E, then 14 to get to C, and so on. This is sped up further by a few weapons and spells (no consistent pattern, but generally heavier weapons) which grant 2 XP per use. The Iron, Steel, and Silver Blade weapons do among swords for example.

On this chapter, Hector unlocks the ability to use swords starting at D rank. Later in the chapter an enemy will drop a powerful Steel Blade, good against the boss but it requires a C rank. Consequently many people try to get Hector from D to C rank using an Iron Blade on this chapter. That would take about 2-hit kills, but unfortunately Hector actually kills things in 3 hits with that weapon mostly and most of the enemies use lances, so itís not a good choice. Ultimately, it seems infeasible to get him to a C in time when one is in such a hurry.

Itís also worth talking about staves. They work just the same with every weapon having a secret XP per use stat, but the numbers are generally much higher. The trouble is there are no kills to double the gain and while almost all higher level staves give much more, Heal only gives 2 and Mend only 3. Getting to B rank to use Physic is very valuable. Lucius starts with a C so he only needs to gain 50 XP- thatís 25 Heals or 17 Mends, or just a handful of hammernes or torches or the like.

But most people start with E in staves, meaning they need to gain 120 XP. If you heal every single turn, that will take something like 4 maps worth of heal grinding- and in practice it will take much more. Thatís why itís so important to get Canas started healing very early so he can wield Physic in a reasonable time frame.


Battle Preparations & the Map:




Green zones are the poison trap squares. End your turn there and youíll be blasted for 1d4 damage and poisoned (1d4 more damage every turn for 4 turns). The damage is pretty significant when you think about it- itís about 12.5, so even more than the fire traps in Valorous Roland. But somehow it matters much less.
It does hurt the enemy a lot since they stupidly blunder in and then often spend most of 4 turns trying to find you anyway.
Notice their locations though. There are tons and tons in the bottom area of the map, but very few in the top. And many of those can just be walked around.

There are 3 chests on this level and 3 thieves each with a 1 use chest key. Each will go for 1 specific chest (the color circles match them up) and then run out on the left side of the map. Before they get the chest, they will attack you instead of making progress if given the chance (or steal). After getting to their chests though they will only try to flee with maximum speed. Every thief has 20 speed, but they all drop their chest key if killed (unless they got something else first).

Half the knights have steel lances and the rest have axereavers, a problematic combination, and all the mages have Elfire. The upshot is that even if your Hector gained 0 speed all game he could double everything on this level that isnít a thief.

The big trouble is there are a lot of items to acquire but you only get 2 people and canít bring Merlinus. That means if you ever acquire an item with 5 already in your inventory, you have to drop something. Itís also really, really hard to get every single item because the enemies are difficult to deal with for your team. And itís a big, slow map with a 0 turn requirement. Thatís painful.

Anyway, notice that there are basically 3 paths out of the starting area: west, northwest, and northeast. Which way you choose to go determines the outcome of the whole map. At first glance, northeast is terrible and can only slow you down, but with a lot of experimentation I actually found it to be the best if used properly.

West is right out. There are too many poison traps and you canít get any of the good treasure. Northwest is the initially appealing option. The trouble is, that makes the north thief attack or steal from you instead of getting the treasure for you. And that causes all sorts of problems. What follows is not my best run of this level, but itís the best run that did not require a critical hit to work:



Objective: Step onto the square Kaim (the boss) occupies with Hector
Secondary Objective: Get the Wolf Beil from the top right chest
Secondary Objective: Get the Pure Water from the bottom middle chest
Secondary Objective: Get the Elixir from the bottom left chest
Secondary Objective: Steal the Speedwings from the top left mage
Secondary Objective: Steal the Goddess Icon from the top middle fighter
Secondary Objective: Donít drop the Steel Blade from the top leftish mercenary
Secondary Objective: Donít drop the Tomahawk from Kaim
Reinforcements: None
Turn Limit: 0 Itís gonna be tough.
Units Allowed: 1 + Hector. Thatís the hard part of the chapter. Even 2 + Hector would be trivial. 1+ Hector makes it really, really tough to complete it in a reasonable time frame- let alone get any of the good stuff.
Units Brought:
1) Hector. He promoted! He finally promoted! The man is back in town. Heíll be doing most of the real fighting on this level and heís darned good at it. With a couple of vulneraries, he could solo the level no problem.
2) Legault. This is not a choice. It HAS to be Legault. Anyone could open the chests with some lockpicks or chest keys, but only a thief can steal the 2 incredibly valuable items. Jaffar canít even do it, only unpromoted thieves. So itís either Matthew or Legault. My Matthew is terrible, below average in everything. Critically he hasnít even capped speed, meaning heís incapable of stealing from these 20 speed thieves. That leaves Legault as the only option.
Notable Units Rejected:
1) Matthew. Strictly worse than my Legault and incapable of stealing from the thieves.
2) Everyone else. Thatís 16,000 gold down the drain. No.

The formation was tricky to figure out here. But what gear to bring was even trickier. Thatís the hardest part of the level really and it took several runs to figure out the optimal setup:




Every piece is carefully chosen. First off, he must have a handaxe- it will be his weapon of choice for most of the level and is the only effective way to fight mages which being decently effective vs knights.

Second, he needs either an iron blade or a steel sword or an armorslayer. These will be used to kill one critical thief and to fight Kaim and can optionally be used another time or two. For the thief, the accuracy of the armorslayer is nice. However, Kaim will die precisely one attack earlier with the iron blade. This doesnít actually save a turn, but does mean Hector is at slightly lower risk of dying since he needs to dodge one less counter. It also costs much less and gives more weapon XP for whatever thatís worth.

Hector will need healing twice, hence the vulneraries. Giving him a 3-use vulnerary would take up an extra inventory slot though. You need to consume those vulnerary and free up slots, so itís either 2 1 uses or 1 2 use.

And the other slot is open. That makes 3 empty slots by the end.




Legault absolutely must have an armorslayer and a lancereaver. Nothing else will do. He needs the armorslayer to take down a few knights- particularly ones with axereavers. And he needs the lancereaver to not get hit by knights with lances.

He must have a Pure Water with exactly 1 use. He cannot survive Elfire without it, and he needs to free up its slot immediately.

And he needs a 3 use vulnerary since he must heal 3 times. With the vulnerary and pure water gone and an empty spot to begin with, that makes 6 empty slots total by the end.

Steel Blade + Tomahawk + Elixir + Wolf Beil + Speed Wings + Goddess Icon = 6 items, exactly enough room.

I tried many ways to find a way to also get the pure water, but I just couldnít do it. There are no way to start with less stuff and not die on the way with my stats. Plus there was only one chance to grab it and it resulted in not being able to get the Goddess Icon. Oh well, the Pure Water is worth much less than anything else anyway


The Characters:




ďTremendous strengthÖ truly like hisĒ ĖKaim, Chapter 30

A companion of Durbans, about whom we know nothing else. Now heís a ghost endlessly guarding Armads.
People seem to ask why we donít fight a Berserker on the chapter called the Berserker and instead itís a hero. Well notice that you fight a Berserker, not a hero, on Valorous Roland. As best we can guess, Roland was a Hero and Durbans was a Berserker or some unique versions of those classes. And we know that Roland had a friend or companion named Georg and Durbans had one named Kaim and these were the people chosen to watch over them for eternity. Meanwhile, Eliwood is compared to Roland- Bramimond says theyíre much alike and Athos and Roland seem to make the comparison too. Kaim says Hectorís strength reminds him of Durbans and the two of them seem fairly similar.
To me it seems plausible that the friendship of Roland and Georg and of Durbans and Kaim was meant to look like a parallel to that of Eliwood and Hector and thatís why you fight a Berserker on Valorous Roland and a Hero here. Or maybe it just made for better stats. Either way.

And this guyís stats are a problem. Heís too fast for Hector to even possibly double him and he hits tremendously hard and quite accurately. Worst of all, heís extremely durable. It takes many turns of fighting to kill this guy, on a chapter where you have no turns to spare.




And he doesnít even use a sword, he uses this monstrous weapon! If he had a sword you could Swordreaver him and the fight would actually be really easy. That would be the perfect weapon for the level in fact.

Oh and heís completely impervious to attacks by your other people. They just inexplicably do 0 damage. Maybe this wouldnít be so weird if Georg was like that too.


Playing Through:




First thing is to take this thief out. It doesnít actually matter if Hector hits or not, but he does need to be in this precise spot. And if he does hit, thatís nice.




Sweet, he hit. Now Legault finishes with his armorslayer. That means heíll probably get hit by that knight, but will deal massive damage in return.




The thief drops the chest key. 0 space free now.




On the enemy turn, the knight hits as expected. Also cool background, theyíre still introducing new ones.




Legault moves as far as possible, drinks a vulnerary, and equips a Lancereaver. This all but guarantees he wonít be hit and will do juuuust enough damage to kill the knight.




That knight moved out of the way and the enemy thief has moved up, so Hector can now take this path, saving him a square or two.




Call me crazy, but Legault is going to win this one.




A bad Legault gets even worse. Whatever, nothing can stop me now.




The enemy gets the Wolf Beil as planned. Yep, there are apparently 2 copies of ďHectorís Beloved AxeĒ which can only be wielded by him. I donít think I understand it either. At least Eliwoodís rapier sounds like itís just, you know, a rapier and no one else trains with such an aristocratic weapon or something.




Hector just moves in with his handaxe, Legault also moves as far as he can and drinks his pure water and equips a lancereaver for defense.




During the enemy turn, the thief gets that pure water.




Next turn, Hector moves up as far as possible and kills this pesky mage before it becomes more of a problem.




And Legault takes the first attack against the Wolf Beil thief. Armorslayer is the appropriate weapon here because that nearby knight has an axereaver.




Roughly half the knights on the level do, the rest having steel lances. No particular pattern to who has what.




Way to finish strong Legault! Even with his HHM bonuses my Legault is behind normal in some stats and heís not good in anything important. But my Matthew was even worse. At least this time he gained all 4 unimportant stats instead of just two of them.




The mage takes the next shot at him, this being the one with the Speedwings. As you can see, heíd be dead by now from the 2 mage hits if not for the pure water.




Because Legault was in the way, the enemy thief couldnít escape and Hector now finishes him. This is that spot where the Armorslayerís accuracy bonus is nice.




Got the wolf beil.



Legault steals the speed wings. Now that mage is going to move backwards to attack, which means Legault can actually escape his range next turn.




Next turn he flees and heals. And Iím on guard for the poison traps, so I donít go to the other seemingly just as good spot.




And Hector moves in, iron blade at the ready. He canít kill both that knight- the guy has an axereaver- and the mage so itís a bit of a catch-22. The mage is the smart one to go for. However, in a previous run I killed the mage and the lost later due to some bad luck with Kaim. And I said at the beginning that I would not RNG abuse, so when I lost I would adopt a new strategy. So I did things a bit differently this time, including killing the knight even though killing the mage is wiser.




A tempting target! One hit from the iron blade and I get the Pure Water this guy is fleeing with. And this is the only chance. Heís faster than Hector, so heíll escape in 2 turns or so.

But if I kill this guy, Hector will not have a free inventory space next turn when he kills the mercenary, which means he has to drop something for the steel blade. He still needs his handaxe and his iron blade and his vulnerary and remember he has the wolf beil. That means he has only 1 inventory spot open, so I can pick either the steel blade or the pure water but not both. The Steel Blade is worth more.

I really tried everything and just canít do it with these stats. Not without some RNG abuse so as to get away with not using a vulnerary or some such nonsense.




Legault equips his Lancereaver and drinks a vulnerary.




And Hector stands exactly here and heals himself while he can to open an inventory spot. With these positions and gear, Legault will almost but not quite kill the Goddess Icon fighter (who has a swordreaver) and the mercenary and will definitely survive himself. Then Hector can attack the mercenary from the left, putting him in exactly the right spot to reach his mage agro point next turn.




Alright, thatís the last uber-valuable item thatís easily missable collected.




And the steel blade is acquired.




Next turn, Hector moves into position to kill every mage with a handaxe.




I just noticed this weirdness. That wall looking spot there is not a wall, itís a floor. So is the one above it. The rest are actual walls. That pillar thing is also a wall, so itís not like you can actually access the platform through here. Strange.




Legault has to step backward to kill this mage before he becomes more of a problem. Ideally, of course, the mage would be long dead and the axereaver knight would have suicide to Hector turns ago, but this slightly inferior strategy still finishes on the same turn.




Nice!




Hector moves here with his handaxe ready. Legault is badly injured and shouldnít do any more fighting now that heís level 20 anyway. Hector could have reached handaxe range to Kaim this turn, but Kaim owns him if he uses a handaxe and he needs healing anyway.




Next turn, Legault is in position to get the chest whenever. Now itís up to Hector to win.




The slugfest begins on turn 11. As you can see crunching the numbers, it will take about 3 volleys to beat Kaim. It would take 4 if I did 1 less damage due to using an armorslayer.




Legault gets the elixir- and gets out of the way of that last incoming knight.




Several boring turns later, Hector is at bad HP but finally kills Kaim and scores an amazing level up.




And a sweet axe.




Itís turn 14 and I just won.




Even 1000 year old caves full of ghosts are all designed with a single throne at the center to be captured by attacking enemies.




And the legend even weirder than Bramimond shows up. This guy is their Vaida.




Hector is understandably scared of this ghostly, shirtless, crazy guy whoís possibly even bigger than Hawkeye.




The guy was nutty enough to apparently begin to confuse himself with his axe over time and eventually just adopted its name.




And as youíll see, he talks like heís an axe. Heck maybe it IS the axe talking and itís sentient or something. Given some things Athos says later about Durandal, thatís not actually implausible.




Beowulf eat your heart out.




Just like Athos's recklessness comment, this is not actually true to what happens in FE6. He gets badly injured on a battlefield but he dies hours later in a prison cell. And he could totally have survived if he'd gotten medical attention instead of just being thrown in there to slowly bleed to death after surviving just long enough to talk to his rescuers for 30 seconds.




And thereís the Hector we know and love again!




Outside, Athos has been sitting around doing unhelpful things.




Wow, looks like weíre going to do Valorous Roland too-




Or we just teleport directly to the sword.




And wait for him to do everything on his own apparently.




So here the group is, in a haunted volcanic cave on the outskirts of Ostia. You would think the volcanic activity, at least, would be mentioned somewhere when someone talks about Ostia.




Everyone marvels at Durandal. My interpretation of Lynís quote here- and this is the first thing of consequence sheís said in several chapters- is that the sword is described in detail in stories and legends sheís heard enough for the design to be familiar.




Somethingís happening! And my guess about why Durandal- which unlike the Sword of Seals doesnít actually have any kind of fire powers- is called the Blazing Sword is that it can do this; give off light in battle.




Holy cow! Did Nergal win already? That thing is huge! That painting is awesome! Once again, everything is up in the air.




Durandal swings. If they can do this kind of cool slashing animation here, why didnít they do it in any of the previous occasions they needed to show someone being hit with a weapon but didnít want to use an actual fight? Would have made some scenes a whole lot clearer.




Did I say the previous painting was awesome? It wasnít. This one is.




The dragon is roaring and dying.




Eliwood explains that his body, guided by the sword, attacked on its own. And Athos here makes the remark I alluded to before about not even him knowing about the power and abilities of these weapons.




Heís apparently looking at that dragon.




Uh ohÖ




Well this canít be good.




This whole scene is just excellent.




Ephidel had to walk up next to people and grab them to teleport them. Nergal doesnít.




SoÖ yeah. There are a couple of oddities with this scene. First and foremost, Eliwoodís portrait is replaced with a silhouette for some reason. Iím fairly confident that that doesnít happen on all difficulty modes or perhaps just not all the time, because Iím nearly certain I didnít see this happen until 3 years or so ago.
Also, the text autoscrolls and ignores your speed settings and presses of buttons. Nergalís power is formidable indeed.




His lack of color is very distracting.




Wham!




And now he reveals the truth, mocking Eliwoodís stupidity in not questioning before why only Ninian and Nils could open the Dragonís Gate. Itís great in that this had seemed like a bit of a weird plot hole to players paying attention on their first time- or at least a contrivance. But now we see that actually it was just a question in-world which Eliwood should have been asking but didnít want to.




Itís this scene (Plus A Glimpse In Time) that make Nergal a really great villain. Otherwise heíd just be a fairly generic power hungry evil sorcerer. But A Glimpse In Time gave him a pretty great and interesting and sad past, and this scene gives him a really contemptible present that will be satisfying to kill. Much like Soniaís cruelty and pettiness and jealousy, Nergalís trollishness and mockery of Eliwood and Ninianís love changes from just an antagonist into a real villain.




The auto-scrolling text makes it hard to get good screen shots.










What this scene really needs is some unique music like many of the other great reveal or twist or emotional moment scenes in the game had. That it doesnít have anything of the same caliber hurts it a little.







Man heís good at rubbing that in.







And there, that smile, that right there sells Nergal. Look at that perfect cruel smirk.




An all new Eliwood portrait!




And a fantastic one not seen since his father died in his arms.




These portraits just have so much character and emotion to them. We donít get that in the later titles- not even in 8 really where no one really has many different ones.







And yet another painting just for this scene.




Nergal just loves Eliwoodís misery here. He teleported back just as Ninian got there just to see it and even leaves without Nils now. And the way he teleports into the middle of a painting like that is also great.







Oh wow! Athos is finally getting directly involved. At this point I was fully expecting a battle to break out right now with Nergal on my first play. Or for Athos to get killed.




And a battle ensues as the two mightiest wizards on the continent square off.




Nergal doesnít even bother fighting back, just laughing at how Athos canít even hurt him anymore. Heís just here to mock and belittle all the heroes and make sure they understand that they lost despite all their efforts.




And he lets them live so they can stew in their failure, also getting in a jab at Athos.




And revealing his secrets to the group. This is another surprise and kind of a big one.




He leaves without Nils who then wakes up from his spell.




Iím not sure if Nils recognized Ninian in dragon form immediately since he didnít react to her being attacked. Itís been a long, long time since he could have seen her in that shape anyway.




Thereís just no way to answer that is there?




But Eliwood does the best he can.




And another fantastic painting, all of them grieving in their own way. You can almost hear Nilsís anguished scream.


And thatís the level. Valorous Roland was much better, but wow that whole scene is one of the best since the Dragonís Gate ending. And almost as full of surprises. They really pulled out all the stops with unique animations and paintings and so forth for it; itís a shame there wasnít another really remarkable piece of music to match. That would have completed things.


That was an interesting chapter. I suppose on one level itís frustrating, but I had fun experimenting and figuring out the best possible approach out of dozens of options and then finding ways to refine and improve as much as possible.

With some luck, I believe the best possible completion time while getting as many items as I did would be 12 turns. That would require a critical from Hector on his first attack against Kaim. On one of my runs I did crit him, but not that early in the fight, so I won on turn 13. I felt like that win was fairly illegitimate for purposes of showing a good strategic approach to the level and it was also actually my very first attempt, so I knew I needed to redo it several times to make sure that was actually the best route to take through the chapter. 14 is easily attainable, but darn it hurts my tactics surplus.
That level is basically worthless for your XP score, thereís just nothing to kill and you canít bring any low level people anyway. A net profit of about 320 XP. Fortunately thereís still 1 more 0 chapter coming up and Iím something like 8,000 XP ahead at this point anyway.
Oh and for all you Farina people out there, this chapter is how I afford her after not planning on getting her all game long. If I wasnít trying to stockpile funds, Iíd actually have gone for a much quicker win and skipped one of the two stat boosters on this level. I could have won by maybe turn 10 then with a much smoother approach, leaving me with a much more comfortable surplus. But I spent about 2000 on weapons, vulneraries, and pure water on this chapter and I gained about 30,000 by squeezing the chapter for all it was worth. That puts me right back up into easily affording Farina land.

Total Restarts: 33 (Iím not counting my redos of this chapter. In every one of those cases I won the chapter afterall; I was just checking whether there were better routes to victory. Plus the strategy I employed on my very first try was ultimately the one I concluded was best)
Turn Surplus: 16 (Thereís still a big 0 chapter left and 2 that eat 1 turn automatically. This isnít going to be a triviality).
Things I Regret Missing: The lockpick on chapter 11, that darned archer on chapter 11, this one brigand who attacked Marcus on chapter 12, 2 more brigands who ignored everyone else to attack Marcus on chapter 13x, and 2 archers who ignored Hector and Dorcas (DORCAS!) to attack Marcus on chapter 14, like 10 more enemies I could have killed if Hector could have survived one more turn on chapter18, Uhai who decided to take a 100% chance of death to Sain over a free hit on Hector, the chance to finish shopping properly with my silver card on chapter 21, the armorslayer that I would have acquired if not for a stupid minor mistake on chapter 22, these 3 wyvern riders who decided they preferred a 0% chance to hit Isadaora and then 100% chance of death against her to fighting a low level Heath, those 2 pegasus knights at the end of Crazed Beast that I just didnít have enough time to feed to Bartre, the confused pirate and final archer on Night of Farewells, and the Pure Water on The Berserker.

Melth fucked around with this message at 09:19 on Apr 20, 2015

GilliamYaeger
Jan 10, 2012

Call Gespenst!

Melth posted:



Ephidel had to walk up next to people and grab them to teleport them. Nergal doesnít.
Unlike his incompetent creation, Nergal is at least smart enough to tote a Rescue staff around in addition to that Warp staff when he wants to kidnap people.

FoolyCharged
Oct 11, 2012

Somebody call for an ant?

GilliamYaeger posted:

Unlike his incompetent creation, Nergal is at least smart enough to tote a Rescue staff around in addition to that Warp staff when he wants to kidnap people.

I'm trying to decide whats more fun sounding, that rescue staffs only work on blue units or a world in which rescue staffs can move any unit regardless of army. Those could be interesting to play with if someone could ever figure out a good rescue staff ai.

MarquiseMindfang
Jan 6, 2013

vriska (vriska)

FoolyCharged posted:

I'm trying to decide whats more fun sounding, that rescue staffs only work on blue units or a world in which rescue staffs can move any unit regardless of army. Those could be interesting to play with if someone could ever figure out a good rescue staff ai.

I just want Rewarp staffs brought back. Or give Warp staffs Rewarp functionality too.

Keldulas
Mar 18, 2009
This is where the story completely lost me when I played this myself. I pretty much figured that the dragon was Ninian, and the game deciding to yank control of the text scrolling away from me put me on suspicions that 'big heavy plot development thangs' are happening. Which is unbelievably pretentious to remove control from the player. The scroll is so hideously slow that I just put the GBA down, let it run, and did something else. I don't need to read the villain brag that the heroes are idiots, I already knew that.

Melth
Feb 16, 2015

Victory and/or death!

Keldulas posted:

This is where the story completely lost me when I played this myself. I pretty much figured that the dragon was Ninian, and the game deciding to yank control of the text scrolling away from me put me on suspicions that 'big heavy plot development thangs' are happening. Which is unbelievably pretentious to remove control from the player. The scroll is so hideously slow that I just put the GBA down, let it run, and did something else. I don't need to read the villain brag that the heroes are idiots, I already knew that.

Kinda like silhouette Eliwood, I'm pretty sure the scrolling text was not deliberate.

Cake Attack
Mar 26, 2010

Melth posted:

Kinda like silhouette Eliwood, I'm pretty sure the scrolling text was not deliberate.

silhouette eliwood is an emulator bug, it's not something that normally happens

scrolling text always happens, here and after you beat the last boss. it's supposed to be for dramatic effect

Melth
Feb 16, 2015

Victory and/or death!

Cake Attack posted:

silhouette eliwood is an emulator bug, it's not something that normally happens

scrolling text always happens, here and after you beat the last boss. it's supposed to be for dramatic effect

Ah ha, that explains why I don't remember the silhouette thing happening at first, I never played on an emulator till a couple of years ago. Still, they don't use the scrolling text thing at several other moments that are just as dramatic if not more so. If it was deliberate here then yeah that's kind of silly of them, but it still seems like it's probably some sort of mistake.

Cake Attack
Mar 26, 2010

The slow text happens in PoR too, after the final boss, so I'm inclined to believe it's intentional

Melth
Feb 16, 2015

Victory and/or death!

Cake Attack posted:

The slow text happens in PoR too, after the final boss, so I'm inclined to believe it's intentional

Yeah, probably then.

fade5
May 31, 2012

by exmarx

Melth posted:

Ah ha, that explains why I don't remember the silhouette thing happening at first, I never played on an emulator till a couple of years ago. Still, they don't use the scrolling text thing at several other moments that are just as dramatic if not more so. If it was deliberate here then yeah that's kind of silly of them, but it still seems like it's probably some sort of mistake.
The silhouette thing I think I can explain: in the actual game during this scene, Eliwood is (rightfully) angry at Nergal and so he's using his angry portrait (listed in the game code as 0x03 Angry Eliwood). For some reason, the usual FE7 ROM either doesn't have that portrait or the pointer to the portrait messed up, and so it doesn't correctly display in this scene.

Whatever the reason, it only happens here because this is basically the only time Angry Eliwood pops up, unlike Angry Hector who pops up more than once:

fade5 fucked around with this message at 21:18 on Apr 18, 2015

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Melth
Feb 16, 2015

Victory and/or death!

fade5 posted:

The silhouette thing I think I can explain: in the actual game during this scene, Eliwood is (rightfully) angry at Nergal and so he's using his angry portrait (listed in the game code as 0x03 Angry Eliwood). For some reason, the usual FE7 ROM either doesn't have that portrait or the pointer to the portrait messed up, and so it doesn't correctly display in this scene.

Whatever the reason, it only happens here because this is basically the only time Angry Eliwood pops up, unlike Angry Hector who pops up more than once:



Hm, well perhaps there are 2 angry Eliwoods or something, because there's definitely an angry Eliwood picture that does show up sometimes- including in that scene. Actually I think there are at least 2 different angry Eliwood portraits that do show up. I commented on one of them in that last chapter's ending actually.

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