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Princey
Mar 22, 2013


I disagree with a lot of the story-related opinions (especially the weird uncharitability toward all the female characters so far), but the mechanics talk is cool and interesting. I really like LPs that go in-depth on mechanics and strategy and tactics, and I love challenge runs that turn every map into a puzzle to be solved.

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Melth
Feb 16, 2015

Victory and/or death!


Onmi posted:

It's nice to see Eliwood get some recognition. But it does hurt him that during localization they reduced the 3x Effective Damage multiplyer to x2. Now Granted this probably helped the final boss not feel like such a joke (You know ignoring one-shotting him with Luna)

In the end I really like Eliwood, I mean I like Hector don't get me wrong, but Hector doesn't work that well without Eliwood, his loyalty to his best friend humanizes him, because before that, Hectors just really violent and angry and you can only sustain that for so long.


Unfortunately it's the truth, Archers are horrible so all of the FE7 ones might as well go fling themselves off a pier, the fact that the game doesn't exactly have the Dracoknight spam of other games or the lowered Mt of Hand Axes OR the buffed defenses of Archers, means that they're trash.

Oswin is a Knight, and excluding defense maps, a Knight can never hold up when you have to go fast. Not to mention his coming at level 9 really hurts for Experience rank. And it's not like he has amazing growths, or that he's the games Dieck in that he can run around and Boss-Kill on the early game.

When you're playing slow and just trying to use who you want, they're all fine, but for Ranking they achieve very little.

I pretty much agree with you on all points for once :P

What do you think of the whole x3 effective damage vs x2 question by the way? If I recall correctly, Sacred Stones had x3 effectiveness multipliers again but I don't think they've been entirely consistent since then.

In my opinion, x2 Might is probably the right multiplier for axes and lances to be extremely powerful without always being an instant kill, but it's just not good enough for swords and bows. Part of the problem of course is that most sword and bow users have lower strength than axe and lance users.

Maybe it would be better to just have a flat bonus or something. Like +10 maybe. Then we wouldn't have the constant problem that Armorslayers < Hammers no matter what the multiplier is.



theshim posted:

I think the word you're looking for here is "prodigy".

Yes, that was the joke.


Princey posted:

I disagree with a lot of the story-related opinions (especially the weird uncharitability toward all the female characters so far)

In my opinion, Fire Emblem generally has a problem with how it portrays women. Way too many of them play second fiddle to the men in the story or spend all their time fawning over one or more possible love interests without getting their own development. This annoys me. This problem was at its worst in Awakening, but even 7 has some of it as I've tried to point out.

Lyn is, in my opinion, the best female lead in FE and perhaps the most interesting woman in the series period. She's a complex and complete person with her strengths and weaknesses and her own goals and desires. And she's not secretly a dragon or otherwise a plot device. Also unlike, say, Eirika who spends most of the plot being upstaged by her brother and wishing she was as good as him and reflecting that he taught her everything she knows about everything useful in the game, Lyn gets the better of Eliwood and Hector a decent share of the time and they all quickly end up with a relationship of mutual respect for their different approaches and abilities.

Melth fucked around with this message at 23:55 on Feb 19, 2015

Manatee Cannon
Aug 26, 2010





I will agree that Lyn is cool. Shame they screw her on promotion with a lame special weapon and bows.

Melth
Feb 16, 2015

Victory and/or death!


Manatee Cannon posted:

I will agree that Lyn is cool. Shame they screw her on promotion with a lame special weapon and bows.

And no crit bonus!

Onmi
Jul 12, 2013

If someone says it one more time I'm having Florina show up as a corpse. I'm not even kidding, I was pissed off with people doing that shit back in 2010, and I'm not dealing with it now in 2016.


Melth posted:

I pretty much agree with you on all points for once :P

What do you think of the whole x3 effective damage vs x2 question by the way? If I recall correctly, Sacred Stones had x3 effectiveness multipliers again but I don't think they've been entirely consistent since then.

In my opinion, x2 Might is probably the right multiplier for axes and lances to be extremely powerful without always being an instant kill, but it's just not good enough for swords and bows. Part of the problem of course is that most sword and bow users have lower strength than axe and lance users.

Maybe it would be better to just have a flat bonus or something. Like +10 maybe. Then we wouldn't have the constant problem that Armorslayers < Hammers no matter what the multiplier is.

Well for me, it depends. the x3 multiplyer completely destroys FE6's end-game. To the point where 1/1 Roy with the Sword of Seals three-shots the final boss. And I know the games are designed to prevent you from being put into a failure state (This is why the powerful God unit joins at the very end of the game each time) but, it's clearly not a final boss at that point, it's an exercise in just running through the motions. I mean I got an ASM bit done that allows me to change different effectiveness types not just for weapons, but on the units they affect. So the SoS might be 3x against the usual end-game foes but only 1.5x versus the final boss. Allowing the final boss to be percieved as a threat still, while letting the sword maintain its plot status as powerful versus unique foes.

So I think you're correct, x2 is fine for Lances and Axes, but Swords and Bows really need the x3. Specifically because in the latter case, they only have the one shot per turn, it might as well be a really powerful shot. And to me the problem with Armorslayer>Hammer is the Armorslayer has 80 Hit, the Hammer has 55 hit. a 4 Mt difference and WTA on the armored units is not nearly enough to offset the 25 hit difference on a unit who naturally has low skill OR is being weighed down by the 15 Wt brick.

There is 1 unit unpromoted who can use the Hammer with no speed loss, now granted it's a pretty miniscule loss given the high con, but in comparison Marcus comes able to use the Armorslayer with no loss... not that you should use Marcus to do it but it's just observations on the weapon. The Hammer's pretty much is the worse weapon in pretty much every aspect. Users, Weight, Hit. The Hammer is cheaper and strronger and that's it.

But Eliwoods Rapier would be much better as a x3 Effective slayer, especially given the stats behind it at the beginning.

The flat bonus could work, but it really reduces bows effectiveness versus fliers. Another example of the power of the x3 Multiplyer is in Radiant Dawn, and Thani. Micaiah can be the worst unit in the world and that tome will still can-open every armor and horse from the moment she gets it. Crossbows in the same vein, attaching Beastfoe to a Crossbow user or against flyers, the Crossbow is a deadly weapon but it's near useless against humanoid units.

Wonderful for Flurry/Disarming to allow you to STEAL EVERYTHING with Shinon and Heather. God RD made me such a Klepto...

It's not really a situation that I think can be given a flat "Okay all weapons do X" You have to balance each multiplyer individually, which is more work, but makes for a better balance.

Princey
Mar 22, 2013


Melth posted:

In my opinion, Fire Emblem generally has a problem with how it portrays women. Way too many of them play second fiddle to the men in the story or spend all their time fawning over one or more possible love interests without getting their own development. This annoys me. This problem was at its worst in Awakening, but even 7 has some of it as I've tried to point out.

Fair enough, I would agree with this mostly, although I think 8 is the worst on this front (largely because of how it treats Eirika, as you were saying), and I like Awakening quite a lot. I tend not to go for the male/female support chains beyond the necessary so possibly my experience is different than yours.

Only vaguely related, but have you played Radiant Dawn? I've seen you reference basically every other FE game from 6 on at some point in your descriptions.

Melth
Feb 16, 2015

Victory and/or death!


Onmi posted:

Well for me, it depends. the x3 multiplyer completely destroys FE6's end-game. To the point where 1/1 Roy with the Sword of Seals three-shots the final boss. And I know the games are designed to prevent you from being put into a failure state (This is why the powerful God unit joins at the very end of the game each time) but, it's clearly not a final boss at that point, it's an exercise in just running through the motions. I mean I got an ASM bit done that allows me to change different effectiveness types not just for weapons, but on the units they affect. So the SoS might be 3x against the usual end-game foes but only 1.5x versus the final boss. Allowing the final boss to be percieved as a threat still, while letting the sword maintain its plot status as powerful versus unique foes.

So I think you're correct, x2 is fine for Lances and Axes, but Swords and Bows really need the x3. Specifically because in the latter case, they only have the one shot per turn, it might as well be a really powerful shot. And to me the problem with Armorslayer>Hammer is the Armorslayer has 80 Hit, the Hammer has 55 hit. a 4 Mt difference and WTA on the armored units is not nearly enough to offset the 25 hit difference on a unit who naturally has low skill OR is being weighed down by the 15 Wt brick.

There is 1 unit unpromoted who can use the Hammer with no speed loss, now granted it's a pretty miniscule loss given the high con, but in comparison Marcus comes able to use the Armorslayer with no loss... not that you should use Marcus to do it but it's just observations on the weapon. The Hammer's pretty much is the worse weapon in pretty much every aspect. Users, Weight, Hit. The Hammer is cheaper and strronger and that's it.

But Eliwoods Rapier would be much better as a x3 Effective slayer, especially given the stats behind it at the beginning.

The flat bonus could work, but it really reduces bows effectiveness versus fliers. Another example of the power of the x3 Multiplyer is in Radiant Dawn, and Thani. Micaiah can be the worst unit in the world and that tome will still can-open every armor and horse from the moment she gets it. Crossbows in the same vein, attaching Beastfoe to a Crossbow user or against flyers, the Crossbow is a deadly weapon but it's near useless against humanoid units.

Wonderful for Flurry/Disarming to allow you to STEAL EVERYTHING with Shinon and Heather. God RD made me such a Klepto...

It's not really a situation that I think can be given a flat "Okay all weapons do X" You have to balance each multiplyer individually, which is more work, but makes for a better balance.

Regarding armorslayer vs hammer, imo you're underrating the importance of the weapon triangle in this case. Remember that weapon triangle alterations are applied to the weapon's Might before the multiplier. So vs. a knight or a general with a lance, the armorslayer has a functional Might of 14. The hammer is packing 22. Meanwhile the armorslayer has 65 Hit and the Hammer has 70. And Weight isn't much of a concern because enemy knights are so horrendously slow that you'll double regardless. If you're up against a general who has an axe but doesn't have a lance he could equip instead, the armorslayer of course looks better with 18 Mt vs 20 Might and 95 Hit vs 60. At least in the GBA titles though, that's a relatively rare situation.
Another thing to consider is that if the hammer can defeat an enemy in fewer actual hits than the armorslayer, it can save you even more money than the baseline price tag suggests. But I'll admit that's a small factor.



Princey posted:

Only vaguely related, but have you played Radiant Dawn? I've seen you reference basically every other FE game from 6 on at some point in your descriptions.

I've played pretty much every FE on every difficulty, though I haven't actually gotten far in FE4. This is because I keep hearing people say it's great, so I want to experience it properly, but the opening text that would probably introduce the setting isn't translated. And I can't find a translation of that part anywhere. So I haven't played past level 2.

I mostly reference the other GBA titles because they have a lot in common with this one. Of course, Awakening is in many respects like a GBA title, but I hate Awakening more than anything that isn't Thus Spake Zarathustra so I don't like to talk about it.

Onmi
Jul 12, 2013

If someone says it one more time I'm having Florina show up as a corpse. I'm not even kidding, I was pissed off with people doing that shit back in 2010, and I'm not dealing with it now in 2016.


Melth posted:

Regarding armorslayer vs hammer, imo you're underrating the importance of the weapon triangle in this case.

Oh right, poo poo I forgot the calculations in Blazing Sword are different to Binding Blade.

RBA Starblade
Apr 27, 2008

Going Home.

Games Idiot Court Jester


I have never ever gotten Eliwood to be a useful unit. In fact, I've only once been able to attack the final boss with him and only to finish it off. He'd get torched if he tried otherwise. Hector and Lyn always became gigantic powerhouses though. That's luck for you!

quote:

Seriously, can someone explain what knights are even doing in their criticals? Which way is he facing? Why is he standing like that? What the heck happened to his head? Iíve looked through it frame by frame and it never makes sense to me.

He's spinning his lance above and in front of him, facing to the right, then pulling it back behind him while still spinning it, then thrusting it forward. Basically showboating.

quote:

I mostly reference the other GBA titles because they have a lot in common with this one. Of course, Awakening is in many respects like a GBA title, but I hate Awakening more than anything that isn't Thus Spake Zarathustra so I don't like to talk about it.

Awakening owns except the 3d models. :colbert:

What's your beef with Thus Spoke Zarathustra though?

RBA Starblade fucked around with this message at 01:44 on Feb 20, 2015

Manatee Cannon
Aug 26, 2010





Eliwood's promoted class has almost exactly the same stat caps as a Paladin. There are two differences, strength (Eliwood gets 27, Paladin gets 25) and defense (23 to 25). Eliwood will not hit any stat cap on average at 20/20. Sain will ram into strength, Kent will hit skill and speed, Lowen and Marcus won't hit anything. While Sain and Kent are better at certain things, Eliwood will be statistically better across the board compared to all of your other horse units assuming everyone is on average and level capped. Eliwood's biggest problems are that A) he does not start with a horse, B) he does not get lances until promotion, and C) he does not promote until the end game. Eliwood being better than any of the Cavaliers/Paladins is super late game talk that does not factor into most of the game. It's more a technicality than something that really factors into the game, during regular gameplay he'll be overshadowed by your other, better ground units. Doesn't help that he gets the worst of the three lord weapons.

edit: oh yeah, and Paladins get axes as well. Complete weapon triangle coverage is quite nice and something Eliwood cannot claim to have.

edit 2: out of curiosity, I looked up Ephraim from FE8's stat caps and they're also almost identical. The only difference is that Eliwood gets two extra res.

Manatee Cannon fucked around with this message at 02:50 on Feb 20, 2015

Melth
Feb 16, 2015

Victory and/or death!


RBA Starblade posted:

What's your beef with Thus Spoke Zarathustra though?

Part of it is Nietzche trying to pass off bigotry as philosophy. Part of it is his admittedly brilliant use of poor writing to conceal poor thinking. But worst of all is knowing that some people actually consider that book to be intelligent.

RBA Starblade
Apr 27, 2008

Going Home.

Games Idiot Court Jester


I thought you were talking about the song honestly. :v:

Nihilarian
Oct 2, 2013




I always do a bit better with Eliwood when I focus on lances over swords. I don't think you need an S Rank to wield his ultimate weapon, anyway.

Nihilarian fucked around with this message at 03:06 on Feb 20, 2015

Melth
Feb 16, 2015

Victory and/or death!


RBA Starblade posted:

I thought you were talking about the song honestly. :v:

I have nothing against the song actually, that's just fine. But it would suck if Nietzche had written it.

Manatee Cannon
Aug 26, 2010





Nihilarian posted:

I always do a bit better with Eliwood when I focus on lances over swords. I don't think you need an S Rank to wield his ultimate weapon, anyway.

You don't need any weapon ranks for preferred weapons. He could have an E rank in swords and still use it. Not like you would either way, it's too heavy for him.

LeschNyhan
Sep 2, 2006



So this thread is pretty great. I played FE a bunch when it came out, and was immediately drawn to the perma-death and persistent armies, because there weren't and still aren't enough strategy / tactics games that force you to preserve your force rather than just build a ton of stuff on-map and throw it into the meat-grinder.

i've beaten Hector Hard Mode once with all the side missions, with my usual slate of character choices, and that was a bloody hard-earned accomplishment. Not even gunning for stars or anything.

But this, this is obscene. Keep up the good work!

Tae
Oct 24, 2010

Hello? Can you hear me? ...Perhaps if I shout? AAAAAAAAAH!


RBA Starblade posted:

I thought you were talking about the song honestly. :v:

I thought he was talking about Xenosaga III randomly.

Melth
Feb 16, 2015

Victory and/or death!


So I finished 13- quite successfully- but not on my first run. My first run was even better, but then I stupidly put Matthew in range of the sole remaining pegasus knight on what should have been the completely safe final turn. I'd been spectacularly lucky that run and netted all these great level ups too.

So I restarted of course. And from there my luck completely ran out and I lost 3 times over in ridiculous ways. One time Bartre sitting on a forest with a handaxe lost a fight with a javelin-wielding cavalier. With 28% displayed odds to hit, the cavalier hit 4 times while Bartre missed over and over. The second time, Matthew got killed on a mountain by a brigand with a handaxe. And the third time, the big brawl in the southeastern area just went completely against me and I pretty much got a party wipe as every single one of my guys except Marcus managed to miss and then the enemy killed everyone.

It was kind of irritating since it makes my restart track record look terrible. Oh well. One plus is that it gave me some time to experiment and try different things and turn my initial good strategy into a great one. Great, but not perfect. I think that it's possible to accomplish everything I did 1 turn earlier, and if someone can actually manage to do it, I'd be interested in seeing how.


More annoying are the kind of fantastic levels I lost on that wonderful first run where the enemies behaved themselves. I thought I'd show you those so you can share my grief:

























Goodnight, sweet stat boosts, and flights of RNGs sing thee to thy rest.

Melth fucked around with this message at 20:47 on Feb 20, 2015

Onmi
Jul 12, 2013

If someone says it one more time I'm having Florina show up as a corpse. I'm not even kidding, I was pissed off with people doing that shit back in 2010, and I'm not dealing with it now in 2016.


Oh man, that reminds me of the time my Leonardo got a perfect level up and then Fiona got all of her horses killed.



gently caress you Fiona, Leonardo was defying all logic and turning out really well...

Rosalie_A
Oct 30, 2011


At this point in my Fire Emblem career I've just started being tempted to reset anytime I get a really good level, because someone's just going to bite it one turn from the end, so I might as well save the time.

Melth
Feb 16, 2015

Victory and/or death!




To me, this chapter has always felt like a part 2 of chapter 12. Same characters, same realm, similar enemies and it picks up almost immediately after 12 ended. However, the HHM buffs to enemy stats increase the difficulty of this chapter far more than they did on 12, so much more caution is called for.

Chapter Summary:

Hector and Eliwood hurry to nearby Castle Santaruz because they fear that Marquess Helman may have been attacked by the same group that accosted them. Theyíre half-right; Helman has just been mortally wounded by Ephidel, the one who hired all the thugs and mercenaries about, but this is because Helman threatened to stop working with Ephidel and take Eliwoodís side instead. After fighting through the remaining mercenaries, Eliwood and Hector are too late to save Helman but in time to hear him warn them that the Marquess of Laus, Darin, is involved in the conspiracy theyíve stumbled onto.




The narrator gives Eliwood no respect. He and his party could have handled that chapter with or without Hectorís help.




Remember how I mentioned that hiring the incompetent Zagan to assassinate Eliwood was a rather poor choice last level? This is the other half of why. Besides not actually succeeding, this flagrant betrayal of Ephidelís promise was undoubtably going to destroy the Black Fangís relationship with Helman.




So Ephidel kills him rather than let him reveal their plans. And then of course he hides the body or at least comes up with a plausible lie to spread so as to throw Eliwood off track, right? No. Ephidel just shanks Helman once and leaves, apparently just assuming that none of his servants or anyone else will come by and help him or listen to him explain what happened.




Meanwhile, Hector and Eliwood have arrived near Castle Santaruz and are accosted by another band of cut-rate cutthroats, this time led by Boies. Gotta love those pretty backgrounds.




Boies is a master of the ancient art of running backwards while laughing. I donít know why so many enemies run away backwards like that after taunting you, but I still find it looks funny 12 years later.




Meanwhile, at a fortress guarding a bridge that Hector and company will have to cross to get to the castle, weíre introduced to the Sacaean swordsman guy. I mean the Sacaean swordsman, Guy. Heís just another mercenary Boies hired and isnít too fond of this group, but heís rather desperate for coin. And he takes the opportunity to talk to himself about how Matthew once saved his life when he was starving.

I suppose that sort of bizarre soliloquy is a necessary evil here because otherwise we wouldn't know that Matthew can recruit Guy. Still, itís generally handled more gracefully with other recruitable enemies. This case just looks like bad writing to me.


The War Room, Part 12

Tf you wish to master GBA Fire Emblem strategies, you must master rescues and trading. Today Iíll talk about some of the clever tricks you can do with the deceptively simple trade command.

First, itís essential to understand the basic mechanics. Every unit may initiate trading with only one adjacent ally per turn. However, thereís no limit to the number of other characters that may initiate trading with a particular unit per turn.

Another point to note is that you can not only switch items from one characterís inventory to the next freely, but also switch the order of items within both inventories. Whichever weapon is at the top of the list is the one thatís equipped, so trading allows you to change the equipped weapon of one or both parties- even when the other character has already ended their turn.

Itís critical to understand that initiating a trade does not end your unitís turn, but does end movement for infantry units. So, say, a fighter can walk to a square which is adjacent to both an ally and an enemy and trade with the ally and then attack the enemy. Attacking and then trading is not possible since attacking ends the turn immediately. Cavalry can keep right on moving after trading, same as they can after picking up or dropping an ally- in fact, they can do both at once. However, it's never possible to do anything else after beginning that continued movement.

As a last interesting mechanic, note that you can trade with units who you have rescued or an adjacent ally has rescued. Just cursor through the available trading partners and youíll find them.

Before Battle Preparations become available, trading is the only way to get equipment into the right hands. It won't be quite as essential starting on chapter 14.

But there are still quite a few useful tricks you can do with trading. One of them is to benefit from weapon triangle advantage against multiple types of weapons in one turn. Imagine, for example, that you have Sain and Kent and wish to train only Sain. You have a nearby enemy mercenary you must kill immediately and several more enemy brigands who you donít want to then kill Sain. Quite probably Sain can kill the mercenary in one hit with his iron lance, but will not be able to kill it with his iron sword. So you need to attack the mercenary with Sainís iron lance, but then the enemy brigands will be able to kill Sain on their turn. The solution is to have Sain kill the mercenary with his lance, then have Kent ride up to him, trade with him so that an iron sword is at the top of Sainís inventory, and then ride back out of enemy attack range.

Similarly, you might wish to conserve a valuable weapon like the Wolf Beil and not waste it on weak targets like Soldiers after killing a Knight. In that case, have Hector kill the Knight and then have someone else trade with Hector so that he equips his iron axe instead. Now his Wolf Beil wonít be wasted if the Soldiers attack him.

Another trick is to use the same good weapon with multiple characters in one turn. Suppose you have Guy and Raven and Serra (unpromoted) and you need to kill a pair of Knights who are in a line one space apart. But neither character can do much damage with Iron Swords and only Raven has an Armorslayer. In this case, a good solution would be to have Raven kill one knight with the Armorslayer, then Serra walk up to the square the dead knight was in and take the Armorslayer from Raven and then heal him. Then Guy can walk between Serra and the remaining Knight, take the Armorslayer from Serra, and kill the Knight.

You could also strip the weapons off an ally or equip them with something that canít counter the enemy weapons so as to encourage the enemy to attack that ally or to prevent that ally from killing enemy units. This is handy with Marcus when you want to bait an enemy into approaching but feed it to someone else. Or to recruit people like Guy without badly injuring them.

Oh and note that you CANNOT steal items if you have 5 in your inventory. You can open chests and send something to Merlinus. You can kill enemies and send something to Merlinus. But youíre not even allowed to attempt to steal with a full inventory. So remember to have an ally on hand to pass things to when your thief needs steal many items.

Another rarely used tactic that you might occasionally find a use for is to chain-trade an item out of Merlinusís convoy. On occasion, sending an item to Merlinus and then chain-trading it elsewhere might actually be an extremely fast method of getting a needed item across the map.

There are many other trading tricks you can employ; but these are the ones I'll be using most often.


Battle Preparations & The Map

Good heavens I wish I could do preparations on this map. The biggest challenge here isnít the swarms of enemies and masses of reinforcements, it sure isnít Boies, and it isnít even the max ranking race against time. No, itís the fact that the starting formation they gave me is almost the worst one imaginable. Not to mention the need to end the last level in a hurry means the right people donít have access to the new weapons I just bought.



Objective: Seize gate
Secondary Objective: Get the torch from the west village to unlock the sidequest
Secondary Objective: Get the mine from the south village
Secondary Objective: Recruit Guy with Matthew
Secondary Objective: Do some shopping for handaxes or javelins at the armory.
Secondary Objective: Get people properly equipped for 13x
Reinforcements: Several groups at different times, but the last and biggest group of spawns is 5-7 from the southern pair of fortresses. Also dangerous is the turn 1 or 2 brigand spawn from the southern middle fortress since they go for the village.
Turn Limit: 12

Rebecca is in the front, Oswin is in the back, Eliwood is staring at the lance-wielding Pegasus knights while Hector is far from the river you want him to cross, and in general the high mobility people are in the front and the low mobility people in the rear. Whose dumb idea was this? Probably Bartreís.

Thereís a lot to do on this map. You have 2 villages to get to, the southern of which will be under attack by brigands faster than you can get to it without a Marcus rush. Fortunately those brigands will prioritize your units over the village. The western one requires breaking down a tree that no one but a highly leveled Dorcas can destroy in one hit because Dorcas doesn't have his Eliwood mode steel axe to tear it down with. Guy has to be recruited amid swarms of reinforcements who will often have the benefit of terrain against you. Thereís more shopping to do. And of course you need to get Hector over to the gate to both kill Boies and seize it.

Throughout it all, large numbers of Pegasus knights will be harassing your flanks. Theyíre not much of a threat on most maps. But here when you have people like a stupidly positioned Rebecca to take care of and no flyers of your own to even out their mobility advantage over the rivers and peaks, theyíre at least moderately threatening.

This is not to mention that both the first thing and the last thing to do on this map are mass-trades to get ready for first this level and then 13x.

At least the time limit is generous. But since youíre still going to be in the hole from 11 being a 0 chapter and since another zero chapter (15) is coming up and 13x invariably hurts your turn count, youíve got to trim as many turns as you can here. The reinforcements stop at turn 7, so itís ideal to kill them all and then win on that turn.

The Characters:




ďGot to have gold if I want to eat.Ē ĖGuy, Chapter 13

Kind of like Bartre in that the trait that defines him is wanting to be the best warrior around, but much less stupid (though really naÔve). Guyís fighting skills generally get less respect in-universe than Bartreís even though heís almost certainly the better character for most purposes and has a much better attitude toward how to improve himself. Perhaps this is meant to be some sort of commentary on how boasting and blustering really can impress people sometimes and itís quite possible to Ďfake it till you make it.'

Guy got started as a swordsman because he was terrible at everything else his Sacaean tribe thought was valuable. Even Rath, a member of his own tribe, tries to ignore him. He seems to take peopleís rudeness in stride pretty well though.

If he didnít seem to be quite soÖ spineless and irresolute I would probably like Guy better. Oswin also puts up with a lot of obnoxiousness from other characters without complaint, but in his case itís clear that this is because heís too mature to be bothered and too determined to be turned from his duty. For Guy, it just seems to be a case of letting people push him around.

Furthermore, his decision to join a group of murderers for hire so as to have enough money to eat would be more acceptable if he actually jumped at the opportunity to leave them for better work, but it takes all of Matthewís arm-twisting to convince him to change sides.


Statistically, Guy is Lyn. Well alright, not quite. But the two are very similar. Thereís more difference at the low levels when Guy is far, far superior. Generally his bases are better but Lynís growths are better, so she slowly catches up to him. Both of them will have some of the best evasion in the game courtesy of the pinnacle of speed and very high luck. Both have mediocre-poor defenses, but Guy has better HP while Lyn has better Res.

Iím going to compare him to Bartre again, but this time to point out how theyíre different. Guyís bases are quite nice- particularly since he enjoys the enemy stat bonuses all foes on HHM get, but his growths are poorly distributed. Meanwhile, Bartre starts off terrible but blossoms into a fighting machine.

People have been raving about Guy since 1990, 13 years before this game came out. Almost every FE title since the beginning has had a wildly overrated recruitable enemy myrmidon with a killing edge. Some of them were very good or even great, but they were all overrated.

And Guy is not even very good. His terrible strength and being locked to swords make his damage mediocre- even when his high critical hit rate is considered. Never being able to wield javelins or handaxes means he's pretty lousy at fighting on the all-important enemy turn too. While his dodge rate is high, other people have higher and often have better defenses to fall back on anyway. Oh and both the damage he deals and the damage he takes are inconsistent and unpredictable since he relies on critical hits and dodges.

Plus there are just plenty of other great sword users around. Raven is his eternal arch-rival mechanically and is generally much better.

All of these make him a poor endgame character for a max ranking run, but heís definitely very usable early on. This makes him good for a nice XP ranking bonus, but he probably wonít be promoted unless his strength or defense happen to go through the roof.




A lot of people who say they like Guy actually like this sword and apparently do not grasp that 1) it breaks quickly and is hugely expensive and 2) you could pass it to anyone else. Those are indeed ferocious stats for a weapon this early in the game, but possessing it does not make this character good. Killing edges are not better for myrmidons than for anyone else; in fact, theyíre probably worse since a high crit rate is better the higher your Str is.




ďYouíll find that Iím a bit tougher than those fools you faced before!Ē ĖBoies, Chapter 13

Apparently Scottish or something, Boiesís hobbies include calling Hector Ďladdieí and running backwards while laughing. Youíll notice that heís only slightly better than Wire despite being 6 or so levels higher. Nonetheless, heís a bit more difficult to deal with because heís sitting on a gate. Not only does that boost his defenses, it also means that if you attack him with Hector on your turn, he has time to heal before he attacks on his turn. This could easily be the difference between him dying that turn or not.

We learn less about him than Wire or some of the other early game Black Fang members or Black Fang auxiliaries. Just feed him to the Wolf and move along.

Playing Through:




Remember, this formation is what I have to work with. I have 1 turn to get them properly re-equipped and in position for fighting on 3 fronts before there are enemies everywhere.

The key to beating this level is to notice that the northwestern village is much less guarded than it was in Eliwoodís story. That one cavalier does have a javelin, but one guy with a hand axe can handle him. The main enemy force is still the one to the southeast and the terrain there is largely in their favor, so youíd better send nearly everything that direction.

If you want to win fast, the only way is to use Hectorís ability to cross rivers and have him go for Boies directly. What exactly you need to do to manage all of that will depend on whoís carrying what. Here was the best strategy for me:




Remember what I explained before: only lords can cross rivers and doing so takes their whole move, but you can drop someone into any kind of square they can travel at all with equal ease. This means that even though the river is 2 squares wide at the narrowest, Hector will only need to actually walk one square with a proper drop. Since heíll be dropped this turn and Matthew has stuff to do, thereís nothing better for him to do than grab an iron axe and an iron sword which will be passed to Eliwood.




A maximum forward move for Eliwood puts him next to Hector but not Matthew, hence I had Hector take a sword for Eliwood to then receive.




Once Matthew is out of the way and the eastern troops are deployed, Marcus can grab Hector and move next to the river.




Hector will be doing more fighting and might need more than 8 uses of his handaxe, so I switch the two of them and make sure Hector is wielding his iron axe rather than the Wolf Beil for this next part while Marcus still carries Hector.




Then Oswin takes him and drops him at the point closest to Boies. Note that Marcus can now grab Oswin and rush him toward the front lines next turn.




Thereís some thought involved in this formation too. In particular, itís important to leave a space open next to Matthew for Serra to heal him if that brigand gets lucky and hits. Rebecca is there to lure the archer into injuring itself and opening itself up for a kill by Matthew.




One of the enemy Pegasus knights gives Bartre his first level up! WonderfulÖ




It would be nice if one could use Rebecca to soften this target for Matthew to kill instead of the other way around, but sheíll need to be at top health to survive the enemy turn . She could be protected by walling everything off to her left and right, but then the enemy archer with the steel bow will kill her unless sheís at nearly full HP. If one blocks that archer by taking the soon to be slain archerís space, the Pegasus knight canít be stopped from killing her. So thereís no choice but to give a kill to this worthless unit. Oh well. XP is XP for ranking purposes.




Itís a long way to the front (if you wanna to rock Ďní roll).




Knock the Rapier if you like, but even a measly +2 Might can be quite helpful sometimes.




Meh. The defensive boosts are nice, but what he really needs now is speed.




Matthew scores an unexpected critical, making the next turn marginally easier. This Pegasus knight isnít very dangerous on the defensive anyway though.




Hector finally reaches the mountain and prepares to deal with that archer.




Matthew prepares to lure that handaxe wielding bandit into not sacking the village. That archer would be a lot of trouble except I have enough people to surround him and his steel bow slows him enough for anyone to double him.




Yes! By all means, continue to swipe whatever stat boosts you want from Bartre, Hector.




Not bad. Iím actually concerned about Matthewís speed at the moment since you can only steal from people slower than you and HHM enemy thieves can be darned fast.




I mentioned a long time ago that one good thing about Matthew is that you can count on him dealing low, but dependable damage which is perfect for feeding kills to other people. Case in point, Eliwood.




And now the reason Oswin was worth hauling all this way. Remember when I said that the problem with Marcus is heís too strong and he kills everything instead of weakening it? Guess who doesnít have that problem but still hits hard? There are going to be so many 5 HP archers to feed to weak people next turn!




Rebecca apparently looks like such a juicy target that this guy went for her even though there were people around who couldnít even counterattack. But that was all part of the plan; she lured him far away from his allies.




Those two just spawned down there and there are going to be 4 more of them to deal with in short order, so I need to slaughter everyone I can as fast as possible while keeping my vulnerable people safe. Thereís often kind of a tricky choice to make in FE titles between defending yourself by turtling up and defending yourself by going all-out to wipe out the enemy before they can attack. Generally speaking, I find youíll have better results going on the offensive. You want to be the one choosing who fights who, donít let the enemy. Plus you need to kill things fast for ranking runs.




I hadnít actually looked at the armory contents yet. Though Hector wonít be buying anything this turn, I wanted to know if I should send someone by later. I really wish I had 20 more gold to buy both a javelin and a handaxe, but Iíll have to go with 2 handaxes.




Now what to do about this mess...

Most of the enemy troops are seriously injured, but several of mine will die in 2 hits from full health. Thereís also Guy to worry about. Heís lethal on offense vs anyone but Oswin and Marcus, so itís important to stay out of his range with others.




Ultimately, this was the best I could do because of Guy and itís not very good. See, her defense is so terrible that even with iron bows the two of them could easily kill her from full. Fortunately, I donít think the AI will go for her here because theyíre going to stupidly try to kill their favorite target: Matthew.




The fight with the cavalier SHOULD be a sure thing. The trouble is that Bartre MUST move 1 north out of the woods instead of attacking from here. If he doesnít, heís unable to reach Merlinus 2 turns from now. And delays are unacceptable!




Well, he dodged the attack at least. Iíll be dumping him from the team soon regardless of what levels he gets.




Anyone can take down Soldier class enemies, even Rebecca. And everyone else needs to go for someone tougher.




You go, Rebecca! What really annoys me is that I had no choice but to let her get so many kills that she leveled. Sheís so bad and there are so many enemies with bows and handaxes that she canít safely soften anything up. Instead sheís got to deal the finishing blow.




Meanwhile I elect not to attack Boies this turn and instead chug a vulnerary. With luck, heíll die when he attacks Hector. Either way, Iím not going to seize the throne next turn because there are still lots of guys to kill and Merlinus to visit.




Recruited Guy. Another thing making this situation a mess is that Matthew is actually one of my better units at this point and having him give up his turn to recruit Guy is not necessarily a profitable trade. Or not much of one.




The enemies are under control (those 2 archers both have iron bows and no one there will go down in 2 shots). So Marcus can rush off for the store. If you could get the situation on the right stabilized 1 turn faster, Marcus could arrive earlier. If you could luck out with Bartre or have both him and Dorcas on the top left, you could get to Merlinusís village a turn faster. Do both those things at once and you can totally beat this level in 7 turns and shave one off my time.




Hector crits down a cavalier by sheer luck. Then he gets a bad level. Gonna call that breaking even.




One nice thing about an emulator is that I can visit all the useless houses and show you anything interesting people say and then undo that move since visiting houses is always a bad idea for max ranking.




UhÖ
Itís like the game is trying to sabotage your ranking!




Boies bites the dust on Hectorís next turn (turn 7). This means I can seize on 8 and the chapter is in the bag.




Boies gives Hector another great level.




Lowen gets his first level and itís surprisingly decent, if not the kind of thing I want Lowen for.




I realized after it was too late that I should have had Marcus do one final trade with Hector that turn after Boies went down and then continue toward the shops. He could still reach them this turn + Hector wouldnít have spent any more Wolf Beil. Oh well, shopping time.




In the time it took Bartre to chop down a tree, kill one cavalier with weapon disadvantage, and walk to this village, Hector slaughtered his way to the boss and took him down singlehandedly while the others destroyed the whole enemy army.




Iíll take two.




Serra has been healing every turn. The 20 gold price per heal charge is always worth spending for +10 XP. As a guideline, 1 XP is worth about 10 gold.




One other nice thing about waiting for turn 8 is that I had a whole extra turn for most people to trade things around and get geared up for chapter 13x.




Here we goÖ




Inside the castle they find Marquess Helman, Eliwoodís old friend, dying. He apologizes for his role in the conspiracy and points Eliwood toward Laus.




Eliwood seems to have pre-emptively forgiven Helman for whatever he did.

Itís not really clear to me exactly what Helmanís motive in getting involved with the plotters was. From what we know, he and Elbert were good friends so itís hard to imagine that heíd have approved of abducting Elbert any more than attacking Eliwood.




Lies, we all know that this is Reissman, the chancellor of Caelin! This game has a lot of unique, detailed portraits for random minions, but on the other hand they re-use some much more prominent ones. Iím really not sure I understand why. I mean, they must have done something like 100 portraits already. Why not just make 105 while theyíre at it?

And that concludes the level! That was pretty fun really. Itís a fairly good chapter, but I do wish I could choose my own darned starting positions. Oh and I believe I killed only a single enemy with Marcus.


Total Restarts: 4 (1 due to a careless last turn blunder, then 3 more in quick succession to terrible luck)
Turn Surplus: 1 (Heck yeah, Iím already in the black!)
Things I Regret Missing: The lockpick on chapter 11, that darned archer on chapter 11, this one brigand who attack Marcus on chapter 12, and Ö thatís about it. Chapter 13 no regrets!

Melth fucked around with this message at 23:38 on Jun 10, 2015

Onmi
Jul 12, 2013

If someone says it one more time I'm having Florina show up as a corpse. I'm not even kidding, I was pissed off with people doing that shit back in 2010, and I'm not dealing with it now in 2016.


Melth posted:

Boies is a master of the ancient art of running backwards while laughing. Considering that the portraits in this game are quite capable of switching facing direction, I donít know why so many enemies run away backwards like that after taunting you, but I still find it looks funny 12 years later.

Actually it's not possible. The way eventing works for portraits is that you load a portrait on one of the side, and then you can have said portrait move. So if I loaded Hector on the left he would face towards the right, I could then have him run to the right and then reload his portrait to the right, which would turn him around. But I could not have him turn around while on the left. That's not how the commands work.

Onmi fucked around with this message at 12:12 on Feb 20, 2015

dotchan
Feb 28, 2008

I wanna get a Super Saiyan Mohawk when I grow up! :swoon:

Melth posted:


[url]http://lpix.org/1948500/13%2031%20Eliwood%20Good%20Level.PNG[/img]

Got a typo there.

LordHippoman
May 30, 2013

I, frankly, want this smug Jagen to be my avatar on all forms of social media immediately.

This is my favorite FE game and you're way better than me at it, so I'm looking forward to seeing how you pull this off. I've never beaten HHM, so I'm interested in seeing some of the later differences.

Atomic Spud
Jun 24, 2013


Manatee Cannon posted:

edit 2: out of curiosity, I looked up Ephraim from FE8's stat caps and they're also almost identical. The only difference is that Eliwood gets two extra res.

That really emphasizes the changes from FE7 to FE8. Eliwood probably won't ever hit those caps even if you max him out and is usable if unspectacular; Ephraim smashes into them face-first at about 20/10 and they make him slightly less overpowered than the rest of your unbeatable squad.

fade5
May 31, 2012

by exmarx


Melth posted:

What do you think of the whole x3 effective damage vs x2 question by the way? If I recall correctly, Sacred Stones had x3 effectiveness multipliers again but I don't think they've been entirely consistent since then.

In my opinion, x2 Might is probably the right multiplier for axes and lances to be extremely powerful without always being an instant kill, but it's just not good enough for swords and bows. Part of the problem of course is that most sword and bow users have lower strength than axe and lance users.

Onmi posted:

So I think you're correct, x2 is fine for Lances and Axes, but Swords and Bows really need the x3. Specifically because in the latter case, they only have the one shot per turn, it might as well be a really powerful shot. And to me the problem with Armorslayer>Hammer is the Armorslayer has 80 Hit, the Hammer has 55 hit. a 4 Mt difference and WTA on the armored units is not nearly enough to offset the 25 hit difference on a unit who naturally has low skill OR is being weighed down by the 15 Wt brick.
Finding out that weapon effectiveness was only X2 in FE7 really explained a lot of things; I'd always wondered why effective weapons seemed so drat underpowered in FE7, and it never really occurred to me that there was an actual reason for it.

To me, the whole goddamn point of effective weapons is to one-shot enemies, so while X2 is kinda acceptable for the Hammer/Wolf Beil, I really side with making everything X3 effectiveness for maximum OHKOing. In FE7, you can usually 2HKO with Iron or Steel anyway, so effective weapons end up being kinda useless past the first few earlygame chapters.

There's also the fact that it really changes how fliers work: I usually give Florina the Angelic Robe which basically allows her to stop giving a gently caress about Bows even as early as chapter 8. That extra 5-10 damage doesn't mean poo poo when you've got enough HP to safely eat the hit and keep fighting, and that's assuming your flier is hit at all.

fade5 fucked around with this message at 17:59 on Feb 20, 2015

Dr Pepper
Feb 4, 2012

Don't like it? well...



You know, the whole Funds rank is really, really stupid.

Arbitrary Coin
Feb 17, 2012

:minnie: Cat Army :minnie:
2nd Battalion


This actually looks pretty interesting! I've never even managed to 5 star speed rankings in Lyn mode since I love taking my time waaayyyy too much.

Looking at the story and the rise and fall of dark magic was pretty interesting. I think you were too harsh on Lyn for killing that guy in Chapter 9 since at that point they had to get to her grandfather fast before he was poisoned to death

Melth
Feb 16, 2015

Victory and/or death!


Onmi posted:

Actually it's not possible. The way eventing works for portraits is that you load a portrait on one of the side, and then you can have said portrait move. So if I loaded Hector on the left he would face towards the right, I could then have him run to the right and then reload his portrait to the right, which would turn him around. But I could not have him turn around while on the left. That's not how the commands work.

Sure, but reloading so he'll turn around would look a lot less silly imo


fade5 posted:

Finding out that weapon effectiveness was only X2 in FE7 really explained a lot of things; I'd always wondered why effective weapons seemed so drat underpowered in FE7, and it never really occurred to me that there was an actual reason for it.

To me, the whole goddamn point of effective weapons is to one-shot enemies, so while X2 is kinda acceptable for the Hammer/Wolf Beil, I really side with making everything X3 effectiveness for maximum OHKOing. In FE7, you can usually 2HKO with Iron or Steel anyway, so effective weapons end up being kinda useless past the first few earlygame chapters.

There's also the fact that it really changes how fliers work: I usually give Florina the Angelic Robe which basically allows her to stop giving a gently caress about Bows even as early as chapter 8. That extra 5-10 damage doesn't mean poo poo when you've got enough HP to safely eat the hit and keep fighting, and that's assuming your flier is hit at all.


In my opinion, effective weapons should not instant kill except in the hands of very strong characters. It's appropriate that Hector can instant kill early game lance-wielding cavaliers with his Wolf Beil, but it's also appropriate that he generally can't kill knights in one shot with it. I think the right level for effective weapons to be at is 2-hit kills unless fighting a really fragile enemy or wielded by a really strong character. One reason for this is the case of fog of war levels with enemies wielding effective weapons. If you're playing a fog of war chapter and a cavalier comes out of the fog and hits Sain with an FE7 horseslayer, he's badly injured but not dead. This means you need to adapt your strategy, which is interesting. If a cavalier comes out of the fog and hits Sain with an FE8 horseslayer, he might well be instantly dead from full HP. This means you need to restart, which is boring.



Dr Pepper posted:

You know, the whole Funds rank is really, really stupid.

Sorta. Most ranking categories are stupid in-character as it were. They Market to formulate strategies that are just terrible. Funds encourage her to not use items that should totally be used. Tactics encourages her to rush when, as a villager in a house on 13 just said, taking your time is generally the smart thing to do. XP encourages her to keep cycling bad, low level characters into the party instead of using ones who are actually good.


However, out-of-character, these ranking categories lead to a very interesting max ranking experience. So they're not really stupid at all.

hapa
Feb 18, 2013


Wow.

It's really cool to see a run by someone so knowledgeable about FE7 and the series as a whole. I remember how difficult it was for teenage-me to beat HHM - forget about max-ranking everything, doing all the sidequests... etc.

I'll be following this closely, and I really look forward to how the run will shape up!

Dr Pepper
Feb 4, 2012

Don't like it? well...



Melth posted:


Sorta. Most ranking categories are stupid in-character as it were. They Market to formulate strategies that are just terrible. Funds encourage her to not use items that should totally be used. Tactics encourages her to rush when, as a villager in a house on 13 just said, taking your time is generally the smart thing to do. XP encourages her to keep cycling bad, low level characters into the party instead of using ones who are actually good.


However, out-of-character, these ranking categories lead to a very interesting max ranking experience. So they're not really stupid at all.

No Funds is very different then Tactics and EXP.

Two of them provide encouragement, but Funds provides discouragement.

Finishing a stage quickly requires good tactics and forethought. "Take it slow" is good advice for beginners, yes, but more advanced player is encouraged to go faster by the Tactics Rank. You're rewarded for going fast with a good Tactics rank.

EXP is, again, an encouragement. Using a wide variety of characters produces more interesting gameplay. Again, you're rewarded for using a lot of characters with a good EXP rank.

Funds , on the other hand, isn't based off anything the player does. Rather, it's based off what the player is not doing. It punishes you for using tools the game gives you. You don't get a good Funds rank for smart or flexible play. You get it for not using the fun stuff and instead use nothing but iron weapons forever.

Rosalie_A
Oct 30, 2011


Dr Pepper posted:

Funds , on the other hand, isn't based off anything the player does. Rather, it's based off what the player is not doing. It punishes you for using tools the game gives you. You don't get a good Funds rank for smart or flexible play. You get it for not using the fun stuff and instead use nothing but iron weapons forever.

Which is real funny, all things considered. One of the most engaging decisions in Fire Emblem is when, where, and how to use any limited use powerful items you're given. Changing that to "all iron all the time" is pretty boring.

Melth
Feb 16, 2015

Victory and/or death!


Dr Pepper posted:

Funds , on the other hand, isn't based off anything the player does. Rather, it's based off what the player is not doing. It punishes you for using tools the game gives you. You don't get a good Funds rank for smart or flexible play. You get it for not using the fun stuff and instead use nothing but iron weapons forever.

Not so. Even if you don't use any promotion or stat boost items and are miserly with even your iron weapons, you WILL fail the funds ranking. The only way to succeed at Funds is to steal everything which is not nailed down and to ensure you get maximum possible treasure on every level. The need to get a good funds score is what really encourages tricky play on levels like Night of Farewells of Battle Before Dawn or Cog of Destiny or the Dragon's Gate in particular. On those levels there's like 40,000 gold worth of stuff you can steal apiece (Actually not so much on the Dragon's Gate, but that level has scattered treasures that you need to play cleverly to get your thieves to, so similar upshot). And all held by highly dangerous enemies in tough to get to spots. Just beating a level fast is effortlessly easy by that point. Beating a level fast while arranging opportunities to steal from like 6 enemies is not.

Even if that wasn't the case though, not being allowed to just promote whoever you want is a big part of what makes HHM max ranking a strategic challenge as well as a tactical one. And not being able to use the heaps of stat boosters is the only thing that prevents you from steamrolling all opposition same as you can in a not-ranked run.

You may not like the way Funds ranking makes you play, but the game would be trivially easy without it.

Rigged Death Trap
Feb 13, 2012

BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP



Melth posted:

You may not like the way Funds ranking makes you play, but the game would be trivially easy without it.

Some of us aren't tactical FE savants :colbert:.

Especially since I play FE like a gambler, just rolling those to-hit dice.



What I'm saying is FE hard mode is hard for me.

Rigged Death Trap fucked around with this message at 23:16 on Feb 20, 2015

Manatee Cannon
Aug 26, 2010





HHM is hard for the vast majority of players, generally speaking people that are really good at it have played it several times.

Shiki Dan
Oct 27, 2010

If ya can move ya toes ya back's fine


Melth posted:


You may not like the way Funds ranking makes you play, but the game would be trivially easy without it.

Nah dog. Plain ol' HHM is a decent enough challenge for anyone.

Plus, the real reason Funds ranking is stupid is because it penalizes you for promoting characters.

Also, the 0 turn requirement chapters in Hector Mode are due to a glitch, which means by proxy Tactics ranking is also stupid.

Silver Falcon
Dec 5, 2005

Two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight and barbecue your own drumsticks!



Wow, I did not know you could trade with rescued characters while they were still being rescued! That's really cool. I'm learning so many things, including that doing ranking runs is definitely not for me, but it's still very entertaining to watch you do it. :D

That said, I have a small criticism. Please clean up your line spacing a bit, especially in your "War Room" segments. The forums don't do indents, so the only way to differentiate paragraphs is with a line break. Please put some line breaks in your longer walls of text. I lost my place several times reading your last "War Room" post because of the spacing. And I want to read it, because it's interesting!

Melth
Feb 16, 2015

Victory and/or death!


Silver Falcon posted:

That said, I have a small criticism. Please clean up your line spacing a bit, especially in your "War Room" segments. The forums don't do indents, so the only way to differentiate paragraphs is with a line break. Please put some line breaks in your longer walls of text. I lost my place several times reading your last "War Room" post because of the spacing. And I want to read it, because it's interesting!

Ah, sorry about that. I was also thinking that I should put in line breaks there but I kept forgetting to actually do that.



Shiki Dan posted:

Nah dog. Plain ol' HHM is a decent enough challenge for anyone.

Plus, the real reason Funds ranking is stupid is because it penalizes you for promoting characters.

Also, the 0 turn requirement chapters in Hector Mode are due to a glitch, which means by proxy Tactics ranking is also stupid.

I mean, plain ol' HHM is easy enough in comparison to games like 5 or 6 or 10 that a lot of series fans complain the whole game is just too easy to be fun. I think 7 is excellent enough overall that being somewhat too easy isn't a huge problem, but part of the reason I think that is that the ranking system exists and encourages a much more difficult and thinking-intensive style of play.

Not being able to promote many people is absolutely essential to retaining much difficulty in the second half of the game. Once you hit about 23 in a non-ranked HHM run (at the latest) you can have most of a whole team of promoted people other than lords which means all of your guys outclass all of the enemies. Then, just like on normal mode, you quickly end up able to just throw your god-tier soldiers at the enemy and watch their attacks bounce off as you rampage mindlessly across the map without a single weak unit to defend or feed kills to. Needing to not promote many people and to keep cycling unpromoted weaklings into your team keeps things tricky all game long since you never just outgrow the enemy completely. And again, it also forces you to think strategically rather than only tactically about your approach.

The 0 turn requirements are indeed due to a glitch, but it's a glitch that makes the game better since the turn requirements would be far too lax otherwise. Meanwhile, the funds requirements and XP requirements would have been unreasonably strict.

Melth
Feb 16, 2015

Victory and/or death!




This is the first sidequest of Hectorís story and the first true fog of war chapter of the game. It's also the last chapter in which one cannot do battle preparations to change formation and gear. It has a well-earned reputation as one of the hardest chapters of the game because of that and the fog.


Chapter Summary:

On the way to Laus, Hector and Eliwood come across some bandits waylaying a hapless merchant and come to his aid. After they save his life, the merchant joins the group to help them manage their supplies and gear.




This whole chapter is about the kinds of unglamorous work that are involved in traveling about the pre-modern world on campaign: making camp to have shelter at night, keeping a good inventory of weapons and gear, hauling tons of supplies around, etc. As a veteran soldier, Marcus is skilled at all sorts of things like that as well as just fighting. Relatedly, the knight-in-training Lowen is also a good cook and even Marcus greatly values his skill in that area.




Theyíre currently traveling through the fringes of Caelin and Hector takes the opportunity to tease Eliwood for his obvious attraction to Lyn. Itís conversations like these that are so important for humanizing Hector in particular.




They hear a man crying for help and run to his aid, but Hector manages to make them sound like a second group of thieves just trying to take the plunder for themselves.

The War Room, Part 13
Some of you may remember that Chapter 9 was also a fog of war level (that time because of actual fog instead of darkness), but I still consider this to be the first Ďtrueí fog chapter because the fog only appeared after turn 2 on chapter 9. That meant that you knew the location and strength of the enemy (other than reinforcements) as you deployed. Here you have very little idea and will have to adapt your strategy as you find out more during play.

Fog of war chapters can be some of the more difficult ones in the game, but not really in a legitimate way. Approaching them is often something of a matter of guess and check Ė kind of like dealing with reinforcements in FE6 and Awakening on the hardest difficulties.

Anyway, there are a couple of things to know about fog of war levels before you can start strategizing. First of all, the enemy is completely unaffected. They know the exact location and strength of all your units at all times. Furthermore, unlike the player, they donít need to have vision to one of your units to run up and attack it. So donít ever try to hide a unit or assume they canít see it.

Second, the vision range of all your units other than thieves is 3 spaces. Thieves see 8 spaces, which is a MUCH larger total area. You cannot attack an enemy who one of your troops doesnít currently have in his vision range. Further, your vision range only updates after one of your units finishes its turn, so you cannot move into fog and then attack an enemy who turns out to be next to you in your new spot but was unseen before.

Third, if you try to move into or through the space of an enemy hidden in the fog, your unit will stop just before going into the space in question and its turn will immediately end.

Fourth, torches increase the vision range of the unit using it by 4 spaces (this boost then decreases by 1 per turn thereafter). Using a torch again just resets this bonus to 4 rather than adding a further 4.

Fifth, the torch staff (which costs the same 100 gold per use) reveals a fairly large area centered around a target square up to Ĺ the casterís magic stat away.


So what does this mean? First of all, bring all your thieves and torches. If your vision range is good enough, the map functionally ceases to be fog of war at all.

Each torch use costs 100 gold but theyíre often worth it in turns you can save by being able to strategize properly. To those of you whoíve done some calculus (or geometry for that matter), itíll be clear that the flat +4 vision range bonus is best used on someone who already has a large vision range (so thieves).

Of course, your thief can't be everywhere, so it's definitely a good idea to give torches to people who'll go to other parts of the map too.

Second, try to keep your vulnerable units at least 7 squares of movement (considering terrain) from any fogged areas (or surrounded by allies or the like).

Third, be prepared for the enemy to have super-effective weapons like bows and Hammers and Horseslayers

Fourth, on levels where you can control your starting position, note that you can reposition your thief around the edges of your allowed area to reveal different zones before the map even begins and thus learn some additional information in advance.

Fifth, before you move a unit (especially your thief), make sure that moving it wonít plunge an enemy you need to attack with someone else into fog. Get the order right or you can end up in serious trouble. Similarly, if you donít have much to do with a unit, consider moving it so you can reveal an area your better units can attack into but not currently see into.


Preparations & The Map

Once again Iím staring down the barrel of a loaded terrible starting formation, but this time at least I have most units equipped with what they need



Objective: Protect Merlinus (that little green unit) for 7 turns.
Secondary Objective: Visit the top right village for 5000 gold
Secondary Objective: Kill Puzon the boss and every other enemy you can find.
Reinforcements: Quite a few of mixed types. Exact turns are hard to figure out since all fortresses they spawn from are hidden at least some of the time.
Turn Limit: 7
Thatís all I can see at the beginning of the map, but to give you a better idea of whatís really out there, hereís the maximum area that can be revealed on turn 1:




Note that horde of rather dangerous enemies on the other side of the western river which were entirely invisible at the start. Theyíre much less numerous on non-HHM, but on this difficulty will tear down the snag and all charge in on turn 1. That they have 2 ranged units in the group means they can almost certainly kill someone you thought was safe.

Also note that there are numerous fortresses from which enemies will spawn. Since itís not possible to watch them all at all times, Iím not entirely sure what units spawn on every single turn. The last turn any appear on though is 6.

Getting to that top right village might look nearly impossible since the mid-right brigand can run to it almost immediately, but fortunately he waits 1 turn to use his handaxe on the snag just south of him and that gives you all the time you need because heíll prioritize attacking units over destroying the village.

Finally, one important thing to understand is that though you have to survive 7 turns to win and the turn limit for max rank is 7, the map actually takes 8 turns. No matter what. Every single survival chapter counts one more turn than it should. On some survival chapters you can avoid this problem by killing the boss early, but on this chapter that doesnít actually end things, so you just have to eat the -1 turn.


Characters:

Iíll introduce Merlinus next level, when heís actually usable and has his real stats.




The first boss whoís genuinely hard to kill rather than just hard to kill quickly with only Hector, Puzon lurks in the fog on the northwestern island and is armed with rather good stats for this part of the game and a steel sword which heís big enough to wield. This means that heíll wreck even an excellent Hector and absolutely murder anyone else who isnít Oswin or Marcus (and Oswin doesnít hold up so well against him either). He moves if you enter his range, but does not seek you out otherwise and is entirely optional. Iíll be killing him for honor and glory more than XP.

From what we learn about him and read in his character summary, Puzon is actually a mercenary who was just hired on by these bandits when they needed someone of more skill. He seems to be respected but not necessarily the leader- or at least not the unquestioned leader- of this group. More like an adviser whoís also the most dangerous member. Heís their Marcus! And much like Marcus, heís justifiably proud of his skill.


Playing Through:

The first few turns are the hardest; there is fighting on up to 4 fronts (north, west across the soon to be broken snag, southwest, and southeast). Fortunately, only the north and southeast actually receive reinforcements, so once the initial wave from all sides is broken, the map quiets down a fair amount.

One other problem I have to deal with is that, again, my starting formation does not have people where I want them. Why is Serra exposed to the enemy and maximally far away from the most intense fighting? Why is Oswin in an area where he can only fight brigands? Again, why is Rebecca up close to the serious enemies?

Further, I still donít have all my gear properly distributed because Bartre was alone when he acquired the torch Iíd like Matthew to have and Marcus didnít have a chance to distribute one of his handaxes to Dorcas and Lowen still has no javelin at all due to a lack of funds.

So besides fighting all the fires that are going to spring up, Iíve got to do some first turn trading and serious repositioning.




Oswin is the only one capable of fighting the western force effectively due to his javelin and high armor and the fact that Hector and Marcus are needed elsewhere. Unfortunately, heís too slow to get there in time. Iíll rescue Merlinus just to get him out of my way rather than because I actually plan to carry him much longer. With him blocking that forest, itís hard to move people in here and attack that archer.




Thereís nothing for it but to give another kill to Rebecca. She canít even do the job of finishing off horribly injured enemies well, but she manages this one.




Clearing Merlinus off of that spot let me handaxe the archer with Bartre, then take his torch with lowen before finishing the archer.




And that meant Matthew could run somewhere near the front (and help block the west a bit) and take the torch and use it efficiently.




There, NOW I can see what Iím fighting. Dorcas and Serra scramble to safety and Dorcas takes Merlinus. Many guides will tell you to carry Merlinus the whole time, but I really canít recommend that. Remember, a unit which has rescued someone takes a penalty of half its speed and skill. Even for Marcus that can be dangerous and it makes the carrying person entirely ineffective too. Itís like removing one of your units from the game. No, Iíll just take Merlinus with Dorcas so that Oswin can fight next turn and drop him once I know whereís safe.




All over the map, enemies tear down the snags. Because of the torch, I know that Eliwood is fairly safe up there (if every single enemy hits him he dies, but since most of them are brigands thatís really unlikely) and I need him to start damaging those people ASAP so itís a risk I need to run.




I couldnít block that bridge are properly due to needing everyone to do other things, so now I need to kill that archer before I can even try to plug the breach. Thatíll be tricky.




Ugh, nomads. Theyíre not a threat to good units, but due to huge mobility and bows theyíre great at taking down your very injured guys or people like Serra. Fortunately the Wolf Beil is effective against them so Hector can instant kill them. Unfortunately, I will not be able to have anyone else trade with him and equip his iron axe after this, so heís going to waste a fair number of charges on brigands.




Guy can take on a more or less infinite army of brigands without trouble. The problem is that this guy has a handaxe so if I donít kill him now, Iíll have to move out of a forest to hit him later. Since moving out of a forest will mean getting shot up by the nomads who are about to run in out of the east, I donít have much choice but to use the Killing Edge this time. Crowd control can be worth a pretty serious money investment on rare occasions.




Marcus didnít really need the 2 HP, but Serra couldnít safely get to anyone else and as I said, itís important to heal all the time for XP.




I was in a tight spot here. There were 3 enemies who could attack Eliwood (mercenary, brigand, nomad) and heís at tiny health so any hit is death. The brigand isnít much of a threat, but no one could take out the nomad. Instead I just had Marcus stand in the only spot it could shoot Eliwood from. Then Eliwood can finish the mercenary and heís mostly safe.




Welcome to the bench! Classic Guy.




Sweet! Hector had to use a lot of Wolf Beil there, but he netted a good level and really mangled the enemy, so itís probably worth it.




Next turn, Serra gets a pretty good level. I especially like anything that increases her defenses (HP, speed, luck). Maybe someday sheíll be able to survive more than a single attack on average.




Yes! Thatís my man Eliwood at work. This is a pretty good chapter for him to train overall since he starts near the front lines and a lot of enemies are vulnerable to him.




Eliwood is a decently tough character, Hector is a wall, and in a wood Matthew is nearly invincible. Just in case I swipe one of Hectorís vulneraries for him. Those myrmidons are accurate enough to be a threat. Speaking of such things, this is the ONLY level where enemy myrmidons are at all scary. You never fight many of them and they turn into a complete joke that just about anyone can instant kill once you have just a bit more Def in your party.




Thereís pretty much no one who can get that village in time but Marcus, though Iíll be sending in Bartre to take as much of the XP as possible. For some reason, this time most of the brigands who spawn in the southeast went north instead of west to Guy, so Marcus got more than the 1 kill I usually expect.




Kind of like how enemy myrmidons are only dangerous early, Matthew is only a serious fighter early, and this chapter is probably his peak. That huge speed, that dependable if low damage, and his great movement are just indispensable.




Guy is just too weak to one-round-kill even nomads at this point, but he can at least dodge them long enough to take them down. It's not worth burning the Killing Edge to kill them faster.




Oswin and Lowen really had a tough time defeating that archer without getting killed by the mage, but now everything is finally under control. And a good level for Oswin, though it doesnít matter since he wonít be around for many more chapters anyway.




Even Hector canít really take the heat on this level. Too many sword users and that mage is trouble since my Hector hasnít gained a single point of Res. Thusfar Iím staying carefully out of Puzonís range while I mow down his remaining minions, but Iíll need to aggro him soon to take him down in time.




Darn it, man, youíre making all my talk about your good growths sound ridiculous!




At last, Marcus visits the village and then leaves Bartre to deal with the other brigands. The villagers are willing to pay us a ton of money (5000 gold!) to get rid of these bandits for them. Remember, this is in Caelin and Lyn hates bandits more than anything. In general, this gives you the impression that she and her grandfather are rather ineffective rulers or that the civil war in Caelin she caused has really devastated the army and left the population defenseless. You know, just like a war like that really would.




All game the enemy had completely ignored that snag. This turn they suddenly teamed up to attack it, ignoring most of my other units. If I had been positioned any differently, they might have been able to kill someone.




Turns out thieves, like Lords, can run into rivers at a cost of 5 movement. Good to know.




About the only time in the game someone threatening Hector can actually beat him mano a mano. Fortunately, it will take him more than 1 turn since Iíd healed Hector. so this just serves as a chance to get him right where I want him.




Eliwood gets another solid level. Look at those all-rounder decent stats shaping up!




After using Hector and Marcus to weak him, itís actually Matthew who kills Puzon since no one else could. I really like that death quote from him, itís a nice pat on the back from the game in congratulations for managing to kill a tough boss on a level where you only needed to defend Merlinus. Plus of course the bandit retreat dialogue will be somewhat different. Note that killing this guy does not end the chapter- even exterminating all the enemies doesnít end it early. On some survival chapters taking down the boss will end things and save you some turns.




So Matthew gets a not so great level, but itís XP at least.




Iíve really been working hard to feed kills to Lowen in hopes of making him more usable than usual. Mineís pretty much average, but thatís just not good enough.




Classic Dorcas. This is actually the last enemy on the level and I had no way to kill it since I needed all my other units to kill the rest. I hit it for the XP anyway.




Remember how Hector made them mistake his group for a rival band of bandits muscling in on their turf? That misunderstanding never gets cleared up really. No doubt decades later the one survivor is still telling his new comrades the tale of the time his old group was wiped out by the handsomest army of bandits he ever ran into.




Merlinus has a weird way of saying pretty much everything. But heís joined the party! Hooray!

Total Restarts: 4 There were some close calls this time, but I made it through alright. Oh, and Iím not counting that one restart that I did just so I could show you guys a mostly revealed version of the turn 1 map and then play for real.
Net Turn Surplus: 0. Darn you, obligatory -1 turn on survival chapters! Oh well, Iíve broken even so far overall. Thatís better than usually possible
Things I Regret Missing: The lockpick on chapter 11, that darned archer on chapter 11, this one brigand who attack Marcus on chapter 12, and 2 more brigands who attacked Marcus instead of Guy or Bartre on chapter 13x.

Melth fucked around with this message at 22:08 on Jun 20, 2015

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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



A lot of people think FE5 is easy? I mean, I guess once you've done it a few times maybe that's true, but man, it was a wrecking ball when I played it.

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