All are playthings of Fate until they bond together
The blog of an idealistic FE fan
All are playthings of Fate until they bond together
Fire Emblem is a game based upon RNG. So, to say that a character is doomed to fail every time is false, because even if growths were 1% on each stat, said character could still become capable according to randomness. It's astronomically unlikely, but it is possible. However, one of the staples of the franchise is that certain units will normally turn out much better than others. Lord characters are designed to overshadow other allies, notably Ike in Path of Radiance, Marth in Mystery of the Emblem, and Ephraim in Sacred Stones. Some units are given poor growths and high bases in order to trick the player into giving valuable experience to a vacuum, such as Frederick and Marcus.
My question is- does balancing the growths of units make an FE game too easy? Fire Emblem Fates comes to mind, as the only path of the three available that was even remotely difficult was Conquest, and the reason for that wasn't necessarily map design or units with unusable growths, it was a lack of ways to train and a consistent influx of recruits that were underleveled and/or had low bases (Charlotte, Nyx, Niles, and Odin come to mind). Balancing growths in this game meant lowering growths and making some classes virtually unusable, such as Oni Chieftain with their horrible skill and luck, and Strategists, a class I have previously talked about as being difficult to utilize outside of support due to poor hit rates and awful bulk. Fates was made certain units appear like they were designed to be used over others, like the royals, especially Camilla, Hinoka, Ryoma, and Xander. Their retainers pale in comparison to them, and their growth rates are just better. This makes me wonder if units that are just better, like the royals, should even exist.
In Fire Emblem, strategy is (or should be) much more important than blindly launching strong units into the fray, but with the royals or some lord characters, the latter is the strategy. Tossing units toward the enemy without a second thought has become a trademark of the 3DS FE games, possibly to reach a more casual audience, but is it too much of a change? Echoes did a good job of steering away from this difficulty drop and lack of strategy, but in all honesty, is it better to have units that suck so that we have to use talented units intelligently and sparingly, as well as give some attention to units that start with poor bases but can become good, like Nino or Est?
Highlighting strengths in characters by making other characters poor in those areas is a common practice, especially with class coutnerparts, like Hana and Hinata (Hinata's skill and speed are low, but his defense and luck are much better) or Sue and Shin (Sue being faster and Shin being a little more durable). So would doing that a little more drastically and making players find what stats and abilities they value in their strategies make a deeper and more re-playable game? Or would doing so screw up the idea of picking units based upon their personality and design, as well as make things too challenging for casual players?
So, one of the plans I have had since I started this project was a 2nd generation campaign. I have always liked the idea of child units, especially in Awakening, but Genealogy of the Holy War had more than half of the game be dedicated to the children of the first part's units.
Taking from that, I decided that the children would have their own campaign, and that they would be affected, skill-wise, like Awakening. However, two of the main children I had an issue with: I could not see their mother and father not being two particular gen 1 units. So I decided that these two gen 1 characters would not be able to pair up romantically with any other gen 1 characters. But then I realized that some of these children act so much like their mother or father character that it doesn't seem like the other parent even mattered outside of stats.
In Awakening, Laurent's supports with his father highlight this: the father doesn't understand what part he had in Laurent's upbringing, because the only thing that reflects that Laurent is related to his father is his hair color. To me, this kind of ruins some of the children, because (even though I understand completely why they can't customize conversations heavily because of different parents) the kids don't act like the player's chosen parent even matters. Wouldn't it be more interesting if the child was impacted by both parents' decisions in the child's upbringing?
For example, let's say you got Lissa with Lon'qu. Owain should be at least a little bit more serious. Yet he still acts like a five-year old with a plastic lightsaber and a thesaurus. What about Miriel and Vaike? Why would Laurent be so frail and nerdy if his dad was a total meathead?
Fates children are a little different, because they never really had much interaction with their parents, but that makes their conversations with their parents depressing. Look at Nina and Niles, Nina hates her father for leaving her in the Deeprealm. I don't want to make all the gen 2 units have terrible relationships with their parents.
Would it be better, then, to have pairings be forced? It would dull the fun in headcanon and getting child units as a whole, but didn't Binding Blade do that in a way? And we got interesting child characters that weren't carbon copies of their father/mother, that didn't hate their parents, and were unique in that they weren't held back by the math that might mess up your child unit in Awakening.
So what other option is there? Should pairing units be totally up to the FE game's creator, wouldn't that take some of the fun out of the game? It was partially what earned new fans of the series in Awakening, an inventive mechanic like that shouldn't be dropped, or should it?
I am a recent high school grad who really should have better things to do. I have a passion for world building, video games (especially FE), and writing. I also enjoy music, doodling, and avoiding socializing :\