Which mechanic is better in your opinion: leave the permadeath and introduced a “turnwheel” mechanic or use the casual mode where units are healed even after being defeated?
I think casual mode has an interesting and under-utilized design space around it. Typically it’s just tacked onto a game not designed for it as a way to make it more casual. But if you design for it, you can make objectives like Survive or Escape more meaningful in terms of gameplay without punishing the player permanently.
Without casual mode, a dead unit usually means the player will reset, so these objectives don’t feel like they have anything real at stake, as you never come even remotely close to a party wipe.
I can be far meaner to the player if a couple deaths here and there don’t really matter >:-)
I think it’s interesting that in permadeath discussions, it never comes up that FE1 through FE4 all had some sort of resurrection method. Though I would understand anyone who said that the Aum Staff comes too late to be meaningful. But for as much as FE fans love to say “Kaga loves Permadeath, and you should too,” the only Kaga game without resurrection is FE5, and that had a Gaiden for rescuing captured units.
But I think it would be interesting to see a game where the ability to resurrect units was connected to the game’s resource management by giving the resurrection staff sometime in the midgame. In that instance the player could knowingly sacrifice a unit while planning to use one of the game’s few resurrections per playthrough. Gaiden probably comes the closest to this with its revival springs, but I’ve only ever played Echoes, and the Turnwheel trivializes the springs.
However, too much resurrection might lead to some bad consequences. Strategy games where the player is expected to have a stock of resurrection items and spells often have bosses with terrible map wide attacks that can wipe multiple units with no counterplay other than the healing options.
I think that straight up Casual mode takes too much weight out of decisions for my tastes, but I think it’s fine as an accessibility feature. I also think that Turnwheel is fine just to alleviate frustration, but I think that the way that scenarios can feel built around expecting the player to fail and try again in Three Houses don’t feel great to play.
I think that as long as the gameplay itself isn’t affected by either (i.e. the devs won’t put in ambush spawns because turnwheel) both are equally great designs, the turnwheel is entirely optional and still limited, it also allows for the games to be less punishing to players without getting rid of the challenge itself, it also just cuts back on tedium if you don’t like playing through your mistakes
casual mode meanwhile is good because it’s a simple mode separate from classic mode that retains the difficulty of each individual map while making the experience better for those who don’t like the permadeath mechanic, it allows for more options and the one criticism I have of most classic fe games is that there is no optional casual mode, this is a mode that should be in every game with permadeath
if I had to pick I’d choose casual mode, while turnwheel is a great mechanic it’s easier for ‘‘hardcore’’ players to complain about and that’s just annoying and just will devolve into a stupid argument.
I’m not really sure how Escape benefits from Casual mode when it enables cheese by only bothering to get the lord/game over units to the escape point and then it doesn’t matter if the other units escape or get killed.
In Causal mode, the lack of an interesting story, characters and gameplay causes you to stop playing.
One of the fangame ideas i had (which will never become a reality because i am lazy) is giving the player an early Character with a 3-5 use revival magic for the whole game. Maybe even 1 extra use at the costcof the Casters life.
I like the turnwheel mainly because low% crits are way too common and resetting because of them is frustrating. Same with missclicks
What many SRPG also do is give the player bonuses for making everyone survive, which on me has the same effect as perma death honestly, making me reset when a unit is defeated.
As long as the game is still designed around permadeath or has enough chances to make Permadeath work I have no problems with Casual mode. The Timewheel is a cool mechanic to redo missclicks or similar things (which happens to me way to often) but it makes the classic mode obsolete if it exists there. You can argue that’s okay if it would have limited uses and all but in this form… It’s too powerful. It is a cheap excuse to fix bad descisions they made in Three Houses especially (as well as in SOV to some degree). Now, I love SoV and in it’s defense it was a remake so I am okay with the small cast there since it’s better than forcefully introducing 20+ new characters. And it gave you things like the Revival Springs and the Unitgain is… it’s not good but it’s okay. At least you get new characters every now and then including right before the endgame. Unlike Three Houses which is a completely new game where you can’t recruit new characters at some point, characters who could’ve been playable like Judith and Nader aren’t because they didn’t had the time to write supports for them, etc. And ambush spawns… These we’re a problem before but now they would’ve even less reason to remove it. Because “you can simple rewind - no problem.” And if this sentence can be replied to everything… Eh…
The timewheel must either come with a punishment in addition to a stricter limit or be part of an easy mode. Although then I’d prefer the Casual Mode because there you actually have to live with your mistakes for the rest of the map which is okay imo. Especially for those who are new for the series. Although looking back I wish I never would’ve listened to the advice that you can simple reset if a character you like dies in my first FE7 playthrough…
In the end, they should also give you a reason to encourage you trying out Classic Mode afterwards - Which of course needs to be designed good too then. But that’s offtopic.
I think the best solution would be to make it so that the Timewheel is less and less usable the higher your difficulty is. Maybe make it so that you need to charge it with certain ressources. And that the number of uses doesn’t reset after a map. That way you can still use them to save a character and your time for a reset - But you still have to make a descision. Permadeath isn’t off the table then. It’d be like the Revival options of previous games but you’d get them instantly. However you could also use them to redo a terrible approach to a map. Do you use it to get everything on a map or do you save it for the death of your favorite waifu? You’d get less ressources in higher difficulties. And maybe even every turn needs (just a very small but still nessecary) ammount of this ressource? Like… Dunno… Give MU a robot arm like Link in Botw2 and have him eat time crystals. And these time crystals can be forged by collecting crystalshards that you can get by sidequesting or exploring or defeating certain enemies. But you can also use these things for various other things like repairing weapons by rewinding time on them. Or leveling down a unit to temporarily increase their growth rates for each resetted level. Or maybe even use them for sidequests, “waah my grandpa had a heart attack”, use some of your ressources to revive him and to inform someone before it’s too late so that he can get treated. And as a reward, later on in the game, you get new ressources for what you’ve invested. You could even implement a whole detective sideplotline that way.
The trick is to make something like the turnwheel into something that works with the game and especially when you want to integrate it into the story it’s a much better way to think about how to make it fun using, a good QoL-Improvement for the different playstyle of your audience that don’t want to play with the consequences of their mistakes and still to something that gives those who like to play with their mistakes to form a unique run that’s not completely in their control and… before that sentence get’s even longer just try to make it natural. Write and implement it so that it’s believable. Just one cutscene that says “You can rewind time” and another that says “You can’t change some peoples fates” doesn’t make certain scenes in Three Houses more believable. Making it to a real part of the story on the other hand… I might like that.
So yeah… Prolly not 100% the topic of the thread but I think that’d be the best approach. And better than just bringing back Bonus Exp and lower the ammount of that for every use of the turnwheel. Could work too but Idk.
I think the Auto save function is more convenient than the casual mode.
If you have a policy of never reset the game, casual mode will work, but I think the AutoSave Function patch, which turns back time one turn by reset when a unit dies, is more like a turn-based SRPG.
I have no issue with Casual mode existing, because options are cool for anybody that wants to play it, but I wouldn’t really love a game that’s wholly designed around casual mode bc that implies either no/a lack of designing around a mode with permadeath, which is a feature I view as one of the most important to the series. It inherently creates a lot more tension and excitement to many interactions ingame, and yeah yeah, tons of people reset, but I still view that as interacting with permadeath as a mechanic because players have to balance the pros and cons of resetting however much of this chapter they’ve played against the life of a unit they just lost. Casual mode inherently lacks tension of that sort, not to say death doesn’t matter at all in casual mode, ofc losing a unit on a map could mean a lot if they really needed the exp, or if they were vital to your plan to beat it, but it’s just missing something imo and in a game designed around it I feel I’d feel that loss even more. But once again I still think it’s cool that it exists because, well, some people find the prospect of permadeath daunting, and that’s okay, options are cool and fine.
I’m fine with permadeath and casual mode as a whole, I’ve never really understood why the FE community has such a hate-boner for it.
One of the few compromises i’ve thought of for it would be a simple one, retain the cost of a normal death, the loss of equipment.
That way the player keeps the unit but is still penalized for the death. Overextended on somebody with a powerful or forged weapon and you have now lost any additional exp they could have got AND the resources used to either get or make the weapons they had on them.
To make it more interesting as a mechanic there could even be a Black Market where the lost weapons will occasionally show up and can be bought back at a higher price they it cost originally but with the bonus of the weapon being fully repaired.
For an example say FE6 had casual and you had Dieck using the Durandal but he got taken down by a lucky crit. You still lose the durandal but you will have a chance to get it back later to try and get the good ending instead of just being screwed or forced to restart.
I think they’ve both got their advantages but I prefer having separate casual and classic modes over a turnwheel. It just feels more suited for different types of players who may want to play differently. That being said I think the ability to rewind missed button presses benefits most players as its more of a quality of life thing.
Personally, I feel like it’d be nice to strike a good middle ground. There’s no permadeath, but when a unit “dies”, they’re gone for the rest of the chapter, and dying levels them down a bit, so there’s still a punishment in the long run for being careless.
Well that’s why i think losing the units weapons and items might be a better compromise.
all in all losing stats is only punishing in the GBA FE titles since there is no way to compensate for them outside of that nut that lowers a random amount of levels over 10.
Where as in Awakening/Fates/TH that isn’t really an issue. Since either DLC or how the game is set up removes that issue.
Yet losing weapons and/or stat boosters can be far more damning depending on your difficulty and game.
As an extreme example, which would be more damaging losing 1 speed on a mercenary or losing an energy ring or boots?
Losing a forged weapon is also really damaging since you also lose the cost of the forge and depending on the game can be even worse than losing the unit who was using it.
Why not level down AND lose items?
Ultimately it depends on what stat was lost. which again is more punishing in the GBA games since strength and magic are merged. as long as a unit either has surpassed the stat benchmark for their particular game then any lost stats are ultimately pointless. A Mercenary losing one speed doesn’t change much.
However forged weapons are mostly used to either shore up the offense of a slightly behind unit or enable your strong units to clean house faster.
Losing a forged weapon is usually far more damaging in the immediate that losing 1 strength or speed that can either be regained or boosted over. It also depends on how a wounds mechanic would be implemented which is a different topic all together.
Which is also where my second idea come into play which is for more complex runs.
The Black Market, which after certain chapters would sell any weapons and items from “slain” player units AND any items that thieves escape with from chests barring instant money and gems/bullion which would allow the player to claim lost resources at the cost of money they may not have. This particular market would also have one other rule, if you don’t buy it on the map they have it its gone. That way you only ever visit if you have an excess of money so you could afford the 150% up charge.
That mark up is due to the side effect of any weapon that shows up in the Black Market is fully repaired so as to act as a Hammerne staff with a penalty, which if i hazard a guess would be a good LTC concept, sacrifice a benched unit on one map to blitz one faster with repaired forges later.
The real solution is to bring back phoenix mode. its useful for testing purposes, and support and skill grinding if that’s you’re thing. It’s a god mode cheat except you don’t have to fiddle with the rom, its conveniently built in. and if you’re going to make a scrub mode, go all the way. casual is half assing it.
I don’t see why there should be a story-reason for turnwheel to be a thing. What’s the story excuse in most games that one can return to a previous save when keeping a copy?
I also don’t see why turnwheel can’t just be part of classic mode. Allow people to make mistakes without losing units that they’ve put resources in.
Why would there need to be a penalty other than using up a precious turnwheel-charge? Every time someone uses the turnwheel they’ll reduce the amount of errors they can make from then on. That’s already a penalty.
phoenix mode, in my eyes anyway can’t ever be a replacement for casual mode, casual mode doesn’t mess with the map’s challenge in any way since when your characters die they don’t return until the end of the map, sure you could make the argument that never actually losing characters will make the maps easier but there’s a difference between coming into a map with all the characters you were given from the start and completely mitigating the difficulty altogether. Casual mode is for those who dislike one aspect about the game, phoenix mode is for those who dislike the gameplay as a whole and just want the story.
you can also completely avoid the turnwheel in classic mode and even when your lord dies you can press B to go to the game over screen