I have been working on an FE7 rebalance patch, but implementing my desired changes is too much work right now, as is playtesting to determine the exact values. Instead I will just state some balance ideas, not all original, to have a discussion.
All units and items should be viable, and be unique or fulfill a niche.
Supports are a cool mechanic which is poorly implemented in vanilla.
Supports should be granted at a bigger range. 3 tiles allow it to build as players attack the same enemies, and matches the support bonus range. Supports should in general build faster the later a unit joins, since there is less time to build them.
The sword axe lance bow tradeoff of Mt for hit is fine in principle, but is undermined by the high hit rates in Fe7. This makes swords weaker as they have less mt than the other options. The high hit rates are caused by the 15 hit wpn triangle, slow unlucky enemies, supports, and tactician bonus. Players can usually manipulate enemies to avoid terrain, except thrones and gates which give 20 (30) avoid. This relegates swords to be useful against axes and bosses, but there are few axe bosses and none which sit on a throne. Higher avoid enemies and/or a weaker wta, perhaps 10 avoid like Fe6, would make swords more useful. Then we have blades, which are heavier, less accurate, and more expensive, but have only 1 more mt in the case of iron blade VS steel sword and silver blade VS silver sword. It could be an interesting tradeoff if blades were buffed to the values of equivilant axes, especially for heavier sword users. Iron blade could be E rank. The slim sword is also useless because everyone can afford to use 5 wt iron swords. Buffing its crit would give it a niche, and increasing it’s wex gives Falcoknights an option to train their sword rank. Steel weapons in general are too heavy for their mt, so their wt should be reduced.
All the slayer swords including prf weapons are relatively useless without 3x effectiveness, but even with it they all face wtda against those classes. Slayer swords should have a buff. Longsword and armorslayer should have lower wt to allow doubling by low con units. The prf weapons will be addressed later with their lords. The magic swords are not useful at range because they halve strength and cannot crit, while swordmasters and assassins are the primary users. Targeting res is also bad against mages. In general I am in favor of nerfing the other 1-2 physical weapons, so the magic swords being subpar is fine. This allows bows and magic tomes to feel special.
Later FE games made it so hand axes and javs can’t double, but increasing wt would affect units differently based on their con. It may be possible to give the weapons a negative speed bonus, which is interesting for the sake of adding a secondary speed breakpoint, but I think it is also fine to just nerf the accuracy to binding blade values, giving skl more value. Killer weapons are strong, but limited by their cost and availability. Brave weapons are OP, but they are limited by their durability and availability, so this is fine. The lack of an early Halberd hurts axe users, so one should be added. Reaver weapons are also OP, but these should be nerfed to 1x wta, because it undermines the promotion of e.g. Heath when an axereaver is much more powerful than an iron sword. 30 avoid also makes dodgetanking too easy even without terrain.
Bows have issues which are adressed in another post, but the long bow should be buffed by reducing it’s wt, and the short bow can be 1-2 range but without crit and with lower hit similar to nerfed javelins. Rather than the short bow, the steel and long bows should give 2 wex to allow warriors to skill up their bow rank. Many tomes are too heavy to double, so their wt should be reduced. Luna crit makes for unavoidable deaths, so the crit rate should be reduced. The heal staff should provide a bit more xp to allow healers to keep up in level without stuff like torch spam, and the mend and recover staves should have 1-2 and 1-3 range respectively to better distinguish them from heal. This could also be considered for barrier and restore.
The ocean seal, fel contract and heaven seal should have their cost reduced to 10k so using them doesn’t excessively hurt the funds ranking, and thieves and pirates should be allowed to promote with an earth seal.
Generic enemies should have better growths to increase their scaling into the late game. Make them more varied between classes.
Nerf their bases or scale hard mode bonuses to compensate and even out the difficulty curve.
Bosses should have more weapons so they are harder to exploit on EP.
Jagens and prepromotes.
Jagens are allowed to have a strong early game with strong bases, but falling off in the late game due to poor growths. Prepromotes should not be outright better than growth units, but be able to replace them. Prepromotes should generally have weaker offense or utility but better defense than growth units, giving a payoff for training and keeping alive growth units, while the prepromotes are less likely to die since there are no more replacements, preventing soft locks.
Lords are unique classes characterized by high growths, their prf weapons, and late promotions. This gives them a potentially strong early and late game but a weak midgame. Their late promo and weak midgame is not a problem insofar as the other two phases balance it out.
Hector is considered the best lord due to his def and the Wolf Beil being the best item type to use the effectiveness, especially at 2x effectiveness. The most lackluster thing is his promo which gives d swords and no mov, a slayer weakness in addition to increasing his con by 2 to make him harder to rescue. I might suggest his promo giving +1 mov and or just +1 con to make him more mobile. Buff to blades should make the D swords more impactful. Armads should weigh less to make it actually good, as should Durandal and Sol Kati, or Sol Kati should be replaced with Mulagir. Eliwood is considered the next best lord because of his balanced stats and horse promotion, but his early game is bad and he risks getting speed screwed. As a sword user he is outclassed by both Guy and Raven who have better bases and hard mode bonuses, and in some cases by Lyn who doubles consistently and can dodge tank. Because of his unremarkableness and his stats he is better served with lances as his starting weapon to better stand out as a unit. His con needs to be a little higher to not be weighed down by lances, and while 7 mov might make sense thematically, his promo should give 8 mov so he can keep up with other mounts. Making the rapier a lance also helps it with the wta, and giving it a bit more mt instead of hit lets him one shot nomads on the dread isle. The enemy types of the first two and the eliwood exclusive chapter in his route should be adjusted to allow him to be useful. Lyns biggest issue is her low durability, which is the lowest of any melee unit. She cannot dodgetank with the Mani Kati because it faces wtda, but this prf weapon is her only upside, so it should be buffed. I have considered two options; making it a reaver weapon or making it a magic (Anima) sword. The former has the advantage of giving her wta and making her a more consistent dodge tank, although the 2x triangle +30 avoid was too powerful in playtesting, but a 1x triangle or 0x triangle may be balanced. The latter has the advantage of letting her avoid counters, and makes it unique compared to the other lords prf weapons. However, Lyn mode has no enemy fliers which would make it less impressive, and it would also lessen the impact of unlocking bows upon promotion. This makes me favor the former. Her promotion gives her the worst of both worlds, nomad trooper without a mount and swordmaster without crit. It ought also give a crit bonus shared by swordmasters, because she can wield the Wo Dao and is weak to the Swordslayer.
Archers were covered in a separate post, but to reiterate playable archers should have better bases, exp gain, and player snipers should have a crit bonus. They should have higher res growth and lower def growth to give them an additional niche at fighting mages. Rath is fine due to his high level, mount, and weapon diversity upon promotion.
Berserker are fine as a class, and Hawkeye is good as a midgame Jagen, although his bulk is maybe overkill. Dart has a clear weakness in his low skill, but he gets to double. If anything I would increase his base speed a little so he doubles sooner.
Fighters and warriors need a buff, but rather than increasing their speed so they double, their str and possibly skill should be increased further so they can one shot mages with axes and wyverns with bows. Their bow rank should be d, just because it takes longer to train and they need the mt of steel bows. The lord requirement to get the Geitz chapter should be more reasonable, such as level 40.
Swordmasters will be more competitive as other physical units are nerfed, but they still need buffs. Guys early game is good due to his bases and hard mode bonuses, but his str growth and promo bonus should be improved to allow him to scale better. The same is true of the thieves and their promotion, and they should retain steal even if Jaffar does not. I suggest giving Karel some more hp to pair with his good defenses, but even so Jaffar is likely to outshine him. Jaffar could use a nerf to his combat, but this is tricky because it risks ruining his joining chapter, which might need to be rebalanced. Karla suffers from terrible bases and availability, and brings nothing unique to the table, so in addition to a higher level and bases she needs a unique trait for flavor. I suggest giving her another 15% crit to 30%.
Raven is OP in terms of combat and outshine the other hero crest users, so his speed should be reduced, but his con can be increased to compensate when using blades and axes. Harken should also have a nerf to his offenses.
Wallace should join Lyn mode at a higher level or he will be too weak when he joins the other modes, and likewise when Lyn mode is skipped. Generals have too many weaknesses, slayer weapons, low mov, low spd, low res, and their only strength is high def. Like fighters /warriors their str rather than speed should be buffed so they can one shot squishes. Their skill and res could also be improved further, while still retaining their low mov and speed. They should have access to all melee weapons like in Fe8 to further accentuate their strength with wta. Bows wouldn’t help them because they mainly fight on EP.
The cavalier trio are all distinct in terms of stats which is nice. Kent and Sain could use a few more levels without Lyn mode, but otherwise I feel their combat is fine. Giving them just sword or lance would also be fair, but Lyn mode would need to be changed dramatically. Paladins should not have access to axes, like in Fe8. Otherwise their combat is fine, except Marcus who is too strong for too long. His offenses and sword rank should be nerfed to make him weaker and fall off sooner. Isadora could use a buff to her bulk.
However, rescue and canto utility is a bit too strong in the hands of a skilled player. Thematically it would make the most sense if mounted units could not themselves be rescued, and this would encourage a mix of infantry and mounted units.
The fliers scale too hard, even if their early game is weak. I would lower their growths, especially the def of pegasus knights and the res of wyvern riders to better accentuate their weaknesses.
To let Farina stand out more I would have her as a prepromote with a high sword rank, but again with weaker offenses and at a higher level with less room to grow.
As for the magic users… The mag of Serra is low and needs a bump , and so is Renaults, but it is fine he has poor offense since he comes with staff utility.
The trio of erk lucius canas are fine, except the level of the two former is too low without Lyn mode. Their weak physical bulk offsets their 1-2 range. This is not the case for Pent, who needs a nerf to his offenses (and weapon ranks). I am not against the Est archetype, but the payoff needs to be worth the investment. Nino needs a buff to her growths, and her con upon promotion. She should also be allowed to use dark magic even if she is not a shaman outright, because this would require changing the monks in her joining chapter to mages, so she can actually contribute with a good weapon in the final chapter. While on the topic of weapon ranks, Athos should not be allowed to use Dark or light magic, since he has his prf forblaze, in order to allow other characters to shine with Luna and Aureola.
What do you guys think about FE7 balance, anything I missed or that you disagree with?