GBA Balancing Ideas for project

Hey guys, long time lurker but first post here.

I’ve been in the initial stages of working on a GBA project, but I’d like to rebalance the classes within the parameters of the GBA games themselves without introducing new classes/abilities yet. I’ve read a few posts for ideas and these are the ideas I’ve preliminarily settled on.

Weapon Balancing

  • 1-2 range axes and lances cannot double. This restriction does not apply to magic swords.
  • Iron/Steel/Silver Longbows replace the standard Longbow. These will be Archer/Sniper exclusive. They are weaker/less accurate than the normal bow counterparts but have 2-3 range.
  • New Myrmidon/Swordmaster exclusive weapon - Tanto. This is a defensive weapon that is slightly weaker than an iron sword, but gives +5 defense when equipped.
  • Healing Staves (I.E. Heal/Mend) are now 1-2 range but follow FE11/12’s formula (Replenishes HP equivalent to (User’s Magic ÷2) +8/15, a pretty significant nerf from GBA). Physic/Fortify range will remain the same as the GBA games.

Movement Balancing

  • All physical infantry units, I.E. archers, fighters, and myrmidons will have their movement increased by 1. Thieves will remain the same. Unpromoted infantry will have 6 move, and promoted infantry will have 7.
  • Armor Knights/Generals will have their movement increased by 1, for 5/6 unpromoted/promoted move.
  • Footed magic users will remain unchanged from the base games.
  • All physical mounted/flying units (except Great Knights) will have 7 move unpromoted, and 8 move promoted. Great Knights will have 7 move.
  • Magic mounted units will have 6 move unpromoted, and 7 move promoted (unchanged from FE8).

There’s a few other changes that I considered but ultimately didn’t go with. For instance, I debated giving Snipers +15% crit, but I thought making 2-3 weapons stronger and exclusive to them was a good enough buff. In a similar vein, I didn’t nerf fliers because of the archer buff, and hopefully their advantages will be somewhat mitigated by enemy archers now running around with strong 2-3 range weapons.

What do you guys think of these changes? Please let me know if any of these changes sound like they would do too much/too little, or if there’s any other sort of changes you would suggest.


Some classes need stat adjustments too

For example, wyverns are significantly stronger than most other classes in base stats alone

Archers and their weapons are pretty weak, on the other hand
Soldiers are terribly weak, so you’d want to buff them if you’re having playable ones (or give high personal bases to compensate)

Your ideas sound fine except idk about changing the amount staves heal. You’d need to write some asm for that most likely

Welcome to feu!


Everything sounds great! Wow!

Though, the new weapon confuses me a little bit. It sounds like it should go to maybe Mercenary class instead?

Thanks for the welcome! :slight_smile:

Oh definitely. I didn’t include stat adjustments in here because I sort of considered that a given (my characters themselves are going to have unique bases). While I’m still going to try to keep the stat archetypes (I.E. high defense on knights), I’ll definitely try to make them less skewed towards specific classes.

Yeah, I wasn’t taking into considering the actual programming itself, this was more just throwing out ideas. I definitely want to include a stave nerf somehow though - I don’t want promoted magic units healing people to full at E rank staves.

The idea is to buff the squishiness of the Myrmidon/Swordmaster class. Mercenaries already have higher base defense than Myrmidons, and I want to keep that archetype but give them an option to sacrifice some of their attack power for defense. I’m hoping that a defensive option + indirect buff to swords through the hand axe/javelin nerf will make being swordlocked a lot less painful.

I’ve never used it myself, but FEBuilder has a DSFE Healing Patch available.

I would suggest giving mounted units 8/9 movement. It’s your decision of course, but I would find it kind of odd if mounted units had only one more movement than foot units. Though having that much movement available would kind of necessitate large maps, and mages would have trouble keeping up if you don’t want to bump them to 6 move.

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I’ll look into that, thanks!

The idea was to buff infantry units a bit so that mounted units don’t just outclass them like in the regular FEGBA games, so giving mounted units more movement would defeat that purpose. Lore wise I can see how it feels odd, but it’s not unprecedented - Rangers and Valkyries in FE8 have 7 move, only 1 more than promoted infantry. Mounted units still have a 1 move advantage and Canto, so I think those are still sufficient enough to offset the terrain disadvantages.

As for magic users, I needed to nerf them a little bit because with the ranged axe/lance nerf, they would become the premier enemy phase units. I want to skew my project a bit more player phased focused. I was thinking of FE11/12, where there’s a similar movement nerf for magic units, but a lot of them are still very good units. This is also why I wanted to make healing staves 1-2 range so healers don’t get completely screwed. Of course, this is all theoretical, and in practice you could be right that this would make magic users really bad.

Why can’t ranged swords double?

Longbow is a bad idea in it’s own. Just make all bows 2-3 range.

Myrms are glasscanons. You’re not supposed to tank with them.

1-2 healing staves are a good thing but I don’t know why you wnat to nerf healing. It’s not like you’re going to field more than two healers.


Yup, the change that is essential to make armors viable.

Why not just give armours the same movement as infantry? They already have enough drawbacks in their low AS and weakness to Hammers etc.

Ranged swords CAN double still, but still can’t crit on the ranged attack. Sorry if that wasn’t clear. They’re already pretty bad so hopefully this will level the playing field a bit between ranged swords and lances/axes.

Having all bows become 2-3 range would mean I’d have to rebalance the entire game around this. This is a pretty established criticism of the 2-3 range argument, since it would make enemy bow users a nightmare to deal with/balance around. I thought about doing this before, but I thought having options would mean that I could still have the 2-3 range advantages/disadvantages without having to rebalance everything. Giving it to Archers/Snipers only also gives them a buff over Rangers/Warriors, who aren’t bowlocked.

+5 defense for most Myrms is still not enough to turn them into tanks. I get the archetype, but the implementation for most the GBA games has been faulty. For example, on efficient playthroughs, there’s almost no reason to use Guy over Raven in FE7 except for early game, since Raven can do everything Guy can do, is tankier, and isn’t swordlocked. I don’t want to cheese this by simply raising the base defense of Myrmidons, so I thought this was a way to sort of address this issue. Of course, there could be issues with this that I’m not foreseeing.

I want to make the Mend/Recover staff relevant. With normal GBA healing, a promoted Sage/Druid with a Heal Stave can pretty much heal any character to full health at E rank Staves. Heal has way higher durability so there’s pretty much no reason to run those other two staves other than to slightly increase your WEXP.

I explained this a bit in a comment above, but it’s to level the playing field a bit for foot units. Look at any FE tier list for any of the FEGBA games and you’ll see that it’s dominated by mounted units/fliers. While there’s issues that I may not be seeing, I wanted to take a page out of FE11/12’s book, where foot units are between magic and mounted in movement. +1 advantage is still not small, and they still have Canto.

Again, this is all very theoretical. It makes sense in my head but I could implement them and realize I’m breaking the game lol. Thanks for the feedback.

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Yeah, this one was one I was thinking about. I guess I was just concerned that making armor knights have the same movement as infantry would make them too strong early/mid game. This is definitely something I’ll think about changing though.

Also, hey Agro! I’m a big fan. Was following Eternal Bond for a while years ago and love your music renditions.

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If you can’t make certain 1~2 range weapons not double without implementing Wary Fighter, make them lower the user’s Speed stat by a set amount.

I’ve never been a fan of nerfing Movement on magic users. I’d rather give more Resistance to all non-magic classes and have more acessible, weak 1~2 weapons (AKA adding Wind Edges/Daggers/Mini Bows with no Flier effectiveness). And if it’s not enough of a nerf, also reduce their HP stats (both raw and caps), since that also gets the point of them being less physically fit across.

I’d give Heavily Armored units an extra weapon type (and lock the Cavalier class to 1 weapon) and higher stats (raw & caps) to make up for the lack of movement and extra weaknesses.

As for Fliers, I’d make them have 1 less Move than Cavalry (7->8 and 8->9 respectively). Non-mounted units get positional skills such as Shove and Swap to make up for the lack of Canto.

For the Longbow debacle, I have 2 options:

  1. Add extra weight on top of what you said but also let other Infantry classes use them (i.e. Warriors and Assassins). Snipers get the Crit bonus.
  2. No Longbows at all but Snipers get +1 Bow range, and an infantry magic class gets +1 Tome range (which requires Skill implementation).

Add a few rare 2~3 range weapons if necessary.

Remember that this is all theory so you need to test it at some point.

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Yeah, I guess I wasn’t thinking about how to effectively nerf mages, but I think I like your idea over a flat movement nerf of just lowering their defensive caps.

To be honest, I’m actually actively trying to avoid this. While it was poorly implemented in the FEGBA games, I liked the flavor of having swords and bows be very different, and I don’t really want to homogenize the weapon types by just adding easily accessible 1-2 range weapons for all 4 weapon types. At the same time, I recognize that in its current iteration, lances/axes are just better, so that’s what the balancing ideas are for, as faulty as they may be.

Yep definitely, Armored units would definitely get some buffs to compensate for its weaknesses.

The thought experiment was sort of to implement changes without introducing abilities. I think with abilities, none of the balancing I’m suggesting is really needed since you can create a good field of checks and balances just through that alone.

I definitely considered similar things to what you’re suggesting. Without implementing 1-2 range bows (which I’m really trying to avoid), it’s just hard to balance Archers/Snipers, as people have been trying to do for years now, and I sort of wanted the optionality between choosing between longbows vs regular bows, similar to how there’s blades vs. swords. You’re right that a lot of testing is going to be needed to find what the best outcome for me personally would be.

Really appreciate the feedback.

What I’d do to further differentiate them while still adding said weapons is adding more unique weapons, such as the ones you can find in the ground in Awakening. Weapons with unique stat distribution, unit stat changes, granting Skills, or a combination of them.

Which could go from a simple Axe with low Uses but high Crit, to a Sword with low Might, but has Archer effectiveness and the Resourceful Skill giving you x6 Mt in total vs. Archers; or to a Lance with subpar Hit that reduces your Str, but has a Brave Effect and increases your Speed.

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This is fair, I’ll definitely explore this as an option. Thank you!

Maybe this is just me, but GBA FE hacks that change movement across the board are always super jarring to me and throw me off when Im playing through them, as opposed to hacks that just change the movement of certain classes.

Maybe consider buffing/changing only a couple classes movement like armors and great knights and then change the map accordingly rather than changing it across the board and making it where the player doesnt have to account for all the new extra movement that they arent used to.

Thats not to say your idea cant work or anything, just my opinion. I like your weapon ideas, Im relatively new here and working on my own project also!

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I think it’s important to note that making archers viable/buffing them is reliant primarily on the environment they find themselves in. Archers are only as useful as enemies are threatening offensively, because they now have a significant niche over most other units, especially with nerfed 1-2 range weaponry, that being they can avoid most counters from enemies through the use of bows. That, along with archers with actual stats, but that’s more or less a given, I hope, is really all that need be done to make archers viable compared to vanilla games where enemies are lacking offensively and the primary method of dispatching them is on enemy phase, when archers contribute the least on average. Not to say that adding longbows for archers isn’t a neat idea, though I personally don’t like them being wholly restricted to one class because that just results in a net loss of interesting tools that warriors could have fun with. My personal method of going around this was having one regular longbow for all bow using classes and a stronger longbow only for archers/snipers, so that everyone can have a piece of the longbow pie, but archers still win more at the end of the day.


This is actually a really fair criticism that I hadn’t considered. I guess the reason why I wanted to do it across the map is because in the FEGBA games, mounted units for the most part just are better across the map than infantry, but I guess clever map design could mitigate this to an extent. The movement stuff for sure is going to take a lot of playtesting.

Thank you! Again, the thought experiment is to balance without abilities for now, since to be honest I actually would prefer not to use them for my project (though I will if that’s the only way to really balance), and I thought targeting weapons themselves could provide some leeway.

I definitely agree that the environment plays a huge role for the effectiveness of archers. While FE6 is the earliest FE game I’ve ever played, I think one of the main issues I saw is that there’s nothing archers can do that casters or someone with a 1-2 ranged weapon can’t. The only time I saw archers really shining was in FE12, where speed caps were crucial, and snipers were one of the only classes that could double, but I don’t really want to balance the game this way. The playable archers in my project will definitely have respectable bases, but I want them to fill an important niche too.

I think this is a solid idea. I’m still toying with the idea of just making Snipers 2-3 range, but idk the workaround for a sniper that can just take an S rank bow and gun down the endgame bosses with no retaliation, without having to resort to abilities. I can see your point that warriors need a bit something though since they’re also mediocre - I was hoping to address this just by making the fighters/warriors in my project stronger than the standard Bord/Cord types.

funnily enough, fe6 is a game where bows actually shine, bc bow users like klein, sin, igrene, and even bartre when you invest in his bow use/rank, actually out perform most mages, especially because the game tends to throw very powerful and threatening wyverns at the player. Fe6 is also relatively player phase based and enemies can be p bulky so the chip and ability to not get countered are p helpful, the issue comes with IS’s inability to give early archers like wolt or dorothy real stats, and considering they’re your first exposure to bows in the game it’s easy to undervalue their use based on just their performance.


the longbow buff and 1-2 range lances and axes nerf, in my opinion won’t change the usability of archers that much, I personally think giving them a 1 range option like a mini bow or something would make them much more usable, maybe give them one less move than basic infantry to stop them from being fully front line units with mini bows?

Either way this project sounds like it will balance a few of the weaker classes and maybe even break some of the other classes, if you want to buff swords a bit I would recommend adding more axe units to the game to make sure they don’t always get weapon triangle disadvantage.