How do you design/define a hard difficulty in fire emblem?

I just want to know the community’s thoughts since I have been playing FE 9 re and the way it’s designed frankly makes me ask the question.


If you ask IS, the hardest mode of a game is the either the “intended” difficulty, and arguably the only one with much real challenge (think FE 7 & 8), or it’s a torrent of extremely high quality enemies, in unfairly high quantities (New Mystery merciless, Awakening lunatic). Occasionally the game may change a set of reinforcements, or restrict promo items and strong weapons more tightly, but overall these difficulties don’t change the game much, much less create a more enjoyable experience.

Whenever I design a hack however, I always try to make my hard modes stand out from normal mode. I add new kinds of equipment to enemies, like effective weapons and reavers, and I change the class composition and arrangement of enemy units. Of course, I’ll still buff the enemies a little, but I try to make my normal modes balanced games in their own right, so I usually focus on giving enemies more tools, rather than objectively stronger ones. I also give the player different tools too, like changing a units starting inventory, or changing when/how a character is recruited. Overall, I try to make the hard mode different but not the definitive difficulty setting, as I don’t want players feeling like they have to play a difficult they don’t enjoy just to see everything, so I never lock characters or story stuff behind difficulty.


tbh I hate when I get blindsided by a dude with a reaver or effective weapon, especially the former, 'cause there’s no warning display hack for that and when there are lots of enemies it’s a PAIN to go through all their inventories

like it makes sense to have it across all modes but changing it up for one mode over another kinda makes me sad


I just design one difficulty in general.
If someone wants to make changes to make it easier or harder, they’re more than welcome to do so imo.
Although, I prefer to make my games on the more difficult side.

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I just design and playtest with the hardest mode in mind and scale it back for the easier difficulties. Some people will choose to make the game easier, which is fine by me, but I don’t think it’s worth my time making a bunch of hard-mode exclusive stuff, so I personally don’t bother with it.

I do +0 / +10 / +20 hidden levels for my difficulties, which works pretty well for my hack.