So, as of this writing, I’m playing through FE10 for the first time, (having fun with it. A bit odd in some respects, but enjoyable overall), while playing through it, FE10 had these sub-class of weapon types. They were Blades, Greatlances, and Poleaxes. Only Blades are featured in the GBA games. So I thought to myself “Hm, I wonder if Greatlances and Poleaxes could work in the GBA style of gameplay?”.
Their a bit of an odd weapon type to work around in the GBA engine, since weapon weight works differently compared to the Tellius games. It’s not as simple as copying their stats from the Fire Emblem Wiki or something!
So, that is my question for you, FEU! Do you think Greatlances and Poleaxes could work in FEGBA, and if so, how would you go about it? Thanks in advance for the insight!
So Blades have traditionally been more expensive, less accurate and heavier than standard swords. For Iron and Steel, they are balanced and fine as is. Silver Blade is a bit of a problem, due to having only 1 more MT than a Silver Sword yet is less accurate, heavier, less durable and much more expensive to use. As such, I think the Silver Blade needs some buffing, and I think the following is appropriate.
A simple might buff brings the Silver Blade back into a reasonable niche. However, it now out-damages Silver Axe and Silver Lance, hence the need for the great-type weapons in those categories as well. Along the same standards, I have drawn up another list of stats (vanilla weapons stats also provided for comparison):
The stats being derived from that of the blade<->sword relationship. Overall, heavy type weapons have enough might to justify the extra weight and lack of accuracy in some cases. Particularly, slow units like Generals will favor them due to not doubling in the first place. Other units that would use them are ones that need to farm WEXP, or those that need them to secure OHKOs.
If you work with Skill system, there are incentives like Thunderstorm and Heavy Blade to incentivize using Blades, Greataxes, and Greatlances in a fan-build.
If you are talking Vanilla + great weapons, then you want to look at it less as “what are the benefits of great weapons” and “how do they effect the overall balance of the game”. To that end, I say they provide two key function, one major one minor, to the overall balance of a GBA game:
They provide additional tiers of weapon might escalation for mid/late game damage scaling and
They create opportunities for characters built around constitution, speed, and skill to have additional combat utility
First point - gba FE plateaus as soon as vanilla weapons are buyable. The only mix ups you see on either side after that are personal, magical, or holy weapons. Functionally, “great” weapons add roughly a tier, 1.5 tiers of additional weapons to better scale against high defense units, and allow both sides to better handle 1-2 round combat against late game hit point values
Second point - having a low strength growth/base can hurt the viability of mid/late game units if they cap at regular silver weapons, but building a character that can offset the lower accuracy and high weight of Great weapons, such as a high skill and speed lance unit or a high Con axe unit, opens opportunities to use and design offensive characters without having to cookie-cutter around growths. Looking at FE10 as an example, Nephenee, a character who can struggle a bit with a middling strength growth, is carried by having Greatlances, high skill/speed and crits in her kit so she can compete against strength based lance wielders like Taurneo and Aaron
The hack I’m working on now has weapons inspired by FE10. I rebalanced Blades to be more useful than in vanilla GBA. “Silver Greatlance” is actually too long to display correctly even with narrow font, so I named the heavy lances and axes Partisans and Great Axes. I also put in Iron, Steel, and Silver Longbows as well as Daggers and Knives as thief weapons. For balance reasons I gave Longbows lower power than normal bows.
The weapon stats are still subject to change because the hack only has 12 chapters complete, but so far the heavy weapons work how you would expect. Most often they’re best for when it’s most advantageous to do high damage in a single hit. When they’re on enemies, units with high evasion and low defense aren’t likely to be hit but will take massive damage if they are hit.
three legacies have these weapons and they have huge might but they can’t follow up or double and through some asm magic, the enemy will always attack you first if you equip them. I think that’s a pretty good balance for them though admittedly their use in my own personal playthrough was niche at best. They actually weight relatively close to steel weapons there I think
Engage’s heavy weapon design sorta ruins two of the three niches that heavy weapons have.
Normally, they have three main uses.
Give a fast-but-not-strong unit (e.g. Swordmaster) extra punching power to secure a ORKO otherwise not possible or to punch through a bulky enemy like a General or Draco Zombie. Their dependence on SPD for Avo prevents prolonged use, as the Avo loss is substantially detrimental to their survival.
Give a unit a little extra damage to secure an OHKO against either a squishy enemy (e.g. Mage) or a wounded enemy as to not get countered.
The preferred weapon for units too slow to double in the first place, due to their dependency on a single, big hit for damage.
But with Engage heavy weapon design, these scenarios become:
Fast-but-not-strong unit can’t double, and due to lack of STR, can’t OHKO. They completely lose the ability to ORKO enemies they normally could at the expense of eating a counter, an otherwise acceptable price.
Attacking unit goes last, eating one/more counter(s) and defeating the whole purpose of OHKO’ing the enemy so they can’t counter in the first place.
Slow unit still hits hard and in most cases, doesn’t really care that they go last against most units (General doesn’t care that he takes 3x2 from a Swordmaster before OHKOing them afterwards). That being said, they can’t leverage their high single-hit damage to OHKO things for free, becoming a instance of case 2 (General can’t OHKO the Mage without eating lots of damage before he attacks).
Having more options is cool. I have the heavy versions of other weapon types in Sengoku Oda, with the difference being that they also boost defense.
I like the result, but that’s also due to what I did to slim versions, which are brave and boost speed. There’s kind of a triangle even within the same weapon types now, but it varies depending on the units involved which to me makes it even more interesting to strategize around. It’s all about whether the attack/speed/defense boosts/penalties make the units reach a good or bad threshold for each individual battle. For the same unit, sometimes heavy vs heavy may be ideal but may be what would get them killed against a different enemy, and so on.
The same way as making any other archetype or individual weapon.
Just make sure it has a reason to exist, ie. is sufficiently different from any other pair of archetypes you’re blending.
Sword, Spear, Axe, and Bow “mean” something. The game trains you to expect <type> axe to have 3 more might than the same <type> sword if it isn’t an effective weapon. This consistency helps make the game system make sense and I think it’s for the worse how many weapons buck its trend but it’s still fairly true as a first approximation method of evaluating things at hand.
Weapon Name | Mt | Ht | Wg | Other
Iron Sword | 5 | 90 | 5 | E
Iron Blade | 9 | 70 | 12 | D
Steel Sword | 8 | 75 | 10 | D
Killing Edge | 9 | 75 | 7 | C, Critical +30
Steel Blade | 11 | 65 | 14 | C
Silver Sword | 13 | 75 | 8 | A
Silver Blade | 14 | 60 | 13 | A
Given these, why would you use an iron or silver blade? It’s usually just…worse. +1 might for -2 (or -5) a.s. is usually a terrible trade. This is why I think steel blades are the most useful of the trio and they’re still horrible, I’d approximately always rather have a Killer.
Adding something from one game to your game is as simple as making sure it has purpose; and can be as simple as copying their stats. A weapon is a ball of easy analyzed numbers that becomes complicated only in how it relates to a secondary bundle of numbers. Pasting Radiant Dawn stats into GBA isn’t going to work out great, but it’s a fairly good starting point and you can tune from there to make sure the items have a purpose or find out that the idea doesn’t really feel right.
I wrote this and didn't like it later.
Iron, Steel, Silver, Killer, Brave – are already very strong examples of archetypes by themselves that explain what’s up. Them, as well as Sword, Spear, Axe, Bow – are already base templates.
You can observe this by comparing all members of one group by shuffling the other one.
So take the FE8 group of Iron Sword/Spear/Axe/Bow. Subtracting from them you can see that shuffling between sword/spear/axe/bow you expect the following modifiers:
Obviously, it’s not perfectly templated that way, but you can see that it aligns pretty close most of the time. It makes a bit more sense when you look at the con of the classes that would use these (mercenaries vs brigands, for steel weapons), since the axe wielders are given pretty hefty constitution scores across the board. The point is that steel weighs you down but offers more damage while still being fairly cheap.
So you just apply that same logic to the Blades?
Iron Blade is 9m/70h/12w, so “heavy iron” is 9m/55h/12w base stats to map nicely to
Iron Greatlance 11m/60h/14w; Iron Poleaxe 12m/55h/15w; Iron Greatbow 10m/65h/13w
Oh, hey, would you look at that:
RD Iron Blade: 10m/70h/12w
RD Iron Greatlance: 11m/75h/14w
RD Iron Poleaxe: 12m/65h/16w
Now, the question to me comes in “is that a worthwhile distinction” and I think the base answer is “no”, because these stats are too close to steel (which is my complaint with the iron and silver blades: they don’t do anything different from steel and silver swords respectively).
So you’d have to come up with a way to differentiate those statistics from others to make it worth having around - asking the player to remember numbers that almost never matter because they’re almost never actually different but SOMETIMES end up being different is terrible when you could just have simplified out that weapon without having really affected anything that a player would notice.
Mine was to put more damage and weight on heavy irons, tack on a Def +2 to the heavy steels, and make heavy silvers be insane (20m/65h/17w sword). Which played well when I did some runs on paper but didn’t actually vibe well with the people I had play with vanilla modified to have them, so I ended up just getting rid of heavy irons and silvers.
But like, that’s iterative process! You try things and find out they don’t work, or that they do work, or that they need some change to be good.
I think you totally could copy the stats from FE10 as a starting point and then tweak them as needed based on the results of playtesting. They don’t exactly have a complicated premise to them; they’re just weapons that hit harder than others of their type, but that are also heavier and less accurate. That is in fact way on the easier end of weapon niches from other installments to potentially replicate in the GBAFE engine.
Not to hijack the thread, but how would you go about adding Greatbows if you wanted to keep parity between Blades/Greatlances/Greataxes and bows? Same escalation of weight/might as you would see with blades?
Depends on whether or not they have extra range. If they didn’t, then you use the same template where they are bows but heavier, more expensive, less durable and hit harder.
If they do, then things get interesting.
I’d go the route of making longbows powerful but heavy and inaccurate.
Take the existing Blade formula but add even more weight, take away even more hit and give +1 range. It’s ok to have weapons with like 30-40 hit because Snipers are accurate and this becomes one of the few cases where their accuracy actually gets low. Extreme weight also makes it tremendously hard to double; even Generals might be difficult to double.
Personally I feel like the issue with implementing heavy weapons in gba as it is, is that iron/steel already fill the dichotomy of light/heavy in gba.
But i really like greatlances and poleaxes and want to implement them anyway.
So imo what you could do, and what I do, is change the relationship between iron/steel. I think this is best done by making steels a C rank upgrade to irons that are still light (e.g. iron sword 5 weight, steel sword 7), making them a sort of tiered progression rather than light/heavy, and then have the light/heavy relationship exist between iron axe/poleaxe, steel lance/greatlance etc. (probably D rank iron heavy and C or B rank steel heavy)
Personally I like this approach since a tiered progression makes more sense to be the iron > steel relationship than light > heavy in my head. There are ofc many many viable approaches to making them ‘work’ but this is just the one I like.
thinking about it again, this is pretty right, I suppose I was blind sided with the cool going last thing, I think the going last mechanic can still be used somehow just not sure on what weapons, perhaps a cool skill/gambit?
another thing, I wonder if having them just debuff speed instead of being super heavy could work. What I’m imagining now is a teeny tiny peg knight getting doubled because she used a great lance, on top of that weight also effects accuracy right?