I hate mono-cavs... But...!

Hello everyone!

I came here to say that I hate the fact that some people in their hacks tend to give Cavaliers 1 weapon of each type to use. I honestly think that it just makes each Cav a mess to handle. Having 3 types of the same class is just… wrong.

But, I’m here to listen to your opinions about this topic. Do you think that is good for balancing? There could be another ways to balance them? What’s your opinion?

I don’t dislike the idea of nerfing cavs, but it could be done in a better way. What do you think?

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I like it alright, I think. It would be nice if there was a ‘real’ Cavalier in the game eventually, so that you could understand what it’s like to have the power to wield both weapons again. It’s just like Carrion in FE5- around him are these monoweapons but here he comes with more exp growth and two weapons to use. It makes him feel special!

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I don’t like the fact that cavs gets special treatment. Mono weapon is the norm for nearly every tier 1 class except for cavalry. I think it’s giving cavalry even more value tactically than they deserve to have an inherent advantage. It’s essentially if you gave the knight in chess the ability to attack like a pawn, it’s just special treatment when without it said knight would already be an invaluable class.

I don’t think splitting classes into multi weapon types is messy at all, in fact I think in terms of hacks it makes it easier. Map sprites showing the weapons enemies have is very intuitive for strategic planning. Split classes has been done before, Engage is the most recent example and it works really well there.

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How about just make them Lance lock and give them swords when the promote to paladins? I think is better to have consistency. I’m still yet to play Engage, but i know that both Paladins and Cavs are nerf in another ways there.

It’s dependent on usage in my opinion. If I was to pick which is the hardest weapon lock, sword cavs or bow cavs. Take with how we have javelins or tomahawks, they have a balance with 1-2 spaces whilst having a sword cavs is very limited to attacking up close. Magic weapons are very close to end game (Levin sword, runesword or light brand for example) and as for bows there isn’t any bows that will attack at 1-2 spaces. I think sacred echoes allows bows to attack 1-2 spaces. There is a skill that makes the minimum range to 1 but then it wouldn’t be a unique unit if every now cav had the skill.

Personally, I think a big reason why many people strip away Cavs having two weapon types is because they’re just one of the best units in the game and it’s partially their way of balancing things to be a little more equal.

I think this kind of balancing could also be done in other ways as, historically, it does make sense for cavalry to have a sidearm; giving cavalry very low starting weapon ranks is an option, and making cavalry weaker (either by base stats, stat caps, or by introducing more items that are effective against them) is an option to make their movement and weapon dominance more of a tradeoff as well.

If your project also has branching promotions, you could always make the Cavalier class split its promotions where it only gets 1 of the 2 types that it starts with as its main weapon type in its promoted class, along with whatever other Skills or Weapon Types that that new class would bring to bear. This way, it would force the player to pick a “dominant” weapon type instead of just continuing to snowball and add on a third weapon type (a la FE6/7 Paladins) or by just giving them nothing but stat increases (a la FE8 Paladins) - This also means the new weapon type is going to come in at a low rank as well, so they won’t immediately have dominance in that either. (Example: Cavalier (Lance/Sword) promotes to Gryphon Rider (Sword/Axe, Flying, +0 Move) or White Knight (Lance/Light/Wind, Horse, +1 Move).)

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I may be the only one to somewhat agree with you, although, for different reasons, mostly that I like the flavour it gives cavs to have two weapons, I also think it’s not that broken since they have a real bad weapon combo swords and lances, in fe6 you’re mostly using swords and the W.EXP gain is so bad you’ll likely never use much of the better lances as most of the cavs join early with bad ranks, in fe 7 it’s much the opposite except swords are so much worse, then in fe 8 the only reason Seth mostly uses swords is because he’s so strong and they are cheep, the other cavs will likely be using only lances, maybe a killer edge or steel sword or if you feel freaky a zanbato.

In my own hack W.Level is set and can not be improved, Cavs get stuck with D rank swords and C lances this lets them keep their duel weapons while preventing massively leap froging the other early units duel rank prospects.
I also gave my cavs less stats compared to the other units, they also arrive later the first effectively joining in Ch 5.

As a side note while from a design perspective mono weapon cavs are great to both balance and an easy way to keep units unique it can feel very messy from a player’s perspective especially compared to vanilla it can feel like the game is throwing a bunch of same-y classes at you for no reason, especially if you have other mono weapon classes like armour knights or pegasus knights.

As such I think it would be nice to see other ways to tackle balancing cavs such as through stats or fixed W.Ranks or experimenting with terrain bonuses or move cost, later join time, etc.

However even if you are stuck on a mono cav idea I recommend not just calling them all “Swd cavalier” “Lance Cavalier” etc…
I recommend using different names look at fe 6, nomads are a well liked and are commonly seen as distinct despite essentially being bow cavs, however they have a different name and aesthetic that makes them feel different, perhaps you could make mono weapon cavs exciting by making them reflect the way different nations train their soldiers, that would also allow you to make multiple enemies armies distinct.
I also think they should use different looking animations, as the infantry animations do.
Making stat lines different will further eventuate this however I think most players won’t notice if you keep the stat lines close, as such if you want to it should be fine.

I realize at this point I’m essentially saying that treating mono cavs as infantry would make them feel more interesting, give them a unique name, animation and role to feel more special than the same class but different weapon type.
you could probably even make different cavs the same way vanilla has brigands, pirates, and fighters, similar, same weapon but different promos and stat lines.

Anyway I don’t really hate mono cavs it’s a fine reasonable, hell it’s a good design decision, however I do think they tend to fail in feeling compelling aesthetically and in gameplay being all so same-y.

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Personally, I dislike having different cavs (and armors) for each weapon type. I liken them to the elemental monkeys from Gen 5 Pokémon. It just feels kinda redundant and aesthetically/visually samey. (the actual monkeys themselves are fine in the context of Black and White tho imo)

In my own hack, I have only lancelocked cavs which promote to Paladin (gain swords and staves) or Hussar (renamed GK, gain swords and axes). Both have equal movement.

I agree with the point brought up earlier regarding nomads; they feel unique because Sacae’s nomads are culturally distinct from the knights found in most other nations of Elibe. Similar things could be done to differentiate most mono-weapon cavalry beyond just “[weapon] cavalier”.

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May I introduce you to our lord and savior - axe mercenaries?

Bow fighters, even.

Making different versions of each class with different weapon access adds an extra layer of differentiation between units, (see Christmas Cavaliers), and with either Skillsys or Mono-Promotions, you also get the ability to further personalize their further individual identity (f.e., Axe Cavalier becoming a Paladin, while Sword Cavalier becomes a Ranger)

It can be understandable not wanting to split them apart, but there are benefits to splitting such classes (just as there are to not split them).

On a different thought line, I could also (poorly) suggest the thought of base-line weapons (a shortsword) as a ‘emergency-style’ type of weapon, allowing units to attack (weakly, but relevant for units such as archers as an example) outside of their own weapons (although this is mostly on a more ‘historically accurate tangent’).

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This is pretty much my own feelings, too. When you compare the different [Weapon] Cavalier and [Weapon] Armor classes to the basic infantry classes for each weapon type, there’s way less flavor differentiation going on. Mercenaries, Soldiers, Fighters, and Archers all feel different from each other beyond just what weapon type they use. The aesthetics are different, as are, I suppose, the in-world implications of a character being a particular class. This level of differentiation is even present within a given weapon type for infantry classes! Mercenaries/Myrmidons, Soldiers/Villagers/Spear Fighters, Fighters/Pirates/Brigands, Archers/Hunters…

You just don’t generally get that level of “flavor differentiation” with Weapon Cavaliers and Weapon Armors. They’re pretty much all just “Cavalier, but using axes” or “Knight, but using swords” and such in that department. I realize this is both correctable and unrelated to the game balancing uses of such delineations, but as things are, they just have really lackluster “class feel” compared to the infantry weapon variations, at least in terms of flavor.

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Sorry, this got a bit chaotic. Just kind of said words.

You can always just only have ie. lance cavalry. Nothing stops you - and I personally encourage it if you don’t want to do that! Try it out and see if you like it. I did and found I missed the ability to, as a player, have a high move unit for different weapon types.

And, while I agree that having multiple distinct classes whose only differentiating feature is the weapon type and not their stat profile, what that really means to me is that the designer could/should just come up with ways for the different cavalry to actually feel different, right?

Consider, for example, how the Myrmidon, Fighter, and Knight are already so dramatically different before their weapon type has any influence. The Nomad already does this, even, though it’s a bow user so its stats tend to be low, it significantly more favors speed with its stats than the cavalier does.

When it comes to balance, it’s fairly obvious to me that having a tier 1 class with an additional weapon type and +40% movement rate over average and move after item/rescue and bonus aid is easily going to be the best tier 1 class unless the game spams out horseslayers or their base stats are bad, which would make using these units feel miserable and completely unfun.

And that’s why I personally think mono-cavalry are so popular: People don’t want to make playing the game unfun, and they know how fun using cavalry are, but they also know that cavalry are the best class by such a large margin that if it is possible to not use non-cavalry units the players will choose to do so - removing their second weapon is a way to leave them able to perform their best while still making them not be inherently the best unit class.

While I personally despise this in the abstract it is a good tool to keep in mind. It’s beyond okay for things to be very asymmetric - it’s for the best if units each have unique edges over others of similar role otherwise. A cavalier that joins with two weapon types can immediately prove its unique value, and the only real issue is then making sure that that cavalier isn’t just the objectively best cavalier - and there’s a dozen ways to do that.

This is an absolutely fascinating idea that is incredibly compelling for allowing things to persist in their strong form, but I want to call to mind the frustration losing a tool causes.

The idea of this, though, will definitely haunt me and cause me but it would be so cool for the rest of the month, thanks-i-hate-it-but-i-also-love-it.

This is, I feel, the other half of the equation to why people like mono-weapon cavalry so much.

The Armor Knight is a comparatively crippled class and yet it only is given one weapon type by default. Why? It makes using the unit just that much more miserable. It already has -25% relative average movement.

This is why I did four mono-weapon horse riders and two dual weapon armors; but the first pass they felt too same-y because they were still, at core, ‘cavalier’ - and it wasn’t interesting the way the infantry class gradations are. It wasn’t until I made them all radically different statistically that they actually felt like they were pulling their weight as a piece of the mental burden on formulating strategies - I have watched dozens of people playing hacks think a sword is a spear - multiple times! - because the visual appearance on the map sprite is simply insufficiently obvious and the numbers on the combat preview window are too similar.

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Weapon types/triangles are just stealth elemental systems so if all you’ve got to differentiate your cavs is their weapons, consider changing some other stuff like modifying the availability of slayer weapons, reaver weapons, magic swords etc.

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I’m fine with either, tbh, since these decisions give each hack or mainline game their own kind of flair.:thinking:
If I had to choose, though, I would prefer for them to be multi-weapon, since I utterly adore raising my units’ weapon ranks throughout the adventure.

1 Like

I like all of y’all responses, I still think that mono-cavs is not the real solution… unless is just one weapon.

So let me take your responses!

No.

Like I said, I agree that Cavs are op and should be nerfed. With that said…

This is what I like, creative solutions to the problem, don’t just make the same class with a different weapon, that’s isn’t “Variety”, that’s just the same class with different weapon. There is not other justification besides “balance”. While I like balance, I also like lore beside the balance change. Or at least a different look is good enough.

Armor knights, my beloved… Having mono-weapon Armor Knights is not the real solution, is just creates the same problem but with a different class that it is already crippled. I see the advantage on that, making enemy mono-weapon armor knights a thing, because this changes a bit of how the engagement of each version of the armor knights (and the same could be said to enemy mono-cavs), but this changes nothing in the hands of the player. You are just giving the player the same unit with the same weaknesses but locked to a different weapon. Heck I even argue that Armor Knights should be the only tier 1 using more than one weapon.

In conclusion...

Probably the best solution for cavs overall is just making them use lances. There's another stuff like maybe they shouldn't gain more movement when they promote to paladins/other class.

Cavs are too good, and the ways to fix it could be handled a lot differently depending of the context of the project that any of you is working/will work on.

I love this discussion, it brings me happiness seen different points of views!

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I kept two-weapon cavaliers in DoW and Do5 because I considered their versatility core to their skillset. They aren’t going to be your best unit anywhere, but they can be anywhere you need, reposition quickly, whisk people in and out of the fight and have partial weapon triangle control. Sure, obviously that makes them the best tier 1 class. So what? That just becomes part of unit balance. Everyone might want to be a cavalier, but not everyone gets to be. It’s a perk for the units who are.

That said, for DoR I found something I liked more than versatility: a set of four mounted classes each corresponding to one physical weapon type. Pegasi take swords, drakes take axes, skirmishers take bows and cavaliers, of course, take lances. So that worked out neatly.

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You could argue against mono-weapon playable cavaliers, but I believe that, at least, mono-weapon enemy cavs are a must.

Cavaliers are the most versatile unit, and it can take many roles.
There are fast cavs that serve to get in, kill someone, and get out quickly.
There are absolute juggernauts that can tank anything and anyone.
There are dodgetanks that you can put in a forest, give them a hand axe, and clear the chapter

For playable units, these things are determined by each unit’s stats and growth rates. You can set each class to one and only one growth rate.

Even then, let’s assume that we can. Let’s have more than one growth sheet or whatever you call the set of growth rates of a unit. How does the player know which kind of cavalier it faces? Do they have to check each stat for them to see which ones have high speed and which ones have high defense?

Of course not. In games where there are no cav split, enemy cavaliers offer only one role. Like in the Elibe games, where enemy cavs don’t really have a niche and they just have decent but not great stats all around.

If that’s enough for your game, then that’s fine. You could replace the “juggernaut” type of cavs with Wyvern Riders or the high speed ones with Pegasi.

My hack has mono-weapon cavs. And I do agree that it can be quite dificult to deal with at times with playable units. However at the end of the day I think it’s worth. It makes them feel more unique and not just be Sir Javelin VI

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This is a very valid point, but I like to think of it in a few different ways:

  • You’re making the player make decisions which will end up mattering - if they take a balanced approach in raising their weapon types, then they need to make a very hard decision on which class they want to take to focus that unit on, since they’ll lose access to some tools but gain others. If they have been focusing on one type more than the other (e.g. predominantly using Lances instead of Swords because of the higher damage and the access to something like a Javelin), then they have already effectively made the decision for themselves as they’ll want to keep using the type that they have already invested in.
  • Unlike the major time that vanilla FE did this (Ewan promoting to Shaman), you would not be losing all of the weapon ranks that you have been building up to start over from scratch - you would still have the EXP built up in whatever type you did choose to stick with. Furthermore, the designer could compensate for this by either bestowing a decent chunk of WEXP upon class change to ensure that the player doesn’t feel like they’ve lost out by splitting their WEXP before promotion OR simply defaulting the unit to a specific rank if their current rank fell below whatever the class base would be (that way you wouldn’t just be adding WEXP on class change and risking the player being automatically set to A/S if they had invested heavily in that type before promotion).

The sandbox that I’ve been toying around with this in theory is a much more limited affair in terms of scope and length, so this obviously would vary depending on length of scenario and such. But, I’d like to think that, given enough class slots to account for it, it could work in practice across a larger campaign.

Instead of doing Axe/Lance/Bow/Sword Cavs to make them all mono-type, my personal approach kind of falls along the lines of what Recursive had there, but with a different twist: Light Cavalry, Medium Cavalry, Heavy Cavalry (plus Pegasi and Wyverns separate)

Different stats (high Move and Speed/low power and defenses on Light Cav, give them Reposition/Pivot/Canto+ for movement utility | middling all-around on Medium Cav, good balance of offense, defense, and utility (Savior?) | infantry Move/stronger stats on Heavy Cav, something like Sturdy Impact and Lunge to showcase trampling over foes on Player Phase), different weapon sets, different promotion options. This way, they all fill different roles but are still thematically cavalry and you would only be taking up three slots instead of four.

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I don’t think mono weapons are necessary at all to keep Cavaliers balanced. Just making their stats well rounded rather than high across the board is sufficient for not making them over centralising.

If you want to nerf them further than that so they’re not automatic top contenders for deployment in every single map then just having more maps with heavy terrain they struggle navigating through works too.

Nonetheless, I like mono locked Cavaliers just as a way of differentiating many Cavaliers between themselves further.

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who’s gonna remember 3 different cav statlines?

like what even are cav statlines anyway

If you’re talking about “having 3 different stats for the same multi-weapon cav”, then yeah. No one. That’s the point. It’s a bad idea.

If you’re talking about each weapon-type cav having a different statline, again, no one! Why would they? They just need to remember “Axe is tanky. Sword is fast. Lance deals damage”. Remember that each weapon-type cav has a different sprite.

That’s a great idea, however it is reliant on the Skill System which isn’t a bad thing but it discards games that don’t use it. There’s been quite a lot of hackroms that don’t use it or use it sparingly.