Implementing an Overlapping Weapon Triangle

At what point do my topics start becoming spam?

I call it…the weapon star™. It could probably stand to take up less space, I don’t think four support slots will fit down there… And unfortunately, this won’t help the color-blind at all.

Yup, another concept post coupled with a mock screenshot. Someone with actual graphical skills could definitely make a better looking star, but it functions to illustrate the relations so paint lines will have to do for now. The overall relation traces back to basic Red/Blue/Green colorations; if you start from any rank and follow the line of its color until it overlaps, then that weapon type is weak against the color you started with.

The triangle overlap mechanic would function better with multiple magic types; FE14 has an Str/Mag split, a stat basically existing for one weapon type plus staves. However, they added Bows and Thrown weapons in to make a ranged triangle. 5/6 weapon types use Strength, meaning that magic itself becomes more of a niche. My approach was to make sure that the relation inverted between the triangles; such that swords are effective against the heavy physical and medium magic, lances against light physical and heavy magic, and axes against medium physical and light magic, while magic types gain effectiveness against the physical type that is most similar to theirs.

I borrowed the idea of using colors for weapon types after seeing it done in FE14, and this triangle overlaps similarly to FE14 as well. Think of the blue weapons as technology; for physicals, the sword is a widespread tool for warfare, yet dark magic plunges the arcane depths, which is analogous to technology’s capacity to consume society. There’s a duality to each meaning. Red represents nature; anima magic encompasses the elements, while axes represent human’s desperation for survival against those same elements. Green represents justice; the spear is a symbol of military power, where war is often seen as good through some perspectives, whereas light magic is absolute in its truths. This overall relation is about the history of human conflict; how mankind diligently strives to outsmart nature’s consequences (technology has an advantage over nature), yet reason can still be shunned in favor of simpler doctrines when confronted with inconvenient truths (justice has an advantage over technology), and humans’ desire for survival often leads to the breakdown of social order amidst crisis (nature has an advantage over justice).

Then, add in the weapon rank bonuses from FEDS. When a unit is at a disadvantage in combat, they lose their weapon rank bonuses in addition to the standard deductions (possibly, or the standard additions/deductions could be scrapped entirely).

For Bows, basically we’d take the YetiCorp solution and give bows a set disadvantage at 1 range, and advantage at 2 range. This way, Bows could become 1-2 range weapons like the tomes; in conjunction with the weapon rank bonuses, it’s possible to make 1-range with bows an impractical attempt at self-defense, while still giving archers the possibility of damage output on the enemy phase (bow weapon stats would have to be rebalanced around this).

I haven’t worked out the specifics on what to give for rank bonuses yet, but I’m curious what the regulars think about these ideas (mostly so people can say “arch too complicated go home you’re drunk” because the ensuing discussion is usually quite enlightening). Fire away!

It actually looks great, except the inner lines make NO sense. Try changing the lines to point from only the three weapons to each other, and the three magic types to each other. That will greatly improve it.

Other neat things, if a rank reaches S, it could make the icon glow, maybe?

Oh, and for support levels, you should add four more supports there, see if they fit well. Give the support letter rank a tiny bit more room too. It’s squished too close to the icon IMO. Put three on the left side, two on the right.

The basic idea was that the colors should overlap the color they’re effective against; but upon further inspection I see a couple spots where I messed it up. Updated the screenshot in the OP.

However, the outside lines are used to complete the relation for magical types’ advantage over their physical counterparts, so they’ll have to stay. If you look closely, the colored lines form three rectangles, which makes each set of relations easier to isolate visually.

It just makes the game more confusing. KISS: Keep It Simple, Stupid. What’s easier to remember, three confusingly oriented rectangles, or two triangles?

Magic and physical don’t need WTA/WTD against each other. They already rekk each other hard. (Magic moreso due to superior range and physical because mages are made of paper).

The fact that they already rekk each other hard kind of supports adding overlap, I think, because that overlap adds depth such that different physical/magical classes are more effective at fighting other classes. I started with the two triangles, as you suggest; the Yetiman commented that if it were to be represented that way, I might as well go with the full overlapping triangles setup.

“KISS” is probably the reason Intelligent Systems spends more time porting Pokemon Amie than thinking through their design decisions.

You don’t need to add depth there though. If you want to rekk a physical guy, you attack him at two range. If you want to hurt a magical guy, you use a really strong accurate weapon or a dodgy unit.

And this isn’t depth, it’s just confusing. I stared at that image for a good 5 minutes, and I already forgot the links. It basically makes every weapon and tome have some convoluted relationship with every other weapon and tome, and that makes strategizing a mess.

Unless you REALLY just have to have spreadsheet simulator 2016, I suggest trying to use better enemy and map design over making inner game mechanics complicated.

Water (blue) beats Fire (red), Fire (red) beats Grass (green), Grass (green) beats Water (blue). There are two weapon types per color. Hell, Pokemon asks its players to remember far more than that, without giving them visual aids (there’s no type chart given in-game, moves of a certain type don’t flash or anything when you’re battling something they’re super effective against; a new player who didn’t read the manual/look it up and memorize has to learn about type advantages through trial and error, basically).

The solution to all our problems, right? lol.

I’ve seen your designs throughout the years, and I can’t help but find it funny that you’re preaching to me the virtues of simplicity while making jokes about spreadsheet simulator 2016.

As much as it blows my mind, I think I agree with Klok on the premise of this one. I don’t really get IS’s implementation of the new triangle as it seems like yet another one of their out-of-left field ideas that shows they don’t really seem to grasp what they’re doing half of the time (and, when they do grasp something, it’s 3 games after they introduced a new mechanic and they finally realize that they fucked up the first two times) and, frankly, I’m not sure I really get this one all that much more (from a practicality approach, not a conceptual one).

I don’t really see why magic needs to interact with the physical weapons at all. If anything, I’d argue the following:
Magic (attacking Range 1 Physical enemy at Range 2): WTA
Magic (attacking Range 2 Physical enemy at Range 2): Neutral
Magic (attacking other Magic at any range): Regular (FE10) triangle interactions
Magic (attacked by Physical enemy at Range 1): WTD
Magic (attacked by Physical enemy at Range 2): Neutral
Physical (attacking Magical enemy at Range 1): WTA
Physical (attacked by Magical enemy at Range 1): Neutral
Physical (attacked by Magical enemy at Range 2): WTD
Physical (attacking other Physical at any range): Regular triangle interactions + Bow changes that Yeti debuted

The reasoning for this would be that, if you’ve got a guy with a weapon bearing down on you at a charge, it’s gonna be a lot harder to focus on casting a spell than to ready your physical weapon. And, if you’re attacking from a distance against someone that can’t fight back, you’ve got an advantage. So, I guess, tl;dr, turn magic into how Yeti does Bows?

EDIT - I don’t know if this would end up further dicking over magic users in the grand scheme of things though. I also have another suggestion to make, but dinner beckons. I’ll see how the conversation has progressed before I bring it up.

1 Like

IS spends more time on porting Pokemon Amie than it does on considering the practical impacts of their decisions. I think it’s interesting as a concept, which is why I wanted to think about “how to do it right.”

Basically, the practical merits are: every weapon type has a relationship to every other weapon type, making those relationships more present in the player’s decisions and adding further depth to class relationships. Bishops now find Berserkers more threatening than just their crit rates; the basic mage now struggles with to stop quick sword users, but excels in fighting against more militaristic classes using lances. Overall, this adds more strategic depth by limiting the number of situations in which mages/melee classes “rekk” each other. That helps make the mage’s 1-2 range less inherently OP, and requires melee units to treat magical foes with greater caution.

It’s still a Rock/Paper/Scissors relationship, and players already had to remember two triangles. Some games (with Anima split into Fire/Thunder/Wind) asked the player to account for another sub-set of relationships. This setup shouldn’t be any more burdensome than FE10’s, for example.

What I’ve proposed seems less complicated to my mind than being asked to remember a handful additional rules to the triangle. Every weapon type has two relations, one physical and one magical, defined by color-coding. If the GUI incorporates complexities well enough, they become more digestable. Perhaps it would be more pertinent to eschew the star setup and put the same colored types next to each other, then draw a simple triangle

Or you could just not make all magic 1-2 range which is boring anyway.

Okay, so we can give mages the chance to be like archers with some 2-range tomes but worse defense, so basically sitting ducks on the enemy phase and won’t even get a chance to kamikaze one last magic hit. Those tomes are objectively worse because you lose an entire phase worth of damage (unless they all lose 1-2 range, or the Mt different on the 2-range tomes is obscenely higher). Maybe be generous and give them 2-3 tomes but I dunno how balanced that would even be (it certainly isn’t a nerf, which was the original goal here), since now they have an option to avoid ranged counter-attack with normal tomes which is a significant buff (previously they only had siege tomes capable of this).

It’s tougher to balance than you make it out to be when you actually think through the implications here.

“the basic mage now struggles with to stop quick sword users, but excels in fighting against more militaristic classes using lances.”

Okay, the latter part of this makes some sense to me and the former just seems normal, and maybe it’s just the “realism” component in me, but I’m still kind of scratching my head at why axes have an advantage against Light Magic beyond the nature/justice/technology aspect in the original post. Like, the nature/justice/technology Fire/Grass/Water analogy works great for me as a theory, but in practice, just because Axes have been designated as nature and Light as justice, I don’t see why that should suddenly give a Fighter attacking Lucius in FE7 an advantage in combat due to a rock/paper/scissors triangle basis (i.e. the original) that kind of works in reality.

Personally, and this is just my take and how I’d do it: either take magic out of the equation altogether or stick to the established relationships, but focus more on magic being more than just damage output vs units’ Resistance stats. That is, make > 75% (I personally would say more like 90%) of the spells DO something. Make Elfire effective versus Halberdiers and Generals. Make Aura effective against Druids/Warlocks. Make Elwind attack twice like a Brave weapon. Come up with new effects that aren’t standard in vanilla FE of any kind (since we’re designing a hypothetical system and not actually implementing it in a ROM hack). As Klok pointed out, don’t just lock in all non-siege tomes to Range 1-2. Make some Range 2-only spells. Make a couple 2-3 range spells. Make a Range 2-5 half-siege tome a la FE2’s crazy bows. It’s /magic/ after all, it doesn’t have to be as bland and vanilla as regular physical weapons. Make enough of the effects worthwhile and you’ve got enough reason to field some magic units on a map, even if you’re playing whichever of FE9/10 where they got hit by the meganerf bat.

meanwhile in my own games

you may notice that I still use 1-2/3 range for all tomes, but that’s because the standard weaponry is varied up too.

I touched on this in my post above, but expanding range options for mages is less trivial than people think. Basically, mages can’t have the same stat totals as physical units without throwing the game out of balance (this tells us that magic is, in fact, overpowered in its current implementation). They’re already OP at 1-2 range, even though 1-range subjects low defense units to the risk of physical counter-attack. Peppering in a few effects I agree with, but giving general access to brave tomes (especially at D/C-rank, as you suggest), and giving every general tome an effect would make mages even more OP. That’s like, the opposite of what we want to happen. Power creep is not the answer here.

Klok all you did is make mages rekk physical units harder. You’re giving them class-based specialization (my approach does too, but it also includes disadvantages), but bro every single tome got a buff. How is that a solution at all?

Honestly I think the best idea to revamp the weapon triangle is to:

  1. Introduce a new class of weapon that includes shurikens and all that cool shit that NINJAS use
  2. Make it as part of a nonsense weapon triangle with bows and magic
  3. Superimpose this new triangle on top of the old triangle for MORE DEPTH

Yeah, I’m liking it. This will totally redefine how people play the game.


This. Also, you overlook one of the most important things I’ve mentioned quite a few times. In my own games (At least, future ones not named FE7 chaos) mages are supposed to be glass cannons. Sure, they deal out a shitton of damage, but you can’t just toss them out front and expect them to dodge or tank everything. Heck, you can see the huge WT values on the better tomes. Tomes get exponentially better at dealing damage, but affect dodge infinitely more too, and doubling attacks as well.

In my own games, monsters will look like this.

You need mages for their utility in killing monsters. Acolytes and Bishops will deal x2 damage against them, but x3 if also paired with an effective tome. This makes bishops very important. Mages kill bishops and also kill specific types of units depending on their tomes. Dark Mages are effect based, as always.

But now surely physical units are useless? No, because physical units are still doubling/dodge/HP tank masters. Mages cap at 40 HP. Physicals cap at 80. Mages have low HP and DEF, physicals have high HP and DEF.

Furthermore, just like I learned from FE7CM, enemies will have very good hitrates (80% on average) and can 3hko any unit on the field, barring generals and other tanks. Mages can die in less hits, so tossing them out front is a horrible strategy, destined to end in failure.

It all leans towards a new kind of playstyle where you can’t just bumrush in and expect to mop up. You have to play more carefully. This is what I define as true gameplay depth. Every unit is useful.

And now that I think about it, making certain tomes only 1, 2, or 3 range could be much more interesting than the generic 1-2. I’ll work on this.

Actually, ever since you mentioned something similar in a different thread, I changed a few tomes in my project from 1-2 to 1-3 or 1 only.

It’s certainly not a novel concept (ALS did it in DoF with Enjolras’s prf tome), but there are so many ways to improve FE7’s magic system. IS has really not tried very hard on this front.

Here’s my logic.

Axe/Sword/Lance users get tons of 1 range options, and a couple two range options.
Bow users (Would ideally) get tons of 2 range options, a few 3 range options (Mainly longbowman promo or a longbow weapon), and maybe one or two 1 range options.
So why can’t magic users have a mixture of all three?

I actually made the niche like so:
Physicals get lots of 1 range options, very few 2 range options. Most plentiful unit.
Bow users get tons of two range options, no 1 range options, plenty of 3+ range options (I have a few greatbows that hit at 3-5) Fairly common.
Magic users get a mixture of 1 and 2 range options, and a couple rare 3 range options. The rare unit type.

Magic users are now super powerful, but with the system I’m thinking of they’re rare so that makes them easy to pick for a party, but hard to find. They have the fewest class options anyway, short of Yeti’s class expansion system. Going purely by vanilla FE7, there’s only like what 7 classes unpromoted and promoted each? So make them rare units, but start the player with one mage or whatever so they have a decent magic unit for the beginning of the game.

In the meantime, 1 range units are still the most plentiful, but now bowman can hit them from far out of their range (2 in the earlygame, 3 in the midgame, 3+ in the endgame when 3 range tomes become obtainable for mages) so bowman can always hit a unit outside of their attack range, aside from another bowman, but they still lack an enemy phase.

In my opinion, it all balances out. I just need to show proof of it in a year or so :stuck_out_tongue:

Ideally, these suggestions are coming with the understanding that things will be balanced (i.e. not an IS trademark by any means). I’m not saying to, for example, take a stock Elwind spell and make it double. Obviously, you would need to adjust its stats to account for this added effect. It might not even be a D or C rank spell any more, depending on the rest of the other tomes that you’ve scratched together.

And, I can’t exactly come to grips with this argument when, in another thread, there’s an argument going on about how valuable Resistance is in comparison to Defense, i.e. not very, except for “fringe” cases on higher difficulties when dealing with status staves (I know that’s a generalization of the overall thing, but bear with me here). In a balanced system where you can’t have Javelin-toting Paladins soloing Enemy Phase and mages are threatening for their potential effects and not just their stats (heck, FE9/10’s mage “problem” might actually balance out here with them having lower stats/caps in comparison), doesn’t that make Res more valuable an attribute for units on your squad to possess? (Don’t want to require the player to spam Pure Water to survive magical attack onslaughts, of course, but if you need to worry about a Wind Mage with 20 attack that has a tome that doubles and you have a Hero with 12 Res, you could possibly eat up the 16 damage (assuming only two hits), but a Wyvern Lord with 6 Res isn’t going to appreciate it nearly as much. And, unless you have no other options (that’s a player-induced problem though), you could either live with it or possibly use a Pure Water if you’ve got one handy.)

And, no need to throw magic into the physical relationships in order to do it.

What I’m trying to say is that making these sorts of additions commonplace is the definition of power creep. You’re assuming that you can buff something that’s already overpowered, and then balance it with weapon stat nerfs. In that case, could magic have been balanced simply with a few nerfs? I don’t think so, which is why I spend more and more time considering structural changes these days. Perhaps one could balance the game with power creep; to me, that suggests there’s a way to balance the game without power creep, too. There could be merit to a small sprinkling of effect tomes, but mass-application will require a subsequent buff to physical weapons, as Klok demonstrated. If you have to keep rebalancing other things in response to your “balance fixes,” it’s not really about balance anymore–it’s about having a flavor. That’s a nice goal, but not one that should take priority over core gameplay balance.

Part of the reason Res’s value is so low is that a vast majority of physical units just accept that being in range of a mage risks a chunk off of their health, partially because Res scores are so perennially low for these units, and partially because physical units really want other stats that help kill mages faster so it isn’t worth the Res level-up. Magical units can stand behind their physical counterparts to protect them from the risk of having their low Def stats targeted, whereas physical units are on the front-line, and are already more frequently targeted by mages than mages are by physical units on the player’s side. Res theoretically matters more, but the increased damage output from ally mages helping your physical units, most of whom have staves after promotion (all the T2 magic classes in GBAFE do), compensates for the risks that come with encountering an enemy mage. Despite Res being less valuable, physical units fear mages less than mages fear physical units, but physical units are far more vulnerable and won’t be able to counter-attack in most circumstances already.

We’ve identified two problems here. Klok addresses magic by giving the main series of each type an effectiveness modifier, which is a way of introducing class-based specialization to magic classes, then rebalancing around the new mages. Establishing a relationship between physical and magical types also provides a means of introducing this same sort of effect, without doubling damage. Ideally, being at a disadvantage (with the weapon rank bonuses in play) makes the unit’s weaknesses more pronounced, while the enemy gets to be better at what it does. This accomplishes the same goals, but spreads the impact throughout all classes instead of focusing in on select groups to terrorize with 2x damage.

I’d just like to point out one other virtue to my mockup: if you start at any point on the weapon star and go clockwise, you’ll see the relationship physical/magic types have with other members of their type. Likewise, if you start at any point and go counter-clockwise, you’ll see the advantage they have against members of the opposite type.