Hello you beautiful fans of Fire Emblem. It’s been quite a time since I post here on the forum.
And I wanted to post something about a thing we all either like or dislike from a FE game or hack.
Difficulty. And when we speak about difficulty, we need to mention balance.
We as hack creators need to contemplate the players game styles. Are they the kind of player who enjoys more the gameplay? Maybe the difficulty? Maybe grinding in the arena? Turtling? Who knows. That’s why we need to balance it for everyone. But is such a hard chore to do.
Because not everyone will agree with me about this. But at least there are somethings we can agree are straight unfair and needs to be balance.
Many people around the hack community balance their hacks to one thing.
These modes are supposed to offer a challenge through different enemy equipment, skills, positioning on both player and enemy units. But let me ask you. How hard, is hard enough?
Of all the things of the FE franchise I could mention, I’ll narrow it down to Ambush Spawns, Hard Mode Bonuses, Exclusive Reinforcements, Unit Relocation, and Enemy Equipment.
Did you tremble when hearing that word? If you’ve played FE6, or even Thracia, it doesn’t surprise me, I’ve been there too (I played Binding Blade as first FE).
They’re the infamous example that really makes you wonder if they’re even fair in the slightest.
For a quick explanation, Ambush Spawns are enemy reinforcements that get to move in their turn the moment they arrive. But the issue is not that. It’s about WHERE and WHEN they spawn.
The best example is Rutger murdering any unit on turn 6 if they’re near the castle in Ch. 4.
IS really exploited them in Binding Blade and ocasionally in Blazing Sword, no wonder why they’re infamous and why FE6 is really hard.
Hard Mode Bonuses
Oh boy, these can break the game if not carefully tested. We just need to look at Fates.
Fates is by far the best example on HOW TO NOT tackle the issue. But if you argue with Shadow Dragon, then that’s another topic.
For the GBA games I would say it’s really balanced if you take away Sacred Stones pitiful bonuses (Japanese Sacred Stones have higher bonuses).
Relocation of player / enemy units
Sometimes by just relocating where you spawn in the chapters makes things a bit harder and tricky if the enemies also get relocated.
What if the stationary enemies get to block a choke point for their mages or archers chip you and the fliers finish the job? This could be an example for hard mode relocation.
That was for enemy relocation, what about player relocation?
Say we’re in a map like Ch 16 in Sacred Stones. Epharim’s army starts at the bottom left corner wheras Eirika starts at the bottom right corner.
That makes things really hard for a Low Turn Count Player in Ephraim route and makes the space annoying in general. Especially if the treasures are really far away and thiefs are inbound. That’s my example on player relocation.
This is also a thing. The game gives better equipment to the enemy to counter some specifical units on your army like reavers and slayers. How about better weapons and magic.
Speaking of balance in weapons… What about Siege Tomes and Status Inflict Staves?
Are they fair? NO. NOT IN THE SLIGHTEST. At least if the enemy is not the one holding them, Imma right or right?
Sleep is annoying, but not unfair. Silence alone is not a treat but oh boy. The infamous combo Silence + Beserk is reaaaally scary for any magician with low res and the deadliest unit with low res if Sages, Bishops and Druids are the users of the status staves.
Siege Tomes are really hard to balance, not because of their range and placement.
The unit who carries these weapons become the campers of the map for 5 turns. 5 TURNS OF AREA DENIAL.
Area denial is not the real problem. It gives time for reinforcements on your back to arrive and thiefs to spawn and yeet the treasures. Not cool dude. Not cool.
(Only weapon that can easily be balanced is Luna. You just take away the critical. That’s why it wasn’t mention here).
Hard Mode Exclusive Reinforcements
These are really fair and balance. It spices up the hard mode.
They don’t have to be ambush spawns if you desire, but the fact that they’re a surprise for first timers to the Hard Mode adds the flavor of surprise.
It tricks the player the hard mode is hard. You can do anything with these.
With everything said, let me hear your opinions on this subject. What do you think it’s fair and balance according to your tastes. If I got something wrong in these subjects, let me know.