Opinions on split promotions?

Im working on my hack and Im curious, what do you guys think of split promotions in regards to GBA emblem?

I was gonna go with single promotion paths fe6 and fe7 style because I feel like it gives the characters a little bit more identity if they stay as their class types, but I wanna know if people really care about that, and if they would rather have variety.


There was a thread on this a while back that you may want to read.

My take was and still is that it’s a pretty good mechanic because it gives the player some freedom to diversify their roster without completely ignoring the characters the way Shadow Dragon and New Mystery does. If there are any particular options that stick out as weird or inappropriate, one can always change those into something else.

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Ah thanks for linking the thread, for some reason the related threads thing didnt pop up when I waa making this, maybe because Im on mobile.

In any case I agree about the diversifying roster thing. Im kinda torn though because it seems harder to balance around, but it might be worth tbe extra effort to do so if its what people enjoy.

I think my take on this has evolved a little since my comment in that linked thread.

I really think part of the equation is the length of the project and the size of the character roster. If you have a short game OR a smaller roster (either in total size or smaller deployment limits), I think having options for more player choice is actually a good thing since it opens up replayability, gives the player some element of fun, and lets the player feel out what they might want to branch what will be their team into.

But, for a longer campaign or something with a larger cast, I feel like I would stand by my original thoughts in that thread of having single, fixed promotions, but with variance between characters to give them something different from others in their same class in addition to just different growths, bases, skills, join times, etc. (Ex: Let’s imagine that Guy and Karla both joined as Myrmidons and both joined early enough into the campaign for them to get ample use before promotion and late-game. In this scenario, if Karla promoted to Swordmaster like normal, you might have Guy promote into a Nomad Trooper (despite lore reasons that he isn’t comfortable with that).)

This way, going in blind, it might be a shock or a surprise as you react to seeing something traditionally unexpected, but then you get to enjoy something different and it gives you another reason to try different units out to see who else might have unexpected promotion paths from what would be the typical norm for FE classes.


It’s a cool idea but sometimes has problems with being implemented. Either there’s no real difference between the two proportions or one is clearly superior.

Well, two things - first off, Fire Emblem is incredibly unbalanced even without split promotions. Cavalier is straight up a better class than archer or myrmidon in the gba games, i think pretty much any fe player will agree. So unless you drastically retool the existing classes, the balance is going to be non-existent even before promotions come into play.

Second, split promotions don’t really change the existing class balance. They aren’t going to make the cavalier and wyvern class lines suddenly not some of the best in the game, or make vanilla archers not one of the worst. Ranger may be a colossal improvement over sniper, but you still have to train an archer in order to get what’s essentially a worse paladin.

The fact that some options are straight up superior is a bit of an issue, but even then, someone’s going to pick the other option simply because they feel like it. Sometimes i just want a shockingly pink sniper! FE is about having fun, and not everybody thinks “fun” is the same as “mechanically optimal”.


i think it can go either way. it’s a bit difficult but you absolutely can make split promos a balanced choice. if presented between a choice of promoting into a mount or a footie, giving the footie path better stat gains and/or weapon access is usually enough to balance out the options assuming enemy stats actually are high enough to make such a choice matter.

a good example from vanilla FE is hero vs ranger gerik, where i do think that hero is actually the better choice than ranger for gerik somewhat, because of axe access. also in fates paladin vs GK is still a pretty balanced split promo for say, silas, who does appreciate the extra bulk and str, and the movement penalty can be remedied to a large extent by pairup shenanigans.

an example i like from a romhack is norris from redFE (RIP), where i usually choose sniper over ranger thanks to sniper giving really large gains.

so i think it’s mostly vanilla FE’s fault for making most split promos such a one-sided mess, not something inherently wrong with split promos. although i still prefer designing units without split promos because it makes it easier to balance different units/giving them a more unique identity by not having an overlap in what they can promote into.


An additional thought, but it’s via skillsys.

Only single-weapon T2 classes get Faires, so to encourage making use of multiple weapons in the other class.

Those classes are: Berserker, Swordmaster, Legionnaire (renamed Halberdier) and Sniper. Sages get Tomefaire while Bishops get Holy Aura.

Not a huge fan, honestly. A class should feel extremely tied to a character and letting the player choose which class they want their units to be makes units a bit less characterized, to me.

What I do really like though is how Jugdral games handled promotions: they are character-specific and not entirely based on base class. This way you can toy around unorthodox ideas without losing coherence.

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I really think it adds amazing replayability and identity to every class, sure some promotions are much better than others (ranger to sniper, swordmaster to assassin) but it still keeps the game fresh and some promotions are very well balanced (ranger to hero, druid to summoner). It’s all about the context of your units that determines the usefulness of a lot of promotions, for example in FE8 the only shamans you get are Ewan and Knoll, both aren’t too great combat-wise making it ideal to promote them to summoner. The context of your game can also make a big difference on the balance of promotions, Bishops are far better than valkyries because they have slayer and the back half of FE8 is filled with monsters, if it wasn’t valkyrie would likely be more ideal because of the mount. What I’m saying is that split promotions are great, you just need to account for a lot more when balancing the promotions.

Might be me, but why give Faires to single weapon classes? It would be just as simple to just give an equivalent boost to strength via promotion gains, and then let single-weapon T2 classes get a different skill as well since it’s basically just a str increase if you can only use one weapon.

It’s a “go brr” vs versatility question that I aim to impose on players with the split promotions.

Split Promotion are useful in replayibility and making different combos with Units based on stats boost and making it more powerful for them to ease the difficulty while playing. Split Promotion has its Pros for getting the units to be good and Cons are it does not fit right with the canon promotion class for the units and it will take too much time to implement the code for the units to change class into.

Coming from someone who toyed with the idea, my basis was this - if you’re using a single-weapon class, the drawback of only having one weapon type to use can be somewhat mitigated by being the best users of those weapons. Granted, (assuming vanilla-esque growths/stats) a class such as a Hero or a Paladin might have a higher STR stat than a Swordmaster or Halberdier, but if you have units with close STR stats, that +4/+5 from a -faire skill would put them over the edge with that weapon. It’s a small buff, but it helps to make those classes feel like a class that masters those weapons, if that’s what you’re going for.

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Thanks for the backup. Yeah, that’s what the aim is. Because using faires on classes like a Paladin or Hero heavily tilts their weapon usage, which is not ideal. Such issues would not be present in Swordmaster, Halberdier, Berserker, and Sniper, and thus, they’d be ideal recepients of the Faire line of skills.

faire skills stinky. you might as well just give the unit +5 str because it’s the same thing

Probably something like a +10 Hit accompanying those? Would help axes.

I guess to me the main reason why Faires are a bit more boring since as they said, giving great promo gains like an extra +5 str is neat and does give mono weapon classes, which have been historically weak, more of a stat advantage since you control the caps and promo gains. If you also have a set X number of skills per class, replacing that faire with a normal promo gain gives an extra skill slot, most of which can be more interesting. There’s a lot of unique skill ideas you can do to replace a faire that will only improve the quality of the class, since usually, they’re just worse than other classes.

on the topic of faires I think they can work really well as personal skills for characters with multiple weapon types, if a character like karel for example was given multiple weapon types he could have swordfaire as a personal skill to have them be better using swords because he is in fact, the sword saint. As for on classes, I think classes with multiple weapons it can work well, ranger for example can get bowfaire to make sure you don’t just stop using bows on player phase altogether

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They’re neat, but more of a gimmick than something that actually affects the game really.

It generally boils down to “movement vs stats” (which can be interesting but soooo context dependant) or “picking a weapon type” (which is generally meaningless if your weapon types are balanced)

The reason why Gerik is probs the most famous split promotion is because Hero vs Ranger is very very pros vs con based in a game with heavy 1-2 spam and the legendary +5 speed garm vs the ability to rescue drop a lot and how there’s no other quite viable bow users in 8. There is a lot backing either decision under something with a lot of understanding.

Most games period will just lack something this nuiaced into it because it’s super dependant on endgame benchmarks/general lack of ready to go units/units in general in FE8 vs other FE games.

A blind run to someone without a super large amount of discussion makes it more of a guess for what’s more context dependant on later maps. Not to mention that it’s also just harder on the dev to plan around different movement/combat benchmarks expectations if your cast is small and you’re trying to make promotions actually matter. So it likely just won’t actually matter, while not really adding replayability at its core. It’s just “I guess I could try another promotion” not “Oh boy this game will be totally different if my units play slightly differently”

All in all:

ok I guess