Passive Stacks like in League of Legends and World of Warcraft could work in Fire Emblem

There are characters in World of Warcraft and League of Legends who can gain stacking passive buffs when using certain offensive skills, or when taking damage from specific attack types, and then consume these stacks of buff when conditions are met to do something.

For example every Ice Blast spell might give you a stack of the “Icy Veins” buff and when you get three, the fourth Ice Blast spell will consume all “Icy Veins” stacks to do 1.5x damage, but your Blizzard spell will instead consume those stacks for 1.2x more damage. A Fire user could gain 1 stack of Heat for every tick of DOT burn damage you inflict on the foe and spend those Heat stacks on making his fast fire spells stronger or reducing the time his slower stronger fire spells take to cast.

A lightning user could gain 6 stacks of Static per fight he’s in capped at 40, lose one Static stack at the end of every turn, gain 1 Speed for every 10 stacks of Static he has, and his strongest move can consume all stacks and deal extra damage for every Static stack it consumes.

A system like this could work in Fire Emblem with Skills and Combat Arts/Spells. There are already temporary stat buffs and debuffs. A future game could expand on the concept. A Mage’s most powerful attack could give the user six stacks of Burnout, preventing the mage from attacking until the stack has depleted by one every turn, and by another stack each turn the user spends not moving. An Armour Knight could start out with 60 stacks of Undented Armour granting him increased block chance and damage reduction only to lose some stacks and some block chance and damage reduction with each attack he takes. An Assassin’s basic attacks could inflict stacking debuffs on the foe that reduce the foe’s armour or accuracy or base stats temporarily, or use Combat Arts like Sunder to damage the foe’s defenses more and Poison Strike to debuff the foe and deal poison damage that grows more severe with each Poison Strike taken. Staff users could buff allies with stacks of a buff that decline in power as their stacks fade with time. Healers might gain Light when healing allies, and spend that light guaranteeing a Miracle proc or dealing huge damage to enemies.

A system where characters manage and spend a limited resource they generate through some class-dependent means seems like a way to add more player choice to the moment to moment decision making of Fire Emblem, and balance Combat Arts to require more resource management in the fight.

It’s a nice idea, but Fates has shown me that more gauges to keep track of, especially per-unit, is not necessarily a good thing. Trying to keep track of when Dual Guards would proc and having to plan those out like 2-3 turns in advance was a nightmare that I don’t want to relive. It’s enough to have to keep track of attack speed, defense, resistance, and HP - we don’t need even more metres to be filling up.

I’m all for something a bit more unified, though. For example, if we had a “Party Gauge” system like Xenoblade Chronicles 1 did. Basically, playing the game well (optimising damage) raises the party gauge, and playing the game badly (allowing a party member to fall & then reviving them) lowers the party gauge. Once the gauge is full, you can wail on the enemy for free in a cool cinematic sequence.


Not the way those have it, they don’t.

First, for MOBAs, infinite- or huge-capped stack abilities have each game’s duration to mount per champion, but the reward for the stack is fairly minimal and each hero on both teams will gain actual stats far faster. This means their stacking is serving to give the character a form of inevitability

Whereas the other type, present also in MMOs a lot, the “build and discharge” just…isn’t particularly good for Fire Emblem units.

Consider Slow Burn, for instance. It’s usually bad - not just because its bonus is small, but because it depends on taking lots of turns.
In FE gameplay, as turn count increases, enemies tend to decrease, so needing more stats to deal with them also has less value.
So stats that build from combats are only a step away from counterproductive in the typical FE formula because the combat itself already answers enemies on the map. It’s not totally that way, obviously; but it’s the central reason why these tend to be fairly neutered on their own merits.

A lightning user could gain 6 stacks of Static per fight he’s in capped at 40, lose one Static stack at the end of every turn, gain 1 Speed for every 10 stacks of Static he has, and his strongest move can consume all stacks and deal extra damage for every Static stack it consumes.

With these numbers, you can build to the attack nicely, but with these numbers you also won’t get the +4 bonus much at all unless you’re fighting a huge tide of enemies in one turn so their quality is too low to let +4 speed matter, or you fight a large line of enemies one at a time, which could be interesting to set up towards.

But for this one it’s a big “why” - You could do After combats, gets a +1 Speed buff, up to +5. Can consume 5 points of Speed buff to force a critical.
The bonus is going to be more appreciable and the play pattern will be similar and you won’t have to deal with tracking another extra thing.

And as Agro beat me to, it unifies it. You can interact with that, either by applying debuffs to remove the buffs or by applying buffs to get to the bonus effect faster.

The more unique something is the more “Ugh, rules” it’s going to be, and to no small extent that’s going to be less “Fire Emblem” than other things, because this is an SRPG that prides itself on its mechanical simplifications. Damage is just Attack minus Protection. Attack is just Might plus Strength. Protection is just Defense plus Terrain.

In fact, you can observe this trend across the FEU Discord’s posts from about a year ago to three years ago, and still to this day, where people complain about “bloat”, “mechanical overload”, and so forth.

Not having things is just as important as adding things; and making the game have more mechanics and things going on is a detriment unless they actually do something for the gameplay. You can observe professional game designers learning this phenomena from Magic: The Gathering, where the Time Spiral and Lorwyn-Shadowmoor blocks directly caused them to create multiple in-house rules to avoid games ending up with extensively complicated states.

(Though yeah managing an extra resource per unit would probably be nice. Combat Arts have issues as designed in FE15 and FE16, since current HP and weapon uses just aren’t meaningful resources in most games.)