Prf weapons are weapons locked to a specific character. Do you prefer an approach similar to Thracia, where several characters get prf weapons, or a GBA style where prfs are only given to the lords? Somewhere inbetween?
Personally I like the Thracia style. Prfs give more options in unit design, like having a unit who starts weak but gains a good prf upon promotion, or has good promotion gains but loses access to their prf. (This would be a dick move, but it’s an option!) Simple ways to differentiate on units that aren’t base stats or growths are always nice. I think an amount like Thracia is good, because too many prfs makes having one feel insignificant.
Simple ways to differentiate on units that aren’t base stats or growths are always nice.
Yeah, basically this. Personal weapons are best used to make a unit stand out from similar ones (like most lord Prfs), to give them a boost in capabilities that they have particular need for (Lera’s Wind tome from Vision Quest is a good example; it lets her deal solid damage before she can get stronger tomes or Magic level ups), or just to be silly.
I personally feel like you’re missing out if no units except the lord/lords have personal weapons. While “hehe every unit has Prf” is probably over the top, giving extra boosts to a couple weak units you particularly like is useful.
Having prfs are generally positive, more balanced prfs means more depth in the game’s design. Personal weapons are also safer to implement than character skills.
Brokens prfs are bad though so more playtesting is needed and bad prfs are a waste of your 255 item slots.
Personal weapons for everybody is a silly extreme, though having barely any personal weapons is the opposite lame extreme. In a more normal game, I think prfs serve a great purpose for differentiating units of the same class. For instance, Dieck and Ogier don’t have a very interesting dichotomy, since Dieck is just 100% better. But if Ogier had a personal weapon to help him stand out, that would be better. Stuff like this is a good way to implement personal weapons, I’d say.
Personally, I like personal weapons. In my hack around four or five characters have personal weapons. I don’t think you should give almost every character a personal weapon, look at the FE8 PME of Mangs. Almost every character has a personal weapon there. Although it is cool to see a lot of different weapons with a uniqe concept, it does remove the element of uniqueness some minor characters may have.
Though I have not (yet) played Thracia, I think I get the idea of how personal weapons are handled and I like it. Giving a character a personal weapon could help them get noticed by the player and make them more fun to play with. If a personal weapon is given to a unit in the early game, it might help creating a snowball effect: the player likes the weapon bound to the character so he uses that character more in combat, granting the unit more exp.
This reminds me a bit of what I like to call: semi-personal weapons. These are weapons like the silver lance most Jagens come with. They are not specifically linked to one character, but the weapon can only be used by one or two characters until the rest of the cast acquires the weapon level to wield them.
Conclusion: In my opinion personal weapons fit underrated characters and help them getting noticed. Semi-personal weapons make a unit stand out for a while, which could be enough to make them snowball.
The Thracian approach is pretty good in all honesty. It creates a more defined sense of uniqueness among units. Considering the advent of the skill systems as well, it really allows for you to create far more distinguished units, as opposed to having them somewhat blend together in a way, which is a problem that rings out through even the official FE games at times
I think perfs should be rare because they aren’t really special if everybody or most of the cast have them. Random personal weapons are really just arbitrary restrictions to make up for a lot of units simply not adding value to their game’s army. I’m ok with a rapier-type weapon and a couple rare weapons throughout the game being locked to certain units but I don’t like it when the story doesn’t acknowledge a personal weapon or explain why only one or a few units can use it. They should feel earned or represent something or have lore like Ike’s regal sword or Alm earning the falchon, not like a watered down skill system. If you have units like Ogier who’s inferior to another unit in every way, actually work to improve the balance of your game by giving bad units some pro others don’t have (not every unit has to be equally good or bad, they just need distinct pros and cons compared to each other. Nino is really bad but she has distinct pro in high growths that makes her fun to use even if it doesn’t outweigh her cons).