Skills on generic enemy units?

  • No skills at all on generics
  • 1 or 2 uniform class specific skills
  • Different skills depending on map

0 voters

Hey all, I’m wondering what everyone’s opinion regarding the use of skills on enemy units, and whether it adds or detracts for the ‘fun’ of Fire Emblem. If there’s some other preferable alternative not on this poll, please do inform me.

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Okay, so I’m going to say that I voted for the 1-2 skills option, but honestly I’d prefer whatever number of skills it takes to make a class unique without requiring constant thought by the player regarding them.

Seeing as how this is about generic enemies, it’s important to have a good balance of skills that ultimately work closely enough together that a player can just associate them with a single sweeping action most of the time. It’s even more important on swordlocked and/or footlocked units, imo.

To give a general example of what I mean, the player should only have to look at the skills on a generic enemy once, then just know the strategy for them most of the time. So you look at a unit in a class, see they have deathblow and/or darting blow, and realize they’re strong on enemy phase so you should strategize to take them out on player phase. Then once you know that, it just becomes a matter of general knowledge. You’ll always know to handle that class on your turn, or avoid it until it closes the gap between your turns.

There are tons of other examples of similar ways you can do that without making it as simple as just what I mentioned, but that’s my general idea and preference.

I do feel it adds some degree of strategy, yes, and one which can change greatly depending on how many skills the classes have. But the important thing in my opinion is to keep them closely themed no matter how many there are. Proximity buff skills with other buffs or debuffs, rally skills with rally skills, initiative buffs with initiative buffs, etc. That way it can become instinct for a player, and with good placement/map design, a strategic challenge as well that shouldn’t be complicated.


I’m the kind of person that always always always forgetts enemy skills, even if I just checked them one turn ago, so I prefer no skills at all, but iiiif they have skills it’s ok too. It’s just my own stupidity after all and we all have some pride as FE players, right?

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It can be a good idea to remove all class/personal skills and start adding them back in one by one when designing a hack. This makes you really consider which class will get what skills and so on. When skillsys is just stapled onto a hack without any thought, it can be detrimental to the hack.


Personally, I prefer enemies having unique skill combinations, occassionally, in order to create interesting challenges while most of the time having a set of “standard” skills for their class. That’s just a preference, however, and I think a Fire Emblem game can be good with or without skills.

Many things in game design come down to a balance between depth and complexity. Skills can certainly add a lot of depth to a Fire Emblem game, but at the cost of a fair amount of complexity. Early Heroes is a great example of this- with mechanics like hit rates, criticals, and inventories removed, alongside maps being very small and the limited number of both player characters and enemies, skills were able to fill that void and give the game a bit of depth without being overwhelming. As time went on, however, skills got more and more complex, and I found myself checking skills less and less as it often felt as if it was not worth the trouble.

Basically, skills provide the opportunity to do some really cool things but they’re not without downsides. Good game design can help ameliorate the problems of added complexity- for example, if all units of a class share the same handful of skills, that is an affordance that helps cut back on the complexity skills add. Of course, where each individual draws the line on how much complexity is worth how much depth is different, so no solution is going to please everyone or be perfect.


I think generic enemy units having specific skill sets can totally work and be cool, but generally I think the best way to include them is as, like… “point of interest” enemies, where they’re kind of the focal point challenge of a particular section of the map. Say, a regiment of cavalry or other high-movement enemies set to not move out until a target comes in range of them, with a Lunge unit taking point. The Lunge unit would move out first, and, if not taken out in retaliation, would thrust your unit into range of their comrades, who’d rush in to gang up on that unit.

Skills can also be utilized the create “themes” for certain maps or sections of maps. Say, a chapter where all the Knights have Tomebreaker would really emphasize the importance of physical weapons that are effective against armored units, and change how you need to approach things. Or perhaps you could have some Myrmidons with a few Blow skills that make them especially deadly and resilient on Enemy Phase, emphasizing the importance of making a strong push against them during Player Phase.

So basically, if you’re making a specific interesting challenge out of it I say go for it, but just loading up enemies all over the map with skills without really thinking about how it plays into how the map needs to be approached is… something to be avoided, in my opinion.


Thanks for the explanations everyone.

I like the idea of the ‘point of interest’ enemies with skills, which perhaps can be given certain story aspects such as being an elite knight division or some along those lines (provided enough indication is given to the player to be aware of the skills).

It seems that many people like the idea of the uniform class specific skills, tho the next question is (slightly off topic) what kind of skills would be suitable? For example I can’t imagine giving all myrmidons seal attack something or work well, but at the same time something insignificant like focus seems unnecessary.

I think this boils down to how you want to make each class unique from each other.

Like maybe you want to make Knights enemy phase units, so you can give them something like Stance Skills, or if you want to go crazy and give them something like Lucky Seven for some reason.

Then again, you also need to keep in mind how each class works differently from each other, so you can’t really give a Knight or Mercenary something like Malefic Aura if they don’t use magic.

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I like to give generic enemy units the entire class set because I’m insane. I don’t know why that’s not an option.

So, less skills early on, until it starts to settle towards 4-5 toward endgame. It can work so long as you’re smart about skill distribution and enemy placement. The mistake comes in when you start passing out skills like Vantage or Critical Force, or most proc skills. If the roster is able to deal with the issues (i.e. nihil users, uncounterable range, etc.), then it’s fine and makes for fun design imo.

And yes, lethality assassins are valid. Sometimes.

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I defined the 1-2 class skills as the entire class set, because I assumed more than 2 class specific skills would be far too many if combined with personal skills.

I agree that proc skills are generally not great, both for the player and for enemy units.

fateswakening disagrees but ok

I also disagree with fateswakening


I’m on the boat of less skills is better for GBA games. Because there is no easy way to check the skills, and every hack creator can change what they do. So personally I like the 1 personal skill per unit approach. The more skills anyone has the less I check them out.

Same for Generics. If they have fiery blood and vantage on every unit or every third unit I’m not gonna check it and waste so much time figuring all that out. There is a reason they are called generics and the players wipe them out.

If you make like mid-boss enemies like captains or such then yeah go for it. Give them a face blocked by a helmet name them captain and give them some skills. But just a random schmuck soldier? nty.


Personally, I’m not a fan of skills. They make gameplay needlessly complex. I like my straightforward GBA FE.

I basically don’t let my enemies have personal skills. (Except for bosses.)

Give everyone “Lunge” and “Dazzle” then sit back and watch the world burn. No offense Klok