Units who can equip a javelin or a hand axe and kill a lot of enemies in one turn are often the best in their game - we know that. This is one of the reasons swords are the worst weapon type from FE7 onwards. But today I want to look at this facet of Fire Emblem from the point of view of the enemies.
Ever wondered why some of them have 1-2 range and some don’t? Is it because the devs don’t want the player to hit all the enemies in one turn? Is it to force the player to equip a 1-2 range weapon? If there is a compelling reason, why don’t all enemies have one? If there is no point, why even have enemies with them? I don’t quite know what Intelligent Systems is thinking when designing enemy squads.
I remember when I watched Deltre play the map Clash in Maniac Mode. He complained a lot about the abundant 1-2 range enemies. Enemies are inherently bulky in Maniac Mode, but when you’re forced to use javelins and hand axes (weapons with lower might than, say, silver ones), it takes even longer to clear them out. And there’s about 100 enemies on that map, so getting rid of them as soon as possible is a necessity. But does this mean the opposite philosophy is true? Should 1-2 range enemies be few and far between in order to have a fun game?
Personally I make 1-2 range weapons deal chip damage (eg. 10-30% of max hp) and debuff on hit. Even dealing low amounts, debuffs are good as 1-2 range, and it encourages the player to swap to high mt attacks to finish enemies off.
It’s worth considering editing the ai3 settings of fegba to encourage ai using stronger weapons instead of preferring to use the weak weapon if the opponent cannot counter.
FE9 is obviously a bad example, but if you had a more player phase oriented game, then 1-2 range enemies would serve a different purpose. Take FE11 mages, for instance. They basically force you to tank a hit. 1-2 range enemies that you have to player phase are either a bulk check, or a check of some other method of dealing with them safely (OHKO, 2HKO with braves, engage with some limited 3+ range options, etc).
I think it’s so they can counter mages and archers and just for difficulty and more intriguing battles.
I don’t think so, because archers and mages can fight back.
This is definitely the part where balance comes into play IMO:
If a Javelin had only 10 uses, reduced speed by two and did less damage, had 10 less hit rate, and weighed more than a Iron Lance we could see why the devs wouldn’t give a javelin to every enemy in the game, because it wouldn’t be practical for most to use.
So maybe IS planned to make stronger enemies, two to four levels more than the average, to wield those but they got lazy and just gave it to weak enemies.
I made changes like what I mentioned in my hack to show how I interpret 1-2 range weapons and 1-2 range swords as well.
Agreed, in a player phase focused game 1-2 enemies often serve as bulk checks or check the player if they have ways/know of ways to deal with them safely. Otherwise they have to eat a hit and plan the rest of their turn on how to avoid any more damage on that unit.
Some other purposes of 1-2 enemies is to make choke points more dangerous than simply blocking off a single one range enemy or thinking of how to safely bait a group of enemies with some 1-2 range units with overlapping ranges. However, how effective these uses are heavily depends on map design and how inherently dangerous enemies are in a given entry- in a game with weak enemies this purpose is more or less moot and more of a time waster than anything as a vast majority of 1-2 enemies will do scratch damage at best.
Interesting responses. It looks like most of you assumed I was referring to enemies with 1-2 range equipped from the get-go, which does force players to take the damage, one-shot the enemy, use a brave weapon, or out-range them. But I was thinking of enemies with 1 range equipped and a backup 1-2 range on the second slot. These enemies can then equip the 1-2 weapon on enemy phase if you have equipped a melee weapon.