Three Houses: Famitsu Third Article Part 1 (of 2) – Early Story, Battle System and New Classes

Like previously, Famitsu has uploaded their new Three Houses article hours before the issue containing it hits stores. To be honest, I’m not sure why, but I’m not complaining! Needless to say, there’s a lot of info to go through, so without further ado…

Actually, before I start, to make things easier for you and myself, I will be splitting this article into two parts. That way, you don’t want to wait several hours before I’m finished–instead, you can wait a few hours for the first half, then the remaining hours for the other half.

Signs of Disturbance

Revealed during yesterday’s Famitsu preview, these pair of ne’er-do-wells harbour ill feelings towards the Garreg-Mach Monastery where you’re stationed. They’ve been known to attack students and followers of the church and are clearly hostile towards the church. Their motives are currently unknown, but it’s probably nothing good.

Reaper Knight: In the streets of Garreg-Mach, there are rumours of a knight spiriting away people at night. But the dreaded knight who’s supposedly just a rumour suddenly appears before the protagonist. Their appearance evokes an ominous presence as if they’re not of this world.

Flame Emperor: A mysterious figure who acts behind the scenes around the monastery. They hide their body with a mask and cape and their true identity is a complete mystery. The thieves who attacked the students from the officer’s academy at the beginning of the game seem to be working under the orders of this Flame Emperor.

Shadows Cast by Incidents Involving the Academy

The protagonist is a teacher at the Officer’s Academy and will decide which of the three houses to lead during the early stages of the game. Although the incidents that occur at the end of each month/season are the same, the events before and after are different depending on the house. Often, you may gain a new perspective on the story compared to the other houses.

A Disquieting Presence Surrounding the Church of Seiros

The story revolves around the students of the chosen house. Are there truths that only certain characters know? In the screenshots above, Hubert from the Black Eagles is surprised that Lonato is staging a rebellion. Meanwhile, Dimitri from the Blue Lions posits that Lonato doesn’t want to involve Ashe with his rebellion.

Sir Lonato’s Rebellion

In the Holy Kingdom of Faerghus where chivalry is held high, Sir Lonato–ruler of Gaspard Castle within the kingdom–raises an army against the church. The protagonist and their students are tasked by the officer’s academy to help complete the task of suppressing the rebellion. From this rebellion, disquieting movements around the church slowly come to light…

Above is Lonato, who’s the leader of the rebels. If you cast your mind back, the February trailer mentioned stopping rebellions as one of your given tasks. Plus with the Church of Seiros holding absolute power, it’s no surprise that there are rebellions against them.

Also, this screenshot from the 2nd Famitsu article seems to show when this particular incident occurs. At the end of the 6th month, there’s a field study task to “help retake Gaspard Castle”. At the time, I forgot Gaspard is actually a location on the map, near the border of Adrestia and Faerghus.

By the way, signs are pointing to the game starting on the 4th month–or at least the academy section does. Each month equates to one chapter (or act) of the game, so the Gaspard incident likely takes place during the 3rd chapter.

One more thing, Ashe from the Blue Lions is Lonato’s adopted son. In the screenshot, he’s puzzled as to why his father is rebelling, saying that he was told nothing. This probably ties with what Dimitri said above, with Lonato wishing to keep Ashe away from things. It seems a complicated tale regarding the meaning of rebellion is about to be told.

The Power of Bonds Exceeding the Limits of Battle

Like previous games, battles follow a turn-based system. While the appeal of the series remains the same, in this title, where there are battles between many soldiers, there are various new elements to enhance the battle system. Learn everything you can, as a soldier and a teacher!

Use Supports and Co-ordination to Excel in Battle!

In previous games, there were mechanics that made battles easier when close characters fight near each other, and these mechanics are back! When characters deepen their bonds by socialising in the academy and triggering Co-ordinated Attacks, support conversations can be unlocked. After conversing, their support level increases further improving the effects of Co-ordinated Attacks.

Co-ordinated Attacks

When attacking an enemy, if there are nearby allies that can target the same enemy, a “Co-ordinated Attack” can be used. In addition to boosting the Hit Rate and Avoid of the attacking unit, when certain units join in a Co-ordinated Attack, there are various potent effects like increasing attack power.

When a Co-ordinated Attack is possible, participating characters will appear to the left of the attacking unit’s icon. Those of you who are really observant may remember this being visible in the Switch Spring Commercial. In addition, the affected stat will be highlighted–in this case, Hit Rate (boosted for you and lowered for the enemy).

After a Co-ordinated Attack, all participating characters gain support points with each other, indicated by heart icons. So similar to Awakening and Fates. Also, this is just a guess, but it seems by “nearby”, characters must be within 3 squares of the attacking unit. Essentially, this is a more logical version of the old support system.

Update: The enemies here are “Flame Emperor Soldiers”. Also, the map seems to be the one with warp tiles from April’s Famitsu. The lighting and architecture look nigh identical.

Co-ordinated Gambits

The same kind of Co-ordinated Attacks can be applied when characters with hired battalions use Gambits. When a Co-ordinated Gambit occurs, the Might and Hit Rate will increase relative to the number of participants and their support levels. Gambits have limited uses per battle, so it’s crucial that you have units waiting nearby to maximise their effect. Keep your units’ positions in mind and battles will turn in your favour!

In the above screenshots, Hubert is about to use Group Magic: Fire on an unsuspecting foe. The allies participating in the Co-ordinated Gambit are Ferdinand, Edelgard and Bernadetta. Presumably the game automatically chooses allies with the highest support levels when more than 3 are nearby. The boosted stats are Might and Hit rate.

Ta-da! Here’s a Co-ordinated Gambit. You should remember seeing one near the end of the February trailer. Now we know what it does! If you’re unsure what regular Gambits are, please check out the 2nd Famitsu article. Basically they are limited use actions for characters with battalions, with various effects and the ability to cancel counter-attacks.

Assistants that Support Units

When the protagonist’s Instructor Level reaches a certain level, each unit can be assigned an “Assistant”. How many units can be assigned Assistants depends on your Instructor Level. If an Assistant is present, they will, ahem, assist the main unit in battle and participate in Co-ordinated Attacks. There is no disadvantage to setting an Assistant, so always try to do so.

Actually, there is one disadvantage. Just like Pair Up in the previous games, assigning an Assistant means one less solo unit to deploy. While it’s usually beneficial to combine two units into one, there may be occasions where you want two units acting separately. For example to go in different directions or to trigger more battles. By “no disadvantage”, it means there are no lowered stats or hidden costs etc.

By the way, your Instructor Level can be improved by teaching and socialising at the academy. Increasing it also increases the number of actions you can perform within the academy (teaching, triggering activities and going off to fight), so you’ll probably want to keep it in mind.

Assistant Support Effects

  • Assistant Follow-Up: At the end of the fight, the Assistant may perform a follow-up attack.
  • Assistant Guard: The Assistant may protect the user from enemy follow-up attacks, reducing their damage.
  • Assistant Recovery: At the start of each turn, the Assistant may cast the Heal spell on the user.

Awakening and Fates fans should be familiar with the first two. They’re essentially Dual Strike and Dual Guard, although the latter functions more like its Awakening incarnation. That said, it only seems to work on follow-up attacks and doesn’t seem to negate all damage. However, the wording of the effect isn’t 100% clear.

Like previous games, the higher the support level between the user and their Assistant, the better the support effects. As you develop your bonds, you can create a stronger army!

In the above screenshots, Lorenz has Hilda set as an Assistant. It seems she can provide the Assistant Follow-Up effect, indicated by the sword icon. There looks to be space for another effect as well. Maybe characters gain additional effects as their support level increases.

Also, Hilda is currently a Brigand with a Steel Axe, Iron Axe, Hand Axe and Vulnerary. Her Movement stat is 5 (from being in an intermediate class). Thanks to Hilda, Lorenz receives a Might and Hit Rate boost during battle. He’s planning to use a Fire Scheme Gambit too.

Ooh wait, I spy a familiar enemy. It’s the plague doctor from the February trailer! Judging from the map, these are simply generic mages. But that wasn’t completely unexpected. More specifically, they appear to be Dark Mages as they have the corresponding class skills: Miasma△ and Hex.

Yay, Assistants appear behind the main unit in battle, just like you’d expect. Normally, Hilda would co-operate with a Co-ordinated Attack, but since Lorenz is using a Gambit, a Co-ordinated Gambit will happen instead. Huh, so you don’t need 4 characters to pull one off–just two is enough.

Good Way to Level Up!

When you fight enemies, Assistants will gain experience too. If you have a strong unit, you can assign a weak unit as their Assistant to safely earn experience points.

Hilda gets a Level Up! The stats from top to bottom and left to right: HP, Strength, Magic, Skill, Speed, Movement, Luck, Defence, Resistance and Charm. So basically your standard FE stats, with a Strength and Magic split. Plus the inclusion of a mysterious “Charm” stat. Maybe this affects the power of battalions and/or Gambits?

Map Gimmicks

There are various gimmicks found in battle maps. If you hover your cursor over them, a comment will appear, so try to check every corner of the map if you can. Here are three gimmicks you can expect to see.

Door: Can be opened with a key or a user with the Locktouch skill. It’s in everyone’s desire to want to open things that are closed.

Chest: Hmm, what could be inside? Like doors, these can be opened with keys or the Locktouch skill. Don’t think, just take whatever’s inside.

Drawbridge: A bridge that can only be lowered from the side where the bridge is installed. Once it’s lowered, infantry can cross to the other side and the battle situation may change completely!

Item Drops

Among the weapons and supplies possessed by the enemy, there are some items that will drop after they’re defeated. Look out for items with green text in their status screen and don’t forget to beat them up. Like the map gimmicks, you may want to check for item drops before starting each battle map.

This Thief will drop a Chest Key when defeated. Most likely, there’s a chest nearby where it can be used. Of note, the Thief is of the Fighter class (a beginner class), which has 4 Movement. He also seems to have lowered Might but increased Defence, perhaps from his deployed battalion.

You can also see their stats, which are more or less arranged in the same order as the Level Up screen, but HP and Movement can be found next to their portrait instead. Curiously, there are bars for each stats. I used my ruler and it looks like stats can go up to at least 60. Wow. His Charm seems to be boosted too, again probably from his battalion.

Below that, there’s space for 1 personal skill, 3 class skills and 5 professor skills. This guy has none, but your units should have some. I imagine some later enemies may have skills too–I look forward to the endgame enemies with decked out skills!

In the bottom-right corner are the professor levels for this Thief. It might seem pretty normal, but it seems to confirm something we’ve been told on multiple occasions: characters can wield nearly every weapon in any class, with some restrictions. In this case, most classes cannot wield Reason and Faith magic–you generally have to be in a magic class or be a Commoner/Noble.

For those wondering, the final slot in the professor levels sub-window seems to be the unit’s “movement class” professor level. Right now, the Thief is an infantry so it has none. But otherwise this is where Riding, Flying and Heavy Armour would go.

Class Profiles

The protagonist and students at the academy can study at the academy and take exams to Class-Change. Among the various classes, here are some intermediate classes available to those Level 10 and over. Also, each class seems to learn special skills and abilities once they’ve reached their pinnacle. Whatever could they be?

Class-Change

If you improve the professor levels required for a particular class and pass the exam, you can freely return to that class without consuming any more items. Although weapons used to be restricted by class, all weapons can be equipped in any class, with a few exceptions.

Skill Types

This game features personal skills unique to each character, class skills attached to a class and professor skills learned by studying hard. Class skills are lost after Class-Changing, but professor skills can be freely equipped.

Lord

A title given to those who stand above others. Excels in swords and authority.

Class Skill: Charisma – Adjacent allies deal 3 extra damage to enemies.

This is an exclusive class for Edelgard, Dimitri and Claude. Although it specialises in swords and lances, thanks to the new class sytem, the three house leaders can still equip their signature weapons.

Thief

A thief who’s handy at picking locks. Has fantastic skill and speed.

Class Skill: Steal – User can steal non-weapon items from foes with less Speed.

Class Skill: Locktouch – User can open doors and chests without the need for keys.

Petra is the Thief here. Interestingly, Thieves in this game seem to be a fusion of the original ones and the Bow-wielding ones from Fates.

Knight

Footsoldiers with brilliant Defence. They are sturdy shields found on the front-lines.

Knights come with no class skills but have robust Defence, making them reliable walls. They are good with lances and axes. Dedue is our shining Knight in armour.

Pegasus Knight

Knights who soar the skies astride pegasi. They are resilient against magic but weak against bows. After fighting, they can move again.

Class Skill: Canto – User can use leftover movement after performing an action.

Class Skill: Avoid +10 – Exactly what it says on the tin.

Pegasus Knights are a female-only class, although the very similar Sky Knight class was gender-neutral in Fates. They are good with swords and lances like the ones from Jugdral. Ingrid is our pegasus rider.

Archer

Fighters that excel at wielding bows. They have exceptional Skill and good Luck.

Class Skill: Bow Range +1 – Increases attack range by 1 when a bow is equipped.

Amusingly, Archers are good with swords in addition to bows. Well, people did complain about Archers lacking good close-combat options. But it seems there’s a Close Combat professor skill that solves half of this problem anyway. Our archer boy (I think) is Ignace.

Priest

Those who battle wielding white magic. They can both attack and heal.
This class can wield magic.

Class Skill: Heal – Enables the use of Heal. If user has already learned Heal, doubles the maximum amount of uses.

Class Skill: White Magic Recovery +5 – Boosts the recovery power of white magic by 5.

Lo and behold, Mercedes is our Priest here. Similar to most magic classes, Priests excel at Reason and Faith magic.

Well, we’re halfway through now–and I think it’s time for me to take a short break. Hopefully I’ll see you again very soon!

About the Author: VincentASM
Author Website: http://serenesforest.net
  • 3-13 Archer

    I really hope these mechanics are not broken, cause they look great. From what I’ve seen, I’ll buy the game eventually if not on release day. But I still have to complete XC2.

    • Arn

      Define broken. Because as long as you can reclass ad infinitum and there’s a forge, not even Lunatic can balance it out much.

      • Aveyn Knight

        When you reclass, your level isn’t reset. There is a forge as well, but it could be balanced like the one in Echoes.

        • Rei1556

          if you mean balanced in echoes as in the only real limit of of forging is how many silver and gold marks you have then that’s a terrible balance that does not in any way stop the forging system from being broken in echoes, unless you purposely limit yourself to a no grind run

          • Jespoke

            It’s fine for it to just be balanced for no-grind, because when you grind nothing balance-wise matters anyway.

        • Rei1556

          fates version of forging seems to be the most balanced because you can forge but to make a forged weapon be OP(+7) would require a huge amount of resource that are basically time-gated unless you dedicate an entire session visiting other castles for said resource, or the shadow dragon/new mystery of the emblem heroes of light and shadow
          where you are only allowed to forge 1 item per chapter but then again that’s also broken even if it was limited to 1 per chapter because the limit on the stats you can increase a weapon is too big (forging effective weapons or wingspear makes it broken)

      • robotmaster

        You also have a pair up like mechanic that has literally no drawbacks. Gambits seem pretty strong so this is most likely the most broken fire emblem game.

      • 3-13 Archer

        It would be a nice idea to adapt the map difficulty according to our own team, but given that the only way IS increases the difficulty is through levels, skills and reinforcements… They should limit the grinding and resources, I don’t like having to avoid using game mechanics because they cheese the game, like my Awakening no-grinding/pair-up runs.

      • RockEsper

        There seems to be a time management aspect to the game, not dissimilar to a Persona game, so I doubt you actually can reclass infinitely.

  • Veiled Mystery

    Why is the Pegasus Knight female only again??? I personally hate gender – specific classes.

    • Aveyn Knight

      It’s a shame, but it’s been a series tradition outside of Fates. I’m more annoyed by Dark Mage and Brawler being male-only since Dark Mages have been gender-neutral for a while now.

      • Veiled Mystery

        Yeah, I’m mad about the Dark Mage and Cleric too. I was hoping those would stay the same, but guess not.

      • Gamemastah

        Same, tbh.

  • Adako

    Ah, so there is a special Lord class. I wonder if there will be a promoted form of Lord beyond it. What would you guys like to see? A shared Great Lord, or each one of the three getting a unique variant, Eliwood/Lyn/Hector-style?

    Also, “Also, each class seems to learn special skills and abilities once they’ve reached their pinnacle.” This refers to that “Class Mastery” thing, right?

    • Aveyn Knight

      It depends how many tiers there are. There is surely an advanced tier containing stuff like Paladins. That could be were a Great Lord is located. But there may be a supreme tier like the 3rd tiers in Radiant Dawn and Overclasses in Echoes. I could see unique Lord classes being there.

      Yeah, I think you’re right.

    • Gamemastah

      Personally, I’d like to see each get a unique variant, but I’ll settle for a generic Great Lord.

  • Sentinel

    So they bright Pair Up back and it has still has zero drawbacks which probably means it’s still as broken as it was in Awakening and Fates.

    Oh well, everything else looks good at least. Can’t win them all.

    • Sofa Man

      Don’t forget you’ve got Battalions to go along with Pair Ups.

      I agree with you, these are Ls we gotta take for the bigger win

    • RockEsper

      At least the number of pairs you can have depends on your Instructor Level, and as long as they adjust the numbers well for things like proc rates and effectiveness, it isn’t an inherently bad thing for the game. We’ll just have to see. But limited pairing is a step in the right direction.

  • Semi Colon Parenthesis

    I know it’s 100% confirmed now but in one of the screenshots you can see Leoine wielding a bow on a horse which is pretty cool.

  • vanguard333

    Does anyone else see the irony in characters dressed as plague doctors using something called Miasma?