Florina's #1 Fan

Fire Emblem: Crystal of Bonds (Working Title)

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This is my first attempt to begin an FE hacking project. This is an FE8 romhack, not FE7, since FE8 gives me more freedom in FE Builder. I've done it all on my own so far, there are 5 chapters, and I want to make sure I get as much feedback as I can before I keep rolling. Problems you have with the demo, things you want to change, things that you want to see more of as I continue working on it, or even if you want to help out, as I've done this by myself for a little more than a year now. Below are some fun things like known bugs (only one that I'm aware of currently, but I'll edit if I'm notified of more), credits, and growth rates, check those out if you like, then play my demo and hopefully have fun :D Then tell me what you liked, didn't like, what you'd change, etc. Your feedback is VITAL

Creator's Notes and Things You Should Know:

Spoiler
  • I'm a fairly casual FE player, so don't sugarcoat what needs to change for me, because I won't always understand what you're talking about unless you give it to me straight
  • I know next to nothing about map design, I was told it's trial and error. If you hate my maps, please tell me why so I can improve them, or even scrap them altogether if they're that horrible, though to my knowledge none of them are that bad
  • Supports are definitely planned, but none are complete and inserted yet
  • I have a story going, hopefully it doesn't get too convoluted and I don't write myself into a corner ;\ If anything doesn't make sense, ask me questions by DM'ing me, and if I can't answer them, I will make sure to figure out how to fix the plot holes
  • Simon and Ramona will not be required to survive in future versions, that is, once you get past their recruitment chapter. Originally they had a much more important role in the story, but having more than three characters be required to stay alive sounds like a pain
  • Taren may seem like the most important of the triplets, but they all play a part in the story, so don't count out any of them
  • My brother's favorite character to use is Tenn, and I have a feeling most will feel the same way, as a unit he's essentially Lyn from FE7, but better
  • Yes, Schall is my favorite, and if I find out you killed him, I will be sad
  • Some of these mugs are obvious placeholders, I plan to give them original portraits eventually.
  • I would really love to get at least a few original music tracks for this project in the far future, but that's only if everything is going smoothly and I feel I have the time and resources to devote to either paying someone to compose a few pieces or bring someone onto the project with that sort of experience

 Known Bugs:

Spoiler
  • Text warning about reinforcements doesn't immediately go away when player phase begins on the prologue
  • I don't have titles in for the maps yet, though that isn't really a bug

Growth Rates for Current Playables:

Spoiler

Example- HP/Str or Magic/Skl/Spd/Def/Res/Luck

Taren- 65/70/35/55/42/15/30

Tenn- 35/42/65/65/25/25/50

Tyken- 50/60/35/35/30/55

Annika- 30/80/40/60/20/55/55

Schall- 80/42/37/20/55/25/45

Karti- 30/42/70/50/25/15/50

Gill- 75/35/35/65/30/20/45

Ramona- 60/45/55/50/40/10/15

Simon- 30/70/40/50/10/50/20

Credits:

Spoiler

Female Fighter - Skitty and eCut
Deacon - Unknown
Templar - GabrielKnight
Female Merc - The Blind Archer
Female Warrior - TempMael
Axe and Handaxe Wyvern/Dragon Rider - Oracle_of_Fire, Alfred Kamon
Axe Wyvern/Dragon Lord - The Blind Archer
FE10 Swordmaster - The Blind Archer
Male Myrmidon (Jacket) - Juby, Fuzz94, Pikimin
Male Shaman (Hoodless) - Unknown
Female Class Cards - L95
Other Class Cards- Unknown
Schall mug- Cyan
Cogarre Mug (named Credence in the hack) - Nickt
“56” (named Victoria in the hack) - Eldritch Abomination

Crystal of Bonds Demo 1-1-19 UPS.ups

If the link doesn't work, comment below and I'll fix it asap

This demo is no longer up to date. I appreciate all the feedback I’ve gotten, whether here, on the Discord server, or on other platforms, but I no longer need critique for this demo. Hopefully a new, rebalanced demo will be released publicly in the future, with added chapters and less bugs. I’ll leave this demo up if anyone wants to try it in its… er… rawest form, but just keep in mind that this version is completely obsolete and commenting your critique likely won’t give me anything new to consider.

Also join the Discord if you want to test the latest released version, just make sure that afterwards you tell me any bugs, balancing issues, gameplay issues, etc., that you encountered while playing it

https://discord.gg/Kx9Wx9A <- Updated Discord Link

Edited by Florina's #1 Fan
Needed to include FE version

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4 hours ago, DarthR0xas said:

Is the patch for FE7 or FE8?

I second this.  It's very important to know if we want to try your game.

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Oh sorry, it's in the tag, it's an FE8 patch. I posted this at like 2 AM and I might have missed some details because the captcha bot kept stopping me from posting and I had to rewrite things a few times.

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Okay, I've tried the game.  Thoughts so far:

  • General
    • The portraits look pretty good so far.
    • The lack of exposition at this stage kind of hurts the storytelling and makes it hard to get invested in the characters.
    • Tenn's short-haired battle sprite looks nice.  I think he's too fragile, though.  While he does dodge a lot, he is not nearly evasive enough to justify him only having 14 HP at base.
  • Prologue
    • I feel like the beginning of the opening cutscene with Tenn and Taren could use a little more urgency.  They sound just a little bored.  Tyken and Annika are able to pick up the slack a little, though.
    • "Rob this bare-bones village of its bones."  Haha.  That was actually pretty funny, I like that.
    • Taren's dialogue on Turn 4 gets hilariously dragged out of its box when the Player Phase text flashes on instead of fading out like normal.
    • In my initial attempt at this chapter, an enemy Thief stole both Tyken's Pure Water AND the Chest Key from the House, leaving him unable to open the nearby Chest!
  • Chapter 1
    • I think this chapter has too many reinforcements.  I tried to approach it from every direction and no matter what I did I just kept getting overwhelmed.  And enemies with Killing Edges and Swordreavers this early in is just cruel.  As of writing this I still cannot beat it.  Either I'm missing something or this chapter is way too reliant on luck of the RNG.

EDIT: I managed to beat Chapter 1, but only after giving Tenn the Dracoshield and doing a ton of savestate abuse.  It cost me all of my Vulneraries.  The whole last wave of reinforcements is completely unnecessary.  I'm going to take a break for now and resume later.  That was frustrating and exhausting.

Edited by Von Ithipathachai

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Quote

Taren's dialogue on Turn 4 gets hilariously dragged out of its box when the Player Phase text flashes on instead of fading out like normal.

Yep, that's the bug I was talking about. I have no idea why it happens, it's not written any differently than normal. I'll have to ask the FE Builder creator what needs to be done to fix it

Quote
  • The lack of exposition at this stage kind of hurts the storytelling and makes it hard to get invested in the characters.

Alright, noted. I'm used to writing as I go, so explaining a lot at the beginning is sort of new to me. I'll see what I can do about some sort of an introduction.

Quote
  • Tenn's short-haired battle sprite looks nice.  I think he's too fragile, though.  While he does dodge a lot, he is not nearly evasive enough to justify him only having 14 HP at base.

I had another tester say the same thing. I'm going to raise his base HP by about 2 points, I think. I just need to be careful balancing him, because he's on the verge of being immensely busted with his high crit ratio, his weapon choice being valuable in early game, and passable attack.

Quote
  • I think this chapter has too many reinforcements.  I tried to approach it from every direction and no matter what I did I just kept getting overwhelmed.  And enemies with Killing Edges and Swordreavers this early in is just cruel.  As of writing this I still cannot beat it.  Either I'm missing something or this chapter is way too reliant on luck of the RNG.

I didn't really design the game to be friendly :sweatdrop: You really do have to keep a close eye on all your opponents, I have a lot of surprise weapons. I should warn people better in my post, so I'm going to make edits, but this ROM hack starts hard. On a brighter note, I do plan to remove the Killing Edge from the F!Myrm in Chapter 1. However, the Swordreaver is necessary, I've played the map many times, Tenn can solo it if I don't provide appropriate countermeasures that prevent him from charging in on his own. Thus the soldiers, fast myrms, and swordreaver guy.

Here's a few tips though: Get Taren the Hatchet from that Brigand asap (and make sure she takes a little damage, it will activate her skills), never rescue Annika because you will need constant healing, use the forests to your advantage (watch for Pegasus Knights though), and utilize Tyken's bulk (Tyken is sturdier than he looks). I stayed in a defensive formation for most of the map, it's a tight squeeze tbh.

If you still can't beat it, I'll look at reworking it. It's just that the other tester I had enjoyed the chapter, so I want to see if others experience the same issues you do when I share the demo other places.

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26 minutes ago, Florina's #1 Fan said:

I didn't really design the game to be friendly :sweatdrop: You really do have to keep a close eye on all your opponents, I have a lot of surprise weapons. I should warn people better in my post, so I'm going to make edits, but this ROM hack starts hard. On a brighter note, I do plan to remove the Killing Edge from the F!Myrm in Chapter 1. However, the Swordreaver is necessary, I've played the map many times, Tenn can solo it if I don't provide appropriate countermeasures that prevent him from charging in on his own. Thus the soldiers, fast myrms, and swordreaver guy.

Here's a few tips though: Get Taren the Hatchet from that Brigand asap (and make sure she takes a little damage, it will activate her skills), never rescue Annika because you will need constant healing, use the forests to your advantage (watch for Pegasus Knights though), and utilize Tyken's bulk (Tyken is sturdier than he looks). I stayed in a defensive formation for most of the map, it's a tight squeeze tbh.

If you still can't beat it, I'll look at reworking it. It's just that the other tester I had enjoyed the chapter, so I want to see if others experience the same issues you do when I share the demo other places.

Really, TENN's fragile keister can solo the map?  ...Oh, yeah, I forgot this was a Defeat Boss chapter.  But it felt like it might as well have been a Rout the Enemy map.

I did use the forests a lot, but I would not have guessed Tyken had any amount of good bulk considering the number of times he kept dying.

On another, unrelated note, I too am making a game (in SRPG Studio), but I'd like for it to be a lot more accessible.  I've been spending so long playtesting my own game trying to make sure it isn't cheaply difficult that this level of high difficulty took me by surprise.  I dunno, nearly every hack/fangame I've seen seems like it's trying to be more hardcore in terms of challenge, and I suppose I got tired of seeing that.

Edited by Von Ithipathachai

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Tyken's base is a little rough, but his defense growth is 35%, which, while not great, is high for a mage. Paired with his base HP and good HP growth, means he isn't as easy to take down as Tenn (though that would imply Tenn gets hit). I suppose it's just a matter of RNG though. Also, if you do manage to get that chest in the prologue, it has a Dracoshield in it, which definitely helps on that map. I put that chest there so you'd have to make a decision to go for it or not, so if you didn't get it, it won't ruin anything, but that extra +2 defense is nice.

Quote

Really, TENN's fragile keister can solo the map?

Hahaha, yeah, he can. Duelist's Blow is a hell of a drug. My Tenn looks like this on Chapter 2, he wrecks, even with that icky HP stat

5c2d07ba67674_BustedTenn.emulator.png.3fa06bf644461622105576d8e1bdb1a6.png

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23 minutes ago, Florina's #1 Fan said:

Tyken's base is a little rough, but his defense growth is 35%, which, while not great, is high for a mage. Paired with his base HP and good HP growth, means he isn't as easy to take down as Tenn (though that would imply Tenn gets hit). I suppose it's just a matter of RNG though. Also, if you do manage to get that chest in the prologue, it has a Dracoshield in it, which definitely helps on that map. I put that chest there so you'd have to make a decision to go for it or not, so if you didn't get it, it won't ruin anything, but that extra +2 defense is nice.

Hahaha, yeah, he can. Duelist's Blow is a hell of a drug. My Tenn looks like this on Chapter 2, he wrecks, even with that icky HP stat

5c2d07ba67674_BustedTenn.emulator.png.3fa06bf644461622105576d8e1bdb1a6.png

Tenn got hit almost as much as Tyken did, though I will admit to being more of an Enemy Phase player.

Mine is exactly like yours with -1 HP, -2 Str, and possibly -2 Def assuming yours didn't get a Dracoshield.  So either I got RNG-screwed or you got RNG-blessed.

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Probably a mix of both, lol. Also, Tenn getting hit as much as Tyken sounds rough :>_<: His speed is so much higher

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Moving on.

  • Chapter 2
    • This chapter has similar problems to the previous one in that it's ostensibly a Defeat Boss chapter, but feels more like a Rout the Enemy chapter due to how easily you can get overwhelmed.  I started by getting Schall to the Armory as soon as I could for stronger weapons while everyone else held off the initial enemies.  Once that was done, I got everyone back into the corner they started in ASAP and just camped there as the reinforcements poured onto me, with Taren and Tenn at the front, Tyken and Karti providing support fire, and Schall and Annika healing.  Meanwhile, the boss was a joke, being unable to counter at 2-Range.  Overall, I had less trouble with this chapter than the last one.  I spent the rest of my money on extra Heal staves and Vulneraries.
    • Currently, Taren is my only combat unit who doesn't have glaring reliability issues.  Tenn can't do good damage and doesn't get Critical Hits when he should, Tyken can't double-attack, and Karti can't counterattack at 1-Range (yet?).
  • Chapter 3
    • This chapter was way easier than the others before it.  The formula of there initially not being many enemies and then suddenly BAM, there are more has started to become predictable by this point.  "That battle was no cakewalk" my butt.
    • Ramona and Simon are so much better than Tenn and Tyken respectively it's not funny.  They have much better stats where it matters (Ramona has more Str and Simon has more Spd).  I find it kinda funny, and I find it kinda sad, too.
    • I've been waiting for a good tank like Gill for a while now.  Also, that face, LOL.  I can't read his lines in anything other than a Ben Stein impression.  Shame his battle palette doesn't look so hot.
    • Another joke boss easily dealt with using Taren or Karti.
  • Chapter 4
    • In my initial attempt at this chapter, Schall got killed by a Pegasus Knight with a Horseslayer, and I reset the game.  However, when I try to restart the chapter, it goes straight to Enemy Phase, a Brigand walks forward, and I get a Game Over.  So I can't play any further without completely restarting the game.  *sad trombone*  I guess this is what I get for letting him die.

Anyway, what I played was alright.  I think I would just give certain characters more bulk and make Chapter 3 just a wee bit more challenging.

EDIT: I just now saw on FEUniverse you wanted us to play on Easy Mode.  Oops.

Edited by Von Ithipathachai

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Ah right, should've looked at the tags. I played through the first two chapters, and started the third (as in, I took a look at the new units)

Prologue

I feel the dialogue at the start between mage dude and healer number 1 is a bit disingenuous. It gives the impression they'll come out on their own when you need to use a unit to get them. I haven't extensively tested that, but it still could use some rewording. The chapter as a whole is nicely designed, although it really feels like the bottom was flooded with enemies while the sides didn't get much. The inner village could use a bit of reordering to make a more conducive map to move around in. I get that houses should feel somewhat out of the way and a challenge to get to all of them, except that the house with mage dude and healer num 1 isn't in the best position. Due to the nature of this map, you want to focus more on choke points, and choking a point with a mage when that's all you have due to the fighter/myrmadon getting said mage isn't the best thing in the world. Also, the thief AI is annoying with it's stealing of items. It should be made that killing them gives back the item, which makes it much less annoying.

As for the units, they were all decent. The healer is a healer. The problem with Mage dude being slow is that he has poor defenses and low hp without the ability to dodge tank like Myrmadon dude. And he isn't really a magic nuke to make up for it. Maybe I just need to get into the game more, but 3 speed at base is pitiful. He is on the same level as Bartre with that. Fighter chick is fine, I was annoyed at her squishiness, but then I remembered she's a fighter. Myrmadon dude is a typical myr-bro. I agree that his hp is too low. Even with a dracoshield he still gets 4 shot by most enemies, and with the quantity of them, it's very likely that he'll die.

Oh, I almost forgot to comment on their growth rates. First of all, why is the healer just better at everything than the mage? She's only 10 behind in hp, and 15 behind in def, while being way ahead in everything else. With the increased staff growth, she is going to easily outlevel him and be a way better unit. And why are there so many 42% growths? Just make it a clean number, bump those up to 45% for simplicity's sake. Another issue with the starting roster is the lack of a good tank. Fighter dies in 3-4 hits, Myr dies in 3-4 with stat boosters and 2-3 without, Mage and cleric in 2 hits. With the amount of enemies, we're burning through vulneraries. And having two healers is a band-aid solution, since they're still vulnerable.

Chapter 1

I didn't struggle with this map as much as Von did, but this was an incredibly annoying map, and I think it should be put later into the hack when you have more options. For one, the reinforcements are annoying in a very bad way. The way the map is initially layed out, you want Fighter chick to handle the right, due to the appearance of the swordreaver and the amount of lances, and then have your other units take care of the left side and bottom right. Then the reinforcements arrive and then you want the opposite, with Tenn (finally remembered his name, I'm really bad at remembering character names) handling the right because of the axe-reaver and abundance of sword enemies. And then the chest. It was super underwhelming. In this life or death situation I finally got a unit to the chest mid-battle thinking it would give me something that would change the tides and give me the upper hand, and I got a thunder tome. That doesn't help me at all. The mage doing three more damage doesn't one shot anyone now, and it won't help him one round with his awful speed. And then the second wave of reinforcements came, and they were no different from the first. I was pretty bored at this point, since I had to keep retrying different little movements until I could survive the enemy phase, and then there would be more reinforcements and blah. Two rounds of the same reinforcements is just dull and redundant. The boss is stupid easy, some of the other goons would've survived longer than him.

What I noted of Chapter 2

First, hi Neimi. I assume that's just a placeholder, so I won't harp on the reuse of sprites. What I will harp on for now is the appearance of a second healer. He should've been a cavalier imo. At this point in the game, a second healer is just too much to handle. Healers are backline units, now we have 3 backline unit, 2 frontline units, and a mage who can be part of both, but he can't frontline for more than a turn without assistance. If curly hair was a cav, then he would serve as a suitable frontliner to protect the backline. Then we would have 2 backliners, 3 frontliners, and the midliner of a mage.

I'll play this chapter and the rest later

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So here is a link to a Discord server where you can talk about what you think I should change, and possibly contribute if you so choose

https://discord.gg/KHj4px

Also, yeah, as I mentioned in the notes, I did reuse a few mugs, but they are just placeholders. As for Schall, it's against how I designed him as a character to be a fighter. After that chapter, you recruit two more frontline units and a second mage, so that should help you, Darth

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This demo is no longer up to date. I appreciate all the feedback I've gotten, whether here, on the Discord server, or on other platforms, but I no longer need critique for this demo. Hopefully a new, rebalanced demo will be released publicly in the future, with added chapters and less bugs. I'll leave this demo up if anyone wants to try it in its... er... rawest form, but just keep in mind that this version is completely obsolete and commenting your critique likely won't give me anything new to consider.

Also join the Discord if you want to test the latest released version, just make sure that afterwards you tell me any bugs, balancing issues, gameplay issues, etc., that you encountered while playing it. The link is updated

https://discord.gg/Kx9Wx9A <- Updated Discord link

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