Fire Emblem: Three Houses details - classes, characters, mechanics, and more
Nintendo has just dropped a ton of info about the upcoming Fire Emblem: Three Houses in a six page spread in Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu. A ton of Fire Emblem community members came together to translate the article, along with a few extra pieces of information dripped from Nintendo’s official websites and stores. Major thanks go to Cake_Attack and RightLeft on Reddit, and BlackKite on Twitter for kicking off the translation work. Further thanks go out to the Serenes Forest Fire Emblem community who poured over all this information, word by word, and frame by frame.
So let’s run down all the new info, as well as some of the old info that we speculated about that now appears to be confirmed.
The Three Houses
While we were first introduced to the three houses in the last few trailers, the Famitsu piece gave us a deeper look into their mechanical differences. You will have to choose to ally yourself with one of the Three Houses at some point in the game, and each house will gain access to characters with certain aptitudes.
Edlegard, the princess of the Adrestian Empire, and her Black Eagles, have access to people who are more skilled in magic than weapons. If we follow the traditional Fire Emblem stat layout, this means they may have high Mag and Res stats, which govern magical damage and magical defense/healing capability respectively.
Dimitri, Prince of the Holy Kingdom of Faerghus, and head of the Blue Lions, has access to students proficient in spears. However, that seems to only be part of the story. The Kingdom of Faerghus is also known for its knights and mounted cavalry. This means that Dimitri also might get mobility bonuses and, if we were relating this to the original Fire Emblem stat spread, his units might excel in Atk and Def which govern physical attack power and defense respectively.
Claude, heir to the Leicester Alliance, and leader of the Golden Deer, has access to units that are better with bows than melee weapons. This might allude to his characters having high speed, which governs dodges and double hits, and skill, which governs hit rate and crit chance. Despite the description as a bow favoring house, this might mean that the Golden Deer are the house to choose if you are going to assassin style crit builds.
The Professor Level system
Professor Levels (likely to be renamed in the English release) replace weapon levels in Fire Emblem: Three Houses, and they determine how skilled your character is in certain fighting arts. Every character will have a rating in five weapon levels (Sword, Lance, Axe, Bow, and Fist), two magic levels (Reason and Faith ) and three mobility levels (Heavy Armor, Riding, and Flying). There is also another level in Authority, which might be required for learning special skills or for changing into high level classes.
Professor Levels will grow as you use certain weapons and skills in battle. Their growth rates will receive certain bonuses depending on each individual character’s talents, strengths, and weaknesses, the Professor Levels you specifically assign them to focus on, and what class they are currently in. Characters will come with preset goals for study which synergize with their own talents, though you can always choose to create a custom focus for them, in order to raise the Professor Levels you want.
Characters appear to gain EXP in a variety of different areas. They will have their personal level, professor level, an EXP bar that fills until individual classes level, and an XP bar for their battalion. Outside of actual battles, you can have your students take place in mock battles at the academy to raise their EXP. You also appear to be able to grant your students XP via one on one tutoring.
The class system
The class system has changed quite a bit from previous Fire Emblem titles. Units tend to start as either a Noble or Commoner class. These classes have a pretty neutral stat spread and can use basic weapons of all types including magic.
Upon reaching level five, units will be able to take class promotion exams. These exams have a random chance to succeed based on their professor levels, stats, level, and aptitudes that may make the characters more suited to certain classes. You will need to spend an exam pass to attempt to take a class promotion exam, but if your unit succeeds they will be able to access that class whenever they like. Unlike previous Fire Emblem games, characters in Three Houses can switch between classes whenever they like, without resetting to level one.
This appears to make the class system more similar to Final Fantasy Tactics, allowing unit to class around, raise their stats, unlock skills, and eventually unlock higher classes. While classes don’t determine what weapons you can use, they do let you learn unique skills which will make you better with certain weapons, and will allow your Professor Levels to raise quicker in certain areas. Some of the basic skills are proficiencies, which increase your hit, avoid, and critical evade when equipped with certain weapons, breakers, which increase your hit and avoid when your foe is equipped with certain weapons, and unique skills like Close Counter, which allows ranged Bow units to counter attack at close range.
Several classes have been revealed so far including:
Commoner/Noble – Basic class that everyone starts as with relatively even stats and aptitudes.
Myrmidon – A sword specializing class that focuses on speed and evasion.
Soldier – A lance infantry class focused on attack and defense.
Fighter – An axe, bow, and fist specialized class. It’s unclear which weapon its stats are focused on.
Monk – A basic mage who can cast from three types of magic. (Note, two of these magic types are folded into “Reason” magic, while the third is “Faith” magic.)
Infantry classes appear to have a base movement of four. We haven’t yet seen the movement range of other units.
The Main Character
As revealed in previous trailers, the main character will be a mercenary that eventually takes up a job at Garreg Mach monastery in order to train the young students of one of the three houses. The main character will participate in some battles, and will take the role of a tactician in others.
Players will be able to choose either a male or female main character but it’s unclear whether or not they will have many customization options. The main character’s default name is Byleth.
Sothis is our tropey dragon girl du jour. While she looks young, she speaks like an old woman and refers to herself as an ancient being. Also she has AMNESIA! She’s invisible to everyone except the main character, and has some tie to the Church of Seiros. No one but the main character can see her. She has the ability of Skyrending Pulse (likely to be renamed in the English translation) which works like Milla’s Turnwheel in Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia. It will allow you to turn back time with limited charges to avoid death or redo attacks.
We now know a few things about the way battles will progress. As is the case with standard Fire Emblem, player will be able to see ally and enemy movement and attack ranges on the map, as well as ally and enemy stats before an attack. However, Three Houses will also include “threat lines” which will show which character enemy units will attempt to attack and move toward.
In addition, the Famitsu article showed off some special types of terrain. Forests will give you bonuses to defense and dodge, restoration tiles will heal you when you stand on them, and warp tiles will teleport you to another section of the map.
Weapon durability also seems to make a return in Three Houses, however character inventory is vastly expanded, allowing them to carry several weapons at once. In addition, it appears as if you can cast magic without equipping tomes, though doing so will increase its power. This might also mean that you can attack without a weapon equipped as well (which may be what the “fist” skill is used for.)
Characters will also have access to special combat skills similar to Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia. It’s unclear whether these skills, called Combat Arts, will cost a resource, like HP. However, one example shown is the ability for melee units to boost their attack range by one square for one turn.
While the team-up system appears to be gone, a new system called “gambits” seems to take its place. Gambits allow you to coordinate your attacks on an enemy with another friendly unit, and these coordinated attacks may increase in power with units that have raised their relationship levels outside battle.
At the start of the game, players will have access to two difficulties: normal and hard. In addition they will be given two levels of permadeath: classic and casual. It’s unclear if further difficulties will be unlocked as you play the game.
Fire Emblem: Three Houses is scheduled to release on July 26th for Nintendo Switch, and we’ll keep you posted as we learn more.