With Elibian Nights winding down its development, I thought I'd take the time to reflect on some gameplay concepts that haven't seen fruition. There's always a chance I could come back and add them, but after the v6 release I'm essentially calling it a finished product. Still, here's four ideas I thought I'd share.
Enemies with Supports
Here's a concept I've been kicking around for quite some time; a modification of the support system. Although the headliner says "enemies with supports," that's only part of the idea. Supports were nerfed by Elibian Nights's structuring; basically it's just a set stat boost for certain units. Enemies with supports would mean that enemies fight better when they're grouped together with other enemies. They'd most often support units of their same type.
The obstacles? First off, I'd need a way to assign each generic enemy a random affinity. That's a major ASM hack in its own right. In addition to that, it'd be nice to disable the supports/weapon level screen for enemies, FE6-style (listing the generic supports would look tacky, in my opinion).
On the player side, I also planned to introduce unreciprocated supports. Basically, it turns some supports into a one-sided boost, rather than a mutually beneficial relation. We could also, for example, give Rebecca a B-rank with Lowen, and Lowen an A-rank with Rebecca, introducing another element with varying levels of support between units. The new system would remove the cap on supports (I'm assuming this would also be a challenging ASM hack), and perhaps even introduce the ability to have support conversations mid-chapter.
Actually Using Shops
This is more along the lines of something I wish I'd done. The only shops in Elibian Nights are gags; one sells only bronze weaponry, the other sells an overpriced Vulnerary (it's an FE5 reference). With a small ASM hack, I could set a certain amount of gold for tales with shops. It'd then be up to the player to spend that money wisely, using a limited source of money to acquire more items. It even opens up the possibility of a pay-to-recruit type character, which might mean choosing between a Killer Lance for Oswin or an additional ally for the party. It adds another layer of choices and strategizing that would be nice to see.
The more I think about this, the more likely I am to just do it. This might still make it into the final release.
If I had the time to develop it, I would add four modes of difficulty. The current patch would be a normal mode difficulty (though I might nerf some maps for normal and leave them intact for harder modes), with the addition of an easy, hard and maniac mode. The difficulty would be changed by waiting on the center tile of the tale select, and would cycle through them. The color of the tale select map would change to reflect your current mode; blue for easy, green for normal, red for hard, and white for maniac.
This is perhaps the least likely idea to come true, but I've always thought that the hack's structure would lend itself well to a scoring system. At the end of FE7 your entire run is scored; I'm thinking of a map-by-map scoring, where it adds up your points at the end of each tale. It'd add some replay value for those interested in beating their scores, and could also tandem well with varying levels of difficulty. Imagine something like Kid Icarus: Uprising, where the game recommends a difficulty mode for you based on past performances (i.e., your scores).
Another variation of the idea I have would assign a letter grade, with the GPA determining your difficulty. A's would put you in maniac, B's in hard, C's in normal, and D/F's in easy. You'd be free to play any mode desired, of course, but it would recommend what you ought to be playing at.