The beginning chapters really aren't that bad, but they're going to be a pain in the butt if your only point of reference is the preceding game Path of Radiance
. This game, even on easy mode, is far more difficult than the predecessor. Since this is a draft run, I'm not going to focus too much on the story or the different maps. If you want an in-depth analysis of either, I would advise either a different liveblog, or (better still) playing the game for yourself. This liveblog is going to be pretty barebones, focusing on unit statistics, general strategies, and turncounts, in the (vague) hope that I can beat out my competitors.
1-P is pretty straightforward. I feed kills to Micaiah to get her level up. Unlike most of the other protagonists in this series, Micaiah is both a mage and very much a Glass Cannon
. She's starting out with only 17 HP and 2 defense, which means just about everything kills her in two hits. Fortunately, being a mage means she can attack at range (avoiding counterattacks), and being the protagonist means she'll soon get a weapon specific to herself (not usable by other units) that is pretty powerful for this point in the game.
1-1 is a bit more difficult. Since Nolan is neither a drafted unit nor free, I have to make sure that he basically does nothing (but shoving is acceptable by the agreed upon rules). I was able to visit both houses and still clear the map in 5 turns. I think 4 is possible if I don't visit the first house, but seeing as though I've already moved on, well... I'm not going to worry too much about it.
1-2 is a pain in the rear. I have to do this map with just Sothe and Micaiah, since Leonardo and Eddie are no longer free at this point. I had Micaiah go up the ledge to attack the unit there, and had the other units get out of range. Micaiah eats a hit on the enemy phase, the unit to the right moves toward the party. Thanks to some rescuing and careful movement, the party gets up to block the ledge, Micaiah rains light magic on the hapless soldier, and Sothe shows up to clear the map in 8 turns. Even got all the items, too. :D
1-3 gives me Ilyana, who I'm counting on to pull a lot of weight in this playthrough. Though she lacks power (mages aren't great in this game), she has the best availability by a long shot, and she's more than welcome here. I try to make sure that Micaiah and Ilyana are getting enough kills here, and Sothe uses the Bronze Knife to prevent criticals and weaken enemies, though he's still one-shotting most things at this point in the game. This will eventually change. It's a 6-turn clear here, thanks to a lot of shoving the girls around (apparently, the guys can't get enough of them - Sothe is jealous that he has to fight).
1-4 is the first chance to use the base. Ilyana gets a nice forged Thunder Tome (+3 MT, +15 Hit, +6 critical). Sothe gets the Beastslayer, which will be used to take out the bosses here. Strategy is pretty simple - ranged attacks (mostly magic) and the Beastslayer. They hit hard, but don't last too long either. 7 turns here. Would have liked to do it in 6, but luck was not on my side. No penalties either, so I'm at 31 turns total and about halfway through the first part of the game.