I am serious about my Fire Emblem. So serious that on the classic games, where there’s only permadeath, I take about 50 hours to play because I will not allow any units to die and the moment anyone falls, the battle is restarted. I figured I’d be fine with Fire Emblem: Awakening due to the casual option that prevents characters from dying for good if they fall in battle, but I was wrong. I’ve ruined my Fire Emblem: Awakening game, in which I’ve invested 26 hours and 23 minutes, because of Donnel.
See, Donny is the “joke” character, except I learned to late that he’s really not. He’s a villager you can recruit in a side quest. He’s comic relief. He’s a farmer’s son who goes around wearing a pot on his head and is practically useless (initially). He won’t even join during the side quest unless you get him to level up during it. Simply put, he’s a great big pain in the butt. I recruited him for completion’s sake, toyed with pairing him up with Cordelia, then married off Cordelia to someone else and left him to rot because he was too much trouble.
Then, I played the currently free DLC map Champions of Yore 1. After you beat it, you unlock a special version of Marth with special skills, one of which is Aptitude. Simply put, it guarantees the character ends up awesome because practically every stat will increase when he levels up. I figured it sounded awesome and decided to investigate Aptitude further.
It’s then that I learned Donny has it. Furthermore, if Donny is married then his child can inherit it. Which means I have missed out on a golden opportunity. I could have had not one, not two, but three characters in my party at this very moment in Fire Emblem: Awakening that are unstoppable bringers of death and destruction. Right now, I have Donny as a level 1 hero and he is easily able to clear an entire map of Risen spawned with a Reeking Box.
Which means I can’t just leave it at this. Donny is a missed opportunity of the greatest order. Here I was silly and frivilous enough to marry off my avatar to Chrom, thinking only a prince would do for her. But no, the real gem was Donny. I can’t even begin to imagine how glorious my avatar’s child would have been had he been born with Aptitude.
There’s nothing for it. I have no choice. I know what I have to do. I have to suck it up. I’m only at Chapter 14 anyway. The game’s story has just reached the halfway point. Less so, since I plan on picking up any and all Fire Emblem: Awakening DLC. It doesn’t matter that I can still have three unstoppable units in my army once the Border Between Life and Death DLC that adds Est to the party is released, but still. I’ll know I messed up, and I just can’t proceed in the game without fixing it.
Call it ridiculous. It is. I’m not playing on any advanced difficulty. I decided my first Fire Emblem: Awakening run would be completely casual. Normal difficulty level and no permanent deaths for me. Everybody lives. I just wanted to have fun, but I can’t help thinking how much more fun it would be if I had taken advantage of every opportunity.
It says a lot about the game, I think. Fire Emblem: Awakening gets to you. So much planning is required, that any missed opportunity leaves a player wondering what if. Do I pursue the Dark Flier path for my Pegasus Knight so they learn Gale Force, and then shift them to Falcon Knights for the stave usage in the end game? Should I send my Avatar down the Sorcerer path first, to get the Vengeance skill, or go for the Dark Knight because it also uses swords and tomes? Marriages aren’t just about what Support conversations are best for the advanced players. They’re instead about the inherited skills that the children will receive.
I suppose the only solace I can take is that I’m not alone. I’m sure other Fire Emblem: Awakening players are out there, also restarting their games, because they too overlooked Donnel and now realize what a crucial character he is. My only hope is that by writing this, I’m helping others realize Donny’s potential before it’s too late so they don’t make the same mistakes I did.
Also, before you depart for other Fire Emblem: Awakening articles on the internet, let me impart one final piece of wisdom. Kellam can use a Second Seal to become a thief, and he can be one of the strongest thieves in the game. I’ll leave it at that.
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