I've been playing video games since the tender age of four. As a result, most of my articles are related to video games.
If you have stumbled upon this article, you are probably looking for ways to grind in Fire Emblem: Awakening. This iteration of the Fire Emblem franchise has opened the door for more casual players thanks to the relative ease of grinding (for those who wish to do so), and casual mode (which turns off permadeath for units in your army; lost units revive at the end of the battle).
This article is going to list a variety of ways one can grind in Fire Emblem: Awakening and will give tips and tricks for exploiting both the ways the game gives you for free and those you must purchase with real money (aka downloadable content maps).
So, let's get going!
Free Methods of Grinding in Fire Emblem: Awakening
Note: By free, I mean that you don't have to pay real money to unlock these methods of grinding. Some of these methods cost in-game gold, so that's why I'm clarifying.
Random Risen Encounters
After you beat a chapter (I've also seen the occasional encounter when the day changes on the 3DS internal clock), a random number of Risen teams spawn in random areas you have already completed.
A lot of these random teams have one or two units (sometimes three) that are holding a Small Bullion (Bullion [S] as displayed in-game). Small Bullion sells for 1000 gold per unit, so you stand to make around 2000 gold per encounter, on average.
Also, you tend to be able to loot the weapon off of the boss Risen in said encounters so you get a free weapon out of the deal as well. Later in the game, this may mean a free Silver weapon or ranged weapon, such as a Hand Axe or Short Spear.
On certain rare occasions, you will not be able to loot the boss' weapon. In those outlier cases, the boss will probably be holding a permanent stat boost item or a Seal (Second Seal or Master Seal). The former case is more valuable than the weapon and, depending on your opinion, the latter case is probably more valuable as well.
Spawned Risen Encounters
The direct sibling of the random Risen Encounters, you can force a Risen team to spawn by buying and using a Reeking Box. Since the cost of Reeking Boxes is 4800 Gold at any difficulty above Normal, this is obviously only abusable at Normal. To the best of my knowledge, these Risen encounters play out in the same exact way as the random encounters.
In some maps (well, to be blunt, most maps after a certain point the game), the enemies will muster reinforcements that will appear either from off-map or from forts on the actual map at pre-determined turns as determined by the chapter.
Obviously, this is a bit reliant on meta-knowledge, but if you know when and where reinforcements will spawn, you can engineer situations where your units that require experience are close to the spawn points (but, if you're playing at a difficulty over Normal, not so close since reinforcements can move on the turn they spawn at higher difficulties). Since some maps have reinforcements that keep spawning for over five turns, this can be a potential stream of massive extra experience.
Fire Emblem: Awakening has two types of bosses: Stationary bosses and mobile bosses. As you may infer from my descriptive phrases, one type of boss moves while the other stays still at their starting square until you deign to face him/her in bloody battle. Stationary bosses are really easy to abuse: Just have your units with the most Defense (or Resistance in the case of tome-wielding bosses) plant themselves in front of the boss and take off their weapons.
Just let the boss smack your unit around until their weapon or tome breaks. Then, you just have your underleveled units smack the boss around until the boss bites the dust. This obviously works better if the boss is standing on a tile that gives HP regeneration such as a throne or a gate.
Note: This section about boss abuse may be unusable on Lunatic, after further investigation. I baited the Chapter 1 boss on top of a Fort and had him waste his Short Axe. As I attacked him with my weaker units, they started getting less and less experience each turn until, finally, they stopped getting experience. It seems that Awakening has an anti-grind mechanic in place to prevent such shenanigans with unarmed enemy units (this has only been noted at Lunatic, but you shouldn't need to boss abuse to grind at lower difficulties, so the point is relatively moot).
A corollary to the above-mentioned abuse works when you substitute a boss with a normal unit and a healer unit. Just let the normal unit fight until they break their weapon and then attack them. The healer will likely move in to heal the damaged ally. Rinse, lather and repeat until the healer's staff breaks and then finish both of the units off for the last bit of extra experience.
Using SpotPass, you can download extra free content, such as a series of free maps that are unlocked before the final storyline map and extra downloadable teams that will appear on the map at a random spot, much like Risen teams. Pick the team of your choice and spawn them in your world. Then go beat them down for experience. (After winning such a battle, you can recruit the enemy team's leader, if you're so inclined).
Paid Methods of Grinding in Fire Emblem: Awakening
Note: Paid methods of grinding are basically a single type: Downloadable content maps. They are termed in that way since they require you to purchase them with real money (until March 5th, 2013, the very first DLC map "Champions of Yore 1" is completely free). In North America (and presumably, Europe once FE: Awakening is released over there), you can buy bundles of three maps for 6.00 USD (each individual map is 2.50 USD, so you get an overall discount of 1.50 USD if you purchase maps in this manner).
The developers of Fire Emblem: Awakening have three maps that allow you to completely break the game on your knee, in terms of trivializing your in-game experience. Since abuse of these grind-friendly maps can potentially ruin the challenge of your storyline run, I recommend you play them as sparsely as possible (in fact, I only played each map once during my initial playthrough to be able to write about them; you'll understand the gravity of how abusive these maps are once you read below).
The Golden Gaffe: Xenologue 4
Pre-Chapter Description: In this map, the bumbling duo Vincent and Victor make another appearance (after having been utterly humiliated in Paralogue chapters 2 and 3 by Chrom's army). They have heard about a group of Risen who have acquired a large sum of gold from certain sources, and they intend to get rich off of their lucky circumstance. Chrom overhears the conversation and is promptly notified by Lissa and Frederick that they (Chrom's group, not the bumbling duo) have been robbed by said Risen. Once Chrom realizes the amount of gold the Risen has acquired, he makes to chastise them. The mission begins there.
This is the first of three special grind maps that have been released for Fire Emblem: Awakening. In this case, and as you have already read, this map was created to allow the player to grind gold. Over 50,000 of the precious metal, to be precise. The gold is spread between the Risen mentioned in the above description. Each unit holds a variable amount of gold, based on its overall danger level. So, the weakest units (Level 1 Barbarians and Thieves) carry between 1,000G and 3,000G, while the strongest units (promoted Sorcerers and Tricksters) carry between 5,000G and 7,000G.
Note: When you kill a unit on this map, the gold is deposited directly into your treasury. This is a deviation from the standard Fire Emblem practice of having enemy units carry Bullion of differing sizes that you can sell to make a pre-determined amount of gold.
What Exactly Makes This Map so Abusable?
The enemy units do not attack. You read that correctly: The enemy units do not attack! Sure, they'll counterattack if you attack them because they're armed (and, in fact, attacking the strongest enemies on this map will probably be fatal for your weaker units). But, their objective is to leave the map as soon as possible and try to limit your profits by escaping with the gold. This also makes this map a fair way of grinding experience.
Of course, the main purpose of this map is gold grinding (experience grinding is covered in the next map of the bundle, to be released on the week of 2/21/2013). So, the gold you get here is practically as free as it will ever be.
(Then again, you did pay at least 2 USD, so perhaps it's not that free...)
Post-Map Description: Lissa and Frederick talk to Chrom to recover their stolen money. However, Chrom quickly realizes that basically the entirety of the gold they have acquired during this run doesn't actually belong to the Ylissean Guard! For the curious, Lissa lost 3 gold and Frederick lost 17 gold. (The rest of the gold belonged to the bandit twins, who didn't realize that they had gotten robbed and were inadvertently going to end up taking their money back).
(On an off-topic note, makes you wonder how the heck average Joes can fund their equipment outside of being a member of an army if Lissa was making such a big deal about Frederick's "giant nest egg" of 17 gold, and you make infinitely more than that over the course of even a normal, no-grind, Fire Emblem: Awakening run).
EXPonential Growth: Xenologue 5
Pre-Chapter Description: In this map, an Anna from an alternate world beckons Chrom to defeat the Entombed eating an underground village's vegetable crops (yeah, I don't know either; only Anna really knows and she ain't telling). Said Anna talks in a fake French (you know, if France actually existed in the Fire Emblem universe) accent for most of the conversation, and then reveals that she is capable of talking in unaccented English. So, it's up to Chrom and up to five of your most experience-hungry units to take out as many Entombed as possible.
This is the second of three special grind maps that have been released for Fire Emblem: Awakening. In this case, and as you may suspect, this map was created with the intent of allowing the player to grind experience. All of the enemies present on the map are Entombed, which gives the most experience of any Risen unit, pound for pound. They have extremely low stats for their level (in fact, their only stat that is roughly level-appropriate happens to be their Luck, which is equal to their level).
What Exactly Makes This Map so Abusable?
The enemy units do not attack. You read that correctly: The enemy units do not attack! Sure, they'll counterattack if you attack them at melee range (be especially careful of the Level 30 Entombed units with Counter). However, their real objective is to leave the map as soon as possible and try to limit your experience gains by getting away. This makes this map the fastest way in Fire Emblem: Awakening to grind out levels for any underleveled units you may have in your army. This is the easiest experience that you will ever get in Awakening, so cherish it!
(Especially considering that you did pay at least 2 USD...)
Elialeh, Tactician of Lycia also suggested that I note that enemy stats in this Xenologue do not scale based on the difficulty. So, once you unlock the Outrealm Gate in your higher-difficulty run, you will be just as able to grind on this map as in any lesser difficulty!
Post-Map Description: Anna thanks Chrom for a job well-done and Chrom remarks on the fact that his army and himself were able to get experience. However, you do not get any additional rewards for completing the map (although who can complain after all of that free experience?).
Infinite Regalia: Xenologue 6
Pre-Chapter Description: In this map, Chrom's army stumbles upon a lost tomb guarded by 36 of the world's strongest Warlords, who have become Risen to persist in their mission to protect the Regalia in three chests.
This is the last of three special grind maps that have been released for Fire Emblem: Awakening. This map was created with the intent of allowing the player to get as many legendary weapons as they could ever want. Each of the chests has a random legendary weapon, so you will have to do the map many times to get every possible legendary weapon.
It is only fair to note that this map is actually meant more for those who are approaching their maximum stat caps and have good gear already since each of the Risen Warlords is themselves wielding a Legendary weapon (and some of them are quite nasty). Rushing in with an inexperienced party, assuming a repeat of the first two maps will likely face a horrible fate.
Below you will find a table listing every possible legendary weapon that can spawn in each of the chests.
List of Possible Legendary Weapons Obtainable Via Chests
Book of Naga
Post-Map Description: The Risen Warlords hand Chrom a Silver Card (halves the cost of buying items in shops) and proceed to let his army leave, with one condition: That they visit again sometime. Despite their own protestations to the contrary, it would seem these particular Risen are lonely.
While the Golden Bundle as mentioned above is the most efficient way to grind in Fire Emblem: Awakening, as long as you own at least one DLC map, you have an infinitely recurring way to grind gold, experience, and items. Just make sure you don't inadvertently spoil your own game by abusing these maps!
As you can see, Fire Emblem: Awakening has opened up the franchise to the masses by allowing people who may not be as hardcore (in terms of strategy RPGs) to enjoy the game at their own pace. Whether you like to grind or not, Awakening now has something for everyone.
Feel free to discuss any grinding strategies I may have missed in this article in the comments section. Also, feel free to vote in the poll in the sidebar of this section.
Until the next time, take care and have fun! ;)
FE11 on June 09, 2013:
Awesome job, man. And, hey, i need all that money! You try beating paralouge 23 without at least ten level 20 dlc guys. Anywho, you forgot about the 4 thieves who can steal the weapons if you don't smack them with mire, and you get an enherjar eldigan in infinite regalia
Silva on June 05, 2013:
In any case, grinding has been simple on normal mode, given the reeking box costs 500 and each encounter could reward you with a few bullions worth 1000. You actually PROFIT in this sense. As for the xp gain, I just grind at the paralogue at the top right of the map. (before the child paralogue) or in the Tiki paralogue. The enemies come in vast proportions, and give a strong chance of Golden Risen(usually lvls your unit with 100 xp at low levels)appearing. Although when I grind, its usually for supports, but the sparkly things are easy to get to.
GFoppy on March 15, 2013:
The DLC grinding maps pretty much make Lunatic mode quite trivial after Chapter 4 once you get access to the Outrealm Gate. It instantly solves the problem of relying too much on Frederick in Lunatic and having him leech all the party XP.
Darrin Perez (author) from Puerto Rico on March 14, 2013:
Hello there Elialeh!
I strive to entertain (and teach, and write), so I'm glad that you enjoyed my comments so much! :D
Your suggested addition sounds like something good to note, so I'll add it in as soon as possible!
Thank you for reading and for your praise! It is much appreciated! :)
Elialeh, Tactician of Lycia on March 14, 2013:
Winterfate, thank you so much for spreading the word about this game, and especially giving a rather humorous overview of the DLC maps.
I enjoyed reading this, and it undoubtedly reinforced my conviction to purchase the DLC--after all, it's the only reliable way to grind on modes higher than Normal.
If I may suggest an addition, it would only be to note that these chapters (to the best of my knowledge; I may very well be wrong) do not--yes, DO NOT--scale in difficulty. Which means that once Chapter 5 is unlocked, even on Lunatic mode, any player has access to the infinite-experience system that allows Awakening to have, as you noted, such widespread appeal and awesomeness (mostly the awesomeness).
So again, thank you so much! Your comments were hilarious!
--Elialeh, Tactician of Lycia
(Lucina x Gerome is best shipping because DAT MASK)
(Also, Aversa!Morgan (F)!Sage is best unit. Because Shadowgift, Armsthrift, Limit Breaker, Galeforce, and either Ignis or Lethality is just too overpowered to even stoop so low as to merely wreck faces.)