How Does the War Map Work in Fire Emblem Three Hopes?
Once you enter out onto the War Map in Chapter 4, you’ll find that your gameplay goals for this - and most subsequent Chapters - are defined on the War Map. Between your Base Camp and your overall Chapter objective are several regions that you must conquer sequentially en route to your objective. Each region has a large, silver icon in the middle that represents a Side Quest battle you must complete to conquer said region - these battles are usually relatively short affairs (5:00 - 7:00 minute time limit, 200 - 500 KOs required to S-Rank) that nonetheless collectively make up for a majority of the gameplay in Fire Emblem Three Hopes.
Capturing Regions in Three Hopes
After you complete the Side Quest battle in a region, you’ll conquer that region and will be able to access the Surveying Spots in said region… assuming they don’t have secondary unlock requirements, which some do. You can only invade regions adjacent to your base camp, or to another conquered region, and the War Map in most Chapters is set up to force you to progress through most regions sequentially to reach the objective - the Main Quest battle that’ll end the Chapter. Once you conquer a region adjacent to the region housing the Main Quest battle - indicated by a massive golden icon - you can attempt that Chapter’s Main Quest battle.
There is no time limit for completing a Chapter (despite what the plot may suggest), and aside from the rule that you can only invade territories adjacent to either your Base Camp or previously conquered territories, there is no required order of operations - you can attempt any region you can reach, and even skip regions if you can make it to the Main Quest battle without having to conquer said region. If you do not conquer a Side Quest region during a Chapter you’ll gain more Renown after completing that Chapter’s Main Quest battle, but since many Side Quest battles reward you with an extra Activity Point - which you can spend on Volunteering, hence earning Renown - it tends to even out. Considering you can’t collect rewards from Surveying Spots if you don’t conquer a region, it’s recommended you conquer all the regions in a Chapter in most cases - the Surveying Spots and the Side Quest rewards will usually more than make up for any lost Renown.
The only thing that’s timed are [Extra Quests], which are small-scale battles (often less involved than even Side Quest battles) that take play in Surveying Spots on generic maps. You don’t conquer any regions for completing them, but the rewards for clearing Extra Battles are often worth it - especially if [Monsters] appear in the battle, as they can reward you with several broken weapons, which can then be repaired. Broken weapon drops from monsters are one of the better sources of weapons in the game, and as a rule they’re far superior to what normal enemies drop, not to mention the junk sold by the Armorer in your Base Camp. You typically only have a few turns to reach an Extra Quest, which each battle fought ticking down the counter - plan accordingly and beeline to these optional battles if you want to clear them.
You may get some story-related cutscenes after clearing a Side Quest battle, but these almost always just update you on story developments and rarely have any bearing on how each Chapter plays out.
For more information on these War Map elements, check out the following pages:
- What are Main Quests in Fire Emblem Three Hopes?
- What are Side Quests in Fire Emblem Three Hopes?
- What are Surveying Spots in Fire Emblem Three Hopes?
- [What are Extra Quests in Fire Emblem Three Hopes?]
- [How to Unlock Paralogue Battles in Fire Emblem Three Hopes]
- How to Unlock Anna’s Shop in Three Hopes