Information about Side Quests in Fire Emblem Three Hopes, including what are Side Quests, how to start them, and how they differ from Main Quests.
What are Side Quests in Fire Emblem Three Hopes?
Once you reach Chapter 4 you’ll be introduced to two new features which will be major aspects of the game going forward: the Base Camp and the War Map. While the Base Camp contains various facilities and services that’ll help you empower your characters off the battlefield, the War Map is where you’ll put all the gains made in the Base Camp to use by engaging in battle.
In each Chapter the War Map will consist of several highlighted regions overlying a map area. Each region features either a Side Quest (marked by large silver icons) or a Main Quest (marked by a huge golden icon), the latter of which is situated opposite your Base Camp. You can only engage with Side Quests or Main Quests in regions that are adjacent to your Base Camp or to a captured region, thus the goal of each Chapter is to capture regions starting from your Base Camp en route to the region where the Main Quest battle is. Clear the Main Quest battle and you’ll end the Chapter, so be sure to complete as many Side Quest battles, conquer regions and explore Surveying Spots before you do.
Differences Between Side Quest and Main Quests
In most respects, Side Quest battles are merely smaller-scale engagements compared to Main Quest battles, typically having a 5:00 - 7:00 time limit and a target of 500+ KOs to earn an S-Rank, while Main Quests generally clock in at a lengthier 15:00 - 20:00 time limit and require you to score 1200 - 1800 KO requirement to S-Rank.
Side Quests and Main Quests typically allow you to deploy four primary characters, all of which can be directly controlled, but Main Quests additionally tend to allow you to field four secondary characters, who can only be issued commands via the Battle Map, otherwise being relegated to AI control. Given the smaller scale of Side Quests, you probably won’t miss the extra secondary units, and the smaller size of Side Quest battle maps generally means you’ll be dealing with fewer enemies and a less complex array of objectives in the form of Main Missions and Side Missions. You also don’t have to worry about [Strategies], as they only apply to Main Quest battles, and hence you don’t have to fret over recruiting enemy generals in Side Quests. If you see a unique, named general in a Side Quest (an uncommon occurrence, compared to Main Quests), you don’t need to hold back - they’ll often retreat instead of being killed.
Rewards for Capturing Regions
Reaching and completing the Main Quest battle is the goal of each Chapter, and it’s how you progress the main questline, but Side Quests are more than mere obligatory stepping stones along the way - they’re valuable sources of rewards in their own right and the sheer number of Side Quest battles you’ll have to play in each Chapter makes Side Quests the bread-and-butter gameplay component of Three Hopes.
Clearing a Side Quest will earn you a First Clear Bonus as well as potentially rewarding you with an S-Rank reward, and these can range from gold, to replenished Activity Points and Training Points, to weapons and permanent stat-boosting items, making them very lucrative to clear. In addition, each region you clear will net you around ten Strategy Points, which are required to activate Strategies prior to Main Quest battles, and since Strategies include attempts to persuade enemy generals to defect to your side, they’re well worth your time. Each region you capture on the War Map is also replete with Surveying Spots, which can only be explored when you conquer said region. Surveying Spots will yield a variety of rewards when explored, often including Facility upgrade materials, ores used for repairing and forging weapons, fully functional weaponry, or more mundane resources like gold. Sometimes, however, these Surveying Spots can yield more interesting fare, including [Battalions], accessories, permanent stats or skill upgrades, morale boosts, Seals or extra Training Points and Activity Points.
There’s plenty of incentive to go out of your way completing Side Quest battles and hence capturing regions, but this is often a moot point, as most Chapters will require you to campaign through most of the highlighted regions on the World Map to reach the region housing the Main Quest icon, anyways. The only disincentive for capturing regions is Renown - the fewer regions you capture, the more Renown you’ll gain at the end of a Chapter. This seems to be a poorly thought out gameplay element, however, as the rewards for completing Side Quests typically outweighs the measly two points of Renown you’d gain for ignoring them. Often times capturing a region will yield Activity Points, which in turn can be spent Volunteering, which can yield the amount of Renown you’d have gained for skipping the region in the first place!