Everyone feels like archers are always the crappiest unit of FE... Mages can do what they do but can attack one space away as well, and pretty much archers are mainly good for shutting down pegasus knights (and their promotions) due to low def and high res... otherwise they're mostly useless against everything else. And longbows are rather rare.
A simple way to fix them is this:
2: At two spaces away, achers are the same as always (their natural range)
1: Archers can technically fight melee, although they'd suck. When fighting enemies one space away, they can attack and counter, but their speed will be 1/4 and HIT will be 75%. The enemy will pretty much always double (as it should be, considering how disadvantageous it is for the archer), and it's harder for the archer to hit... but if your unit is strong enough, he can still pull of some Legolas moves against weaker enemies. Some weapons (crossbows) can negate some of the melee penalties, but at the expense of longer range (see below)
3: Archers are supposed to be about range. When hitting enemies 3 tiles away, their HIT is cut by 50%. Some weapons (longbow) can increase the accuracy at far range, but at the expense of melee functionality.
Everything else about them can stay the same, but just giving them options at 1 tile and 3 tiles make them a lot more versatile and a stronger case to use them over melee and magic units. Maybe with the sniper, he can get a 4-tile attack range (lv 15 skill?) with HIT cut down to 33%.
There was a 1-2 range bow late in the game, with snipers having a passive that increases ranges of 2 to 3, but -30% hit at anything but 2 range, unless using an actual longbow (I forget if Longbow + Sniper went to 4 range or not))
That and they had a proc skill that could put an enemy to sleep while doing critical-level damage. But ALL the RD procs were broken. Astra hitting at full damage, anyone?
PSN: Ranylyn. Mass Effect 3 Adept/Sentinel/Engineer Currently Playing: Fire Emblem Awakening. Tactician: Ranylyn
It still sounds like id never use archers XD maybe if they had increased dodge at melee range whether they could attack or not. Or if they let bow knights auto switch to swords when attacked at melee range and auto switch back to bows if attacked at a distance (or even just the auto switch to swords).
Though the numbers are slightly arbitrary. I didn't realize how the RD snipers worked (been too long since I played), but that's pretty much similar to my idea, with the HIT reduction for longer range. I guess the main difference would be that in my idea, archers would already have an innate max range of 3 tiles, while upgrading to a snipers would allow them to reach 4 tiles. In RD it's a max of 2, upgraded to 3.