Pokemon Grow Part MissingNo: The Long-Ass, Non-RP Version

I’ve taken the liberty of shunting all of the salt that might have otherwise been included in the previous parts to just this one page, so maybe make yourself a margarita or two before reading this.

Together Forever, No Matter How Long

The first important decision any Pokemon trainer makes in any Pokemon game is their starter.  Actually that’s not true.  You also need to name your character after yourself (or self-insert alter ego) and name your rival something childish and insulting, but after that, your most important decision is who to pick as your starter.  Some people choose whatever offers the best type advantage in the early game, some choose based on long-term competitive viability, while – as Professor Oak said himself – truly skilled trainers try to win with their favourites.

In the current system there’s really no advantage to choosing a given starter and furthermore no real reason to hold onto them beyond sentimental value.  You’ll find starters wandering around like any other uncommon (downgraded from rare, no doubt because making any Pokemon extremely rare with the current leveling system is bloody stupid), so that hardly conveys the idea that you’re supposed to be lifelong pals ready to overcome whatever the world can throw at you.  Instead, your starter is just the first in a long line of bodies you’re going to feed into the blender, which is about as un-Pokemon as Pokemon gets, unless players are actually roleplaying Team Rocket and this has been a ruse all along.

The Pokemon you choose as your starting partner should matter – REALLY matter – and generations (literally) of players have waged ironic/bitter feuds over which starter to pick and why, so taking that away from people is a direct diminishment of the Pokemon experience.  Of course, this is a byproduct of the current system slapped together by people who couldn’t be assed devising anything more lore-friendly, so if you’re going to make the choice of starter  more meaningful for your players, you need to do a hell of a rethink on how the rest of the game plays out.

Pokeball, Go!

The second quintessential Pokemon experience is capturing, and there’s more to it than just throwing a God damn ball.  Capturing in the early game was about building a workable team from humble beginnings with what you could find, while late-game captures required intense planning and preparation – both in terms of supplies and your own team – to better your odds of success.

Simply throwing ball after ball after ball and maybe the occasional berry at every random you happen to stumble upon (you can’t not, given your dependence on candy and stardust) is an insulting simplification forced onto players, or else they can’t level what few Pokemon they decide to keep.  Now that’s not to say that Niantic needed to copy over the existing system – especially seeing as combat is borked as a spork and stupid to boot – but they could have easily turned wild encounters into a game in their own right, granting players that much more satisfaction for a win (and improving the game’s profitability in the process).

I’m talking about the Safari Zone.  That thing that has featured in Pokemon games since Gen One.  Specifically, I’m talking about the idea of using bait to attract Pokemon before capturing them.  Pokemon has come along way since its first release, going so far as to acknowledge how messed up it is that wild animals are being kidnapped, imprisoned and forced to compete in violent blood sports, so this is the perfect opportunity to progress the game’s mechanics by allowing trainers to BEFRIEND wild Pokemon instead of beat them into submission.

A focus on your relationship with your Pokemon would also supplement the ongoing theme of friendship as embodied by so many of the other features that Pokemon games have built on over the years; a theme that Go has basically decided throw off a bridge tied up in a brick-filled sack.

A Global Undertaking

Whenever you release something (or plan to) on a global scale, it never hurts to create a sense of collective challenge and achievement that all players can enjoy and benefit from.  You can see Niantic trying to do that now by offering statistics on which of the three teams captured the most of a Pokemon type during that type’s spawning event, but it’s always going to be the team with the highest number of players so it’s a waste of time and everyone knows it.

On the other hand, it would take very little in the way of writing (both lore and coding) to invent an excuse to track global variables on a Pokemon-by-Pokemon basis.  In fact, I literally made one up myself.  The best part is how simple it is.  The more Pokemon people encounter and capture, the more they fill a bar. The more they fill a bar, the more lore/stat info gets officially released.  This could be as simple as an extended Pokedex entry (readable in-game and available on the Pokemon Trainer Club to reinforce the ARG aspect of your ARG) or as technical as a breakdown of a given species’ potential stat distribution and the accuracy of where these Pokemon are likely to be encountered as displayed on the map (again, on the PTC to give players an actual reason to go there because right now there really isn’t one).

Seriously, even the people who put up that free IV checker were able to display global stats for people to keep up with, so there’s really no excuse not to give people just that little bit of extra engagement to keep them invested in ongoing play.

For Fruit’s Sake

Using berries as flat capture buffs is the stupidest God-damn thing, what the hell.  Just the most unimaginative, short-sighted nonsense.  Berries represent an entire series of minigames in and of themselves – as healing items, stat controllers and affection buffs – so reducing them to a single function (one at a time no less) is another frustrating example of the game cutting off its own legs to avoid learning how to run.

I really don’t have to come up with anything on this score – the gameplay for berries already exists – I’m just suggesting that in a game where captures can be achieved through enticement, you extend the poffin meta to bait as well as food.  It’s that simple.

The PokeMart Goes Global

Obviously the idea of static locations you have to visit to purchase items isn’t viable, but that’s easily fixed from a lore-perspective.  What I don’t get is why – WHY – Niantic thought that only allowing people to buy Pokeballs was a good idea.  No great or ultra balls, no berries, no potions or revives, just God damn Pokeballs.

  1. Anyone who buys them with the premium currency is being scammed.  They literally grow on (metaphorical) trees.
  2. What the hell does anyone gain by restricting access to berries and healing items?

Having said that, I don’t have any suggestions for rebalancing the current micro-transactions.  The whole thing as it currently exists should be taken out into the desert and shot so we can start over.

I’ll happily admit that balancing premium economies is tough.  Massive studios with decades of experience have tried and failed.  But in the case of Pokemon Go, a safe philosophy to adhere to would be this:  The game should be functional without micro-transactions, which should exist as a convenience to players – not as a way to gain advantage over others.  This is easily demonstrated by the prohibiting of item use in PvP games, as otherwise those would come down to who has the most Full Restores and Max Revives stocked.  As a result, any question regarding what can and can’t be bought and how much should boil down to this:  How will this affect a player’s interaction with other players and the game world at large?

Honestly, a system similar to the current one wouldn’t be a bad thing.  I’d add in some multipliers to make selling a lot less profitable and things like Ultra balls proportionally more expensive than Pokeballs so that even late-game players would be hesitant to spam them, but in keeping with the Pokemon philosophy as outlined above, there would be nothing you could buy that would make winning easy.  Berries are about as close as you could get, but rare berries would be equally expensive and even then, the advantage of making poffins out of rare berries instead would be a moderately increased rate of affection growth.  Other than that, you’d attach an extremely high price tag to things like permanent increases to Pokemon storage space, egg incubators and berry terrariums with cheaper-but-temporary options as well.  The advantage of having these would be entirely in terms of time saved, and as always there would be no substitute for a well-raised, well-fed and well-trained team of champions.

Pokemon Spawns and Tracking

The haphazard and random way that Pokemon spawns are generated is a symptom of the greater grind built into Pokemon Go, and while I’ll cover how that can be fixed in a second, I’d like to talk about spawns first.

Something that definitely couldn’t be ported from the traditional titles to the mobile platform is the way certain Pokemon could only be found in certain parts of the world.  It’d encourage trading for sure (if and when it was implemented), but it would be unfair to anyone who couldn’t afford to trot the globe for the purpose of catching virtual animals on their phone (basically everyone).

Niantic’s solution was to just have everything spawn everywhere.  Which was stupid.  So stupid.  Just… what the hell.  I don’t care that the odds are vaguely influenced by nearby terrain, it’s stupid.

The first problem is redundancy.  Given that there’s no reliable place to search for a specific Pokemon, you’re forced just to wander around areas loosely associated with a spawn and just hope one turns up before your lunch break is over.  During that time, you’ll encounter any number of Pokemon you’ve already caught a million of, but you’ll still catch again anyway because you need stardust, candies and evolution slaves for the experience (which is disgusting).

The second problem is also redundancy, but on a bigger scale.  Now that the second generation of Pokemon has been released, the increased spawn pool means that it is 66% less likely that a given spawn will be the Pokemon you want.  While chance of a given Pokemon spawning was nominally 1/150 (obviously much slimmer for rares which you actually want), by the time the latest generation is introduced, those odds will be reduced to about 1/800 (much worse, given how many commons will be flooding the spawn table).  It becomes a self-perpetuating problem.  The reason you need loads of spawns is for candy and stardust, but the high volume of spawns make it more difficult to get the candy you need for any individual Pokemon.

What baffles the shit out of me is how Niantic didn’t see this coming, or did see it coming and didn’t care when the solution is so stupidly simple:  Rotating spawn rosters.  Day and night, winter or summer, wet or dry, hot or cold, there’s plenty of ways to isolate which Pokemon spawn at what times and both Google and our own phones actively track the variables involved.  The numbers don’t need to be accurate – hell, they could be entirely fabricated in the case of things like weather – but things like time and date are easily monitored and altering spawn frequency based on those would be easy as hell.  Bats and owls come out at night.  Plants and birds come out during the day.  It’s that simple.

Location is another thing that should be more stringently monitored – it’s just a little bit ridiculous to stumble onto a jellyfish 10km from the ocean and 500m above sea level.  I’m not entirely sure how positioning and zoning is determined in Go – I’ve seen plenty of theories, but they seem vague enough to have been made up.  Basically, just break down areas into classes like Light Urban, Dense Urban, Parks, Plains, Freshwater, Saltwater or Null and base Pokemon spawns off of those, with some leeway in all directions so people don’t have to be right on top of them.  Don’t be so specific as to rely on things like nearby universities or power plants – just zone things like in Sim City, but use a triangular hexagonal grid instead of a square one.  Or don’t.  I’ll happily admit that I know very little about what goes into implementing a GPS tracking system and recognising the types of terrain a signal happens to be near – it just looks fairly simple to me, given that the game literally does that already on the map, just with much lower accuracy.

Oh and to make things more interesting, consider this.  The game could grant full access to starters from all generations from the get-go, but the generation that your starter belongs to could determine which “version” of the game you’re playing, which likewise affects the spawns you’ll encounter.  It wouldn’t be 100% exclusionary – that would be stupid – but it would ensure that players wouldn’t be getting mobbed by every Pokemon under the sun within the first few months of gameplay.  In fact, there would be a yearly rotation of which Pokemon would be available to which version a given player owned, so that even without trading, a given player could eventually catch every single Pokemon.  It’d take years, but then if people are still playing your game years after release, that’s what I call a victory condition.

Distribution would need some fairly exhaustive work to balance properly – no individual version could be left at any significant disadvantage – but by restricting the range of Pokemon people are able to capture for themselves while still allowing them to encounter the full range of Pokemon through other trainers, players will have every reason to play consistently on a long term basis.  Additionally, the functionality of global variables as mentioned above means that the work any given player does will help players using another version when the rotation kicks in.  Implementing the full roster from day one with rotating restrictions would mean no stonewalling of evolutions without overwhelming redundancy floods.  Just something to think about.

If at First You Don’t Succeed

In addition to changing how Pokemon are captured, the way trainers can recover from a failed capture attempt – especially for rare spawns – could do with an upgrade.  By reducing the volume of Pokemon spawned, the value of a given encounter increases dramatically and provides the opportunity to make the capture of an extremely rare Pokemon an adventure in and of itself.

You encounter a Pikachu.  You don’t have a Pikachu.  You want a Pikachu.  But the shock rat is having none of it and disappears as soon as it’s finished eating all the food you’ve given it.  Never fear, because it hasn’t run far.  It’s not about to give up such a ready supply of free food.  Even if you don’t follow it (rough terrain or private property), it’s likely to move in your general direction after a few hours (six?) so you can try again.

It’s not a new idea – Pokemon Gold, Silver and Crystal did this exact thing with the legendary beasts – but it creates an ongoing narrative to captures the target of which is rare or tough enough to warrant the additional difficulty.  If you want that Scyther, you can work for it.  Naturally, all Pokemon will eventually despawn permanently if you ignore them for long enough, but you would have a standard despawn time for such Pokemon (24 hours for Pokemon encountered but fled), and would be able to mark a single Pokemon at any given time to prevent it from despawning at all.  If you damage a Pokemon to the point of fleeing, then it will despawn permanently.

Regarding Bot Trackers

Third party sites are exactly what happens when your game boils down to catching as many of a given Pokemon as possible in order to advance.  I’ve already gone over how dumb that is as a core mechanic and everyone already knows it, so I don’t see why anyone is surprised.  The base cost for leveling a single Pokemon from one to fifty is 290,000 stardust and 334 candies.  Even factoring in the double candy bonus you get for using pinap berries, that’s still 48 duplicate Pokemon you need to catch (or 1,670 kilometres you need to walk for an endgame Pokemon), plus an additional 2,852 pokemon you need to catch (or about two months of gym rewards, assuming you already have Pokemon strong enough to hold onto ten gyms for 57 days).  For ONE Pokemon.  So basically, for anyone playing catch-ups with players who have already cheated and gotten away with it, there’s no way for them to do so besides cheating themselves.

Now, if your leveling system wasn’t entirely reliant on capturing the same Pokemon over and over and over again and thousands more besides, this wouldn’t be such a big issue.  Additionally, if you made spawns appear for the first time globally, but then deviate locally after the first capture attempt, third party trackers would lose a lot of their utility.  “Shadow banning” people by blocking everything except absolute trash spawns is beating people down for trying to make the best of a terrible system, and personally I don’t care whether people use tracking sites or not.  You wouldn’t have people cheating like this if you didn’t make it all but compulsory to succeed.

Geocaching

This isn’t something included in any Pokemon game as such, but it’s an allusion to the hidden items you can find lying around with the aid of an itemfinder (or by going square by square pressing A for hours).  Geocaching would be a way for players to share items freely by dropping off care packages at berry groves or points of contest for other players to pick up.  The caches would be listed from oldest to newest and expire after 24 hours, so it would be in the interests of those who want the experience to offer a cache more appealing than other trainers (contents of all caches visible while browsing, so you can either accept the oldest or scroll through for a better one).

As an anti-abuse method for people with multiple accounts, you can never accept a cache from the same player more than once per week.  Additionally, groves and points with very few caches will be supplemented by randomly generated NPC caches so that people looking to pick one up don’t miss out.  This isn’t what I’d call a critical feature of Pokemon gameplay, but it’d be a neat addition.

The Power That’s Inside

Okay, SO.  Here’s my suggestion for how to make Pokemon stronger instead of the utterly inane and stupid stardust and candy system, from which so many other problems have sprung.  By fixing this, you fix the most fundamentally un-Pokemon aspect of Pokemon Go, from which point all of the other problems can be resolved without issue because you’re no longer propping up a mindless grindfest.  Are you ready?  Here it is:

Copy Pokemon-Amie

Literally just copy Pokemon-Amie

OR EVEN NINTENDOGS. JUST DO MORE THAN NOTHING

Honestly, Niantic could have forgone everything else if they’d just added Pokemon care as a feature of the game.  Care and companionship are such a fundamental part of the franchise on the whole that cutting it out means you may as well not call it a Pokemon game.

What makes its exclusion even more puzzling is the obvious opportunity for financial gain.  Niantic were super late in adding vanity items to trainer avatars (it’s only been happening for years) and with Pokemon-Amie, you could also add premium vanity items for Pokemon as well.  Nothing as specific or elaborate as the Pikachu outfits from generation six, but just a handful of generic accessories.  Items would have a range of predetermined positions and shapes, so you could add armbands to either arm or leg, or a bow basically anywhere (but not literally anywhere because I guarantee someone would stick a bow tie in their Pokemon’s crotch).  League of Legends and Overwatch are proof that people will pay like crazy for stuff like that, and it’s content you can just keep adding to as time goes on.

Mechanically, you would have daily limits beyond witch diminishing returns would apply, though I would also have a special bonus for people who spend more than say four hours per day on average caring for their Pokemon.  Power gamers are likely to find better ways to spend their time – this is simply something for those players who find very few opportunities to travel, whether due to injury, infirmity or limited mobility.

Regarding IVs

The second thing getting people “shadow-banned” is the use of third-party apps that display Pokemon IVs as a flat value, but breach the terms of service in doing so.  Honestly, I don’t see the value in keeping those values hidden from players and Nintendo obviously agree, given their steady move towards a system that will tell you straight up how good your Pokemon’s stats are.  People care about their Pokemon’s IV!  You know this, so why on earth would you obfuscate a variable that matters so much to competitive players?  What are you losing by making the values clear?  What are you gaining by forcing them to go to third party developers to get an answer more specific than a quartile range?  Just tell them.

Pokemon Storage

Coming back to how players wouldn’t be catching a hundred Pokemon a day and keeping a hundred more on them at all times, once again we bring back the limit of having six active Pokemon with all others held in storage.  Storage would be constrained compared to that available in traditional titles, but could be expanded and decorated through premium purchases.  Decorations would be more than just for show – setting up storage boxes with a consistent theme would reduce the rate at which the stored Pokemon’s affection would decrease (maxing out to the same rate at which equipped Pokemon’s affection falls).  Storage would be managed as boxes and spaces per box.  Themes and decorations are applied per-box and individual boxes can have additional space added.  Boxes have a limited number of decor slots and certain decorative items cancel each other out so you can’t just spam items in the one box (eg. ferns buff grass types, but fumerals make them unhappy).

Additionally, while Pokemon breeding could be carried out five couples at a time (or whatever), the actual time required both to receive an egg and hatch it would be cranked up severely to prevent spamming of rares.

Special Events

I’m glad that Niantic are at least making a half-hearted attempt to keep people interested in Go with their lazy spawn-increase events.  Actually, no I’m not.  This shit is elementary – increasing a variable and slapping on a graphic isn’t an event, it’s a joke.  Literally the kind of thing that takes five minutes in the code and another five in Photoshop and on the whole doesn’t make a lick of difference because it just plays further into the shortcomings of the game itself.

Events that actually encourage play by offering unique rewards go back as far as generation two, with item giveaways from the Week siblings, the weekly (or daily) Lucky Number Show and certain vendors only operating on certain days.  If you want to encourage players to come back for more, you need events that actually offer something interesting – not just more of the same at double the rate.

Recurring events are a staple of the RPG landscape, and while they’re traditionally dailies, I reckon making the Pokemon Go quests cycle on a weekly basis would be more user-friendly for players with jobs to do.  Hostile and friendly capture bounties are a way of earning extra cash and give devs indirect control over the total cash rate, as they can alter rewards to increase or decrease the total amount of in-game currency available in lump sums without grinding.

Capture contests are the best way to overcome geographic barriers.  By placing enclosures with about the same frequency as berry groves, players can have the opportunity to capture Pokemon native to terrain that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to reach (inland trainers catching Pokemon from the sea, or metropolitan players capturing Pokemon from the mountains or deep forest for example).  Additionally, this can be one of the ways to earn special evolutionary items (instead of relying on RNG when spinning Pokestops which is the stupidest thing oh my God what do I do with all these upgrade modules).

Swap meets are another way for players to get their hands on some rare items, but the joy of it is that the range is entirely within the control of the devs.  As a result, swap meets for rare berries, evolutionary items or even Pokemon themselves (NPCs are available to trade with as well, after all) can be used to indirectly moderate item proliferation and Pokemon population figures.

Uncommon and rare sightings speak for themselves, and would be identical to all players using the same version, possibly all players regardless.  Given how the alterations to spawns outlined earlier would affect rarity, these events would be a BIG DEAL because players would consider themselves fortunate to have even one Dratini.  The ideal scenario is that every uncommon or rare sighting would get the word sent around that this week is an especially good week to be playing Pokemon Go.

Team Rocket

Team Rocket would serve three purposes in Pokemon Go:

  1. NPC battles when certain quests are active
  2. Dev-controlled means of directly influencing control points to prevent deadlock as seen in current Gyms
  3. Legendary event triggers

Whenever a general Team Rocket event is active, Team Rocket NPCs will spawn instead of ordinary NPCs.  There wouldn’t be any real threat, but defeating them would be part of completing the active quests during that event.

Right now PvP is broken as hell and it’s really frustrating.  These days, most gyms are level ten, full of 3000CP+ Pokemon with their team determined by whoever lives in the nearest house (why the fruit would you put a gym outside someone’s house, did you not know this was going to happen?) and that’s not cool.  Hostile NPC activity allows devs to shake things up, even if it is just a script that automatically attacks control points that have stayed the same colour for too long.  It doesn’t need to wipe it out completely – just do enough damage that other players aren’t turned off by the idea of taking on a fully staffed gym on their own.  Mind you, the whole system is broken but we’ll cover that in a second.

Finally, Team Rocket are always trying to steal Pokemon for their own use, so when a legendary Pokemon appears, it’s usually under attack by Team Rocket.  Therefore, completing the legendary quest and earning that Pokemon’s favour hinges on defeating the villains as well as placating the legendary involved.

Combat

Let me say right now that I hate the ever loving shit out of the current combat system.  Not because it’s oversimplified baby garbage.  Not because it’s tap-spamming nonsense.  Not because the “Gyms” are the laziest part of the whole Ingress reskin.  It’s because by virtue of the fact that the combat takes place in real-time, there’s bound to be a conflict between client and server due to latency.

I’m in a battle.  My opponent attacks.  I dodge successfully.  My game says “Dodged!” and I only lose a tiny bit of health.

BUT!  The server decides I didn’t actually dodge the attack, removes the extra health and my Pokemon faints, switching to my next Pokemon.
BUT!  My game says “Nuh-uh!” and switches back to my first Pokemon with its missing health restored less what it would have lost while being attacked during the switch animation.
BUT!  The server says “Yah-huh!” and takes away all the health again, switching back to my next Pokemon.

This continues until my Pokemon is dead anyway, giving the defender plenty of time to build up more charge and usually taking a chunk of my next Pokemon’s health before I even get to use them because I’m stuck in an unending loop of switching back and forth.  That’s.  Not.  Awesome.

Having said all that, there’s no simple solution.  A return to the turn-based format would be passing on the opportunity to shake things up, but on a mobile platform you don’t have the reliability of buttons and touch controls are wonky at best – my phone frequently mistakes a swipe for a tap and the aforementioned latency glitch makes the whole thing a mess.  You could try a fighter format like Pokken tournament, or an attack/counter tap system like the Pokemon Amie minigame, or literally automate the whole fight and only allow players to influence their Pokemon’s general strategy (aggressive, defensive, evasive).

Honestly, the question quickly turns from “How do you implement combat in a Pokemon mobile app” to “How do you  implement combat in any mobile app” and I could spend a week talking about just that.  And I might just do that – but not now.

Control Points

Calling the thousands of traffic lights that never change colour “gyms” is another insult born from dev cynicism.  I’m not opposed to them as such – it gives people something to do – but they’re not gyms.  Not in a million years.  Honestly, my main problem is that given the way that they’re currently implemented, it makes PvP utterly impossible for low level players to take part in.  Every gym near my house is a solid red, all of them level ten and the only reason the Pokemon in them ever change is because someone with multiple accounts sabotages their own gym to force one of their own in.

When people have to multi-account to kneecap their teammates so they can get ahead, your system is broken as, but unlike combat on the whole, the solution for this is much simpler.

  1. The time-sensitive nature of rostering prevents the set-and-forget mentality.
  2. Limited to one Pokemon per trainer, but no limits on the Pokemon rostered.
  3. Challenge rostered Pokemon 1v1.  You can only defeat each rostered Pokemon once, gaining xp and rep based on their comparative strength to the Pokemon you used to challenge them.  Challenged Pokemon earn xp and rep for their trainer when they defeat you, but only once to prevent grinding.
  4. In instances where control points are dominated by one team, that team becomes targeted by Team Rocket.
  5. Teams that manage to hold the same control point over and over suffer increasing handicaps that do not completely evaporate when the point is won by another team.

Legendary Events

I wonder how Niantic plan to handle this.  Really.  There’s no way it could possible pan out the way they depicted in the trailer, and regardless of what happens, the idea of thousands of other people also carrying around a legendary Pokemon in their pocket somehow makes that Pokemon seem less legendary.  So how about this instead:

Legendary events occur roughly once every year, or three months, or whatever – they’re RARE – and when they do happen, it’s a big deal, naturally.  Team Rocket have pissed off another all-powerful being by trying to imprison it and now it’s causing havoc felt all over the world.  The event takes place in three stages:

  1. Wild Pokemon are freaking out.  Massively increased spawn rate of species based on which Legendary is active.
  2. Beat down Team Rocket.  Much like the capture contests, war blimps appear around which Rocket NPCs spawn that need to be defeated.  Defeating enough “disables” the blimp though not the spawns (the blimp just explodes perpetually until despawning).
  3. The Legendary appears.  Not sure about exactly how this would go down, but players need to PLACATE the legendary, not CAPTURE it.  Everyone will get to see it at least once, though will be unable to track it like other Pokemon.  The conditions for failure/success, if any, would need to be set by someone with knowledge of player numbers and behavioural patterns – honestly, it might be best just to say that things go well no matter what and your reward is simply dependent on your participation.

Here’s the thing though.  At the end of the day, you never, EVER actually capture the legendary.  Because any Pokemon that there’s a million copies of isn’t really legendary.  When you complete the legendary event, you get the Pokedex entry (full size instead of incremental) and that Pokemon’s favour.  A buff that will last until the next Legendary event, maybe even longer.  What’s the buff?  Who cares – you beat a legendary event, got the Pokedex entry and took part in something awesome.

The International Pokemon League Championships

This section speaks for itself and was the highest and holiest of hopes when I figured out the game was in development.  Mini tournaments take place all over the planet, but an officially sanctioned tournament based on the Pokemon international MMO ARG would have rocked the gaming landscape.  No other game’s audience would be safe – the appeal is too wide and too rooted in our culture.  It’s the kind of thing you could conquer the planet with.

IF your game and your philosophy and your combat and your leveling system wasn’t a steaming sack of crap.  But it is.  And it’s never going to change, because in order to change the stupid-ass leveling grind, you would either need to let people keep their current rosters (unfair to new players) or reset everything (especially unfair to people who have paid or never stopped playing) which isn’t going to happen in a million years because why try to build a proper house when you can charge people rent for a soggy cardboard box.

And that’s the heartbreaking reason why “Pokemon Master” will forever be a joke and never an esports title worth boasting about.

I’m out.

Part 0:  The Game That Could Have Been

Part 1:  New Game Start

Part 2:  Travel Across the Land

Part 3:  Pokemon Care and Training

Part 4:  Special Events

Part 5:  PvE, PvP and Co-op

Part 6:  The Endgame

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