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Pokemon: Simple or Frighteningly Complicated?


After trying to improve my skills at Pokemon battling online, I found myself still being regularly defeated and clueless as to why this should be the case. I had put a decent enough team together; one that could handle pretty much any type combinations that my opponent could throw at me. However, my Pokemon seemed to do low damage even to Pokemon they were strong against. Team formation had never seemed to be too important when playing through the single player modes. In desperation, I turned to a friend for advice, who, as it turns out, is a sort of Yoda-esque fountain of knowledge on all matters pertaining to Pokemon. A Pokemon wizard, if you will. Now the Pokemon wizard maintains that this is a result of a misspent youth, but to that I say ‘Well, what else is your youth supposed to be spent on?’ The explanation given to me by the Pokemon wizard made me realise that the Pokemon games were not as simple as I had always supposed; a simple case of learning your type matches and hoping for the best. He immediately launched into an explanation of Pokemon individual stats (IVs), effort values, breeding techniques, item usage, Pokemon natures and so on and so forth.

The feeling that this left me with is not too dissimilar to that of walking around all day oblivious to the rip in your jeans or the small food stain on your tie. When these factors of Pokemon battling were pointed out to me, I immediately felt like a fool for not realising their importance (or even their existence in some cases, effort values i’m looking at you) straight away. I also felt a bit of a sense of loss. I had clearly been playing the games wrong pretty much since Red and Blue, and this is a shame because since learning of the added layers to Pokemon raising and battling, the game seems to have altogether more depth and is ultimately more enjoyable as a result. Since learning more about the deeper mechanics of the Pokemon games, I have strived to put them into practice and become better at battling and at putting together a more competitive team.

In this I feel that I have only been partially successful. My latest team is indeed enjoying more success in the online arena, but I quickly realised that to make a truly competitive team with maxed out EVs and IVs would take more time than I care to spend, considering that I have already sinked about 70 hours plus into Pokemon X as it is. There are some mechanics in the game to make this easier, such as the new horde battle system (which I completely hated until its actual function was pointed out to me) but on the whole, it still takes some time to breed a Pokemon with a good nature and IVs and then to max out its EVs. I will continue to dabble in online battling, but I will not put anymore time into finding or breeding new Pokemon. However, I now look forward eagerly to the next release of Pokemon as I will finally be able to play a Pokemon game the way it was meant to be played from the beginning.


4 responses to “Pokemon: Simple or Frighteningly Complicated?

  1. YoshiKyon

    As someone who’s been playing competitively since the end of Gen 4, I absolutely agree that it’s mind-blowing when you first discover the intricacies of Pokemon! Gen 6 is the best time to be coming into it, however – breeding, while still quite dull, takes a fraction of the time it used to, thanks to Destiny Knot/Everstone changes, and EVing can be done easily with Power items and Hordes, with Super Training helping to manage the finer values. (To put this into perspective: starting with some already-near-perfect Pokemon, two teams were put together by one person here. 3 days for breeding, then a day for EVing.)

    Of course, I can definitely understand not wanting to spend all the time on it, but I’d definitely still recommend looking at the Friend Safari and EVing, if nothing else – IVs are a minor difference outside of Speed, and the Safari Pokes giving two perfect IVs can be enough to make a team to be happy with. ^^

  2. I’ve played Pokemon for a while now, too, and I’m not ashamed to admit that I suffer from the “This item is too powerful to use! Better save it!” syndrome.

    There are a lot of battle items that boost attack and defense and whatnot, but I can never actually justify using them because I’m worried that I’ll never find any of them ever again.

    Another thing that bugged me was how there are types of Pokemon that are given a crap-load of weaknesses (I’m looking at you, Grass type), and therefore I never want to use them. Its a bit out of order on Grass types, sure, but how could anyone say they enjoy using them when they’re prone to vulnerability from every Pokemon type you could think of?

    • I think the trick with grass types is to make them defensively tough so they can take super effective hits fairly well and dish out damage in return. My venusaur fills this role and has a surprise earthquake for fire types who think of it as easy prey and as an electric buster. You’re right in what you say about most of the other grass types though. Or just use ludicolo with its handy grass water typing lol

  3. I have now dabbled with EV training and would say that yes it takes less time than I feared. That total play time is still creeping up however…. I have a friend who is pretty good at competitive battling and I’m trying to persuade him to take it up again.

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