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.