A Little Perspective From Tom Church

Pokemon Gameplay Continued

It’s been a while since I’ve picked this up, but I really have been thinking about what to include in this post, as well as what key things are needed to help explain this. The whole Pokemon battling and training thing is actually super, super complicated. I used to think it wasn’t, but after playing through Leaf Green once and having a super awesome Pidgeot who was by far the best Pokemon on my team, and then playing through again and having a Pidgeot that sucked complete and total ass… There’s more to Pokemon than just the name of the Pokemon. There are so many small factors that apply, it’s literally crazy.

I’ll start with the beginning of the game. You name your character, and in most your decide what gender you’d like… then you go through the process of getting your first Pokemon. You always have a choice between three starters (except in Yellow where you get a Pikachu), and those three starters are always grass, fire, and water type. The way I generally view the starters is as follows: grass is weakest (but can always pay off); water is most useful in terms of HM moves that help you navigate and do overworld stuff; fire is most powerful and makes up for its vulnerabilities. All three are always good choices, that’s just my opinion.

You battle your rival repeatedly. He (or she) always gets the opposite of your starter. If you get grass, they get fire, et alii. It’s annoying as hell to battle them unless you pick up a dude who beats their starter. For example, if you make them get grass by choosing water, kill their grass dude with a flying type or something. Not too hard.

Battling gyms is fun, assuming again that you’ve raised the dudes to combat their type. Raising dudes is very tedious and time-consuming, but pretty well worth it usually. Here’s where all the complications come in though: while each Pokemon has many similarities to other Pokemon of the same species, each Pokemon also has MANY differences.

Take a Pidgey as an example. Let’s look at all Pidgeys’ similarities to each other. All Pidgeys learn moves at the same level (Sand Attack lvl. 5; Gust lvl. 9; etc.). All Pidgeys evolve at level 18 (at least in Gen. III). All Pidgeys are the same color and all. All Pidgeys have the same description in the Pokedex, and on, and on. These are all general principles that every Pidgey you find will follow.

But not all Pidgeys have the same nature: there are 25 natures total, one of which your Pokemon can have. Each nature affects the development of two of your Pokemon’s statistics. If my Pidgey were to have a “lonely” nature, it would have a 10% increase in its attack stat, whereas its defense would be lowered by 10%. This is a universal rule: while one stat gets a 10% increase, another gets a 10% decrease.

There are six stats in Pokemon: Attack and Special Attack, Defense and Special Defense, HP, and Speed.

That’s just the beginning. What matters next is the Pokemon you battle. Each Pokemon you defeat in battle gives you one or two EVs, which stands for Effort Values. If you get ten, it equals a single stat boost depending on what EVs you’ve gotten.

I know for a fact that Tangelas give you Defense EVs, for whatever reason. If you were to ruthlessly slaughter ten Tangelas,  you would see (or perhaps you wouldn’t… it’s really pretty hard to tell) a Def +1 somewhere down the road with your aforementioned Pidgey. The thing is, even if you’re leveling up your Pidgey without killing anything, it’s still gaining stats. Just not nearly as much as if you’re killing wild dudes all the time.

The reason it’s still gaining stats is because all Pokemon have a “base stat” value. If you get a Pidgey to level 100 without killing any Pokemon with it (via rare candy, say, or some other cheating way), it would have to see a minimum of 40 HP, 45 Attack, 40 Defense, etc. So some stats need to be raised at least a little, regardless of whether or not you’ve actually killed Pokemon to achieve them.

So, you might ask: “Should I go around killing Tangelas only so as to raise my Defense stat?” No. Actually, I don’t recommend this at all. There are some people who try EV training like that in an attempt to either (a) balance out stats that are severely lacking, or (b) try to maximize a certain stat which is already proficient. It’s time-consuming, boring, and it takes forever to yield any solid results. Chances are, the end product will be a flawed piece of crap.

“What about natures? You said there’s a 10% decrease for certain stats, and a 10% increase for others. Does that mean every 10 EVs I earn, one is subtracted depending on the stat? And one is added to the stat that sees a 10% increase?” No, it doesn’t really work like that either… it’s more like this. The base stats I was talking about earlier are changed. So that Pidgey with the Lonely nature, instead of having a base attack of 45 Attack and 40 Defense, would instead have to have, minimally, 49 Attack and 36 Defense. Because its attack and defense are raised and lowered, respectively, by 10%.

That’s some pretty in-depth shit, innit?

The fact is, I never pay attention to it. All I do is catch dudes and raise them. I keep those things in mind, but it’s not like I act on them. I don’t go around killing Tangelas just ’cause I know my Pidgey will end up having a sick Defense stat. In fact, I don’t really even pay attention to natures at all either. It’s too difficult to find the right-natured Pidgey. If it sucks, it sucks. Too bad. There’s always a weakest link on your Poketeam, bro.

Hope that cleared some shit up.

aestheism, not atheism.


Comments on: "Pokemon Gameplay Continued" (1)

  1. […] (quick sidenote: if you need to get caught up or have your memory jogged on how to actually play the games, I’ve done my best to describe the gameplay involved in Pokemon here, and subsequently here) […]

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