Thursday, December 26, 2013

Pokémon pot-pourri: Christmas aftermath edition

The news of the day is something no one needed to hear: Pokémon Bank has been closed down temporarily in Japan, and delayed in the rest of the world because of the absurd server load issues. Hello, Nintendo? It's POKÉMON we're talking about here. Are you so stupid you forgot to buy enough servers? Then again, it's the same thing any time an online-only game launches, and it seems all game companies utterly fail to learn from each other every single time. However, the rabbit hole of fucked-up goes much deeper here, because we're talking about a UTILITY PROGRAM, not a game. People want these 122 last Pokémon and they want them NOW NOW NOW, it seems. Either way, there's no telling how long the delay will be. It's okay, I can wait, I was busy with other games anyway. Besides, the fact that Bank was open for 24 hours instantly makes everything legal on Showdown, all the way to Sacred Fire Entei.

Speaking of that, I get a feeling people underestimate Sacred Fire as a whole. Sure, Entei is nowhere near Ho-Oh's league, but Ho-Oh is very comfortably in the top 10 in ubers, ahead of Pokémon you'd never think it would outrank. Rain being gone really, REALLY helps things, and so does the Defog buff, which makes it a deterrent to use entry hazards for both players. As for Sacred Fire itself... 50% burn rate. Many of the Pokémon that used to be able to beat Entei were physical Pokémon. These are just not safe anymore. I honestly think Sacred Fire is the best offensive move in the game for that reason. Unlike Flareon, Entei's physical movepool isn't totally nonexistent, with Stone Edge, Iron Head and the always excellent Extremespeed (the latter of which forces you to use an Adamant nature, so keep that in mind). Now I'm not saying Entei will be UU tomorrow or anything, but it's just impossible that it remains as far down the pecking order as it is right now.

Next up, a heads-up regarding a mechanic that many people seem to not know about, and nobody knows if it's a bug or a feature either: turn order is determined at the very beginning of a turn. Now this seems logical, but it turns out to have less than logical implications, being that if your speed or priority changes mid-turn, it will not take effect on that turn. I'm talking about mega evolution changing your base speed and potentially giving you Prankster (in Banette's case). A Pokémon whose base form is slower than the opponent, but whose mega evolution is faster will still go last on the turn it mega evolves for that reason, and Mega Banette's Prankster will only take effect on the following turn as well. Just pointing this out because I've seen people find this out on their own and they have no idea what's going on.

Finally, we have a new clause added to the standard ruleset on Smogon: Endless Battle Clause. It bans any set that's meant to draw a battle indefinitely. So far, the only combinations that can do that are Leppa Berry used in combination with Recycle and either Heal Pulse, Pain Split or Fling. As I mentioned before, these strategies are trash because of the sheer amount of counters, but it doesn't change the fact that if Slowbro (or Slowking, or Gardevoir, or Smeargle, or Blissey, or Mew, your pick) traps something that can't beat it, the battle WILL draw out until one of the two players ragequit. And that's not exactly my idea of a fun game, so despite the overall uselessness of the set, this is something I can get behind. Yes, even though it's a set of no less than three combo bans, which no one is terribly fond of. The weird part is, this set was entirely possible last gen, and it's only come to the forefront lately when GameFAQs goers found out about it and started melting each other.

However, as you might expect, like with every time they take a decision like this, there are people who will complain. Their excuse this time: Smogon hates stall. Sorry, but I have to call BS on that. This is not stall. It's drawing out a battle indefinitely. Stall is a tactic that, although it makes battles longer, is meant to eventually bring down the entire opposing team (yes, even in the not-so-fondly-remembered gen 2 days). Funbro does anything but that. If permanent hail was still a thing, I guarantee Stallrein wouldn't have been targeted, because it runs out of steam eventually. It takes a while, but it happens. This whole "Smogon hates stall" thing seems to comes from the fact that more often than not, offensive playstyles have been ruling the metagame since gen 3. I think it has nothing to do with any kind of bias against stall, but rather the fact that the way the game is designed is far more skewed towards offense, even moreso with the changes we've seen since gen 3, like the new EV system, natures, the physical/special split, and so on. Just look at all the Pokémon with a defensive stat with 150 or above. These are far more numerous, and yet far less threatening, than Pokémon with a comparable offensive stat. Pokémon that get suspect tested are almost always offensive powerhouses. Then you have to consider this: it wouldn't be the case had there been any real disdain for stall.

All these reasons are why I like the fact that Gamefreak nerfed most of the big special moves, though it would've been great if they did the same to the major physical moves. Fundamentally, Pokémon is about killing fast before you get killed fast, and it's even more true with mega evolutions now being a thing. I would really like it if there were dominant playstyles other than "sweep with mega" and "get swept by mega" (replace mega with weather in a gen 5 context). Can we make this happen? Please?

19 comments:

  1. Gah I was hoping to get some easy BP when PokeBank comes out (the transfer Pokemiles the BP thing) but um yeah, Ninty should've been prepared, I mean honestly this is a pokemon game (remember handhelds are HUGE in Japan) and they didnt expect that much server load? Hell they could've even had a network beta for about 2 million worldwide users or something (And since it works in tune with Nintendo Network people would have to link their games with the account, so people coudlnt just stick thier copy in and transfer, but I guess they could just transfer their pokemon to their friends version and trade it to them) still, this is just like waht happened during the EU PS4 launch, they even have to make all PSN cards invalid until further notice in the EU

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    1. Then again, this is Nintendo. This is the same company who was very unsuccessful in making Brawl's online multiplayer a stress-free experience.

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    2. Nintendo and online mix about as well as oil and water. It's something they begrudgingly do far more than something they have a real interest in, that much is clear. They thought handheld-home console connectivity was the future, and despite their stranglehold over the handheld market (remember, this was before Sony started making them) they failed miserably to get the Gamecube off the shelves, especially outside of Japan.

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    3. The thing is that Pokemon Bank uses the Nintendo Network, and it was the Nintendo Network servers that went down. While Pokemon Bank may have been partially to blame, there would also have been a lot of new 3DS's and Wii U's connecting to the Nintendo Network which would also have overloaded the Nintendo Network servers. Even so, Nintendo should have thought ahead...

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  2. I wasn't trying to say in the last blog that Sacred Fire would not make a significant difference. I was just taking into consideration the situations that could go wrong. I did say in my first comment in the last blog that Entei would be able to cripple physical sweepers(many of which are, as you said, its counters). But even with that fact, a 50% burn chance is still just a 50% burn chance. If Sacred Fire actually missed(95% accuracy can bite you at the worst times), or if the "coin flip" burn chance isn't in your favor, there isn't much else Entei could do beyond that as it is right now. Its higher ranking will depend mostly, if not solely, on Sacred Fire and its added effect. I apologize if there was any confusion.

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    1. I've seen other people dismiss Sacred Fire Entei, it certainly isn't just you.

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  3. Reducing the 4x super effective damage down to 3x could help. They could even go the same way they did with crits by reducing 2x damage down to 1.5x and 4x down to 2x. (this conversely means they would have to do the same for NVE damage so the metagame doesn't get too defense-centric)

    In this generation, with Freeze dry and Flying Press, they seem to be leaning to the idea of the type effectiveness being based on the move itself and the opponent's type, not the move's type. They've been gradually making changes like this, starting with the Special split, then the Physical and Special move split, and now they're beginning to make a Super Effective Split.

    I don't agree with you that all poison moves should be super-effective against Steel. There's more than one type of toxic substance in the real world, and not all of them cause corrosive (the idea of poison in pokemon is probably more aligned with animal venom). But this prospect means some poison moves can be super effective against steel, while others don't effect it at all. Scald can be Super-Effective to ice, Steel Wing can be neutral to rock and SE to bug, etc.

    I'm not saying all moves should have unique type effectiveness. I'm suggesting that more moves like this is an interesting prospect for the metagame.

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    1. Only problem with your proposals is that they make an already-complicated game even more so (do you REALLY want to remember that half the moves screw with the type chart? a few is fine but most make no sense), and I think the game doesn't need such things it just needs to balance what's already there. You can still have NVE moves do 1/2 damage but have a NVE and SE cancel each other like they do now even if you nerf SE damage bonus (it's no longer a simple multiplication but that's ok).

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    2. Yeah, there's a damn good reason why they only introduced two such moves, one of which only one Pokémon can learn. They will never stop being the exception. With all the cases you mentioned there are none, except for Psyshock, Psystrike and Secret Sword (note how we didn't get any more of these moves this gen?).

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  4. Actually I think it was that they hadn't taken into account the stress that the eShop servers would be under ANYWAY what with the traffic that would inevitably come on Christmas Day when it was supposed to come out

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  5. Game Freak may have screwed up on the Egg Move chains again. They seem to have given Toxic Spikes as an Egg Move to Koffing, which would be great. However... nothing that Koffing can breed with can learn Toxic Spikes... well done. They did the same to Nosepass in HG/SS when they gave it Head Smash as an egg move, yet no parent that could learn the move.

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    1. How would we know about Koffing then? for HGSS we saw it in the code but that isn't an option here. You sure there isn't some super long annoying chain like Honedge to get Wide Guard apparently?

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    2. The problem is, the only Pokémon we're still missing the egg moves for that can give Koffing Toxic Spikes through a breeding chain (ergo, it belongs to two different egg groups) is Cofagrigus. And I wouldn't put any money on Cofagrigus getting Toxic Spikes.

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    3. So how do we know Koffing gets it? More of Serebii's weird magic?

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    4. Yeah. Either he gets lists from someone on the inside, or he can datamine them. And considering no one else can do the latter...

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    5. Well, that was a curve ball. Turns out Cofagrigus DOES get Toxic Spikes. Now we know where Weezing gets it from.

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    6. uh wow. At least it's not impossible just weird.

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    7. Makes me imagine an eldritch Garbador/Cofagrigus/Weezing hybrid creature.

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