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Individual Values: A Pokemon Feature - Week 42: The Grind


Jonathan Higgins

Welcome to the forty-second week of my Pokémon feature here on Game Podunk! In case you missed the last one, check it out! Stay tuned for future entries coming every Friday.

 

 

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The Grind

 

When #TwitchPlaysPokémon was a phenomenon, I went back and played Pokémon Red from start to finish for the first time since I was a kid. I“ve often mentioned how far the franchise has come in terms of aesthetics, music and more. But the one aspect I feel deserves some discussion this week is how much the Pokémon Company has done to alleviate “the grind” and respect new and old players“ time. By "the grind", I“m referring to raising a team of brand new Pokémon--whether for story or extra-curricular purposes--from Lv1 (or 5 if it“s a starter, or whatever level you catch them at) to Lv100. We can also wrap a few extra bits like breeding in there, too.

 

Playing through the Game Boy games for their story and the nostalgia factor is always insightful. Like I“ve mentioned many times in the past--going back can easily bring all kinds of memories to the surface. We used to imagine the monochrome Kanto filled with color and life--now the processing power of the Nintendo 3DS can do that for us. But going back to 1998 in terms of Pokémon raising isn“t as fun as it used to be, for me personally. I think there“s a reason I cheated and used the Cinnabar Island glitch to have infinite rare candies back in the day. Pokémon Red doesn“t have the experience share, Lucky Egg, O-Powers, or means to fight handfuls of consecutive battles that sometimes yield 13,000 experience points for traded, boosted and item-holding Pokémon.

 

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I raised my mono-type “Gym Leader” team from eggs with just a couple hours of gameplay; they“re all fully trained and battle-ready. The process has become absolutely streamlined over six generations of games. You can make sure a hatched Pokémon has a specific nature and desired Egg Moves by giving a parent [with the desired Nature] an Everstone. You can influence what hidden IVs a Pokémon inherits from its parents by making one of them hold an item, too. EV training used to require taking notes and fighting wild or trained Pokémon one at a time to raise certain stats. Now you can gather a team of six Pokémon who all need their Speed EVs raised [for example], turn on the Experience Share key item, give them all Pokérus, and fight about twenty-six horde battles with Zubats in Meteor Falls (ORAS). Less than fifteen minutes will have your desired stat at its maximum EV potential--for however many Pokémon you like.

 

Thanks to the Lumiose City restaurants and the cafe in Mauville City, you can carry one use of the Experience Boosting O-Power across anywhere from 5-10 full battles [sometimes with three Pokémon at once] to easily raise your new team“s levels once you“re done training them. In XY, the restaurants can be visited an infinite number of times, provided you have the cash. In ORAS, Mauville City“s spots can be visited once per day. It“s all become so effortless! If you haven“t looked into any of this stuff and wonder how I“ve raised so many competitive Pokémon over time--it“s way easier than it seems, these days.

 

I view this streamlining as a positive. But the talking point I“ll give you this week as that it“s made the gameplay or sixth generation games very easy. The moves Game Freak has taken to respect players“ time doesn“t necessarily respect those who want a challenge. If you think Pokémon“s gameplay has suffered because of how easy a team is to raise in the modern era, I want to hear from you! What could the series do to be more difficult, yet still maintain all the aforementioned new endeavors? If you love the steps they“ve taken over time, and find it difficult to go back: do you feel the same way I do?

 

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