Don’t think I ever uploaded this here. Inking of my pokemon Y team the first time I played through: Ryan the Talonflame, Norix the Nidoking, Robin the haxorus, Ilya the Vivillon, Malwyn the Lapras and a nameless Tyrantrum because how can you come up with a name that’s more badass than “Tyrantrum” already is.
Games designed for children have a kind of magic about them. There’s a way in which the world’s presented to you that makes it feel more than simply alive. You, the player, are witness to mystical tapestries woven from someone else’s imagination, and for a time you lose yourself. The virtual on-screen character becomes an extension of your physical self. Perhaps this is true of almost any entertainment media, but it’s especially true of good games for kids.
There is a point, however, when the veil drops and everything is exposed. In Pokémon, that moment occurred when I first found out about IVs. There’s a reason why your Accelgor is faster than that Accelgor, or why your Spiritomb just plain sucks next to your friend’s seemingly identically trained one. IVs (Individual Values) are hidden stats that determine how good (or bad) each stat of a particular Poké is. This makes every single one completely unique. At first it’s a cool idea. It means your Pokémon really are yours, that they belong to you, and just like ordinary people or animals, excel at certain tasks and fail at others. Or maybe they can do everything fairly well but don’t have any outstanding qualities. That in itself is unique. Then you discover EVs (Effort Values). These are generated when you defeat an opposing Poké in battle. Every four points equals one bonus stat point for your Poké. The idea being that as you play, the Pokémon becomes stronger in a radiant, unique way specific to the path you took through the game.
For many, this is all old news. For a few others, this will be new. I won’t go into any more detail than that for now as you can get more info virtually anywhere.
But what does all this mean for the game as a whole? Well, it changes it from being a colourful, magical place filled with amazing beasts into a game of numbers, almost like a souped-up game of Top Trumps. EV training can be abused by grinding the same Pokés repeatedly (e.g. beating Pidgeys in Route 1 until your Speed maxes out). Grinding EVs became considerably easier with the advent of Super Training in XY, so now you can mould your Pokémon exactly as you want it in very little time. However, another thing intrinsic to the games is the IV guy. You know, the chap with the purple hair who hangs out in the Poké Centre in Kiloude City. Let’s just say you have a Tropius you’ve transferred over from Sapphire version. She’s now Lv. 100 and has accompanied you on every adventure. Sometimes things were tough, but you’ve been through thick and thin and for all intents and purposes, she’s your best friend. So, excited and a little scared, you show the IV guy your Tropius. With a dead look in his eye, he tells you “This Pokémon’s potential is decent all around.” Wait… that’s… that’s good, right?
Wrong. According to many people, your Tropius is worthless, and always has been. You may as well release it and start again.
The Diancie in the above picture is also apparently ‘useless’ because it only has two stats with max IVs. I’m sorry, what? Shouldn’t that be pretty good rather than horribly awful?
The sad truth is, online, both that Diancie and your Tropius are both useless. Why? Because of IV abuse. In an online battle, even 1HP can decide whether you win or lose a match. Assuming that both you and your opponent have similar strategic abilities, even if your Poké’s Nature is beneficial, if you have an IV of 25 instead of 31, you’ve basically lost already. Those who spend time and effort breeding the perfect Pokémon are automatically the winners. And that’s fine. There’s nothing wrong with that at all; it just creates a very steep learning curve for newbies.
That would all be well and good. It’s a given that tiers exist within types of players. However. There are also those who abuse through RNG and Powersaves to get exactly the Pokémon they want within minutes. On Instagram, I am appalled by the sheer quantity of 6IV shiny Pokémon people are showing off. The chances of that are utterly minuscule, and while I’m sure some of them are legit, the vast majority are definitely, absolutely hacked (especially the legendary ones). As a legitimate shiny hunter myself, I know that it is very, very hard indeed to get even one of these.
The thing is, are IVs really necessary? In my opinion, they are not, and the hour upon hour of mindless grinding it takes to get that perfect Pokémon actually encourages people who are quickly bored or have little time to simply hack into the game what they need to win. EVs are a little better; they introduce a customisable system that more-or-less works and is semi-visible to players. EVs also give the option of differing playstyles. For example, Mega Diancie could be a Physical, a Special, or a Mixed Attacker. All of these options are viable. For me, IVs reduce your precious friends who travel with you to strings of numbers. They become nothing but tools for mathematical precision. The game itself becomes less about being creative and more about invisible, obsessive min/maxing. For me, that sucks all life, all magic out of the game.
For the legit player, going online to battle is a waste of time. So many people hack now that it’s expected, and if you don’t hack, you’re treated like an imbecile. What’s worse is that the Pokémon Company doesn’t lift a finger to stop people IV hacking, to stop Pokégen, to stop Powersaves, to stop shinification. I guess since random online battles aren’t official tournaments, they don’t care. But they really, really should.
Sure, it’s just a game, but it’s a game where you now almost have to cheat to win.
Tonight, August 26, at 6pm ET we will be having a Dog themed Wonder Trade at B Button Bits! We called it “Dog Days of Summer” Wonder Trade!
I’ll be sending out four special dogs that I have either bred or caught myself on one of my many copies of Pokémon!
First up is a Stoutland named Albion. I bred this and levelled it up on my copy of Pokémon Omega Ruby, so it’s basically battle ready. It’s got some good moves, and good IVs, nature, and ability!
Next I am sending out a shiny Houndour named Bandit! I was breeding for the BButtonBits wonder trade box and the FIRST EGG was shiny!! It is 5IV with a good nature and ability, and I gave it some moves that are pretty good if it were to be levelled up and trained for battle!
Next is a shiny Stoutland named Verity! I caught this as a shiny Lillipup while running around the Friend Safari on the BButtonBits copy of Pokémon Y. It’s not going to be very good competitively, but it is still pretty awesome!
The last doggie I’ll be sending out is a shiny Granbull named Senpaii! I was racing our good buddy Stephanie aka JaegerSenpaii on my copy of Pokémon X in our Friend Safaris. I won the race for shiny Snubbull and named mine after Stephanie’s online personality! This one is also not going to be good for competitive battling, but it’s a pretty beastly dog!
Join me at Twitch.tv/BButtonBits at 6pm ET for Wonder Trade! Look for Z Button Mel with the tagline ★Mel from BBB★ to know you’ve traded with me!