AceTrainerAlvaro asks:

IV-training and competitive battling aside, sometimes I feel training your Pokémon in battle is too straight-forward and controlled. I’d like to see a mechanic where even a wild-caught Pokémon occasionally disobeys its trainer’s command (maybe it “slacks off” or uses a different move altogether) or feels overwhelmed / flinches and returns to its Pokéball for an ally to replace it. And this becomes less likely the more trust (higher friendship value) a given Pokémon has towards its trainer until it fades away once High Friendship (value 200) is achieved. Keep in mind each Pokémon species is assigned a base friendship level when caught so disobedience could be more pronounced for certain species (which naturally feature a lower baseline friendship value when caught) than others. I’d especially like to see this play out in pseudo-legendary lines, legendary/mythical Pokémon, and maybe special versions of certain species – regardless of how many badges you have (obedience according to your number of collected badges could remain a separate mechanic specific to traded Pokémon).

Thoughts?

So, I think this changes the “vibe,” if you will, considerably.  I suspect if you just implement mechanics like this in the core Pokémon games as they currently exist, and don’t also add some kind of additional systems for developing your relationship with your Pokémon that come with associated benefits, players would unreservedly hate it.  It’s a whole extra mechanic standing between us and what we already understand to be “normal” battling, which makes the game much harder – but in a random and frustrating way, not in a way you can be strategic about.  I appreciate the goal here, making your friendships with your Pokémon something you really have to work at, but there’s got to be more to it, carrots and not just sticks, and ways of working around the disadvantages.

Having said all that, if you wanted to rebuild Pokémon to be a much more punishing and painful game all around – something in the spirit of the Nuzlocke challenge, for instance – this mechanic might be an interesting addition as it stands; something that will, from time to time, just randomly cause you to lose a Pokémon and force you to adapt to that loss. Throw in Nuzlocke staples like permanent death and limited, randomised Pokémon choice; reduce access to Pokémon Centres and sharply limit healing items (maybe lock high-quality healing behind some kind of crafting system); add some permanent debilitating conditions (so, like, less experienced Pokémon might disobey you, but more experienced Pokémon might also have picked up scars or developed phobias that give them specific weak points); remove some of the quality-of-life stuff from the last few generations like easy EV training methods… maybe then we’ve got a game on our hands. Either way, it’s got to be part of a package of mechanics with a definite theme and feel, is the point.

3 thoughts on “AceTrainerAlvaro asks:

  1. Alvaro’s idea could work in a game where you only had a few Pokémon you could catch and train. I’d say about 6-20. However, in the main games the Player Character is supposed to be a prodigy; able to train any and all Pokémon, including Legendaries and”Beasts” from other dimensions. A difficulty mechanic like they are suggesting wouldn’t just be unnecessarily frustrating it would actually run counter to the lore.

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  2. To clarify, I’m not trying to “change” the friendship mechanic but rather apply it more as an active than passive feature in raising Pokémon since friendship is already preset at a given baseline for each species then calculated individually for a given mon. IMO it would help illustrate that certain species (or individual mons) are harder to train than others & offers another incentive to stick with some mons for the long-haul to “earn their trust” as reliable partners rather than saving in a PC or immediately sweeping other trainers. Maybe once High Friendship (value 200) is achieved, a mon becomes irreversibly cooperative – ie, you’ve earned their trust, opened their heart, etc; also, I’m leaning towards limiting this feature to a Challenge Mode of the games.

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  3. I like this idea in theory, but if it was toned back a bit, say like, gifted pokemon always obey you because they were given to you by a trainer they trust and bypasses their friendship value all together, and also give a reward for high friendship, like the disobedience is replaced with a dialed back version of pokemon showing how much they love you from sun and moon, making it not only good to get high friendship, but rewarding. Also, ensure ut only happens once in a while, and never during gym battles or rival fights, just to ensure no one chucks their system because Inteleon decided to jump back in and switch to a grass type against Leon.

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