Tapu Wooloo asks:

Now that regional variants are a thing, can you revisit your article on Beautifly and Dustox and say what more you would do with them?

ugggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhh

so the thing about Beautifly and Dustox

is that there’s no reason for them to exist

and I know I try not to say things like this anymore, and I try to be nice about Pokémon that are a bit dull or pointless, and I’m just a more chill and friendly persona now and try to keep my violent rage against the entire universe buried under a few thousand layers of self-loathing and cream cheese icing, and I don’t even think that article is good anymore, we’ve simply moved on, Tapu Wooloo, but my god, WHY ARE Beautifly and Dustox?  What, actually, is the point?

I mean, really, there’s an argument that Beautifly and Dustox are already just Hoennese forms of Butterfree and Venomoth.

I don’t even know what you’d do with them that justifies using them and not any other butterfly or moth Pokémon.  Vivillon is kinda the obviously more interesting butterfly Pokémon to work with as a regional variant because it has them already; they just weren’t called that at the time; you could retcon all its existing forms by giving them more significant cosmetic and mechanical differences and suddenly you have a whole bunch of regional variants, most of them for regions we haven’t even visited yet!  I guess there must be something that makes use of Wurmple’s split evolution, right?  Something sun/moon-themed might have been good, because Beautifly and Dustox have a day/night duality to them and Dustox is based on a luna moth, but we kinda missed the perfect opportunity for that with Alola (and you’d have to be careful not to step on Volcarona’s toes, because Beautifly 100% does not survive that comparison).  The most interesting thing about Beautifly is it can stab you with its face and drink your blood, so I guess I would like to work more with that, but how you would actually go about it depends on the region you were building, I guess.  You could flip the day/night thing on its head and have, like, a vampire Beautifly with a black and red colour scheme, then make Dustox into something vaguely day- or sun-themed, maybe imitating the colours of a monarch butterfly… that works better mechanically too, because Dustox is already support-oriented and wouldn’t be so obviously trying to compete with Volcarona.  Needs more than that, of course, but it’s a start.

I know this is not a particularly satisfying answer, but this question has seriously been in my inbox for weeks, and the sincere answer is honestly “nothing, why would there be anything?” so… y’know, I’m trying, is the point.

13 thoughts on “Tapu Wooloo asks:

  1. You know, I have to admit, I kind of like some redundancy in Pokémon species? Like, a world doesn’t feel too alive if there’s only a singular species of butterfly, or just no similar species of butterfly.

    Are basculin and finneon redundant because goldeen already fills the “basic fish” role? Well, yes, but imagine an ocean with just goldeen and specialized species versus an ocean with all three of the basic fish.

    Plus, I don’t think just being basic/redundant is why those mons are weak. What makes a mon good or bad is just how kind the devs are to it. That much is sadly utterly arbitrary.

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    1. I agree with you on that, but the problem with Beautifly/Dustox is that there’s nothing particularly interesting in terms of their conceptual designs. Hoenn actually gave us another moth (or moth-esque?) Pokémon in Masquerain, who isn’t particularly strong either but has a far more interesting design with its weather-related powers and eye-like patterns. Volcarona, yet another moth Pokémon, is also interesting due to its association with the sun and sun-worshipping ancients and all that (plus, it gets the benefit of being very powerful). Meanwhile, Mothim… is a male moth.

      So while we can have multiple butterfly/moth Pokémon, but they need to be more interesting than just “Butterfree and Venomoth, but Hoenn” which honestly is all the Wurmple line was ever meant to be. And if that’s their only reason for existence, might as well make them explicitly Hoennese Butterfree and Venomoth, eh? The same goes with Basculin/Finneon: the problem isn’t that they’re Goldeen 2.0, the problem is they’re uninspired and largely forgettable. That’s my take on it anyway.

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      1. Eh, Finneon and Goldeen are only similar in that they’re pretty fish. Goldeen has a lot of horn-based moves and is primarily a physical attacker, while Finneon learns moves like Gust and Silver Wind (now if only it could learn Quiver Dance as well).

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    2. I 100% agree. And (in response to Leo below), I also think there’s good reason to have at least a few Pokémon for each region that aren’t particularly interesting, either. (Which might be a weird opinion to have.)

      On a gameplay (not metagame) level, I think redundant bugs and birds and fish are simply good game design. I guess not everyone agrees with me here, but early-game trash and generic fish and such make the game more fun because they up the excitement of finding one of those rarer Pokémon with with flashy type combinations and great stats. And since the player will encounter a /lot/ of the “filler” Pokémon it just makes sense to have a decent roster of them so that each region gets its own identity. Kanto and Johto have Caterpie and Weedle, Hoenn and Sinnoh have Wurmple.

      So Pokémon like Beautifly, Basculin and Finneon might be redundant (sort of) in the National Pokédex, but they make each in-game experience /less/ redundant. I think Beautifly/Dustox are valuable exactly /because/ there’s nothing particularly interesting about them.

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    3. I mean, yeah, but why do they have to have the same typings and features? Tentacruel and Jellicent are both jellyfish, but they have distinct designs. Same with Ninetales and Zoroark, or with Grumpig and Emboar.

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  2. When it comes to Dustox and Beautifly – I mean, I just like their visual designs. Well, I love Dustox and I think Beautifly is perfectly fine. And as someone who wastes too much spare time doodling fake Pokémon of my own, I have to say that I’m /impressed/ by how good a job GF did in differentiating them from Butterfree and Venomoth. Generic and understated/dull designs are /tough work/. Without a specific evocative concept or unique type combination to base the visuals on, you have to apply yourself so much more.

    Beautifly and Dustox may be conceptually and mechanically very similar to Butterfree and Venomoth*, but in visual design they differ a whole lot. I love Venomoth based on how it looks and I also love Dustox based on how it looks. For me, one cannot replace the other. So I’m happy that the franchise features both.

    If, however, Dustox and Beautifly were some gnarly Bug/(Psychic or Ghost or Electric or Dragon)-types with much more specialized and accentuated concepts – either a strong day/night duality or something else – chances are that would result in visual designs that I personally wouldn’t care for. The regional variants are basically this: taking some older (and often some of the more generic ones like Rattata and Persian) and spicing up their typings and visual designs. Overall I’m not that impressed by them.

    *Well, Dustox is mechanically quite different from Venomoth, at least when it comes to stat spreads.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I get Chris’ point, but I find Beautifly/Dustox aesthetically more pleasing and at least somewhat less generic than Butterfree and Venomoth. Additionally, they served a purpose in Gen III, which introduced us to double battles. Plusle/Minun, Beautifly/Dustox, Solrock/Lunatone, Huntail/Gorebyss, they were all designed with double battles in mind, clearly. Not necessarily as particularly good Pokemon for that, especially not with their opposites as partner, but there’s absolutely a theme going on here

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          1. Only problem is that they’re not in Sword/Shield and don’t seem to be returning in the expansion. :/ Game Freak obviously knew how broken they would be in the Gen 8 metagame and brought back Xerneas and the Tapus instead.

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  3. I think Game Freak designed the Wurmple line because (1) they did not want to reuse Caterpie and Weedle yet again, but (2) the early-game caterpillar-to-butterfly evolutionary path had worked so well in teaching new players how evolution works. Like, the first evolutions you’ll see in-game are a caterpillar turning into a cocoon and then a butterfly–and catching a caterpillar and watching it morph into a butterfly is something kids do in real life. Sewaddle and Venipede don’t really capture the same thing, since (1) they don’t change so dramatically during evolution, and (2) they’re not early game ‘mons.

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