Ty asks:

How would you rate changing Cacturne’s Sand Veil into Sand Rush? Too much? Not enough? Just right?

It would certainly help, because Cacturne is powerful but slow, and heavily reliant on Sucker Punch. It’s exactly the type of Pokémon who would benefit from an ability like Sand Rush, although how much is “enough” is pretty subjective. My concern here isn’t that Sand Rush would be too strong on Cacturne, but rather that it doesn’t really fit. Cacturne is a stalker, a Pokémon who follows prey across the desert, unseen and out of range, until that prey collapses from exhaustion. Tricky moves like Sucker Punch that catch the target off-guard are a good fit; Sand Veil, a silly ability though it admittedly is, is a good fit; low speed and high power are a good fit; a conventional weather-based sweeper mentality isn’t, really. I think maybe some kind of Grass-type situational first strike move, analogous to Sucker Punch, would be interesting – maybe something that has speed priority against a target with less than 50% of its health, but fails against healthy Pokémon the way Sucker Punch fails against status moves?  You could even rework Needle Arm into this; the only other Pokémon that get it are Maractus and Chesnaught, and although Chesnaught is arguably decent already neither of them is in danger of breaking the game. That probably falls under “not enough,” but I like it better as an expression of what Cacturne is about.

Sandro asks:

Can you put together any reasoning for why Pokémon can learn only four moves? I mean, I can understand from game perspective but from in-universe perspective? I suppose complicated magical moves would make sense but some moves like Tackle or Peck are really just simple basic body movements. How does learning how to breathe fire or squirt water make you forget how to ram your face into stuff?

Obviously there are compelling gameplay reasons for it, and early seasons of the anime (which doesn’t need to care about that) actually do play fast and loose with this rule occasionally – Drake’s Dragonite uses no fewer than ten different attacks in Ash’s Orange League championship battle.  But cases like that are the exception, not the rule, and often seem meant to illustrate that a particular Pokémon is unusually powerful and skilled – most Pokémon can’t do it.  Why?  I think we need to compare how athletic skills and martial arts techniques work in the real world (because that’s basically what Pokémon attacks are).  Continue reading “Sandro asks:”

VikingBoyBilly asks:

What if Ability capsules were expanded to be more like TMs? E.g., there’s ACs for Static, Guts, Chlorophyll, etc. and any pokémon that’s compatible with that ability will learn it. There might need to be some “base” or “blank” capsule to get their original ability back in that system, ‘cuz we can’t be giving out Wonder Guard, Water Bubble, or Levitate ACs… maybe those pokémon will just be unable to use ACs.

I’m a little iffy on this, purely because abilities are able to define how Pokémon work much more completely than moves (usually) can.  Like, you raise Pokémon with abilities that are too overpowered to give out indiscriminately, but what about the Pokémon that originally had those abilities?  There’s no point in a Furfrou without Fur Coat, or a Darmanitan without Zen Mode, let alone some of the really mad stuff like a Wishiwashi without Schooling or a Shedinja without Wonder Guard.  A bunch of Pokémon have abilities that don’t particularly matter or aren’t very interesting, but I’m not convinced the implementation of a TM-like system that would be basically unusable by a pretty large fraction of all Pokémon is the way to fix that.

Anonymous asks:

For moves like Hyper Beam, Giga Impact, Frenzy Plant, etc… How do you like the sound of them being changed so that, rather than forcing the user to recharge and waste a turn after use, they simply fail if used in succession?

Hmm.  I rather like this one.  Probably the most important thing is that it all but prohibits using these moves with Choice items, which presents a trade-off in min-maxing potential that strikes me as an interesting choice.  The moves will still force you into awkward situations quite often, so their power comes with a cost, but they’ll no longer f$#& you over so consistently as to make them unusable.

Anonymous asks:

I don’t know how true this is, or if you’ve heard of it before already, but the supposed reason why so many Alola Pokemon are slow was because Gamefreak wanted to focus on diversifying the Doubles competitive environment what with Trick Room being a huge thing.

Don’t know how we would determine how true it is without actually asking Game Freak about it, but that thought had occurred to me, and it makes sense.  A lot of Pokémon in Sun and Moon (and for that matter X and Y) also have moves or abilities that seem most useful, or only useful, in multiple battles.  Me, I’m one of those cranky old bastard trainers who still insists on seeing doubles as something of a sideshow, but I agree they seem to be doing their best to push it.

Anonymous asks:

How do you feel about natures? There are 25 of them in total, but for almost every Pokemon, only 2-4 of them are viable. Even then, many Pokemon strongly prefer 1 of those few, and having anything else might actually be hindering said Pokemon? Espeon, for example, would really appreciate Timid, is also cool with Modest, and doesn’t hate Calm or Bold even if Espeon doesn’t get much out of them. Any other Nature either doesn’t grant any benefits at all, or actually hurts Espeon.

I feel like natures work the way they do at least partly as a result of their interaction with generation III’s contest mechanics, which failed to survive in most of the later games, and in that respect they’re sort of emblematic of the way Pokémon is now composed of a whole bunch of legacy systems that no one is quite willing to get rid of.  I don’t think you would design natures the same way if you were creating that system from scratch in generation VII without reference to things like the five contest stats, or berry flavours.  Some discussion of what you could do here, here and here.