AceTrainerAlvaro asks:

The Pokémon brand remains sheepishly heteronormative (ie, Steven Stone & Wallace are just best guy friends *wink*). On that note, the move Attract should be low-key rejiggered to also affect targets of the same gender, with its overall accuracy reduced somewhat (say down to 85 or 90%) to reflect the slightly lower incidence of same-sex interactions among animals. Frankly, it’s 2019 & kids across the globe are well-aware that LGBTQ people & same-sex “infatuation” (to borrow an in-game term) exist, stop pretending otherwise, Game Freak. Thoughts?

I mean, honestly, I don’t think there’s really any compelling game balance reason you couldn’t just have Attract work on all gendered Pokémon (or even just all Pokémon) with 100% accuracy.  That’d still be strictly worse than Confuse Ray was in generations I through VI, because infatuation wears off if either the user or the target switches out, and an attack that fails due to confusion comes with some extra damage (in generation VII, the chance of a confused Pokémon hurting itself drops to 33%, so it’s a bit murkier now, but still; we can always nerf infatuation by a similar amount, just to keep “parattraction” from becoming a frustrating metagame force).  All Pokémon are bi now.  Really, why not?  This isn’t even all that out of step with nature; there are species where same-sex sexual interactions seem to be more common (for one or both sexes) than opposite-sex ones, like giraffes.  It doesn’t even have to signify homosexuality if people want to be prudish about it; you can just make it a joke, like “he’s so hot even the straight guys want him,” which is a joke the anime has made with Meowth and a wild Purrloin (also, like… straight guys… there’s one, right?  You might not say it out loud, but there’s always one.  We share this blessed earth with the corporeal incarnations of Hugh Jackman, Rock “the Dwayne” Johnson, Ryan Reynolds and Idris Elba, for goodness’ sake; you’re allowed one).  The fact is, we don’t know anything about Pokémon sexuality.  Nothing is canon and nothing is sacred; Game Freak have made sure of that.  We know it usually takes a male and a female to produce an egg, but the games keep insisting that no one knows how it happens, and also claim that eggs “aren’t really eggs,” and permit all kinds of… anatomically improbable pairings (ArcheOPS WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO THAT CLAWITZER).  I’m not sure it would make the system any more implausible even if you straight-up allowed Pokémon to breed and produce offspring regardless of gender (there are single-gender species already, and they must reproduce somehow).

Elchar asks:

How can the economy of the Pokémon world even keep itself stable when domestic cats can just produce money out of thin air? The coins that Pay Day creates have real value. You pick them up in the game and you use them as regular money. I can’t be the only one who would, upon manifesting myself in the Pokémon world, quickly set up a Meowth farm and made them use Pay Day all day. Preferably somewhere close to the Pokémon center for that delicious free PP refillment.

Simple answer: it can’t.  If any trainer with a Meowth can access an unlimited supply of money, then money can’t have a stable value.  It doesn’t make sense.

If it doesn’t make sense, then we have misunderstood something or made a bad assumption (…or the worldbuilding is just fragile enough that we’ve broken it, but let’s make that our explanation of last resort).  Either they can’t actually produce money out of thin air, or the coins don’t actually have value, or perhaps their capacity to produce money is not unlimited and has already been “priced into” the economic systems of regions where they are native.

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Ace Trainer Alvaro asks:

Although a relatively new ability introduced in Gen VI, Symbiosis has come up several times across your blog history (see https://pokemaniacal.com/?s=Symbiosis) and it sticks out as an ability that is oddly specific, to the point it’s arguably not useful except for passing on items to allies in double, triple, etc battles that have consumed their own consumable held-item. How would you rethink this ability or create a new ability that captures the concept of symbiosis (let’s just think about mutualism or the purposes of simplification)? My immediate inclination is that if a Pokémon with Symbiosis has a held item, it also copies the effects of that item (but not the item itself) onto an ally once said item is consumed. Extra credit: this ability could be retconned as a Hidden Ability for Slowbro and the Bulbasaur evolutionary line.

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Analytic Mareep asks:

Guilty confession time:
I’m warming up to Greninja’s battle bond ability, and think that the concept is something Pokemon should continue to explore.
Hear me out. I know Ash-Greninja specifically is pure pandering to anime fans. But the implementation of the concept is, in my opinion, mega evolution done right. Mega Evolution was supposed to be about a strong bond between Pokemon and trainers making the Pokemon stronger, which would strengthen the franchise’s partnership concept. But of course, mega stones simply became an OP held item that you could use as soon as you obtained them. Battle Bond, on the other hand, really emphasizes the participation of the trainer (I think Ash feels pain when his Greninja does or something?) and occurs in the heat of the battle, once the Pokemon has already started taking out foes. What if in a future generation, all the starters’ final evolutions had battle bond as an ability? It might need some adjustments, like needing to be at a certain level to activate, and maybe a friendship or affection requirement as well. But overall, I think Game Freak could really work with this.

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Ty asks:

Hello,

I don’t recall if you ever did a post on your thoughts on Z moves as a whole, or particularly how you reacted to their extreme animations. Would you share your thoughts on each one in a few words?

I haven’t, but I might have promised that I would later.  Let me check.

[Also, just while we’re here, I feel I should note (just to completely weird out the Americans in the audience) that, as I think most New Zealanders would, I have always instinctively pronounced it “zed-move” (not “zee-move”) and this should be the way you imagine me saying it whenever you read my words on the subject.]

damn it Past Chris, get your $#!t together

Y’know, in the past I have definitely made noises about it, but I was never sure what I should commit to, because I thought I might end up talking about them in the context of my review of Necrozma, since the power of Z-moves comes from Necrozma’s light.  That’s something I’m now less optimistic about, since there’s a buttload of lore to study and clarify surrounding Necrozma.  I think I’m going to have to beg to defer this, because it probably does deserve a full article (I did one on mega evolution, after all; I mean, it was completely bat$#!t but I did write it) but I don’t think I can properly tackle the subject with my customary brilliance until I get my facts straight on Necrozma and the cosmic light.

Mr. Slushy Dawg asks:

“Pickup is not useful. That is all.”
Along the same lines, what are other universally useless abilities?

Well, there’s not a lot that are literally useless – even Pickup occasionally does something if you’re fighting an opponent who uses berries – but there are a couple with no in-battle effect whatsoever.  Honey Gather is used only to generate Honey, Illuminate only increases the wild Pokémon encounter rate, and Run Away only allows you to escape wild Pokémon without fail.  An honourable mention should go here to Zygarde’s Aura Break, which improves his matchups against exactly two Pokémon – Xerneas and Yveltal – but otherwise does absolutely nothing.

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roughly 3,700 bees ask:

why does sableye have stall? it was already one of the absolute weakest pokemon in the game prior to prankster or its mega, it was introduced a generation after sableye itself was made, it’s on nothing else, and as far as i can tell there’s no flavour reason for it, so why?

I suppose it could be a joke ability – something that intentionally made Sableye worse than it already was in generation III – but that seems unlikely; Sableye was bad all right (and believe me, I know; one of my partners on my first playthrough of Sapphire back in the day was a Sableye), but not comically so.  I think it has to be a flavour reason, right?  Because nothing else makes any damn sense; Stall is too weak an ability to have been intended as any kind of buff to Sableye.  We’re told that Sableye (a lot like Wobbuffet) are reclusive Pokémon that spend most of their lives in darkness.  When attacked, their instinct is to keep to the shadows, to hide and try to avoid combat.  That instinct can be overpowering even in a serious fight, to the point that, in most exchanges, they will hang back and wait for their opponents to attack first.