AceTrainerAlvaro asks:

Type (re)Design 1: I doubt the logic of type differences will ever be rigorously explained in-game to satisfy veterans who grew up with the series but I am curious about tinkering with weaknesses/strengths from a design perspective. For instance, I think it’s a design flaw that Rock- and Ground-type – hardy “earthen types” if you will – have so many weaknesses in common because it that discourages these types from appearing together in future designs given how crippling a 4× weakness to both common Water- and Grass-type attacks can be. An early idea I had was to combine these types into a single Earth-type but I realize this is unlikely and would mean cancelling out some of the more interesting resistances/immunities of either Rock- and Ground-types. My other idea would be to remove Ground-type weakness to Water-type attacks (becoming 1× normal damage) and remove Rock-type weakness (also becoming 1× normal damage) to Grass-type attacks. That means the Rhyhorn and Geodude families for instance would only suffer 2× weakness to either Grass- or Water-type attacks.

Thoughts? Or is this plea overly specific?

I have… a bit of a history of badmouthing Ground as a type that doesn’t really have a point, or any thematic unity. You could get rid of it, I think, and we would manage without it. I tend to think that, all else being equal, a smaller and less complicated type chart is actually better, as long as it doesn’t restrict design space.  There is an argument that we need some variable in the game that makes Flying Pokémon immune to Dig, Earthquake and Magnitude, but every other strength and weakness of the Ground type either overlaps with Rock (as you noted – weak to Grass and Water, strong against Fire) or doesn’t actually seem flavour-essential.  Why do Ground attacks need to do extra damage to Poison-types?  Or reduced damage to Bug-types?  There are also plenty of Ground attacks that… don’t seem like Flying-types should automatically dodge them?  Drill Run, Mud Shot, Sand Tomb, Earth Power… Bonemerang, for heaven’s sake.  I think it would actually make more sense to have specific attacks flagged as “this doesn’t work on anything that flies or levitates.”

Magearna

Magearna

I feel like I’ve said this multiple times already, but I really am finally on the home stretch of generation VII now, with just four Mythical Pokémon remaining: Magearna, Marshadow, Zeraora and Meltan.  In stark contrast to the last few Pokémon I’ve had to deal with, who have had critical roles in the plots of the seventh-generation games, as well as the accompanying seasons of the anime, these four mysterious Pokémon are pretty absent from the games and don’t have much impact on our own journeys through Alola (Meltan doesn’t even show up until we return to Kanto for Let’s Go).  With the exception of Meltan, they do each get their own keynote appearances in movies, though, so we’re going to be drawing fairly heavily on the events and histories presented in those, and as usual the testimony of the Pokédex.  Today we’re looking at Magearna – the aptly-named Artificial Pokémon.

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State of the Blog – July

I made it! I’m back in the US, I didn’t die; I’ve written up some documentation of that body of ancient glass fragments I mentioned when I left, and I’ve brought back several samples for chemical analysis, which is exciting. I also learned how to make hummus. These things are clearly of similar degrees of importance.

The Magearna review is a little bit later than I wanted it to be, but it’s finished and will go up tomorrow. That leaves three more Pokémon for generation VII – Marshadow, Zeraora and Meltan, probably in that order. If all goes according to plan, all three will be done by the first week of September. That leaves, in principle, just over two months before the release of Sword and Shield, and probably another couple of weeks before I’m ready to start reviewing Pokémon. During that time, I’ll be writing articles on the story, major characters and worldbuilding of Sun and Moon, and I am also going to try for some quick takes on the Alolan forms of each of the Pokémon that have them. When that time comes, my extremely attractive and intelligent supporters on Patreon (currently: Bradley, James Crooks, hugh_donnetono, Esserise and Hamish Fyfe) will be able to vote on the order in which I take on all the topics I want to get to. If you yourself are extremely attractive and intelligent (as of course all my readers are), and that idea has some appeal to you, or you just feel like tipping me a dollar here and there to help me buy the black artefacts spell components souls bagels with cream cheese that sustain my existence, check that out using the link at the top of the page.

Jim the Editor and I are also working on a new Thing, a series(?) of retrospectives on my old writing, in the form of “interviews” between the two of us, beginning with a look at my reviews of the Unova Pokémon. I have mixed feelings about a lot of my older stuff, and I guess anything more than 5-6 years old I don’t 100% stand by these days, but it’s a shame to not do something with it, and I like the idea of re-examining all of it in light of everything I’ve learned since then and how my approach to writing for this blog. The first of these will probably go up on or around August 10. Later on, maybe around the beginning of September, I have in mind to start another Thing, something a bit more on the silly side than most of my work, and something that I hope will be able to involve readers in choosing its direction. More details to follow…

Toucannon asks:

So, MegaEvolution is something of a base-breaking point for pokemon fans, but you’ve been known to mention it being a good thing for some pokemon (in terms of improved useability). Thus, I ask: which of the 50 or so existing megaevolutions would you say are necessary and worth keeping, and which ones are superfluous and shouldn’t have been introduced at all?

Well… based on that particular criterion, probably fewer than half of them were a good idea, maybe even fewer than a third, which is a pretty terrible success rate.  Terrible enough, in fact, that I think it’s pretty clear this rationale wasn’t really a major part of Game Freak’s process for deciding which Pokémon to give Mega Evolutions to (even though it’s something I like), and therefore arguably not a good way of judging them.  Particularly in the first round in X and Y, Mega Evolutions primarily went to Pokémon that were already fan favourites, like the Kanto starters, Mewtwo and Gyarados, and most of those were already at least decent.  But… well, you asked, so okay, let’s make a list…

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A Dragonborn With a Trident On His Back Playing a Syrinx asks:

This is definitely Heracles https://drive.google.com/file/d/1dzvmPjWMKLaiNG6MOLkOgjcveh2lnEja/view?usp=drivesdk

…I mean, I can believe that it’s trying to be?  Heracles almost always has a club, though, and the ears of his lionskin aren’t usually that pointy; these look more doglike.  Honestly it kind of reminds me of an Age of Mythology Ulfsark.

N asks:

Never have i seen a community turn around as fast as the pokémon community when they heard about gen 7. Things like having 2 games with slighlty different pokémon are now being touted as exploitative towards the consumer, critiques against the animations are aplenty. Your thoughts? Do you think the criticism is warranted or is the Internet being a bunch of crybabies again?

I don’t know if something specific prompted this question – “again” makes me think there’s been another change in the wind since I posted this, but I’m not aware of anything in particular?

The thing is… there are loads of legitimate criticisms of Pokémon, and I am totally here for criticising Pokémon; it’s what I do.  The whole “paired game” thing has always been weird and is frankly kind of obsolete, and the practise of releasing what amounts to an expansion as a full new game in (almost) every generation honestly is pretty consumer-unfriendly.  No one owes Nintendo and Game Freak their money or time, and we should all be prepared to criticise the media we consume.  The trouble is that the internet is a toxic cesspit that unfailingly reduces all human communication to corrosive bile sooner or later, which is why Jim the Editor should let me delete my Twitter account.  Even perfectly legitimate points just get subsumed into this appalling tidal wave of angry unreflective hot takes and reactions, because the internet is deathly allergic to nuance.  That’s not even the fault of any individual person involved in the discussion; it’s just the inevitable result of a structure that favours clickbait over substance and encourages us to outsource all our opinions to figureheads or group identities.  I’d like to decide what I think of this game after I’ve actually played it.  Not everyone can do that, because games are expensive and we don’t have infinite money, but you can pick a sensible reviewer, whose opinions on a range of other games are similar to your own, and wait for them to play it and decide what they think.  It’s okay if launch day arrives and you still don’t know whether you want to buy the game or not; I’ve never preordered a Pokémon game or started playing on day 1.  There’ll be plenty of time to make up our minds about what criticism is or is not deserved after that.