Lupina Howls asks:

Wait, you’re using this again? Neat. Well thoughts on Tarastalization? (The Crystal hat thingy in Scarvio)

No-one sent any questions in for, like, six months! There were, like, one or two comments, but nothing that seemed worth posting a response to. This question-and-answer routine is a terrible system for two complementary reasons: one is that if no one asks any questions for a while, people forget it’s an option or think I’m not doing it anymore, and continue not asking any questions (to be honest, until last week I was beginning to suspect that perhaps it had finally died a natural death); the other is that if I get a lot of questions in a short time and manage to answer them, people get excited about it and send in more than I have time to write proper answers to, and then sometimes if I’m busy in real life it starts to feel overwhelming and I actually do give up on it for a while. It’s an extremely bad system that I only have in the first place because it was there by default on Tumblr, but hey, it means sometimes I talk about topics I wouldn’t have thought to talk about, without making it a whole thing that I have to have a researched and sober opinion on.

sorry, what were you saying?

oh yeah, sparklification

Well, I’ve never been one to get super enthusiastic about the big flashy mechanics like Mega Evolution or Z-Moves, but I have to admit, the strategic possibilities of being able to set up a Pokémon to change its type are interesting. The way it’s described, it sounds like sparklified Pokémon get a sort of double-STAB, so they’ll certainly have raw power on tap, but it seems like something that will take a bit more finesse and forethought than Dynamax or Mega Evolution. To be honest, I think the sparkly hats look pretty goofy, but I suppose they’re a reasonable compromise in this dilemma Game Freak seems to keep facing, where they want the flagship mechanic to be something all Pokémon can participate in (rather than a small minority, as with Mega Evolution), but also want it to be something visually striking that isn’t practical to tailor to every Pokémon in the game. I actually quite liked how Dynamax was part of the regional battle culture of Galar; I don’t think we’ve seen yet how/whether Scarlet and Violet plan to work sparklification into Paldean culture, but it seems clear that the phenomenon is tied to the land and perhaps the geology of Paldea itself, and I don’t believe any of the trailers or promos have claimed it’s a recent discovery, so I have to imagine there’ll be some kind of local tradition around it.

K asks:

Is your Legends Arceus playthrough dead? Are you planning on doing reviews for the Galarian pokemon/the Hisuian variants?

Now, I know you’ve asked me two very specific things here, but they kinda touch on some bigger issues of What I Do And Why that I probably should talk about, so – and this, K, is not a reflection on you at all, this is not your fault – instead I’m going to drink heavily and shout at you.

(also the context of everything else that follows is that I have a few months left to finish my PhD thesis or die trying, so I’m trying to avoid committing to anything big at all until next year; I am not going to touch Scarlet/Violet at all until mid-December at the very earliest, no, I’m serious, K, I mean it; it’s okay not to play things on launch day, for goodness’ sake, it’s fine, calm your tits, K)

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Pixel3r asks:

If Vileplume got a gigantamax form, would you prefer it be a giant body with a tiny flower, or an even larger flower with a tiny body?

I dunno if I need Vileplume to have a Gigantamax form, honestly. I think if it did get one, though, the aesthetic of Gigantamax is all about exaggerating whatever a Pokémon’s most prominent features are already. So: enormous flower, petals reach down to the ground, the Pokémon’s body dangling from the middle, legs waving in the air.

Pie asks:

Did you ever get around to playing the Crown Tundra? Also, do you think the Hisuian variants/evolutions of some Pokemon you’ve ragged on before make up for the originals? (sorry if you get this twice, i think i accidentally deleted this the first time)

I did! I thought it was quite fun, and a decent answer to the honestly pretty intractable problem of “how do we fit all these goddamn legendary Pokémon into this game?” (to which my answer, frankly, would probably have been “don’t,” but we’ve seen the kind of response that strategy gets). I mostly just didn’t think I had anything particularly important to say about it. Broadly, I think the Isle of Armour and Crown Tundra are pretty similar to the kind of stuff that Pokémon used to add in its “third version” games like Emerald and Platinum, but priced as an expansion rather than a whole new game, which strikes me as a good deal less exploitative. It is what it is, it does what it promises to do, I don’t know that I think it’s anything special, but I did like the Calyrex storyline, so… yeah, sure. It’s fine.

As for the Hisuian forms… hmm… trying now to remember which of those I have ragged on… I dunno if this counts as changing my opinion on Basculin, who is still pretty silly, but I do think Basculegion is a nice addition and takes the shoal/school theme in an interesting direction. That’s probably the biggest one. Uh. What about Lilligant, was I mean to Lilligant? Eh, I dunno if I’m that big a fan of Hisuian Lilligant either, in any case; it’s kinda just “what if Lilligant were Tsareena?” Qwilfish…? Nah, I just refuse on principle to allow Qwilfish to settle into my long-term memory, no matter what they do with it. The name Overqwil is worth a lot of points, I’ll give them that.

Heart Gold Kingslocke: Episode 11

Introduction/rules here.

Last time I left you all in suspense, I was waiting to receive an answer from my own personal Devil, Jim the Editor.  As a reminder, the Devil card says:

The Devil: If you own eight Pokémon or fewer (not counting Pokémon in the Vessel) when you draw this card, or if you are using a party given to you by the Vessel, ignore it and draw another. Otherwise…
Immediate: Catch the first wild Pokémon you see in this area, then have an observer choose a new party of six Pokémon from all the Pokémon you own, except for Pokémon in the Vessel.  Revoke any ongoing rules that would make this team illegal.
Ongoing: All of the chosen Pokémon are compulsory.

So I went to Jim with a full update on all my cards and Pokémon, and here is what he said.

Continue reading “Heart Gold Kingslocke: Episode 11”

Heart Gold Kingslocke: Episode 8

Introduction/rules here.

Chuck only has two Pokémon.  They’re both much higher levels than mine – 29 and 31 – but they are also both open to manipulation, because Chuck’s signature move in this game is Focus Punch, which can be disrupted by attack damage.  Only two of my Pokémon should be in danger of being petrified here, Paradise from Rock Slide and Killgore from Focus Punch, and in theory that shouldn’t be a problem for Killgore as long as he just keeps attacking.  Even if we lose one or both of them, I’ll get one back if I can win the battle.

Well, here goes nothing.

Continue reading “Heart Gold Kingslocke: Episode 8”