Anonymous asks:

Why do you think gen-specific Pokemon pairs get unequal treatment by Game Freak? (Eg, Vileplume got a new evolution in Gen 2, while Victreebel got nothing, and Whimsicott was already better than Lilligant even before becoming Fairy-type in Gen 6.)

I suppose because those pairings don’t serve any gameplay purpose beyond the games in which they were originally introduced.  Oddish and Bellsprout were no longer version-exclusive in generation II, so why continue to act as if they were?  If anything, I think it would be pointlessly restrictive for future games to demand that those pairs of Pokémon continue to mirror each other.  If you have an idea for an alternate evolution for Gloom that you think is a good one, why declare it invalid because you don’t have an idea for Weepinbell?  As for Whimsicott getting a buff that Lilligant missed out on by becoming a Fairy-type – well, you’ve hit the nail on the head.  Whimsicott was already better than Lilligant, so clearly they didn’t care in the first place.  Why would they care more in generation VI, when Whimsicott’s special relationship with Lilligant was no longer relevant, than they had in V?

Ultimasheir asks:

You denied Bisharp’s right to exist back when just Black and White were out. Now it’s a defining metagame pokemon, with exceptionally powerful options in Knock Off and Sucker Punch, as well as Dark/Steel being excellent offensive typing due to the changes to Dark and Steel in Gen VI. Are you satisfied with the pokemon, now?

Sure, I suppose.  I  mean, most of the stuff I said at the time about Bisharp’s design (on which I was fairly equivocal) still applies.  Rereading the entry, I feel like I could very easily have gone the other way on him if I’d found a little more to like in his flavour text or something – after all, I described him as “at least vaguely competent” in battle, which I still think is a perfectly fair assessment of Bisharp’s capabilities at that time (generation VI has been very kind to him).  So there are definitely things about Bisharp that I still feel decidedly ‘meh’ towards; it’s just that he’s now so obviously strong that I’m sort of forced to overlook them.

Continue reading “Ultimasheir asks:”

VikingBoyBilly asks:

How much do you think the game would change if, say, pokémon had six moves? Or two tabs of “attack” moves and “no damage” moves?

I suppose “quite a bit.”  I’m actually on the record as being against increasing the number of moves Pokémon can learn, largely because – contrary to what you might intuitively expect – I think it would reduce strategy and diversity in the game, not increase it.  I expect it would slant the game towards the Pokémon with the largest and most diverse movepools, and reduce the trade-offs and calculations that go into building a team that covers its most important weaknesses with its limited resources.  I also suspect you might see a fairly dramatic increase in the importance of self-buffing movesets (which could, say, include a set-up move and some way to heal while still having room for four attacks) and consequently also things that counter those strategies (Haze, Whirlwind, Unaware, hell, maybe people would even start using Punishment).  Choice Band/Specs/Scarf, by contrast, probably gets slightly worse.  I could be completely wrong about all of this though; it’s the sort of thing might be interesting to see playtested.

VikingBoyBilly asks:

I got an idea to rebalance natures. Let’s take, say, a bold pokémon. The attack stat is reduced by 10%, minus 10% of the neutral defense stat. The defense stat is boosted by 10%, plus 10% of the neutral attack stat. What you get is a compound boost/debuff so the give and take is actually even (Like, if both attack and defense were 100 neutral, it would result in 80 attack and 120 defense). Of course, a stat can never be lower than 1.

Ehhhh… I think if you’re going to do this you should really commit to it and get rid of the flat 10% entirely (and maybe change the proportional part to 15% or even more).  It’s not a terrible idea, and it solves the problem of natures that sacrifice your unused attack stat being obviously the best choice (Alakazam, for instance, no longer gets very much out of sacrificing attack, and needs to sacrifice special defence to get a meaningful boost to speed or special attack). On the other hand, I think it’s significantly harder for new players to understand than the current system.  It also discourages using Pokémon as mixed attackers, which is unfortunate – a Pokémon that actually does have two high attack stats, like Infernape, can get a lot more out of its nature than most Pokémon do by focusing on just one attack stat, which seems contrary to what Game Freak actually want us to do with Pokémon like that.

VikingBoyBilly asks:

If you were tasked to think of one idea to make Eevee completely overpowered and broken without evolving, what would you come up with?

…well, without thinking too hard about why we’re doing this, I’d probably give her an ability that sort of combines Conversion 2 with Protean – Eevee, the ultimate adapter, automatically shifts her type to gain resistance or (if possible) immunity to all incoming attacks.  That’s immunity to 8/18 types and resistance to everything else.  Slap an Eviolite on that and it’ll survive damn near anything, up to and including Primal Kyogre’s Origin Pulse.  Of course, I don’t exactly know what you’d do with Eevee at that point other than maybe Baton Pass some Curses, but you said “one idea” so that’ll have to do.

Anonymous asks:

How do you feel about the idea of Game Freak making more dramatic changes to rebalance weaker Pokemon? For example, switching Flareon’s Special Attack with HP or Speed, and giving it access to Earthquake? I know they don’t do this, but should they?

I don’t think it’s unreasonable.  I mean, I’ve sort of given up caring about game balance in Pokémon, because – in my opinion, at least – Mega Rayquaza pretty much puts it beyond doubt that Game Freak certainly doesn’t care, and doesn’t regard a balanced competitive metagame as a significant goal of what they’re doing.  More importantly, I suspect that, given the sheer number of Pokémon we have now (or, good heavens, the number we will have by the end of the year – have they announced a number?  No, don’t tell me, I don’t even want to know), even a more aggressive balancing strategy like what you’re suggesting would probably not be sufficient.  There aren’t all that many viable roles a Pokémon can fill on a team (special/physical sweeper, Rapid Spin support, tank, pivot, wall, etc), and when you have 700+ of the damn things, it’s sort of inevitable that some will outstrip others at pretty much everything.  On top of that, some Pokémon that are bad on their own somehow become good when partnered with certain others through the strange alchemy of team-building.  So in short, I don’t think it’s a bad idea, I certainly don’t think it would hurt, and some of the really unfortunate Pokémon like Wigglytuff or Ariados could do with just having some big numbers slapped on them, but I’m also not convinced it would actually solve anything in the long term.

Anonymous asks:

Would Regigigas be more usable if instead of Slow Start, it began with very low Attack and Speed, and very high Defense and Special Defense- but every turn, the offensive stats go up +1 and defensive go down -1?

I feel like the answer is probably “no,” because I think with a set-up like that you run into the Darmanitan problem, where you have one Pokémon with two radically different strategies and it’s impossible to commit your moveset and EV spread entirely to one or the other.  Also, part of the problem with Slow Start is that the clock resets when you switch out, and in a game between two human players it’s actually not all that easy to guarantee that Regigigas will be able to stay in play without being killed for long enough to turn off his ability – this way of doing Slow Start has the same difficulty.  You can’t really play defensive because you get weaker the longer you stay in, and you can’t really play offensive because it takes you so damn long to set up.

Anonymous asks:

How do you feel about reworking natures entirely? Half of the natures are useless (neutrals and – Defense / -Sp Def). Some examples would be Hasty – Slower Pokemon take 10% more damage from the user. Brave – Critical Hit damage increases by 50%. Bold – Both defenses increase by 15% before the user attacks. Aggressive – Both Attacks increase by 20% if the user was attacked this turn. Certain Pokemon would only have access to some natures too, like Shuckles can’t be Hasty.

Hmm.  So instead of just giving a flat bonus and penalty under all circumstances, each one confers a situational bonus?  I think I quite like that.  It’s less obvious which one is the “best” for any given Pokémon, it helps to avoid the situation we have now where there are some that are just clearly far more useful than others, and it reduces the number of individual Pokémon who just get thrown out without a second thought because (e.g.) Impish is a garbage nature for Alakazam.  My biggest concern is that I think it’d be tricky to come up with 25 of them and make them all roughly balanced (balanced enough so that for any given species there are at least five or six good choices that you can argue for).  Other suggestions: Modest gets larger bonuses from stat boosting moves; Impish gets an accuracy bonus for moves in the “status” category; Lonely gets bonuses to everything when it’s the last Pokémon standing on its team.

VikingBoyBilly asks:

What if pokémon could have 2 natures and/or 2 abilities? The neutral natures might actually get used if they have to be 2-dimensional, and get stats boosted by 20% for an extra nerf.

Hmm.  Well, multiple abilities (heck, why stop at two?) is an idea that I like a great deal in theory; I think it could be particularly interesting for combining very powerful and very strongly negative abilities on a single Pokémon (say, Truant and Sheer Force, or Speed Boost and Defeatist).  In practice I think you would have to run through almost every Pokémon that currently exists and give some careful consideration to how this kind of thing would affect their power levels.  Some Pokémon like Zubat just have two crappy abilities and kinda get dicked over by this; other Pokémon have two really insane abilities and become significantly more powerful – imagine Reuniclus with Magic Guard and Regenerator, Yanmega with Speed Boost and Tinted Lens, or (gods forbid) Excadrill with Sand Rush and Sand Force.  You’d need to be careful with it.

Continue reading “VikingBoyBilly asks:”