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.
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.
Going off the post about giving natures secondary effects, wouldn’t adding those effect make them too similar to abilities?
Well part of the premise of that whole discussion was that I rather liked the idea of having multiple abilities anyway, so I don’t know if that really matters to me. Just use the natures for low-key and general bonuses, and make abilities more powerful and specific.
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.
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.
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