You mentioned a while back that if you had your way, Pokémon would have less types, and Water would be one of the types on the chopping block. Can you elaborate more about which types you’d cut and why, and what would remain in your ideal type chart?
It goes through… iterations, depending on how much wild abandon I’m feeling from day to day, and what kind of scope I’m imagining for whatever hypothetical redesign of the Pokémon games that would give me this opportunity. The common thread of my logic is that (contrary, I think, to a lot of fans) I don’t believe more types actually make the game better. Once you have about seven or eight you’ve probably already exhausted 90% of the strategic depth they add to the battle system (compare the TCG, which originally had just seven, although it was more or less forced to expand to eleven by the introduction of new types in generations II and VI, as well as the proliferation of Dragon-types starting in generation III). Having more just makes it harder to memorise all the relationships, and makes the game harder to get into. Like, I get it because I had the bulk of it seared into my impressionable child brain when I was nine, changes in generations II and VI notwithstanding, but if I picked up my first Pokémon game today, in my late 20s, I’m not sure I’d think that was worth my time (though I admit it helps that recent games in the core series display the type effectiveness of your moves against your opponents). There’s an argument that more types enable a wider range of creature designs, but I think you can actually achieve the same result with fewer types more broadly defined. But let’s actually take a stab at answering this question.
Continue reading “Ashe asks:”
Do you think fairies do a good job at balancing dragons? And in a semi related question, do you think fairies are overpowered?
Gnyyyerrgh. If anything I think they’re a bit much; Dragon is actually kind of a bad type now, just in and of itself, since its main advantage was always that it was so difficult to block. Particular Dragon-types are still really, really good, obviously, but mainly ones like Garchomp and Dragonite who are really, really good pretty much regardless of what you do to the type. On the other hand, most Dragon-types are quite powerful on their own merits. The weakest ones were Druddigon and Altaria, and Altaria now has a kick-ass Mega form, and Druddigon… well, Druddigon sucks, but there’s sort of not much you can do about that anyway. So basically it just winds up making life seem very unfair for Flygon, Tyrantrum and Noivern. It could be worse.
Continue reading “Anonymous asks:”
Wow, really loving all your articles and posts! That’s awesome that you like the Grass type; they don’t get enough love. But I gotta know: what’s your opinion on the Ground type in general? For the longest time it’s been my favorite (but that might be nostalgia talking since I used to love Sandshrew when I was 8). Now that I’ve looked over some of your posts about Pokemon designs….I do notice Ground has a lot of rather generic looking desert animals with no particular extraordinary powers, lol
Ground… Ground is sort of odd because, aside from Normal, it’s the element with the fewest proper defining characteristics. Many of them are either subterranean or desert creatures – and let us note that these are two extremely different things, and that there is really no reason to clump them together while separating Rock. This seems to be the deal for most Ground-type attacks, but not all Ground Pokémon are anything like this. What, for instance, makes Marowak a Ground-type? What makes Garchomp a Ground-type, other than having the Sand Veil ability (which is shared by Cacturne)? What makes Nidoking and Nidoqueen Ground-types? You mention Sandshrew, and I think perhaps it is worth noting that, as of his introduction in Red and Blue, Sandshrew never actually learned any Ground attacks on his own – Sand Attack being considered a Normal-type attack at the time, which really makes you wonder why they labelled Sandshrew a Ground-type in the first place. In Gold and Silver, of course, Sand Attack became Ground-type, but the newly introduced Sandstorm was a Rock-type attack, and has been ever since. The first Sand Stream Pokémon, Tyranitar, was a Rock-type also. Sort of makes you wonder why other sand Pokémon, and the sand-based attacks introduced in Ruby and Sapphire, didn’t follow suit. The only thing I can think of that they all have in common is that they live on the ground, and even that goes out the window when you encounter bloody Gligar and his nonsensical Ground/Flying type. It might be instructive, furthermore, to question why Kangaskhan, Dunsparce and Stoutland, to name a few, are not Ground-types.
I’m honestly not sure Ground really needs to be a type at all. It has very little in the way of thematic unity or purpose, and if I had been doing this ten years ago I might have suggested eliminating it entirely and splitting all of its belongings between Rock and Normal (although this would happen at the price of making Normal even larger and more nebulous than it is already). You asked for my opinion on the Ground type, and I suppose I’ve given it… I don’t really ‘get’ it. This is not to say that individual Ground-type Pokémon are poorly designed; some of them are, of course, but others are amazing. It’s just that the type as a whole is such a vague and, frankly, poorly thought-out idea that they don’t really have anything in common as a group. Is it really necessary to have two ‘miscellaneous’ types?