Posted by: seanmalstrom | June 26, 2014

Email: Pokemon X and Y suck

Hello Master Malstrom,

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[I thought that I sent this weeks ago, apparently it’s been living in my drafts]
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I know that you don’t play Pokemon and haven’t understood the phenomenon or the  culture around it much but I thought I’d share my post mortem thoughts on the series and the last set of games.
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Pokemon is a social rpg. It’s not just a regular rpg, not hardcore, not pen and paper and not a mmo either. It’s not instanced multiplayer like Phantasy Star Online either. If anything it’s a hybrid between a normal rpg, jrpg and a mmo. You have the standard hallmarks of any traditional, turn-based rpg combined with a unique element that is a more personal version of Star Ocean’s 150 stars (you could recruit each star to join your party, on pokemon you catch the pokemon) that brings the mmo local.
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Maybe LAN-RPG would work as the right term. It has online now, but the games social element is still focused around local play. That’s what it had in the beginning and it’s what the online is based off of.
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Getting into why it sucks, I’ll put the perfect display (not the only source, just the best example) of it all on “shinies”. Pokemon is a game based around collecting Pokemon. To be able to train them individually and make your own creature focused towards a certain style of play is marvelous. Your random encounters would eventually have you meet a “shiny” pokemon, one that has a different color.
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They were rare but highly sought after. People wanted the shinies to become more accessible to everyone but it’s damaged part of the social and metagames. People are spending huge amounts of time on doing busywork to get the shinies. It was a bit different when they were breeding teams for battle, but the shiny work sucks up about the same amount of time (without some weird gadget) but it doesn’t have a major payoff.
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You used to be able to play with these people more often or at least enjoy their company while they grinded and you grinded as well. If you don’t automate the process with a contraption, it sucks up a lot of your attention. You withdraw a bit more, you start to become less social. They shut themselves off from the other players in the same room in the same way that a highly introverted person would at a party. Sometimes this happens in games but when combined with the collection element they’re often trying to get over 600+ creature collections this way.
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All of this time spent is being wasted. They’re no longer hanging out with friends and enjoying a game. They’re hanging out around friends and slightly absorbing their presence. It’s really wrecked the game locally, a lot of the fun has been lost. All of the hardcore elements have had some barriers removed without rebalancing how they affect the game. People will obsess over stats and training and now it’s easy for anyone to jump into it. If you’ve ever been on a forum, it becomes like the real life version of some new person asking for obvious stuff that has guides/stickies available for it. “How do you train for X?” “what is ev/iv training”? People are talking so much about portions of the game that were hidden from those that made a site like this one necessary to be created.
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I’m sorry if I rambled on, basically higher level/end game features were made more accessible without properly educating the player in-game and changing the structure of the game to accommodate it.

 

Talking Pokemon to me is as if you were speaking cat to me. I hear that you are saying something, but I do not know what.

Meow! Meow! Meow! What is it saying? I don’t know. I do know it is trying to communicate with me. I *think* it wants food.

Talking to me about Pokemon gets the same reaction. What is this email saying? I do not know. I think the email is trying to tell me something. I think it is saying how Pokemon now sucks.


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