Bulbagraphic:Balance Dissonance in Pokémon: Challenge in Acquisition

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Balance Dissonance in Pokémon: Challenge in Acquisition
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  • Sunday, September 11, 2011

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In competitive battling, we have great Pokémon and we have underwhelming Pokémon. Usually, the great Pokémon are hard to obtain while the underwhelming ones are easier to get. Some like Rattata and Pidgey are underwhelming, but at least they are easy to get. On the other hand, we have things like Metagross and Groudon, who are harder to get, but are great Pokémon. This is a part of balance. When a Pokémon require a lot of effort to obtain, players need to work hard to get them so that it feels rewarding, and for those underwhelming ones, it is fair that they are easy to get, so that there is a reason to get them: they are easy to pick up and are able to be quickly trained. This is natural. However, there are exemptions to this rule. Some Pokémon are easy to get but are naturally strong, and some Pokémon are hard to get but are quite underwhelming, which feels unnatural because there is a dissonance between the effort and the reward. It is not known if the developers intended to have exceptions in terms of balance in this case, though. Here are some of the exemptions that I can find that fits the criteria I mentioned:

Easy to obtain but Powerful

Staraptor Staraptor is a very powerful Pokémon, thanks to having a great Attack stat and its Speed is also great, has great abilities and to top this, it learns the perfects moves. There’s Brave Bird and Double-Edge for the essential STAB (Same Type Attack Bonus), Close Combat for coverage, U-turn to ensure you have an advantageous matchup and Roost for some healing.

The thing is, it is very easy to obtain a Starly or a Staravia. It’s one of the common Pokémon in Sinnoh, and there aren’t any thresholds in points when it comes to obtaining a Staravia in Dream World. Staraptor may not be available in the wild, but it is considerably easy to level one up and its evolution is at a good level. Staraptor: easy to get, but one of the great offensive Pokémon.

Swampert certainly packs a punch.

Swampert Generally, the starter Pokémon are easy to get, since you can choose your starter in the beginning. Here, I am using Swampert as an example because it is a great Pokémon to use. Swampert’s advantages lie in the good power in its attacks in addition to its generally great bulk. With a great range of offensive moves, Swampert is a contender. Even its type combination is great because Grass is the only weakness, and Grass is not the best offensive type.

As I have stated before, starter Pokémon are easy to obtain, so you can grab a Mudkip from the professor and start, and Mudkip’s not hard to train either. So basically, starter Pokémon that are great also fits this category, like Infernape.

Hard to obtain but Underwhelming

Regigigas It’s really no competition for Regigigas in this category. Its stats and range of Physical attacks may be the best reason to praise Regigigas, but it has flaws that repulse the best players from its usage. Its flaws is mainly stemmed from its cursed ability Slow Start. The ability is slow to get disabled, since you need to stall for five turns while Regigigas is hanging around, which is bad because Regigigas can be dealt faster than it recovers, where the opponent might Toxic Regigigas or even set up on it. It does not help that Regigigas is denied the ability to Protect or Rest, making its stalling much harder. On the bright side, its ability is easy to get rid of in Doubles.

You will see Regigigas in Snowpoint Temple, but you can’t obtain one because it is inactive. Actually, you need all three Regis from Hoenn to get Regigigas active, but obtaining each member is already considered troublesome, meaning transferring them to Sinnoh makes it even more troublesome. There are the Regis in Sinnoh as well, but you need an event Regigigas to unlock them, which is even more of a hassle because you can’t get any more event Regigigas today.

You may think Regigigas is great because it’s hard to get, but it’s rather underwhelming considering it's such a challenge to capture.

Phione, while rare, does not bring much to a battle.

Phione Phione is basically a lesser Manaphy, because it has less moves and lower stats than Manaphy, and it itself don’t have its own exclusive moves to differentiate itself from Manaphy. Needless to say, there is not much reason to use Phione over Manaphy, and even then, there are other Pokémon better than Phione in pretty much any role. It is actually not easy to get Phione itself. Obtaining Manaphy is already not an easy task because you need a Pokémon Ranger game to finally get the egg to transfer. As for Phione, you need to do an extra step to get it, which is to breed Manaphy with Ditto. This is an appropriate difficulty to get Manaphy, but for Phione, this obtained method is considered troublesome. Still, you can possess an unlimited supply if you so desire.

There are other forms of balance in a Pokémon besides difficulty in acquisition, so some of the Pokémon that fits the categories of “hard to obtain but underwhelming” and “easy to obtain by great” has other forms of difficulties or ease that makes them more balanced, but these are some examples that I think are quite appropriate in this situation because their other challenges are insufficient in their overall balance. I could list more Pokémon, but ultimately, the word limit prevents me from going further. I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I have writing it.

Thanks for reading.