I wasn’t kidding when I said I’d never played a Pokemon game before Pokemon GO. Aside from basic Generation 1 Pokemon names and the games of the more poplar, later generation Pokemon, I had no idea about the more complicated stuff in Pokemon. The majority of my Pokemon knowledge comes from watching the old TV show back when I was 10 and ‘collecting’ Pokemon Cards (i.e. just getting the cards I liked). I also watched the same Pokemon show, dubbed badly into Greek when I was 12. Apart from that and some vague promo things like metal disc collectibles in packets of crisps and cereal, or fake, cheap trading cards bought in shitty souvenir shops. Really, after the age of about 15, I’d basically moved on from Pokemon and only ever stopped by to look at the new starter and legendary Pokemon that were revealed in every new game release. Considering the fact that I never owned a portable Nintendo console, there was no real way for me to even get into Pokemon properly.
When I started playing Pokemon GO, introduced to me by my sister mainly as a way to get me out and walking more, I thought it was simple. I thought you just threw balls at Pokemon and it was mostly RNG and luck that determined whether you’d be able to catch a Pokemon or not, and it was just Combat Power and Pokemon types that determined how well you did in a fight. After all, throwing a Flareon at a Blastoise is always a bad idea because fire is countered by water, right?
Well, eh, no.
You see, what put me off actually playing Pokemon games, when I looked into them when I was older, was that things were always slightly more complicated than they appeared. You see, on top of the fact that there are way, way more Pokemon types now, but there’s also a set of three stats that I simply wasn’t aware of, a thing called IVs. I never knew that every individual Pokemon actually has a set of values that suggest how good a Pokemon is at battling and fighting and all that. It turns out that there’s a bunch of different things that make any Pokemon strong.
As a wholly casual player at a fairly low level, I was blissfully ignorant of all that. Then it reached a point where other Pokemon, specifically Raid Pokemon, were kicking my ass and I had no idea why.
Okay, to be fair, I have been using the Appraise option on my Pokemon the entire time, evolving ones that my team’s leader said they were good. Team Mystic at least is a little more honest than the other two teams, in my opinion, but even Spark’s kind words aren’t that useful. If I really want to take things seriously, then I need to find an IV calculator and work out, out of all my Pokemon that get good appraisals, which ones are better than the others. And on top of Pokemon with good stats, you also need Pokemon with good types and good attacks – after all, an Arcanine won’t get that Super Effective damage if all his attacks are electric type! Something that sadly affects one of my Arcanines.
Turns out, my Houndooms, my army of them, are mostly just average. Same goes for my three Arcanines. And my high level Magmars. And the Alolan Exeggutor I’d been trying to get for ages and finally acquired in a Raid, he’s alright. Luckily my Donphan (also acquired in a raid) is fucking badass and still carries my dumb Pokemon ‘Trainer’ backside through most things.
It’s slightly misleading really, because going by appraisals and CP alone isn’t always accurate. I mean, Combat Power and getting Pokemon appraised does the job most of the time, but it’s possible other people are ending up as I am, wondering why my Pokemon are just being destroyed, even when
The problem with looking for and using Pokemon with good stats and good attacks though is that you might not ever get Pokemon with good stats and good attacks. One could grind for ages, searching through every Houndour for example until they get ones with great stats and spending candy evolving those, but what if it’s something like a Dratini, which is incredibly rare in the first place? It’s also possible to evolve that Houndour you got with good stats, only to find that your new Houndoom’s attacks are not right, or their stats aren’t as good as you expected.
Honestly, it’s better to just not worry about it. Sure, I need to get a bunch of good Pokemon for Raids and things, but I’ll get there through luck eventually.
And in the mean time, I need to get myself a shiny Houndoom.