Lately, I’ve been playing on a very nice multiplayer Pixelmoon server that recently upgraded to version 7.0.1 of Pixelmon Reforged, bringing with it all the Pokemon from the Alolan region, Z-Moves and more. The server community is very nice (if a bit ravenous and grabby) and, thanks to the various plugins they have, it’s not too hard to actually catch Pokemon. Even if you start off with nothing at all, you can slowly start catching Pokemon and leveling yourself up, because the server optionally offers you basic things like 5 Pokeballs every 2 hours, as well as daily kits containing a handful of goodies. Obtaining Legendaries isn’t impossible either since you get rewards for catching specific numbers of Pokemon.
Playing Pixelmon though in a single player environment though is, unless you have access to Creative Mod or cheats or utility mods, extremely depressing.
First off, make sure you give yourself a bonus starting chest. Because that’s the only way you’ll ever get Pokeballs when you first start out. Setting the game to peaceful is also a big boon because some Pokemon are instantly aggressive to you and your level 5 starter that only has two attacks and having to deal with hunger is kinda annoying. Once your chosen Pixelmon is dead, it’s basically just normal Minecraft with weird, ill-fitting round models everywhere, until you can revive your buddies.
My second tip is to just not bother fighting anything until you find a village with a Pokecenter. Because all it takes is one critical hit to floor your poor starter. Or one normal attack, depending on what you pick. A healing station requires glass, aluminum plates and a diamond to make, and aluminum plates require a Pixelmon anvil and a hammer. So before you even find diamonds, you’re at least a block of Iron down and need to find Bauxite ore and smash it on an anvil anyway.
Then there’s the whole thing of getting Pokeballs. You’ll always want to make an automatic Pokeball smashing machine because smashing out Pokeball lids and bases by hand on an anvil is the most tedious thing on the planet. But first you gotta get yourself some Apicorn Berries and bake them in a furnace. This isn’t really that hard, but it’s a billion times easier if you just make yourself a massive farm of various Apicorn Berries (mostly black and yellow for Master Balls and yellow and blue for Quick Balls, maybe some blue and pink for the other types… you need a lot of blue) and harvest regularly. You also need iron or aluminum to make the bases, and stone to make the buttons.
I mean, you could just use Pokedollars, earned from defeating random NPCs in the wild, to buy Pokeballs. But to do that, you need more than just your starter Pokemon, and preferably a place to be able to heal them. That’s where villages come in, because villages are basically your only place to heal up before you can build a base of your own.
Which is fine, assuming you don’t spawn in somewhere like Ice Plains or a Taiga, where villages tend to not spawn on Minecraft 1.12. And really, it’s not the same, having to rely on finding a village before you get anything done.
My point is, there is a huge amount of setup before you can even begin to start catching Pokemon and filling out that Pokedex. You need to go mining, you need to gather materials and you need to do your standard Minecraft things. And once you’ve done that, you need to start off small anyway because otherwise you’re running off back ad forth to your healing station to fix up your Pokemon every five seconds.
It’s not that Pixelmon in single player is impossible, it’s just that it’s insanely tedious and very slow. You really can’t just jump in and play Pokemon in Minecraft, you have to do a huge amount of Minecraft-ing first before you can get anywhere with your Pokemon-ing.
In the mean time, most Pixelmon servers tend to at least give you the odd free Pokeball.