POKEMONTH 2013 POST #2: Just say "NO" to a Pokemon MMO - Oni no Tenshi Blog - www.GameInformer.com
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POKEMONTH 2013 POST #2: Just say "NO" to a Pokemon MMO

DO NOT WANT.

MMO's are often considered to be at the forefront of the gaming experience.  Allowing real players to interact with one another in the gaming environment offers a unique, unpredictable and truly social experience that CPUs and NPCs can't hope to give you.  Many MMO games are available to play, but the number one suggestion I always hear is "Make Pokemon into an MMO!"  

I'm here today to tell you that this is a terrible idea, for three big reasons (though there are more):

1) MMOs cost big MMoney

Most MMO games cost money for the actual software.  Then there's the disk-sized expansion packs, the microtransactions and the bonus levels that are downloadable only.  Many people spend actual money to purchase virtual items, and some even try to sell them on auction sites such as Ebay for real money.  

And don't get me started on the "monthly subscription fees" that games like World of Warcraft and Everquest are famous for. This is not a road that Pokemon needs to go down, my friends.

A game like Pokemon retails for less than $50.00 and the gameplay can last you countless hours exploring, replaying and ferreting out every little crevice and niche in the game.  You can already have a lot of control over your gaming experience, from what extras you want to partake in (gambling, playing with your pokemon, trading) to your very appearance.  And even though Pokemon X and Y are not MMOs, they still have the option of a lot of actual connectivity with online players, and Nintendo has even come out with a Pokemon storage cloud feature for your Pokemon to be saved for future generations (of course, I personally think that's cheating and prefer to start out with a clean slate each time, but I'm from a weird and ancient generation of Pokemon players who used to blow the cartridge to get it to work and forget backlights, you had to use your flashlight like a boss if you wanted to see that screen in the low light.

2) Pokemon is not about socialization- it's a personal journey.

In the world of Pokemon, becoming a trainer is actually an ingrained societal rite of passage.  Every kid who gets a Pokemon is booted out (nicely) by Mom and sent on a journey of epic proportions.  Often there is danger, plenty of SCIENCE and bad guys with stilted laughter to boot.  Plus you often end up discovering something legendary or amazing, and possibly even get the chance to be the Pokemon Master.

In the game of Pokemon, EVERY PLAYER CAN DO THIS.  If Pokemon became an MMO, there would be a finite amount of people who could discover all the rarest Pokemon and items.  There would be only one actual Pokemon Master and a leader board of a million losers to the Pokemon Master title.  What's worse, newer players (or those who don't start playing 24/7 immediately after getting it on the midnight release) will be hopelessly behind, with Pokemon of inferior rank and level and zero stuff to show for it.  It would be rage inducing to come into a new world only to be trounced by the trolls and the jerkwads at level 150.

And the best thing about Pokemon is that there's honestly no one "right" way to play and win.  You can beat the game with any number of Pokemon in your team, and you can choose to collect as many or as few Pokemon as you want.  When too many other people are part of the game world that you're playing within, there are more rules and more pre-existing structures that other players have determined and created for you to have to follow.  This kills a lot of the creativity that goes with discovering the world of Pokemon, and in general, is enough to make a lot of players who are new to the game just give up immediately.

3) Technology SNAFU ARGLEBLARGLE

Could you imagine how much it would suck if the newest handheld Pokemon game was COMPLETELY RELIANT ON BEING ABLE TO BE ONLINE 100% OF THE TIME?!  The current generation of handhelds don't have a data plan or constant wireless connection, and it completely defeats the purpose of a "hand held" system if you can't leave your house and still get to play the game.  Plus, if you have laggy internet or slow connection, you're going to be out of luck when it comes to other people who have a quick connection.  In all actuality, such a game would have to be played on a PC, and everyone knows the pitfalls of being a PC gamer- it's expensive to get a good machine to begin with, you're constantly buying new parts to upgrade your computer to play games because they require the latest and greatest, etc etc etc.

And let's just imagine what would happen the second a server went down in Nintendo's basement.  Items would disappear, people's avatars would be reset, etc.  It would take a ton of money to maintain and police, moderators would be needed to keep people from extorting, cheating and trolling.  Let's not even mention the number of parents who would be up in arms about possible child predators mixing with their children who are just trying to catch all the Pikachus.

So in short, NOPE.

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This gym leader wants to take photos of bugs instead of squishing them.  RUN AWAY.

That said, I'm getting pretty far in the game.  I only started yesterday (and have been only playing a little here and there) so I'm excited to have beaten the first Gym leader on my first try (woo!)

My current team is as follows:

Braixen

I got a male version of Fennekin, but there's not much of a physical difference in the genders.  The part I like best in his animation is when he pulls out the stick from his tail and uses it to fight.  That's just cool.

Butterfree

Call me an old fashioned softy, but I was a sucker for the episode of Pokemon (the old one, with Ash), where he lets his Butterfree go be with its one true love.  I mean, that gets me in the feels every dang time.  Butterfree is nice because it evolves from Caterpie pretty quickly, learns psychic moves (confusion), learns poison moves, and learns sleep moves.  It's basically the earliest possible powerhouse Pokemon that you can get with a wide variety of offensive moves and status affects.

Pikachu

I promise, I don't just have Gen 1 pokemon (well, besides the starter I have), but Pikachu is an oldie but goodie.  Not only are her (yes, I have a female Pikachu) Thundershock and Quck Attack moves a great one-two punch against wild Pokemon, but her Static Shock effect allows me to paralyze my opponents which is helpful for capturing them or just getting extra turns.

Fletchinder

I do have a Pidgie in my PC, but I wanted to try one of the most recent generation of bird Pokemon.  So far I haven't been disappointed.  Flechinder (who just evolved from it's base form) just added a fire attack to her arsenal.  With a mix of flying, fire and normal attacks, I'm pleasantly surprised (plus, like all bird types, she is FAST.)

Farfetch'd

I'm still on the fence about this one.  So far, I haven't really spent a lot of time fighting with him, but he was a trade from the first town and trades are useful because they level up faster.  I may switch him out for the fire bird (Torchic? I forget) Pokemon that Nintendo is giving out free via Mystery Gift, but I'm not sure.

Flabebe

There are accent marks on the e's, but I can't make them look fancy in this text box.  This is one of the newest ones I've encountered and I must say that she's adorable and that's the main reason I put her in my team.  Of course, the other thing is that she's a member of the new "fairy" type, which has been a source of a lot of hype.  I want to learn more about the power of the fairy type, and I love cute things, so there ya go.

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Yes, that's my terrible attempt at a screenshot, courtesy of my phone .  It's so cool that the new Pokemon games wish you a happy birthday!

Oh, and on a bit of a personal note, today is my birthday!  I turn 29 this year, so woo!

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So , dear reader, what are your thoughts on a Pokemon MMO?

What is your current team vs ideal team?

And finally, what is your favorite little nuance in the game that doesn't really have much to do with the core gameplay but is still pretty cool?

I look forward to reading your comments!

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