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Lord_Brand

Rethinking Pokemon: Friendly Trainers and Hostile Trainers

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I was just watching Arlo's first impressions of Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl when I realized how much it bugs me that most Trainers in this series basically just stand guard in routes, looking in different directions for somebody to challenge, and then force you to battle them if you enter their line of sight. When you think about it, that's an incredibly asshole-ish and disturbing thing to do, just standing around in some forest waiting for a random kid to pass by so you can force them into a fight and take some of their money if you win. If I was a kid and some big hairy Hiker walked up to me and was all "Yo, kid, let's you and me fight", I'd be all "No, thank you" and get away from that stranger danger as fast as I could ride my bicycle.

I feel this series needs to rethink how it handles Trainers. And I have some ideas for how to not only make Trainers less of a hassle but also to add some dimension to them beyond being opponents you can fight for EXP and cash.

Friendly Trainers don't automatically challenge you to battle but rather allow you to interact with them in different ways:

  • Talk - Just about every Friendly Trainer is willing to chat with you for a bit. Some have interesting bits of lore to share, others may have advice to give you about battling. You'll also get to register their number if you haven't done so.
  • Battle - You can challenge them to a friendly Pokemon battle. Once the Trainer is defeated, you'll have to wait until the next day to battle them again.
  • Shop - Most Friendly Trainers carry items that you can buy from them, though they usually have limited inventories which refresh once enough time has passed. Many will also let you sell items to them, though the price the Trainer is willing to pay will vary based on their interest in said item.
  • Gift - Some Trainers allow you to give them items as gifts. Giving the right gift to a Trainer can net you a reward in turn.
  • Trade - Some Trainers are interested in a Pokemon trade. Generally, they'll offer a specific Pokemon in exchange for a different specific Pokemon. Most of these are Pokemon you can find elsewhere but with perks such as high IVs, rare hold items, powerful moves, or even hidden abilities. A few are Pokemon that evolve by trading, giving you access to trade evolutions when you would otherwise need to find another player.
  • Quest - Some Trainers offer quests more complex than a simple Gift or Trade request. Say, clearing out a group of ruffians who have blocked up a route, or helping a Trainer find a lost Pokemon. The quests usually tell you what you'll receive as a reward for completing them.

If a Friendly Trainer has a gift for you, they'll give it to you upon engaging conversation with them.

Then you have Hostile Trainers, who are more the traditional "If I see you, I'll fight you" kind. The two most common places where you'll encounter these kinds of Trainers are in Pokemon Gyms, where the Trainers are part of the challenge and thus are expected to battle challengers, and hideouts patrolled by Team Grunts, who are criminal thugs trying to keep trespassers out and thus make sense as the type who'll force you to fight. The whole "don't cross their line of sight if you don't want to fight" angle makes perfect sense, and could even be made into a genuine threat by having Grunts (or perhaps a new class known as Elites) with Pokemon that are likely a good 10-20 levels above yours, making it much harder to win (but not necessarily impossible). Random individual thugs like burglars or robbers could also fit into this category.

Generally, Friendly Trainers will look approachable while Hostile Trainers have angry or sinister expressions. In specific circumstances, a Hostile Trainer could become a Friendly Trainer, or vice versa. Gym Leaders in particular are prone to this.

There could also be a third category: Suspicious Trainers. These appear to be Friendly Trainers, but upon interacting with them, will reveal themselves to actually be Hostile and force you to battle. Gym Leaders are technically of this category, but they aren't really concealing their intentions (usually), they're just waiting for you to challenge them.

Some Trainers could be capable of traveling just as you do, meaning you'll encounter them at different times and places. If you're interested in finding a specific Friendly Trainer who is traveling, you can use their number to find their current location. But beware of traveling Hostile Trainers, like a particularly unfriendly rival or a mercenary hired to seek you out!

Edited by Lord_Brand

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On 11/21/2021 at 6:38 PM, Lord_Brand said:

Friendly Trainers don't automatically challenge you to battle but rather allow you to interact with them in different ways:

  • Talk - Just about every Friendly Trainer is willing to chat with you for a bit. Some have interesting bits of lore to share, others may have advice to give you about battling. You'll also get to register their number if you haven't done so.
  • Battle - You can challenge them to a friendly Pokemon battle. Once the Trainer is defeated, you'll have to wait until the next day to battle them again.
  • Shop - Most Friendly Trainers carry items that you can buy from them, though they usually have limited inventories which refresh once enough time has passed. Many will also let you sell items to them, though the price the Trainer is willing to pay will vary based on their interest in said item.
  • Gift - Some Trainers allow you to give them items as gifts. Giving the right gift to a Trainer can net you a reward in turn.
  • Trade - Some Trainers are interested in a Pokemon trade. Generally, they'll offer a specific Pokemon in exchange for a different specific Pokemon. Most of these are Pokemon you can find elsewhere but with perks such as high IVs, rare hold items, powerful moves, or even hidden abilities. A few are Pokemon that evolve by trading, giving you access to trade evolutions when you would otherwise need to find another player.
  • Quest - Some Trainers offer quests more complex than a simple Gift or Trade request. Say, clearing out a group of ruffians who have blocked up a route, or helping a Trainer find a lost Pokemon. The quests usually tell you what you'll receive as a reward for completing them.

The Pokemon series actually introduced a rudimentary form of this going back as far as Gen II, with the PokeGear system. Register a trainer in the PokeGear, and they call you whenever they feel like it. We all recall Youngster Joey's boasts of his top-percentage Rattata, but how about Hiker Anthony telling us of a Dunsparce swarm in Dark Cave? Or Lass Dana, ready to gift us with a Thunder Stone? Of course, these trainers start out in the typical "Hostile" manner, but essentially turn "Friendly" upon defeat, and for future encounters.

I highlighted Trade to expound upon how I would do it. The other trainer would offer a particular Pokemon (one of those that they already used in battle against you), and would generally seek a Type rather than a species (i.e. a Swimmer could be happy with any Water-type, or alternatively, they could ask for a Fire-type to round out their team better). Once you've given them the requested Mon, it's part of their team. Battle them again, your old Mon is on their team. If you gave them a nickname, they still carry it into battle with them. Hell, if you've progressed enough and they've leveled-up, they could evolve and change their moveset to reflect that. I think this could be a really cool way to ensure that, even when you've traded a Pokemon away, it's not like they've disappeared forever (even though all in-game trades thus far... basically do that).

On 11/21/2021 at 6:38 PM, Lord_Brand said:

Then you have Hostile Trainers, who are more the traditional "If I see you, I'll fight you" kind. The two most common places where you'll encounter these kinds of Trainers are in Pokemon Gyms, where the Trainers are part of the challenge and thus are expected to battle challengers, and hideouts patrolled by Team Grunts, who are criminal thugs trying to keep trespassers out and thus make sense as the type who'll force you to fight. The whole "don't cross their line of sight if you don't want to fight" angle makes perfect sense, and could even be made into a genuine threat by having Grunts (or perhaps a new class known as Elites) with Pokemon that are likely a good 10-20 levels above yours, making it much harder to win (but not necessarily impossible). Random individual thugs like burglars or robbers could also fit into this category.

All I'd add to this is, make it so the "evil Team" members don't drop Money upon being defeated. They're the bad guys, so of course they'd flout social norms! If there are "Burglar" types, perhaps instead of dropping money, they could flee and leave an item behind to pick up?

One more general change - I think it'd be neat to see a certain amount of "dynamism" in Trainer activity. Rather than spending all day in one place (or on a defined track), a trainer could spend the morning on Route 202, the afternoon on Route 203, the evening on Route 204, and disappear overnight. And once you defeat a Trainer on a given route, perhaps they should flee to the Pokemon Center in the nearest town. They'd have special dialogue if you meet with them there, before returning to their usual rounds the next day. It's more programming work, admittedly, but I think this could go a long way to making even NPCs feel like fleshed-out parts of the Pokemon world.

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To be fair to the older Pokémon games at least, the way trainers automatically battle you if you enter their field of vision was usually acknowledged and justified with one of the earliest trainers in each game saying it's custom for trainers to battle each other when "their eyes meet".

That said, making the trainers on the different routes have more than just standing there and battling the player character would be a good way to add more to Pokémon games. One thing I thought was neat in Diamond/Pearl/Platinum was that, on a certain route, there were police officers patrolling it that were friendly NPCs during the day and trainers at night, with the explanation at night being that, well, you're a kid walking around that route at night, which is a bit suspicious. Granted, that was probably just a way to help show off gen 4's day-&-night system, but it was still a neat addition.

 

On 11/21/2021 at 3:38 PM, Lord_Brand said:

Friendly Trainers don't automatically challenge you to battle but rather allow you to interact with them in different ways:

  • Talk - Just about every Friendly Trainer is willing to chat with you for a bit. Some have interesting bits of lore to share, others may have advice to give you about battling. You'll also get to register their number if you haven't done so.
  • Battle - You can challenge them to a friendly Pokemon battle. Once the Trainer is defeated, you'll have to wait until the next day to battle them again.
  • Shop - Most Friendly Trainers carry items that you can buy from them, though they usually have limited inventories which refresh once enough time has passed. Many will also let you sell items to them, though the price the Trainer is willing to pay will vary based on their interest in said item.
  • Gift - Some Trainers allow you to give them items as gifts. Giving the right gift to a Trainer can net you a reward in turn.
  • Trade - Some Trainers are interested in a Pokemon trade. Generally, they'll offer a specific Pokemon in exchange for a different specific Pokemon. Most of these are Pokemon you can find elsewhere but with perks such as high IVs, rare hold items, powerful moves, or even hidden abilities. A few are Pokemon that evolve by trading, giving you access to trade evolutions when you would otherwise need to find another player.
  • Quest - Some Trainers offer quests more complex than a simple Gift or Trade request. Say, clearing out a group of ruffians who have blocked up a route, or helping a Trainer find a lost Pokemon. The quests usually tell you what you'll receive as a reward for completing them.

Hm... I'm not sure about shop, since that seems like something that would be tough to balance unless they're just offering extra repels and stuff. Plus, I'm not sure about random NPC trainers selling stuff to the player unless they're supposed to be salespeople or the Pokémon World equivalent of a kid with a lemonade stand.

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1 hour ago, Shanty Pete's 1st Mate said:

The Pokemon series actually introduced a rudimentary form of this going back as far as Gen II, with the PokeGear system. Register a trainer in the PokeGear, and they call you whenever they feel like it. We all recall Youngster Joey's boasts of his top-percentage Rattata, but how about Hiker Anthony telling us of a Dunsparce swarm in Dark Cave? Or Lass Dana, ready to gift us with a Thunder Stone? Of course, these trainers start out in the typical "Hostile" manner, but essentially turn "Friendly" upon defeat, and for future encounters.

I highlighted Trade to expound upon how I would do it. The other trainer would offer a particular Pokemon (one of those that they already used in battle against you), and would generally seek a Type rather than a species (i.e. a Swimmer could be happy with any Water-type, or alternatively, they could ask for a Fire-type to round out their team better). Once you've given them the requested Mon, it's part of their team. Battle them again, your old Mon is on their team. If you gave them a nickname, they still carry it into battle with them. Hell, if you've progressed enough and they've leveled-up, they could evolve and change their moveset to reflect that. I think this could be a really cool way to ensure that, even when you've traded a Pokemon away, it's not like they've disappeared forever (even though all in-game trades thus far... basically do that).

All I'd add to this is, make it so the "evil Team" members don't drop Money upon being defeated. They're the bad guys, so of course they'd flout social norms! If there are "Burglar" types, perhaps instead of dropping money, they could flee and leave an item behind to pick up?

One more general change - I think it'd be neat to see a certain amount of "dynamism" in Trainer activity. Rather than spending all day in one place (or on a defined track), a trainer could spend the morning on Route 202, the afternoon on Route 203, the evening on Route 204, and disappear overnight. And once you defeat a Trainer on a given route, perhaps they should flee to the Pokemon Center in the nearest town. They'd have special dialogue if you meet with them there, before returning to their usual rounds the next day. It's more programming work, admittedly, but I think this could go a long way to making even NPCs feel like fleshed-out parts of the Pokemon world.

Yeah, that's what I was basing it on. Trouble is, not every generation has PokeGear, so I opted for a more general purpose descriptor.

The idea of their team changing after their trade is an interesting one, though in most cases players would probably just trade a Pokemon they freshly caught so they don't end up wasting any time or resources building it up beforehand.

I think Trainers giving you money upon defeat is more of a gameplay convenience, something to incentivize battling them beyond gaining EXP which you can do anyway by battling wild Pokemon. There's also the possibility the Team members are paying you off in hopes you don't hurt them, too. Though now I've got a mental image of a Pokemon game where you're capturing the Team members and turning them in for a reward, bounty hunter-style. Maybe Interpol gives you a device with which to capture Team members upon defeating their Pokemon? Common Grunts obviously aren't worth as much as, say, Elites or Admins.

I seem to recall the games have done something like that before, but yeah, I could see Trainers having a "daily schedule" that they follow, or even a "weekly" schedule. Now I want to see a yearly calendar implemented in Pokemon like what Animal Crossing has. Could be fun to see holiday events for, say, Easter, Halloween, and Christmas. Not to mention a birthday celebration where all the Trainers you've befriended show up with gifts to celebrate - including maybe the Gym Leaders, Elite Four, and Champion!

6 minutes ago, vanguard333 said:

To be fair to the older Pokémon games at least, the way trainers automatically battle you if you enter their field of vision was usually acknowledged and justified with one of the earliest trainers in each game saying it's custom for trainers to battle each other when "their eyes meet".

That said, making the trainers on the different routes have more than just standing there and battling the player character would be a good way to add more to Pokémon games. One thing I thought was neat in Diamond/Pearl/Platinum was that, on a certain route, there were police officers patrolling it that were friendly NPCs during the day and trainers at night, with the explanation at night being that, well, you're a kid walking around that route at night, which is a bit suspicious. Granted, that was probably just a way to help show off gen 4's day-&-night system, but it was still a neat addition.

Hm... I'm not sure about shop, since that seems like something that would be tough to balance unless they're just offering extra repels and stuff. Plus, I'm not sure about random NPC trainers selling stuff to the player unless they're supposed to be salespeople or the Pokémon World equivalent of a kid with a lemonade stand.

A justification for the time, sure, but I think they could safely evolve that convention now to where only certain Trainers do that, generally those of a more forceful or sinister nature (again, barring Gym Trainers who are part of the challenge you're undertaking willingly).

Yeah, I could see there being Trainers who alternate between Friendly and Hostile based on different criteria, including times of day. A more extreme example I can give is a Channeler who is relatively calm and thus Friendly during the day but at night acts possessed and thus Hostile thanks to increased ghost activity. Heck, what if there were actual ghost trainers, as in Pokemon Trainers who are literally spirits of the deceased, who appear only at night and challenge you to battle? For some of them, it may be necessary to help them move on, making it a one-time battle (unless they change their mind and come back the next night as a Friendly Trainer), while for others, it's simply a means of passing the time in the afterlife. Obviously such Trainers would prefer Ghost-type Pokemon; some might even be shown to turn into Pokemon for their battle (say, a ghost Gentleman who turns into a Gengar).

If they were to be so bold as to explore the possibility of the player becoming a criminal in a future game, Trainers who are normally Friendly towards you could become Hostile if you gain a reputation as a criminal, and certain criminals may become Friendly in turn.

Trainer Shops would be much smaller, something like this:

  • Fisherman John
  • 3 × Potion, $150 each
  • 3 × Bait $200 each
  • 3 × Net Ball, $1500 each

In this case, you could buy up to three each of Potion, Bait, and Net Ball from John per refresh cycle. The prices are a little higher than what you'd pay in a regular PokeMart in exchange for the convenience of getting to buy the items out in the middle of the wild. Conversely, different Trainers may pay different prices for a particular item, based on how relevant it is for them:

  • Selling: Dive Ball
  • Bug Catcher pays: $250
  • Swimmer pays: $1250

The Bug Catcher doesn't really have much use for a Dive Ball moreso than a regular Pokeball, while the Swimmer loves a Pokeball that can help them catch Pokemon they find while diving. A Net Ball in contrast would be worth a lot to both of them, since Net Balls have boosted efficiency against both Bug and Water-types. The boosted sale prices for Friendly Trainers means you could turn a profit by repeatedly buying items that are of interest to them in Poke Marts and selling them to the Trainers.

Also, what if registering a Trainer allowed you to Fly or Teleport directly to them?

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8 hours ago, Lord_Brand said:

A justification for the time, sure, but I think they could safely evolve that convention now to where only certain Trainers do that, generally those of a more forceful or sinister nature (again, barring Gym Trainers who are part of the challenge you're undertaking willingly).

Yeah, I could see there being Trainers who alternate between Friendly and Hostile based on different criteria, including times of day. A more extreme example I can give is a Channeler who is relatively calm and thus Friendly during the day but at night acts possessed and thus Hostile thanks to increased ghost activity. Heck, what if there were actual ghost trainers, as in Pokemon Trainers who are literally spirits of the deceased, who appear only at night and challenge you to battle? For some of them, it may be necessary to help them move on, making it a one-time battle (unless they change their mind and come back the next night as a Friendly Trainer), while for others, it's simply a means of passing the time in the afterlife. Obviously such Trainers would prefer Ghost-type Pokemon; some might even be shown to turn into Pokemon for their battle (say, a ghost Gentleman who turns into a Gengar).

True. It would be neat to see that convention evolve. 

Having more trainers alternate between friendly and hostile based on different factors could be interesting. I don't like the idea of ghost trainers though; with ghost-type Pokémon, there's an element of ambiguity due to the Pokedex data not necessarily being reliable (as the hoax fossil Pokémon in Sword & Shield demonstrate) that enables things to remain kid-friendly; ghost trainers would not have that ambiguity.

 

8 hours ago, Lord_Brand said:

Trainer Shops would be much smaller, something like this:

  • Fisherman John
  • 3 × Potion, $150 each
  • 3 × Bait $200 each
  • 3 × Net Ball, $1500 each

In this case, you could buy up to three each of Potion, Bait, and Net Ball from John per refresh cycle. The prices are a little higher than what you'd pay in a regular PokeMart in exchange for the convenience of getting to buy the items out in the middle of the wild. Conversely, different Trainers may pay different prices for a particular item, based on how relevant it is for them:

  • Selling: Dive Ball
  • Bug Catcher pays: $250
  • Swimmer pays: $1250

The Bug Catcher doesn't really have much use for a Dive Ball moreso than a regular Pokeball, while the Swimmer loves a Pokeball that can help them catch Pokemon they find while diving. A Net Ball in contrast would be worth a lot to both of them, since Net Balls have boosted efficiency against both Bug and Water-types. The boosted sale prices for Friendly Trainers means you could turn a profit by repeatedly buying items that are of interest to them in Poke Marts and selling them to the Trainers.

I suppose maybe that could work; maybe the trainer could say something like: "I bought too many of these at the store before coming here; could you please take some of these off my hands?" as an explanation for the trainer shop mechanic.

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2 hours ago, vanguard333 said:

Having more trainers alternate between friendly and hostile based on different factors could be interesting. I don't like the idea of ghost trainers though; with ghost-type Pokémon, there's an element of ambiguity due to the Pokedex data not necessarily being reliable (as the hoax fossil Pokémon in Sword & Shield demonstrate) that enables things to remain kid-friendly; ghost trainers would not have that ambiguity.

Well, the series already has human ghosts in it. Has ever since Gen IV, at least. See: Old Chateau, the old woman of Route 217, the ghost girl of Marvelous Bridge, Strange House, the ghost lady of Lumiose City, the ghost girl who watches you battle Phoebe, the Sun and Moon demo, the Seven School Mysteries, etc. Ghost Trainers who battle you are just an evolution of that concept into something more interactive.

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On 11/25/2021 at 4:19 AM, Lord_Brand said:

The idea of their team changing after their trade is an interesting one, though in most cases players would probably just trade a Pokemon they freshly caught so they don't end up wasting any time or resources building it up beforehand.

Yeah, probably. Still would be cool to see a Mon you nicknamed keep that nickname in another trainer's hands.

On 11/25/2021 at 4:19 AM, Lord_Brand said:

I think Trainers giving you money upon defeat is more of a gameplay convenience, something to incentivize battling them beyond gaining EXP which you can do anyway by battling wild Pokemon. There's also the possibility the Team members are paying you off in hopes you don't hurt them, too. Though now I've got a mental image of a Pokemon game where you're capturing the Team members and turning them in for a reward, bounty hunter-style. Maybe Interpol gives you a device with which to capture Team members upon defeating their Pokemon? Common Grunts obviously aren't worth as much as, say, Elites or Admins.

Truthfully, I'm actually not wed to the idea of opposing trainers always giving money upon defeat. Evil team members, for instance, are intended as an obstacle moreso than a resource, so them giving out money seems... antithetical. Other trainer classes, meanwhile, could give out items in lieu of money. These could range from sellables (i.e. Swimmers giving out Pearls) to practical tools (i.e. Bug Catchers giving Poke Balls, or Scientists offering X Stat items). Some games have trainers who give out both, but I wonder if it's strictly necessary for the game's economy? It's so easy to get rich in Pokemon, and I wouldn't mind a future game tightening the pursestrings somewhat.

On 11/25/2021 at 4:19 AM, Lord_Brand said:

I seem to recall the games have done something like that before, but yeah, I could see Trainers having a "daily schedule" that they follow, or even a "weekly" schedule. Now I want to see a yearly calendar implemented in Pokemon like what Animal Crossing has. Could be fun to see holiday events for, say, Easter, Halloween, and Christmas. Not to mention a birthday celebration where all the Trainers you've befriended show up with gifts to celebrate - including maybe the Gym Leaders, Elite Four, and Champion!

I'm not sure about importing real-world holidays into the world of Pokemon. That said, having internal holidays (say, the date on which a city was founded) could be a blast. And a return to the Season system, brought forth in Gen V and then promptly dropped in the woods to starve to death, would be welcome.

If I recall, in the 3DS games Nurse Joy wishes you a "happy birthday" on your birthday. I guess I told my 3DS my birthday? Go figure.

On 11/25/2021 at 4:19 AM, Lord_Brand said:

Trainer Shops would be much smaller, something like this:

  • Fisherman John
  • 3 × Potion, $150 each
  • 3 × Bait $200 each
  • 3 × Net Ball, $1500 each

These are pretty cool, conceptually. It could ne neat to see certain rare or niche items only available at said "Trainer Shops", giving the player extra motive to check them out.

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16 hours ago, Shanty Pete's 1st Mate said:

Yeah, probably. Still would be cool to see a Mon you nicknamed keep that nickname in another trainer's hands.

I can already see the player exploits. "Go, BUTTFACE!"

16 hours ago, Shanty Pete's 1st Mate said:

Truthfully, I'm actually not wed to the idea of opposing trainers always giving money upon defeat. Evil team members, for instance, are intended as an obstacle moreso than a resource, so them giving out money seems... antithetical. Other trainer classes, meanwhile, could give out items in lieu of money. These could range from sellables (i.e. Swimmers giving out Pearls) to practical tools (i.e. Bug Catchers giving Poke Balls, or Scientists offering X Stat items). Some games have trainers who give out both, but I wonder if it's strictly necessary for the game's economy? It's so easy to get rich in Pokemon, and I wouldn't mind a future game tightening the pursestrings somewhat.

Well, this topic is all about rethinking Trainers. I just figure the biggest incentive for battling trainers was always the money you get for defeating them. But if you implemented the "bounty hunting" mechanic I suggested, that would make a lot more sense when you defeat a Grunt or Admin and get paid by the law for capturing them. A reward on their heads, so to speak.

The "item as reward for winning" alternative still has some fridge logic to it. "You kicked my butt, so here's a precious Pearl I found after hours of diving." Now, being rewarded for completing a sidequest? That makes a lot more sense. "You found my lost Clamperl! Here's a Pearl as thanks!"

The series has long been (half-jokingly) accused of endorsing dogfighting/cockfighting due to the whole "win money by winning battles" thing, so shifting financial gains away from the more violent aspect and towards good samaritanism might be a smart idea. That said, since Pokemon battling is viewed like a sport akin to boxing or pro wrestling, it would make sense if certain kinds of battles yielded monetary prizes, such as the Gyms and Elite Four.

At any rate, now the series has a lot more ways for the player to make money, such as treasure hunting, so I could see battle prize money becoming less prevalent.

16 hours ago, Shanty Pete's 1st Mate said:

I'm not sure about importing real-world holidays into the world of Pokemon. That said, having internal holidays (say, the date on which a city was founded) could be a blast. And a return to the Season system, brought forth in Gen V and then promptly dropped in the woods to starve to death, would be welcome.

If I recall, in the 3DS games Nurse Joy wishes you a "happy birthday" on your birthday. I guess I told my 3DS my birthday? Go figure.

But wouldn't it be fun to see the various towns dec themselves out with jack-o-lanterns, christmas trees, and the like? Some Pokemon are already heavily influenced by holidays, like Pumpkaboo and Delibird. During holiday seasons, those Pokemon could appear in larger numbers than usual.

Yeah, you tell them your birthday as part of registering your device if I recall.

16 hours ago, Shanty Pete's 1st Mate said:

These are pretty cool, conceptually. It could ne neat to see certain rare or niche items only available at said "Trainer Shops", giving the player extra motive to check them out.

Like an Archeologist who sells Fossils, or a Card Collector who sells rare Pokemon cards, or a shady vendor who sells "medicine" or "stat boosters" at exorbitant prices.

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On 11/21/2021 at 5:38 PM, Lord_Brand said:

Trade - Some Trainers are interested in a Pokemon trade. Generally, they'll offer a specific Pokemon in exchange for a different specific Pokemon. Most of these are Pokemon you can find elsewhere but with perks such as high IVs, rare hold items, powerful moves, or even hidden abilities. A few are Pokemon that evolve by trading, giving you access to trade evolutions when you would otherwise need to find another player

Just a internet traveler chiming in, but I feel like the trade function would hurt the game gameplay-wise. While it is a nice bit of characterization for each trainer, being able to buy a potion whenever necessary would get rid of one of the more interesting aspects of (early game) Pokemon, running out of healing items and pushing through a route or cave to get to a town.

Honestly, all these features seem to benefit world building while axing challenge. Having a majority of NPC battles on route be optional may make more sense, but it gets rid of the gauntlets Pokemon is famous for: Where there's a cave, or a route, or a victorious road of some sort that the player needs whittle away at before pushing through to the end. For me, that's where a lot of the fun of Pokemon comes from. I'm a newer Pokemon player, so when I played Pokemon Red I appreciated how the rival wouldn't ask me before the battle if I was ready and "fixed all my Pokemon right up" before fighting. That's what I feel this feature would turn every trainer into.

However, some of the features brought up in this post could certainly work if only accessible after a battle has occurred. I especially like the idea of re-challenging trainers already beaten. Perhaps like what Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire did, where some trainers would have leveled-up Pokemon that you could challenge again after becoming Pokemon Champion?

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1 hour ago, WanderingCommentator said:

Just a internet traveler chiming in, but I feel like the trade function would hurt the game gameplay-wise. While it is a nice bit of characterization for each trainer, being able to buy a potion whenever necessary would get rid of one of the more interesting aspects of (early game) Pokemon, running out of healing items and pushing through a route or cave to get to a town.

Honestly, all these features seem to benefit world building while axing challenge. Having a majority of NPC battles on route be optional may make more sense, but it gets rid of the gauntlets Pokemon is famous for: Where there's a cave, or a route, or a victorious road of some sort that the player needs whittle away at before pushing through to the end. For me, that's where a lot of the fun of Pokemon comes from. I'm a newer Pokemon player, so when I played Pokemon Red I appreciated how the rival wouldn't ask me before the battle if I was ready and "fixed all my Pokemon right up" before fighting. That's what I feel this feature would turn every trainer into.

However, some of the features brought up in this post could certainly work if only accessible after a battle has occurred. I especially like the idea of re-challenging trainers already beaten. Perhaps like what Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire did, where some trainers would have leveled-up Pokemon that you could challenge again after becoming Pokemon Champion?

In the case of Pokemon trading, not every Friendly Trainer would necessarily be interested in a Pokemon Trade. Maybe one or two per area, if that.

As for buying items, each Friendly Trainer has only so much inventory on a given refresh, and not every Friendly Trainer would necessarily be selling Potions. Really, it'd make sense if FTs sold mostly stuff they don't want or need; Potions are one of those things you want to hang on to until you can comfortably trade up for a better item. So, early on the kinds of items you can buy could be stuff like Berries or Pokeballs while Potion sellers only come along once you have access to Super Potions at the Mart. And once you gain access to Hyper Potions, you can find Trainers selling Super Potions. Inventories can also be smaller at first, like only one or two items, total. Another prospect to consider is that the game could be made more challenging to accomodate for the added convenience.

For the gauntlet aspect, there could simply be more Hostile Trainers (highwaymen, low-rung Team Grunts, the like), or mandatory battles with wild Pokemon. Something I've been interested in exploring is the idea of "boss" Pokemon that you find midway through or at the end of a given area, usually a specimen of a species found in that area but stronger than average, possibly evolved. To use an example from my topic about Green, when you encounter her in Viridian Forest early on she's running from a Level 12 Beedrill that she asks you to battle. Bear in mind that the average level of Pokemon in Viridian Forest is 3-4, and none of them are fully evolved, which makes this Beedrill a much more formidable opponent. Another example would be, say, a Graveler encountered near the end of a cave where you've been finding Geodude. The Graveler would be somewhere in the 20s while the Geodude are only in the teens.

Another angle to consider for Hostile Trainers to make them more intimidating is if there's a window of time where they notice you but haven't decided to challenge you just yet. Say you pass by a tough-looking thug on a route to a city. The camera zooms in on him a little as he leers at you, sizing you up. Eventually, he says "Yo, kid, c'mere", and begins to walk towards you menacingly. You can run from him, prompting him to chase after you, or you can face him head-on. If he gets too close to you, he'll force you to battle him, but if you can give him the slip, you can avoid fighting him...for now. Until you put the big bully in his place, he'll menace you every time you pass by him. Once you do give him a good whupping, he'll leave you alone, at least until his Pokemon get stronger.

Team Grunts would work the same way, only they will give chase the moment they see you. However, if you are able to disguise yourself, they'll eye you suspiciously, and eventually question you about who you are and what you're up to. Depending on the answer you give, they may leave you alone, or they may realize you're trying to pull a fast one and chase you like normal.

The idea of Trainers updating is a good one, only I'd make it so they update every time you beat a Gym as well as become Champion. That kid you met on Route 1, with the Pidgey and the Rattata? Try coming back to him with four Badges in your possession, and you'll find his Pidgey and Rattata are now a Pidgeot and Raticate, much stronger than when you first threw down. The kid might have added a new Pokemon or two to his team, as well. Once you become Champion, the kid will now have a full team of Pokemon appropriately leveled for the postgame.

Though again, I think it would make some sense if other Trainers travel as you do. The kid I just mentioned could run into you down the line on future routes, allowing you to rechallenge him without having to trek all the way back to Route 1 every time you want to face him. Even the thug could decide to prowl different turf and be all "Hey, I remember you! You're that punk who beat me outside Gangslum City! Thanks to you, I'm the laughing stock of the criminal underworld! Even litterbugs make fun of me! LITTERBUGS! Time for a little payback!"

But you know, a lot of these ideas might be ideal for a more open world kind of Pokemon game. I have a feeling Legends: Arceus is pioneering the concept, and if it proves successful (which I think it will), the Pokemon series as we know it may just be headed for a massive overhaul. That said, the gauntlet concept you mentioned might be rendered moot anyway, or adapted to areas designed to be more linear like the Gyms.

Edited by Lord_Brand

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