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Shanty Pete's 1st Mate

Fiddling with a Regional Pokedex

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So, after languishing for months on end, apparently the Pokemon subforum is turning back into a real hotbed of discussion. I might as well give a try to something that occurred to me in another thread. Namely, I realized that the Sinnoh Dex in Pokemon Diamond and Pearl is... bad. Like, really bad. Beyond the level of "well it only has 151 Pokemon, of course it's going to be bad". The Kanto and Unova (Black/White) Regional Dexes had just about as many Pokemon, and while both of those were flawed, I'll stick my neck out and say they weren't nearly as bad as the DP Dex. So, what are the problems in the Diamond/Pearl Pokedex? I identified a few of them, as follows:

  • Not enough Fire-types. Just because everyone knows it doesn't mean it's not relevant. The DP Dex is an all-time low for Fire-type representation, with 5 species in 2 evolutionary lines. And one of those lines is a starter line, so if you don't pick Chimchar, you have exactly one choice for a Fire-type, in Ponyta/Rapidash. This comes to a head in the Elite Four, where the Fire-type specialist Flint runs out of his typing and has to bring Lopunny, Steelix, and Drifblim. If you're gonna shaft one type's representation, you could at least not include a specialist in that type, so nobody notices (see - Poison-types in Unova).
  • On a similar note, not enough Electric-types. I don't see this discussed nearly as much, possibly because the Shinx line is genuinely one of the best species introduced to these games. A three-stage Electric-type line that's available early on, with a good ability, solid movepool, and quick evolutionary turnaround? What's not to love? That said, your other options for Electricity are the Pikachu line and Pikachu's regional expy, Pachirisu. 7 'Mons in 3 lines. That's right, there are no hybrid Electric-types, only pure ones. And Volkner, the ostensible type-specialist, thumbs his nose at Pachirisu, instead hanging out with Ambipom and Octillery.
  • Not enough Ice-types. This one also doesn't get much attention, possibly because Ice was a relatively rare typing in prior generations as well, but it's actually the single-scarcest typing in all Sinnoh, with 4 representatives in 2 lines (Snover/Abomasnow and Sneasel/Weavile). Leaving Candice with 2 Mons in the same line, and a Medicham out of nowhere. Of particular note - the Water/Ice combination, present in all prior generations, is nowhere to be found this time.
  • Too few Dragons. Up until you face Dialga or Palkia, the only Dragon-type available to the player is the Garchomp line. Dragons are exceedingly rare to face on opposing trainers' teams as a result, with Cynthia's Garchomp being one of the few standouts. On the one hand, I can see this as a callback to the first couple generations, where the Dragon representation was even lower. But Gen III really upped its Dragon game, with Flygon, Altaria, Salamence, and Kingdra available to the player (before accounting for Rayquaza or the [email protected]). As such, while it's not absolutely essential, I feel that these games could use another Dragon-type option.
  • Too many weak Bug-types. Again, this one is somewhat subjective, and is perhaps the hardest "problem" on the list to fix. Gen IV gave us a bunch of new Bug-types, such as Kricketune, Wormadam, Mothim, and Combee. The problem is, they... weren't good. They could perform decently in the early-to-midgame, but bringing them into the Elite Four is kind of a big ask. Vespiqueen is strong, admittedly, but it's also tricky to get, while Drapion is strong and... not a Bug-type, since Skorupi sheds it upon evolution. Heracross is the one good Bug-type brought back from previous generations. While there are certainly enough Bugs, I think getting another Bug-type that carries its weight would be welcome.
  • Too many Water-types. Strictly-speaking, this is nothing new to Generation IV. Water is the single-most abundant typing in the world of Pokemon, outstripping even Normal. That said, Diamond/Pearl takes it to uncomfortable degrees. Let's count lines: Piplup (3), Magikarp (5), Psyduck (7), Buizel (9), Shellos (11), Goldeen (13), Barboach (15), Wooper (17), Wingull (19), Marill (21), Remoraid (23), Finneon (25), Tentacool (27), Feebas (29), Mantyke (31), Palkia (32), Manaphy (33). That's 15 evolutionary lines, plus 2 legendaries, constituting 33 of Sinnoh's 151 Pokemon. That's over a fifth of the Pokedex. And of these lines, most aren't new to the region, but are borrowed from previous ones. The only thing more baffling than letting Seaking compete for Lumineon's deserved spotlight is deciding to bring back both Quagsire and Whiscash, in an attempt to show up Gastrodon.

So if these are the problems with the DP Dex, what can be done? Well, that's what I've been thinking about - how would I "fix" the Sinnoh Dex? The obvious answer is "expand it", which is precisely what Platinum did. That in Platinum's 60 additional Mons, only a single Water-type appeared (Vaporeon), is honestly an affirmation of my last bullet point. But suppose my resources are limited - I can't expand the Dex, I can only adjust it while keeping it the same size. What changes would I make?

At first, I came up with 7 Mons to get rid of, which I eventually expanded to 12. I didn't remove any Mons who were introduced as of Gen IV, only those brought up from prior generations. Even lines who were only partially original to Gen IV, such as Aipom -> Ambipom, were safe from my wrath. Here are the Mons I elected to remove:

  • Goldeen -> Seaking. We're in a brand-new region, so why is it that our lakes and streams look just like those in Kanto, Johto, and Hoenn before us? I can understand an attempt at continuity, but this just becomes boring. I'd rather give some of the new fish-oriented lines, like Finneon -> Lumineon, their own time to shine.
  • Azurill -> Marill -> Azumarill. This Mon originally showed up as (arguably) the first Pikachu clone in Johto, and then gained a (Normal-type, for whatever reason) baby stage in Hoenn. Here, however, it's not doing anything particularly new or interesting. It doesn't even yet have the Fairy typing, to float above the crowd.
  • Barboach -> Whiscash. It was either gonna be this line or Wooper/Quagsire, and since I already cut one of the "walking" Water-type lines, I wanted to save the other one. Also, who can stay mad at Quagsire? It's one of the best HM slaves out there.
  • Wurmple -> Silcoon/Cascoon -> Beautifly/Dustox. I could see this cut being a controversial one, since having Wurmple provides continuity with the prior generations (each of which featured an earlygame three-stage Bug evolutionary line). But there are a lot of mediocre bugs around, and these are the only ones I could cut, since they're from a prior Gen.

Now, what should I add in their places? Consulting my original standards, I'd definitely like to see more Fire- and Electric-types. Dragon- and Ice-types couldn't hurt, either. Finally, a stronger old-school Bug-type representative. You might think I'd consult the changes the Platinum Dex made, but I'm actually imposing a "no Platinum Dex Mons" standard. Assuming that my alternate version of DP is eventually followed by alternate Platinum, I'd like those 60 newcomers to slot in as cleanly as they did beforehand. No figuring out "well I'll bring the Magmar line into DP, but then what will replace them in the Platinum update?", or anything like that. So, here goes:

  • Numel -> Camerupt. I considered both Arcanine and Ninetales, but each line shared a critical trait in common with Rapidash - being pure Fire-type. Instead, I wanted to see an addition that would provide something different, and Numel -> Camerupt was the obvious choice. Their addition expands the Fire-type representation to 7 species among 3 lines. And while the DP Dex was hardly starved for Ground-types, bringing these two on board does make up somewhat for cutting Barboach -> Whiscash, I feel. There aren't any desert areas, but maybe these ones could show up in Mount Coronet? Or failing that, just be available from an in-game trade.
  • Chinchou -> Lanturn. In reviewing the prior Electric-types I could add, I came to a startling discovery - almost all of them were pure Electric-type (like all Electric-types already in DP). The Magnemite line was one exception, but they were added in Platinum, and as such were off the table. The other exception, discounting the legendary Zapdos, was Chinchou. Since these are Mons you can fish for, they could somewhat take the place of Goldeen -> Seaking. Gotta add Water-types to get rid of Water-types, or something.
  • Dratini -> Dragonair -> Dragonite. Getting another Dragon-type line could be a cool option for the player. One coming out of the water and flying into the sky; the other, emerging from the caves and dominating the land. Perhaps certain Fishermen could even use these Mons on their team, if they're fishable. And just imagine, the battle with Cynthia coming down to an epic Dragonite vs. Garchomp showdown.
  • Lapras. As I said, DP is devoid of any Water/Ice-type Pokemon. Maybe it's not a "must-have", but I'd certainly think it a welcome inclusion. Prior games that featured Lapras had it as either a gift Pokemon or one-off encounter. Maybe in Sinnoh, it could instead be a rare spawn in some of the Water-routes? Once you have the chance to Surf, picking up this Mon would be welcome for just about any team.
  • Smoochum -> Jynx. Again, Ice was a scarce type beforehand, and even some of the prior lines (like Snorunt -> Glalie) found themselves added in the Platinum expansion. Jynx has always been an oddity, but Ice/Psychic is a pretty cool combination. The northern routes where other Ice-types appear would be a sensible place to find them, but perhaps the Oreburgh City trade could also be modified to give you Smoochum instead of Abra.
  • Venonat -> Venomoth. This was one of the hardest to come to a choice on, since a lot of the older Bug-type options were unimpressive in various ways. I may love the designs of the likes of Ariados and Ledian, but they're not good team members in the long-run. Pineco -> Foretress could be good, but their concept overlaps a bit with Burmy -> Wormadam. Venomoth may appear to overlap with Mothim, but at least they're of different typings. And with Dustox cut, Venomoth would be the only fully-evolved Bug/Poison-type around, albeit with stronger stats and better moves this time. I'm not sure about Venonat on Honey Trees, but I can definitely see it having a big presence in Eterna Forest.

Anyway, what do you think of these proposed changes? Was it wrong to do any of this, or did I not go far enough? Think you'd enjoy playing through my proposed vision for Sinnoh? And given the chance, how would you change a Regional Pokedex? It doesn't have to be the DP Sinnoh Dex - it can be any Dex of your choice. Have at it, and let me know in the comments!

Edited by Shanty Pete's 1st Mate
Fixed small mistake.

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Its kind of annoying how people always bring up how bad the regional dex for Sinnoh is without attributing the other games as well. Kanto has too many Poison types, and all the Normal types are either Flying/Normal or pure Normal with the sole exception  of the Wigglytuff line in LGPE. Next, there is only one Ghost and Dragon type line in the entire game, with the Gastly and Dratini, or two for LGPE with the Alolan forms. What's worse in FRLG, there are 0 Dark types, and the Magnemite line is the only option for Steel types. What's worse, FRLG's atrocious trade restrictions prevent you from obtaining any Pokemon that wasn't part of the original 151 until you catch 60 Pokemon and obtain the National Dex, which also includes the Gen 2 Evolutions. If they allowed the Gen 2 evolutions, we would have Scizor, Steelix, Kingdra and Umbreon has options for those types, especially for Umbreon since Dark has 0 types prior to the post game. At least Platinum had an expansion that fixed this problem, while BDSP lets you obtain those Pokémon through the Grand Underground even if they are not in a regional Dex, So much Kanto had changed, like the new evolutions and types, that trying to copy the system from the later the games it just does not work. 

Johto also has pretty terrible type distrubution as well, Umbreon is the only option for a Dark the entire game. There is only two Dragon and Ghost Lines in the entire game, and Fire types are abysmal as well. Houndour and Slugma are post game only, Cyndaquil is a starter that you can miss, Entei is a roaming Pokemon who is incredibly difficult to catch, and Ho-oh can only be caught before the E4 in Gold only. The fire stone is unavalible, meaning that So if you didn't choose Cyndaquil as your starter and can't catch the roaming Entei or aren't playing Gold, that makes Magmar the only fully evolved Fire type that you can consistently catch in the wild. 

Hoenn has the same problem for Ice types the same way Sinnoh has for Fire types. Only 3, two if you did not couldn’t figure out the puzzle/failed to catch Regice. 

TLDR: People disliking DP for poor type distribution is misplaced criticism if they don't attribute it to other games in the series as well.

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1 hour ago, ZeManaphy said:

Its kind of annoying how people always bring up how bad the regional dex for Sinnoh is without attributing the other games as well. Kanto has too many Poison types, and all the Normal types are either Flying/Normal or pure Normal with the sole exception  of the Wigglytuff line in LGPE. Next, there is only one Ghost and Dragon type line in the entire game, with the Gastly and Dratini, or two for LGPE with the Alolan forms. What's worse in FRLG, there are 0 Dark types, and the Magnemite line is the only option for Steel types. What's worse, FRLG's atrocious trade restrictions prevent you from obtaining any Pokemon that wasn't part of the original 151 until you catch 60 Pokemon and obtain the National Dex, which also includes the Gen 2 Evolutions. If they allowed the Gen 2 evolutions, we would have Scizor, Steelix, Kingdra and Umbreon has options for those types, especially for Umbreon since Dark has 0 types prior to the post game. At least Platinum had an expansion that fixed this problem, while BDSP lets you obtain those Pokémon through the Grand Underground even if they are not in a regional Dex, So much Kanto had changed, like the new evolutions and types, that trying to copy the system from the later the games it just does not work. 

At least in Generation I, I'm pretty sure that some of the weirdness was intentional. Balance between types wasn't really a thing back then, at least not in the way that we would understand it today. Look at dragon type back then: nothing resisted dragon and it was resistant to the majority of special-attacking types. It's basically an overpowered type, but deliberately so. It's not a type that you encounter often. Unless you go out of your way to grab a dratini from the game corner or fishing in the Safari Zone, then you as a player will never own a dragon type. And most likely, you aren't ever going to see a dragonite until you fight Lance, the pretend final boss of the game. Unless you already knew it was there, very few people were going to go to the trouble of getting a dratini and then go to the trouble of leveling it up to level 55, despite the slow xp gain.

Basically, dragon was the overpowered type that went on the overpowered pokémon (second highest base stat total in teh game behind only mewtwo) that you (probably) only saw while fighting one of the game's major bosses. And if you wanted to use it yourself, then it was possible but you'd absolutely have to earn it. It was never intended to be experienced by the player in the same way that they experienced water types or flying types, for instance.

(Of course, the whole thing where it was meant to be an intimidating boss was completely negated by the bug with the AI of Gen I which meant that all you had to do was send out a posion or fighting type and none of Lance's dragons would ever attack you, but that doesn't detract from the intention behind the type.)

Ghost was similarly a weird type that didn't really work like other types. On the Gen I type chart, there were 6 damage immunities and 4 of them -- fully two thirds of the total -- involve ghost pokémon (with ghost being immune to normal and fighting, but normal and psychic being immune to ghost). The double immunity that ghost and normal have to each other is particularly weird. Nothing else like that existed at the time, and nothing along those lines has been added since. It was a rare type specifically because it was so weird.

I'd say that generations I and II very much had this sort of design philosophy, generations V and onwards have had a more modern design philosophy where types have been supposed to be balanced against each other, and generations III and IV were something of a transition period between the two where they were committed to moving towards more balanced typings but were still feeling out how things were supposed to work. (Consider: doubles as a format was introduced in gen III, and the first VGC worlds were during gen IV.) So in all, I do think it's reasonable to hold Sinnoh to a different standard to Kanto, because they were aiming to do different things.

I also think that one of the reasons that people home in on the fire types in Diamond and Pearl is that it imblanaces the starters so much. Fire, water and grass types are always in something of a unique position in Pokémon games because they are the starter types. The ideal has always been that you should be able to choose whichever starter you like best and that it shouldn't advantage or disadvantage you too much. The scarcity of fire types really skews the viability of the starters in a way that I think that people don't like. If you want a good fire type then you kinda have to choose chimchar; if you want good water or grass types then you have options other than just piplup and turtwig.

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To add to the above post - the first two generations had the general feeling that the player constantly discovers stuff that has been unknown in-universe. You need a cutting edge piece of technology to recognize that the ghosts haunting Lavender Town are actually Pokémon, so it's not too weird that the Gastly line is the Ghost-type Pokémon. I remember NPCs talking how Jasmine used to be a Rock-type trainer, but switched to a newly-discovered "Steel" type which nobody knows too much about. I don't think that the Dark type got the same treatment, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was supposed to evoke a similar feeling: only discovered recently, because there aren't too many Pokémon of that type around. After all, it was big news that Eevee can evolve in more than three different Pokémon! [Also, Sneasel is obtainable before the 8th badge whoops, that's crystal only, it seems]

4 hours ago, ZeManaphy said:

Johto also has pretty terrible type distrubution as well, Umbreon is the only option for a Dark the entire game. There is only two Dragon and Ghost Lines in the entire game, and Fire types are abysmal as well. Houndour and Slugma are post game only, Cyndaquil is a starter that you can miss, Entei is a roaming Pokemon who is incredibly difficult to catch, and Ho-oh can only be caught before the E4 in Gold only. The fire stone is unavalible, meaning that So if you didn't choose Cyndaquil as your starter and can't catch the roaming Entei or aren't playing Gold, that makes Magmar the only fully evolved Fire type that you can consistently catch in the wild. 

The super-late access to evolution stones is stupid, but they are obtainable in Crystal pre-E4 from phone call trainers, which adds Flareon and either Ninetales or Arcanine to the list. It's still bad, but not the same level as literally one option outside of the starter.

I'll also say that I've used unevolved Growlithe against the Elite 4 with some limited success, specifically vs. Koga, although this may say more about Johto's weird-ass power curve. I remember it being a neat choice for Crystal's ealier parts, though, especially because it's available really early.

--

I'm a bit surprised to read that the remakes don't seem to use the Platinum 'dex, honestly. It specifically adds a handful of fire (Flareon, Houndour, Magmar) and ice (Swinup, Glaceon, Snorunt) Pokémon to the pre-E4 game, which I find helps a fair bit.

Edited by pong

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4 hours ago, ZeManaphy said:

Its kind of annoying how people always bring up how bad the regional dex for Sinnoh is without attributing the other games as well. Kanto has too many Poison types, and all the Normal types are either Flying/Normal or pure Normal with the sole exception  of the Wigglytuff line in LGPE. Next, there is only one Ghost and Dragon type line in the entire game, with the Gastly and Dratini, or two for LGPE with the Alolan forms. What's worse in FRLG, there are 0 Dark types, and the Magnemite line is the only option for Steel types. What's worse, FRLG's atrocious trade restrictions prevent you from obtaining any Pokemon that wasn't part of the original 151 until you catch 60 Pokemon and obtain the National Dex, which also includes the Gen 2 Evolutions. If they allowed the Gen 2 evolutions, we would have Scizor, Steelix, Kingdra and Umbreon has options for those types, especially for Umbreon since Dark has 0 types prior to the post game. At least Platinum had an expansion that fixed this problem, while BDSP lets you obtain those Pokémon through the Grand Underground even if they are not in a regional Dex, So much Kanto had changed, like the new evolutions and types, that trying to copy the system from the later the games it just does not work. 

For the record, I generally agree with all of this. Kanto does have too many Poison-types (and Water-types, and Normal-types). The Ghost and Dragon typings are notoriously scarce (Agatha is a Poison specialist and Lance is a Flying specialist). That said, I'm somewhat more forgiving of RBY because, at the time, these were the only Pokemon that existed. They didn't have any older generations to draw from.

In terms of FRLG, I do think that adding baby forms (i.e Tyrogue, Pichu) and new evolutions (i.e. Umbreon, Scizor) into the main game would've been a good choice. Although there's the "optimization vs. fidelity" argument that's come back for BDSP. In either way, while I'm fine with the "no National Dex until post-E4" model, the "must catch 60 Pokemon" is just such a bizarre requirement.

5 hours ago, ZeManaphy said:

Johto also has pretty terrible type distrubution as well, Umbreon is the only option for a Dark the entire game. There is only two Dragon and Ghost Lines in the entire game, and Fire types are abysmal as well. Houndour and Slugma are post game only, Cyndaquil is a starter that you can miss, Entei is a roaming Pokemon who is incredibly difficult to catch, and Ho-oh can only be caught before the E4 in Gold only. The fire stone is unavalible, meaning that So if you didn't choose Cyndaquil as your starter and can't catch the roaming Entei or aren't playing Gold, that makes Magmar the only fully evolved Fire type that you can consistently catch in the wild. 

You'll get no argument from me - GSC Pokemon distribution is weirdsauce. Why are new Mons, like Houndour and Murkrow, native to the old region that I explored years ago? I would have made such lines (and others, like Slugma and Misdreavus) available in Johto, while possibly making some older Mons (i.e Growlithe/Vulpix, Doduo/Dodrio) in Kanto only instead.

Also, Crystal at least was nice enough to add Evolutionary stones through Pokegear calls. Not to mention, having Sneasel show up in the Ice Path, pre-E4. Again though, I can't fault them (within the context of this discussion) for "only 2 Dragon lines" or "only 2 Ghost lines" when those were the only Pokemon to exkst at the time.

5 hours ago, ZeManaphy said:

Hoenn has the same problem for Ice types the same way Sinnoh has for Fire types. Only 3, two if you did not couldn’t figure out the puzzle/failed to catch Regice. 

This is a good starting point! And in this case, the developers had a wide pool of older Mons to pick from. If you were redesigning the Hoenn Dex, what changes would you make?

2 hours ago, lenticular said:

(Of course, the whole thing where it was meant to be an intimidating boss was completely negated by the bug with the AI of Gen I which meant that all you had to do was send out a posion or fighting type and none of Lance's dragons would ever attack you, but that doesn't detract from the intention behind the type.)

Small brain: Using Hyper Beam against the player's Poison/Fighting types.

Big brain: Using Agility to outspeed, then sweeping their team with Hyper Beam.

Galaxy brain: Continually using Agility against the foe, in order to assert dominance.

2 hours ago, lenticular said:

 

I also think that one of the reasons that people home in on the fire types in Diamond and Pearl is that it imblanaces the starters so much. Fire, water and grass types are always in something of a unique position in Pokémon games because they are the starter types. The ideal has always been that you should be able to choose whichever starter you like best and that it shouldn't advantage or disadvantage you too much. The scarcity of fire types really skews the viability of the starters in a way that I think that people don't like. If you want a good fire type then you kinda have to choose chimchar; if you want good water or grass types then you have options other than just piplup and turtwig.

Truthfully, this was always something that favored the Fire-type starter in the first few generations. Water-types were always among the most abundant types, while Grass-types could usually be obtained early (Bellsprout/Oddish on Route 24, Bellsprout on Route 31, Lotad/Seedot on Route 102). With Fire-types, they often didn't show up until the midgame at earliest (Growlithe/Vulpix next to Celadon and south of Ecruteak, Mt. Chimney and that one cave after Watson). Generation V was really the first game to "fix" this, in part with the Elemonkeys, but even then, the first wild Fire-type (Darumaka) came after its Water (Tympole) and Grass (Petilil/Cottonee) counterparts.

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

For the record, I generally agree with all of this. Kanto does have too many Poison-types (and Water-types, and Normal-types). The Ghost and Dragon typings are notoriously scarce (Agatha is a Poison specialist and Lance is a Flying specialist). That said, I'm somewhat more forgiving of RBY because, at the time, these were the only Pokemon that existed. They didn't have any older generations to draw from.

I think with Kanto, the problem isn't so much the abundance of certain individual types, but the abundance of specific type combinations. Grass/poison is one that comes to mind, for example. Kanto has 14 grass types across 6 evolutionary lines. Of those, fully 9 pokémon and 3 lines are grass/poison (the bulbasaur, oddish and bellsprout lines, opposed by the paras, exeggcute and tangela lines). Other type combinations that are overused (to varying extents) would be normal/flying, ground/rock, bug/poison, bug/flying, water/rock, water/ice. I mean, how many people playing Red and Blue thought that rock was immune to electric based on their experience with geodude, onix and rhyhorn?

I get the feeling that for the first generation, they mostly came up with the pokémon designs and then tried to figure out what type or types would best represent what they'd come up with, whereas later on it seems more as if their deisgns are at least partly inspired by typings. That is, they have started to think -- to some extent -- of what typings would be interesting to include from a gameplya perspective and then came up with designs to fit the requirements.

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

Truthfully, this was always something that favored the Fire-type starter in the first few generations. Water-types were always among the most abundant types, while Grass-types could usually be obtained early (Bellsprout/Oddish on Route 24, Bellsprout on Route 31, Lotad/Seedot on Route 102). With Fire-types, they often didn't show up until the midgame at earliest (Growlithe/Vulpix next to Celadon and south of Ecruteak, Mt. Chimney and that one cave after Watson). Generation V was really the first game to "fix" this, in part with the Elemonkeys, but even then, the first wild Fire-type (Darumaka) came after its Water (Tympole) and Grass (Petilil/Cottonee) counterparts.

Fair comment, but on the other hand, fire starters were often weak early on in early generations. In Kanto, for instance, charmander was weak against both Brock and Misty, whereas bulbasaur was strong against both of those first two gyms. Of the first four generations, three of them had a rock type gym as their first gym. And probably the only reason why Johto didn't was that it didn't repeat any of the gym types from Kanto. I suppose you could say that fire types were always strong against early-game bug pokémon, except that early-game bugs were always weak enough that you really didn't need type advantage to deal with them and if you did rely too extensively on your fire starter against the bugs then that could put you in a bad position when you come to the rock gym. I don't think there's ever been a situation in which all of the starters were completely balanced against each other, but it's usually been fairly close with a few pluses and minuses each way.

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

Now, what should I add in their places? Consulting my original standards, I'd definitely like to see more Fire- and Electric-types. Dragon- and Ice-types couldn't hurt, either. Finally, a stronger old-school Bug-type representative. You might think I'd consult the changes the Platinum Dex made, but I'm actually imposing a "no Platinum Dex Mons" standard. Assuming that my alternate version of DP is eventually followed by alternate Platinum, I'd like those 60 newcomers to slot in as cleanly as they did beforehand. No figuring out "well I'll bring the Magmar line into DP, but then what will replace them in the Platinum update?", or anything like that. So, here goes:

I kinda want to emphasize how thoroughly the Platinum pokedex managed to fix basically all of these issues:

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

Not enough Fire-types.

It added in the Magby line, the Houndour line, and Flareon to help with fire types.

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

On a similar note, not enough Electric-types

added Rotom, Jolteon, the Elekid line, and the Magnemite line.

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

Not enough Ice-types.

Added Glaceon, the Swinub line, and Snowrunt line.

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

Too many weak Bug-types.

Added one of the strongest Bug types with the Scizor line, as well the Yanmega line (which is a solid bug type as well...)

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

Too few Dragons.

I generally disagree with this one, but Platinum did add Altaria for another Dragon type as well...

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

Too many Water-types.

As you well noted, Vaporeon was the only addition.

 

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

Anyway, what do you think of these proposed changes?

Honestly, I think the no Platinum additions restrictions is a bit of a mistake, the Platinum changes were clearly supposed to fix this, and if you made these dex changes without changing the Platinum additions, it could easily lead to some weird unbalancing of its own (to be fair the Platinum dex kinda has too many Ghost pokemon in it, but that is a different issue entirely...)

 

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

Truthfully, this was always something that favored the Fire-type starter in the first few generations. Water-types were always among the most abundant types, while Grass-types could usually be obtained early (Bellsprout/Oddish on Route 24, Bellsprout on Route 31, Lotad/Seedot on Route 102). With Fire-types, they often didn't show up until the midgame at earliest (Growlithe/Vulpix next to Celadon and south of Ecruteak, Mt. Chimney and that one cave after Watson). Generation V was really the first game to "fix" this, in part with the Elemonkeys, but even then, the first wild Fire-type (Darumaka) came after its Water (Tympole) and Grass (Petilil/Cottonee) counterparts.

Fire types were really, really bad in Gen 1 thanks to the utter lack of fire moves. The only Fire type TM was gotten after the rather late-game Blaine fight, and all the fire moves other than 40 pow ember were only learned in 40s-50s level wise (unless you keep them in their first form, in which case you might learn a fire move in the late 30s instead). Plus thanks to a bug in the AI, the Charmander line wasn't even the best starter to use against Eirika (the best is Bulbasaur...), the only gym leader they are supposed to have an advantage over (at least in Red/Blue, changes to her moves in Yellow ended up fixing the bug). How the bug works is that the game can't recognize that being super-effective to one type, and not very effective against another cancels out (despite the damage calculations being able to handle that just fine), so there is a priority system for which message to display, and which the AI thinks is happening when this occurs, and the AI also can't recognize that a move it thinks is super-effective isn't a damaging move, so Eirika's AI will make her Vileplume and Victreebell use nothing but poison powder against Bulbasaur, despite poisoning moves doing nothing against a Poison type, thanks to the priority system making it think Poison type moves are super effective against its Grass typing (to be fair if the Bulbasaur line could be poisoned, the AI recognizes that a mon can't have two status afflictions, so it would stop trying to use it, which is what keeps the rival's Exeggutor/Exeggcute from being trivialized despite Hypnosis being a Psychic type move), making her hardest pokemon trivial to beat, leaving only a Tangela that has only Wrap, and Constrict, which are both embarrassingly weak moves.

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

This is a good starting point! And in this case, the developers had a wide pool of older Mons to pick from. If you were redesigning the Hoenn Dex, what changes would you make?

 

Considering so Hoenn has Lapras and Dewgong make good choices, though the latter is just a worse Walrein. Jynx, Delibird, Sneasel and Piloswine could offer types that aren’t part of water. An issue with Ice types in Gen 1 is that the majority are Water/Ice, in fact, Jynx and Articuno are the only Ice-types that aren’t Water, and Jynx is the only one that isn’t a Legendary.

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4 hours ago, lenticular said:

I think with Kanto, the problem isn't so much the abundance of certain individual types, but the abundance of specific type combinations. Grass/poison is one that comes to mind, for example. Kanto has 14 grass types across 6 evolutionary lines. Of those, fully 9 pokémon and 3 lines are grass/poison (the bulbasaur, oddish and bellsprout lines, opposed by the paras, exeggcute and tangela lines). Other type combinations that are overused (to varying extents) would be normal/flying, ground/rock, bug/poison, bug/flying, water/rock, water/ice. I mean, how many people playing Red and Blue thought that rock was immune to electric based on their experience with geodude, onix and rhyhorn?

Thinking back on it, I don't really understand why Bulbasaur got Poison as a secondary type. It can learn Poison Powder I guess, but there's nothing particularly "poisonous" about its design. Same goes for Venonat and Venomoth, who would've made far more sense as Bug/Psychic (they learn Psychic-type attacks by level-up!).

Brock's gym is so bad. The first trainer doesn't even have any Rock-type Mons, only Ground-type ones. They taught the player the right lesson ("Water and Grass beat Rock") in the wrong way ("Water and Grass also beat Ground").

4 hours ago, lenticular said:

Fair comment, but on the other hand, fire starters were often weak early on in early generations. In Kanto, for instance, charmander was weak against both Brock and Misty, whereas bulbasaur was strong against both of those first two gyms. Of the first four generations, three of them had a rock type gym as their first gym. And probably the only reason why Johto didn't was that it didn't repeat any of the gym types from Kanto. I suppose you could say that fire types were always strong against early-game bug pokémon, except that early-game bugs were always weak enough that you really didn't need type advantage to deal with them and if you did rely too extensively on your fire starter against the bugs then that could put you in a bad position when you come to the rock gym. I don't think there's ever been a situation in which all of the starters were completely balanced against each other, but it's usually been fairly close with a few pluses and minuses each way.

That's true, but Gens III and IV also gave their Fire starter a secondary Fighting-type, to potentially deal with the first (Rock-type) gym through sheer overleveling. Gen IV also follows up with a Bug-rich forest and a Grass-type gym, which is free real estats for Monferno.

The only generation where I can think of a serious viability margin among starters in Gen II. I love Chikorita, it's my baby, but it sucks. A shallow offensive movepool, with barely any non-Grass/Normal moves. Weak to Falkner. Weak to Bugsy. Weak to the Poison-rich Morty (and on a related note, to much of Team Rocket's arsenal). Ineffective against Jasmine. Vulnerable to Pryce (although curiously super-effective in turn). Ineffective against Claire. Weak against either cover legendary. Bad against most of the Elite Four, and the (Flying-heavy) champion. Chikorita catches so few breaks. The race between Totodile and Cyndaquil is a tighter one - Cyndaquil has an easier time in Sprout Tower, Bugsy's gym, Jasmine's gym, and Koga; whereas, Totodile is better against Falkner, Chuck, and Lance. I'm inclined to give Cyndaquil (with its early first evo) the edge here, but there's a solid case for Totodile (and its early second evo) instead.

3 hours ago, Eltosian Kadath said:

I kinda want to emphasize how thoroughly the Platinum pokedex managed to fix basically all of these issues:

Again, agreed. I love the Platinum Dex. The challenge to myself was to improve the DP Dex without expanding it.

3 hours ago, Eltosian Kadath said:

Honestly, I think the no Platinum additions restrictions is a bit of a mistake, the Platinum changes were clearly supposed to fix this, and if you made these dex changes without changing the Platinum additions, it could easily lead to some weird unbalancing of its own (to be fair the Platinum dex kinda has too many Ghost pokemon in it, but that is a different issue entirely...)

This is a fair point too. Perhaps if the original DP Dex weren't so water-heavy, the expansion would've added more than just Vaporeon. Anyway, I've been thinking it over, and here are the substitutions I'd make instead, assuming Platinum Mons are on the table:

- Elekid -> Electabuzz -> Electivire. Another strong Electric line, now including a new Sinnoh Mon with a new trade evolution item. Electivire could take a spot on Volkner's team. This line would be more common in Diamond.

- Magby -> Magmar -> Magmortar. What do we want? More Fire types! When do we want 'em? Gen IV! Magmortar would have a starring role on Flint's team, of course. This line would appear more often in Pearl.

- Yanma -> Yanmega. Another mediocre Mon from the first couple generations gets a serious glow-up in Sinnoh, and introduces a new evolution method. Yanma would appear in Eterna Forest, and Yanmega will figure on Aaron's team.

- Snorunt -> Glalie/Froslass. Introducing not one, but two new fully-evolved Ice-type Mons! Plus, a Dawn Stone user before the postgame. Candice could round out her team with one of each.

- Rotom. This is the slot I had the hardest time with. Basically, it'll work the same as in DP, but you can encounter it in the Old Chateau before the Elite Four. At long last, an Electric dual-type.

So I don't get my Dragon-types, nor an old school Water/Ice, and there may be too many Ghosts now. Still, I do like the idea of featuring as many of the new evolutions in the regional Dex as possible. Even if the "modified DP Dex, mach 2" doesn't quite match the "Platinum Dex proper" on that front.

3 hours ago, ZeManaphy said:
 

Considering so Hoenn has Lapras and Dewgong make good choices, though the latter is just a worse Walrein. Jynx, Delibird, Sneasel and Piloswine could offer types that aren’t part of water. An issue with Ice types in Gen 1 is that the majority are Water/Ice, in fact, Jynx and Articuno are the only Ice-types that aren’t Water, and Jynx is the only one that isn’t a Legendary.

Monkey's Paw time: Hoenn gets a new Ice-type! It's a Delibird.

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

Thinking back on it, I don't really understand why Bulbasaur got Poison as a secondary type. It can learn Poison Powder I guess, but there's nothing particularly "poisonous" about its design. Same goes for Venonat and Venomoth, who would've made far more sense as Bug/Psychic (they learn Psychic-type attacks by level-up!).

So, it's a little bit removed from your original topic, but let's go for "how could we change the typings of gen I pokémon to give better type diversity?" I'm going to assume that I can't change anything about a pokémon other than it's type (so, no changes to designs, names, move pools, etc.) and that we're only working with the types as they were available in gen I (no dark, steel or fairy; using gen I type chart).

  • Bulbasaur, ivysaur, venusaur: all grass/poison -> grass. There's nothing in their design that really screams poison, and grass/poison is overused. Would also remove their weakness to psychic.
  • Sandshrew, sandslash: both ground -> ground/normal. I wanted to have normal in at least one combination that isn't pure normal or normal/flying, and these seemed like good targets, both in terms of thematic fit and having a decent normal type movepool to take advantage of the STAB.
  • Nidoqueen: poison/earth -> poison/ice. I have no idea what's particularly earthy about the nido lines, and wanted to change either -king or -queen to make them distinct from each other in a way other than colour. I decided to go for ice partly since it learns a couple good ice moves, partly to match the colour, and partly because we still don't have a real poison/ice pokémon.
  • Venonat, venomoth: both bug/poison -> bug/psychic. For type diversity and to fit their move pools (even if it does make their names silly).
  • Psyduck, golduck: both water -> water/psychic. Do I even need to explain this one?
  • Doduo, dodrio: both normal/flying -> ground/flying. Kinda OP typing, honestly, but I wanted to reduce the number of normal/flying lines so I don't care.
  • Gastly, haunter, gengar: all ghost/poison -> ghost. I don't see any good reason why these couldn't have been monotype ghost, unless someone thought that the psychic type was underpowered and needed more targets to victimise. Which they really didn't.
  • Onix: rock/ground -> rock. There are way to many rock/ground pokémon, especially since it's a horrible type. Let's separate the two types a little, and also make Brock's ace be slightly less of a pushover for 2/3 of all players.
  • Marowak: ground -> ground/fighting. I like this thematically, and also like pokémon that gain a second type on evolution. And while it's true that it doesn't learn many fighting moves, nor do other fighting types in gen I (eg poliwrath, hitmonchan).
  • Rhyhorn, rhydon: both rock/ground -> rock. Similar reasoning to onix.
  • Starmie: water/psychic -> water/electric. I don't think this is any worse a match in terms of how well it fits thematically or in terms of move pool, but it would move away from an overpopulated combination (with the slowpoke line and now the psyduck line) and also add a non-legendary dual-type electric pokémon.
  • Vaporeon, jolteon, flareon: water, electric, fire -> normal/water, normal/electric, normal/fire respectively. This could have been the precedent for all future eeveelutions. Why not let them keep their normal typing when they evolve?

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16 hours ago, lenticular said:

Basically, dragon was the overpowered type that went on the overpowered pokémon (second highest base stat total in teh game behind only mewtwo) that you (probably) only saw while fighting one of the game's major bosses. And if you wanted to use it yourself, then it was possible but you'd absolutely have to earn it. It was never intended to be experienced by the player in the same way that they experienced water types or flying types, for instance.

Dragon only became overpowered in Gen 4 and 5, where Draco Meteor and Outrage were given high BPs, and combined with the fact that only Steel resisted it meant that you had really good STAB once Steel was out of the picture. In fact, a play style called “DragMag” became a thing, in which  five Dragon types were paired up with Magnezone to remove Steel types so the remaining Dragons could spam Dragon STAB.

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50 minutes ago, ZeManaphy said:

Dragon only became overpowered in Gen 4 and 5, where Draco Meteor and Outrage were given high BPs, and combined with the fact that only Steel resisted it meant that you had really good STAB once Steel was out of the picture. In fact, a play style called “DragMag” became a thing, in which  five Dragon types were paired up with Magnezone to remove Steel types so the remaining Dragons could spam Dragon STAB.

> They send in Forretress

> Go, Magnezone

> They can't escape due to Magnet Pull

> Click Hidden Power Fire

> Yep, it's gamer time

That said, I do think some of the principles in the original comment stand. Dragon was a most unusual type - no other in the game could boast resistances to all of Grass, Water, Fire, and Electric at once. Instead, only the relatively rare (in-game) Ice-typing could truly threat ed n it. And Dragonite did receive a very strong stat spread, setting the mould for future "pseudo-legendaries". Dragon-type offense is basically non-existent in Gen I, but while Dragon Rage doesn't hold up into the lategame, there is something threatening about an attack that totally disregards your defenses (see also - Night Shade, from the just-as-esoteric Ghost-type). At the very least, it's a premier Nuzlicke-killer.

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6 hours ago, ZeManaphy said:

Dragon only became overpowered in Gen 4 and 5, where Draco Meteor and Outrage were given high BPs, and combined with the fact that only Steel resisted it meant that you had really good STAB once Steel was out of the picture. In fact, a play style called “DragMag” became a thing, in which  five Dragon types were paired up with Magnezone to remove Steel types so the remaining Dragons could spam Dragon STAB.

Oh, for sure. I don't disagree with you at all. When I said that dragon was overpowered, I was only referring to the type itself when viewed in a vacuum. It has a lot of practical problems in gen I due to complete lack of moves and the fact that the only fully evolved dragon pokémon is also flying type giving it a quad weakness to ice in a generation where blizzard was also overpowered. The only way I'm claiming that it was overpowered is purely in terms of its type match-ups, nothing beyond that.

I think one way to look at it is this: what would gen I have looked like if dragon type had as many different pokémon and as many different moves as other types do, while retaining the same resistances, vulnerabilities and effectiveness? It would be... a mess. Even more of a mess than gen I already is. If you think that lack of dragon types in Kanto is a problem -- which isn't an opinion I share, but is certainly one I can respect -- then the solution wouldn't be to add more dragon types. It would be to completely rebalance how the dragon type works (nerf its type match-ups and give it more moves) and then add more dragon types. Whereas for fire types in Sinnoh, the change really would be (and was) as simple as just throwing a few extra fire pokémon into the mix.

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