1. Welcome to Smogon! Check out the Smogon Starters Hangout for everything you need to know about starting out in the community. Don't forget to introduce yourself in the Introduction and Hangout Thread, too!
  2. Welcome to Smogon Forums! Please take a minute to read the rules.

Policy Review Abilities

Discussion in 'CAP Policy Review' started by DougJustDoug, Jan 1, 2013.

  1. DougJustDoug

    DougJustDoug Knows the great enthusiasms
    is a member of the Site Staffis an Artistis a Programmeris a CAP Contributoris an Administratoris a Battle Server Admin Alumnusis a Smogon IRC SOp Alumnusis a Tiering Contributor Alumnus
    CAP Leader

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2007
    Messages:
    3,098
    Ability discussions are terrible, and have been terrible for a long time. In the PR cycle before CAP 4, I planned to make a PR thread to address some of the problems, but I procrastinated too long and I missed the window. During CAP 4, a few other problems with Ability discussions cropped up, so I just added them to the list to be addressed now.

    Here are a few of the big problems I see with Ability discussions. Feel free to agree or disagree with these, and feel free to bring up others that I am missing:
    Ability discussions are too easily derailed by unreasonable ability suggestions.
    This is subjective as hell, I know. But those of you that have been through a bunch of CAP's know it happens a lot. The ability thread is humming along nicely and someone brings up an ability that is overpowered, underpowered, or just plain weird -- and the ability thread goes into a tailspin. People not only argue whether the ability is, in fact, overpowered/underpowered/just plain weird -- but they also argue if we should be arguing about it!

    We end up spending so much time talking about the overpowered/underpowered/just plain weird ability suggestion that we don't actually spend much time talking about the "regular" ability suggestions. After a certain amount of time, it becomes almost impossible to get the ability discussions back on track. Even if the TL comes in and throws out the option, it taints the rest of the process. Compared to the overpowered/underpowered/just plain weird ability suggestion, the rest of the abilities on the table appear boring or uninteresting and the discussion suffers.

    On top of that, because we have ten billion ability discussions threads (more on that later), the overpowered/underpowered/just plain weird abilities tend to be resurrected over and over again. This is exhausting to everyone and makes it almost impossible to have a fresh, engaging discussion of abilities after we've fallen down the rabbit hole of overpowered/underpowered/just plain weird ability suggestions.

    Even if we don't "fall down the rabbit hole" completely, every CAP we get unreasonable ability suggestions that take a certain amount of time to neutralize. I can't count the number of times we've had Wonder Guard suggested for CAP. Yes, WONDER GUARD. It comes up more than you might think, even though it is retarded beyond belief to mention it in the context of any CAP we have made over the past 5 years. And even though I don't believe we ever really considered it seriously -- it still provokes a few reactions in the threads, even if just for people to post "That's retarded, you idiot." Honestly we really don't need this kind of distraction. Ever. We have enough trouble having a decent discussion about reasonable abilities, without having to deal with random shit like Wonder Guard suggestions from left field.


    Custom abilities are not worth the trouble.
    I used to love custom abilities. I was a big proponent of Mountaineer back on the very first CAP, and I often was leading the charge on other custom ability discussions on other CAP's. I wish I could go back and slap myself in the face for encouraging any custom mechanics on Create-A-Pokemon.

    We haven't actually chosen any custom abilities or moves in a long time on CAP, but the lingering possibility is always out there and it's a distraction. Rarely is a custom mechanic required these days, considering the vast array of abilities and moves out there currently. If we can't make due with the options given to us by Nintendo, then we aren't trying very hard. And any time a custom mechanic is discussed, it tends to be a magnet for broken fanboy suggestions.

    I don't think any TL in their right mind would open the door to a custom ability in a modern CAP, but after recent events, I don't put anything past our Topic Leaders. We need to deal with this decisively in terms of CAP Policy and establish very clear rules about custom mechanics, if we allow them at all.


    We have too many ability discussions.
    Ability discussions are shit anyway, but to make it worse, we have to deal with the same shitty discussions over and over AND OVER. It was bad enough in DP with just two abilities, but in BW with three abilities it is unbearable.


    We should not be altering the ability selection process in the middle of every CAP.
    This is a general problem that came along with the Strong TL model -- the Topic Leader deciding to re-order the CAP process or re-structure how a given step will be executed to suit their project. It was a decent idea in theory, but in practice it just makes things confusing -- and ability threads seem to be the target of most last-minute process alterations.

    I don't care what the process is, or what the order of steps should be for Create-A-Pokemon. But let's decide on a process and then stick to it during the project. If we want Abilities to come before Stats, that's fine. If we want Abilities to come after Stats, that's fine too. Hell, we can put Abilities before Typing for all I care -- but we should not be deciding the process order mid-stream during an ongoing CAP. It's confusing for most people, particularly newcomers, and it doesn't give us the time or opportunity to discuss the implications and consequences of the proposed change.

    Our process ordering is a fundamental part of CAP policy, and should only be changed through a proper Policy Review, not because we picked some Concept that supposedly "requires" Ability to be chosen earlier, later, or otherwise manipulated to suit the Concept direction. Any Concept that requires a change in process to pull it off, is a BAD CONCEPT and should be not be slated in the first place.


    Arguments over No Ability and Non-Competitive Abilities are total crap.
    It's not just the abilities being discussed that make the threads terrible -- but also the fact that after the first discussion we then get the added joy of discussing whether we should be discussing abilities at all! Yes, I'm referring to the perennial mind-numbing debate of No Ability, No Competitive Ability, Pedantic Argument of What The Terms Mean For This CAP.

    Fictional Sample Ability "Discussion" (open)

    "I want No Ability."

    "I want No Competitive Ability."

    "Wait aren't those the same thing?"

    "No, they aren't. NCA means we want a flavor ability."

    "Well, I don't want another competitive ability so I'm OK with either of those. NA or NCA."

    "Hey, I suggested <Whatever>, which is obviously NCA."

    "No it's isn't! <Whatever> is competitive as hell. Here's why -- <blah, blah, blah>."

    "No you're wrong. <Whatever> is non-competitive. Here's why -- <blah, blah, blah>."

    "Hi, I see this argument about <Whatever> and I don't want it, so I won't be voting for NCA in the next poll."

    "Wait you obviously got mixed up, because we are arguing that <Whatever> is not NCA, so you should still support NCA in the next poll, assuming <Whatever> is not allowed."

    "Huh? You're saying that <Whatever> is not not competitive? Therefore it is competitive, therefore it won't be included in the slate?"

    "Well, maybe. That's assuming the TL agrees with us, but we don't know that yet."

    "OK, well I don't really want any ability at all. I just want this to be a single ability pokemon."

    "Oh then you don't actually agree with me. You should be voting for No Ability."

    "Wait, if people that don't want <Whatever> split their vote between No Ability and No Competitive Ability, doesn't that actually INCREASE <Whatever>'s chances of winning?"

    "Maybe, that's why I am arguing we should have a completely separate shitty, boring discussion where the only two options being discussed are No Ability and Non-Competitive Ability. Then when that is decided, we can go back to having a shitty boring discussion about <Whatever> and the winner of the NA/NCA discussion."

    "Hey, I don't agree with that! I support <Whatever> and I think it would be unfair to have a completely separate shitty boring discussion on NA and NCA, because it unfairly biases everyone that one of those options should ultimately win. I think all three options should be discussed."

    "I think we should have one separate shitty boring discussion on whether <Whatever> is competitive or not. Then we should have another separate shitty boring discussion between No Ability and Non-Competitive Ability. THEN after all that we can come back to this shitty boring discussion on the ability we are choosing."

    "Yeah that makes sense."

    "Wait, if we choose NCA then do we suggest options now? What will the non-competitive ability be?"

    "We don't know yet. So don't suggest a non-competitive ability in this thread. Just support NCA in this poll, and then later suggest non-competitive abilities in the NCA thread that will come after art, assuming NCA wins."

    "But what if I'm not sure if the ability I want is competitive or not? Shouldn't I mention it here and see if I'm right? Because I really want Cute Charm on this pokemon, but I don't want to find out later that it's actually competitive."

    "You can bring it up now, but if you really want a Non-Competitive Ability you need to argue for NCA and not a specific ability. Because if you argue for Cute Charm in this thread, most people think that is a crappy ability, so they will dismiss it completely now."

    "Ok, so even though we are supposed to mention abilities that we want in this thread, you're saying I should not mention the ability I want?"

    "Right. Well, sorta. Don't mention what you want, just mention that you want a Non-competitive Ability."

    "But is Cute Charm non-competitive or not?"

    "I don't know. So yeah, I guess you have to mention it until we get a ruling from the TL. But I still think your time would be better spent arguing against this <Whatever> nonsense, because now it looks like it's going to win."

    "No <Whatever> isn't gonna win. Because it's non-competitive too."

    "No <Whatever> is very competitive, but it's still gonna win, and I like it. I think <Whatever> is perfect."

    "So if we first vote between No Ability and Non-Competitive Ability -- which one will you be voting for?"

    "I'll be voting for Non-Competitive Ability. Not because I think <Whatever> is Non-Competitive. But because I don't want No Ability. Then when Non-Competitive Ability wins, I'll flip back over and argue that <Whatever> is actually competitive. Unless, of course, it looks like the TL thinks <Whatever> is non-competitive. If that happens, then I'll switch sides again, and start arguing for Non-Competitive ability. Then in the Ability poll after the art is chosen, I'll bring up <Whatever> again, and support it."

    "Sounds like a good simple plan. I agree."

    "Hi, guys. I think we should consider Wonder Guard."

    Arguments like that come up all the time, and they make me want to gouge my eyes out with a sharp stick. To one degree or another, it comes up every CAP and probably comes up multiple times on every CAP because of the bazillion Ability threads problem I mentioned earlier. And there is no way to avoid this with the current process. Heck, the current process encourages it.
    We have to do something to stop the nonsense. Abilities can and should be one of the most interesting parts of the CAP process. But for many reasons that have grown over time, Abilities are often the worst discussions in Create-A-Pokemon. So here are my proposals.


    Proposal 1: We will only choose a maximum of two abilities on every CAP.
    CAP is competitive project and for competitive purposes, we don't need more than two abilities. In looking through the list of more than 500 pokemon, I can count on one hand the number of pokemon that have three legitimate competitive abilities. And almost no pokemon has three abilities that see regular use. If the pokemon has three viable abilities, at least one of them is clearly inferior to another ability, and would only be used as a gimmick. There is almost no real game precedent for competitive pokemon to have three usable abilities. (Birkal pointed out Scrafty, which I agree has three legit abilities that get used. But yeah, you get the point. It's almost non-existent.)

    So one possible solution would be to have a maximum of TWO competitive abilities, and force the third ability to be non-competitive. That sounds nice, but isn't practical. Because the definition of Competitive and Non-Competitive is so ambiguous -- if we allow three abilities to be discussed, then we are committing ourselves to three messy ability discussions. Even if you think the third discussion is purely flavor -- it won't be. It will be filled with bitching about what is Flavor or not and will devolve into the Competitive vs Non-Competitive bullshit I enumerated earlier.

    In this PR thread where we first discussed CAP for the 5th gen, it was actually part of the stated policy conclusion:

    But for some reason, this was completely forgotten or thrown aside in CAP 4, and we decided to give our pokemon three good competitive abilities. Maybe everyone was still reeling from the Drought debates of CAP 3, or maybe Bob just went and did his own thing. I don't really know. I was scratching my head at the time the third ability thread came up for CAP 4, but it was one of many other process and topic leadership problems that we were dealing with as moderators, as I have detailed in other PR threads. Regardless of the reasons the policy was not observed on the past few projects, I want to make a new policy and stick to it.

    We need to take the entire third ability discussion completely off the table as a matter of policy. With three abilities, at best we get a third flavor ability that makes the fanboys happy. At worst, we derail the abilities discussion into a confusing shitstorm. It's just not worth it. The benefit is not worth the risk. There are examples of pokemon with only one or two abilities, even with the introduction of Dream World and Hidden Abilities. I agree there are very few pokemon whose Hidden Ability is the same as one of their regular abilities -- but they do exist.

    For the sake of clarity and streamlining the CAP process, I think we should mandate that every CAP's hidden ability should be the same as one of their first two abilities. Basically, we treat Dream World as if it didn't exist for CAP. This also gets rid of the confusing "Let's give it <Whatever> as a Dream World ability, but make it Unreleased." nonsense.

    Competitively, choosing up to two abilities is a big task. Let's just focus on that.


    Proposal 2: We will not alter the ordering of steps in a given CAP after a CAP project has begun.
    This has impacts outside of just Abilities, but since Abilities seems to be the most frequent target of process order alterations, I think it is appropriate to discuss it here. But I want this proposal to be binding for all steps, not just Abilities.

    We need to stop treating the CAP process as a "suggestion" to the Topic Leaders or even the Moderators. The process order is not perfect -- far from it. But over time, we have discovered that it tends to work better than the alternatives. Looking back on CAP 4 and every other project where altering the process midstream has been deemed necessary, I can't recall a case where it turned out to be beneficial to the project. In almost all cases, it was mostly irrelevant to the result (like CAP4) or was a huge distraction and policy shitstorm (like DP CAP 3, DP CAP 10, and BW CAP 3).

    Of course we can still alter process ordering during Policy Review. Regarding Abilities, the process currently puts Abilities after Stats. I can see some reasons to do Abilities before Stats, and if you want to argue that in this thread, I'm willing to listen. But if I have to choose a process order that I think allows for the best variety of Concepts that we might choose -- then I tend to think choosing abilities after stats probably is the best fit for us. So in this post, I'm not proposing a change to the process order itself. I'm just proposing that we stick to the ordering in our process guide, whatever that ordering may be.


    Proposal 3: No custom abilities ever.

    They are effectively dead already. Let's make it official. Nuff said.


    Proposal 4: Define a list of "Banned Abilities" that are automatically excluded from all ability discussions.

    This is the most controversial proposal that I'll be making in this Policy Review, and it's the main reason I've been wanting to make a PR on Abilities for such a long time. I feel this is essential to getting ability discussions back on track. We can and will argue over the exact contents of the lists I propose. I implore each of you to please distance yourselves from the abilities you personally think are interesting, and think about the POLICY implications of allowing these abilities to be openly suggested and discussed by the community at large on any given CAP.

    Exceptional Abilities
    I am using the term "Exceptional" in a specific way. I am NOT saying that Exceptional Abilities are "broken". I am saying the mechanics and impacts of these abilities can not be considered "normal" in terms of using them on a CAP pokemon where other aspects of the pokemon must be considered in separate discreet steps. Some of these abilities may be considered "good", some may be "bad", and others may be "just plain weird" -- but all of these abilities are "the exception to the norm", that's why I call them "Exceptional".

    Basically, all of these abilities are so good/bad/weird that they tend to centralize the CAP process. If they are chosen or even seriously considered, they will tend to "hijack" the entire CAP project. These abilities cannot be considered like every other ability as simply one of the many choices that we make to implement the Concept. These abilities are just too defining for any pokemon that gets them -- GOOD OR BAD.


    Exceptional Abilities (open)

    Moody
    Banned from all metagames for being overpowered.

    Multitype
    On CAP 10, we halted the project and convened an entire PRC group discussion to figure out how to allow Multitype. Ultimately it would have required a complete alteration to the CAP process. And by choosing Multitype, it would place all sorts of conditional requirements on the typing, stats and movepool of the pokemon. Multitype would have to be selected before anything else on the CAP, and after it is selected, the rest of the Pokemon almost builds itself.

    Drizzle, Drought, Sand Stream, Snow Warning
    We've been down the auto-weather route enough haven't we? Auto-weather is obviously no longer "broken" like it was in DP CAP 3 when we discussed it for Pyroak. But after another shitstorm with CAP 3 Mollux, I think we can safely say that whenever auto-weather is discussed, the entire project tends to revolve around the weather ability. Let's leave the job of starting weather to the pokemon that Nintendo gives us, and focus on more manageable ability discussions.

    Wonder Guard
    I shouldn't even have to explain this. Centralizing effect on Typing and Stats.

    Imposter
    No one has ever brought it up. Let's guarantee it never comes up in the future for all the obvious reasons.

    Huge Power, Pure Power
    Obviously centralizing effect on Stats and Movepool.

    Multiscale
    I wouldn't have predicted it before BW came out, but after seeing what it did to Dragonite (which was already a good pokemon), Multiscale is so exceptionally good that the rest of the pokemon is almost a footnote.

    Shadow Tag, Arena Trap, Magnet Pull
    Realistically, the only way we could consider these abilities if if we chose a concept like "Trapping Pokemon". But such a concept would never be legal BECAUSE it pretty much requires one of these abilities. So these abilities really have no business ever being discussed in CAP. Personally, I love to make a trapper some day, but if you think about it objectively in terms of the CAP process -- it's never gonna happen. Allowing these to ever be discussed by random suggestions is just asking for a shitstorm.

    Speed Boost
    Obviously centralizing effect on Stats, and realistically it centralizes everything else about the pokemon too, since the metagame is so centralized around Speed anyway.

    Skill Link
    Basically would require a poll-jump to the Movepool in order to consider this.

    Color Change
    This is a weird ability that has so much interaction with Typing that you really can't decide the two separately.

    Forecast, Zen Mode
    Weird abilities that cause the pokemon to change form and would dictate almost everything else about the pokemon. These abilities simply cannot be chosen in a single discreet step.

    Normalize
    Really bad ability anyway, but if we were stupid enough to choose it, it would have a centralizing effect on Typing and Movepool.

    Stall
    Really bad ability that would have a centralizing effect on Stats and everything else in a metagame that is already centralized around Speed and Priority.

    Slow Start
    Really bad ability that would have a centralizing effect on Stats.

    Truant
    Really bad ability that would have a centralizing effect on Stats, and everything else.

    Scrappy
    This is a borderline subjective call, but past experience tells me the only reason anyone brings this up is because they are making a thinly-veiled poll-jump to push for Scrappy Rapid Spin. The discussion goes nowhere fast. It's interesting, but not something the entire project should get wrapped up in. It runs contrary to the CAP step-by-step creation process. But since we need good objective reasons to declare something Exceptional -- I'll give this one: Realistically, for this to be a legit full-time competitive ability on a competitive pokemon, it needs to be on pokemon with Normal or Fighting typing. Therefore, Scrappy would have a centralizing effect on Typing.


    Anti-Competitive Abilities
    These are abilities that aren't necessarily good or bad, but they encourage anti-competitive playing strategies that rely on abuse of broken game mechanics or they encourage us to build pokemon that rely on hax. Technically, I guess Moody could be listed here, instead of the Exceptional list. But since it is the only ability that has been outright banned from competitive play, it obviously is considered "Exceptionally Good".

    Anti-Competitive Abilities (open)

    Bad Dreams
    Essentially dictates that we encourage the abuse of a broken game mechanic -- Sleep.

    Sand Veil, Snow Cloak, Tangled Feet
    Essentially dictates that we encourage the abuse of a broken game mechanic -- Evasion.

    Super Luck, Sniper
    Encourages abuse of critical hax.

    Cute Charm
    Encourages abuse of attraction hax.

    Stench
    Encourages abuse of flinch hax.

    Serene Grace
    This might be debatable to some, but this ability encourages all sorts of hax and I don't think CAP really wants to get into that as a fundamental part of any project.


    Signature Abilities
    There are a few abilities that are the signature abilities of notable ingame legendary pokemon. Let's avoid the bad optics, for all the reasons discussed in the previous policy review thread about Public Relations.

    Signature Abilities (open)
    Teravolt, Turboblaze
    Signature abilities of Zekrom and Reshiram. Use Mold Breaker if you want.

    Victory Star
    Signature ability of Victini. Use Compoundeye if you really want to boost accuracy, but let's avoid the bad optics here.

    Some of you may wonder why we should bother to list out many of these abilities to be banned from discussion, since many of these rarely come up in discussions. I think it is important because it sets a tone for what we expect from Ability discussions. We establish firm policy that we will not be discussing abilities that run contrary to our project goals. Notice I am NOT trying to mandate what is a "powerful" ability or not. I'm concerned with abilities that have implications beyond the ability discussion threads, and I think we should take them off the table. But I also expect this policy to send up a warning flare that we are sick and tired of seeing ability discussions fall into black holes because of off-the-wall suggestions.


    Proposal 5: Eliminate "Non-Competitive Abilities" in ANY CAP ability polls.

    Non-competitive abilities are a fairly recent addition to the CAP project, and in retrospect, not a good one. For the first ten CAP projects, we never really considered non-competitive abilities. This is a competitive project and the idea of discussing shit like Illuminate or Honey Gather was never something we really had any desire to do.

    But on CAP 11 Voodoom, someone (I think it was Rising Dusk) got serious about giving Voodoom a completely irrelevant second ability. Most people wanted Voodoom to be a single ability pokemon like Arghonaut, where all competitive movesets had only one legit ability. But instead of voting for No Ability, like we did in all previous projects, the concept of "No Competitive Ability" gained traction. So ultimately Lightningrod (which had no effect in DP singles battles) won out as a clever flavor twist on the ability discussions.

    I thought it was a cool way to change things up on CAP, and it very obviously complemented my artwork, which had a big sewing needle stuck in its chest. BTW, I had NO real participation in the ability discussions that led to Lightningrod, and it was incredibly ironic that Rising Dusk pushed so hard for Lightningrod, because he was very heavily AGAINST my voodoo doll design winning. RD vocally favored Darkmattr's ninja design. RD's push for Lightningrod gave a huge boost to my design in polls, which bothered RD to no end. Just in case any of you think we engineered the abilities and designs of Voodoom -- it was 100% complete coincidence, that actually went AGAINST the interests of the foremost advocate for the non-competitive ability!

    Anyway, what was nifty and cool on Voodoom has turned into a shitstorm for every project since then. As I pointed out in my not-so-fictional fake discussion earlier in the thread, the definitions and arguments that surround Competitive and Non-Competitive abilities are a total mess these days. We need to get back to the basics with our ability discussions. We should no longer allow or tolerate discussions of abilities that are intentionally non-competitive for the pokemon we are building.

    I'm fine if we discuss abilities that are significantly less-powerful than another ability that we have chosen. But no one should ever suggest an ability that is known to be so inferior that it will likely never be used on the pokemon in competitive battles. If we really want our pokemon to have only one ability for battles, then we should give it just one ability. Discussions of non-competitive abilities are not worth all the trouble for a project focused on competitive goals.

    With that in mind, here is a list of abilities that we should consider to be categorically "Non-Competitive" and therefore banned from CAP discussions:
    Big Pecks
    Flower Gift
    Friend Guard
    Healer
    Honey Gather
    Illuminate
    Pickup
    Run Away
    Telepathy
    On any given CAP, depending upon the typing and the concept, there are many other abilities that will be non-competitive in practical terms. Presumably, with this policy in place, people will not intentionally bring them up in discussions and topic leaders will never slate non-competitive options in any ability polls.


    Wrap Up
    If we institute these proposals, I think it will go a long way towards making Ability discussions productive again. We won't have a never-ending stream of bad threads. We won't be arguing over pedantic definitions all the time. We won't have to deal with as many random overpowered, underpowered, or just plain weird suggestions all the time. And we won't have to deal with constant uncertainty as to when abilities will be discussed on any given CAP project.

    In recent years, too many CAP projects have been hinging on game-breaking ability discussions and big divisive fights over ability choices. CAP has always had a certain amount of drama in ability discussions, but lately it seems to be more magnified. This Policy Review is an attempt to regain some sanity in our CAP process. Lately I feel like this has become the Choose-An-Ability Project, and I want to get back to the Create-A-Pokemon Project.
  2. jas61292

    jas61292 used substitute
    is a Forum Moderatoris a Community Contributoris a CAP Contributoris a Tiering Contributoris a Battle Server Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2010
    Messages:
    3,023
    First, I want to say that I feel that the summary of how ability discussions have been going is very accurate, so I am not going to spend time commenting on that. I am just going to get right to the proposals. Now, excuse me for going out of order, but since I feel 1 and 5 are best addressed together, I am going to save them for last and instead start with proposal 2.

    Proposal 2 makes a lot of sense to me. In fact, I remember after CAP 3 having discussed permanently moving abilities in front of stats numerous times, and it came as a surprise to me just now when I looked back and notice that these discussions never made their way into official policy. Now, as I said back then, I do think that there could be situations where one stage might be better going first even if that is not the case in general, but these situations are rare, and would, likely as not, be not important enough to warrant changing the process to accommodate them. And, if it is a big enough problem, then the concept probably wasn't good to start with. Basically, having a set process is a good thing, and while there might not be a way to do it that is perfect for every project, we need to remember that this is already an imperfect process, and that we are better served with a concrete system then a messy one. As for the specifics, I really have no opinion. I see arguments supporting abilities coming both before and after stats, and either one works for me. I just think we should choose one and stick to it.

    Next, for proposal 3, I don't think there is anything I could be more supportive of. Since my first day viewing the CAP project I have always believed that if an ability (or move or anything) was being made up that we weren't trying hard enough. Especially now in 5th gen, if we can't find an existing mechanic to make our concept work, then either we are not doing a good job of thinking abstractly about the concept, or the concept is just flat out awful. Not just bad, we can do bad concepts with real abilities, but awful. Personally, I would love to see this extended to all custom mechanics, not just abilities, but if that is all people are willing to agree to for now, I think it would be a good start.

    Proposal 4 is another interesting one. I support it in concept, but not with the exact execution suggested here. In my opinion, we should definitely eliminate abilities that are overly controlling of the project, but I think a lot of the ones brought up as example don't quite reach that point. That being said, having a list of things that are straight up off the table will do a good job of helping focus discussion on the things that really should be being discussed.

    While, as I said above, I don't agree with all the specifics presented, I do think the categories of "Exceptional" and "Signature" are good places to start. Things that are clearly overly defining should not be allowed at all. We don't allow concepts to poll jump, nor should we allow our choice of ability to. That being said, I am adamantly against the third presented category of "Anti-Competitive." Anyone who has read my posts in threads on competitiveness, evasion, banning philosophy and the like will know that I believe the entire concept of anti or non-competitive to utter bullshit. It’s the whining and complaining of people who lose to luck when they feel they shouldn't have, and has nothing to do with the actual competitiveness or skill requirement of the game. I could probably go on about this for hours (and I have in the past, if you really want to look it up), but that is not what this thread is about. Suffice it to say that, while these are abilities with important consequences that should not be taken lightly, we should not ban something just because a few competitive players might bitch if they lose to it. If there is a case where it legitimately fits the concept, I see no reason to disallow these abilities, unlike ones that might fall under the category of "Exceptional".

    Going back to the specifics, below are some arguments on certain abilities listed in the OP that I disagree on. While I believe that deciding whether or not to ban abilities is more important than what to ban, since specifics were listed in the OP, I just want to take the time to respond to them.
    Show Hide
    Drizzle, Drought, Sand Stream, Snow Warning
    I know these are probably some of the most polarizing abilities in the game, but I don't really feel that they have the same kind of problems that most exceptional abilities have. While they are very defining, they do not dictate any other stage. As heated as the drought debates of CAP 3 may have seemed, looking back I think that was some of the best discussion I have ever had as part of this project. If anything, abilities that define a Pokemon, but are not Pokemon defining (if that makes any sense to anyone) are great for the project as they are the sparks for fantastic debate for the entire length of the project without pigeonholing any other specific stage into a specific option.

    Multiscale
    Originally I would have agreed with this one, but then Multiscale was brought up in the third ability discussion for CAP4. When you actually step back and look at it, Multiscale is a decidedly mediocre ability and not defining at all. The only two users of it just so happened to be very well suited to abusing it to its greatest potential. Both are bulky Pokemon with numerous resistances, an immunity to switch in on, and, most importantly, reliable recovery. Without that, which we are in no way guaranteed to have, it is honestly not that great, and will more often than not be a waste of an ability slot. It’s good, but only when done right, and nowhere near exceptional otherwise.

    Magnet Pull
    While I agree Shadow Tag would only really work on an illegal concept, numerous Pokemon type combinations have trouble with steel types. If we don't want that to be a problem, Magnet Pull is a perfectly viable way to go about that. I don't think this is a common problem nor is it necessarily the best solution to it, but I don't see it as exceptional either. I sort of feel this way about Arena Trap too, but that one is more questionable.

    Stall
    Stall is odd. Yes. But I don't see it as exceptional. It is interesting, and could have application where we least expect it. And, unlike many other unusual abilities, it really is not prone to being brought up frequently without good reason, which is a main reason to ban things to being with. And, as to effecting stats, it only really does so if it is the only ability. It does not mandate a certain stat, just ignores it.

    Scrappy
    Ok, ok, yes, it’s true that it is almost always a "thinly-veiled poll-jump to push for Scrappy Rapid Spin." But I don't think that in and of itself is reason to ban it. As you said, we need a more objective reason, and the one given only really means anything if for some reason we decide to do ability before type. If that ends up the case, then sure, ban it. But otherwise, I don't think so.

    As a side note, I'd like to see Air Lock added to Signature abilities. Cloud Nine exists. Yes, I know we gave it to Rev. Doesn't make that decision not stupid.


    Anyways, now I'd like to get back to proposal 1 as well as proposal 5. As I said earlier, I feel it is directly tied to proposal 5, and I will say right now flat out that I oppose both of them. While I feel they both have good ideas behind them, I don't think they are good execution. Think for a second on why we do art. Why we do names. Why we do dex entries. We do these things to make our pokemon more than a string of numbers. To make them actual, wholesome, realistic Pokemon. We just had an entire PR on the optics of our decisions, and while it was mostly focused on bad optics from doing too much, there is also bad optics from doing too little. It is for that reason that I oppose harsh restrictions of flavor like this. I do think that we want ways to handle abilities without flavor crap clogging up our competitive thoughts, but I don't think banning flavor is the way to do it, nor is limiting the number of abilities to a number lower than the most common amount for Pokemon in this day and age.

    In addition sometimes flavor abilities are not just there for flavor. See Necturna and Mollux for examples. In the former case, flavor abilities were necessary because we decided not to have a competitive ability (or, in other words, a competitive decision necessitated a flavor one). In the latter case, the flavor ability was competitive because it was not the primary ability, and thus lacked its downsides. I believe because cases like these are possible that we need to have some system in place to deal with flavor abilities when they are necessary. And, if we have such a system, then I see no reason to limit it to that situation. Good flavor is good optics, so if they system works for it, there is no reason not to do it. And the past has shown us that we need the system to work for it.

    That being said, I would not be opposed to some limits. While I am against a limit of two abilities, I would be perfectly fine with a limit of two competitive abilities. And, while I don't think we should be getting rid of flavor abilities, I would not mind something like a limit of one flavor ability per Pokemon. In addition, while I just stated that I don't want to ban flavor, a list like the one in the OP of non-competitive abilities would be nice to have as things that would be against the rules to discuss in any competitive ability discussion. As with the exceptional abilities list, I think this could probably merit some discussion of what should be on it. No matter what we do overall regarding flavor though, I think it would be great to have it definitively stated what is and is not a competitive ability.

    One more note on this is that I think the biggest problems we have come up not around the discussion of flavor abilities themselves, but the convoluted situations that arise when competitive abilities face off against the proposals of No Competitive Ability and No Ability. When these situations arise, the implications can have important competitive effects, but the discussions end up about useless flavor bits, and the majority of people seem confused about what is even going on. This kind of situation, while related to flavor, is a different issue entirely, and I think is much more important to fix, as it has real competitive implications. I don't really have any idea how to fix it, but I think that is where our efforts should be, not on limiting the comparatively harmless flavorful aspects of abilities.
  3. nyttyn

    nyttyn No regrets
    is a Pre-Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2010
    Messages:
    971
    Okay since this doesn't really need a longass reply, i might as well lead the way in pioneering the new and improved POSTS WITH THE BULLSHIT CUT OUT trend

    Ability discussions are too easily derailed by unreasonable ability suggestions.

    I agree.

    Custom abilities are not worth the trouble.

    Mostly, yes, but they might be cool to consider. TL Guide discretion would be best I think.

    We have too many ability discussions.

    Yes.

    We should not be altering the ability selection process in the middle of every CAP.
    Also yes.

    Arguments over No Ability and Non-Competitive Abilities are total crap.
    Guys, Wonder Guard is totally a Non-Competitive ability. Or in other words, yes.

    Proposal 1: We will only choose a maximum of two abilities on every CAP.
    I think instead we should have a maxmimum of two competitive abilities, with the third being restricted strictly to flavor. (Dream World Male Only movepool shenangins can help balance out some abilities, but I think those should be banned on principle because they cause far too much headache for too little gain)

    Proposal 2: We will not alter the ordering of steps in a given CAP after a CAP project has begun.
    Yes, we should do this.

    Proposal 3: No custom abilities ever.

    Nah, I think they still have merit. But they should be allowed only with the section guide's blessing.


    Proposal 4: Define a list of "Banned Abilities" that are automatically excluded from all ability discussions.

    This proposal = yes.
    Shadow Tag and Friends should still be on the table, as they have their merits for bulky pokemon (see: gothoria @ eviolite).
    Skill Link isn't so bad - if we want a pokemon who's good at making a comeback, while Skill Link poll jumps a bit, it's pretty much the only reliable offensive way to take care of substitute.
    Serene Grace, I find, is more of a anti-hax ability - that is, it lowers hax by making side-effects much more reliable. So it should still be allowed.

    Proposal 5: Eliminate "Non-Competitive Abilities" in ANY CAP ability polls.
    No, these are important for Flavor. We should keep them.
    I think though that we should give Competitive abilities two tiers of effectiveness (Defining, for the really good ones, and Competitve, for the simply good ones) as well as a Filler tier. So, say, a CAP could have one Defining ability, that's situationally great and fufilling of the concept (Guts), one Competitive ability that's always good and a more reliable fall back (Iron Fist) and one Filler ability that's there for flavor (Heavy Metal).

    my 2pokedollars.
  4. Mdevil

    Mdevil

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2012
    Messages:
    109
    I'm not gonna waste words on an intro; let's talk abilities. (I'll discuss the proposals in order of how much I have to say.)

    Proposal 2: We will not alter the ordering of steps in a given CAP after a CAP project has begun.
    Yes, of course; this should have been cemented long ago. Anyone against this isn't thinking clearly.

    Proposal 3: No custom abilities ever.
    As much as it pains me, I have to agree. I have so many ideas (as if we all don't) that I'll never get to try... *sigh*

    Proposal 5: Eliminate "Non-Competitive Abilities" in ANY CAP ability polls.
    I'm not a fan. We wouldn't have to put up with as much stupidity in ability discussions, like the example above, if we had a concrete list of Non-Competitive abilities. Think of VGMs in the movepool stage (lol; look at that idiot using Movepool [one of the worst stages] to try and help fix Abilities [one of the worst stages]), there is a concrete list, but under correct circumstances other moves are incorporated into the list for specific CAPmons. I'll let you all chew on that for a bit as I move on to the next proposal.

    Proposal 4: Define a list of "Banned Abilities" that are automatically excluded from all ability discussions.
    Yes. I love it. I'm going to follow popular trend, however, in not liking the specific abilities listed in the op. Most notably, I agree with Jas that there should be no ban on "Anti-Competitive abilities." We can say pokemon is competitive all we like, but that doesn't mean there isn't a significant amount of luck in the game. These aren't hurting anybody by not being banned and hey, you never know, they may be necessary for a concept in the future somehow. If you want to see a complete list of "Exceptional Abilities" that I don't think should be banned, then look at the list Jas made and add Skill Link. In terms of signature abilities, add Illusion. Yes we used Zoroark's signature ability on CAP 4 but we really shouldn't have. in fact, look at Zoroark. He was built entirely around Illusion; he doesn't do anything else. Illusion is supposed to rework the rest of the pokemon like the Exceptional Abilities, we just did it wrong.

    Proposal 1: We will only choose a maximum of two abilities on every CAP.
    No, no, no; this will never do. Yes I understand why it would come to this. Yes it seems like this, or even the two competitive ability limit others suggested, is necessary. Despite that appearance, there may be a better way. Let's look at VGMs again (omg, this guy is doing it again. what a retard). This time let's look at the specific part of their relation to the BSR. Only a certain amount of VGMs are allowed in a movepool of a pokemon with a given BSR total. Now think about if we could do something similar with abilities. This doesn't have to necessarily be in relation to BSR, it could be anything, even Typing. So phase X has outcome Y which means that CAP Z can have W number of competitive abilities. I feel like this could work, but it's a bit complicated. Then again, if people have been able to handle and understand the Stats phase, one of the most complicated things on Smogon, for the most part, then they could probably handle this too.
  5. CiteAndPrune

    CiteAndPrune

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2012
    Messages:
    203
    Bolded headers enhance readability so I will follow that example this time.

    Ability discussions are too easily derailed. - I must admit they are. It'd be hard to argue otherwise.

    Arguments over No Ability and No Competitive Ability are bad. - I agree wholly. It's one of the biggest flaws of our current execution of the Ability stage.

    We have too many Ability Discussions. - Here I disagree. I feel that if the above two problems were fixed and we achieved a state when the ability discussions are productive and meaningful, like they should be at their best, there is no downside to having more of a good discussion. Having 2 or 3 topics to choose 2 to 3 abilities is good balance - it's making the most of that timeframe and not getting sidetracked that should be our focus.


    Proposal 2: To not alter the stage order once a CAP project has begun. - I agree with this principle entirely. I would also like to throw my support behind pushing Abilities ahead of Stats. It's inevitable that all parts of a CAP influence each other and those coming first will affect the later ones... but if the examples of CAP4 and even CAP3 have shown us anything, I'd like to think the process was routed both times because there is some inherent reason to holding Abilities first. Ultimately though, this is subjective, what comes first...

    Proposal 3: No custom abilities ever. - I'm inclined to agree as there is a wealth of official abilities that can cover our needs for generations of games to come, to say nothing of Gamefreak giving us more. Still, I find that completely banning custom abilities is too much. Maybe if there was, for example (which during CAP4 I assumed was the implied reason) the condition that a Custom ability is only allowed if it is proven that no existing ability can adequately fulfill the concept. That is a very strict condition, and if one can achieve the feat of positively proving no other ability is suitable - well, it will speak of our Concept for certain...

    Proposal 4: Define a list of "Banned Abilities" that are automatically excluded from all ability discussions. - As others have said, I agree with the principle but disagree on particulars. This is something that merits further discussion, certainly. In broad terms I don't think it's right to ban abilities because they 'centralize everything about the CAP' - it's similar to how Necturna is all about that one-time Sketch. But we made Necturna and I don't regret that choice.

    Therefore, I propose that there be a list of abilities 'banned unless the Concept specifically allows them' - so already when we are voting on the Concept, we know what we are getting into - should we one day opt to make some 'weather starter' mon, we'll know from the onset that's our goal, whereas for all other concepts they'll be lumped together with the rest of banned abilities. (I know that under the current system Concepts are not allowed to make such assumptions - so these abilities would be banned by proxy - but...)

    Show Hide
    ... that in itself is an issue worth revisiting - WHY are good concepts not allowed to suggest specific abilities/typing/moves etc. ? Because we learn less with a choice made for us at the beginning?

    But everyone is already doing it in the comments part, also everyone reading the concept jumps forward to a vision of the finished product.

    All that the focus on 'good concept doesn't pingeonhole decisions' actually does is push us towards vague and nebulous concepts that are difficult to clarify into a steady direction.

    But, this is a discussion of abilities not Concepts so I'll stop that right here, and save the rest for another topic.


    /offtopic.


    Proposal 1: We will only choose a maximum of two abilities on every CAP.
    &
    Proposal 5: Eliminate "Non-Competitive Abilities" in ANY CAP ability polls.
    I don't believe eliminating NCAs from discussion will do much good for CAP. At most establishing a list of 'flavor abilities' and more strictly requiring that they be avoided during the competitive ability discussion will suffice to focus that stage fine.

    I actually wonder if there shouldn't be, already at Primary Ability stage, made the decision in the abstract - a poll during which the community chooses whether our Pokemon should have 1, 2, or all 3 abilities. Given someone with, say, Levitate (an ability that only 3 Pokemon total, 2 of which are one evolution family, get along with an alternate ability), we could further narrow down the scope of abilities available for discussion - so the list of Abilities could include Defining as Nyttyn put it (that would be the Primary AND ONLY Ability for a Pokemon), followed by simply Competitive, of which a Pokemon can have two tops, and finally Flavor/Filler abilities.

    In summary, a limit of maximum 2 competitive abilities OR 1 defining ability, plus flavor third, seems workable. It might seem like a polljump, but in the long run deciding immediately how many and of what power level abilities a CAP is going to receive will benefit us by narrowing the scope of discussion to the likes of defining / competitive abilities during the right stages.

    It's not a huge complication, either... frankly this doesn't need to be part of/concurrent with Primary Ability Discussion, but rather, the Number of Abilities poll could precede Ability Discussion entirely, since there is nothing to be argued one way or another, just measure preference (although I wonder if that wouldn't potentially bias results in favour of having all 3 abilities always). It could, for example, be a poll open during Threats Assessment (which follows the Typing poll) and it wouldn't consume too much time or effort, just a simple question about preference and members can move on to the current discussion.


    Either way before any lists of Banned/Flavor/Competitive etc. abilities are made, I believe a wider discussion should be held, so the relative merits of each ability can be argued back and forth - on almost the level of a CAP project but focused instead on assessing the worth of individual abilities in the abstract. Viewed in isolation, without an entire Pokemon that introduces bias for or against given abilities (but under the assumption any CAP with a specific ability would, in fact, be built to abuse it to the fullest) we could eventually pass a fair judgment on all of them.

    This might sound intimidating, but I believe a community-reached consensus on what abilities should or shouldn't be allowed will be easier to accept than a list put down from on high by some CAP expert, and it might spur activity in the downtime between CAP projects too (it'd be similar to the updating of the Movepoll limits list, which, accidentally, wasn't it started during CAP 4 too? That wasn't too harsh, was it? Members looked over the current C-Moves vs Non-C-Moves and gave their opinion on controversial ones, it seemed rather clear and non-controversial).


    .... enough for one post. If the proposal is obviously stupid please just let me know right away, but if you see merit in it, don't hesitate to mention that, either.
  6. uwnim

    uwnim

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2011
    Messages:
    198
    Don't have much time, but I agree with proposals 2, 3, and 4.
    Against proposal 1, we should just stick to the current policy for ability limits.
    Proposal 5 I sort of agree with. They should be banned from competitive discussion, but there should be a poll later on with just flavor abilities.
  7. srk1214

    srk1214 Epke Motherf**in Zonderland
    is a CAP Contributoris a Tiering Contributor

    Joined:
    May 28, 2010
    Messages:
    2,488
    Ability discussions are too easily derailed by unreasonable ability suggestions.
    Agreed

    Custom abilities are not worth the trouble.
    Agreed (Mountaineer's the only time it's ever made any sense, and even then.)

    We have too many ability discussions.
    I agree, but I'm not entirely sold on a way to fix it.

    We should not be altering the ability selection process in the middle of every CAP.
    The model we currently have is indeed messed up. The only exception in which an ability would be decided after the actual ability stage is complete is in the case of a flavor ability, so as not to restrict art. It delays the process by 2 days max, and it's worth it for the art. But no more TLs fiddling with processes.

    Arguments over No Ability and Non-Competitive Abilities are total crap.
    This I take issue with. Mollux. Dry Skin. I was a huge proponent for ONLY Dry Skin. Why? Even something like Illuminate makes Eruption sets in Sun viable. I do agree that the vast majority of the time, this is true. But there are certain abilities that are tradeoffs that we may want to encourage. Weak Armor, for example... which I also thought could have been the single ability. Maybe we can make a list of the abilities for which these strong tradeoffs exist?
    suggested list? (open)
    Defeatist
    Dry Skin
    Hustle
    Reckless
    Solar Power
    Weak Armor

    Maybe the status related boosters too: Flare Boost, Guts, Marvel Scale Quick Feet, Toxic Boost. And maybe Unburden as well.
    If one of those is chosen as the Primary Ability, then No Ability is an option. Otherwise it isn't. I agree that if the ability is Natural Cure, nobody will be using Aftermath, so allowing NCAs is alright. But with a tradeoff ability, I think we should be able to mandate tradeoffs with No Ability as an option.


    Now to the proposals

    Proposal 1: We will only choose a maximum of two abilities on every CAP.
    I'm not sure I like this, since many Pokemon do have 3 abilities, with DW included. Can this be revised to maximum of 2 COMPETITIVE abilities? If two competitive abilities are selected, maybe a third flavor ability can be suggested by the artist him or herself. There's no harm in limiting to a max of two, since 3 competitive abilities are never necessary or indeed used. But I hate getting overzealous competitively and hurting our flavor-favoring members. Who better understands the "flavor" of the winning art than the artist him or herself? And if they suggest something that is clearly NOT a flavor ability and has competitive merit, they simply forfeit their suggestion and we go with 2. Plain and simple, it keeps flavor people happy while avoiding an unnecessary discussion. It's no different from a TL picking a Height arbitrarily for example (weight matters technically, but not height.)

    Proposal 2: We will not alter the ordering of steps in a given CAP after a CAP project has begun.
    With the exception of a flavor ability being added later (as I said by the artist perhaps), I agree. The process is the process.

    Proposal 3: No custom abilities ever.
    Agree

    Proposal 4: Define a list of "Banned Abilities" that are automatically excluded from all ability discussions.
    I agree with this as a general rule. The one caveat I would like to add is that a TL or the Ability leader should be able to petition the CAP mods for the inclusion of one of those abilities in discussion. We can require that it must pass by 3/4 or some equally arbitrary but high threshold. And that's just to get it to the point where a TL or Ability leader introduces the idea of it (with an approved by CAP mods tag) into the discussion. The reason I raise this caveat is our Multitype discussion with Necturna. It certainly was interesting and while I opposed it for Sketch Artist, I could see it working elsewhere. So I do agree we should ban all those Exceptional Abilties (bar maybe Scrappy). But as a failsafe, maybe enable a way for it to be re-included if it really fits the concept. I don't think winning over 3/4 of the CAP mods is easy, so I don't fear this being broken.

    I'm less concerned with banning those anti-competitive abilities. Sand Veil and Snow Cloak are banned in OU (and thus CAP anyway.) No reason they can't be added as flavor. Tangled Feet similarly is awful and can be flavor. I do agree Serene Grace should probably remain untouched. Maybe just move it to the Exceptional Abilities area. I mean it does dictate a lot. Are you more likely to use Rock Slide or Stone Edge if you have Serene Grace? You're also just more likely to use haxy moves in general. And yes avoid legendary signature abilities. Keeping Filter as an option is fine by me, even though it's just on Mr. Mime and Mime Jr.

    Proposal 5: Eliminate "Non-Competitive Abilities" in ANY CAP ability polls.
    I explained my position on this above kinda. This is good. No suggesting those abilities. My proposition is this: First ability poll happens. Competitive options only are offered. On the second ability poll, Non-Competitive Ability will be an option. If it wins, then it will be provided by the winning artist by flavor. Let's cut out the pointless flavor arguments and let flavor be decided by the creator of the flavor itself, the developer of artistic vision.



    TL;DR YES to most everything, but let's still throw flavor at least some of a bone.
  8. Texas Cloverleaf

    Texas Cloverleaf meh
    is a Forum Moderator Alumnusis a Tiering Contributor Alumnusis a Contributor Alumnusis a Smogon Media Contributor Alumnusis a Battle Server Moderator Alumnus

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2009
    Messages:
    7,744
    I agree with all 5 proposals. Each makes sense, and each is tailored to both streamline and improve the ability policy. I don't think we should be afraid of change here.
  9. macle

    macle frog jesus died for your sins
    is a Tutoris a member of the Site Staffis a Smogon Social Media Contributoris a Forum Moderatoris a Tiering Contributoris a Contributor to Smogonis a Smogon Media Contributoris a Battle Server Moderator Alumnus
    Little Cup Co-Leader

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2008
    Messages:
    3,748
    Agreeing with everything but maybe have the tl pick the 3rd ability but it has to be pure flavor.
  10. DHR-107

    DHR-107 Robot from the Future
    is a Forum Moderatoris a Community Contributoris a Pokemon Researcher
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2008
    Messages:
    1,570
    I would definitely agree with the ability discussions being too easily derailed by weird options. Taking away some of the more ridiculous options would be a great way of slimming down the discussion parameters. However, that list would need to definitely worked hard on before it is used “in anger”. Some abilities would have to be left to the discretion of the TL and TLT depending on the concept though, but I am behind the main idea of banning some of the abilities right off the bat.

    In regards to the various proposals:

    Proposal 1: I can see where this is coming from, but I much prefer the original wording with “Two Competitive Abilities” as opposed to just two abilities. While I cannot deny most Pokémon don’t even have 2 competitive abilities, we should still be able to keep the option open for an ability which is down to flavour rather than competitive use. This sort of ties onto Proposal 5 in a way. The flavour ability for Mollux for example is excellent flavour to put forward the whole lava lamp design. In regards to Doug’s mention of Voodoom, Lightning Rod is *now* a fantastic ability for it in generation 5. That is kinda off topic though.

    Proposal 2: This should be the case for everything anyway. Either set out a way for the steps to be changed legitimately or don’t change them at all. Maybe there could be some way of putting forward the change of the ordering for a specific concept, and then post about that order. So, when the concept is put forward, the TL/TLT/Whatever decides which order to do the steps in (assuming no huge changes) and then posts that order in a thread as a plan of action. So then we have 2 interchangeable stages (Abilities and Stats) which can be switched to suit the concept. I can see advantages to both to be honest. Stats can fix abilities or vice versa.

    Proposal 3: I would agree with the caveat that it may still be possible if there is nothing similar.

    Proposal 4: As I said above, I am very much in favour of this. There might need to be some debating about which abilities are banned outright and which are “soft banned”. As in those which can be discussed depending on the concept/TL/SL decisions. I agree with most of the abilities put forward apart from Scrappy and Telepathy. I’d also tend to agree with the banning of “hax” abilities, but would that extend to the likes of Static/Flame body?
  11. Pwnemon

    Pwnemon is a more intuitive player
    is a Tutoris a Forum Moderatoris a Community Contributoris a Tiering Contributoris a Contributor to Smogonis a Smogon Media Contributor
    Doubles Co-Lead

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2010
    Messages:
    4,079
    prop1: feck yes

    prop2: feck yes

    prop3: feck yes

    prop4: i'm not entirely sure on a lot of this proposal but we can look at this later

    prop5: I have an idea which I believe is workable:

    Instead of slating No Competitive Ability and proceeding to a separate poll on what this means, I feel that we would be better served by making NCA a completely competitive decision, because it does have its uses for things like Mollux and Necturna, where NCA was competitive. I think the best option is that (similarly to any other ability, when a competitive case is made for it) we slate something like Ineffective Ability (or words to a similar effect). If Ineffective Ability is slated, No Ability will also be slated. If Ineffective Ability wins, the TLT chooses a completely useless ability (such as Honey Gather) that suits their fancy. Even the most marginally useful abilities would be slated separately (and splitting the vote shouldn't be an issue because IRV). This should eliminate bs "what's flavor what isn't" as well as bs 48+ hours on a useless ability, and still retain all the competitive justification of keeping around useless abilities.
  12. Deck Knight

    Deck Knight DK! DK! Donkey Kong is here!
    is a Forum Moderatoris a CAP Contributoris a Smogon Media Contributor
    Moderator

    Joined:
    May 27, 2005
    Messages:
    7,617
    Time to ruin the bandwagon.

    Proposal 1: We will only choose a maximum of two abilities on every CAP.

    This is already a rule, the problem was enforcement. One thing I don't like about the general tenor of the threads so far is it vastly overemphasized the things that went wrong in CAP 4 while ignoring the fact we managed to have three BW CAPs where this wasn't a problem at all.

    What we need is a better system for enforcement. A much easier idea than re-affirming a policy that already exists is to alter the Ability OP to explicitly state in bold that there can only be a maximum of two competitive abilities, period.

    This ties in with my response to proposal 5:

    Proposal 5: Eliminate "Non-Competitive Abilities" in ANY CAP ability polls.

    I think a better way to do this is just be much clearer with what we want. I think an easier way to do this would be to mandate that the CAP will have between 0-2 Competitive Abilities and 1 Flavor Ability. Once either of No Competitive Ability winning a poll or two competitive abilities selected occurs, we then make a Flavor Ability thread and that Flavor Ability is the last ability we make for the CAP.

    Applied to previous CAPs: in Tomohawk we had two competitive abilities and so the third poll would be forced to be a flavor ability [No Ability would still be a valid option here]. Necturna we did not want any competitive abilities, so we would vote NCA in the first poll and then discuss the Flavor Ability, then abilities would end. Mollux we would have Dry Skin and then if people voted NCA, we do a flavor thread and then end abilities. This policy change would have made Aurumoth impossible, completely eliminated the shitstorm of DW Unreleased Drought, Necturna would have just had Forewarn and not Telepathy, and Tomohawk would be unaffected, In either case it would drop their discussions to the absolute minimum number (1 Competitive, 1 Flavor for Necturna, 2 Competitive, 1 Flavor for Tomohawk).

    Counter Proposal 1 + 5: Make clear the two competitive ability maximum in the Ability OPs, and make clear that once a Flavor Ability is selected that the Ability Stage ends.

    Proposal 2: We will not alter the ordering of steps in a given CAP after a CAP project has begun.

    I'll be the dissenting voice here as well. Having led a CAP where this flexibility in ordering aided the project by allowing future discussions to focus on known variables, I definitely think that our process should be flexible enough to allow for things like this. Where CAP 3 went wrong had nothing to do with the Primary Ability Poll, it was the numerous other topics that dragged on and became shitstorms.. This is a wrongly attributed problem - The shitstorm in CAP 3 was never in the primary ability thread, it was started when we got to the secondary ability thread, which was still a competitive discussion. Where BW CAP 3 turned into the greatest shitstorm is when people started promoting a DW Unreleased Drought for flavor purposes.

    Going back to our initial PR thread this cycle, the Leadership Compendium, we flat out state that this is a terrible way to make a Pokemon. We are now proposing that even though we acknowledge this is an inherently flawed methodology, we had better do every single element linear in the exact same way every single time regardless of the concept. I can give a lengthy dissertation of what constitutes a bad concept and how many have been slated, but my focal point on those is always vagueness. CAP 3's concept was not vague at all - but the ability to have everyone consider Dry Skin (or alternatively Drought if it won) in their minds during the stat spreads allowed us to target those spreads because submitters knew that water attack calcs were not a factor (or, again, history being different and Drought won, knowing they'd need Drought calcs and other weather calcs).

    Basically I contend that changing the process order to allow a Primary Ability first was beneficial to CAP 3, and anyone attributing that decision to the shitstorm caused by subsequent Drought discussions has their history on that project jumbled. The problems indicated by those discussions have nothing to do with going out of order and everything to do with how we manage ability discussions, which is the focal point of proposal 4.

    Reject Proposal 2.

    Proposal 3: No custom abilities ever.

    The only Ability where I can think of that this shouln't be the case is when we tested Persistent with Fidgit to look into other arena effects. I don't really see that happening again in BW because perma-weather is stupidly powerful, and while Auto-Gravity and Auto-TR are cool to talk about in #cap, I just don't see them happening. In general I would agree with this.

    Approve Proposal 3.

    Proposal 4: Define a list of "Banned Abilities" that are automatically excluded from all ability discussions.

    This proposal is effectively about how to streamline the actual ability discussion, and I think it targets the wrong source. I much prefer the proposal brought up in #cap where we use an Allowed/Disallowed/Pending system to filter through abilities step by step like we do with movepool discussions. That system has worked to keep people largely on track, and yes, there will still be stupid posts. Remember, this process is a terrible way to build a Pokemon and exists because of the massive amount of input at every experience and writing level it generates.

    Counter-Proposal 4: Use Allowed/Disallowed/Pending categories to guide the ability discussions to keep people on track as much as possible.
  13. Accidentally deleted my first attempt at this post, so this one may be a little less detailed:

    Proposals 1, 5: Oppose
    Deck Knight's Counter-proposal: Tentative Support

    These restrictions look like an overreaction to me, and while I understand the competitive priorities of CAP, I never like to restrict flavour unnecessarily. I want to see more ideas on this, but for now I'm tentatively supporting Deck Knight's counter-proposal, which looks to me like a more balanced approach that should still streamline the process and prevent another Aurumoth.

    Proposals 2, 3, 4: Support

    The principle I'm reading in proposal 2 is that the CAP process is more important than a TL's individual judgement, and that principle has always proven to be good for CAP. I see no problem with proposal 3, since custom abilities are dead anyway, there does not appear to be any need for them, and they can create optics problems.

    Proposal 4 is a little more problematic because we need to create a specific list of banned abilities. Since CAP is an experimental project, abilities should only be taken completely off the table in extreme cases, where we are absolutely certain that they are harmful to the process. Personally, I would remove Multiscale and trapping abilities from the list, and I have doubts about Skill Link, Scrappy and Serene Grace as well. I agree that none of the other listed abilities have any business being given to our creations.

    Side-note: I'm a little surprised that Magic Guard didn't make the initial list, considering what it did to Krilowatt and the fact that Multiscale is on there. To be clear, I wouldn't add it to the list.
  14. capefeather

    capefeather no shit
    is a Forum Moderatoris a CAP Contributoris a Battle Server Moderator Alumnus
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2009
    Messages:
    2,884
    I agree entirely with proposals 2 and 3 so there isn't much I want to comment on considering them. However, since Deck Knight does seem to disagree on Proposal 2, I will comment on it. I don't think anyone has blamed the Drought storm on the process order. The question that Proposal 2 asks is whether the kind of reasoning to change the process order for Extreme Makeover and Risky Business couldn't also apply to every other reasonable concept. I don't see how it couldn't. It's the kind of thing that can cause increasingly borderline decisions to be made, until the precedent becomes undesirable. So no one should be seeing this as blaming Deck Knight or even bugmaniacbob for any failure perceived in the ability discussions. I suppose the actual order is a matter of debate, but maybe that should be left to later in the thread (or maybe even a new one).

    On Proposals 1 and 5: I prefer Deck Knight's counter-proposal, though I'd like to suggest that we identify a list of abilities with defined drawbacks (such as Dry Skin) and, when a CAP Pokemon only has abilities from this list, have a poll (no discussion thread) to determine whether or not there should be a flavour ability. Being the guy who was against a flavour ability for Mollux, I stand by my opinion on that matter, but I agree with the concerns about bringing that stuff up during the project. This seems to me like the best way to address this issue in the future.

    On Proposal 4:

    I'm torn on the Anti-Competitive category. On one hand, I don't see the need to ban abilities that, for reasons jas himself stated, will probably never, ever make it onto a CAP Pokemon for claiming to fit a concept. On the other hand, if suggestions of them will never be successful, yet they'll still be made, it may be better to ban them just to clear up threads. Then again, people who suggest these abilities tend to be the same people who don't read the rules or really follow what's going on in the discussions, so a ban might be ineffective.

    On the Exceptional Abilities category, I generally agree that we should set a list in stone rather than leaving it up to the leaders. However, I'm not sure that this measure would really solve the problem it's trying to solve effectively. When people think about cases where this problem popped up, the most immediate and prominent recollection is probably Mollux's ability discussion, and in that case, the TL specifically allowed Drought. I wonder if Exceptional Abilities could be discussed in the Concept Assessment stage or even Concept submissions. We sometimes discuss stat builds in Concept Assessment, so maybe it could actually work. I'm not sure, though. I find the actual list questionable, but the point at the moment is the proposal itself, so I'll leave it at that for now.
  15. uwnim

    uwnim

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2011
    Messages:
    198
    I fully agree with Deck's first counter proposal. Pretty much what I was wanting.

    I disagree with his second one though. While it would make the discussion more focused, it would also make it harder to determine what abilities are popular and should end up being slated. It works well for move discussions because there isn't a slate and all we are doing is creating a list of allowed VGMs for the move pool creators.

    For banned abilities, I do not believe we should ban abilities because they are anti-competitive. Tangled Feet isn't abusable, Sniper is really only bad if the pokemon also has one of the always crit moves, Stench can only be abused with multi-hit moves and Cute Charm just isn't good. Bad Dreams would be banned because it is a legendary signature ability anyways. Serene Grace is the only one that is really exploitable enough to have a reason to be banned due to all the moves that have an effect.

    Magic Guard should be on a list of banned abilities. It does far too much and if there is a type of passive damage that is important to be immune to or have a way around, there are other ways to do it. For example, say we made an Ice/Fire type and determined that it needs to be less SR weak to be able to fulfill its concept. Using abilities, this could be achieved by Magic Guard, Regenerator or by reusing Mountaineer. Magic Guard would cause it to take no damage from hazards, but would also cause it to be able to abuse Life Orb and recoil attacks, give it an immunity to sandstorm and cause the CAP to take no damage from poison. Regenerator doesn't reduce the damage taken and makes having hazards up more important, but the healing allows the pokemon to switch in more times than it would normally. Mountaineer might not be allowed but it would negate the important thing without giving the CAP an immunity to so much.
  16. jas61292

    jas61292 used substitute
    is a Forum Moderatoris a Community Contributoris a CAP Contributoris a Tiering Contributoris a Battle Server Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2010
    Messages:
    3,023
    I would like to second this. The reason a system like this works for movepools is that we are not deciding on whether anything is or is not in the movepool or even in the movepool poll. It is perfectly possible for everyone to agree that there is a move that is fine for the Pokemon, but have no one actually think it is necessary. Such a move would be allowed in the discussion stage but would never see the light of day when it comes to the poll. Abilities don't work like that. People don't make and submit their own ability set from a slate of allowed abilities. Abilities are discussed, and the leader slates what they think are the ones that recieved the most support and fit the concept.

    By adding a system of Allowed/Disallowed/Pending, we are not actually solving any problems, and in fact we would be creating more. Of the three, pending is the only one that I think would have any merit, as it could be used to direct the current flow of conversation. However, TL posts already take this role. If people aren't discussing what the TL wants them to now, then they won't with this system either. It makes it slightly more visable, sure, but that only matters if people aren't reading what the TL had to say to begin with, and if they don't read that, why should we be expecting them to read the OP? As for the other two labels, most things listed as disallowed would be things that would never be discussed to begin with, and the rest would just be a list of things the movepool leader wants people to shut up about. Once again though, if they want that, they say it in their post already. And besides, it wouldn't even work for that purpose, as, at least with movepools, every single project we have people, top contributers (not noobs), trying to convince the TL that their categorization of a move as disallowed is not a good decision.

    Finally, there is the Allowed list, which is really the worst of them all. What would allowed even be? Things that the movepool leader may or may not slate? If that is what it is it serves no purpose. "Allowed" means nothing when the one allowing them is also the one choosing the slate. They are not allowing anything. They are informing you before hand what they will choose. All it is is a provisional slate by another name. If I am not mistaken, than that is essentially the exact thing that in previous discussion the concensus was that it was bad for the project. Why would we want this? I seriously can't see what benifit it would provide.
  17. Deck Knight

    Deck Knight DK! DK! Donkey Kong is here!
    is a Forum Moderatoris a CAP Contributoris a Smogon Media Contributor
    Moderator

    Joined:
    May 27, 2005
    Messages:
    7,617
    Ultimately what we're trying to get at is a discussion control mechanism for Ability. Sure, we could come up with a huge list of banned or suspect abilities - and we'd still have people bringing up at random any of the remaining 100 abilities we didn't hard or soft ban. Intimidate comes up in every Ability thread without fail simply because it is a good ability, even though it has tenuous relevance to almost every concept (it worked for Momentum, doesn't work for much else).

    Modified Counter-Proposal 4:

    We create a pending list for abilities still up for discussion, but instead of allowed / disallowed lists, we have an "Argued" or "Discussed" or "Processed" List (any term is fine, the point is the singularity of the list), which would include abilities the Ability Leader does and does not like that they feel have been sufficiently discussed.

    You could I suppose then figure out their slate from such a list, but you could get that just from reading the thread. If the Section Leader loves Flare Boost but hates Guts but both have been discussed - then both will show up on that list while the TL focuses the discussion on other Abilities. An informed person will know the former is likely to be slated and the latter not, but only because they invested the time to read the thread and figure it out. Which is what we want people to do.

    This keeps the thread controlled without there being an easily knowable provisional slate. The argument you could figure out the slate from such a listing if you read through the thread is moot: The entire point of these discussions is to convince the Section Leader, and if they acknowledge your arguments you have a pretty good idea of where they're going.

    As far as people not listening to the TL, that's where my mod hat comes on and their post either gets deleted or warned. By making the current discussion visible you make it easier for the people who are actually paying attention to contribute. The people who don't pay attention and just want to mention every ability they can think of all at once aren't going to care if we spend the time and effort detailing every banned and suspect ability - those people haven't even read the OP, no matter how awesome and elaborate we make it.
  18. CiteAndPrune

    CiteAndPrune

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2012
    Messages:
    203
    I see what Deck Knight is arguing for - that 'Discussed' list sounds like a good idea. It would serve to pace the discussion in the topic without creating a provisional slate. If some members ignore it, that's a problem with them, not the policy.

    I'd support both that and the "0-2 competitive and 1 flavor ability" proposal, which simplifies the process beautifully and if 'No Competitive Ability' is chosen already at Primary stage, we settle for flavor as the sole ability, leave it to after art polls, and avoid lengthy arguments altogether.

    In short, I support both, no problem I can see there.
  19. Korski

    Korski Distilled, 80 proof
    is a Forum Moderatoris a CAP Contributor
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2009
    Messages:
    2,142
    I'm totally on board with all the proposals put forth in the OP.

    Something I find interesting is the notion of changing the Process to Primary Ability --> Stats --> Secondary Ability. We are constantly trying to decide whether it's more appropriate for Abilities to come first and constrain the Stats or for Stats to come first and constrain the Abilities. Changing the Process would allow us to first choose an Ability based on the Concept, then choose Stats based on the Primary Ability, and then a second Ability based on the more complete picture that one Ability + Stats provides. The Primary Ability would be the first priority, while the Secondary would explore smaller aspects of the Concept or gear it better to the OU metagame or niche sets. It's also more likely that NCA will be considered in the Secondary Ability discussion, if the community decides the Concept is right on track and doesn't require the extra frills we tend to give our creations.

    When we get to the Second Ability discussion, we'll have (ideally) the "best-fit" Ability from the first poll, as well as a better idea of how the Poke will function, thanks to having stats to base calculations off of. The Secondary Ability discussion would then be an opportunity to take a step back, see how we're doing, and decide whether or not a Secondary Ability would benefit the Concept and/or cooperate with the Primary Ability. It will also be a chance to more strongly argue for Abilities that require calculations to thoroughly argue for (Guts, Download, etc.), since we will have stats to help shape our arguments.

    In the past, Stats submitters had to make flexible spreads to appease everyone's Ability desires (e.g. the Mollux Drought debate), which basically thrusted the most "balanced" spreads to the forefront and lead to a string of "well-built bulky attacker" Pokes that have become the standard CAP build over time. Releasing submitters from the limitations of unknown Ability interactions would hopefully prod people into submitting less-averaged spreads and take a risk or two. Or in the case of Aurumoth, all three Ability discussions were held with the exact same amount of information about the CAP, basically, which lead to a lot of frustrating repeat arguments and a Process that crumbled around the uncertainty of what direction we should have been taking. What was the point in that?

    Meanwhile, the Process throughout is naturally more focused, since we won't have to be juggling multiple possibilities at once or overtly emphasizing one of Stats/Abilities over the other. The Typing is based on the Concept; the Primary Ability is based on the Concept and the Typing; the Stats are based off of the Concept, Typing, and Primary Ability; the Secondary Ability is based off of the Concept, Typing, Primary Ability, and Stats; and finally the movepool is based on all of the above. Notice how each step only adds only one new aspect to the CAP's design, instantly simplifying things.

    I'll post again if this idea needs more explanation. Thoughts?
  20. Pwnemon

    Pwnemon is a more intuitive player
    is a Tutoris a Forum Moderatoris a Community Contributoris a Tiering Contributoris a Contributor to Smogonis a Smogon Media Contributor
    Doubles Co-Lead

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2010
    Messages:
    4,079
    In my opinion, the main problem with ability discussions is the debate over what's flavor and what's not. It's absolutely unbearable because it's almost impossible to draw the line between "NCA" and "CA." There's always gonna be people who think that a suggested ability is too competitive to be deemed "flavor" and vice-versa. Besides, it's a competitive step, why are we spending so much time debating flavor? And how the hell are you supposed to debate flavor anyway? I cannot support any proposal that does not remove Flavor Ability votes, because they do not solve the problem. The only real way to fix up ability discussions is to remove flavor ability votes and discussions on the whole. That's why, after polishing in my head my ideas a little, I'm offering a proposal officially regarding this stuff:

    Proposal:

    As people have rightly pointed out, a non-competitive ability /can/ have competitive justification. However, it doesn't matter what that NCA is - any of them provide the same competitive benefits and drawbacks, so the fact that we debate on which NCAs for days just drives me bonkers. So, I've concocted this solution:
    1. No Competitive Ability will be renamed to Ineffective Ability. This is to reinforce its new role as a competitive ability with no competitive effect.
    2. Instead of No Competitive Ability, No Ability will be the slating default. Because IA actually is being slated for competitive effect, it will only be slated if people give it adequate support in the thread. Otherwise, only No Ability will be slated, as it is what we choose if we do not think the CaP needs another ability. No Ability will always be slated alongside Ineffective Ability.
    3. If No Ability wins - well, you can probably figure that out.
    4. If Ineffective Ability wins a poll, the Section Leader chooses through whatever means they choose which ineffective ability will be included on the Pokemon. Because it doesn't matter what is chosen, and the discussions turn into a shitfuck anyway, the SL is given the task of choosing what "ineffective ability." It's a minor bit of flavor, not like art, we don't need to spend half a week on it. If the TL thinks the SL's chosen an ability with competitive effects too great to justify the term "ineffective," he can veto, and the mods can pick a new one. Word to the wise: just pick one with literally no effect.
    OF NOTE: For this proposal to work, there should be no regard for how "defining" an ability is when it comes to slating. If Multiscale and Limber are both given equal support in the discussion thread, they should both be slated.

    IN CASE YOU MISUNDERSTOOD THIS DOES NOT GIVE THE TL THE ABILITY TO CHOOSE A FLAVOR ABILITY. ONLY THE ABILITY TO CHOOSE AN INEFFECTIVE ABILITY SHOULD IT BE VOTED TO BE NECESSARY COMPETITIVELY BY THE COMMUNITY
  21. Theorymon

    Theorymon You have a fever. I prescribe more dead angels.
    is a Smogon IRC SOPis a Forum Moderator Alumnusis a CAP Contributor Alumnusis a Contributor Alumnus

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2009
    Messages:
    1,341
    I'm fairly conflicted on most of these ideas (beyond one small nitpick: Flower Gift is actually competitive because in singles, it make sun raise SpD and Atk by 50% :P), but I feel like Korski's idea is the best way to approach abilities in theory, even though its the way CAP 3 did it. While it doesn't happen too often, something that did happen in CAP 4 is that it sorta felt like the 3 abilities that won were the "top 3 in the slates" instead of "what's a good secondary ability for this Pokemon that fits in with Weak Armor". Of course, one big worry is that some people will make stat submissions that are tailored to their favorite ability.

    One idea I've had towards squashing that beyond the orginal controversial idea, "Lets ban the runner up from being the 2nd ability" is that we'd encourage the secondary ability to try and compliment the primary ability, and users would be highly encouraged to use base stats + the primary ability in their arguments instead of just "well this is good for exploring the concept". So lets say we did Aurumoth again. After we figured out it's stats, instead of encouraging people to argue for abilities like "I think Illusion is great because it can help us more explore risk more via how players are more willing to take more unnecessary risks when under a disguise" or "No Guard means inaccurate moves hit Aurumoth 100% plus its a good control for weak armor", stuff like "I think Unburden is a good secondary ability because while it gives Aurumoth more power and speed via a berry, you only have one shot at setting it up, thus we can explore what risk players are more willing to take, Weak Armor's lack of bulk in exchange for more set up chances, or Unburden's sweeping potential that only has one chance of set up." would be more encouraged, as they aim to compliment the primary ability in a way so we learn more about the concept instead of just trying the concept in a different way.

    So TL;DR: The Primary ability should actually live up to it's name if we go with kroski's system, and the secondary ability would focus on helping us learn more about the direction we have taken the CAP currently instead of using the secondary ability to allow the CAP to take a secondary direction.

    I'm fairly unsure about the other proposals, I do think most of them will work out fine when it comes to making a CAP, but I'm not sure if they are the best solutions either... I don't see any harm in trying them out though to see if this makes CAP 5 a smoother process.
  22. Korski

    Korski Distilled, 80 proof
    is a Forum Moderatoris a CAP Contributor
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2009
    Messages:
    2,142
    Wow this is a really succinct way to describe what I was getting at, so thank you, Tmon (looking back my previous post was rambly and disjointed). And lol I probably shouldn't have used CAP3 as an example; I forgot that particular Process went exactly the same way I am now proposing :/

    The main advantage I see here is the ability for the Process to stay more focused. In CAP4, when we got to Stats, we had argued ourselves into 600 BST because of all the different things our Weak Armor / No Guard / Illusion Abilities were asking for: good Def to make use of Weak Armor, good (mixed) offensive stats to make Illusion count, Speed enough to not get steamrolled by the downsides of the Typing. There would not be a way to accommodate all three offensive Abilities with the same spread, and so the "bulky offensive" build came out in full force. If we had gone straight into Stats from Weak Armor, that process could have allowed us to focus on getting the most out of the Ability the community decided would be the best-fit direction for the Project (except the TL, but w/e), without having to worry about No Guard or Illusion at the same exact time. With a stat spread in hand, No Guard and Illusion would have both been hard-pressed to fit in if we were focusing on maintaining the Weak Armor + Stats direction.

    So long as we emphasize that the Primary Ability would be the steering force behind the Stat submissions (considering Concept and Typing), and that the Secondary Ability would be limited in the face of the clear direction we will have established, we shouldn't have too hard a time avoiding repeat posts with rehashed arguments, generically overpowering Secondary Abilities being slated, and/or disparate directions that usually only cloud the Process.
  23. Deck Knight

    Deck Knight DK! DK! Donkey Kong is here!
    is a Forum Moderatoris a CAP Contributoris a Smogon Media Contributor
    Moderator

    Joined:
    May 27, 2005
    Messages:
    7,617
    I will also support Korski's system because if we're going to have a fixed process I think we should modify it to Primary Ability -> Stat Limits -> Stat Spread -> Secondary Ability.

    I think that process would work well for every CAP and allow us to bring the more functional abilities into the forefront while being able to condense down boosting abilities to concrete calculations, or vice versa we start with a boost in mind and can then tailor calculations to use in the spread submissions rather than trying to pull calcs on what we think might occur in the future.

    It worked for Mollux in any case, and I think it will also tone down power creep a lot in conjunction with my Counter Proposal 1 + 5 on ending abilities after a flavor ability is selected.
  24. Pwnemon

    Pwnemon is a more intuitive player
    is a Tutoris a Forum Moderatoris a Community Contributoris a Tiering Contributoris a Contributor to Smogonis a Smogon Media Contributor
    Doubles Co-Lead

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2010
    Messages:
    4,079
    I've altered greatly my proposal for dealing with the competitive effects of ineffective abilities to assuage the concerns of people on IRC. Check it out, people.
  25. DougJustDoug

    DougJustDoug Knows the great enthusiasms
    is a member of the Site Staffis an Artistis a Programmeris a CAP Contributoris an Administratoris a Battle Server Admin Alumnusis a Smogon IRC SOp Alumnusis a Tiering Contributor Alumnus
    CAP Leader

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2007
    Messages:
    3,098
    There's a lot of great feedback in this thread. Many of the comments, suggestions, and counter-proposals have made me alter some of my thinking on the subject of abilities. Thank you to everyone participating in this review!

    Proposals 2 and 3 seem to be fairly universally agreed. So let's assume those will go through and need no further discussion. The other three proposals are much less clear in terms of consensus, and will need some work if they are implemented at all.

    Proposal 1: We will only choose a maximum of two abilities on every CAP.
    and
    Proposal 5: Eliminate "Non-Competitive Abilities" in ANY CAP ability polls.

    These were mostly argued together, and I agree they are very much related to each other.

    Many of you responded to Proposal 1 suggesting that we modify this that we choose a maximum of two competitive abilities. However, that possibility was specifically mentioned in the OP. Many of you suggested exactly what I mentioned, but in no way really responded to the concerns I mentioned as to the practicality of implementing that rule. To reiterate the OP:

    Let me make this clear -- I don't have anything against Flavor Abilities. I am not on a crusade to kill the flavor lovers and deprive them of abilities like Run Away or Illuminate. I am also completely aware that most pokemon have three abilities, and that if CAP doesn't do three abilities, it will be obviously inconsistent with the spirit of the game. I get it.

    But my problem is that CAP cannot hold any semblence of a reasonable discussion about abilities -- COMPETITIVE OR FLAVOR -- without it turning into a pedantic shithole of nonsense as to what is flavor, what is competitive, what is non-competitive, what is the difference between obscure acronyms like CA/NCA/NA, and all the rest. I wrote a long fictional argument that everyone agrees is actually very close to our REAL ability discussions -- and that argument is a total pile of crap.

    So Proposal 1 is saying -- if the discussions are going to be garbage, because we can't avoid the nonsense and pedantic arguments over subtleties of definitions, then let's limit ourselves to a maximum of two shitty discussions, instead of three.

    Proposal 5 is a follow-on to that, but addresses the same issue that CAP seems to fall into black holes when the idea of something "non-competitive" is in the mix. So instead of trying to figure out a nice way for us to fit pure flavor abilities into the project, I suggested we get rid of them entirely.

    I suggested a specific list of abilities, which are known to be pure flavor (Run Away, Illuminate, etc). Feel free to remove Flower Gift and Big Pecks, or add Light Metal/Heavy Metal or whatever. I really don't care about the specifics of that list or the magnitude of those abilities in terms of competitive impact. The point is that we know there are some abilities that are almost totally flavor, and we should just list those out, along with a rule that says we only spend time on CAP arguing about competitive abilities. It is not worth our time to argue if Pickup makes more sense on our pokemon instead of Honey Gather. I don't care what the gamemakers do, or what the fanboys want. Ability discussions are shit, and non-competitive abilities are just getting in the way.

    I don't think removing non-competitive abilities is a big loss considering that CAP did not have pure flavor abilities in the discussion for the first TEN CAP projects, and we did just fine. I'm really scratching my head at the push back from some of you, but I respect your opinion. But if you are going to advocate that position, then you really should suggest alternative solutions to the problems (which everyone almost universally agreed the problems).

    The only respondent in the thread that directly addressed the concerns I raised in the OP about our inability to reasonably discuss non-competive/flavor abilities was Pwnemon. I think his proposal has some merit, but I'd like some more feedback from others.

    So to focus the policy discussion here, let me put it another way:

    If you do not agree with Proposal 1 and/or Proposal 5, you should suggest ways to prevent ability discussions like the fictional one in the OP.

    -----------------------

    JAS, you made several great points in your first post.

    After reading your comments, I agree Multiscale is not particularly exceptional without some other key elements like reliable recovery. So yeah, we should take it off the list. I also agree that Scrappy doesn't really centralize much unless it was picked before Typing, which can't happen. So it's off the list too. I agree Magnet Pull isn't really in the same category as the other trapping abilities, but I took the approach, "If you ban one, you have to ban them all". Otherwise it becomes impossible to draw a line. I'm not going to go to the mat for any of the borderline calls in that list. My goal was to put out a list of abilities that don't work nicely with the CAP process, regardless of power or effectiveness.

    That's the main point -- I want to establish that CAP policy is not particularly concerned with stipulating what is powerful or not. We can argue over power during each CAP and let the community decide for themselves if something is good or bad for our pokemon. But from process perspective, we will eliminate all abilities that constrain the process or require special modifications to the process to consider them equally with other abilities. Even if those abilities are total shit, like Normalize or whatever.

    I agree that the weather-starting ability discussions were actually very interesting in BW CAP 3. They were interesting in DP CAP 3 also. But just like after DP CAP 3 -- we really don't want to have those discussions again in the near future. It was a great learning exercise both times we discussed it, but weather-starting is just too polarizing in Pokemon. And we don't want CAP to be repeatedly having dramatic discussions about making better weather starters. The CAP 3 discussion was a good one, but it proved that if weather-starting is in the mix, it completely takes over every aspect of the pokemon and the CAP project as a whole. We can do all sorts of weather-related abilities. But weather-starting is on a whole different level, when it comes to centralizing the project and we should take it off the table.

    Regarding Anti-Competitive abilities -- let me be clear: I do not agree with Smogon's general policy when it comes to banning stuff like Evasion and OHKO's. But this isn't about my personal opinion on that. It is unquestioned that Smogon bans these things as a matter of tiering policy, and as such I think CAP should not do anything contrary to the tiering policy of Smogon. I'm not saying the Smogon overlords are going to bring the hammer down on CAP if we make a Sniper pokemon. I'm just saying that if it's obvious that Smogon does not endorse "hax" as a legitimate intentional battle strategy, then CAP should not make pokemon that are intentionally built to leverage hax as part of their battle strategy. I personally won't spend much more time arguing for or against any of the abilities listed as Anti-Competitive -- because most of them probably never stand a chance of being selected for a CAP pokemon. But the existence of an Anti-Competitive list at all, is more of a statement that "CAP intends to build competitive pokemon that are consistent with Smogon competitive policy."

    -----------------------

    Deck Knight, you really need to get off the defensive on your handling of CAP 3. I have stated it repeatedly, but I'll say it again in case it hasn't come across: I think you did a great job leading CAP 3. When I make any comments about CAP process that you think is a back-handed reference to CAP 3 or a slight to your leadership of that project -- IT ISN'T. I respect and value your leadership on CAP more than almost anyone else on the project. If I mention CAP 3 in historical context, it is simply an information reference, and it is never intended as a criticism of your leadership. I don't have a problem with any of the decisions you made as topic leader on that project. I think CAP 3 was a tough concept to pull off -- and thanks in large part to your leadership, we pulled it off quite well.

    As for your feedback and counter-proposals, I tend to agree with JAS's comments to you. So I won't repeat them. However, I would like to emphasize this line from your most recent post:

    Yes. This. I'd really like people to focus more on how we can do this, if the current proposals don't get there.

    ---------------

    I really like Korski's suggestion. It has me thinking much more about process order and ways to accommodate Stats and Abilities together. I'm formulating a possible proposal that may or may not be within the scope of this thread. I'll post more on it specifically later.

Users Viewing Thread (Users: 0, Guests: 0)