ADV Switch Priority

Luigi

A lion pokemon that's weak to flying could be a coba lion
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#1
I'm posting this on behalf of Astamatitos

ADV is the tier known for being the most balanced generation, allowing for an extremely large number of team archetypes to be viable options for high level competitive play. This is owed partially to the lack of power creep, the presence of stable speed tiers not affected by speed modifying items and to its in-game battle mechanics.


Regarding the last point, ADV's battle mechanics are significantly modified to most other generations. While the move-type split is obvious, there are many more subtle differences which give players a lot more control when executing offensive options. The most notable one is the universal mechanic in ADV where once a Pokemon dies, the turn concludes. This makes Explosion arguably the strongest move in the game as it has the ability to deny the opposing player a turn which could be used to utilise a setup move such as a Dragon Dance, a Calm Mind or to stick a layer of Spikes.


Of course, this mechanic is consistent through all of ADV, with moves such as Double-Edge allowing you to execute the same sacrifice sequence provided your Pokemon dies on recoil. Finally, this mechanic, which is also what defines ADV compared to other generations has the ability to provide counterplay to Spikes (a very centralizing element of the game) without resorting to using a Rapid Spin user. Notably, it is the ability to 'spike sac' a Pokemon in order to bring in a new one whilst denying your opponent a turn, whether this would be an attacking move, or provided the user has switch priority, a switch as well. Given recent complains about Spikes by many well-established players (see: Spikeless SPL Finals ADV Game) mechanics that allow counterplay to this element are always desirable.


Another mechanic worthy of note in ADV is 'switch-priority'. In the cartridge, when a link battle begins, the person who acts as player 1 gains switch priority over player 2. To put this in layman's terms, player 2's switch-ins are always performed second. This has the advantage for player 2 to get, say Intimidate off opposing Salamences in Intimidator mirrors. It had, however, imposed a disadvantage to player 2 with regards to the points I made earlier in my previous paragraph. Notably, when player 1 goes to to an aforementioned 'spike sac' while player 2 attempts to switch, player 2's ability to switch would be negated. This was deemed to be an unfair disadvantage, imposed to player-2 on a very ad-hoc basis. In NetBattle, where cartridge mechanics were obeyed, this would often lead to people deciding who would challenge first via scripted coin-flips in the main server chat.


It was anticipated by the PS development team that this assymmetry in cartridge mechanics would be uncompetitive and as such a symmetry was imposed upon ADV. Notably, in order to not give either player an unfair advantage, it was decided that switch priority is defined by whoever is using the faster Pokemon. This has implications such as revealing which of the two Pokemon is faster in an exchange for instance, as Leftovers and Sandstorm damage priority is also decided by Speed within the altered framework. On the implementation of this symmetry however, the 'spike sac' mechanic denying turns was not implemented by the developers by choice as to them it was unclear whether the ADV community desires this mechanic to be reinstated.


While I'm a strong supporter of the symmetry imposed upon competitive ADV, I find that not abiding to ADV's universal 'turn ends when a Pokemon faints' mechanic is a perversity to the generation's mechanics. What I propose is to bring back this mechanic within the symmetry framework. This mechanic will be welcome by the high level ADV competitive community as it will provide a secondary counterplay to the generation's strongest team archetype.


Despite SPL9 being just around the corner and given the minimal impact this mechanic will have on team building, I believe that the players will find having access to this high-level sequence of moves welcome.


Tagging the ADV crowd:

UD dekzeh Ojama undisputed Fakes danilo Golden Sun Triangles JabbaTheGriffin
BKC McMeghan M Dragon

Also tagging Marty

- Astamatitos
 
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#2
I support this mechanic change. If you think about it, there's no real reason that the faster mon always switches out first in the first place, it's not a mechanic that's ever been in RSE cart play. Obviously the Player 1/Player 2 system of player 1 switching first from Netbattle which stays true to the cart mechs is uncompetitive as it gives one player an unfair advantage with shit like Intimidate sequencing and of course, the ability to spike sack to block switches. The solution that the PS development team found for that, making the faster mon switch first, is the best way to do it probably. It's better than introducing additional RNG by having a random mon switch first every time or something similar. It actually introduces another layer of skill, in terms of noticing information from switch ordering in a battle.

On cart, the mon switching out first to spike sack cancels the switch of the mon switching out second, so I think we ought to stay as true to the game mechanics as we possibly can by implementing this new mechanic. In terms of how this will affect the gameplay and meta itself, I think the change is relatively insignificant, but a positive one as well. The main effect of the change is a tiny nerf to the standard stallish teams that are currently very strong in the meta - for example you would be able to switch your Gar out of a Bliss which is trying to get out itself, spike sack something low, and follow with Dug. It's worth noting that spike sacks actually happen a lot less than one might think in RSE, and even then the vast majority of spike sacks are done against an opposing mon that's staying in anyway, due to the nature of game flow - they're done when the mon that's in in the first place wants to switch out, i.e. is in an unfavourable matchup (so the other mon will be more inclined to stay in). Also spike sacks are often done when the player making the sack is behind in general in the game, so the opponent is less likely to pull shit like doubles as they have a safer path to victory. On top of this, the mon switching out has to be faster, so that's 50% of these scenarios ruled out of being affected by this mechanic. Therefore, the mechanic will only very occasionally hold bearing on games.

I think that overall the introduction of this mechanic would be a very small but positive balance change, and of course it would get as close as we can to true RSE cart mechanics without making an uncompetitive Player 1 / Player 2 scenario.

Thanks xx
 

Zarel

Not a Yuyuko fan
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#3
I definitely don't recall making that decision (if I had, there'd be a Switch Priority Mod to make note of it). If anything, I think player 1 should be determined randomly at the beginning of the battle. Does anyone object to that?

Also, I thought we correctly implemented "turn ends when a pokemon faints"?
 
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#4
Player 1 definitely shouldn't be determined randomly, it's pretty clear to see why that is undesirable

"Faster dude switches first" is just common sense Pokemon.

I support the hell out of this of course, tried it a few times and wondered why it wasn't working. Let's do it please

From Asta:
http://www.smogon.com/forums/threads/gen-3-on-ps-final-fixes.3527268/
This is where they decided to assign switch priority.

Given the uncompetitive nature of the p1/p2 distinction, a random assignment is not the correct solution, in fact unrest was created over this issue in the past. As can be seen in the development topic I have linked speed priority was decided as the best course of action. Anything different would be a step backwards.

e: here's a replay of it not working https://replay.pokemonshowdown.com/gen3ou-663870365
 
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Zarel

Not a Yuyuko fan
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Creator of PS
#5
Player 1 definitely shouldn't be determined randomly, it's pretty clear to see why that is undesirable

"Faster dude switches first" is just common sense Pokemon.
Breaking mechanics is never common sense.

There is not a single mechanic I've agreed to break without like three ten-page PR threads. This will be no different. Unless you can show me an overwhelming consensus for breaking mechanics and no other acceptable way around it, we're not breaking mechanics.

From Asta:
http://www.smogon.com/forums/threads/gen-3-on-ps-final-fixes.3527268/
This is where they decided to assign switch priority.

Given the uncompetitive nature of the p1/p2 distinction, a random assignment is not the correct solution, in fact unrest was created over this issue in the past. As can be seen in the development topic I have linked speed priority was decided as the best course of action. Anything different would be a step backwards.
In the development topic you linked, Joim, Marty, and I all decided to assign host (player 1) randomly at beginning of game.

I am confused which post you are looking at that says we decided on speed priority. Like even some posts by non-developers, like Crystal_, are saying things like "What about the host is determined at random prior to starting the battle?" There are some posts saying we should ignore cartridge mechanics but it does not look like a majority.
 

dekzeh

B is for BRUTUS
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#7
I don't feel there's a need to repeat everything that has already been said, host being decided randomly brings huge issues in regards to making the tier as competitive as possible, just imagine giving, completely randomly, a big benefit to one player in decisive team tour games, I don't think anyone who participates in those would want that.

Instead of focusing into changing something that almost the entire competitive community is against, we should focus on the minor but important fix that Asta suggested in the first place.
 
#8
There should be no switch priority at all (aka faster mon switches out first)
Why do you always feel the need to go against all logic or against what most of the people think every time there is a discussion about adding or removing something (a pokemon or a mechanics)? Thinking differently from the majority is fine sometimes but you bring it to a whole new level.

I obviously support the change, although I wasn't even aware it didn't work correctly. If Asta didn't link me that replay and if you asked me whether a Pokemon could switch out after a Pokemon just died, I would certainly answer that the Pokemon can't switch out because I always thought that in RSE, when a Pokemon faints, the turn automatically ends. I have no idea how long this bug has been on, but I assume we would have noticed if it had always been the case?

I'm strongly opposed to the "host is randomly chosen" mechanics. Among all the arguments brought up, I think the best remains the shortest one: it's just common sense.
 
#9
danilo, Fakes and UD would like me to express their agreement with the sentiments put forth by their fellow players so far. danilo would like to stress dekzeh's last sentence especially.

Mael would also like to make the following argument:
i'm strictly against adding a random element to the game before it even started and giving one player an advantage, especially since mence intimidate shenanigans and similar happens quite regularly and it'd be shit that one has an advantage over the other for no other reason than a coinflip. an advantage he can even calculate with after the coinflip happened. player 1 being able to deny player 2 the switch while player 2 can't do the same is unreasonably unfair.
Fakes' in-depth thoughts:
I do not agree with random assignment of a host as priority to all the benefits it would provide would result in an immediate advantage for said player. While rng such as freezes/crits occurs in games, this is an advantage that requires the user to take no action upon which he would benefit from. I also agree with fixing the "end turns when pokemon faints" when the spike sac situation occurs.
 

Marty

Always more to find
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#10
I want to point out that the fact that this isn't implemented wasn't an intentional decision on the part of anyone; Pokemon Showdown inherits the next gen's mechanics by default unless specifically overridden. Since Joim was working on Gen 3 at the time, I posted my findings in that thread so he could deal with it whenever. He never did, and I eventually forgot I ever posted about it until Luigi reminded me about the mechanic on my wall and I looked for said post again.

Since I got a bunch of people yelling at me last time I implemented something in Gen 3 (Sleep Talk), I was going to wait until I, or someone, had an implementation of the player1/player2 thing ready before posting a thread about it. Obviously it's going to be implemented eventually™, no one has ever said it wouldn't, but then the community could have it modded out of Smogon formats if it was deemed necessary. I don't make those decisions, nor do I care about them, but if the game becomes "unplayable" or "too uncompetitive" or whatever the case, then it seems fair for the community to have the choice. It just happens to be terrible optics when Smogon formats become completely unplayable on cartridge.

For the record, when I first researched it I always had the idea of just doing it like NetBattle apparently did and just assign Player 1 as the host, making it determined by who makes the challenge. A randomly decided host makes no sense, and at least everyone would know who the host is in any given game just by looking at the top of the battle.
Edit: I realize I said the opposite in that other thread, but there I was referring to ladder matches, and it's already more or less randomly decided who the host is for those based on who clicked Battle! first. Challenges simply cannot be random, since that itself would be a deviation from cartridge mechanics.
 
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I'm Rick Pickle

BOOM! Big Reveal!
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#11
I don't believe host priority switching should be implemented for two main reasons.
First, I believe it to be uncompetitive - it opens up a range of options for one player while denying them from the other right from the start. Giving one player this advantage has large implications even for a bo3 set. If it is truly done randomly at the start of every match, 1 in every 4 bo3 ADV sets will give a single player switch priority in all three games. However, in particular, in a bo1 format like SPL or WCoP, it has the potential to be devastating every single match.

Secondly, we already have a precedent for setting mechanical clauses - this does not break the status quo. Freeze clause in RBY is implemented because without it, ice moves have an unlimited potential to break games. Such a clause couldn't be implemented on a cartridge without both players resetting their game and playing the whole match out until all damage rolls, crits, and secondary effects leading up to that point were exactly the same - an astronomically low chance that should not even be considered. The reason why we have these mechanical clauses in place is to keep games competitive.

Based on why we implement clauses like this in the first place, and the effect of host priority mechanics, I strongly believe that the correct thing to do is to always allow the player with the faster pokemon to switch first. Freeze clause is needed to keep RBY competitive, and in the same vein speed should decide switches in ADV, as there is nothing more uncompetitive than giving one player a mechanical advantage before the game has even started.

However, we have strayed away from the topic that Asta originally raised. As it is, spike sacking plays an important role in ADV in negating turns, and providing counterplay to spikes. It should also negate switches as well as moves. Once a speed priority switch clause is agreed on, spikes sacking preventing opposing switches should be an obvious thing to implement.
 

Minority

Numquam Vincar
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#12
Drizzle vs. Drought is a huge deal, and one I don't think any ADV Ubers player wants to see resolved via who made the challenge or who happened to get selected as the host for that battle. Maintaining your preferred weather is one of the key strategical objectives in the tier and should be influenced by player choice - how much Speed to run. It's an interesting choice, and one that influences the lead metagame and how opposing weather setters are scouted. If switch priority determines whose weather gets to stand and is determined by RNG or an unfair initial assignment, the competitive edge of the game is being lowered.

I feel like I've been a strong supporter of trying to follow cartridge mechs as well as possible, and the reason for that is if you change those mechanics and legalities then it can be argued that you're no longer playing A but are in fact playing B. However, this issue of switch priority can be viewed as an oversight from designers when the game is adapted to simulator play. In short, I see it as a port priority issue - the same kind of issue many other competitive gaming communities have dealt with using what they deem as discrete, enforceable, and warranted. Looking at the Speed stat is our particular solution, and the ADV community seems to be in agreement.


As I recall in cartridge play, a KO always ended the turn in singles, and in doubles you were required to send out a new Pokemon (if you had one) the moment one of your active Pokemon was KOed. This was why Explosion was such a scary move in doubles - you could blow through a new opening in your opponent's team, or in your own. That said, I'm not a mechanics researcher in any sense, and I'm just going off of what I remember. But, if these are true, sacking a Pokemon to Spikes should deny your opponent's turn in singles, while it would not in doubles.
 

M Dragon

The north wind
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#13
Why do you always feel the need to go against all logic or against what most of the people think every time there is a discussion about adding or removing something (a pokemon or a mechanics)? Thinking differently from the majority is fine sometimes but you bring it to a whole new level.
What the fuck are you saying?
I said the exact same thing than the OP, BKC and Triangles

I will explain it better.
There should not be any priority based on who is the host and who is not the host. It should be decided by the speed of both pokemons
 
#15
Your post is super ambiguous and literally means what I understood. You separated your post into 2 parts: 1/No to the "host randomly chosen" mechanics. 2/No switch priority at all (aka the faster switches out first). There already is a switch priority and we have been playing with it for ever in every gen, which is what you explained between parentheses. You literally say no to something that already exists, even clarifies what it is, and you furthermore add "at all" to enhance the fact that there should be no such things as priority, meaning it should be chosen randomly (who switches out first).

You don't make 2 parts to say the same thing.
 

Zarel

Not a Yuyuko fan
is a member of the Site Staffis a Battle Server Administratoris a Programmeris a Pokemon Researcheris an Administrator
Creator of PS
#17
However, we have strayed away from the topic that Asta originally raised. As it is, spike sacking plays an important role in ADV in negating turns, and providing counterplay to spikes. It should also negate switches as well as moves. Once a speed priority switch clause is agreed on, spikes sacking preventing opposing switches should be an obvious thing to implement.
There's no real need to talk about it because no one disagrees about it. I already fixed it, anyway.
 

Jellicent

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#18
While I'm almost always for staying true to cartridge mechanics and including elements of luck, this is actually a case where I favor modding / clausing. Other instances of luck (crits, misses, damage rolls, status variables, secondary effects, speed ties, etc.) are the result of conscious decisions made by the players, either in battle or during teambuilding. Staying true to cartridge on switch priority just grants one player an inherent advantage over the other that is purely random, without any sense of risk management being taken into account by either party. Battles potentially being decided by who challenged who is a game-breaking scenario that should be removed to maintain genuine competitive balance.