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Pet mods and fragmentation

Discussion in 'Other Metagames' started by Arizona, Mar 13, 2013.

  1. Arizona

    Arizona

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    Heads up, wall of text that may be harsh.

    Just today, a new pet mod was introduced. http://www.smogon.com/forums/showthread.php?t=3480501 Perhaps this is par for the course in Other Metagames. Perhaps you take what you can get when you leave behind the behemoth of standard OU. But I can't help that feel that there is more potential here than half a dozen, underpopulated pet mods.

    The OP references four other similar concepts, an although I'm sure Joimmons would play quite differently, the issue is these all attract the same type of people from an at the moment quite limited pool, which is also being drained by various gimmick metas. Imagine if the NU or RU userbase was split into 6 or more metas. There is a reason PU is not officially supported. How do you make accurate bans with five people playing? How do you make nerfs and buffs? "Standard sets" would be anything more than one person uses.

    Mods are more theorymon than pokemon right now. I have sat in various servers and watched so much discussion of an unplayed mod come to nothing. Yeah, we all have cool ideas, but these ideas are barely, or never, used. Meanwhile I could get ten or twenty games in OU in the same time I could get one in any modmeta, at any time of day, and the next hundred games in OU would be against a much wider range of opponents and teams. There are more tools for analysing the OU meta; it is more complex and deeper simply because so many people are working on it. There are a lot of problems with OU, and a lot of changes I have enjoyed seeing and playing in OM. But OU still has the largest advantage of all; it is a living thing.

    I look at all these changes, and I can't help but think that a better change than has ever been implemented in a mod is: "Twenty more people now play this meta." Even in random chats with single digit populations, people discuss making more new pet mods. Do you want just two people playing each other? Or maybe everyone can have their own mod they can't play, but at least they can talk about it to themselves in chat. Am I alone in thinking one mod with 50 people is worth far more than five mods with ten people each?

    I give a lot of credit to the initiative modding takes, making a vision into reality. But the earth would not be beautiful without people to admire it. We are sculpting a universe of deserted planets. And frankly, I don't think this new world distinguishes itself enough to be the one to unite us. Pet mods of the past have already drawn their user bases and are growing extremely slowly, if at all. What different people are being drawn in by Joimmons?

    I suppose there is one group--freshness junkies. Individuals that love trying new things, but things get stale quickly. That's why people in chat and on threads are constantly suggesting new changes and mods rather than making battles in the mod they have, or having deeper discussions of what already exists. We love the feeling of being pioneers. But pioneers blaze the wilderness and make a civilization out of it. They don't just keep going further in leaving wilderness behind them. That would be as meaningless as going in circles. In my mind, developing something fully is a much newer, fresher experience than starting from scratch again, and again, and again, and going nowhere.

    Am I really saying more pet mods have no value? Well if people play them, of course they have value. And perhaps I'm alone in this opinion. Perhaps everyone in OM prefers extremely small enclaves and communities, despite the difficulty of getting battles and the shallowness of meta analysis. But I don't want more type chart tweaks, more buffs to NUs, more making cool changes and seeing what breaks. I want to see more life. I want to be able to find analyses and sets. I want to have teammate and counter stats. I want to see replays and videos. I want a ladder. I want tournaments. And if a new meta can't produce these things, then I at least have no interest in how it fixes hazards, or weather, or what pokemon it plays favorites to. I've seen it before. The differences from other pet mods are less than nothing compared to the differences from OU's vitality.

    Best of luck Joim, and all the other aspiring modders. I hope you hit it big. I just don't see how you are going to.
    Insomniac. and Plopper like this.
  2. Yarnus of Bethany

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    Fully on board with everything here.
  3. Relados

    Relados That's right!
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    I can't think of anything to add at all to this.

    This is one of the most well thought-out threads I have ever read.
  4. Pwnemon

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    should be required reading
  5. StarmanXL

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    Well, my question is, what do you suggest the pet modders do to achieve the sort of things you want to see in a metagame? Do you want it to be a more collaborative process, a sort of metagame-centered CAP. Do you simply want there to be less pet mods? I know there's nothing that can guarantee something to have OU's vitality, or even UU or RU's vitality--that's something to be seen in the end result--but what do you think increases the chances of that happening?

    I'm not saying this to be confrontational or anything, but if people are doing something wrong, there should be some discussion on how to do it right, yeah?
  6. PureQuestion

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    A massive collaboration is certainly a possibility, but the bigger overarching problem is player count. Metagames need players. Cutting down the sheer quantity of disparate mods would help, but attracting more people is also important, maybe more important.

    But yeah, I definitely agree. I'm just worried even the full number isn't enough. It would be better, though.
  7. Arizona

    Arizona

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    I have more experience with DuskMod than others, so I'll speak to that and hope that this is transferable. I have gotten into more metas that I have some knowledge of by observing games than I have making clueless teams. Once, I made an absurdly ambitious attempt to make analyses for modded pokemon to help newbies and to make threatlists so as to enable meaningful RMTs, but that was far too much to ask at that point in development. What would be more feasible is a commentated video of a decent mod battle posted to a well subscribed youtube channel. Ideally, since there isn't a ladder, a tournament would be held with the finals posted. This would spark a bit of competition among existing players (who wouldn't want to be the first tournament winner of a meta?) and draw in more from the video.

    As to whether I want fewer pet mods--I don't like to discourage initiative, but I think it would be better directed bringing attention and development to a few mods rather than many similar but seperate innovations. Quality over quantity essentially.
  8. Joim

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    This is a good thread... for Other Metas that want to be serious, like Doubles, I guess LC time ago, or PU.

    For instance, I don't want to hit it big, I want to have fun and the users of my server to have fun too. What you described is the nature of Other Metagames: new mechanics or rules, implemented (when possible) to have fun and just to play some "what if". You can't expect every Other Meta to be serious and aim to be big. It would be cool if the metagame ended up growing and people made analyses and teams, yeah, but I'm content with having the metagame up and live and having people play it. The best part of doing an OM, be it a new Seasonal or a Joimmons made out of jokes, is to create it, to design, imagine, think on how can you change the game and twist the rules. You must understand that everyone with an idea will try to develop it by himself, it's naïve thinking that the other metas could be less fragmented.

    On the other hand, I totally agree when it comes down to serious other metas, like the aforementioned Doubles and PU. I want to see them to get analyses, to get players, at, in the end, to be official. That's the goal of any serious Other Meta, isn't it? To gain players, acceptance, to construct a true metagame so in the end it's accepted by the competitive community. But that has happened; we can see Hackmons and BH "analyses" in their threads or people RMTing them, we can see the same for Doubles and even for PU; but keep in mind that not everyone wants that for their meta, which just another way to play and to have fun.
  9. ThisMysteriousGuy

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    Everything I have wanted to say about mod metas and more in one post.

    Bravo and luvdiscd

    Also Birkal sticky this pls. This needs to be seen.

    For the record, the only mod meta I really like on paper is GenNEXT, since it really tries to not be ridiculously gimmicky. In hindsight though, I typically get more enjoyment out of playing 6 Move, 3mon, NFE, and PU, all of which deserve more love than they get ;;
  10. Spica

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    This post is not nearly as insightful as everyone's making it out to be. It's a practically tautological observation that that nothing is popular before it is popular... Meanwhile, there is no argument put forward that any one of these mods could not take off in popularity and become widely played, except for the alleged superfetation of mods in general. What about books? More than 1100 books are published in English every single day, and any individual author could reason that nobody wants to read a book that nobody has read (it is probably not worth reading) and therefore nobody will be the first to read his book, meaning there is no way for it to become popular. In spite of this, people still publish.

    The OP poisons the well with the term "pet mods," thereby injecting the presupposition that they are only of interest to their creators. No criteria are elucidated for distinguishing a "pet" mod from any other, so this is just verbiage with no specific meaning or only a mere assertion.

    There is also the total neglect of any concept of quality. According to OP every mod insinuates itself into an undistinguished pool of fellow mods, and each draws away a proportionate amount of users. The OP would do well to consult Sturgeon's Law and to give people enough credit to suppose they can distinguish between good things and bad. Make a mature, well-developed mod with rational changes that promote diverse and interesting playstyles, then people will play it. If this is not the case, it's more an indictment of human nature than anything that a pokémon message board can cope with.
  11. Mr.E

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    I don't disagree with basic idea but I do think there is value in "starting from scratch" repeatedly. OU is great because it's consistent and developed. All these little mods are kinda like gimmick tournaments. Drafts, monotype, arbitrary bans and restrictions? They're not something you normally play and in fact they might not be a ruleset you use for more than a few games ever. Still, it's fun trying to out-theorymon your opponent in the team-building process, then playing the battle out to see what happens. They're not necessarily even trying to be a long-standing, developed metagame. It's just a fun, temporary distraction for some people.
  12. Arizona

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    On the contrary. Of course things can become more popular than they are. What I am saying is the concepts put forward in any particular mod are almost certainly present in any other mod, or could be added to an existing one. Therefore, a new mod becomes uninteresting because A: it would be a similar experience to the other mods and B: it would have even fewer people.

    They could take off in popularity. As I say, I just don't see how. In my view, with each vaguely similar mod, the probability that any one of them will reach a critical mass diminishes. You may label it "alleged", but the reality of fragmentation is the reason that PU and LC UU are in OM and not their own subforums. The NU and LC userbases are too small to tolerate a subdivision.

    This is an inapt analogy. Books are "single player." Even if no one in the world had read, say, The Lord of the Rings, the books themselves would be just as good. Pokemon has a very important dimension books do not: a metagame. Other people must be involved, and the more the better. An unpopular book is not necessarily worse than a popular one. An unpopular metagame is, other things being equal, necessarily worse than a popular one. Pokemon is meant to be played, and to have all the qualities of a healthy meta that OU has. This is, of course, an opinion.

    A name being in the title is a sign. More seriously, a mod that has no reason for existing other than the whim or creative impulse of the creator. Certainly I concede other people may find interest. I just don't see why.

    I would also define it such that a nascent mod with a larger aim would also be a "pet mod" as long as the creator holds sole power over the development, with the supposition that after a critical point votes and councils would be formed as we see in established metas and the mod would cease to be the creator's pet.

    I believe I have established that player base is an aspect of quality. That is, in fact, my thesis in simplest form, that player base is more critical than any particular differentiation between mods.

    I was surprised at this line of thought. It seems self evident that similar environments and playing experiences compete with each other for players. If only the best metas were played, then there would be no harm in officially supporting PU and LC UU. Only the best would be played, right? People can distinguish between good and bad, right? Well, up to a point; when things are too similar, and the pool of people too small, there is just going to be a schism that leaves a set of communities far weaker than the united whole, playing similar games in enclaves.

    Edit: found a salient quote in the PU thread just now:
    And Joim, massive credit for the initiative of mod making and having fun with it. I'm sure you will reach your goals, which are admirably realistic. As long as people don't think their mod is going to become the next Balanced Hackmons without some serious work, then there's really nothing wrong with it from an objective viewpoint, and I can only express my subjective reservations.
  13. Ace Emerald

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    It is very unlikely that any mods will take off because of one factor: activity. It's not just that the mods won't be popular until they're popular, there aren't enough people interested in committing time to the majority of mods. It's not that they aren't mature, it's that they're pretty arbitrary, fit to the modder's liking. That's why he uses the term 'pet mod.' He's not saying that only the creators are interested, he's saying that the mods are fitted to the creator's liking, each one essentially opinionated changes. Your comparison to books is a stretch, books are information no matter how many people read it. Mods don't have meaning until many people 'read' them. You're straw manning the OP pretty fierce, the arguments you're assaulting aren't really what he is saying.

    Edit: ninja'd hard by the op.
  14. Birkal

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    ...Arizona is Arizona spelled backwards...

    This was a very interesting read; I've had many of these thoughts myself. To respond: I've intentionally set up Other Metagames in the manner that we utilize it today. Let me give you a bit of history about this forum.

    About a year ago, all of the metagames were housed in one forum called Dragonspiral Tower. Overused discussion and general talk took place in the main forum, while Ubers UU, RU, NU, and LC had their own individual subforums. We decided to give each metagame its own forum, with Overused having its own forum. The "other" metagames that were being discussed in DST did not belong in that forum. So Synre and I decided to create the Other Metagames forum. We primarily used it to house outlier threads; it was our intention that it would lose interest and eventually die. As you can all see, Other Metagames did not die, but rather, it has expanded into the forum we utilize today.

    The electricity that makes Other Metagames popular is the newness of it all. People like theorymoning up new metagames, and hosting discussions on how they would function. I have purposed this subforum to capitalize on that spark as much as possible. Anyone can come in, suggest a metagame, and have it open for discussion. OM was never intended to be a competitive community, it was moreso for those who like to theorymon and bring up innovative ideas.

    That's not to say that I'm against making Other Metagames more competitive. We could easily enact some system that brings competition to this forum. For example, we could only allow one Other Metagame a month, and we can implement it on Showdown for all OMers to play during that time slot. Metagames could be suggested in a megathread for the next month, and we can vote on which metagame we'd all like to participate in. There's a plethora of things we could do to make Other Metagames a competitive community.

    At the end of the day, it all comes down to what you want as community members that use this forum. Would you like to place more of a competitive emphasis on rigorously testing a few metagames? Or would you rather have a forum where anyone can freely suggest any metagame for discussion and implementation? Or would you like a hybrid of the two? I'm willing to work with whatever you guys want, but you need to make your voices heard. Let's keep discussing this.
  15. ThisMysteriousGuy

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    My main gripe with this whole surge of mod metas is how easily they overshadow the more stable (in that various Pokemon are not being constantly modified for balancing but instead there are new rules) and competitive metagames. Ya they are really cool concepts on paper, and, in their defense, I haven't played enough mod metas to give them a proper opinion and I did indeed enjoy the time I had playing GenNEXT, but I personally prefer some of the more competitive metagames. I do, but I understand there are probably those in favor of mod metas.

    I don't see why we couldn't have both. Mod metas are becoming more and more common. All that really needs to be done to balance it all out evenly between mod metas and competitive metas is to have some community projects based on the competitive metas (i.e. Mini-Tours, Laddering Challenges, etc.) seeing as, again, these metas are more stable, and Mod metas can be more relaxed and a just-for-fun sort of thing.

    The only problem is getting the necessary activity in the forums to make this all work out, but other than that I believe that mod metas should stay and can keep prospering so long as the more competitive OMs can gain some more support.
  16. StarmanXL

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    Personally, I would prefer if there was some sort of megathread for discussion and voting on metagames to be implemented on ladder as well as playtesting and stuff only for metagames that are either intended to be competitive or have gained enough popularity that enough people think, "hey, this might be fun for a new metagame. Let's see how it fares officially!". That way you have some sort of litmus test for a truly competitive metagame and it gives those metagames the highlight to draw interest and community involvement while still allowing for the fun little pet mods that people enjoy coming up with for the sole reason of being, well, goofy fun. If the latter is what gave this forum life, I see no reason why it should be removed from here, and if we can encourage more of the former without sacrificing the latter, why not give it a shot?
  17. Dusk209

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    Being the creator of DuskMod, I can totally see where you're coming from by seeing mods as uncompetitive - hell, my mod was pretty unbalanced and hard to understand due to so many changes. However, I think that mod metas DO have a lot of competitive potential - people just need to put some more thought into them. Very few people were able to do this easily until PS came around, so this kind of thing is still very new. It makes me sad to see mods seen as less competitive, though. It's a shame.
  18. Ace Emerald

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    I think the hybrid is where this community should go. I like OM because of that spark you outlined, I love newness and theorymonning. But I love it to the extent that I can make it relevant. I enjoy armchair theorizing with users, but then I want to test those theories, find results. I definitely don't think we should stop people from posting what they want and making threads, but as I've said a few times since the creation of this sub forum (which appeared right as I was going to suggest it, I swear), what will make this community work well is a the brief centralization of a metagame. Talk about it, hold tournaments, maybe this ladder idea, then move on. We have constant newness, but with results behind it. A few of the dominant OMs, Balanced Hackmons, Doubles (until its a legit format), NFE, can continue with their discussions and the focused OM doesn't interfere with their activity. That's what I've hoped for since this sub forum sprung up, and I'd be glad to assist in any way I can.
  19. Arizona

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    It's a palimino!

    Indeed, there's nothing quite like the experience of trying a new meta--not just new personally, but new absolutely. A complete unknown. For many people, that is the chief promise offered by mods. For myself...

    I abandoned OU because I saw my problems with it would never be solved by the tools the tier managers had limited themselves to; heavy handed, hotly contested bans of pokemon as complete, indivisible units. Where bans were hack-saws, mods held the possibility of a scalpel. A buff here, a nerf there, a tweak and a twist. And sometimes, a hammer; Hazards, down! Rain, down! Hail, up! The greater toolkit of mods would allow the freedom to create a truly ideal meta. That is what I hoped to uncover in OM.

    Of course, these aims are not mutually exclusive by necessity.

    I think it would be great to have one meta "spotlighted" per month, while others can still be played. To highlight the meta of the month, a thread would be in order and a tournament at the end of the month, perhaps with the possibility of earning badges for the best poster and tour winner? By the end of the month that meta would have been jump started in it's development and hopefully gotten a permanent userbase. At the same time, the need for freshness would be supplied by the rotation of new metas into the spotlight. Basically seconding Ace Emerald.
  20. Joim

    Joim All promises become a lie, all that's bening corrups in time
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    We can have both. By the way, I'm willing to collaborate with other users to design a new Other Metagame Mod that's developed in community. I can program it, host it, and help test and get statistics on it. By now I just enjoy designing and trying new things, but we could get this to be more serious.
  21. Zarel

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    I think it's really silly to argue against "Pet mods". "Pet mod" is just another word for "Other metagame". The title of this forum is basically "Pet mods"; it's silly to say "we shouldn't have too many pet mods here".

    You can't make something successful without making a lot of failures. There will always be good mods and bad mods in OM. You just ignore the bad mods, or post in their threads giving them feedback to improve. That's how it always works.
  22. Imanalt

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    Zarel i would argue that theres a difference between something like bh or doubles and a pet mod, which i take to mean a mod where one person just arbitrarily changes things to suit their likings, which is what this thread was created to address.
  23. Arcticblast

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    I'd like to propose something that will attempt to blend the "new and exciting" side of Other Metagames with the competitive side.

    Mod of the Month

    The basic idea behind Mod of the Month is simple. Every month, a mod metagame will get its very own ladder on Pokemon Showdown! Near the end of the month, a voting thread will be opened where people can nominate mods and vote on them.

    What will this really do though? It'll give mods attention. That doesn't seem like a whole lot, but think about it. Giving mods a ladder for a month will give them a wider playerbase. This not only boosts the popularity of the mod, but also gives it a better gauge of what changes were good and what changes need to go. As a bonus, the mod gets ladder stats, which are great for any metagame to view what Pokemon are particularly threatening.

    Of course, this brings up a question - what is a mod metagame? I'd like to propose a definition of any metagame that alters base stats or mechanics - essentially, any metagame that you can't recreate with a mild cheating device like a GameShark.

    This idea is still "in the works", if you will, so feel free to discuss / criticize it.
  24. ThisMysteriousGuy

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    6 Moves and 12 v. 12 can't be recreated through Gameshark and they are drastically different from metagames typically referred to as "Mod Metagames"

    I do like the idea, but you might want to be careful in the voting since people could potentially bandwagon/vote for the same meta over and over. Also, perhaps another ladder can be set up for the competitive metas? (In hindsight though since Mod metas are more similar to each other than how similar the "Competitive OMs" are to each other I still say some more forum activities would help support the "Competitive OMs" would be better than a ladder for them)
  25. Arcticblast

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    My idea for that was to prevent the same metagame being chosen for one month (maybe two) after it has its own ladder run.

    That's an excellent point about 6-Move and 12v12 though, I'll have to consider this.

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