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The Metagame - Centralization, Overcentralization, Diversity, and related topics.

Discussion in 'Stark Mountain' started by Tangerine, Jun 9, 2008.

  1. david stone

    david stone Fast-moving, smart, sexy and alarming.
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    I would also like to make the following bold proposition:

    The game will become increasingly centralized as time goes on. This effect is more pronounced the more stable the rules are.

    My reasoning: In the beginning, people are less knowledgeable about what works and what doesn't. For this reason, even people who are "playing to win" will be playing with a wider variety of strategies. As time goes on, certain strategies are shown to be a huge liability, and therefore are used less. The standards prove themselves to be worthy of that title over time.

    However, as a counterbalance to this, I also suspect that there is a stable equilibrium of centralization, and this is almost certainly above 6 Pokemon. This should be best viewed not as a number but a range. Consider the following scenario: There are only 6 Pokemon that are used enough to be OU. No matter what these 6 Pokemon are, there is a very specific way to beat them (a "counter team") a large proportion of the time.

    Now this team is only as good as the number of people that use the original standardized, centralized team. As use of this counter team increases, use of the original team decreases, as it would have a horrid win:loss proportion against that counter team. However, by the very nature of the specificity of this team, it is likely vulnerable to a wide variety of other teams. The lowest equilibrium, therefore, it likely one super-powered "standard" team, the counter team, and then a variety of teams that still have a shot at beating the standard team and utterly trounce the counter team.

    However, I suspect that this is more of a psychological "standardness" than a structural one. What I mean by that is if one player wins a lot with their team and posts about it explaining it, this will naturally encourage others to use that team. The team didn't get better (in fact, it got worse as people slowly adjust), but it still gains in usage for psychological reasons (people want to use the "winning" team, or the team just reminds them of Pokemon X they've been meaning to use).

    In short, there are more things to centralization than just the legal Pokemon.

    I was talking about the specific case of Wobbuffet and Deoxys-S, not unbanning in general.

    Is this according to your old predictive function, your current one, or just a raw top 75% calculation?
  2. X-Act

    X-Act np: Biffy Clyro - Shock Shock
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    It's according to the raw statistics, month by month.

    Here's a rundown:

    October: 50
    November: 49
    December: 50
    January: 49
    February: 47
    March: 47
    April: 47
    May: 47
  3. TheMaskedNitpicker

    TheMaskedNitpicker Triple Threat
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    I think Tangerine has the right idea about nailing down definitions of the words we all throw around so casually. However, one word that I don't believe should have a strict definition is 'overcentralization'. It's a word I wish we could all stop using, myself included. What it really means is 'more centralized than I want the metagame to be'.

    Once again, we are falling into two basic camps. We have the 'Ban as little as possible to meet an arbitrary benchmark' camp (I'll call this Camp Colin), and we have the 'Ban as much as necessary to acheive maximum (or near maximum) decentralization' camp (I'll call this Camp Hip). Neither of these camps are wrong in any way. They just represent different tastes.

    Camp Colin likes a small, managable metagame. For the most part, they want to be able to deal with any team and counter every threat. One popular philosophy of this camp is that the better player should nearly always triumph over the worse one, although this is not Colin's position personally.

    Camp Hip likes a ruleset in which the greatest number of strategies are viable. This generally correlates with a greater number of Pokémon, moves, and items being viable. This environment promotes creativity and variety, but no team can prepare for every possible situation. The better player will win more than the worse player on average, but may lose to the worse player due to the paper-rock-scissors nature of team-building.

    I belive that the goals of Camp Colin and Camp Hip are mutually exclusive in D/P. We can divide potential rulesets into three disjoint groups: Those that Camp Colin likes, those that Camp Hip likes, and those that neither like. Right now, the standard metagame pleases Camp Colin. This makes a lot of sense; from the informal research that I've done, Camp Colin seems to be in the majority, if only by a modest margin.

    Since the majority is currently being served, I think it would be a mistake to start banning Pokémon from the standard game to try to please Camp Hip. Being in Camp Hip myself, I know that the glacial pace of these bans would not be enough to make me happy. The next generation of Pokémon games will be released long before we get close to something I'd be happy with, and all the while we'll be making Camp Colin (again, most likely the majority) unhappy.

    What I'd really like to see is a separate environment for Camp Hip. If both camps had their own tier, we'd see a dramatic cutback in these constant 'the metagame should be this way' arguments. These discussions don't get anywhere because people have differing opinions about how this one game should fundementally be. Let's just have two games and be done with it!

    I'll post again later with some Theorymon about the centralizing effects of Garchomp, among other Pokémon.

    Note: Colin and Hip, if I've misrepresented either of you, please tell me so that I can correct the error.
  4. xcfrisco

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    lol, no one intelligible was saying it (people want blissey banned all the time). But, I think Jumpman16 hit the the nail right on the head when he said that Blissey "prevents over-centralization" of special sweepers and, is therefore, a decentralizing force.

    I don't believe Garchomp does this for the metagame. One could argue Garchomp causes decentralization of stall teams with his raw power (however,I believe Gyarados and Tyranitar as being the biggest threats to stall, or I guess Wobbuffet now that he's OU). But, I don't think that Garchomp's main purpose in the metagame is a stall-breaking decentralizer. I believe people use Garchomp because it is "the" best late-game cleaner.

    If by last assumption is correct (you can disagree with me if you believe it isn't), then is having a pokemon as "the" best late game sweeper a centralizing or decentralizing force? (just some food for though)
  5. Cathy

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    My personal philosophy is just based on making the rules as simple as possible (no unnecessary clauses, as little banned as possible, etc.). I know Obi supports the "better player nearly always winning" stuff, but I look at pokemon as a game of manipulating statistics (for example I don't support banning Double Team). For this particular issue ("centralisation") it doesn't matter though.

    About neither camp being wrong, I will say this: It is not practical to find the ban list that will lead to the most decentralised metagame. Banning Garchomp will surely decentralise the game, but it definitely won't be the most decentralised possible. And in order to see exactly how decentralised the new game is, we will have to allow months for new threats to emerge, new strategies to develop, etc. etc. After a while we will identify what needs to be banned to make the game even less centralised. Before we reach a point where banning any pokemon will not make more than two pokemon newly viable, we will have spent years and years on this project, with the game ever changing, rather than focusing on a single standard game and allowing better and better strategies to develop in it. I know you touch on this in your post, but really the practical aspect here is very pertinent because it prevents development of any single metagame.

    And if instead you opt to stop at the post-Garchomp level of centralisation then really you agree with me in basic methodology, just not in what constitutes the game being "too centralised" -- and since there is no non-slippery way to decide what "too centralised" is, it is probably best to go with what the game has naturally rested it (what players are used to), which is the 47-50 pokemon range right now.

    I'm not sure how we can just play "two games" because of one of them will take years to develop, rather than being immediately playable.
  6. Hipmonlee

    Hipmonlee Have a rice day
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    I think that is a very silly argument. Perfection is possible in very few things, but people still try to improve things as they can.

    I dont think that once we have banned Garchomp (with the possible exception of Tyranitar, but I wont get into that) that the game will be as dominated by any other pokemon to the degree it is currently dominated by Garchomp. It could be that we would need to ban a large number of pokemon to improve variety at that stage, but because of our method we will never be able to do that. I do not believe that the perfect ruleset will ever be reached, but that shouldnt stop us tweaking the rules when we think it will result in an improvement.

    Have a nice day.
  7. jrrrrrrr

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    While it's great to try to define these terms, I agree, most of the arguing can be avoided by just banning the things that are broken and trying to just establish a good comfort level.

    Hey, apples were really good last month and nobody wanted them banned. Why should oranges be banned now?

    Blissey did have similar domination in December as Garchomp does now, but in January (just one month after Blissey ruled) Garchomp overtook it and has cemented its place as #1 as people started discovering how effective the SDYache set is.

    Comparing usage of Garchomp and Blissey is silly in terms of both "centralization" and in actually playing pokemon. Blissey is a pest. It comes in on your Starmie and stalls. It stands up to a lot of pokemon, yes, but it has its flaws that are easily exploitable. Garchomp, on the other hand, comes in when it needs to and only needs one turn to sweep an entire team. Blissey, as mentioned by people ahead of me, is actually a decentralizing force by just being a pest to a huge number of pokemon. Garchomp is considered centralizing because instead of just forcing switches defensively, it forces switches by knocking everything out.

    If I have to have a bulky pokemon to sacrifice to Garchomp while it SDs so I can remove its Yache Berry or otherwise weaken it, then a faster pokemon to attempt a revenge kill EVERY TIME Garchomp comes in, it is just aggrivating. I have to have a Steel-type on my team, I have to have a pokemon faster than 333 with an Ice-type move and the only pokemon that resist its STAB moves are still 2HKOd. All of this and I am still going to lose more than 25% of the time thanks to Sand Veil.

    Many people just say "well thats how the metagame works, it will shift to something else next month". This doesn't seem possible since Garchomp outclasses every other OU pokemon by a long shot. The difference in usage between #1 and #2 is approximately the same as the difference between usage of #2 through #7. Maybe we could start there when trying to define centralization. Just because lots of pokemon are used doesn't mean that the one pokemon that is used on an overwhelming number of teams isn't centralizing or overpowered.

    Except, the 47-ish pokemon that account for OU do so because they are good on their own. This method you are advocating does not account for the actual combonations of pokemon that are viable together. You have 6 team slots, which all contribute to usage, but when you start putting serious restrictions on the options as to possible teammates as you go, the game just gets frustrating by the lack of options. Ok, I have SpecsMence, StalkHeatran, Celebi, Tyranitar...now what do I use? Sounds like I have to have a Skarmory and probably a Gengar (or maybe even my own Garchomp lol) or else I am going to lose 6-0 to an opposing Garchomp. That team would greatly contribute to the usages of other pokemon, and is a fairly solid core...but unfortunately I am forced into using those last two pokemon just because of Garchomp.
  8. Cathy

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    The concern here is that changing the metagame regularly to ban new threats prevents the emergence of long term strategy development.

    For example, we could ban the top tier in any fighting game to improve the options available, but it would just be stupid. Even though it's opened up more options, it's changed the game, and the game wasn't broken to start with.
  9. Amazing Ampharos

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    Here's the reason I disagree with Hip's proposition. I actually sat down and thought about how to maximize options, and I think I figured out how to do it.

    Ban all of the standard offensive Pokmeon, but only ban Blissey among the tanks (don't ban Bronzong, Cresselia, etc.). The metagame will become hyper defensive, but it will actually decentralize a whole lot. The thing is that most Pokemon who aren't viable now aren't viable because they can't switch in and can't get the time to do what they want to do. Pokemon like Regice can't survive Rest. Pokemon like Marowak can't get that Swords Dance down with enough health left to be dangerous. Things like Toxic Spikes would actually work to add intrigue, and regardless of the rules, you definitely always have to have a plan to kill the opponent so offensive Pokemon wouldn't disappear. Diversity would probably be huge, though perhaps a few more tweaks to the rules would be needed. Either way, you'd have a ridiculous stallfest on your hands, and to be frank, that wouldn't be fun to play. It doesn't even have the appeal of simplified rules as any newcomer to the competitive scene would be wholly taken aback by the silly rules that are nothing like ingame or official Nintendo tournaments.

    As per defining overcentralization, I am mostly in Colin's line of thought with it. 47 seems to be a magic number, but we could really accept going lower. As long as the pool of viable Pokemon doesn't go down drastically from where it is now, the game is fine. After all, isn't the pool of viable Pokemon huge compared to even RSE? Can you even say those Pokemon just south of the border (Abomasnow, etc.) aren't still quite useable? The game being fine makes it a bad time to want to ban anything but perhaps a ripe time to unban things. The Manaphy people etc. are probably getting pretty frustrated by now that they are just told "we aren't even ready to think about your position whether you're right or wrong"; we definitely need to get this behind us.
  10. Hipmonlee

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    That is in line with my criticism of the statistical definition of decentralisation AA. I dont think it should be based on total number of overused pokemon. If the metagame you describe forces a ridiculous stallfest then that would be a form of overcentralisation.

    Also I dont think your suggestion would really increase the number of useable pokemon. Like, even if Regice becomes better in this new ruleset, it wont make it more used if the pokemon who are currently being used in its place also become better.

    Also Colin, I think there are really only two pokemon that could be close to as dominant as Garchomp currently is once Garchomp is removed: Tyranitar or Salamence. And I dont believe either one will be nearly as dominant as Garchomp. I expect a lot of people will disagree with this, but very, very few will disagree about Garchomp.

    Have a nice day.
  11. TheMaskedNitpicker

    TheMaskedNitpicker Triple Threat
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    You're right. Finding the metagame with the maximum amount of decentralization is clearly not practical. We do have more or less the same goal, but our arbitrary cutoff points are very different. Out of over 250 fully evolved Pokémon, less than 50 of them are used 75% of the time? It's not hard to make the game less centralized than that.

    As far as the new metagame taking years to develop, that could be true. It also may not be. If we start banning Pokémon from the current standard tier one at a time, then yeah, it'll take forever. If we theorymon a bit and come up with a reasonable starting point, it might take significantly less time. Hell, if our benchmark is something as simple as 100 or 150 Pokémon used 75% of the time, we might not even need to change it at all.

    Hell, let's say it does take a while. So what? If it isn't already perfect, that means it won't be 'immediately playable'? How else do you expect the testing to be done if not by playing? Again, I'm not advocating changing the standard tier. A lot of people are happy with it. But if there is a significant portion of people that would prefer a decentralized game (and it seems to me there is), what's the harm in trying it in a separate ladder?

    Lastly, I don't understand the whole 'slippery slope' argument. It seems to me that it's fundamentally flawed. In a series of bans, you're eventually going to get to the point where your bans start decreasing the number of viable Pokémon. There is a happy medium, and believe it or not, it's not in the NU-ish Pokémon range. By the time you get down to those Pokémon, you've already been decreasing the number of viable Pokémon for a while.

    The general distribution of power among fully-evolved Pokémon is not rectangular. It is more-or-less a bell curve with two groups of outliers in the upper-power range. The first group includes the Pokémon we currently consider Ubers and some of the more powerful members of hte second group (Mew, Manaphy, Lati@s, etc.). The second group, for the most part, is allowed in the standard tier. The upshot of this is that only the most powerful end of the bell curve proper is viable in OU. It seems very likely that banning this second group of outliers would make much more of the bell curve viable.

    I shouldn't have to say this, but 'the game is fine' and 'the game is not broken' are clearly not positions shared by all. If they were, we wouldn't be having this discussion. You cannot use your conclusion to support itself.

    Let me make sure I understand you fully. The reason that you disagree with the Hip position is that you've come up with one alternative tier that you guess would maximize the viable options. Furthermore, you have, without testing this tier at all, determined that it would not be enjoyable to play. I'm not totally against theorymon and you're obviously entitled to your opinion, but that line of reasoning isn't very convincing.
  12. Cathy

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    The conclusion is that nothing else should be banned, not that the game is fine, so this isn't a case of using the conclusion as a premise. You could argue that the premise is non-obvious but I meant it to contrast to "the game is fine, but we could make it better".

    Of course when you say this, you are referring to a definition of "power" that you haven't given anywhere. Quantifying the "power" of a pokemon is decidedly nontrivial to talk as if you have a formulation that allows you to place them into groups.
  13. TheMaskedNitpicker

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    Since we are speaking nearly exclusively of bans here, the supposition that 'the game is fine' implies that 'nothing needs to be banned or unbanned'. Likewise, 'nothing needs to be banned or unbanned' implies that 'the game is fine'. I consider the two statements one and the same. Perhaps you could reword this so that I could understand your position a bit better. Regardless, my point stands that you cannot accept 'the game is fine' as a given. If this were something we could take for granted, this debate would not be happening. 'The game is fine' is, of course, only an opinion, and you cannot use it to help support your argument.

    Of course. My failure to specify these groups was a conscious attempt to prevent my post from drifting too far into the tl;dr range. I was hoping you'd ask so that I'd have the opportunity to explain. I'll be more than happy to delve into the specifics a bit later today.
  14. Chou Toshio

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    No matter how many times I read their post, I can't figure out why Colin and AA seem so adamantly defensive regarding the current shoddy metagame. So wobby and deoxys were unbanned, and suddenly the metagame is where it should be?

    I don't see the reasoning? Now Colin goes on about the impracticality of looking for the "ideal" metagame, so that we should give up, settle, and leave at be. I'm perfectly fine with this idea-- because I think playing the game (and having fun) is a lot more important than bitching over these types of details. However, that being said, I think if we were going to leave it at that with this "just play the game" mindset, we might as well have stuck to our "pre-DP preconceived notions" and let the metagame be as it was before introducing wobb and D-S. It sure would have saved a lot of grief.
  15. X-Act

    X-Act np: Biffy Clyro - Shock Shock
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    Why is 47 a magic number when before Wobbuffet and Deoxys-S was introduced to the metagame, this number was 49 and 50? I'd rather have 50 OU Pokemon than 47. And if Garchomp is banned and the number of OU Pokemon rises to 52, say, why not have 52?
  16. KapKap

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    My suggestion is to not spam theory, but actually do something about it. I opt for a Garchomp-less server on Shoddy for at least 2 months. Afterwards, we can check the statistics.

    This will be very interesting, because we can check if our assumptions are true; is it really so that the metagame decentralizes with Garchomp gone? How many (more) pokemon will cross the OU line? What will happen to Bronzong usage, for example? Will teams look completely different with Garchomp gone? All things we need to know in order to judge whether Garchomp should be banned or not.

    I feel like we could do this with Tyranitar and maybe Salamence too, but Garchomp's got priority of course.

    Opinions?
  17. Seven Deadly Sins

    Seven Deadly Sins ~hallelujah~
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    Once again, I've gotta go back to Sirlin for this one.


    Garchomp directly makes a number of pokemon pretty unusable, because while he IS beatable, he is only beatable by a select number of Mons, and therefore his presence diminishes the pool of usable Pokemon. As such, you can either say that having Garchomp around is worth not having all the other Mons around, or you can say that having variety is worth more than having a single powerful sweeper.
  18. Cathy

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    That isn't what I said at all. I don't consider the metagame that would be created through that process "ideal", in fact it wouldn't even be desirable.

    You do realise that section you are quoting is presented as a question? That is to say that as the readers of the article we are being asked whether that "soft ban" is justified, and it's obviously not: the Japanese players are scrubs if they avoid using a character and it isn't even banned. Honestly I don't understand the point of your quote here. It doesn't support anything you are talking about. In fact, Sirlin is opposed to bans such as that one (though he seems to respect the Japanese players; I personally don't).

    I don't think 47 is a magic number. However, the difference between 47 and 49 is pretty negligible, especially when you consider that it was varying by one between previous months anyway. The ultimate goal is to have as much legal as possible without breaking the game, and in order to qualify as being broken I would expect something much more dramatic than what could be accounted for by the kind of random changes that were taking place in previous months anyway.
  19. Bourbon

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    I know that you (Colin) run/own Shoddybattle, but would it be THAT hard to either:

    a) Make a new server where Garchomp is not allowed, and record the statistics of what the new OU is. If many more pokemon become viable, and the metagame becomes more diverse, Garchomp can be banned to Ubers in the main server.

    b) Make a ladder where Garchomp is not allowed, and if the affect on the metagame is favourable, remove the old ladder and replace it with this one, effectively banning Garchomp from ladder play.


    I mean, the Garchomp defenders keep trying to tell us not to use Theorymon, but as a person who plays both Shoddy and Wifi at least a few times a week, I know firsthand how much Garchomp has overcentralized the game. There is Hidden Power Ice on everything, and Ice Beam on everything that can learn it. Every team has at LEAST one steel type on it, usually more. Anything that doesn't hit 333 speed or more is either obselete or scarfed. Garchomp is on every second team. Half of each team is devoted to trying to kill it. It's desperate and sad, and everyone knows deep down how pathetic this is. We shouldn't need two physical walls (one or both is usually killed), a steel type, and a revenge killer just to take down one pokemon. Every other pokemon in the game has a 100% counter, no matter how gimmicky the set is. With his standard swords dance set, Garchomp can beat any "counter" that he'll meet on the field.

    And yes, I have myself used Garchomp a few times. The Substitute set, actually. I was absolutely appalled at how easy it was. Never have I seen a sweeper cheat death so many times. Without Brightpower, I managed to sub down and get two swords dances. I got a kill with Outrage. In comes Weavile. Ice Shard misses, and I proceed to sweep the rest of the team. It wasn't sporting or fun at all. It was like duck hunting with heat seeking missiles.

    Even more strange is people's view on Outrage. Pretty much the only way to successfully kill Garchomp is letting something die to Outrage, then come in on it and outspeed/survive and kill. A lot of people are fine with this. There are two things wrong with this scenario. First, something has to die to Outrage for this to work. This means Garchomp has already done it's job and killed a pokemon. Second, Garchomp doesn't HAVE to outrage anything. Earthquake hits nearly as hard, and Stone Edge, Fire Fang or Dragon Claw can kill those ground resists. If it doesn't use Outrage, woohoo, you get in your revenge killer and it just runs away. If you do manage to trap it, you have an 80% of missing it and giving Garchomp yet another kill.


    So anyways Colin, you may be the master behind Shoddybattle, but do you actually play it? Do you know how messed up it is, or do you just look at the stats? Sure, since you run the whole thing, you can unban and ban whatever you want to because it's your game, but still, it'd be nice if you higher-ups would listen to the masses who expierience this stuff firsthand. You're telling us theorymon can't prove anything, but you guys don't have ANYTHING to go on except saying "it's fine" AND "47 OU pokes is fine, because I said so"

    If you guys actually sat down and played the game, you would change your minds immediately.



    INTERESTING FACT: Modest, Nasty Plot Life Orb Tri Attack from Porygon-Z hits for the SAME POWER as Jolly Garchomp's Swords Dance Life Orb Outrage. Even Skarmory is 2HKOed by this attack (if SR is up) Gee, it's a pity we don't have a physical blissey, huh?

    INTERESTING FACT: Nothing in the game can take two Swords Danced attacks from Garchomp. Nothing. Since he has absolutely perfect coverage, he can do it with three moves.

    INTERESTING FACT: You have a 64% chance of hitting a Yache Chomp with two ice moves. Non Yache versions you have 80%. Good luck.
  20. Cathy

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    You are free to host a tournament where Garchomp is banned. You can even run it on the Smogon forums, assuming it is approved.
  21. TheMaskedNitpicker

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    Listen, I agree with everything you said. You know that Garchomp is a strong centralizing force and I know it. No reasonable person disagrees. Colin doesn't care. All he cares about is minimizing the number of bans while maintaining an arbitrary level of decentralization. And that's OK. A lot of people don't mind that level of centralization. Since Shoddy is his program, he has every right to run his server however he wants, just as you say. We're just lucky that he made Shoddy open source so that we can have our own server without going through the trouble of coding our own simulator.

    This is a matter of opinion and you can't reason with him. If he doesn't care about those of us who want a less centralized game, then nobody can make him care. It's not in his interest to run a bunch of ladders that he has to constantly adjust based on the whims of the players, and I sympathize with that. I think it's very understandable. He probably has enough on his hands as it is.

    If a large enough segment of the population wants a decentralized game, we're going to have to band together and run our own server of Shoddy or create our own tier for Wi-Fi. The main Shoddy server is not the place to lobby for tier changes. You'll just be banging your head against a brick wall.

    NOTE: Colin, just to be absolutely clear, there's no sarcasm in this post. I'm just trying to reword what I believe is your point of view in another way in order to reduce the number of people lobbying for you to change your server. I once again want to say that I appreciate your work on Shoddy and thank you for making it available to us.
  22. Hipmonlee

    Hipmonlee Have a rice day
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    I'm sorry Colin, I have totally lost you. You dont think decentralisation is ideal? What do you think is ideal?

    How is that obvious? The obvious implication to me is that the game was better with the soft ban. A soft ban is what we already have on wobbuffet pretty much, but to me the concept of a soft ban is retarded. If the game is better without something then it should be banned. We define better by decentralisation, and in that example, the game is clearly decentralised by the ban.

    We have that ability because unlike the Street Fighter community, the Pokemon community is all here at this website. The only place pokemon battling is done (to any degree worth considering) is on shoddy. So we dont have issues with some communities banning things and then whining when they meet other communities. We might as well be considered the game developers when it comes to rulesets.

    I still would be eager to see more indepth statistical analysis of shoddy usage.. I think that's the only thing missing from the debate at the moment.

    Have a nice day.
  23. Seven Deadly Sins

    Seven Deadly Sins ~hallelujah~
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    The reason that the softban of Old Sagat is justified, and why Sirlin respects the Japanese's decision to ban him, is because by his presence, the very use of the characters he renders useless is eliminated. The point remains. The Japanese have softbanned him because the metagame is better with more viable fighters than less viable fighters. Garchomp is the same way. Because Garchomp is around, every Pokemon he makes useless immediately gets banished to the lower tiers of the game. It's obvious that his removal would diversify the metagame by making a wider variety of team choices available.
  24. Sancho

    Sancho

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    Alright let me start off by saying that I'm not exactly a skilled or experienced battler, but I spend a lot of time "studying" haha.

    In my opinion, pokemon is a game about fun. Pokemon are cute and interesting little guys and people want to use their favorites. It's hard for me to make examples out of this, bear in mind, because im not that experienced, but say somebody really likes the pokemon flygon. They really want to use this pokemon. Now arguably every pokemon has talents, but who are we kidding, using garchomp over flygon is pretty much 100% positive.

    I think the variety that people are looking for comes from the idea because pokemon like garchomp and tyranitar are in the standard metagame, they feel it makes too many pokemon unusable in that same metagame. For instance, it's very hard to justify the use of a pokemon like golduck. Water does not have many useful resistances. Water pokemon are popular because that don't have crippling weaknesses either. But when you're a water pokemon that doesn't have the defenses to function like a water pokemon should in today's metagame, then it's hard to justify giving this pokemon a spot on your team. It is only contributing grass and electric weaknesses really. Now that's not to say golduck is useless, it has an interesting ability and no real bad stats, but when you have pokemon like milotic, with better stats and a similar movepool, what are you accomplishing using Golduck? I think it's the golduck and flygon lovers who want more variety, and I think their wants are justified, but also think maybe they need to realize that gamefreak did not make all pokemon equal, and that's why we have the uu tier, so pokes like golduck can have their uses.

    Some people are of the opinion that variety is not necessarily a good thing. Because it would make team building very hit and miss. If you don't know what to look for, then it becomes very unlikely your team will be able to cover everything it needs to. For instance, if you remove Garchomp, Lucario, Tyranitar, Salamence, or any other top-tier endgame sweeper, all of a sudden the top-tier sweepers are a huge group of previously mediocre sweepers, think absol, mismagius, or toxicroak. Note that all of a sudden ridiculous walls like cresselia become more versatile and would probably have to be banned as well, making a metagame of huge size. There would just be no way to counter everything with 6 pokemon, and the game would really be over before it started. Oh you werent prepared for ninetales, because you haven't seen one in forever? Sucks to be you, try again next time.

    I think what we need to do is find a balance between both sides. Realize that gamefreak did not make every pokemon equal, or even usable, and try and make the best. If removing a Garchomp allows a rise in popularity of a group of previously outclassed or unusable pokemon, then it would be a good idea to remove him. But note that removing him also removes some of the usefulness off pokemon like Gliscor and Slowbro or Vaporeon. Also note that Garchomp, while not a counter to Tyranitar, is very useful in stopping him, as well as outclassing him as a late-game sweeper, so it's very likely that removing Garchomp could just pass on his popularity to another poke, and that would be a terrible mistake.

    I know it seems rather arbitrary, but I think it would be a good idea to make some specifications for the metagame we want. Say we want a metagame with 50 pokes, where no pokemon has more than 4% usage (just perfect balance times 2). It may not be perfect, and certain pokes may get the shaft, like if Garchomp had a 4.0001% usage. Likewise, if Blissey ever rose to banned level usage, the metagame would fall apart. To be honest, a lot of these issues are bad design by game freak. They made an awesome and fun game, but honestly, could they not have made more ways to stop special threats than Blissey or Blissey? Blissey is too good a special wall, and none of the other ones are good enough.

    This is all just my opinions and theories. I could be way off. I don't know, feel free to shoot me down. The OP was so thought provoking I thought I'd spill my thoughts for you all. To be honest I'm not even sure what kind of points I was trying to make, but whatever, take it for what it is.
  25. Cathy

    Cathy

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    The rules being as simple as possible is ideal, so long as the game isn't broken. That is to say a sufficient level of decentralisation is ideal, not "maximum decentralisation".

    As for the "soft ban", what they are talking about is something that is not even part of the rules of the tournament. It's not a real rule. What is most baffling about Sirlin's respect here is that his whole philosophy is to follow only the actual rules of the tournament, not "soft" rules... but he cuts an exception for "the Japanese" for some reason. And if you read Sirlin's whole article, it is evident he does not support banning characters just because the game can be made less centralised by doing so. (He believes characters should only be banned if they are the only viable characters, which cannot directly translate to pokemon.) That quotation is being used here to back up something that is the complete opposite of what the article is about. Not to mention it doesn't really "back up" anything, it's just a case study. The reason it wasn't "obvious" to you is that the whole article wasn't quoted here, just a choice extract. (Though I am sure we have all read the article! Personally I have read every article on Sirlin's web site.)

    Sirlin can't really be cited either way here, because his philosophy is to ban a character only if it is the single viable option, and there just isn't anything like that in pokemon. (Garchomp may be centralising the metagame but you are still forced to use pokemon other than Garchomp because of species clause.) As I said, your reference to Sirlin is baffling because he doesn't agree with that soft ban. Maybe if you had said "consider this case study presented by Sirlin" but you made it sound as if we were supposed to be extracting an opinion of Sirlin's from the text.



    Anyway, as I've said elsewhere, we will probably be doing some testing ladders in the near future. Personally I don't think there's much to be gained from testing the game without Garchomp, but there's no harm in making it a side project just to see what that metagame is like, if people really want to test that. Perhaps I will make a poll to see who is interested in such a side project. If it's some landslide majority then there is really nothing to be gained from playing a game that no one wants to play... but I am curious where people actually stand on this. We see a lot of people complaining about Garchomp but it's possible that it's just a vocal minority. To be clear a poll will not be deciding whether it is banned or not, I am just curious.

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