Introduction to Wi-Fi in the 4th Generation
Battling on Wi-Fi and Pokemon Online are two completely different playstyles. While simulator battles can be watched by many spectators at a time and usage statistics are collected rapidly through automated processes, Wi-Fi battles are strictly one-on-one, with solid evidence of victories and losses restricted to battle videos. Luckily, since the implementation of Platinum's Vs. Recorder, battles can be more easily shared. Still, the tedium of watching an entire battle as opposed to the easy reading and documenting of a battle log is obvious.
Additionally, it is important to note that arranging Wi-Fi battles can be extremely difficult in comparison with battles on Pokemon Online. One must use the Battle Me threads in the Wi-Fi sub-forum. However, on Pokemon Online, rated matches are automatically arranged. Although activity in the DPP metagame has slowed due to the 5th Generation, you won't have to wait long after pressing the "Find Battle" button to enter a match. Also, clauses are enforced for each tier, so cheating is hardly an issue.
Due to various factors, battling over Wi-Fi takes much longer than an average simulator battle. The lack of stall in Wi-Fi battling is almost desirable, and for good reason. Between Sandstorm or Hail damage, Weather messages, Leech Seed, burn and poison animation, the Pokemon's bouncing animation upon Leftovers recovery every single turn (often on both sides), slow health bar animation, and some very long attack animations, the time piles on quickly. Matches can last for over an hour, and some battle videos must be sped up greatly and occasionally split into multiple parts to fit on a video sharing site such as YouTube.
Simulators, however, do not suffer from these restrictions. Messages for residual damage, recovery, and field effects are sent from the battle server immediately in just a few lines of text, while the HP bar depletes at exceptional rates. Using a battle log instead of a battle video makes it much easier to analyze battles, see what mistakes you made, and how you can possibly fix them in future battles. Due to these benefits, stall play becomes more acceptable and is very common in today's metagame.
When weather is in effect, curious side effects can occur given different conditions. During sandstorm, when Pursuit KOes a Pokemon who is trying to switch out, a condition commonly referred to as "acid rain" comes into effect, in which the effects of sandstorm and rain occur simultaneously. Given the same conditions in different weather, several other effects generally known as "acid weather" comes into effect, some of which cause an infinite loop where Cherrim's and Castform's different forms alternate endlessly. During a Wi-Fi battle, the battle must be stopped by one of the users disconnecting.
Shoddy Battle did not implement these weather effects, but with the release of PokeLab near the end of DPP, the mechanics of acid weather were implemented. This sparked debate over "developer intent," with the basic premise that it is unknown whether these effects are truly glitches, or were purposely programmed into the game by the developer. Since the fact was that they exist on cartridge play, and the necessity that the simulator must accurately simulate the game, the effects stayed. However, the current 4th Generation mechanics on Pokemon Online do not recognize these effects.
With the release of Pokemon Platinum and HGSS came drastic changes to both the Standard and Uber metagames. The Rotom formes have made a huge impact on the OU metagame, serving as bulky Ghost-types, spinblockers, and very good users of Choice Specs and Choice Scarf; the Rotom formes are certainly unpredictable, and they can be dangerous to switch into. Their exclusive moves offer fantastic additional coverage as well. Shaymin-S and Giratina-O are also powerful forces in the Uber metagame.
However, due to the separate release times of DP and Platinum, in order to preserve compatibility between these games, all of these formes are banned from Wi-Fi. The only way to use the Rotom formes in a Wi-Fi battle is through an external hacking device; battlers must notify their opponent ahead of time whether or not they use these alternate formes, and most battlers strictly request against it.
If you have played your cartridge games beyond the main adventure, you may know that obtaining flawless Pokemon with correct Hidden Power spreads becomes a lengthy process. Furthermore, breeding Egg moves onto your Pokemon can require a long series of chain breeding. Luckily, the advent of RNG abuse has made most of this work trivial. However, once you obtain your desired Pokemon, you must spend time acquiring EVs and learning level-up moves that are often found at very high levels. Finally, you must have unlimited access to rare and hard to obtain items such as Shards, TMs, and PP Ups to raise your Pokemon to its fullest potential.
Everyone knows that event Pokemon are difficult to come by. NYPC event Pokemon such as Wish Blissey are extremely rare, and obtaining one with respectable stats is all but impossible. Exclusive 3rd Generation tutor moves, such as Selfdestruct on Snorlax and Mewtwo, Baton Pass on Zapdos, and Heal Bell on Dragonite, can only be obtained through Pokemon XD. Even current day retail event Pokemon are difficult to obtain for those who do not have access to GameStop, Toys"R"us, or similar event stores within driving distance to their homes. The use of so-called "legal hacks" in competitive Pokemon is discouraged by Smogon's strict anti-cheating policy.
Do not let the points stated above dissuade you from playing Wi-Fi, which has a huge following on Smogon. There is an entire forum dedicated to it, and Wi-Fi tournaments are held regularly. There's certainly a reason for Wi-Fi's popularity.
Obtaining flawless Pokemon and raising them quickly is very rewarding for most players. Rare Pokemon are easy to obtain through the countless trade threads on the Smogon Forums, though you must be willing to contribute yourself, without resorting to cheating! Also, the ability to share videos on YouTube is a great way to attract new players to the game.
As for legendary Pokemon, since the release of Platinum, HGSS and the various events that have taken place during the 4th Generation, almost all hard to obtain legendary Pokemon from the 3rd generation are available. The advent of RNG abuse has brought about the ability to obtain Pokemon, such as Hidden Power Grass Heatran and Hidden Power Ice Raikou and Zapdos, with near perfect IVs.
The fascination with shiny Pokemon has never stopped since their introduction in GSC. The fact that they have a 1 in 8192 chance of popping up gives them an air of mystery. Clicking the Shiny check box on Pokemon Online is one thing—actually obtaining a shiny Pokemon for yourself is very time consuming. Despite the fact that the only difference between shiny Pokemon and their common counterparts lies in their sprite pallet, these Pokemon are highly sought after and are very popular in trade threads.
One trend that deserves a short mention here is the use of special Poké Balls for aesthetic purposes, usually to match the color scheme of the Pokemon inside. While this is not of any concern for legendary, genderless, and only male Pokemon, this does give away certain information about a Pokemon's moveset in regard to Egg moves. If you see a Pokemon in a ball other than the regular Poké Ball, you can rest assured that it knows no Egg moves.
As you have learned, Wi-Fi is a great way to use your in-game experience to its fullest potential. However, this guide would not be complete without some warnings about the use of the Wi-Fi forum. First, do not trade hacked Pokemon. Do not trade hacked Pokemon. Do not trade hacked Pokemon. You are gaining an unfair advantage over your opponent, and you are insulting other members who have put hard work into obtaining and raising their Pokemon. If you are caught trading hacked Pokemon, you will be added to the blacklist.
Conversely, you must be wary of with whom you are trading. Make sure your partner is using legal spreads—for example, if you see something suspicious, such as a Hasty Mewtwo with 31 IVs in all six stats and Selfdestruct, you should not trade with that player. Use X-Act's IV to PID calculator for suspicious non-bred Pokemon. If you spot something wrong, report it to a Wi-Fi moderator.
Make sure you check the blacklist for every trade request you get. You are allowed to refuse service to any user for any reason whatsoever, so use your best judgment at all times. In battling, the use of "legal hacks" is fairly common, but it is courteous—not to mention required—to let your opponent know beforehand.
Next, you must never purposefully disconnect during a Wi-Fi battle. It is very difficult to arrange a match in the first place, so to disconnect while you are losing a battle shows poor sportsmanship, and does not help the would-be winner's record. This is different than leaving a battle on a simulator, since the rating system considers the forfeiting player the loser. As with trading, please be wary of who you are battling with at all times. There is a separate blacklist for battlers who disconnect, so be sure to check it before any battle. In either case, if you believe you have been wronged, try to sort it out with the user with whom you were battling. If the problem escalates to levels beyond your control, contact a Wi-Fi moderator immediately to report what is going on.
The Wi-Fi forum may be large, but the community is tight-knit. As your activity in Wi-Fi increases, people will know your name, and with it, associate your reputation. If you make a bad trade or purposely disconnect from a battle, your name will be tarnished, especially when you end up on the blacklist. However, if you follow the rules, you will become a trusted member of the Wi-Fi community, and most importantly, by following the rules, you enhance the Wi-Fi experience for both yourself and others.
Now that you have read about the many differences between the Wi-Fi and Pokemon Online formats, hopefully you are prepared to dive into the truly unique experience that is Wi-Fi!