Was fun while it lasted
Wyverii, you are a veritable goddess among mortals
Whelp, two months have passed, it's the end of the only chance I'll get to lead a proper CAP, and wouldn't you know it, it's also my 2000th post! Took quite a few update threads to push myself up to that number in time… so this may be a little long, as I think it's right and proper to make the most of a double-opportunity to soliloquise. But I'll do my best to keep it as short as I possibly can…
Anyway, I suppose I should make a start on this, shouldn't I? Yes, where indeed to begin… I suppose perhaps, what I'd like to share with you before anything else, are a few memories from my very earliest interactions with the CAP Project – and more particularly, the message attached. I've often been guilty in the past of poking fun at newer members and their inability to read the rules, but I've never quite forgotten, myself, of how unbelievably awful I used to be. Briefly, of course, but on the other hand, there's a pretty important take-home message hidden in all this. I've seen people diving straight into topics, being told they're idiots, and that classic, age-old Smogon mantra, "lurk more". And every time I see somebody new post something like that, there's always, somewhere deep down, the realisation that here is someone who tried to read the rules, and yes, who made a hash of it, but there is always the potential for moving on up. Somehow I've managed to be one of only fifteen Topic Leaders in the five years this Project has been going, despite spending most of my first CAPs being the sort of occasional-poster who only occasionally gives an asinine, objectively wrong opinion as justification for clicky voting. And there are plenty of people here like that (not naming names, obviously), so I suppose the message is: stick around for a few years, and anything can happen.
My very first recollection of the Create-A-Pokemon Project is from long before I joined Smogon, trawling through the old threads and trying to piece together all the bits and pieces of the first 3 CAPs – this was, then, some time in early 2008, before Fidgit was even thought of. Possibly Pyroak wasn't even finished, because somehow I never managed to find more than a few scraps of process threads – I can't understand why I never found Sunday's old Strategy Pokedex thread. But there was one very notable prevailing thought running through my head while I was doing this (aside from the obvious "would it kill them to organise these properly"), which was, oddly enough, "where are the rest of them". This isn't a particularly intuitive thing to think, so I'll explain further. The CAPs, as they stood, were frankly remarkable – they had their sprites, artwork, and movepools down to a tee, and the whole forum exuded such an air of professionalism (actually, to be honest that's a bit too kind. It was more like "being utterly unapproachable", but professionalism isn't necessarily untrue either) that I couldn't believe that the community could have developed its Pokemon-crafting skills so quickly and cleanly in a mere three attempts. Of course, there is an element of naivety here as well. Naturally I would expect, as many would expect on arriving at something called the "Create-A-Pokemon Project", that there would be a lot more Pokemon-creating going on (not being entirely familiar with the democratic process of the CAP Project at that time, or indeed the fact that it had only even existed for a few months). Looking back on it, possibly Smogon's overall demeanour gave the rudimentary Project a look by association that it didn't necessarily deserve, but the fact remains that I, young and impressionable, was indeed impressed. Briefly. Then I moved on to more important things, like deciding how much Lego I needed to build whatever model of the week it was.
Now, we must jump forwards a little to September of 2008. I, like the many other uneducated imbeciles of the time, decided that it would be a worthwhile use of my valuable time and resources to join Smogon and complain angrily about the banning of Garchomp to Ubers in the Diamond/Pearl generation – for those of you who need a little history backstory, I'm probably not the best person to give it to you, admittedly, but I can cut a very long story short. Smogon wasn't, as far as I am aware, even close to how big it is now until the release of Diamond and Pearl, and the sudden ability for millions of people such as myself to play and battle online without using IRC scripts or Netbattle to play what was still ostensibly a children's game over the internet against a group of die-hard Pokemon fans who formed what seemed to be an impenetrable clique. So why did simulator battling suddenly become popular? Well, there was the fact that the bloody DS Wi-fi never worked… and that even when it did it would perpetually freeze or crash or burn when you were in the middle of a battle… and that I have no idea why any introverted nerd would ever want to attend an event dedicated to something they do when they're bored. But mostly the discovery of convenience – being able to quickly and easily create a team of whatever the hell you wanted from scratch, battle with it in seconds, and be able to lift the easiest and best sets direct from an analysis, for every single Pokemon in the game – without any kind of research – was a revelation.
Rather predictably, however, I mistimed, and equally predictably, Garchomp was voted Über – the first case of its kind. Oh, I should probably also have mentioned the Suspect Testing. In the past, I guess whoever had the "big stick" at Smogon decided what the tiers were, and everyone went along with it. Then we get Suspect Testing, the first serious attempt to introduce democracy to the process. Which would be great if I agreed at all with any decision the system has ever made ever… or with the system itself. But that's quite beside the point. Garchomp's Über now, so what do we do? Easy… vent frustration by trying to logically argue the case that maybe just maybe you are being a teensy bit over-zealous in banning something that is very much borderline. And of course, when that fails, get angry and start employing rhetoric. Weirdly, looking back on it, I never got an infraction for anything I posted during that time period… I guess pretty much everyone was a troll back then, so I kind of blended in with the crowd. For reference, there's no way Garchomp was ever broken in DP OU and it was a reactionary movement both in testing the arm of the Suspect concept and against the shift away from the defensive metagame that everybody remembered from RSE. Old opinions die hard, I guess.
So eventually this gets boring, and I start looking around for something else to ruin. Well, no, it didn't actually go like that, but… eventually I arrive back at CAP, and find that in my absence, Fidgit has been and gone, and Stratagem is nearly over. So, with little to no knowledge of how the process works or even what the point of the whole endeavour is, I immediately leap in to grace the CAP community with the illustrious benefits of my infinite, knowledge, wisdom, and dare I say total obliviousness to how pretentious I sound when I try to exemplify the above traits alongside an opinion.
CAP 5 said:Protolith sounds cool, but more like a geological sample than a pokemon.
Strategem... for me, the fact it is an English word has an averse effect; I mean, it doesn't really suit a rock.
Therefore, I conclude that I shall vote Protolith.
Adorable. I couldn't even spell "adverse" correctly. This was, as you may recall or recognise, CAP 5's final Name Poll, with tennisace at the helm, or as he was known then, tennisace0227 (three cheers for good old random numbers), with Protolith facing off against Stratagem. This was just after the CAP 5 Art Submissions debacle (of which I was blissfully unaware at the time, and only came across while reading some earlier process threads later on). With my support, Protolith didn't have a hope in hell of winning, obviously. But at the very least, I'd made my mark on CAP, and that counted for something, right? Well… eh. Unfortunately for the whole community, my quite obvious unparalleled genius and wit failed to be recognised, and as such, the whole of CAP was deprived of the benefits of my glorious intellect for pretty much the vast majority of the next few CAPs. Just think what could have been, had my talents been recognised then, and I been given the power that I so obviously deserved!
bugmaniacbob;1624963 said:I don't know if I'm allowed to post concept submissions, but I read the rules four times over and I'm sure it says I can post vague ideas...
Anyway, this is a watered down concept of a pokemon I envisualised once, of course no more details as such.
Concept: 'Defensive Dragon'
Description: A Dragon with defensive capabilities that can viably defend itself against other Dragons.
Well, that's the concept. I'm not sure if I'm allowed to do so, but I wanted to include some ideas as to how the pokemon may be able to defend itself against its kindred. If you don't want to see, don't highlight this text.
- An Ability: Something like a Flash Fire variant, perhaps, to sponge up Dragon-Type moves.
- Mega Defensive Stats: Although they'd have to be pretty big...
- Typing: Difficult, because the only type that resists Dragon is Steel...
Or, maybe not. The above is something I used to rather affectionately remember as my first foray into CAP territory, my first tentative baby steps that would one day lead to great strides and mighty leaps, and then eventually, oh my, yes eventually, reclining lazily back in a tweed armchair while I mercilessly order the poor, helpless members of the CAP Project to dance until their feet bleed for my amusement (what would we do without metaphors?). But surprisingly, it turns out that this wasn't my first, or my second, or anywhere near close to my earliest posts in CAP. In fact, it was a full month after the first quoted post – a full month in which I was apparently doing stuff, though I've no idea what that was – before the above idiocy cropped up. Still, that's getting a little bit ahead of time. There were, after all, a few things that appeared in the month between these two events. This mainly refers to a curious little oddity in CAP's history known only as "EVO".
Now, I should probably point out at this very early juncture that I had pretty much nothing to do with EVO in any even vaguely important respect – not even putting a word or two into those famously chaotic discussions. I merely jumped in once, said the word "Pinsir" a lot, and disappeared again. Now, for those of you who don't know what I'm on about, EVO was a side-project that ran simultaneously with CAP 5 and was designed to exploit an existing niche using an existing but lacklustre Pokemon as a base. And rather predictably, it degenerated rather quickly into flavour (back then an even bigger taboo) and Farfetch'd. Why exactly am I bringing this up? Well, if you aren't one of the people who, unlike myself, choose to spend what little free time they have delving through forum archives as opposed to, I don't know, say, spending time with friends or family, I feel that it's necessary to give you a little required reading – specifically, the two posts on this page by DougJustDoug and X-Act, two of the people whose contributions to CAP honestly can't be stressed enough, but here's not the place to review their accomplishments – a couple of posts that do leave a rather marked impression, not purely as an example of how the CAP Project was in the past, but its fidelity to its core values or, more accurately, mix in a number of universally held points alongside the context of the time. The trivialities that we so often get ourselves hung up over, those who care only for a few parts of the process, not the whole, and the problems with poll-jumping and flavour. On a more positive note, those who step up to lead the discussions and try to make them work, the belief in allowing people to organise themselves and direct by example, the fierce defence of the process against those who don't quite see the point of it. As X-Act noted, "there's no way to prove that your opinion is right here", and as such all people, badgeholders and non-badgeholders alike start out on an equal footing from that first sentence. There are also bits of it that we can keep in mind when looking back on CAP 4, and looking ahead to the future – particularly the bit about the workhorses of the project. I've mentioned Doug and X-Act – I could just as easily mention tennisace, Umbreon Dan, Rising_Dusk, Fuzznip, or any number of others who have made all this possible through blood, toil, tears and sweat. And to a large extent, they're all gone or less active now. New workers are needed, and there's never been a bigger need for them. And there's a good reason I'm saying this – because I physically can't do it. But I'll get back to that later.
So, you may be wondering, why bring up the concept submission? It was dire, yes, but not really more so than any other concept submission around that time, really. After all, they never really had that much structure. Well, after the above had resolved itself, I came back to CAP, and was surprised to see that the EVO Project had disappeared (by this time, CAP 5 had also finished a while ago). Still, never be discouraged, unless your death is imminent. I decided to actually try to find out how the CAP process worked. Now, we didn't have the good old CAP site back in those days (or if we did, it certainly wasn't advertised well enough), so I read the somewhat vague sticky threads religiously. All right, I said to myself. Apparently, we have to post a competitive concept for the Pokemon. Ok, I've written my concept, and it conforms to all the specifications. Ok, so do I just post it in the main forum? This guide is rather vague. Surely if anybody could just waltz in and post a concept, they'd have way more than five CAPs by now? Oh well, nothing else for it but trial and error. And yes, rather than bothering to rummage further through CAP process threads to find a suitable Concept Submissions thread to rummage through, I was one of those imbeciles you mock, who posted his concept in its own thread before a CAP had even begun. And in fact, the thread was never deleted, so it's right there for all you lovely people to gawk over and what not.
In any case, I fled chastened, with a jolly old infraction in hand, and as such kind of missed the bus on the beginning of CAP 6 (which started about a week later). So, yes, while I'd love to say that lurking gave me the opportunity to study the CAP Project and associated process in action, in detail, in real-time, to be perfectly honest I was hiding under a rock for most of it, and missed nearly all of the important bits of the CAP – Concept, Typing, Ability, and Stats – returning right in the middle of Art Submissions. So then, why not try my hand at art submissions? After all, it ought to be pretty hard to screw up posting some artwork, right?
CAP 6 said:
…and there we have infraction #2. Wasn't that fun, children? I suppose I should probably note that the above was based on the mantis shrimp and well… yes, I did think it was pretty horrible at the time, but I thought posting something was better than posting nothing. Ah well. Back to the drawing board. Quite literally, in this case. Still, never mind. If nothing else, I could always think of an extraordinarily pretentious set of names for Name Submissions.
CAP 6 said:I think I would name it...
Carmolée or Epolace.
Both names are amalgamations of Carapace, Mollusc and Epée, representing the parts of the pokémon; Carapace for the shell, Mollusc for the squid, and Epée for the sword.
I think that if you look into these, my slate for Aurumoth's name polls starts to make a lot more sense…
So, anyway, enough of that. CAP 6 is over, and CAP 7 is about to begin! Three cheers and hearty bellows, lashings of ginger pop all round, et ceteri. So, let's recap how far I've come on my CAP odyssey, after participating in two (kind of) CAP Projects – I have successfully demonstrated that I can't follow simple instructions or research process properly, can't read rules, and have terrible taste in names (and pretty much any kind of flavour really). All in all, you would be well within your rights to predict that I am the sort of rotten, miserable little imbecile that always has to ruin the fun for everyone else. After all, after two CAPs of nothing but utter bilge, surely he won't have changed at all?
CAP 7 said:Name: Dragon's Bane
Description: A pokemon built with emphasis on countering, not only Dragons themselves, but also the hideously overpowered Dragon moves that make them so deadly (you know the ones...).
The plethora of moves available to Dragons to stop Steel-types from ruining their fun has led many to believe that this is an impossible endeavour without the hypothetical counter having ridiculous base stats, so I'd be interested to see how the community approaches this sort of project.
And looking at the concept I submitted… you'd be totally right, I guess. Old habits die hard, and all that… some day, Dragon's Bane, you will be victorious in a CAP concept poll… just like Jack of All Trades, Winter Wonderland, and all those other ones on the "if we ever run out of ideas" list. But yeah, looking at that, you'd be well within your rights to ask yourself, "What is this guy thinking?" (This is of course assuming that you actually remember the idiot who decided it would be a bright idea to post a concept in its own thread under the expectation that it would lead to a CAP despite all the evidence to the contrary…). After all, you'd think that after two CAPs, I'd have an idea that wasn't exactly the same as the disastrous concept from months before. Honestly. And yet…
Sorry if I've bored you, I promise we're getting to the take-home message soon enough. But here's the interesting part of CAP 7. You can work out for yourselves exactly by how much I'd got better through the two CAPs I'd taken part in, just from that little snippet of conversation – and probably also from my vehement support of the Bug-type in the Typing Discussion. But at the same time, some things do change. This CAP was the first time I had submitted my own stat spread – and somehow, I managed to come third. True, I was miles behind first and second, but for someone who's pretty much a "new guy" even at that point, it's pretty much functionally equivalent to winning regardless. And there's a weird message in that, which is that really, it doesn't matter what people think of you as a person, so long as your submission is good – which is something I really like about the way CAP works. I could submit a terrible, horrible concept for one poll, and get nowhere, and then I can submit a stat spread not long afterwards, and actually not do that badly. Well… it's a bit out of character for me to be so sunny and dreamy, isn't it? I suppose my cynical side wants to point out that first and second place in that poll both belonged to long-time, respected CAP contributors, who were far and away ahead of everyone else, and that, yes, we have a very real problem even now with voting based on the person who submitted it, even though it isn't talked about as much any longer… but hey, getting the encouragement and support of the TL and ATL was really satisfying enough. Oh my, such pathetic sentiment. Shall we move on to the moral message? I suppose we had better…
As I said at the beginning – stick around for a bit, and you get recognised. It's really rather surprising how many people I know and can place into specific voter demographics (if you will) based on my seeing them in the previous CAP, or even a long time before. It's rather nice, in a way, that we as a community can recognise each other in this way – though I won't pretend that my view of everybody is always positive. But I'm always prepared to judge by post, and not by poster – as others have apparently been willing to do for me in the past. And now, four years after making my first post, I'm a Topic Leader. It's a bizarre feeling to be trusted by a community to such an extent after such a farcical entrance, but there it is. I wasn't around since the beginning, like Deck and so many others, and I certainly didn't come into the community in a blaze of glory, like Rising_Dusk. I haven't even really changed much in those four years, either – I'm not much more emotionally mature, or even intelligent, than I was back then, but it's a community that takes time to get used to. Once you're here, it's rather remarkable, in a way. I'm still filling the role of bitter cynic – a role it was rather painful to drop for the entirety of CAP 4 – but for now, I'll just say, pretty much everyone in CAP is capable of the same, even if you didn't have the most encouraging start. And one more thing – this is a two-way street. I encourage moderators to not look down on those they don't like as posters, or ever harbour any doubt that they could at some point be star contributors (yes I know sometimes it's hard but let's just speak of this in hypothetical terms please). Above all, don't be afraid to give second chances, even to those who have screwed up massively. I needed third, fourth, and fifth chances before I got the hang of this. And no, please don't think I'm lecturing you in any way. There's a marvellous culture in CAP that should be preserved, and I implore you to do so in your own way. But this is something that everybody, from mods to casual voters, should be bearing in mind.
So, then, we've had our little trainwreck of an analogy up above. Doubtless most of you could find infinitely better examples, but hey, I'm me and my self is quite happy where it is. The rest isn't particularly important… tried to make Cyclohm a Bug-type too, got another Art thread infraction, and elsewhere, I got myself a nice collection of badges. As it turns out, my cunning plan to create a username with "Bug Maniac" in it, coupled with writing immensely long analyses of nothing but Bug-types, meant I got a Pre-Contributor pretty early on in my C&C career. Huzzah for ladybirds. I believe one person called me "the best gimmick user ever", which is a double-edged compliment if ever I've heard one. Rather like being called the least terrible option for Topic Leader. But who am I to judge? Anyway, we're straying slightly from the point here. We've been through my base history, and now we move on to the main event. Fasten those safety belts.
More than two months ago, I posted a thread under the approval of Birkal for us to start CAP 4 immediately – and by an almost unanimous vote, the motion passed, and our grand journey commenced. It had been quite a while since Mollux ended, and very few of the open PRC topics were even close to being completed. I myself viewed it as something of an exercise in futility to try to attempt to get them moving, especially when school appeared to have started for most people, and even during the summer, there had been few posts on any subject, despite the best efforts of myself and a good number of others to get them rolling. Many of us held the view that the solution to the problem was to pull CAP back on its feet – we had just lost a number of our important, old contributors, such as Rising_Dusk and zarator, and our active numbers were pretty thin on the ground. As such, possibly a new CAP would bring in the activity and members we needed to get CAP back into the shape it needed to be in for progress to start. While I didn't mention it at the time (or perhaps I did, but unintentionally) I had personal reasons for wanting the start of the Project as soon as possible. I was less than a month away from moving on up in the world, and didn't really have any idea how much of a toll university life would take on my time. As such, I pretty much went into this viewing it as my last chance, really, to take on a Topic Leader role, and much more importantly, to do it well. Even before the Topic Leader vote commenced, I had only a few weeks left of unlimited leisure time – time I found myself quite honestly wanting to put to this use. To be perfectly honest, it is unlikely that I would never again have been able to apply for Topic Leader, but at that point in time I was feeling far more confident in my abilities, and far more uncertain about the future, than I do now.
I'm certain you remember the results of that poll quite well (well you would, wouldn't you, since I'm here now). Though for myself, one with a piquant dislike of the dramatic (and yes, that's an oxymoron, don't bother asking), the poll was something of a nightmare. Running into the poll full of hope; resignation at the realisation that pretty much nobody on the PRC was voting for me, and that jas had the competition pretty much sewn up; mild surprise when my vote count started to climb up; trepidation as capefeather made a last-minute rally to draw level; breaking hope again as four last-minute votes pulled me clear of jas; and finally, blinding rage at Birkal's obvious intense pleasure at withholding the results from us over IRC to ramp up the tension (seriously that really wasn't kind). Well, blinding rage is a bit strong, since I tend not to ever get angry any longer, if I can help it. Let's say, "Mildly annoyed". And right at the end, the sudden realisation that people were expecting me to give a 10,000-word victory speech. Not really having expected to win, I hadn't thought of preparing such a thing beforehand. I had won despite not receiving the support of pretty much any moderator or member of the PRC – pretty much the only demographic that I thought I would be receiving votes from – and apparently, I'm a lot more liked by the community at large than I had known, which I must say is very gratifying. But not to worry – fortunately, fluff and flavour come naturally, and I quickly constructed one of the rather more long-winded and flowery ways of promising to not be long-winded and flowery when writing posts, as jas61292 was to later put it (I think. Correct me if I'm wrong). And then, I make four additional promises, and I'm pretty sure I haven't kept any of them. Well, all right, they were qualified with a "maybe", and none of them were deliberate, necessarily (see there I go doing it again). But anyway, let us move on.
Suddenly, Concept Submissions were upon us, and our great CAP journey had begun – while I was still trying to get used to the idea that, in fact, I had all the power of the CAP Project at my disposal, for a mere two months. That and I could now see every deleted post in the forum, which made the whole layout a lot less pleasant. Rather tingly. This was, of course, something of a revelation, and I launched myself into the task with all the vim that I could muster. Probably. I remember being more tired than anything else at the time, but whatever makes the story more interesting. Anyway… I went into my first post with three key thoughts in mind. Firstly, to remember my "election pledge", if you will (kind of bizarre, looking back on it), to force the community to think about decisions that they might otherwise avoid, in terms of deliberately steering the CAP in a difficult, but not divisive, direction (look at me, being all rhetorical) – and to try to push the boundaries of what we were considering acceptable, and to challenge ourselves rather more than we had been doing – to create a Pokemon, rather than to build a concept, if you will. Or rather, to be engineers rather than architects. Or something like that. Secondly, to try to avoid taking the whole thing too seriously – Now, you may say at this point "but you never did do that, did you?" Well, yes, I grant that I brought out the iron hand rather more often than I would have liked to. But that comes later. My initial desire, for what it's worth, was to have a CAP Project where I was more approachable as a Topic Leader than perhaps others were before, where I was inviting people to question things that I thought, ask questions of me, discuss what we were trying to achieve. Lord only knows if I succeeded, because I don't have the faintest clue. If I did, great, if I didn't, then you should know that, yes, I was trying my absolute utmost to answer everybody frankly and invite counterpoints while at the same time keeping the discussion on the straight and narrow and not branching off into too many avenues. Finally, and you may say that this was remiss of me, but I went into battle with a plan in my head. I'd be lying if I said I went into CAP 4 with an open mind, because I had a very clear idea at the start of what I wanted to get out of the project, but then, that's just how I operate. I can't really work in any other way. Whatever the concept turned out to be, I wanted to see it look totally different and more than anything else to exemplify things that we usually shied away from on CAP – big discrepancies between statistics, crippling flaws offset by big advantages, that sort of thing. The sort of thing that we never really do on CAP – or at least, any longer. We ran out of kitchen sinks a while ago.
So, you can see why "Living on the Edge" immediately appealed to me. It was challenging, it was big, and it had the potential to do everything I asked of it. Perfect Nemesis was another that did the same – it specified a crippling weakness that required offsetting. Now, I should probably point out here, in case anybody gets the wrong idea, that I did not waddle straight into the Concept Submissions thinking "we must do things this way". If I had thought that way, and no other way, I would have slated Zystral's concept, "Breaking Point", without question. As it stood, I could see how it would end up down the line – shouting, bad tempers, my having to impose a definition on people who disagreed with it, and above all, not necessarily telling us any more than we knew already, for lack of an end point beyond "big huge ugly evil thing". I went through every single concept that was submitted (well, all those that weren't leapt on by the moderators for whatever rule infringement it might have been), analysed them, thought about them, spent entire days agonising over them, and posted what I thought. Despite what I had said, I was almost disappointed. There wasn't really anything grand or imposing or fantastically new and imaginative – there more potential than you could shake a stick at, but alas, it was all mostly coming from concepts submitted in ages past, or slightly remade. I don't think that there was any concept that really enraptured me as such, though there were plenty that many people liked that I felt I had to be rid of. The only important one of these was Breaking Point, and it wasn't a decision I made lightly, if you'll excuse the cliché. I was hoping I wouldn't have to instigate the wrath of the community so early on, since, well, I knew that given the way I thought about things, I was bound to start encountering quite a bit of resistance before long, when I started not slating things I didn't like. Possibly this is what caused me to slate Weak Armour. But we can get to that later. After an agonising time of whittling them down, I had a shortlist of fifteen, seven of which I actually liked (rather than their just being "good concepts"). And I spent at least a day thinking carefully about what to put on the slate, when Birkal kindly reminded me that I only had a maximum slate of seven options anyway. Joy unbounded – I could make a full slate of things I actually liked! And rather predictably, Birkal's and capefeather's ended up in the final poll together, the two that I had wanted since the very beginning. Joy unbounded, my dears. Joy unbounded.
Now, some of you have occasionally intimated that I am something of a Machiavellian figure, and I can assure you, that though I may lurk in the shadows saying nothing and act incredibly bizarrely at times and eat rats with my custard creams, I am no malevolent puppetmaster. The fact that I got my ladybird for writing a small number of analyses about Bug-types with a name like bugmaniacbob is pure coincidence. The fact that I managed to both indirectly instigate and become Topic Leader of CAP 4 is pure coincidence. And of course, the fact that CAP 4 turned out to be a Bug-type is pure…
OK, I admit, I did really want this to be a Bug-type. But only once the two final concepts were chosen – and at that point, I began to think to myself. This isn't exactly strange – I did want to get a handle on what I eventually expected to produce before we got to the moment of having-to-post-thoughts. For Perfect Nemesis? We wanted a Pokemon with a unique type combination, which resisted a combination of moves that no other Pokemon resisted, and then give our CAP those moves only – so then, what better than Toxicroak, with its Poison/Fighting typing and Dry Skin? More to the point, what could it beat? Why, a Water/Bug CAP 4, with Grass moves for Jellicent and Rock moves for Dragonite, of course! For Risky Business? Well, we could cross that bridge when we came to it. Fortunately for the community, I think, the one I had invested a lot less time into thinking about – and the one I had supported throughout – turned out to be the victor by a narrow margin. Now, I will admit that very possibly I had isolated Perfect Nemesis and Risky Business as being those most likely to produce a Bug-type quite early on in the Concept Submissions. But as you can see from the slate, I didn't labour particularly long on the point. Once we'd got them, I started to get more attached to the idea. But more on that later. By this point, we'd arrived at the jolly old Concept Assessment, possibly my least favourite part of the process. And no, I don't know why that is. Possibly because it's always a tad directionless despite our best efforts – or our best acronyms. Or maybe it's because I was dreading having to impose a definition of Risk on people when I knew that the large majority of people would probably ignore it and go with their own regardless. This is perhaps something to be thankful for – it would be boring if we all agreed about everything. Oh wait, there was a fourth thing as well – I needed a Topic Leader footnote gimmick. And as ever, I resolved to put more effort into it than anybody had done before. At least it wasn't particularly hard to think of something to put – droning on about arthropods is quick, simple, thoroughly interesting and looks like it took more effort than it did. Even though in some cases, as it turns out, the opposite was the case. It took way more effort than it looked like it did.
So, I thought about the problem, formulated some questions concerning how I'd go about thinking about Risk and Reward, in the overarching sense, and had a shot at answering them myself. By the time I was finished, I had a good framework, a solid idea of where to take the concept, and most importantly of all, a big fat 2000-word OP. And then my computer crashed. So I shrugged and typed it all up again. One of the great things about C&C on Smogon is that eventually you cease to get annoyed when you lose about a day's worth of work in an instant through no fault of your own – it happens frequently enough. It's probably done more for my anger management than all my logic and common sense combined (ok not really but it would be so nice if it had done). Fortunately, my computer is now on life support and has only gone blue-screen on me about three times since I bought a load of external devices to stop it dying. Up until somewhere around the Name Polls, it was killing itself every time I watched so much as a youtube video. Anyway, Concept Assessment. Rather predictably, everyone answered different questions at once and nobody seemed able to agree on one anything. Which gave me a goodish number of opinions and viewpoints to sift through, but was rather a headache from an administrative perspective. But right up until Arghonaut cropped up for no adequately explained reason, the level of thought being put into posts was staggering. This is one of those parts of the process where you do really appreciate having that many opinions and so many different takes on a very diverse idea, all in the same place. In fact, it was pretty much then that I realised that I couldn't possibly respond to absolutely everything, and as such, I just hoped that people would take the initiative to see that their line of enquiry was either being followed or put aside. In any case, I found the lines of thought that I agreed most strongly with, and commented on those I did not agree with, and then produced more questions following on from there. In my mind, I was slowly building up a tree of how we would proceed under every conceivable eventuality. Or something like that. And by the end of it all, I had a very good idea indeed of what I wanted to achieve from the CAP, if not exactly how we would go about obtaining it. If that "Best Discussion" thread from PRC ever materialises, I'd certainly not be sorry to see this one winning – though there was far less debate than in other threads, it was structured, everybody seemed to have their own thoughts, and it was extremely useful for me personally. Ultimately a lot of my thoughts leaving the thread were expressed by the midnight IRC chat log I posted there, but here's the bit I decided to push for throughout all further discussions:
<Pwnemon> if we can fuse intensive team support risk with prediction once in risk <Pwnemon> i will consider this project a 10/10
So, the great and mighty CAP train chugged ever onwards, and we moved on to typing, adamant in our decision to create an offensive/supporting Pokemon that was a big investment to pick and a big risk to use – well, I was, anyway. Not sure how many people actually got that from the Concept Assessment thread, but to me, it was all perfectly clear, and pretty much everything had gone just as I had planned up until that point. Anyway, as I entered typing discussions I summoned all the different thoughts about ideal typings that I had dreamt up over the course of Concept Assessment and flung them all airily into one big vague "here's what I'm looking for". In hindsight, possibly the whole system of giving my opinion and inviting people to find things that correspond with it was flawed, but it seemed to work out all right in this case. Somewhat annoyingly (in one sense), my two favourite typings came out almost immediately – Bug/Psychic and Bug/Dragon. Rather like the Concept Submissions, I felt certain that these two were the winners, or rather, the best of the best. I had some very particular requirements, not least of which was something akin to a unique typing – I had a feeling that the way the CAP would be played would require some form of niche to make it work, and as such, the investigation of the way that the typing allowed comparisons to other, similar Pokemon was to be encouraged. On the other hand, there were a lot of typings that were "all right", but didn't get slated for whatever reason. Fire/Electric? Rotom-H exists, and is a very risky Pokemon, due to reliance on Overheat for Fire-type STAB and other such things. Fire/Psychic? Victini exists, and has STAB V-create. So what is there out there? Bug/Psychic pretty much ticked all the boxes, and Bug/Dragon was in a class of its own as far as the "inferior powerhouse" idea was concerned. On the one hand Volcarona, on the other hand Kyurem. But I honestly wanted to find some other typings of a similar standard. I really did. Electric/Psychic was definitely something I wouldn't have been sorry to see on CAP 4, but it's a show of my frustration at my inability to find a similarly good typing that I ended up slating Grass/Flying, a typing which I saw had merit but didn't truly believe could give us the best possible CAP 4, solely for lack of any better options. Fortunately, it didn't come down to that. Bug/Psychic and Bug/Dragon had their standoff, and ultimately, the more recognisably risky typing was the one that won out. Threats Discussion came afterward, and was mostly a consensus – plenty of checks, but no true counters. This was a large part of my master plan to create a versatile yet risky attacker, who could also support its team, without the opponent's knowledge that it could do so. Obviously, the details of that Pokemon were yet to be hammered out.
Thus, we came on to the moderate trainwrecks that were the Ability Discussions. Now, I wasn't too fond of how they had gone just after they were finished, but on reconsideration, I'd say that, like pretty much the entirety of CAP 4, I'm very happy with how they resulted indeed. I went into the Primary Ability Discussion wanting some sort of "triality" (yeah I made the word up, but somebody must have used it beforehand, right?) between three different, each competitively viable abilities. This is largely why I went with abilities first – though I didn't say so at the time – because an overly impressive stat spread could quite easily have affected peoples' perceptions of how good certain ability combinations were. If I were to go through the whole thing again, I would probably have combined the three into one single "suggest a combination of three abilities" discussion, though I'm not even sure if such a thing would have been, or even is now, within the Topic Leader's power to decide. In any case, the results weren't exactly that bad, though I didn't feel that way at the time. Now, we had four excellent ability suggestions in No Guard, Illusion, Simple, and Moxie, all of which affected the CAP in different ways and doubtless would shape the CAP from the outset. And then we had Weak Armour, that horrible little niche ability that I thought few cared about. It was so very obvious to me – as someone who values obtuse or counter-intuitive ways of solving problems, as well as the simplest ones, Weak Armour seemed to fall right in the middle, and to me, was symptomatic of our falling into the trap of "taking the easy way out", in much the same way as custom abilities are seen. In fact, I'm willing to bet that Weak Armour's introduction led to the veritable plethora of custom abilities being proposed in the Secondary Ability Discussion. As it stood, though, I felt bad for having slated it. It felt like I had caved in to popular demand as opposed to standing up for the direction I felt I should have been going in – and I'm sure some of you will remember that my conversations on IRC at this time reflected this greatly. Yes, I knew Weak Armour would win if I slated it, and I had done so anyway, which while I suppose creditable in the sense that I had made a decision to give the community that decision, was nevertheless vexing. Indeed, possibly Weak Armour was a blessing in disguise, as well as a curse. Had a more defining ability been chosen, it may well have pressured voters to vote against further abilities, though I am of the opinion that Weak Armour ought by rights to be a pretty defining ability – and a large number of people, judging by the Secondary Ability Discussion, felt the same way. In any case, it was the first vote that had gone against my ideal, and as such, at the time I was attempting to find a way to pick up the pieces again and get back on track.
So, on came the Secondary Abilities. Now, Primary Abilities had had its fair share of horrifically bad abilities and people not listening when I noted that their preferred abilities went against my direction for the CAP, such as the unfortunate cases of Hustle, Flare Boost, and Motor Drive, amongst others. But this all paled in comparison to the ruckus caused by my refusal to even consider Analytic, and it seemed to take three huge posts expounding upon the same points before people actually began to address my arguments – or simply stop posting. Well, all right, Flare Boost came close to causing that much tension, but Analytic nearly had me at the end of my tether – I was so tired that I couldn't stand to write any more to defend a viewpoint that nobody was analysing and it didn't honestly matter if anybody questioned. But I stuck with, I did it, and I'm glad I did, because some people seemed to get the message by the end. In any case, my slate rather reflected the way I was thinking at the time, in that I was only slating those options that I myself very much wanted. Possibly my reaction to Analytic was a rebound to what happened with Weak Armour. In any case, all I slated were abilities that I was sure would pair up well with Weak Armour, while at the same time giving a very real possibility of a third ability, and thus "triality". In the end, Illusion came out victorious in a first-round supermajority, which, while I had not supported it myself, was actually a rather comforting occurrence, for the very simple reason that, while there were many who supported it, there were far more out there who actively hated it.
And so, we came on to the Tertiary Ability thread. Now, as I said before, I wanted a third ability, and it was firmly within my grasp, so by all rights I should have stamped my foot angrily and said "right, this is what we're going to do". But, I guess I didn't. Instead I gave a rather bland OP, posted some pictures of bunny rabbits and rather adorable spiders, and left people to get on with it. Now, this was remiss of me, as ever, and rather predictably, the "No Competitive Ability" crowd leapt out in full force. As with Hustle, Flare Boost, and a lot of other things that I had expressly forbidden beforehand. I'm not going to lie; it was very tiresome, and quite annoying. So, I prepared for one last push for No Guard by slating it alongside No Competitive Ability – in short, I was prepared to stake my all. That's an overly dramatic way of putting it, but by that point I had almost ceased to care what happened in that stage. I had tried to make it light and fluffy, but it was a rather difficult thing to do. Fortunately, I had faith in No Guard – I do have a very great love of bizarre ways of doing things, which has manifested itself in multiple places in this CAP – and more importantly, I had faith in the effect of the poll as I had set it up. There were those who wanted a third ability at any cost, those who simply had a vendetta against Illusion, and those who were probably trying to troll the concept – all of whom combined to bring victory. Some may say that's a rather immoral way of approaching the final poll – but really, that wasn't the thought process that was going through my head. I had considered that slating No Guard alongside something like Mummy would be far more likely to bring the desired result, but in the end, I was purely putting the options to the CAP community, and we got what we voted for.
I'm fairly certain that everybody except for me came out unhappy with the abilities. People who liked Weak Armour hated No Guard. People who liked No Guard hated Weak Armour. And pretty much everyone hated Illusion. I seemed to be the only one who actually liked how the three abilities interacted and could possibly play together – so much so that I actually began to grow rather fond of Weak Armour, which had once been the representation of the worst mistake a Topic Leader could make. Possibly I was only happy because I had come out of a difficult situation with my vision for CAP 4 intact. Anyway, it mattered little. We were on to the stats, and on the one hand, we had three hugely good abilities, while on the other, we had a relatively poor typing. Now, I think that this is an appropriate time to bring up yet another of Doug's quotes, and by jingo, if the guy isn't psychic:
DougJustDoug;4392910 said:I still support Risky Business too, because I think the self-balancing nature of the concept would be fun to wrestle with as a group. The "let's make this amazing" crowd will have a voice, and the "let's nerf this" crowd will have a voice too. In the end, we'll have to do both to succeed. I don't know if any CAP project has ever given such complete legitimacy to BOTH factions in the same project. That game of tug-of-war will be epic. I suspect I would switch sides frequently!
A pretty perfect prediction of exactly how the entirety of CAP 4 turned out. Well, all right, it wasn't entirely Nostradamus but it serves to illustrate the outline of how the stats discussion went, or at least how I recall it going. An initial, very conservative set of stat limits rather snowballed when it became rather clear that a lot of people wanted the CAP to excel or be terrible in rather different areas, and as such, it was a bit of a nightmare to look at as a Topic Leader. Some people wanted low Speed and others wanted high Speed, which skewed the attacking BSRs to no end. Now, you may well say, why couldn't I just have put very lax limits in place, and left it there, as arguably I eventually did. Well, it seemed rather unbearable that I should take absolutely no lead in telling people what I wanted from the CAP, which was a problem when I could see the merits of either path and had indeed incorporated both approaches into my master plan as different forks. Maybe I was still feeling the after-effects of the Abilities, and was unwilling to give the same leeway twice. But regardless, eventually I did do what I felt would generate the best possible submissions and be fairest to the community – this not being the last time I would attempt to take both sides as far as the war between "nerf it" and "make it amazing" crowds were concerned. Perhaps more so than I ought to have done – I still slightly regret setting the BSR limit slightly too low, though admittedly it ended up being inconsequential.
Yes, as far as this CAP goes, I will admit, I did have a "wish list" – that is to say, things that I wanted this CAP to be. This manifested itself in different ways at different stages (and I won't pretend it didn't), though it never really took over my competitive concerns. What I really wanted was to make a CAP that was unique, that said something about myself, and even more selfishly, was a symbolic statement. In terms of uniqueness, I wanted something that pushed all the boundaries of what was considered acceptable or exceptional. In terms of personification, I wanted something that reflected who I was as a person and the effort I had put into leading it – something that if not entirely the same as my vision, was at least something I could be proud of, and look back on without regrets – and something that I could see representing myself. Mostly this only manifested itself in terms of "grand, imposing, powerful artwork" alongside "extraordinarily pretentious name" and "dex entry that isn't even trying to take that stage seriously". That's actually a fairly good way of summing me up, or at least in terms of CAP contributions.
I won't pretend I wasn't biased slightly towards an attempt to make the "Ultimate Bug-type", and even more so towards having a unique typing, though I could justify both in competitive concerns. Likewise, I wanted an ability "triality", not purely because of the benefits to the concept it granted us in taking things one step further than Yanmega or Bronzong, but also because it was something no CAP Project had done before – and indeed, was a power level that few had tried to reach. By the time stats came around, I was well aware that the power level of our in-progress CAP 4 was dubious. On the one hand, we had a powerful triumvirate of useful abilities. On the other hand, we had a somewhat unknown typing, but both halves rarely used in OU without significant other advantages to their users. Thus, could we push the stats to a power level never before seen in CAP – one of a pseudo-legendary, even? I had made it clear that I wanted the CAP to be versatile both in support and offence – from that, I wanted it to have great attacking and at least some defensive capabilities – and this almost directly led to the vastly inflated BST, despite the fact that a specified high HP would in theory have lowered this value. In my heart of hearts, did I want a pseudo-legendary Bug-type? In truth, I wanted one desperately by the time Stat Submissions finally came upon us. Even so, there wasn't an awful lot to prescribe about it. Those with adequately high offensive and defensive capabilities would be slated, those that didn't would not. This suited me perfectly. We had agreed upon limits that almost necessitated the use of that 600 BST – and if they didn't, the likelihood was that they would have a very high HP stat to compensate, as per lowering BST. And that suited me just fine – either way, I would have plenty of spreads that I liked. And rather predictably, it didn't exactly go according to plan.
Yes, there were lots of spreads that I liked. I had plenty to choose from… far too many to choose from, in fact. The only ones in the thread I couldn't accept were the ones with a HP stat lower than 100 (which was playing into part of my plans for the movepool), and quite apart from that was far more of a liability in terms of other moves – but that's a long story. Cutting them down, by the end, was a nightmare, and I'm not even sure what criteria I was using by the end. Probably a pretty asinine one, because looking back on it, there are a lot of spreads that I should have liked more than those on the slate. But that's neither here nor there. As far as I was concerned, all the ones I eventually slated conformed to a greater or lesser degree to my vision for CAP 4, and I couldn't have been happier with the result. Well, ok, I'd have been happier with a Speed stat of 100 and a rather higher HP stat, but we can't have everything in life. So as you can imagine, I was rather braced by this. Yet another item on my wish list ticked off – and I seemed to be doing a good job in the whole leadership role. Whatever happened after this, I could rest easy knowing that I could be proud of what I had accomplished in this concept… or so I thought.
Next up was art. Now, by this point I was fairly tired of this stage before the polls had even begun. Once you've been around the project for a little bit of time, the whole atmosphere that art polls generate is a bit more grating than it is stimulating, regardless of the calibre of the artwork. I'd already been rather worn out keeping a huge art index up to date, at the same time as keeping a stat spread spreadsheet up to date at the same time (not to mention working on the 5th Gen OU Index, and a bit before this, during the Ability polls, doing a tonne of work trying to finish off the Moves/Items/Abilities Project, which thankfully I have done my part in leading, though I'm still obliged to help out wherever possible). And I wasn't exactly prepared for some of the drama that ended the thread – though I don't want to go into that now. Suffice to say that I ended up taking a side that I've never taken before in any argument, against a lot of people who knew what was going on more than I did, and arguing for something that I never admit I care about in what was probably my most out-of-character moment in the entirety of CAP 4, with the possible exception of that one time on CAP when I started preaching about my love of the CAP community for no real reason. I guess being a Topic Leader and being looked up to kind of rubs off on you after a bit. Would also explain why I started taking the initiative in ways and places I would never ordinarily do, and generating a lot of annoyance from it. But hey, what's done is done, and that whole episode probably explains why I'm not a moderator, if only I could be bothered to think about it a bit more. But, oh well. We had our art threads, and immediately we saw there were three frontrunners. This was perfect, as all three were imaginative, unique, and exuded an aura of pure power, which was everything I wanted. None of them were really entomologically accurate, which was a shame, but hey, can't have everything. To be nice, I brought the top seven into the second poll to give them a shot, and predictably, the top three made it into the single bold votes by a large margin. And so, after a long and gruelling road, we saw KoA go up against Yilx. For somebody like me, who absolutely adores intrigue, the situation could not be more perfect. The top two, the winner of DPP CAP 2 versus the winner of BW CAP 2, both going for their second win, et ceteri. And in the end, the old age triumphed – which I felt was only fitting for any CAP I was presiding over – and we had the majestic Safer Sephimoth floating before us. Now, all we needed was a name. And I was pretty sure that my preferences where names were concerned would irritate a lot of people.
I will admit, I'm pretty inconsistent as a person. I can take quite a lot of things dead seriously. And I can take exactly the same things without an ounce of seriousness or any kind of concern. No idea why. Anyway, this was something that unfortunately came back to bite me when Name Submissions rolled round. I started off the Name Submissions determined to not care in the slightest about what name we had chosen, and to go with what the public wanted. And then I suddenly realised that what the public wanted was something that fundamentally contradicted my own idea of what a good name was – and to my mind, what CAP 4 was. Make no mistake, had I slated it, "Glorifly" or any of the other horrible "-fly" names would have won. But as you will no doubt have guessed from my very first posts in CAP, what I valued in names was, though it doesn't reflect very well on me, pretentiousness, complexity, and meaningfulness – that the name says something about the Pokemon, more so than just being a description. "Aurumoth", to this end, was almost perfect. The divine through gold, the spirit and mind through the imagery of the moth, and a useful wordplay – in fact, it even had a little bit of Latin and made the Psychic-type a lot more subtle than the Bug-type, which was also something I favoured, as well as giving several ways in which a pseudo-legendary line could be formed, in terms of caterpillar > chrysalis > moth or bronze > silver > gold. In short, then, once again I couldn't have been happier with the way this turned out, with the sole exception of the fact that that I really should have slated Glorifly. I suppose it really all came down to this – if I had slated Glorifly (and it would have won, given the competition I set it), I would have regretted it every time I looked at the name. If I didn't slate it, I would regret it right up until the end of the Name Polls, at which point I would cease to care. Maybe that's a little unkind – if I could get used to Kitsunoh after vehemently disliking it when it was proposed, I'm sure I could get over apathy towards Glorifly. Too late now, though. If nothing else, I actually found the reaction to the Name Polls to be utterly hilarious – and I keep on re-reading them just to make myself laugh whenever I feel sad – the reaction is that priceless.
Anyway, once we were done with the names, I suddenly realised that I had to start writing again – I had, after all, spent more than a week doing nothing but preside over polls. And at the same time keeping up various indexes, but nothing much to do with the CAP Project… unless you count the dozen or so process threads that mysteriously sprang up while I was apparently also presiding over a community Pokemon creation project and doing a bunch of other things for parts of the site. Did I get bored during Art Polls and just start writing random threads? Partially, though that's not the whole story. This is a 2k, and I had planned for this to be my 2k ever since I'd got the Topic Leader position. At that point I had calculated how many more posts I'd roughly have to make, and realised that I was quite a few under – and as such, I needed a way to get a large number of posts in a short space of time. So, rather than doing the sensible thing, like posting in SQSA or posting one-liners in a forum, I decided I'd update the entire CAP sub-site instead. And it kind of became something of an obsession; I'd never realised quite how out of date most of the writing was (and still is). Fortunately, I managed to get all the way up to 1,999 posts, so some good came of it, anyway. Plus the feel-good factor of having pretty much outstripped all of the staff's capabilities for getting new stuff on-site, and of course, the ever-endorphin-rushing feeling of helping out. I've talked a bit on IRC about how I feel about the way that these are being handled, and also the way that it's affecting me – I sometimes wonder if people are seeing me as some sort of spiritual successor to Rising_Dusk or tennisace, people who did a huge amount of writing where nobody else was able or willing to do so, and then tried to change parts of the process themselves. But here's not the place to complain about that – and I've gone off-topic, anyway. I need to talk about the CAP site later, but we're in the middle of the Aurumoth Review. So let's get on with it.
So, the Allowed moves. This was, if I'm honest with you, the bit of the CAP that I had been dreading. Firstly, because it was the bit that we absolutely had to get right in order for the whole thing to come together – in my master plan, I had been banking on the superior customisation afforded to us by the movepool options to round out the whole thing and balance the books, as it were. Secondly, because I myself had little to no idea about what I personally wanted, per se – or rather, I knew exactly what my ideal movepool would look like, but the trouble is, I had more than one ideal movepool, each conforming to a very different way of approaching the concept. Thirdly, I really wasn't looking forward to the inevitable giant horrific clash between those for and against Quiver Dance, especially as I did not at that point have any inclination to come down on either side. Attacking Moves was a fairly simple thing to do, as by that time I had more or less resolved that I would allow as much as I thought fair besides some very specific move types, as well as disallowing all the VGMs that could be considered extraneous, for sake of forcing movepool creators to use all their limited VGM slots for versatility. As you probably all know, I very much wanted a versatile Aurumoth as part of my plan, and I did sort of go out of my way to make sure that that would happen. I allowed a lot more moves than I knew movepool makers would have space for, for sake of all the different choices that were possible, as well as a lot of things that I would not have considered necessary or even helpful at the time. But hey, the movepool was the ultimate consolidation of everything we had worked for up until that point, and I didn't want to leave any stone unturned.
And then we came on to the big one. The one that everybody had been waiting for. The showdown that pretty much the entirety of CAP 4 had been leading up to – the struggle for Quiver Dance. This one move pretty much summed up the entire viewpoints of both the "make it better" and "make it weaker" camps – it was a move that patched up pretty much every weakness Aurumoth had in a single turn. Half of us maintained that this worked against what we had tried to achieve – the other half that obtaining that single turn would be a great risk regardless. I don't think I need to explain how difficult this was. To me, both camps had perfectly valid ways of interpreting the concept and both had their respective limitations, and the posts from both only served to reinforce this view. To not have Quiver Dance was to take a risk, to throw Aurumoth out into the unknown and to see what happened. That was one approach. To have Quiver Dance was to give Aurumoth a definite niche, such that it would certainly be usable and would certainly tell us something, but not necessarily as much. Both were legitimate, and as such, I decided to allow it, and give the voters the opportunity to vote for whichever one they believed was the best. To be honest, most of the rest of the Non-Attacking Moves was pretty inconsequential, aside from my disallowing all the random crud that people were coming out with. At last, we came to the final movepool submissions. Now, I was here expecting to see a lot of people trying to get away with posting movepools without egg moves in an attempt to justify legendary status, but to be honest, this bothered me a lot less than it could have done. Through the number of options and limits I had set, these movepools were invariably far less competitively viable than their competition and as such had very few plus points to them at all, so I ended up not slating any of them. Anyway, rather predictably, we ended with a two-horse race between the standard-bearers of the two camps, and their most ardent advocates, jas61292 and Korski. Despite my assumption that nobody would vote for Korski's on the basis that, um, nearly everyone had voted for movepools without Quiver Dance in the first poll, he somehow managed to upset the hitherto linear course of my grand plan and triumph. Still, can't complain if there's nothing to complain about, and I could rest easy, knowing that I was more than happy with every bit of the competitive components of Aurumoth.
Next up were the sprites, and finally I could put my stage catalogues to rest – stats, artwork, movepools, and sprites were all done. No more indexing, hurrah! And five excellent sprites, each of which I would have been more than happy with. Unfortunately, the one I would have been least happy with turned out to win in an absolute landslide, which was irritating but not sufficient to break the flow of joy that carried me through to Dex Entry Submissions. Oh boy… these. It strikes me now that quite a few people didn't quite get that I think that this stage is a pointless waste of space and the only good thing about it is the window to make fun of the Pokemon and the "serious business" aspect of flavour, and as I said before, ideally I'd want a strong artwork, pretentious name, and very silly dex entry as reflecting the way I guided Aurumoth. And of course, people got very protective over it. Very, very protective, in fact. Now, I didn't want to instigate any kind of drama over something that I didn't actually care about anyway, so I left you all to have your flapdoodle. No hard feelings? Of course not… no hard feelings at all…
And that's the end of CAP 4, Aurumoth, my first and only attempt at getting the famously fickle CAP community to gather round and listen to my vision. I have to say, it's not going to be nearly as fun participating from now on, now that nobody will be forced to accept every word I say and I can't do whatever I want, but if I had to pick any CAP I could have presided over, it would have to be this one. It's been amazing to do, though a significant drain on my time and resources, so I'm not entirely sorry to say goodbye. But almost everything went right in this CAP, and I put enough effort into every single bit of it that I think I can safely say I did myself justice. Of course, that's up to you lot and history to judge, not me. Now, there's a lot I would like to say here, but really, I don't have the time to do it or the memory to remember it all, so I'll just end here by saying it's been fantastic to work with you all, and I'd like to thank you all for putting your trust in me to do a good job with this. I hope I've lived up to your expectations. Lastly, I hope that at the very least, the way I've handled this project will be of service to those who come after as both an example for what to do and as a warning for what not to do.
Cheers CAP, it's been fun. Here's to Aurumoth, the greatest Bug-type of them all!
And now, a little bit of a note to end on. Usually in xk threads, we see a few shoutouts, maybe an amusing image or two, or a youtube video or something. Well, for those of you who know me, that's not exactly my style. I remember, or know, or respect pretty much everyone here I've shared a word with, but I couldn't for the life of me pick words to express it because those words just don't exist. I'm glad to be a part of a community, and to discover through this experience that I am apparently liked and respected within it as well – something I've never really considered or thought possible before. It is indeed very gratifying – I have always considered myself new to CAP. In fact, right up until Aurumoth, that was really the way I felt about my position here. I suppose in reality, we'll all always be newcomers to every CAP – I'd like to think that, anyway. Probably not the case in actuality, says my cynical side. But yes, never forget the enjoyment, the discovering of new things, the capacity to every so often not take things quite so seriously. I myself have been guilty of this, and yes, my personal mantra has always been "take everything seriously but yourself". But really, there's so much out there that really isn't worth getting worked up over. We didn't see any fires this CAP, but we might have seen sparks. I think I was generally sufficiently non-confrontational to avoid such a thing, but we all know what happens when stuff balloons up. My very first CAP was CAP 5, and by coincidence, I leave my one shot at being Topic Leader, again to enter into CAP 5, but in a different generation. So many coincidences… but seriously, for the sake of the community and all the new posters who might be watching: think before you press that "post reply" button. Please.
This has been an odd CAP in many ways. We've pushed boundaries, done things we've never done before, but at the same time, not done anything truly novel. We've been counter-intuitive, but that doesn't necessarily constitute blue-skies thinking. We've seen a mix of the old and the new – one only has to look at the final art poll to see that. Indeed, just look at our typing – we now have our very first ever Psychic-type CAP, but at the same time, our other typing, Bug, gives us a link back to the very first CAP. But as far as the Project itself goes, I have no concerns at all. It has worked to near perfection. Possibly we may want to move Abilities to permanently before stats, but really, I think that that ordering should be up to the Topic Leader and what the concept demands – I made the decision to put abilities first because I knew the consequences of an ability triumvirate on the stat spread. But I actually think that there is little that can be done now to improve, until such time as there is a shift in our thinking that merits such a change – and I am genuinely glad that I was able to participate in a CAP that worked so well within its defined parameters. However, this of course begs the question of how I feel about changing what exists. Take movepools, for instance. In my opinion, we have hit the balance just right. The limits as we have them now prevent bloating of movepools in any sense, the subjective VGM lists allow for versatility and flexibility, and more importantly, an intuitive list that is easy to recognise, and movepools are nowhere near as prescriptive and linear as they were when we initially implemented movepool limits. To my mind, we went too far in trying to fix the problem, and now we have regressed now to an ideal. So, let there be no doubt that I wish to preserve a process that I can readily imagine is as responsible for the relative success of the Project as I am.
From that, you can infer that I will not, at the very least, be leaving here any time soon. Well, of course I won't – I still have to see all the articles and calculators I have written put in their rightful places and to see that the process is preserved as it currently is, and enshrined on-site; from there, that the site as it stands is totally up to date, and more importantly, that all those custom CAPs we're planning – particularly competitive CAP – are led to a successful conclusion, whether or not we actually go through with them or not. My To-Do List specifies everything that needs to be done – and once that's empty, there'll be plenty more besides. Oh, and there's other stuff on Smogon that also requires my attention. But here's the thing – I can't be the one to do all this stuff. In the past, we had people like RD and tennisace who, yes, wrote nearly everything on the site, organised it, and pressured people to writing for it. I can write, and I don't believe it's boastful to suggest I'm one of the better writers that the CAP Project has left, factoring in all of ability, free time, and willingness. I'm not nearly so aggressive, nor so meteoric as the above; I've been around for a long while. Less time than others, but still significant. I've calmly watched people join up, seen their skills, maybe grammar checked their articles. I remember Birkal when his name was Yourself, and Omicron when he was a mere chanazn. But in all that time, I haven't really pushed myself on anybody, or thrown myself forwards to demonstrate my potential. I just do the grunt work in the shadows. I'm willing to bet that half the stuff I've written for the site nobody even knows about. I'll probably still be around when today's moderators have hung up their Stone Badges for the last time. And more to the point, I'm very tired indeed. I've expended most of my energy in most of my very first term at university dealing with this Project. Writing essays on coral while discussing movepool flavour on IRC at 2am in the morning eventually takes its toll, though that particular bit I wouldn't change for the world. And yes, it has taken its toll on the quality of my work. But I'm glad that I'm the sort of person who is able to put this much effort into something like this, even if most of it will go unknown. I imagine this is how past contributors to the project felt too, or they would have left a lot sooner. And yet, as I say, I'm not entirely like them.
My goal in updating the site is purely to update the site. I have no particular vision for CAP, only for it to be the best it can be, and to that end, I'll write up whatever we decide upon eventually, irrespective of whether I agree with it or not. But I can't write up everything – and I no longer think that the current system for site updates is sustainable. There is a lot of work to be done, and few people willing to do it – and perhaps quite as seriously, a significant bottleneck to going on-site. This is no salt for the still-in-limbo update threads I have posted, though of course it is related to that – that the idea of trust seems to have disappeared, and possibly for good reason, given where it has led in the past. But it isn't half a turn-off from contributing. As I said before, I can't do it. I'm far too tired and don't intend to do so much grunt work any longer – I have too much writing to do besides. I am encouraging everybody to step forward and write – and you needn't worry about grammar checks. I can do those. I can do introductory paragraphs. I can do pretty much everything at the moment – especially since there isn't much in the way of time pressure. But I don't want for anyone to become the CAP workhorse from now on – including myself. I'd like to see leaders of the community setting an example by starting some work, and members of the community following that example by doing their own stuff. There's plenty to go around.
If I leave any sort of legacy around here, that's what I'd like it to be. But hey, it's a bit premature to start talking about legacies when I intend to lead what I've started to the best of my ability.
If I have caused offence in any part of this post, it was not my intention to do so. Don't think that I am taking what the moderators already do for the community lightly – and really don't think that I am some sort of Machiavellian dictator. Right at the beginning of this, I promised that in the Final Product, I'd be honest and transparent about my thought process throughout the whole thing. And that's what I've done. Yes, I haven't always been the most scrupulous, and some of you may take issue with my planning ahead and in some cases manipulating opinions to favour the options I preferred, though describing it in that way would be flattery in the extreme – I don't think university freshers are capable of psychological warfare on that scale. But here's what I'd like you to take away from this: When judging the success of a CAP, I never look at playtest results or the Smog article. I simply ask myself, "Is the finished CAP what I envisaged when I saw the concept?" In the position of Topic Leader, I am far better positioned to answer this question. So, is the finished Aurumoth what I envisaged when I first saw capefeather's "Living on the Edge"? If I'm honest, broadly speaking, I can draw similarities. But that's the thing – it isn't exactly what I had in mind. It's better. It incorporates ideas I never considered and takes paths that I would have never chosen. Perhaps it's not as cohesive as something I myself could have designed by myself, but it doesn't have to be. It's already, in my book, a masterpiece.
Thank you all, and I hope you have all enjoyed this quite as much as I have. Also, enjoy this happy, open bugmaniacbob while you can, because the shadowy, cynical loner is once again taking hold. Thank you, and thank you once again!
One more time!
Venite, venite in Bethlehem.
Deum de Deo,
lumen de lumine
Gestant puellae viscera.
genitum non factum.
Cantet nunc 'Io',
Cantet nunc aula caelestium,
Soli Deo Gloria!
Auru, tibi sit gloria,
Venite, venite in Bethlehem.
Deum de Deo,
lumen de lumine
Gestant puellae viscera.
genitum non factum.
Cantet nunc 'Io',
Cantet nunc aula caelestium,
Soli Deo Gloria!
Auru, tibi sit gloria,
I think I win the "longest Final Product ever" award… and I didn't even do a celebratory bit of artwork (wait until 3k…)
Name: Risky Business (formerly "Living On the Edge")
General Description: This Pokémon is very risky to play, but very rewarding if played correctly.
Justification: Many of the Pokémon that are successful in OU are relatively easy to play or have great "safe" options (e.g. U-turn). Yet, many other Pokémon look very powerful, but are less successful than they could be because of some large risks involved (e.g. Hydreigon), and some aren't successful at all (e.g. Honchkrow). This self-balancing concept intends to explore what it takes for a risky Pokémon to be successful, and how much inherent risk a Pokémon can get away with. It should be emphasized that this concept is NOT about luck management, but rather, it is about what the user can afford to do given his/her opponent's options, and vice versa.
Questions To Be Answered:
- What is the relationship between risk and potential consequences, both positive and negative?
- What kinds of inherently risky tactics are successful in the OU metagame?
- Do risky Pokémon need some form of safe options (e.g. switch-ins) to be successful in OU, or can it get away with having few really safe options?
- How does Substitute, a well-known "safe" move with nearly universal distribution, impact how this Pokémon is built and played?
- How do existing Pokémon use and deal with risky situations?
- Can risky Pokémon be played well in the early game, or are they better off put into action later on?
- How do different playstyles interact with risky situations?
Abilities: Weak Armour / Illusion (DW) / No Guard
Base Stats: 110 HP / 120 Atk / 99 Def / 117 SpA / 60 SpD / 94 Spe
Height: 2.1m / 6'11"(14 moves, 6 VGMs)
7. Silver Wind
14. Sunny Day
21. Heal Pulse
27. Ominous Wind
41. Final Gambit
61. Healing Wish
67. Tail Glow
There are a number of things going on in this Level-Up pool, so I'll start with the overall flavor I was going for when putting it together. I wanted to touch on the celestial themes of the art design, especially the connotations of protection ("guardian angel") and mysticism (a sense of "the unknown," as it were). Dante tells us that angels can be good or evil, and so I've thrown in a touch of both as they almost duel with one another as the Poke levels up, to make the flavor more complex. These elements not only reference the Psychic secondary-typing without being overt, they also play to the "pseudo-legendary" notion of our 600 BST stat spread by implying a greater backstory than meets the eye (not that I have a particular story in mind, but they should lead to plenty of good Pokedex entries). I also tried to experiment with text-blocking and visualization, wherein if you give the list of moves just a quick skim or passing overview, it should make four words jump out at you without you necessarily noticing: Dance, Wind, Heal, and Wish. That is because those words are all repeated more than once amongst the move names themselves and are often spatially situated either near each other (for impact) or far apart (for the reminder-effect). So, you should feel a subliminal sense of whimsy or lightness from those four words' connotations, even as you read through the list word-for-word. If it doesn't work, then oh well; it's a poetry thing, I'm not particularly familiar with it, and it's not super important.
Moving on, I use the Biblically-significant number "3" as the backbone for three consecutive sets of three moves each: Silver Wind / Sunny Day / Heal Pulse ; Ominous Wind / Will-o-Wisp / Final Gambit ; and Ancientpower / Wish / Healing Wish. The core of the movepool, these three sets all have similar progressions of [attack]-->[general aid]-->[specific aid]. The first set (presumably belonging to the "Basic" or "Baby" evolutionary stage) is much more innocent and subdued than the latter two, which focus on the more mature concepts of suffering (Will-o-Wisp to create suffering vs. Wish to remove suffering) and self-sacrifice (Final Gambit to hurt an enemy vs. Healing Wish to help a friend). The narrative of the learnset, based on this progression, is that while Aurumoth (or its pre-evolutions) can be robbed of its innocence and tempted with "evil" or aggression (@Ominous Wind/WoW/Gambit), as it grows and matures (evolves), it becomes more selfless and "good," in the end. I'm thinking if we go for a three-stage evolutionary process, we could choose any sort of method to flavorfully bring it all together, although I personally think activating evolutions at the learning of Ominous Wind and Ancientpower would be most acceptable in this case: the basic stage could be a cutemon, the middle stage emo or something, and the final stage, of course, would be Aurumoth itself (there are even precedents for evolution-by-Ancientpower, including Yanma-->Yanmega). Speaking of Biblical numerology, although less significantly, I also use a lot of the Biblically-significant number "7" in the Level-Up pool: attacks begin to be learned at L7, all attacking moves are learned at a level with a singles digit of "7", and most moves are learned seven levels apart, excepting Ominous Wind, Ancientpower, and Tail Glow, the three of which are learned six levels after their previous moves, for a touch of subliminal mystery (6-6-6 wtf!?). There are also 12 non-Heart Scale moves to be learned, and 12 is a major Biblical number as well.
The movepool as a whole is largely pacifistic, which I thought was appropriate for a seraphim design, and so the only attacks included here are Tackle (out of necessity for a generic starting attack), and then Silver Wind, Ominous Wind, and Ancientpower. I like these moves not only because of their individual flavor merits (irrespective of one another), but also because they are the three moves available that each have a 10% chance of raising all of Aurumoth's stats at once, but with only 5 PP apiece, which is my sort of tongue-in-cheek allusion to the concept, flavor-wise. Ironically, Aurumoth gets all of its best stat-boosting moves here as well, either by leveling up to Tail Glow or by going to the Move Relearner with a Heart Scale or two to unlock the secret Dancing powers it never knew it had.
Aurumoth gets three recovery moves here: Heal Pulse, Wish, and Healing Wish, and while it can only benefit directly from one (and even then it doesn't necessarily benefit), the moves still offer that "guardian angel" vibe of taking care of its teammates, even if it's at a cost to Aurumoth itself. Other flavor choices include Sunny Day and Will-o-Wisp, which I added because of the angelic connection to fire and flame (Seraph literally means "burning ones"). In the case of these moves, Sunny Day represents more of the "clarity" aspect of the angel-fire relationship ("Clear Sky" is the Japanese translation of the move, and Sunny Day itself is a Fire-type move), while Will-o-Wisp offers the more literal interpretation of "creating fire."(Bug Group; 9 moves, 5 VGMs)
Bug Buzz - Accelgor, Beautifly, Butterfree, Dustox, Escavalier, Galvantula, Illumise, Kriketune, Ledian, Masquerain, Mothim, Ninjask, Venemoth, Volbeat, Volcarona, Yanmega
Close Combat - Heracross, Pinsir
Counter - Crustle, Escavalier, Forretress, Gliscor, Heracross, Illumise, Parasect, Scizor, Volbeat
Disable - Ariados, Galvantula, Venemoth
Feint - Accelgor, Flygon, Gliscor, Heracross, Pinsir, Scizor, Yanmega
Hydro Pump - Masquerain
Megahorn - Escavalier, Heracross, Scolipede
Safeguard - Beautifly, Butterfree, Ledian, Scizor, Shuckle
Wing Attack - Gliscor, Scizor, Yanmega
Note: not that it matters, but there are actually a few illegalities involving Safeguard; however, since Safeguard is also a TM, they aren't "real" illegalities, and as such I have not included Safeguard in either of these lists, since it is legal with all moves.Code:
[B]Legal Move Combinations:[/B] Bug Buzz + Counter + Megahorn (Escavalier) Bug Buzz + Feint + Wing Attack (Yanmega) Bug Buzz + Disable (Galvantula, Venemoth) Bug Buzz + Hydro Pump (Masquerain) Close Combat + Counter + Feint + Megahorn (Heracross) Counter + Feint + Wing Attack (Scizor) [B]Illegal Move Combinations:[/B] Bug Buzz + Close Combat Close Combat + Disable + Hydro Pump + Wing Attack Counter + Disable + Hydro Pump Disable + Feint + Hydro Pump Disable + Megahorn Hydro Pump + Megahorn + Wing Attack
Whoa, so here's where the offense comes in. I put Aurumoth's hard-hitting STAB attacks and coverage moves here because, well, it needs them somewhere, and the Egg pool still runs on flavor, just with more leeway. The flavor additions I included are Disable, Feint, and Safeguard, which are all, to various degrees, good double or triple-battle moves (and since I already started with Heal Pulse, I thought I might as well toss in a few extra goodies), and also Wing Attack because lol it has six wings. They also fit thematically into the flavor priorities I gave myself for the Level-Up movepool, in terms of exploring protectiveness (or lack thereof; both Feint and Safeguard do this) and mystical powers (both Disable and Safeguard do this). Gengar has turned Disable into an intriguing move, to say the least, so I hope people experiment with it, especially considering how, should this movepool be chosen, Choice Scarf Pokemon may be commonly relied upon to check our CAP, and a Sub/Disable or, riskier yet, QD/Disable set might frustrate their gameplans.
The only notable move illegalities here are that both Megahorn and Close Combat are illegal with Hydro Pump, which basically means mixed sets will not have auto-Rain abuse built into them. While this doesn't change the fact that QD/TG are both legal with Hydro Pump (unavoidable in the case of Quiver Dance), or that Megahorn/CC are both legal with Surf, or that Thunder is legal with everything, it remains a move illegality that reigns in the power of Rain-bosted Hydro Pump at least a little bit. No, I didn't do this on purpose, but I can at least explain why it isn't a big deal that it turned out this way. So yeah, movedump.(43 moves, 21 VGMs)
TM03 - Psyshock
TM06 - Toxic
TM07 - Hail
TM10 - Hidden Power
TM11 - Sunny Day
TM13 - Ice Beam
TM14 - Blizzard
TM15 - Hyper Beam
TM16 - Light Screen
TM17 - Protect
TM18 - Rain Dance
TM19 - Telekinesis
TM20 - Safeguard
TM21 - Frustration
TM22 - SolarBeam
TM24 - Thunderbolt
TM25 - Thunder
TM27 - Return
TM29 - Psychic
TM30 - Shadow Ball
TM32 - Double Team
TM33 - Reflect
TM42 - Facade
TM44 - Rest
TM45 - Attract
TM48 - Round
TM49 - Echoed Voice
TM50 - Overheat
TM51 - Ally Switch
TM52 - Focus Blast
TM56 - Fling
TM61 - Will-o-Wisp
TM67 - Retaliate
TM68 - Giga Impact
TM70 - Flash
TM76 - Struggle Bug
TM77 - Psych Up
TM81 - X-Scissor
TM85 - Dream Eater
TM87 - Swagger
TM90 - Substitute
HM01 - Cut
HM03 - Surf
With the exception of Bug Buzz and Hydro Pump, Aurumoth gets all of its Special attacks here, including its primary Psychic STABs and Electric/Fighting/Fire/Ice coverage. It also gets a physical STAB attack in X-Scissor, which is a more reliable alternative to Megahorn. Additionally, Dual Screens are present, potentially pairing nicely with Healing Wish and/or Illusion. There is never a good way to talk about TMs, so I'll just say that I went through the list with an eye for the competitive VGMs I wanted, type-move and move-move requirements, Bug/Psychic moves, and generically-required TMs. After all that, there wasn't much left to add and so this is the result. Aurumoth learns 43 TM/HMs, with Sunny Day, Will-o-Wisp, and Safeguard as repeats from the LU/Egg pools, leaving 40 moves unique to this list.(12 moves, 3 VGMs)
I'm glad we finally have tutor moves in BW2! This list is visibly focused on Aurumoth's Psychic movepool, featuring Magic Coat, Magic Room, Roleplay, Skill Swap, Trick, Wonder Room, and Zen Headbutt (over half the list). It also learns Bug Bite as a Tutor move, along with Electroweb, Helping Hand, and Recycle (because it’s what Jesus would do), for flavor.
Weight: 193.0 kg / 425.5 lbs
Gender Ratio: 50% Male / 50% Female
----Aurumoth, the Gold Standard Pokemon
Black: Their wings are made of solid gold. Mysteriously, the gold crumbles into dust when removed.
White: This Pokemon can hibernate for centuries at a time, encased in its golden wings.
B2W2: Looking an Aurumoth in the eyes causes temporary memory loss. Most trainers release them out of frustration.
That's all, folks!