Centralisation

Let me start by saying this. I am relatively new to Smogon and I am not involved in the PR sub forum or have had any formal vote in any tiering decision. Having said that I would like to make my observations regarding centralisation.

Centralisation seems like an easy enough term to define. It is most commonly seen as forcing the metagame to be focused around a certain move/Pokemon/strategy. Probably the most classic examples of this in the DPPt metagame are Stealth Rock/Garchomp/FWG cores post Salamence. Yet if centralisation is a term that is thrown around commonly in possible ban discussions then I think there needs to be some clarity shed on it. I think some issues are:

1. Is centralisation necessarily bad? Whilst this may seem like a question that can be answered intuitively I ask this question. When Salamence was allowed in OU there was a growth in usage of "counters," specifically Ice Shard users and Cresselia (who most likely will drop in the August stats). Now he is banned they don't have as much as a use. So is centralisation bad given that it forces the use of creative Pokemon?

2. Is centralisation ever avoidable? Look at the June and July stats side by side to represent the Salamence banning. If you just gave rankings based soley on numbers and ignored whatever Pokemon that stat corresponded to then you would have a similar list. Therefore is the centralisation argument valid given that the metagame will reshift?

3. Is any "type" of centralisation inherently worse than any other? For instance it was argued in the Salamence ban thread that "it should be banned since it centralises by forcing you to use random things solely to beat it" and that "it shouldn't be banned since it stops FWG core and stall centralisation." Is any of these any worse than the other?

4. Finally, is centralisation something that can be measured in stats alone? Whilst it obviously seems like it can, it is probably more subtle changes that reflect centralisation better, such as putting, say, HP Ice to check Mence. If it can't be measured in statistics then its value as an argument to ban something comes under fire because it becomes subjective, along the lines of "X should be banned because I always use Y to beat it."

So that's it. Any thoughts?
 

Erazor

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Centralization isn't bad, it's OVERcentralization that causes problems. Now we don't have a specific threshold for overcentralization, but it's extremely obvious in most cases(hi Garchomp).

The thing about centralization is that it will always be present. Each metagame has powerful threats, and it is natural that the metagame revolves around these threats. Again, this isn't a bad thing. You can often use this to your advantage, as anti-metagaming becomes easier as centralization increases.

Yes, it can be measured by stats. Doug provides us with details of each pokemon's most used moves, and by comparing different month's stats, we can guage the levels of centralization.
 
I feel that 'centralisation' is considered bad for no real reason.

After all the more the metagame is centered around a few top threats the easier it gets to prepare for all of them.

The word Balance may sound positive in Nature, Power or anything else in real life. But i believe that a balanced metagame i pokemon would be a nightmare for the competitive scene

The more 'balanced' the metagame becomes the more threats you will have to prepare for, as such the chance increases you'll run into something you can't beat. As a result in a perfect balanced metagame with hundreds of threats to prepare for, would make any match based on how well they fare against other rather then skill. People already complain about 'bad' team matchups i see it only getting worse in a balanced metagame.

Perhaps centralisation is bad for the greenpeace of smogon(those guys who whine all day about standard being unoriginal)but i don't see any benefits for the competitive metagame

This is also the reason why i hate those who use 'centralisation' as an argument to ban something
 

shrang

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Centralisation, in its purest form, is not bad at all. In fact, we need SOME degree of centralisation otherwise the metagame will just be too chaotic. However, when a threat causes way too much centralisation, that is when alarm bells should start ringing, and you need to question if that Pokemon is broken or not (Doesn't always it is, though).
 
Pokemon DP is a competitive game of ~500 usable and distinct characters, almost as many moves, dozens of items, and a virtually endless combination of all of these and other elements. Generation 5 is merely days away from adding hundreds of more options to that pool and several more ways of utilizing them. It is impossible to keep such a game from being centralized or unbalanced, and that is why I have long thought that players who argue that centralization is inherently bad or that every Pokemon should have a counter need a reality check with regard to the game that they're supposedly playing.

The question of "how much centralization is too much centralization" is an interesting one though. Balance and variety are two issues covered in this very good thread in Policy Review about what makes a desirable metagame, which I checked out shortly after Salamence's ban because I realized that I just don't understand what Smogon values in a metagame at all anymore.
 
Centralization will result because some Pokemon are better than others. We need it as previously mentioned before for a good metagame. For instance, Heatran will have some centralization because its at the top of the usage list. Fire moves will have to be more cautiously used as Heatran gets a boost by coming in. FWG cores are getting more popular because Mence was resistant and could set up. Dragonite can't do as much so they are more popular. Overcentralization can be easy to identify in some cases. Yanmega completely dominated the metagame of UU and forced people to use rocks and priority. Garchomp also caused Ice Shard users to become common but with Yache it could still sweep and be broken. Overall, Centralization can be a necessary thing but there must be a limit.
 

Ace Emerald

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Some of the things I'm about to say have been said, but others haven't, and I need to include the things that have been said for the things that I'm about to say to make sense (sorry to confuse people before I started).
First off, centralization is natural. Some pokemon are better then others, and (smart) people will reconize this and use them more often. Some (key word) centralization is good. As people have said, it allows for anti-metagaming. However there gets to a point where it becomes boring. If you knew exactly what the person was carrying before you fought them, and it was the same as the last 50 battles, it would be boring. That's why some (not all) people like the current metagame. Enough threats so it doesn't get boring, but not to many that there is no possible way to even come close to countering them all. I know it's hard/impossible to technically counter everyone in the current metagame, but you can make teams that at least deal with them all.
Just as an add on, salamence wasn't banned only for centralizing, he was mostly banned for uncountablilty. Centralizing was secondary concern.
 
Probably the most classic examples of this in the DPPt metagame are Stealth Rock/Garchomp/FWG cores post Salamence. Yet if centralisation is a term that is thrown around commonly in possible ban discussions then I think there needs to be some clarity shed on it.
You forgot Salamence's (over)centralization with Scizor. Scizor was only #1 for so long because it was a reliable Latias/Salamence check/counter/revenge killer. Now that Salamence is Uber, its main role is gone, thus lowering its usage.

1. Is centralisation necessarily bad? Whilst this may seem like a question that can be answered intuitively I ask this question. When Salamence was allowed in OU there was a growth in usage of "counters," specifically Ice Shard users and Cresselia (who most likely will drop in the August stats). Now he is banned they don't have as much as a use. So is centralisation bad given that it forces the use of creative Pokemon?
Centralization is never bad, unless it's OVERcentralization. like what Garchomp, Latias and Salamence did. Oh, and by the way, Ice Sharders are not counters, they're revenge killers. Also, if Cresselia was a reliable counter, it'd have been OU, not BL, just a thought. Without Salamence, I see a rise in usage of Cresselia, seeign as though a big reason she dropped was because of Scizor, who just lost a major role.

2. Is centralisation ever avoidable? Look at the June and July stats side by side to represent the Salamence banning. If you just gave rankings based soley on numbers and ignored whatever Pokemon that stat corresponded to then you would have a similar list. Therefore is the centralisation argument valid given that the metagame will reshift?
Centralization not avoidable becaus,e like you said, it'll just shift to a new poke to center around, like how it went from Garchomp to Latias.

3. Is any "type" of centralisation inherently worse than any other? For instance it was argued in the Salamence ban thread that "it should be banned since it centralises by forcing you to use random things solely to beat it" and that "it shouldn't be banned since it stops FWG core and stall centralisation." Is any of these any worse than the other?
Salamence didn't stop stall centralization too much, given that it had to get locked into Outrage just to beat Blissey. And, Salamence didn't force you to use "random" things. it forced you to use common pokemon with different movesets, like perhaps Scarf Suicune.

4. Finally, is centralisation something that can be measured in stats alone? Whilst it obviously seems like it can, it is probably more subtle changes that reflect centralisation better, such as putting, say, HP Ice to check Mence. If it can't be measured in statistics then its value as an argument to ban something comes under fire because it becomes subjective, along the lines of "X should be banned because I always use Y to beat it."
I'd say centralization comes into view with the use of stats. You never would have known that Scizor was only used because of Latias and Salamence, until it dropped IMMEDIATELY after they both left. And centralization isn't too subjective with stats, because, like I said, stats help you view the centralization shifts.

That's all I have to say on the issue. Hope I helped?
 
1. Of course, we need centrilization anyway and nothing we could do would stop people (assuming a competitive nature) from using good Pokemon.

2. I think that assumes you're trying to avoid it. See the above answer.

3. Well, that's why we have different metagames, if you want to keep Salamence because you say, "You know what, fwg is for scrubs, let's keep this fucker", then I don't think that represents an unbiased nature towards Salamence or poor little Shaymin.

4. Doug's stats, but there is no statistical "unit" of centralization. To measure how much centralization a Pokemon was causing, one would have to give a value to every single Pokemon as how it relates to said Pokemon, high if it is a counter/check, low if it is countered by said threat, and all degrees in the middle or the side, and then multiply it by the usage statistics. This is a pain in the dick, so nobody bothers, but people aren't retards and can look at suspect ladder and say, "huh infernape and gyarados are cunts, well that makes starmie look a lot more sensable".
 

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