In-game tier list policy discussion thread

Codraroll

Cod Mod
is a Forum Moderatoris a Community Contributoris a Smogon Media Contributor
Moderator
#1
Shout-out to Kurona for the idea.

The observant readers of Orange Islands have probably noticed the in-game tier list threads. This is where we rank the relative merits of the different Pokémon available in each of the various main series Pokémon games (plus Colosseum and XD, whose exclusion the main series is mostly a matter of nitpicky definition). Like the viability tier lists for the various Pokémon Showdown tiers, Pokémon are graded on a scale from A (good) to F (horrible), with an additional S tier reserved for the cream of the crop. The goal is to determine how well each and every Pokémon will perform in an "efficient" playthrough of the game(s) in question.

However, in these threads, discussion often takes a detour to the matters of policy. On exactly what grounds are Pokémon tiered? Which conditions and circumstances are we counting/not counting? It's broadly agreed that we don't tier for speedrunning purposes, but the definition of "efficiency" in this context may still be open for interpretation. These arguments, and others like them, have filled several pages in nearly every in-game tier list thread created in these forums. It's not like the threads are derailed by these discussions per se, it's just that trying to follow the discussion has become rather tricky over time, especially for new users.

So instead of having this discussion over and over again - or worse, in parallel tracks across several different threads, we have decided to create a separate thread for the discussion of policy. That should leave the in-game tier list threads free to the discussion of how good the various Pokémon do in the relevant game. More focus on the performance, less on the grading. From now on, we have this thread for those discussions.

Tagging the leaders of the active in-game tier list threads. After the initial tagging, this list also links to the threads in question:

GSC - Colonel M
RSE - Merritt
Colosseum - Karxrida
DPPt - sin(pi)
HGSS - Diana
B2W2 - Its_A_Random
XY - Its_A_Random
ORAS - Colonel M
SM - Colonel M
USUM - To Be Announced

The above people are tagged mostly to notify them of the policy change in their threads (that is, policy discussion should now be directed to this thread), this is not to say that they're the only ones allowed to post here. Of course everybody is allowed to post in this thread, since the point is to put all policy discussion in one thread rather than spread out across 9+ threads.
 
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sin(pi)

lucky n bad
#2
This is an excellent idea, I was thinking of suggesting it myself. Should probably be pinned. Some things:

-We assume a run contains 3-6 pokemon intending to battle (ie discounting HM slaves).
-Trade evolutions count on the basis that one only needs to access an early city in the game to do so, although one could argue that this should impact their placement.
-We don't include pokemon caught from other games because it makes no sense to do so - if you can transfer one pokemon you can transfer them all, and then they don't change in comparison to each other; ie there is no difference in viability for [caught on original game Abra vs Geodude] compared with [traded Abra vs Geodude], despite the latter two having boosted exp - because they BOTH have boosted exp. Version exclusives are similarly pointless (barring Legendaries I guess but meh).
-We don't include items because they have to be obtained in the other game, which is the very definition of inefficient - you have to do twice as much work.
-stuff

One thing I did want to bring us is the use of limited availability items. Do we take into account the fact that a person may want to save their Master Ball? I don't think we should, personally. Also on the subject of Master Balls, should the availability of this factor into a mon's tiering? It was brought up in the DP thread a while ago for mons like Mesprit.
Do we assume people will spend money on things like vitamins?

(ps I will update the DPPt thread when I get a bit of time, been ill and super busy irl)
 

Merritt

"the other dude"
is a Community Contributor
#3
Thanks for posting this!

So I'll quickly copy and paste what I have in the OP of the RSE tiering thread for the standards of how something's tiered, which seems to have been around for a while.

Pokémon are tiered based on several factors:
- Availability: When the Pokémon can be first found, and how rare. Earlier Pokémon tend to rank higher.
- Typing: What is the Pokémon's typing and how useful it is in the game. More useful typings tend to rank higher.
- Stats: What their base stats are like and how they contribute to a team. Pokémon with better stats for in-game runs tend to rank higher.
- Movepool: What the Pokémon's movepool is like and how it contributes to a team. Pokémon with wider and more useful movepools tend to rank higher.
- Major Battles: How the Pokémon fares against key match-ups in the game. Pokémon who perform better against more major battles tend to rank higher.
- Other: Other aesthetics like abilities, levels, can minorly contribute to a Pokémon's tiering as well. Note that a Pokémon's physical appearance has no impact on its tiering!
However, this I've found can be condensed down to about four things: Availability, Combat Ability, Overworld Utility, and Investment Cost. There's some nuances and overlap there (for example later availability often requires a higher investment cost with only a few exceptions, investment cost can affect combat ability, and if something comes very late its overworld utility isn't as useful as if it came earlier), but overall I think these four categories cover everything.

The issue of course becomes in how to weigh these. If something comes with 0 investment cost, comes incredibly early, has fantastic overworld utility, but limited combat ability (for example Bidoof in DPPt or Zigzagoon in RSE - the HM slaves) should it be ranked as highly as something that also comes early, needs no real investment to get going, is capable of being a decisive factor in every single major battle, but has no overworld utility (think something like BW2 Magnemite)? Most people would say that the second deserves a higher spot from what I've seen.

The most arguably defining factor on here I think in terms of defining efficiency is Investment Cost. Feebas is a good example of a high investment cost Pokemon, where the main investment is time. It takes a very long time to actually find a Feebas, and then it also takes a while in Gen 3 and 4 to actually get it to evolve, but once that's done you do have a rather strong and useful Pokemon in Milotic. Despite the fact that Feebas only really "fails" on that one factor of investment cost, because of it Feebas is generally rated near the bottom. Basically if a Pokemon comes at a high investment cost - especially if that investment is time - then it's ranking tanks heavily.

These are mostly some initial thoughts, along with an attempt to answer the question in the OP of "On exactly what grounds are Pokémon tiered?"
 

Karxrida

Dive into the Heart
is a Community Contributor
#4
One thing I did want to bring us is the use of limited availability items. Do we take into account the fact that a person may want to save their Master Ball? I don't think we should, personally. Also on the subject of Master Balls, should the availability of this factor into a mon's tiering? It was brought up in the DP thread a while ago for mons like Mesprit.
The Master Ball does have a non-negligible opportunity cost (only 1 exists that it easily obtainable and it has a powerful effect), but we shouldn't assume it should be saved for a random shiny or postgame crap; the tiers only really care about the story run. It's pretty much necessary for certain mons like Emerald Rayquaza, and it also makes getting a hold of the cover legend far easier because of their low catch rates.



I personally think general placement boils down to how convenient a Pokémon makes your life during a playthrough. Gen IV Bidoof has little battle utility, but its capacity to learn 6 HMs makes it easier on you when going through Sinnoh. Emerald Rayquaza comes late and requires a short detour, but you basically win the moment you get it.
 
#5
Formatting
Use the following format if you want to submit a write-up for a Pokémon:

Name
Availability:
When does this Pokémon become available? Is it easy or hard to encounter and catch?
Stats: Describe how a Pokémon's stats make it excel. Is it a deadly sweeper or a strong wall? Discuss why you would use this Pokemon thank to its stats.
Typing: Discuss this Pokémon's typing in a sentence or two. Is its STAB efficient or not, does it have any great resistances or glaring weaknesses?
Movepool: Describe this Pokémon's movepool in a few sentences. Does it have many effective movepool options through level up? Is it overreliant on TMs to function? Does it have access to useful HM's to help you traverse the region?
Major Battles: Describe how the Pokémon handles the major opponents throughout the game. Notable opponents and battles include the Gym Leaders, battles against various (named) members of Team Magma/Aqua, the various rival battles, the Elite Four themselves, and the Champion. Try to avoid spoilers if possible!
Additional Comments: Discuss any miscellaneous information not covered in other sections here. Factors such as experience growth, abilities, and other lesser characteristics can be discussed here, as well as (opportunity) cost - does it require constant healing, highly sought-after TMs (eg Earthquake), or expensive Game Corner items, for example? The entry can be wrapped up here as well.
I think this needs an additional "evolution" section. It should answer questions like, "Does the Pokemon need to evolve before starting to pull its own weight?", "Does the Pokemon stagnate mid-game due to late evolution?", "How much sidetracking is required to evolve the Pokemon?", and "Which moves should the Pokemon know before it evolves?", which aren't covered by the other sections.
 

Its_A_Random

A distant memory
is a Forum Moderator Alumnusis a Community Contributor Alumnus
#6
I wanted to post something with regards to writeups.

Basically the way I feel is that writeups as they are at the moment could be replaced with just a generic overview of how a Pokémon functions in a casual playthrough. My reasoning for this is that I feel that writeups as they are are a little bit too detailed and even when concise still has some useless information that can be trimmed on (How is a paragraph on the Pokémon's typing and what it means for the game going to give new information?). When someone views a tier list, I feel like they would appreciate and be more likely to read a text as to why a Pokémon is where it is when you just give an overview of what it does as opposed to when you give a detailed writeup with several subsections that can just drag on. Furthermore, I feel like that doing writeups as they are can be very draining and can easily stunt the momentum of getting things done. This is especially the case for something like X & Y where there are so many writeups that the way writeups are done at the moment, I realistically cannot see writeups for that list being done before the end of 2020 even if the thread was somewhat active because of the sheer content and the sheer content of each writeup.

I'll give a couple of examples to compare and contrast to try and get my point across:

Charizard Y as it is at the moment said:

Charmander [Y]
Availability
: Lumiose City (Gift from Professor Sycamore).
Stats: Geared towards Special sweeping with high Sp. Attack and decent speed, taken even further with Mega Charizard Y with an astronomical Sp. Attack with decent Speed and decent special bulk. Everything else is average.
Typing: Fire / Flying in its final form provides a stellar offensive typing that gives it SE STAB coverage against a fair chunk of the game. Defensively it provides a few weaknesses (one that can be mitigated through mega evolution) but a few important resistances to help its cause.
Movepool: Dragon Rage early on provides it with a great offensive attack to 2HKO the majority of the early-game and helps make up for the lack of good STAB until Flame Burst. After evolution to Charizard, it comes with a wide array of Special coverage from Air Slash to Flamethrower to Focus Blast and Solar Beam in the endgame. It also has a usable Attack stat to make good use of its physical coverage if needed.
Major Battles: Struggles a bit with Grant and Korrina but from Ramos onwards, it has a great matchup against almost everyone you face, especially once it becomes Charizard. Aside from a few exceptions like Clemont to some extent, many opponents will struggle to contain Mega Charizard Y, even Siebold thanks to Solar Beam.
Additional Comments: Thanks to Drought, Mega Charizard Y is one of the single best Pokémon when it comes to cleaving through the game. Its Mega Evolution and Drought trigger does make mega evolution a bit time costly but that is more than made up for thanks to its raw power to the point that many things will either be OHKOed or 2HKOed by its attacks.
Charizard Y as I propose said:

Charmander [Y]
Charmander, which you can choose to get from Professor Sycamore, is a really powerful Pokémon that is eventually capable of steamrolling the game with its sheer strength. From the get-go, Charmander can deal decent damage earlygame with Dragon Rage and eventually, Flame Burst. Once it evolves into Charizard however, its power reaches a whole new level thanks to access Mega Charizard Y and its access to Drought and amazing special sweeping capabilities. Armed with Air Slash, Solar Beam, and any old Fire-type attack, Mega Charizard Y will torch opponent after opponent, not even normally "bad" matchups will be able to stop it.
BW2 Axew at the moment said:

Name: Axew
Availability: Mid Game, Mistralton Cave, 20%
Stats: Average bulk, but above average Speed and a whopping base 147 Attack to boot in its final form.
Typing: Dragon is a good typing, with excellent neutral coverage and nifty resistances.
Movepool: Great offensive movepool with good physical coverage, but the real gems lie in Dragon Claw and Dragon Dance. It needs to be tutored Low Kick or Superpower, or learn Brick Break through TM, to beat Steel-types.
Major Battles: There is no real horrible matchup for Axew in the game. Against most major battles, it is a simple matter of using Dragon Dance 1-2 times against an appropriate opponent. Otherwise, you can just make use of Axew's excellent power to deal heavy damage against those you cannot reliably use Dragon Dance against.
Additional Comments: Mold Breaker should always be used over the inconsistent Rivalry, as it allows Axew to OHKO the several Sturdy Pokemon in BW2. Also, one thing to take into account when using Axew is that raising it is difficult in the beginning due to its late evolutions.
BW2 Axew as I propose said:

Axew
Coming well into the midgame at Mistralton Cave, Axew is very capable of making up for its difficult start with its physically geared stats and a great physical movepool which allows it to sweep more often than not. Dragon Dance and Dragon Claw are the key (as well as Fighting-type coverage for Steel-types) as after a Dragon Dance or two (against an appropriate opponent), Axew will generally become an unstoppable rampage machine capable of ploughing through many opponents. This gets even easier when it finally evolves into Fraxure and eventually Haxorus as the massive attack boost reaching its final form allows you to waste less turns setting up before winning. Even against opponents you cannot sweep, Axew's offensive power will still leave a dent. Look for Mold Breaker variants as piercing the various Sturdy opponents in BW2 is much more valuable than Rivalry and its lack of consistency.
XY Ditto at the moment said:

Ditto
Availability:
Pokémon Village, 10-20%.
Stats: Very mediocre at Base 48 across the board prior to using Transform.
Typing: Normal-typing prior to using Transform.
Movepool: Transform.
Major Battles: Out of the remaining battles, it can be somewhat effective if you transform into the right thing and if you get the Transform off. Otherwise it is generally ineffective in virtually all of the remaining major battles.
Additional Comments: If you are lucky and get one holding a Quick Powder or a Metal Powder, it can get the Transform off much easier. Otherwise, the fact that it is reliant on its opponent to do anything in general makes Ditto one of the worst possible choices when it comes to getting through the game efficiently.
XY Ditto as I propose said:

Ditto
There is little reason to use Ditto at all for a casual playthrough of X & Y. Not coming until just before the last gym, pathetic stats prior to transforming, and even after transforming, it is completely dependent on its opponent to be any good (which most of the time, it won't). If you are lucky and get one holding a Quick Powder or a Metal Powder, it can get Transform off much easier. Otherwise, just don't bother.
I guess I'll throw in an example that does not have a writeup at the moment for good measure, because I can:

S Kyogre as I propose said:

Kyogre [Sapp]
Despite not coming until just before the last gym for plot reasons, Kyogre is completely capable of drowning the rest of the game with little issues. With access to moves such as Shock Wave, Calm Mind, Surf, and Ice Beam, Kyogre has every trick in the book it needs to solo the rest of the game with little risk of dying (despite only coming at Level 45), helped further by its high Special Attack and reasonable speed and bulk as well as access to Drizzle.
My writing could be better, but you get the idea. Basically the idea is to replace the details-focused write-up with a more broad, "big picture" overview that sums up its usefulness (or lack thereof) in casual playthroughs in an attempt to make things easier on readers or writers. What do you think? Do you prefer the status quo? Do you prefer what I propose or what others are proposing?
 
#7
This is an excellent idea, I was thinking of suggesting it myself. Should probably be pinned. Some things:

-We assume a run contains 3-6 pokemon intending to battle (ie discounting HM slaves).
This 3 Pokemon minimum restriction makes no sense to me. My friends and I mainly seemed to focus on training one Pokemon from the first time we played. Solo playthrough deserves at least equal consideration when comparing it with all the other options, probably more. You can't say that you care about efficiency and then ignore the most time-efficient playthrough method, as demonstrated in speedruns. Or can you...?

From Gen V and on, things change a bit, with the new experience formula penalizing high-leveled Pokemon, but Gen IV and below has an experience system which encourages solo runs if you want to be efficient.
 

Merritt

"the other dude"
is a Community Contributor
#8
I think this needs an additional "evolution" section. It should answer questions like, "Does the Pokemon need to evolve before starting to pull its own weight?", "Does the Pokemon stagnate mid-game due to late evolution?", "How much sidetracking is required to evolve the Pokemon?", and "Which moves should the Pokemon know before it evolves?", which aren't covered by the other sections.
The first question can be fit into major battles and additional comments, the second is pretty much the same, the third is definitely something to cover in additional comments, and the fourth can fit into additional comments or - better yet - movepool.

I really don't think that we should be making writeups more detailed, when they're already a slightly intimidating amount of content to write up, especially in games like XY where there's something like 245 entries to write. I think that what Its_A_Random suggested is a good idea, even if it does require a bit more effort on the part of the thread leader to make sure that all the relevant information for a Pokemon's ranking is covered. Beyond that, those kinds of writeups are something I could actually see on a site article and that people would read, while the current format is somewhat less approachable and would make any article incredibly long with a lot of information to try and digest at once.
 

Diana

This isn't even my final form
is a Researcher Alumnusis a Contributor Alumnus
#9
I'm really glad someone made this thread because I've been sitting here thinking that I need to modernize the HGSS thread (it's 4 years old and things were run a bit differently back then) and a lot of the things I was thinking about have already come up here.

If I'm remembering correctly, the reason it's assuming at least 3 Pokemon instead of 1 is that a tier list based on running just 1 Pokemon would be so centralized as to be almost pointless. Take Red/Blue for example: You'd have Squirtle and Nidoran-M at the top, with a few other early-game Pokemon behind them and like 85% of the Pokemon would be near-useless. Of course Pokemon that would be good like that will be at the top in a tier list based on 3-6 Pokemon, since they'll be useful either way, but automatically discounting Pokemon that are really good against certain top threats but falter against others as totally useless in a decently fast run seems to be a bit much. I feel like I should also note that these speedruns involve a lot of soft-resetting for the right stats and you're just not going to want to do that for an efficient run.

I agree that the write-ups could be condensed quite a bit. It's probably better to hammer out a basic tier list before starting write-ups as well, which I am very guilty of ignoring. Maybe they could go a bit more in-depth than that Kyogre example if there's important match-ups to be considered, but not every big battle needs to be mentioned.

The main thing I've been struggling with when trying to figure out how to handle HGSS in particular is things that come from external sources. I get how it's pretty simple for most Pokemon games since you either have something in the game or you don't; trading with someone else's held item from another game to get a really early Scizor or whatever doesn't seem like it should be considered. But what do we do about the Pokewalker? It came with the game and it's literally a pedometer so most of the work for relatively early Pokemon in there could probably be done while going through your day. How much do we take into account a potential time loss there? It's not your traditional in-game thing where you need to be active the whole time, but it's still technically real-life time you can't proceed. How much lower should they be than their separately-tiered in-game counterparts?

I'll try to make a big update on how things are done with the HGSS thread by the end of the week. I've been a bit sick lately or I'd have done so last week.
 
#10
Performance should be measured to the alleged target (a guide to playing through a game as quickly as possible), e.g. by players speedrunning through the game with any pokémon (solo or team) they choose and reporting their times. In the case of older games, perhaps qualify this by use of resources -- TMs, one-off tutors -- that one might not want to spend, and taking into account whether external resources are needed to obtain a pokémon (Pokéwalker, trade evolutions, etc.) since these also fall under different definitions of "efficiency" (the exact requirements should obviously be left to the individual reader -- say, if they're okay with spending an extra 80BP on Stone Edge later so they can use Pal Park sooner -- it's a guide, not a catechism)

The current threads are dull and self-indulgent theology. Introduce a leaderboard, thereby incentivizing precise and inventive play, and not least, gain actual data to compare performance by. That will resolve the issue of what defines a B+ or B- tier practically by itself.

In other words, I don't see why there's apparently "broad agreement not to tier for speedrunning purposes".
 
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Merritt

"the other dude"
is a Community Contributor
#11
In other words, I don't see why there's apparently "broad agreement not to tier for speedrunning purposes".
Because speedrunning itself is optimized by using only a few Pokemon for every single run.

For example a Red/Blue tier list would be:

Top: Nidoran-M
Somewhere in the middle: Squirtle, Paras, Spearow, Pidgey
Worthless: Everything else

Emerald meanwhile would be:

Top: Mudkip
High/Top: Rayquaza
Somewhere below them in the middle: Abra, Swablu, Wingull, Taillow
Basically worthless: Everything else.

While these would be accurate for a speedrunning tier list, this isn't really helpful for most players.
 
#12
I don't know know if posts from non-tier leaders are welcome here, so if they're reserved for those tags, my apologies.

I think one thing that people are not completely sure about in the threads, if the speed running reference is any indication, is what is considered an efficient run, in broad or specific terms. I think we should work out if it's about speed, minimal effort/hassle, or a compromise of the two. Single Pokemon runs seem like they're trying to be Speedruns since that is typically the approach of such runs, but said runs are typically concerned with the fastest clock time, and thus are willing to redo attempts until they get the best run possible in the case of a non-live Speedrun (ergo outside something like GDQ). I think an important thing to emphasize is consistency: not the highest potential time a Pokemon can get, but rather the Pokemon that performs reasonably well several times over, which goes back to the desire to have people speak from experience.

This is an excellent idea, I was thinking of suggesting it myself. Should probably be pinned. Some things:

-We assume a run contains 3-6 pokemon intending to battle (ie discounting HM slaves).
-Trade evolutions count on the basis that one only needs to access an early city in the game to do so, although one could argue that this should impact their placement.
-We don't include pokemon caught from other games because it makes no sense to do so - if you can transfer one pokemon you can transfer them all, and then they don't change in comparison to each other; ie there is no difference in viability for [caught on original game Abra vs Geodude] compared with [traded Abra vs Geodude], despite the latter two having boosted exp - because they BOTH have boosted exp. Version exclusives are similarly pointless (barring Legendaries I guess but meh).
-We don't include items because they have to be obtained in the other game, which is the very definition of inefficient - you have to do twice as much work.
-stuff

One thing I did want to bring us is the use of limited availability items. Do we take into account the fact that a person may want to save their Master Ball? I don't think we should, personally. Also on the subject of Master Balls, should the availability of this factor into a mon's tiering? It was brought up in the DP thread a while ago for mons like Mesprit.
Do we assume people will spend money on things like vitamins?

(ps I will update the DPPt thread when I get a bit of time, been ill and super busy irl)
What's the policy, if any, on Pokemon games featuring easy to perform glitches, such as item duplication in RBY or the Pokeball glitch in Colosseum? These could influence the allocation of theoretically limited resources, or ease the burden of obtaining something (the birds don't compete for the Master Ball, for example). These could be performed in game without significant detour most times, and since these seem to go by release (GSC is separate from HG/SS, for example), they seem like something to at least be clear about in the ranking rules, whether as a sweeping rule or on a thread-by-thread basis.
 
#13
Because speedrunning itself is optimized by using only a few Pokemon for every single run.
What's the scope of these guides, though? I thought it was precisely optimization to achieve the fastest, or at least smoothest playthrough, possibly with the least use of irreplaceable or hard-to-acquire resources (but again, the nuances are up to the individual "customer" / reader of the guide).

The whole point of tiering pokémon is that everything below S / A tier is "worthless" in that other pokémon will give better results under all expected circumstances, except for strict niches (in contrast to battling, for the story these niches are largely defined solely by the individual player, because any team wins the game: "I really want to conserve my Bullet Seed TM in Emerald! / use Wingull for early game!" etc.) but nothing stops a player from trying to get the best time with e.g. Oddish in RBY if they're inclined for a whimsical challenge (and it might be more or less fun than using the S/A tiers). If hypothetically, Oddish will always finish 30-90 minutes after Squirtle depending on luck / planning / whatever, then it belongs into "B tier" and if everything save for 5 pokémon cannot get optimal results, one should honestly face that fact -- even if most people are willing to compromise on efficiency in favour of some interesting plays or just going through with their favourites, you have to address the "base line" first so as to give the reader the most room to make informed decisions / compromises this way.

There's the usual potential issue with "leaderboards" where people just replicate the top team / strategy without further insight, but as far as I've seen in the Battle Tree thread, that doesn't actually happen much, most people are more likely to innovate and fine-tune.
While these would be accurate for a speedrunning tier list, this isn't really helpful for most players.
Why not? This isn't an argument, at least not a constructive one (what would be helpful for most players, in your opinion?).

If a particular speedrun requires rigorous planning with little room for error / bad luck, or requires exclusively using a pokémon whose performance drops off steeply when it doesn't hog all the EXP, that could well merit ranking the pokémon lower, and at the very least should be mentioned in the write-up; but there's reason to believe that pokémon which excel in speedruns will also excel in "casually efficient" runs.
 
#14
Because this isn't a speedrunning tier list. A speedrunning tier list would be fine - though in all honesty they're so short and simple that it seems more like it would be best explained not as a tier list, but as a step-by-step guide - but this isn't the idea of these threads.


I suppose I should maybe contribute what direction I come from when making a post about efficiency on the threads, just to see if there's any faults with it. I've two fundamental ideas I always keep in mind: A) This is for casual runs. Not something where you have a definite goal in mind like beating the game in the best possible time or even aiming for in-game facilities; but just a normal play of the game you pick up from time to time for fun - and B) The lists do not denote what you should use; but rather accept that this is the Pokémon you are wanting to use, now here is a general guideline of how well it will perform.
What I see a lot of people falling into is that there is in some way some sort of specific goal to keep in mind when tiering these lists. This is why we've had a few people recently contributing formulas and speedrun tactics and the like, when really it's not so rigid -- the two fundamental ideas I put forward combine to basically say that there is not a specific goal or rigid set of rules or some ultimate answer we're trying to reach here. It simply deals with casual runs and attempts to inform people doing these casual runs how well they will perform. Not what they should and shouldn't do; not what goals they should be reaching; but as a general guideline of what they can expect from the choices they will make.

Of course, this might all be bullocks - and I fully acknowledge that even if it isn't, it is most certainly a bit of a mess in how it is expressed - and if it is I hope the flaws in this thinking will be pointed out. But my general idea is that if you're doing a casual run and you want to use Beedrill, cool, go for it; now here's what you can generally expect from it.
 
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#15
It simply deals with casual runs and attempts to inform people doing these casual runs how well they will perform. Not what they should and shouldn't do; not what goals they should be reaching; but as a general guideline of what they can expect from the choices they will make.
That's not at odds with my proposal. In fact, it's what I've said, see the point about "Oddish". If you want the best results, there are very likely only a select few pokémon you should use (S-tier or A-tier). The rest are options for your entertainment, or if you put very specific restrictions on what resources you're willing to use. A tier list can still assess the performance of suboptimal mons and find that Oddish performs slightly worse than Swampert, but much better than Delcatty, etc. -- but based on what's actually measurable and comparable. (Fun isn't.)

B) This is for casual runs. Not something where you have a definite goal in mind like beating the game in the best possible time or even aiming for in-game facilities; but just a normal play of the game you pick up from time to time for fun
In that case, it makes no sense to tier anything, because you can beat the game with Delcatty and Unown if you want to and it might be "fun"; tiering fun is a theological exercise because everyone has different favourite pokémon and will have more fun using those.
B) The lists do not denote what you should use; but rather accept that this is the Pokémon you are wanting to use, now here is a general guideline of how well it will perform.
As said, we agree on this point; I'd like to see the accuracy of the assessed performances proven, making them more comparable, by including actual playthroughs, strategies, and some reported times wherever possible. (It would also make for more interesting reading than the endless glorified "Grass is weak to Fire, but good against Water, and Confuse Ray can be useful" that I found in the old articles; you don't need a write-up for that.) Tiering would thus become less susceptible to e.g. confirmation bias.

I'm not asking to turn these threads into "leaderboard hunts". Frankly, for the purpose of assessing efficiency, nobody would want or need 100 Nidoran-M R/B speedrun reports differing by ~3 minutes at most (more so if it's on RNG rolls), either. It would be helpful to know, though, whether Oddish takes 2 more hours or 20 more hours to complete the game on an casual run, whether this difference persists on a well-planned run, and whether it will consume your Stone Edge TM and Master Ball along the way. Most of the requisite strategy can be thought of, in rough form, by the players themselves ("Grass is weak to Fire", again), but the details might not be so apparent ("I need to buy 2 X-Attack and pick up the Mystic Water for this gym leader") and a guide could be interesting by pointing out precisely these clinchers. Everyone enjoys surprises in reading, concrete situations, not general ideas.

The real trouble with what I've proposed is that Pokémon games aren't all that interesting to replay (in my opinion), except for nostalgia -- perhaps outside of challenge runs for which tiering would lose either meaning or generality. But when you play for the first time, playthrough time is basically as meaningless to compare as the current system, because of how differently people approach this game (some talk to everyone, explore all the optional areas, etc.) -- You'd need to be aware of the thread first, then replay with a specific setup in mind; so contributions would become scarcer (if, in my opinion, more meaningful) than what we have now.
 
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Codraroll

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#17
My writing could be better, but you get the idea. Basically the idea is to replace the details-focused write-up with a more broad, "big picture" overview that sums up its usefulness (or lack thereof) in casual playthroughs in an attempt to make things easier on readers or writers. What do you think? Do you prefer the status quo? Do you prefer what I propose or what others are proposing?
I would support it for final write-ups, but for the purpose of the actual tiering and in-thread discussion I'd stick to the point-by-point system. We need to address and evaluate all the categories anyway, so it wouldn't hurt to keep it formatted through bullet points.
 
#18
There is one little nagging thing I want to address in this thread that has come into my mind when on the multiple in-game tier threads; but I'm never quite sure how to handle it: Opportunity cost.

Naturally this very, very rarely comes into play: we don't say, for example, do not use Pokémon X when Pokémon Y is objectively better; we simply say use Pokémon X but be aware that it's not that good. Rather, I'm wanting to address the few situations where you're given a choice of Pokémon which locks off another Pokémon. The starter selection, the choice of fossils, Hitmonchan/Hitmonlee etc. In what way do we approach opportunity cost in those cases, and should we ever consider that by using Piplup you lock yourself off from arguably the best Pokémon in DPPt (Chimchar)?
 

Merritt

"the other dude"
is a Community Contributor
#19
There is one little nagging thing I want to address in this thread that has come into my mind when on the multiple in-game tier threads; but I'm never quite sure how to handle it: Opportunity cost.

Naturally this very, very rarely comes into play: we don't say, for example, do not use Pokémon X when Pokémon Y is objectively better; we simply say use Pokémon X but be aware that it's not that good. Rather, I'm wanting to address the few situations where you're given a choice of Pokémon which locks off another Pokémon. The starter selection, the choice of fossils, Hitmonchan/Hitmonlee etc. In what way do we approach opportunity cost in those cases, and should we ever consider that by using Piplup you lock yourself off from arguably the best Pokémon in DPPt (Chimchar)?
I think you yourself put the best way to look at it in your recent post.

Kurona said:
B) The lists do not denote what you should use; but rather accept that this is the Pokémon you are wanting to use, now here is a general guideline of how well it will perform."
I don't think we should take opportunity cost into account when looking at a Pokemon, rather if a Pokemon is rated it should be rated under the assumption that it was chosen for use. It does a better job of answering "what can this Pokemon do and how well".

It also seems like it'd be silly to see a tier list where, for example, you potentially didn't have the Water-type starter ranked above a strictly inferior other Water-type purely because the other Water-type didn't have an opportunity cost. You could argue that not having an opportunity cost makes the other Water-type in this example better but at a glance to a casual looker it'd seem absolutely absurd.
 
#20
I wanted to post something with regards to writeups.

Basically the way I feel is that writeups as they are at the moment could be replaced with just a generic overview of how a Pokémon functions in a casual playthrough. My reasoning for this is that I feel that writeups as they are are a little bit too detailed and even when concise still has some useless information that can be trimmed on (How is a paragraph on the Pokémon's typing and what it means for the game going to give new information?). When someone views a tier list, I feel like they would appreciate and be more likely to read a text as to why a Pokémon is where it is when you just give an overview of what it does as opposed to when you give a detailed writeup with several subsections that can just drag on. Furthermore, I feel like that doing writeups as they are can be very draining and can easily stunt the momentum of getting things done. This is especially the case for something like X & Y where there are so many writeups that the way writeups are done at the moment, I realistically cannot see writeups for that list being done before the end of 2020 even if the thread was somewhat active because of the sheer content and the sheer content of each writeup.

Basically the idea is to replace the details-focused write-up with a more broad, "big picture" overview that sums up its usefulness (or lack thereof) in casual playthroughs in an attempt to make things easier on readers or writers. What do you think? Do you prefer the status quo? Do you prefer what I propose or what others are proposing?
Instead of completely changing the formatting, we could just ask for less detail on each bullet point.
 
#21
Instead of completely changing the formatting, we could just ask for less detail on each bullet point.
The problem is less that a lot of information is required on each point; and more that all these points work better in a general description and there's no real reason to arbitrarily separate them. For instance, if you're gonna talk about major battles and weaknesses, you're gonna have to talk about how the typing and movepool come into those anyway.
I think the availability point could be kept separate as that - and investment - are a very different point to how the Pokémon performs in battle. So yeah, I'd personally propose a compromise of condensing things down to two points; availability and battle prowess.
 
#22
Certain Pokemon will be useful and most will be outclassed ("useless") whether it is competitive play ("OU"), 3-6 Pokemon playthroughs, or 1-2 Pokemon playthroughs. This thread should be spared this overall distraction, not like it even touches the major point of "if ease and efficiency are the goal, why are we constructing rules which disqualify the easiest/most efficient methods for consideration?".
 
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Codraroll

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#23
This thread should be spared this overall distraction, not like it even touches the major point of "if ease and efficiency are the goal, why are we constructing rules which disqualify the easiest/most efficient methods for consideration?".
Because the idea of the in-game tier list is to rank Pokémon according to their merits in a "regular" playthrough, and use that as a yardstick for their relative usability in other forms of play. Single-'mon speedrunning is a very specific and specialized way of playing, with its own unique requirements and conditions, and is pretty far removed from a casual playthrough, or most self-imposed challenges.

Also, speedrunning is not the mode most people on here play. There is an old speedrunning thread around somewhere, but it fell to the depths of the forums because of inactivity. I hardly ever see people posting about plans to speedrun a game, mostly we talk about playing on a way more casual level, and the in-game tier lists are most useful when written accordingly. I think separate speedrun tier threads could thrive given enough interest, but currently it appears to be a too "hardcore" mode for most people in here.

It's past midnight, so I'll stop for now, but hopefully you get the idea.
 

Its_A_Random

A distant memory
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#24
I would support it for final write-ups, but for the purpose of the actual tiering and in-thread discussion I'd stick to the point-by-point system. We need to address and evaluate all the categories anyway, so it wouldn't hurt to keep it formatted through bullet points.
Yeah that's what it was meant for anyway. For tiering by all means use the categories as they are or whatever amounts from this thread, but for writing up for on-site stuff, I would suggest that just doing overviews could be a better option.
 
#25
The issue of course becomes in how to weigh these. If something comes with 0 investment cost, comes incredibly early, has fantastic overworld utility, but limited combat ability (for example Bidoof in DPPt or Zigzagoon in RSE - the HM slaves) should it be ranked as highly as something that also comes early, needs no real investment to get going, is capable of being a decisive factor in every single major battle, but has no overworld utility (think something like BW2 Magnemite)? Most people would say that the second deserves a higher spot from what I've seen.
I'd suggest counting a lack of combat ability as a minus (so the perfect HM slave will never be S-Tier), but not a lack of overworld utility. There's no denying that RSE Zigzagoon is incredibly useful, but the consistent availability of an HM user also comes at the cost of losing a slot that could be occupied by a more capable fighter. That's an obvious flaw, since ideally you'd focus on a varied and strong team that can tackle any opponent, and using an HM slave limits your options.

This logic doesn't work the other way around however, because catching a Magnemite in BW2 won't keep you from cutting down small trees, unless it's the sixth Pokemon you've caught. In a team that's balanced between fighting ability and overworld use, you might have one or two HM slaves depending on the game, and four or five battle Pokemon. Having one team member without overworld utility is much less of a detriment than one who can't fight, because the former's importance is lower than the latter's.
 

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