Unpopular opinions

Also, wanting to add more to that, bosses in other JRPGs are given skills and abilities players don’t have access to. In Fire Emblem: 3 Houses, the Bosses have Infinite magic use, while DragonQuest 11, bosses can take two actions in a turn. In Pokémon, not only do the bosses have equal advantages, they have arguably have less. 0 IVs, no EVs, and less than 4 movesets to save the least.
...which further points to what I refer with "the games are both so easy and so exploitable that exp share has no impact on the difficulty anyway"
 
Why defend Gamefreak's awful regressions with Stockholm syndrome? It just screams "please give us less quality games with less content, but higher prices!". (I will concede though that Gamefreak seemingly cutting the third version crap and just making DLC is an improvement from the past.) Seriously, sometimes I can't get people.....

Anyways, my stance on the Gen 6+ Exp. Share is that it's fine.....but only after you beat the postgame plot. It shouldn't be available before that point as to make you have to work a tad in the main game and the like. However, after you beat the postgame plot, you're probably going to want to raise Pokemon for competitive play or other reasons....why make you have to go through that grind again? To help with training weaker Mons in the main game and such, the Gens 2-5 Exp. Share (with it taking its rightful name) would make a return. And again, you'd get the modern Exp. Share, rebranded as the Exp. All (as it works more like that anyways), after completing the postgame plot. Toggle and all.
 
(Ah, yikes - I think I got overly invested in arguing and may have been more intense about it than I should have. I didn't realize how strongly I must have been coming off, but looking it over again, I feel like my second post was pretty aggressive and pointed. I'm sorry about that... I hope I wasn't too rude.)

Uh, about Necrozma, though! I definitely agree with you that Lusamine was better on the narrative front, and I also mostly agree that the Ultra Necrozma boss fight wasn't executed very well at all - to be honest, I've always thought of it as the one badly done boss in USUM, and I found it pretty disappointing as the climax of a game that otherwise did so well.
That said, I was analyzing it pretty recently, and I realized some things that... well, they didn't exactly redeem the battle, and I still think it could have been executed much better than it was, but I did think that it gave a better picture of what Game Freak might have been trying to accomplish? I dunno! I thought someone here might find it interesting.
While Necrozma is mostly a sheer numbers battle, and it does have a really boring four-attacks moveset with no apparent strategy, there actually is a sort of "theme" behind it - one that's even designed to be exploitable and come with meaningful weaknesses - that makes me think it was more carefully planned than that. The execution was definitely way off, to the point that the fight was just jarring and out of place, but I think this is what sets it apart (or at least was supposed to set it apart...) from all of those badly balanced difficulty hacks.

The theme of the Ultra Necrozma battle is... super effective moves.
Okay, okay, I know that sounds like a cheap way to ascribe meaning to something as mundane as "the boss has type coverage like every other boss," but hear me out:
Ultra Necrozma's signature Ability is Neuroforce, which boosts the power of super effective moves by 25%... on top of their existing double damage, making the modifier 2.5 times. You could read that as "Necrozma's fantastic coverage gives it even more of an advantage in raw numbers," but it also means something else: there's a wider gap between Necrozma's super effective moves and its neutral or resisted moves than any other Pokémon.
This wouldn't mean that much if Necrozma could actually hit everything super effectively, but there's a pretty major hole in its type coverage: Psychic, Dragon, Rock, Steel... all four of these types are resisted by Steel. That means that there's not a single Steel-type, even a dual-type, that Ultra Necrozma can hit super effectively, and if your Steel-type is lucky enough not to have a secondary type with a weakness, it's only taking about 20% of the damage that any other Pokémon takes in this fight.
Particularly when you're already designing a boss around type coverage, I don't think this is something that happens by accident. Necrozma has plenty of options to hit Steel-types. If it replaced Power Gem with, say, Earthquake, the only Pokémon that the player could possibly have to resist it at this point is Skarmory. In fact, if it used Heat Wave instead, there wouldn't be a single Pokémon in Alola that could resist all four of its moves - I think the only Pokémon that resists that combination at all is Flash Fire Heatran. It's not like this is something that's hard to figure out when you're designing a boss - there are even resources that calculate this automatically. If Game Freak wanted Ultra Necrozma to be ridiculously hard to counter, they could have done it easily!
I don't know that there's any easy way to take advantage of this without already having raised a Steel-type, of course, so it's a pretty limiting solution on its own. That said, I bring this up because I've seen someone attest that their Alolan Dugtrio of all things was able to avoid being one-hit KOed - Alolan Dugtrio, a Pokémon with 35/70 bulk! On one hand, it does look like it takes just enough EV investment that I don't think it would reliably happen just by accident - if we suppose the Dugtrio has "average" stats (15 IVs/85 EVs) in both HP and Special Defense, it doesn't reliably take a Photon Geyser until level 57, so you kinda have to get lucky with a good Dugtrio or you're stuck level grinding anyway - but I think it sort of speaks to Game Freak's intentions with the fight: Steel-types in general, even seemingly frail ones, are supposed to be a weakness of Ultra Necrozma.

Not everyone is going to have a Steel-type, though, and there are a lot of other ways people have found to approach the fight - even cheap ways that seem more like oversights than intentional win conditions. But then... let's think about what those actually are.
If we assume Necrozma's objective at any given moment is "use a super effective move," what ways are there to play around that?
The first thing that came to mind was to prevent Necrozma from doing what it wanted - using a Steel-type to guarantee it no super effective options.
But for another option, you could exploit what Necrozma wants - this is what the Zoroark strategy and the Primarina/Alolan Muk strategies both do. If Necrozma is thinking in terms of sheer damage output, then once you know its moves, you also know exactly what move it's going to use on any given turn, and then you can take advantage of it. Side note: its moves all have different base powers, so even in situations where none of them are super effective, the AI is still perfectly consistent and therefore predictable rather than ever being random. Given a tie in type effectiveness, its first choice is always Photon Geyser, and its second choice is always Dragon Pulse - the two moves that can be exploited with immunities - while it only ever uses the more reliable Power Gem and Smart Strike if they have a better type matchup against the immediate opponent. Admittedly, I think it might be a stretch to assume that this was something they did on purpose, but it certainly contributes to the reliability of some notable solutions, so I think it's worth mentioning!
The notable thing about the Zoroark exploit is that... I actually don't think that was an accident! Game Freak shows you that very strategy earlier in the game - specifically with a combination of Zorua and a Poison-type, the exact pairing used to exploit Necrozma - and it's in a mandatory battle that you can't miss: Gladion's debut on Akala Island.
(If we want to be really thorough, I'm also sort of inclined to add... you know the type effectiveness indicator when you're choosing a move? That only triggers if you've already seen the Pokémon once, right? But Zubat appears in another mandatory battle - with the Team Skull Grunt you fight in Hau'oli City, which is before Gladion - which also guarantees that the game will be giving you effectiveness indicators on the disguised Zorua. I think this adds even more to that battle's effectiveness as a tutorial!)

But both of these solutions are reliant, to some extent, on players having chosen the right Pokémon for their teams.
The Steel-type solution doesn't work with just any Steel-type you can catch from the wild - even the wild Skarmory in Vast Poni Canyon do go down in one hit (and I'm not in a position to test what Necrozma's AI prioritizes in that situation, but I know Photon Geyser oneshots through Sturdy if the game properly accounts for that - I'm curious to know if it would be misled to use Power Gem instead, but I don't know if we can call that a reliable enough solution) - so you're basically forced to have already been raising a Steel-type if you want that to work.
Meanwhile, the Zorua solution... actually should still work if you're willing to go out of your way - even a low-leveled, freshly caught Zorua from the Trainer's School should be able to use Toxic once, and that's more or less all it takes - but now you're dedicating two slots of your team and an intentionally cheap strategy to taking down one boss, and most players would rather be able to triumph with the team they actually have.
So here's the last main solution! There are a couple of things that I think are really good about it, but there's also a big problem that I think made it less ideal than it might have been.
We have Steel-types, which can prevent Necrozma from doing what it wants - there's no way at all for it to hit them with a super effective move. We have Zorua, which can exploit what Necrozma wants to do - its instinct to use a super effective move will be its downfall. And then we have... the brute force solution: letting Necrozma do exactly what it wants and just winning anyway.
I'm talking, of course (?), about the Focus Sash from Dancer Julia.
First are the things I like about this:
- The actual "solution" is fairly unique - Necrozma is the only major boss fight that amounts to a single Pokémon if you count the URS, you're wrong Poipole is immune to Toxic anyway. It's not a Trainer who can switch out or cure status, and it's not a Totem Pokémon with an ally... it's by itself! That means that there's no other fight where use Toxic once is a guaranteed win, and there's no way for you not to survive for one turn if you have the Focus Sash. If you have a full team, even better - you don't have to live a single hit after that, because it only takes six turns for poison to take out Necrozma, and it wastes two of them on your first Pokémon.
- Every player can take advantage of it! Unless you've inexplicably decided to raise a full team of Pokémon with Klutz (and there are only three of them in Alola, so you'd have to be going out of your way...), at least one of your Pokémon can use a Focus Sash to take a hit, and the only Pokémon that can't learn Toxic are Ditto (which... if this is your only Pokémon, and it doesn't even have Impostor, you have bigger problems! but also you can at least use the free turn to Transform, I guess?), will have evolved well before this point (Metapod, Kakuna, Beldum at least into Metang, Scatterbug...) or aren't even possible to obtain by this point without trading (Magearna, Wobbuffet, Unown...).
- Dancer Julia is placed at the beginning of Poni Island, so I would say she's close enough to count as "convenient weakness placement" even if there are some other fights in between. The Focus Sash you got might even still be fresh in your mind when you get to this point!
Necrozma is also even built to minimize the influence of RNG. If you do go into the battle with a plan, and it's a plan that should reasonably work, a stroke of bad luck isn't going. In fairness, there's no real way for Game Freak to design a boss not to get a critical hit, so that's always going to be a possibility - but none of Necrozma's moves have secondary effects, and all of them have 100% accuracy. If you're trying to use, say, a Focus Sash to secure a turn... there's actually no way for that to go wrong!
This is another thing that I think we should assume is deliberate - even setting aside type coverage, if Game Freak just wanted to make Necrozma as optimized as possible and just throw wrenches into every conceivable plan, there would have been nothing stopping them from giving it Iron Head (100% accuracy, 80 power and a 30% chance to flinch) rather than Smart Strike (infallible accuracy, but only 70 power and no side effect), since both of them are in its moveset (and neither of them is learned by level, so even that wasn't a factor).
As long as you know exactly what to do, there's almost no way for this strategy to fail you!
But on the other hand... the Focus Sash is a consumable resource that most people won't want to waste on a single boss fight.
There's also the fact that, if your team doesn't include a Poison-type, there's a small chance (10%) that Toxic will miss, and there's no way to get another Focus Sash before postgame.
TM06 is also easy to miss, and there's no point at which the game goes out of its way to teach you about it like Gladion does - you don't even get it from an NPC who would explain its effect like some other TMs. If you're a new player, I feel like this solution is just something you couldn't reasonably be expected to discover for yourself, which is a shame when the rest of the game does have all of those options I mentioned specifically to be new-player-friendly.

I find myself appreciating Ultra Necrozma a lot more than I did at first after thinking through all of these situations - it's honestly much tamer of a "sheer numbers boss" than I thought, and you can sort of tell that Game Freak at least tried to make sure every player could cover it.
I actually also think it's fascinating design to have a boss where - no matter what right answer you choose - you're always going to think "ha, there's no way that's how I was supposed to beat it!" It's basically a trick to make players feel clever, like they didn't just beat the boss but do something even the developer didn't foresee... even if it's secretly exactly what they were supposed to do.

But all the same, I don't think it makes for an ideal final boss. As a one-off, optional gimmick fight, something like this would be fantastic, but I feel like a major story boss like this is exactly the time when players should be putting their own beloved team in the spotlight, and the way Necrozma is set up as a fight just isn't conducive to that. Pretty much all of these viable solutions are carried by one Pokémon - even when you win, it's because one of your Pokémon lived one hit and struck back with one hit of its own, and most of your team isn't contributing at all.
I think that's where the fight falls short the most, and I definitely agree that Lusamine felt more climactic for that reason on a gameplay level (on top of the obvious narrative level).

Still, I just thought an analysis like this might be interesting! Even though Necrozma didn't work too well in the end, I always love looking into the reasons behind stuff like this, so maybe someone else will feel the same?
 
Why defend Gamefreak's awful regressions with Stockholm syndrome? It just screams "please give us less quality games with less content, but higher prices!". (I will concede Gamefreak seemingly cutting the third version crap and just making DLC is an improvement though from the past.) Seriously, sometimes I can't get people.....

Anyways, my stance on the Gen 6+ Exp. Share is that it's fine.....but only after you beat the postgame plot. It shouldn't be available before that point as to make you have to work a tad in the main game and the like. However, after you beat the postgame plot, you're probably going to want to raise Pokemon for competitive play or other reasons....why make you have to go through that grind again? To help with training weaker Mons in the main game and such, the Gens 2-5 Exp. Share (with it taking its rightful name) would make a return. And again, you'd get the modern Exp. Share, rebranded as the Exp. All (as it works more like that anyways), after completing the postgame plot. Toggle and all.
It's not Stockholm, at least not for me. It's recognizing that this new way has the potential to allow for serious improvements.

Which would you rather have: difficulty arising from spreading your resources across a team of six, difficulty that can be overcome by mindless grinding or simply not bothering to raise a team of six, or...

difficulty arising from actually having to intelligently use a full team.

A robust EXP All would help facilitate that latter (and in my opinion, more desirable) form of difficulty. It's up to Game Freak to actually make use of the design choice, which they so far haven't to my knowledge.
 
While I can sympathize with people that dislike forced Exp Share, I really don't think it's a problem any more. I didn't like it in Gen 6 (and still don't) because it completely broke the experience curve. Since Pokemon is a game that mostly has the two sides play by the same rules, it stands to reason that the ideal curve keeps your levels in line with your opponents. The Exp Share in Gen 6 absolutely does not do this and has you significantly higher-leveled than your opponents, which besides the obvious impact on difficulty is immersion-breaking since you have a very clear advantage in this ostensibly synchronous game. Alola is a bit of a weird case, since the Exp Share has a similar but lessened effect (due to scaling) for most of the game, but once you get to Poni Island the game starts to feel like it's actually designed around using the Exp Share (and as early as Ula'Ula for USM). So even by then the issue was getting better.

And now with Sword and Shield? I mean, they're easy games, but I almost never thought that was because I was overleveled. Outside of a weird brief bit at the start of the endgame, my levels were consistenly on par with my opponents. So at this point, Exp Share doesn't feel like some aberration that doesn't belong in the game, but a natural part of how experience works. Sword and Shield's difficulty issues lie far more in that the encounters themselves just don't have much bite to them outside of like, Kabu, Bea, and Leon. Which is definitely disappointing after Alola's excellent encounter design.

The last thing I want to respond to is Exp Share as a difficulty modifier. Frankly, I think experience is one of the least interesting things to mess with when curating difficulty, and Pokemon is absolutely not hurting for other ways to do this. Withholding items, evolutions, moves, party members - so many aspects of Pokemon are completely scalable. While I can appreciate that the Exp Share toggle is much simpler for the player than carefully curating the other parts of the game, I think it's insufficient by itself which means you end up having to further curate your experience anyways. So I can't say I miss it on this front, either.
 
Speaking as someone who gets an aneurysm if any of my party members has more than a few levels of difference, EXP Share was fine. Certainly more preferable than tedious grinding like Platinum has made me do thus far a few times.
Why mention Platinum as a game with tedious grinding. If anything, Diamond and Pearl are much worse, especially for the Pokémon League.
 
Why mention Platinum as a game with tedious grinding. If anything, Diamond and Pearl are much worse, especially for the Pokémon League.
Why mention D/P as games with tedious grinding when you have HG/SS which feature extremely tedious grinding all the way from the beginning to the end, during both the main game and the post-game? Say what you want about D/P, they did at least have a functional level curve and a way to rebattle trainers efficiently, two things HG/SS desperately wish they had.

On the current topic of the new Exp. Share and difficulty in Pokémon games, I have some things to say. I did not read through every previous post on the subject, so apologies if I'm repeating things others have already said.

First of all, I dislike how the entire party is forced to get Exp. in Gen 8. I generally try to keep my team members at an even level when playing through the games and this made it very difficult since all of them always got Exp. after every battle or capture. This was especially notable when I added a new member to the team. And due to the way I play, I started getting overleveled after the third gym, with no way to turn back. The only solution I saw to this was to train more than six Pokémon. My team in Sword ended up consisting of 15 Pokémon in the end, which made my playthrough more balanced. I only got underleveled in the end of the game, against Eternatus and Leon. During the rest of the game, my team members were at the same level as the opponents' Pokémon or slightly above. While this was admittedly fun and functional, I still think that Exp. for the entire party should have stayed optional like it was in Gen 6/7.

Which brings me to my next point. I like the way the Exp. Share works in Gen 6 and 7. I thought it was well done, and best of all: it was optional, you didn't have to use it if you didn't want to. I had it on when I played through X since I wanted to give it a try, but this led to my team getting ridiculously overleveled. It was at above level 80 when I beat the game. In comparison, Diantha's Gardevoir is at level 68. I turned the Exp. Share off during my playthroughs of Y and OR/AS which led to much more balanced experiences, I only turned it on to make grinding easier at some points during the games, most notably before the E4. I kept it off for S/M and US/UM too but had a vastly different experience with them, more about that further below. Also, I disagree with those who think that the Gen 6/7 Exp. Share should only have been available after beating the E4. If you don't want to use it before the E4, just turn it off. It isn't that hard. In fact, it is very easy and only takes a few seconds to do. On the whole, I'd say the Exp. Share in Gen 6/7 is an example of good game design because it is optional, the same can't be said for Gen 8 though since it is not optional there.

As for the difficulty in Pokémon games on the whole, I don't think the series has ever been that difficult. If you are looking for a difficult RPG, you should play something else than Pokémon. Or play Pokémon, but with a self-imposed challenge. While one might argue that the games in the newer generations have gotten easier, they were never really that hard to start with. If someone finds any older Generation to be harder than the current one, I don't think it is because the games have gotten easier (at least it is not the only reason), but because we were younger and less experienced when we started compared to now when we have a lot more experience with the games and have played several games/generations. But there is one exception.

I found Gen 7 to be surprisingly hard (at least with Exp. Share turned off). Both S/M and US/UM, they had an unbalanced level/difficulty curve as they featured several sudden level "jumps" during the main game, with pretty bad grinding spots right before these jumps. And my unpopular opinion is that I did not like this. I never asked for a harder Pokémon game and I wasn't happy about it. The Gen 7 games also had another thing I disliked in terms of difficulty: they introduced several "unfair" battles where the opponents have advantages over you. The most notable are the Totems, the SOS mechanics and Ultra Necrozma. Those kinds of battles are common in many other RPGs but Pokémon had done just fine without them IMO, there was no need to introduce them. This continued in Gen 8 with the Max Raid battles and Gigantamax to an extent. And I don't like that. I remember that when I got to Ultra Necrozma in Ultra Moon, I got angry because this was not what I wanted to see. As said in a previous post, I partly struggled to get through US/UM and this did not make things easier. Fortunately, I was able to beat it even if it came at the cost of a Focus Sash and required a bit of luck. I also disagree with anyone who claims that Gen 7 is easy even if you play with Exp. Share off, that is very different from my own experiences and I am very curious about the teams and playstyles of those who make such claims.

Lastly, since Challenge Mode in B2/W2 was mentioned earlier in this discussion, I might as well share my own experiences with it. I played through White 2 on Challenge Mode and I did not really find it more difficult than usual (at least not much). However, I did not find that it required more grinding either, I was on the same level as the opponents during the majority of the game. Due to B2/W2 having a great level curve, the new Exp. system and a free Lucky Egg, my team members always got a lot of Exp which made them grow quicker, requiring less grinding. I think White 2 on Challenge Mode was one of the most balanced playthroughs I have ever had of a Pokémon game, it is a prime example of good game design if you ask me.
 
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Yung Dramps

awesome gaming
is a Pre-Contributor
My problem with BW2 Challenge Mode is that a lot of the changes made feel less like making it legit harder than average and more just reverting back to the mean. The biggest example of this is gym leader Pokemon counts: In Challenge Mode they all get an extra mon, getting the late game leaders to 4 mons. That's fine and all, but that was already and continued to be the standard in RSE, DPP, SWSH and more, no difficulty settings required. Aside from that there was also the really lazy "same shit we just gave them extra levels" fights like Ghetsis.

Challenge Mode is one of those concepts I'd love to see explored again, but they gotta do better than BW2.
 

Pikachu315111

JAPE Judge!
is a Community Contributoris a Smogon Media Contributor
Exp Share:
I don't really have anything else to say that hasn't been said already. All I would be doing is throwing my hat on the side I agree with. Which side is that, eh, I honestly think it's probably in the middle of the line (though that "middle line" is more like a wide lane). To make things easier and not give everyone another essay to read, I'll just list my ideal Exp. Share:

  1. Can be turned off. (WHY: While GF's ideology on difficulty in Pokemon is for players to do it themselves, kind of hard to do that when you force an OP mechanic they have to use)
  2. Can choose how much experience a non-battling Pokemon gains (probably 10%, 20%, 25%, 33% & 50%). Individual Pokemon can have different percentages. (WHY: Because some players may want the passive experience but they either don't want as high it currently is or they want a Pokemon that's behind levels to catch up faster to all the others)
  3. Can choose which Pokemon are (and are not) affected. (WHY: As said above, some Pokemon are at the levels you want them so would rather them not to gain any additional experience thus making it take longer for other Pokemon to catch-up)
  4. Have an alternative mode which has the Pokemon that's currently the lowest level in the party gets the experience. Can increase it to the lowest two or three Pokemon. (WHY: A lot of players like the Exp. Share to help catch-up their lower level Pokemon, so why not give it an mode which does just that? It'll do the switching automatically)
  5. Can filter out EVs for individual Pokemon (WHY: I know that's a major complaint about the Exp. Share, so why not make it a feature? Make the Exp. Share more robust)

Difficulty Level/Challenge Mode:
Honestly a single Challenge Mode, going by GF's design philosophy, isn't really going to change much or in the ways people looking for a tougher challenge want. We'd probably need like 3 to get to where we want them:

  1. Starter: Easy Mode. Trainer Pokemon Levels are lower, some trainers may have less Pokemon, moves are strictly from level-up & no coverage (maybe not even give a Pokemon four moves), if Pokemon has two normal Abilities will pick the less useful, AI simple and may pick moves at random.
  2. Trainer: Normal Mode, this is the basis where the other modes are based on. Any notable details would be moves can come from TM & has coverage (and have all four moves), still two normal Abilities but selects the best one, and AI follows some strategy.
  3. Gym Leader: For the new players looking for a step-up in challenge. Notable differences would be with the notable trainers like Rivals, Pokemon League, Villain Team, etc.. Higher levels, getting an additional Pokemon, their ace holding an item, their Pokemon's moves could include Tutor & Egg Moves, their Pokemon has the option of using a Hidden Ability if its a better Ability then what they normally have, and their AI is on high. Some may even use some competitive strategies and "themed" teams (weather, terrain, rooms), especially at the Pokemon League.
  4. Elite Four: For the veteran player looking for a "casual challenge". The above changes for the notable trainers mentioned above? They now apply to all normal trainers. Notable trainers remain mostly the same as in the Gym Leader difficulty except now all their Pokemon are holding an item (and they may have different moves & Ability to work with the held item).
  5. Champion: Here we go! The normal trainers for the most part will be unchanged (except now all their Pokemon are holding items), but it's the notable trainers that's get the biggest change: each has a full team of 6 (and levels may be raised higher once again).

Of course, if it was me I would just chop it down to 4 (Starter, Gym Leader, Elite Four, & Champion; obviously renamed to something like Starter, Trainer, Champion, & Master) because, as Suspicious Derivative said, BW2's Challenge Mode felt like how the games difficulty should be. But gotta think like GF here so to get what we want we'd have to hop through an additional hoop.

Bringing Back An Unpopular Opinion: Level Caps:
While I only skimmed through the Exp. Share discussion, form what I read makes me think the old "level cap" idea I suggested long ago (which was really unpopular and caused several pages of argument) isn't a bad alternative idea. Since then I had formulated a more thoughout level cap mechanic that shouldn't be intrusive:

  • Up to a certain level your Pokemon's stats stop being increased until the level cap can be increased. Checking the stat screen will show its actual stats and, if they're above the cap, what the current capped level and stats are at.
  • A Pokemon stats will still be affected by EVs gained & can still learn new moves upon getting to the required level.
    A Pokemon that evolves by leveling can't evolve if the required evolution level is above the cap (though if something is done to lower the level requirement below the cap it'll be able to evolve).
  • If a Pokemon is traded over they are also affected by the level caps. However if the Pokemon is an evolved Pokemon which evolves at a level above the level cap it'll disobey you.
  • Level cap increases as you get more Badges, adjusted to match the level progression curve of the game. Becoming Champion removes caps.
  • Difficulty settings can set notable trainers (Rival/Pokemon League/Villain Team/etc.) levels based on caps: On easy they're below cap (so those having a hard time can grind to a higher level), on normal their strongest Pokemon matches cap, and on hard their weakest Pokemon matches cap while strongest goes above it.
  • TMs can only be taught to Pokemon of a certain Level. More stronger/useful the Move the higher the Level needed.

The main goal of the Level Caps is threefold: help plan out the level curve especially with "boss" trainers, give players a "goal" level if they feel they need to be as prepared as possible to face the "boss" trainers, and to encourage training more than a core team of 6 Pokemon as you'll likely hit the cap for a few Pokemon before raising it so why not train up some other Pokemon to get them stronger?
 

DreamPrince

Formerly Leader Wallace
My thoughts on the topic of the Experience Share as we discuss it. I agree with Worldie that the Experience share alone does not make the game more easier alone. DragonQuest 11 has an Experience Share and the game is still challenging. Its because the bosses are given inherent advantages: Bosses can take 2 to 3 actions in a turn, have strong immunity to status effects, and can do massive damage with spread attacks which is especially brutal when in conjunction of two actions per turns. And before I go into any further, what I like to define difficult for me: It requires me to reset twice at least, and I have to rethink my strategy. That's honestly it. In DragonQuest 11, even without any difficulty settings, I lost against the Tentacular several times. After doing some backtracking, I discovered that a woman gave you a cannon that can give you a head start on that fight by immobilizing it for a couple of turns.

But Pokemon does not have any of that. I've already mentioned how Allister not only doesn't have 4 move slots, but lacks EVs and IVs on his Pokemon. Heck, his Mimikyu doesn't know a single damaging Fairy-type move, which would have been useful to combat the Dark types that threaten his Ghost types. Its that kind of easiness that makes an experience share really unnecessary. I've never had to reset once in SwSh and rethink my strategy for the main campaign.

I also agree with Suspicious Derivative that the best compromise would have been just to toggle between on and off so it wouldn't be an issue for players who did not want it.

As for Totem fights, I did enjoy the challenge they provided. Some were a joke, like Raticate, whiles others like Salazzle and Lurantis really gave me a hard time. Could they have been better? Yes, but by Pokemon Standards they were a great change of pace. That being said, one thing bothers me is how you can cheese these fights. In USM, you could just wait for a Misdreavus to show up in PokePelago, and 6-9 levels it will learn Perish Song. With that Focus Sash, you can just cheese Ultra Necrozma and Totem Ribombee with Perish Song. I feel like the bosses should have given some immunity to those attacks.

As for this
"Are there other features to make the game more difficult for experienced players?
Ohmori: There are no direct difficulty levels in Sword and Shield, but we always think about different options to experience the game. If players really want to make it difficult for themselves, they can bring fewer Pokémon into their party, or a team with only one type."
Ok that is just outright bad game design.

#1: Here's the thing Ohmori. I play Pokemon for the fact that I get to experience the Pokemon- The wonderful creatures that are each unique in there own regard. If anything, I want to own more Pokemon. Why would I ever want to limit myself to catching Pokemon? I want difficulty and to raise 6 Pokemon. I shouldn't have to limit myself to either having less Pokemon or higher difficulty.

#2: Same thing applies. Each Pokemon has a unique type that makes them very each to play. I should not have to limit myself to restricting to one type for a challenging experience.

If this does not prove that Gamefreak is incomptent, then I don't know what is. This is how Pokemon games are being designed, I can see why SwSh fail in comparison to other RPGs. This is so bad reasoning because creating difficulty forces you to give critical features. Any other company would never compromise difficulty for the sake of key features. GameFreak did just that based on Ohmori's testimony.
 
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An often ignored issue with the permanent EXP share is the varying growth rates of Pokémon. I've noticed this in both Gen 7 and Gen 8; despite my best efforts to have my team members receive equal battle time, those with the slowest growth rates necessarily see the most, while those with faster growth rates almost never see combat unless I need them for a specific battle.
 
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To add to the exp share scandal, the real reason why despite exp share being on, ss had equal leveling curves was cuz of the short routes after motostoke. This is why till kabu's gym your team seems overleveled but suddenly at bea, the levels seem to get equal again.

Despite the 7 levels difference between centiskorch (lvl 27) and machamp (lvl 34), there r actually only about 9 trainer battles including hop. For comparison, in dp during candice's abomasnow (lvl 42) and volkners luxray (lvl 49) , you have the entire galatic climax on top of another route before sunnyshore. Heck forgot about the galatics, the route alone has 12 trainers to fight! And if we're being real, the route after sunnyshore is acessible too. Even in xy, the reason why you overlevel is because there're still so many trainers. Between the fairy fyms sylveon and the psychics gym meowstic, you have a mandatory route,frost cavern and two optional areas. Of course , with that much trainers, you get overleveled if the exp share is on.

Meanwhile in ss....after the fking first gym, the game has only one route between each city....of course, the exp share doesn't matter. After all, they had to make the exp share permanently on to hide the fact theres not enough content in their games lmao.
 
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1. Brick bronze (the roblox ripoff) is my favorite pokemon game.

2. I don't think starter pokemon should be powerful, at least without mega evolutions. They're the first one you get for no investment at all rather than ones you went through the effort to seek out in the wild and catch. They shouldn't be shitmons, because most kids can't beat the game without rolling it with their starter, but they shouldn't be top cut mons like blaziken or gren either, at least without mega evolution. People are already too attached to starters in this game to really nerf them now, but if I could run it back from the beginning I would reduce them to a universal 520 BST and maybe even cut down slightly on their movepools.

3. There needs to be a simple way to adjust every aspect of a pokemon you have from the ground up in a single menu, just like the showdown teambuilder. I get the whole build a connection with your pokemon and work hard to train them in your own original way thing, but at the same time not effectively being able to use your bros that you rolled the game with because you didn't raise them optimally is kinda lame. Just make it only available in the postgame, cost a lot of in game currency, and only available to level 100 pokemon.

4. Most shinies look worse

5. Pokemon needs to remove all of the artificial difficulty and implement more QOL before making games harder
 
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2. I don't think starter pokemon should be powerful, at least without mega evolutions. They're the first one you get for no investment at all rather than ones you went through the effort to seek out in the wild and catch. They shouldn't be shitmons, because most kids can't beat the game without rolling it with their starter, but they shouldn't be top cut mons like blaziken or gren either, at least without mega evolution. People are already too attached to starters in this game to really nerf them now, but if I could run it back from the beginning I would reduce them to a universal 520 BST and maybe even cut down slightly on their movepools.
Well, on positive note, in last 2 gens the only pokemon that reached the "op" status was Incineroar (and that's with its HA, so tecnically a way rarer version not obtainable normally)
 

DreamPrince

Formerly Leader Wallace
Well, on positive note, in last 2 gens the only pokemon that reached the "op" status was Incineroar (and that's with its HA, so tecnically a way rarer version not obtainable normally)
So has Greninja and Blaziken, both got banned to Uber. Wonder if Cinderace will be the same?
 
A few more:
1. Blue (the character) is cooler than red.
2. Pokemon should never have put legends on the boxes and should have stuck with the starters. Its too much of a spoiler imo.
3. I think nuzlocke and its derivatives is stupid. People are free to enjoy what they want, of course, and if they find it fun that's 100% cool, but I personally don't see the point. If players want a challenge, I feel like they would have a much more rewarding experience playing pvp or just another game in general.
 
A few more:
1. Blue (the character) is cooler than red.
2. Pokemon should never have put legends on the boxes and should have stuck with the starters. Its too much of a spoiler imo.
3. I think nuzlocke and its derivatives is stupid. People are free to enjoy what they want, of course, and if they find it fun that's 100% cool, but I personally don't see the point. If players want a challenge, I feel like they would have a much more rewarding experience playing pvp or just another game in general.
1. No comment
2. Eh, I think it's important to have the legends as cover so that the players can choose which version to get based on their favourite legends.
3. I think those challenges are pointless too. If it's me, I will just use the most broken strategy that the game provides.
 
A few more:
1. Blue (the character) is cooler than red.
2. Pokemon should never have put legends on the boxes and should have stuck with the starters. Its too much of a spoiler imo.
3. I think nuzlocke and its derivatives is stupid. People are free to enjoy what they want, of course, and if they find it fun that's 100% cool, but I personally don't see the point. If players want a challenge, I feel like they would have a much more rewarding experience playing pvp or just another game in general.
Agree somewhat with point 2 in the sense that box art legends are huge spoilers, though the issue is complicated somewhat by the Gen 1 legends not really doing much of anything in the story, as well as being unaffiliated with any one game in particular. Also, putting a starter on the front doesn't really make much sense, as they aren't really affiliated with one particular game either. I think it would be better to either have a silhouette of the main legendary, or no Pokemon at all, though I recognize that those are significantly less marketable. The ideal would probably be something like what they do with Mystery Dungeon, where interesting scenarios are shown without any spoilers (note: there may actually be spoilers that I'm unaware of, as I haven't played these games).

As for Nuzlockes, the appeal, for me at least, are the stories you get out of them. While I never did end up getting them to work, I was inspired to find a GBA emulator and an Emerald ROM specifically to give Nuzlocking a shot, inspired by the comics and animations of runs by Notepaddle and Jaiden Animations.
 
Emerald is the best game, and no in-game challenge is harder than the Gen 3 Battle Frontier.

Anyone who says otherwise hasn't played the Pyramid, or the Palace where you literally just press A and PRAY you win.
 

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