Showdown Lowdown: Public Rooms on PS!

By Goddess Briyella. Art by Bummer.
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The Early Stages of Public Rooms

So, why were public rooms made on Pokémon Showdown! in the first place?

The initial reason for the creation of public rooms on PS! was to keep things such as tournament announcements, YouTube advertisements, and league-oriented mega-posts out of the main lobby in order to free up chat space for more Pokémon and metagame related discussion. It proved to work well for its intended purpose, and thus began what would lead to a developing success for greater organization on the server, which still continues to improve today. This is one of the many fruitful aspects of PS! being in a beta state, as new improvements, revamps, and additions are implemented all the time in a continuing effort to make the server the best it can possibly be.

No more tournaments or league announcements in the Lobby?

With a few of these major things moved from lobby chat, this also gave birth to separate rooms that would become centralized around said topics. This gave tournament hosts their own frontier where those interested in joining user-created tourneys could quickly and easily find tournaments to play in. It gave YouTubers their own place to connect with viewers, and also made it possible for user-created leagues to have their own base to recruit and organize users. After seeing success in organization, more rooms such as Video Games, Sports, Arts and Crafts, and Anime and Manga began to sprout and flourish on the server, and they served the same purposes: to lessen the discussion of popular non-metagame topics in the main chat by giving them their own respective domains while still keeping these users involved in the community. In addition to organization, it became fun for users to develop social interactions in the environments that suited them, matched their interests, and made them feel comfortable and welcome.

Further Development of Public Rooms

The global rules say "English only," so I can't speak my preferred language?

Pouvez-vous lire ça? Let's face it: English is the universal language. As such, in order to maintain chat quality for the majority of PS! users, an English-only guideline is enforced on the server as a global rule. For users who speak or prefer to speak other languages, public rooms were created for Spanish [Español], French [Français], Portuguese [Português], German [Deutsche], Italian [Italiano], and even Japanese [???] users, so that people who don't speak English can have their own lobby chat of sorts. Pokémon battles have no language barriers, and this means that users from all backgrounds can play competitively with others even if they don't understand each other through text, and this is truly a wonderful thing. These rooms are testament to how PS! can connect people of all backgrounds, allowing friendships to develop that otherwise never would have!

Is there a place for my favorite tier or metagame?

Everyone has their favorite competitive tier. Does lobby chat have too much talk of standard OU for your taste when you're interested in something different? Pokémon Showdown! has its own specific public rooms for Ubers, Overused, Underused, Rarelyused, Neverused, Little Cup, Doubles, VGC, Other Metas, and Monotype; plus, there's even been a recent addition of a room for the CAP (Create-A-Pokémon) Project! This categorization was added with users in mind who want to be part of a specific smaller community surrounding virtually any metagame. Also, if you're interested in learning a new tier, just search the room list to easily find what you're looking for, as there is no better way to learn about a specific metagame than to immerse yourself in the environment; you can find other users who share your interests and can help you adapt to the tier and improve your battling. Whether you're a veteran, a newbie, or even a new user to the server altogether, this is a great way to develop social connections and share knowledge with tier-specific communities!

Is there anywhere to just hang out?


Sometimes, you might decide you need a break from building teams and laddering, but you don't want to abandon being social. Not to worry: there are plenty of awesome places within PS! that can help you unwind. The most popular room by far, as of late, has been the Pokémon XY room, where all the hype surrounding the new Generation VI Pokémon games is centralized, and where new information, strategic ideas, and speculative theories run wild. For a social experience that's mentally engaging, you might try visiting the Trivia room, where questions regarding Pokémon are answered competitively. In this room, playing to be the first to answer things such as "What were the two items required in Pokémon RSE to make a Shell Bell?" provides a good mental exercise as well as a refreshing dose of nostalgia, and the one to correctly answer the trivia question first gets to ask the next one, so the fun never stops. Sometimes after battling or being part of the hype of some of the previously mentioned rooms, you might want to kick back and listen to music with others in The Studio room. It's organized to account for many different musical tastes, where you can share what you like and maybe end up liking something new that you hear from other users. There's even been an Academics room added recently that gives students a place to release their inner nerd and engage in intelligent discussion on various academic courses and subjects. There's a place for everyone; feel free to find yours!

Maintenance of Public Rooms

Unfortunately, as you'll find to be the case on many popular sites, there are those who try to ruin the experience for everyone else, and those who don't have the best behavior or internet etiquette. Also, everyone won't always see eye to eye when it comes to activity or room policies. But, no worries! There are ways to alleviate and counteract these things; just as there are forum moderators and conduct guidelines for different areas of Smogon, there are also positions of authority here in PS! public rooms so that there can be more positive and socially engaging communities herein. Below are the main points that will help a public room operate well:

1. Authority

The absolute most important thing about room staff is that the people appointed to the positions are fit to handle the responsibilities of said positions. Room Owners (#) can only be appointed by a server admin, and are responsible for selecting and promoting users they deem worthy to the position of Room Moderator so that they can help manage the room. Room Moderators (@) are generally trusted members of a room who are equipped to deal with any kind of issue within the room, be it trolls, spammers, problems between other users, or anything else. Room Driver (%) is a fairly new rank, typically given to users who are deemed trustworthy enough to help keep the room under control, but not quite as powerful as Room Moderators, as they are unable to set modchat, ban users from the room, or appoint Room Voices. After room authority has been appointed and the room is able to establish order, the Room Owner serves more or less as the supervisor, and can promote or demote any user he or she deems appropriate. A member of room staff who misuses power or behaves in a way that sets a bad example for the room is likely to be reported and possibly removed from their position.

2. Functionality

There are certainly ways to manage a chatroom other than discipline and deterrence. It is recommended that a room-specific set of rules be decided and written after staff positions have been filled and the room is ready to roll, but why limit the room's rules page to just rules? There are many activities and contests that can be thrown in the mix (even as a routine thing!) to fit the room's overall mood and collective interests. The Trivia room, for example, makes users eligible for Room Voice (+) if they rack up enough points by being the first to answer questions correctly. Add some pizzazz, spice it up, make it interesting! This is really all it takes to keep the room from seeming like just a dull place where people talk and moderators sit around waiting for people to screw up. People will start to forget it's a chatroom. Lively discussion and activity will make sure that users come back again, and will give the room popularity, a good reputation, and most awesome of all: a place PS! users can call home.

3. Communication

A public room is almost guaranteed to fail if its authority does not have communication; this is the glue that holds everything together. It is highly recommended that room staff have regular meetings held somewhere privately, for a few important reasons. First of all, it's generally ideal for all of the staff to be on the same page. This alone prevents all sorts of confusion that can affect the staff as well as the users who visit the room; it might not sound like much, but things can get weird very quickly if one staff member does one thing in a given situation and another staff member does something totally different. Having staff deal with things in contradictory ways not only compromises the authority of the room, but it makes the room's visitors wonder if the staff really has their shit together. Secondly, staff members need a time and place where they can express and discuss current policy and recommended changes to it for whatever reasons they may present. "Option A doesn't seem to be working that well, so we might try Option B or Option C to help fix this issue. Thoughts?" Things such as this are very important if the room's staff is to remain solid and intact with each other, and this in turn reflects upon how the room can be better kept and more appropriately managed so that the users are happy.

Other Frequently Asked Questions

Can I be voiced?


How can I request a new room?

There is a newly added Room Suggestions subforum within the Pokémon Showdown! forum on Smogon's main forum list. New rooms can only be created by server administrators, so this subforum will give users the opportunity to suggest rooms that they think may improve the Showdown experience. Before posting, bear in mind that each new room slows down the server slightly, so only room ideas that are deemed reasonably engaging and likely to promote activity will be considered. These submissions are only viewable by the thread creator and the PS! staff, so don't be shy about sharing your ideas! You can find the Room Suggestions subforum by clicking here.

Why do we need "public rooms" on Pokémon Showdown! when there's IRC?

Come on now, it's a battle simulator. Arguably, (not sure who would even argue this) the most enjoyed aspect of Pokémon—the battles—are in the same place where you can also find your social groove in the community, without even having to switch tabs on your browser to do both. How cool is that? Also, there are a great deal more users on PS! than there are on IRC, and it's becoming increasingly popular, so it's that much easier to lay the groundwork for new social connections. There are tons of people who are active on the server and never active on Smogon's forums at all. This doesn't mean they don't want to contribute to the community; it just means they go about it in a different way!


There are many outstanding facets of Smogon's official battle simulator that often go unnoticed. It's true that PS! is in beta, and that it isn't a finished project, but this is actually a good thing. It gives people the opportunity to be part of a huge work in progress that has been improving and evolving nonstop and is only getting better. Whether you're a regular on the simulator, a community member who battles there only to test things, or someone who has never been on the server at all, be sure to check out the public rooms on PS! There's a place for everyone! Have you found yours?

(Special thanks to Hugendugen for assisting in organization of this article)

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