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Adios MOBAs

30 Aug

Since coming back from Catalonia (Spain), I have decided to stop playing all MOBA games. I realise it is not healthy for me. In the last two years I was aware that that type of game wasn’t healthy, but I didn’t realise how unhealthy. I am talking about playing by myself however. Though playing with friends has its problems too.

All the communities for all the games are toxic. Understandable as to why. You are 5 complete strangers shoved into a team randomly. Within a short space of time (a minute or two) you must decide between yourselves who is doing what and where. You have no idea how skillful each team member is. A lack lustre players would be less crippling in other team base competitive games. However, this less skilled player, if it dies to the enemy, will grant the enemy bonus gold and exp. The death on an ally will empower the enemy. Making it a lot harder to win.

Every time a team member apologises for dying, I wish I could say “it’s alright, do not worry.” You cannot, that would be dishonest. You cannot say “you’ve made it harder for us to win now”, as it’d cripple them, and probably cause them to be a bigger hindrance. This is why there is such a toxic atmosphere to these games. Not every game is like this, but they are frequent enough to erode away at your soul. Each match is 35 minutes to 45 minutes long. Is it enjoyable to exist in an atmosphere of this nature? Even if you win, did you really have fun? If you lose it’s awful. Perhaps you sincerely enjoy playing MOBA regardless of the outcomes. That is cool. Please help foster a warmer environment in a game where the mechanics actively encourage awful attitudes.

Now to discuss why even playing with friends can be a bad thing.

It’s difficult teaching and guiding strangers how to improve their play. It’s impossible to do it for a friend. Well, the sort of friends I had when I used to play HoN and DotA2. Upon reflection, and in comparison to the company I keep now, it’s questionable. You encounter a situation where individuals who are meant to be friends ditch you for the sake of improving their own performance at the game. Gaming is a hobby, it’s not a lifestyle unless you achieve the point of being in the top 0.1% of skilled players of that game.To get there is hard. Most people are striving there. I say gaming is a hobby because… is that all you want from life? It’s nice being able to do your hobby all the time, but what do you actually achieve? What do you gain? These questions can be hard to take.

 

I love the game mechanics of all MOBA. It’s unfortunate that it’s the human interaction that hurts my experience of the game.

Past, Present and Future

30 Aug

I’ve recently came back from a trip away to Catalonia, Spain. I went on the trip expecting a lovely social trip with me being able to do some sketching and stuff. I have returned with so much more. I am aware there are people who get scared by talk of anything that is explicitly faith related. I say fear because I recall last Easter an Independent Video Game studio posted an explicitly Christian Image wishing love to everyone on Easter. They received some abuse including some users who were like “omfg, i wil unlike c0z u cristean” . I can understand the perception overall of organized religion by some people isn’t healthy. But it is incredibly short sighted to paint every single person who “represents” a “group” with the same brush (yay cliche expression).

So yeah, i tried to avoid making this post explicitly about faith and I’ve just gone and made it faithy.

 

We are obsessed with the past and future. We look upon the past with love or regret and we get lost there. We dream of the future, but in the process we lose track of what is happening now. The immediate now. Your current surroundings and environment. We do not appreciate the now. By only looking forwards and backwards, we ignore what is beside us.

We may at times wish we could travel backwards to do things better. But is this a good idea? We may repeat the actions that originally caused us to feel shame. Only by having foreknowledge can we ever change the past. So far, this is impossible. Current Scientific Theory for this idea is restrictive. You could only travel back to the point where time travel first gets invented. Reliving the past so you could spend time amongst people/a person or in a place may also not be such a good idea. The foreknowledge of what to come may affect your emotions. This could bestow you a burden.

So, try to focus on the present more, before it flows away and becomes the past. I would be lying if I said I could do this. These thoughts that compose this post comes from my own faults.

My Top 10 Unevolved Pokemon (Design) Part 2 of 2

7 Jul

(Introductionary bit to explain what’s going on if you didn’t catch part 1)

Humans have an obsession with lists. They have wishlists, shopping lists and criminal offenders lists. In a world of chaos and unpredictability, lists offer us a way to rationalise our environment onto a piece of neat paper.

In modern and digital times, lists still exist. They express someone’s opinion with cute little numbers. These lists may be personal or perhaps, financially influenced. Someone’s list of favourite Video Games may be sincere, but a list of “favourite PC hardware” is vulnerable to external influence.

You’ll be pleased to learn that my personal Pokemon list hasn’t been paid off. If I had hypothetical billions of followers, I wouldn’t be sure what the benefit would be.

The criteria of this list is:

The Pokemon still has an evolution to go
The Pokemon’s next stage evolution looks worse (in my opinion)
The final evolution of the chain is not redeeming
The number at which the Pokemon appears will be based on the personal appeal I have towards the design and how much the design is “ruined” by its evolution.

So with the rules of the list explained, shall we resume?

 

#5 Electabuzz 

electabuzzI have a sort of love-slightcreepedout relationship towards Electabuzz. On one hand, it’s a bad arse fanged electrical beast that is fuzzy. On the other hand, it is dangerously close to appearing like The Honey Monster who was one supernatural beings that tormented my unconscious childhood. I suppose that’s why my attempt at drawing this Pokemon resulted in what looks like a sinister child’s drawing. Evidently I never gotten over this experience. I’ll shove a picture of the Honey Monster below for control and contrast. Don’t worry, it’s surprisingly relevant to this list.

honey-monster I have always been unnerved by people in mascot suites where I cannot see the actor’s face. There’s something primitively terrifying about it. It is made worse by your peers actually loving them. I found clowns fine in honesty. I hated clowns, but they didn’t install fear. 6ft walking carpets with creepy smilies did disturb me. There is one “mascot suite” character that tormented me more than Honeybuzz; Mr Blobby. I dare not show you a picture, just in case “That who holds an image of a Mister Blobby becomes itself a Mister Blobby”. Now to make this intersection relevant to the blogpost. This is Electabuzz’s evolution and I think I know why I hate it so much:

electivireElectivire resembles much more strongly what I fear the most. It is not helped that it looks ugly. As an independant Pokemon, its design might not have bothered me as much. As it is the evolution of Electabuzz (which I do rather like), I am very disappointed. Magmar would be on this list as Magmortar I also hate, but Magmar I am not keen on anyway. I dislike its bobbly horns. Electabuzz has these as well, but they’re less distinct. Electabuzz’s fuzzy catlike tail has turned into two LED things. Electivire has a weird nose. The worst is that it has a pattern for a EU and USA socket on its back. I am not keen on artificial objects being motifs on organic looking Pokemon. Electivire is an ugly disappointment in my opinion. Hey, at least I can run Electabuzz competitively with Eviolite. (Rest. Power-Up Punch. Wild Charge. Barrier with Static as an Ability. EV train it to be durable). It works as a semi decent Support Tank in doubles.

 

#4 Croagunk

croagunk I wish I could explain why I love Croagunk’s design. I would say it looking like an animal, a frog to be exactly could help. Then again, I find Croagunk’s evolution and Seismictoad’s evolution line hideous. I suppose it’s a simple design with little extras that complement each other. The proportions are nice. I also like the idea of it being a Poison type frog. This frog has no Water typing! In the Anime, I liked the character of Brock’s croagunk. I found the way it incapacitated Brock, when Brock was being a pervert interesting. I wasn’t sure if Croagunk did it because Croagunk was ashamed or putting Brock in his place. Or perhaps Croagunk would get jealous. I think Croagunk is a Pokemon design that stands up by itself without needing an evolution to develop the idea. Which is why I hate its evolution form.

ToxiBesides ugly, I would describe Toxicroak as a deformed Kyogre inflatable. There is something very unsettling and creepy about its appearance. Sometimes creepy Pokemon can look awesome. No… this one looks just horrid. Oh well… perhaps I can investigate how viable Eviolite Toxicroak is. Its x4 weakness to Psychic would be a problem.

 

#3 Scyther 

scytherPerhaps one of the most popular Pokemon ever. Who wouldn’t like a giant praying mantis with scythes for arms? In generation 1, the majority of the bugs were underwhelming in appearance (even you mister triple stab wasp). Then came along the creepy looking Pinsir (whose MegaEvolution looks friccing awesome) and Pinsir in the Safari Zone (each were a version exclusive). However, generation 2 arrived. This added the steel type and the method to evolve via trade with held item. This gave us Scizor.

Scizor_by_Xous54Scizor to me was initially cool. You acquired it via a difficult way. It was an evolution of a preexisting Pokemon. It had a new typing. It could learn False Swipe that made it great for Pokedex filling. But over many years, the novelty wore off. Now, when I look at Scizor, I see a not-so-good looking Scyther. I blame this one it having scissors for hands instead of scythes. Sorry, but scythe > scissors in terms of coolness. At least they share similar base stat totals. Meaning I could run Scyther in competitive battling. It just means I cannot use the Mega option (which kinda makes Scizor’s design worse).

Mega_ScizorI don’t like how extreme MegaScizors’ angular appearance gets. Its insectoid legs turn into pins. I gets a very weird black crown. If its claws turned into Chainsaws, that may redeem the design in my eyes. However, Gamefreak didn’t take this opportunity and decided to give Scizor serrated clamps. It feels like Deoxys, Bisharp and Scizor were fused together. Might look cool as a stand alone Pokemon (like how Tropius looks like a corrupted Megaranium), but as a Mega Evolution, I dislike it.

 

#2 Slugma

slugmaIt was close between my #1 and #2. However, Slugma didn’t quite make #1 because I find Magcargo not criminal in design. I merely adore Slugma’s design so much, that I would find it hard to like any alternative evolution designs. I like Slugma because I have always been interested in blob creatures. For example, my favourite Goosebump books when I was a child were the Monster Blood books. I can’t explain this liking. I like Muk as well. I thought the concept of Slugma was a cool one too. Slugma is effectively sentient magma or lava, in the form of a mollusk. I think what’s even cooler is that Slugma’s form looks reminiscent of those awesome sea slugs.

Just awesome. I also have a personal reason why I like Slugma. I have a friend who used to stay at my house with his family every summer. One year, I stayed at his house. Out of boredom, we started making Pokemon out of paper and sellotape. I enjoyed this so much, that after I went back home, I kept making Pokemon. In the time between the next time we’d meet, I made a Slugma. I was really proud how it turned out. Its design lent itself so well to sculpture. I was proud at my ingenuity of creating the texture of its skin by heavily crinkling sheets of paper.stock-photo-1844971-nudibranch

 

 

 

 

MagcargoWhy don’t I like Magcargo as much as Slugma? I don’t like the shell. That’s it.

I’m really annoyed at Magcargo in the games. It has three weaknesses: It takes 4x damage from Ground attacks (Magcargo is Fire and Rock), it is very slow (at least in Trickroom Teams this is a good thing) and its Special Attack and Attack base stats are equal. It’s not necessarily bad to have equal base stats in both Attack stats, but when you takes 4x damage from a popular attack type and dead slow outside of a Trickroom, it’s not great. Magcargo does have good base Defence, but has terrible base HP. Magcargo is one of those Pokemon I want to use, but can’t seem to make work. Given Magcargo has troubles, I can’t exactly run Slugma with Eviolite.

 

#1 Grovyle

Grovyle Coincidentally topical. My #1 Pokemon-That-Still-Needs-To-Evolve-But-Wished-They-Didn’t is a Hoenn starter evolution stage. This is the evolution of Treecko, and it evolves into Sceptile. If you ignore Electabuzz (because I wish both its final and first stage of evolutions didn’t exist), Grovyle is 1 of 2 “mid stage” evolution forms on my list. The rest are first stage or “basic”. What I love about Grovyle is that it’s a friccing Ninja Tree Frog. No other Pokemon looks this bad arse, and it’s ruined by Sceptile.

250px-254SceptileThis agile green death evolves into a bulky smug thing with yellow back blobs and a pinetree tail. I think Sceptile is far over designed. It’s also a strange development. It’s as shocking as Vigoroth evolving into Slaking (an honourable mention). For a final stage evolution for a starter it’s fitting. It looks like a final form. I just wish I didn’t have to lose such a cool looking Pokemon just to get its final form. I wrote this list before the Mega Sceptile announcement. In my opinion, Mega Sceptile helps. As I stated at the beginning, one factors for my list is if the final evolution redeems the whole thing or not. I include Mega Evolutions in this. However, I ignored Megaevolution in every other aspect. That’s for another day and list. A list of my top 10 least favourite Mega Evolution designs (spoiler, MegaManectric and MegaHeracross will be on it).

mega-sceptile1Why does MegaSceptile dampen the blow of the sacrilegious Grovyle -> Sceptile?

The MegaEvolution is a logical MegaEvolution. It doesn’t ruin the aspects that make Sceptile Sceptile whilst “improving” the Pokemon. By the design being even more over designed, it helps it look normal. It’s as though the norm is now “lots of stripes, balls and spikes and stuff”. That magically makes it look less awful. I love the gradient on Mega Sceptile’s balls going from yellow, through to orange and finishing on red. I think the red arrow end on the tail is cool. I also love the fact MegaSceptile is infact now part Dragon type. I think this helps me like the design. MegaSceptile is no longer an overgrown tree frog. MegaSceptile is a Forest Dragon. (I love how Game Freak is using Mega Evolution to get weird and sometimes OP type combinations out of the way. Mega Evolution has given us Dragon/Fire, Dragon/Electric and now Dragon/Grass)

 

There we have it. That is my list. Since the topic of the list is my own personal thoughts and feelings and it discussing the design, some of my justifications of my dislike will be weak. That’s just the nature of personal thoughts on art and creativity. Sometimes it’s an interesting explanation as to why, and sometimes it’s just “I don’t like it”. Half the images in the two blogposts are my own. I’m sure you can tell which are my own and which are taken from Google Images. I would have produced my own images of the other Pokemon I referenced, but I realised it’d be hard to produce a nice image of Pokemon I wish didn’t exist. I mean, Electabuzz’s drawing was a challenge, and I blame that to do with my baggage phobia of underpaid actors in fuzzy suites.

 

My Top 10 Unevolved Pokemon (Design) Part 1 of 2

16 Jun

Humans have an obsession with lists. They have wishlists, shopping lists and criminal offenders lists. In a world of chaos and unpredictability, lists offer us a way to rationalise our environment onto a piece of neat paper.

In modern and digital times, lists still exist. They express someone’s opinion with cute little numbers. These lists may be personal or perhaps, financially influenced. Someone’s list of favourite Video Games may be sincere, but a list of “favourite PC hardware” is vulnerable to external influence.

You’ll be pleased to learn that my personal Pokemon list hasn’t been paid off. If I had hypothetical billions of followers, I wouldn’t be sure what the benefit would be.

The criteria of this list is:

  1. The Pokemon still has an evolution to go
  2. The Pokemon’s next stage evolution looks worse (in my opinion)
  3. The final evolution of the chain is not redeeming

The number at which the Pokemon appears will be based on the personal appeal I have towards the design and how much the design is “ruined” by its evolution.

So with the rules of the list explained, shall we get going?

 

#10 Spearow

ImageI do have some personal attachment to this Pokemon. During the first Gen, I noticed that Spearow and Fearow appeared to have more offensive capabilities than its pudgy pidgeon counter-part: Pidgey. Perhaps learning the move “Drill Peak” helped assert this impression. After discovering this, Spearow would become a strong contender for that “Fly user” slot in playthroughs. This cute Pokemon got dethroned by Taillow who had an equally amazing and looking evolution in Swellow.

Spearow would be a Pokemon I’d pick up to use if Fearow didn’t look so strange in comparison.

ImageWhat I don’t like about Fearow’s design is the strange chicken plume it has on its head. The red seems a bad use of contrast. I don’t think the plume adds anything. I find its beak is too long for my liking. I can see how a Spearow would evolve into Fearow, I just wish it hadn’t. Chatot has done well for being a “cute little bird” without an evolution, why couldn’t have Spearow been like that?

 

#9 Rhydon

ImageI’ll confess, I used to prefer Rhyhorn. I was not keen on the humanoid appearance of Rhydon. However, one day something happened. Pokemon Diamond and Pearl came into existence, dragging a malformed demon from the abyss (I liked Diamond and Pearl, I just didn’t like some of its evolutions). It brought Rhyperior.

ImageI can see what they were trying to do. They wanted a “Tanky” looking Pokemon that was more dinosaur in appearance. But it just looks vile. Its proportions look wrong. It looks too short and too wide. It looks plodgey. It has these horrible orange rocks around its body. Its upper arms look too thin to support its hammer-like arms. His elbows have these weird stoney spines erupting. I just wished this Pokemon never existed. On the plus side, I can run Rhydon competitively with Eviolite.

I think the biggest crime is that you have to trade to evolve Rhydon into this. Rhydon must hold a special item. To get this ugly Pokemon’s Pokedex entry you must jump through obnoxious hoops. Erghhh.

Why would you want to evolve such a happy looking rhino into a pudgey grumpy pants?

 

#8 Spheal

ImageSpheal is a cute and simplistic design. Perhaps a little bit silly with its reminiscence of a beach ball, but cute. Unfortunately this design cannot be improve on. Any option would ruin it. It can also never run with Eviolite well, so that’s sad. Poor thing has to evolve into the monstrous Walrein. Which looks both terrifying and daft. That is never a good combination. Walrein is like a clown with a knife. You’re welcome.

 

#7 Munchlax

ImageBaby Pokemon are gimmicky and pointless. They shoe-horn a first stage evolution that is difficult to acquire. It scrambles up everything. It makes it complicated to integrate them into the Pokemon TCG. They add a pointless new item that’s required to breed with (incense). However, Munchlax is the only baby Pokemon I actually like. It’s existence is still mechanically pointless, but at least its design is good. It’s a cute organic dustbin. It will omnomnom everything and look cute doing it. It looks so much better than its evolution form: Snorlax.

ImageSnorlax’s biggest problem is its serial killer eyes. Or lack of. There’s something terrifying about a monster where you cannot see its eyes. Snorlax just scares me. I want to keep Munchlax thank you.

 

#6 Buizel

ImageBuizel is a darling little sea otter, who strangely has two tails. It has a very odd ring round its neck… but I pretend it’s just a mane of yellow fur… yes… it is… ssh.

ImageAnd then you get Floatzel. Floatzel takes the most, unusual and strange aspects of Buizel and amplifies them. I just find it a shame. Buizel was perfect how it was, I don’t want a weirder Buizel. Ah well… at least it’s not a Rhyperior level of defilement.

 

 

Choo chooooo! Chugga chugga chugga chugga. Choo! Chooooo!

10 Jun

Well Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby have been announced. Including MegaSceptile of Dragony Grassy Thunderroddiness and MegaSwampert of BulkygoodRainSwimmer.

As well as copious amounts of hype train things. Like this post!

Youtube has so many hype videos, it’s quite amusing really. They generally recite the same information. Sometimes they even have the bonus feature of opinion. Which is strange, since some of these videos are made by people with very little viewership. The issue is, people probably don’t care about their opinions because they aren’t popular enough. Like how barely anyone cares about my opinions on this blog due to its low readership.

But, if you’re a small channel or a big channel, it’s a good time to exploit the buzz to attract potential new subscribers. It’s like walking through a forest which has been developed into affordable Gingerbread Council housing. Once you’ve visited one house and gluttoned yourself and murdered a witch, why would you visit another house?

I must say some of this typingness has come from a Verlisify video that comments on this strange sub-culture of gaming Youtubers. It’s a world where if you’re not first with reporting gaming related news, you suffer for it. However, Pokemon is a gift that keeps giving. Pokemon has a large fanatical fanbase. People crave for every ounce of new information. Which means this can be exploited for monies or views. People need to make a living, but it’s a depressing thing never the less. I know money making in the real world is like this, full of immoral decisions. But really, how sustainable is this practise? Won’t the audience/customers get smart and get angry that they’ve been exploited so? Why do they have to accept this as being the way?

If you have acquired the news from your favourite Pokemon site or Youtuber, do you really need to get it from elsewhere?

I know hype is a window that can be exploited, but if you’re adding nothing new to the sea of screams and shouts, why even bother? It’s like turning up to a market and everyone is selling apples. The only way you can get away successfully is to sell a unique variety of apple, or selling something else.

In my opinion, Youtube channels are like businesses. They deal with people’s time. You need to show to a potential viewer that you are worth their time. If you upload a news video about something already covered, why is that viewer going to hang around? You have to hope your silky smooth voice or ravishing good looks seduce the viewer, otherwise they’ll be gone for good regretting they gave you that view. Regretting they let you earn a little bit more money from not-great content.

People have a finite amount of time in their lives. Give them a good reason to spend some of that listening to you or looking at you.

Paths

1 Jun

This post is going to be very general.

I am a person that seems to often reflect on my past. I think it is a strange thing to do at only twenty five years of age; I should be thinking about the future. But it’s something I do despite my self aware criticisms. I am also someone who enjoys pointing out coincidences. I do not believe they are part of some grand plan or something in the background is gently influencing reality. But it does not stop me from seeing the beauty of these isolated events that seem to cross.

I could probably write a whole blog post on my own personal perception of coincidences, so I will focus solely on this post’s topic. I will stay on path.

Have you ever wondered: “What if…?” It seems to be a common question that we bounce in our minds. We seem obsessed with wanting to know what may have happened if things happened differently. Armed with hindsight, we wonder if our current situations would be different and in what way.

I look back at my past and I see connections between events significant and insignificant that are reliant on each other. Often related to social links I had made. I do think some of my current hobbies and interests may have been influenced by the people I had interacted with in the past. I’ll give an example:

I live in a village. In this village there is a boy a year younger than me with the same name. Jump forwards a decade and a half, I am introduced to his friends through MSN. A few of his friends play World of Warcraft, I decide I want to play to. I play on the same server as them, but they stop playing. I keep playing because I am invested and enjoying it. I join a few guilds until I join a raiding guild. That guild lasts for less than a year. I take break from the game. I return to the game to play with two people from the same recently disbanded guild. We now play on a different faction and another server. We go through different guilds until we settle on one. I effectively stay in contact with one player from that new guild for a few years. In the process I get into contact with his real life friends. Through them I get influenced to start playing games like Diablo 3. I myself get them to play Heroes of Newerth (and then they move onto DotA2). And then communications just evaporate. Oddly enough, I play Heroes of Newerth because of some of the people I met from that WoW guild that disbanded.

If I had never lived in that village (where I still live now), I may have never discovered Diablo 3.

 

Or, that’s not how it works.

That statement of “If I hadn’t done this, I wouldn’t have that” assumes too much. I have literally no evidence to support that things may be even different if a factor in the above story gets changed. When I make a decision now, it rarely ever blocks off alternatives completely. Given my interests are of the “Fantasy Role Playing” genre when it comes to video games, there is a good chance I would have discovered Diablo 3 at some point anyway. Especially nowadays where video games published from huge companies gets so much exposure.

For example, last year I applied for a place on a Post Graduate Teaching Course and I was unsuccessful. I keep wondering what may have happened if I was successful, but that is pointless. Firstly, I am still learning to drive. Therefore it would have made completing my course a challenge since the course would be me attending lectures in a University Campus sometimes and gaining experience teaching in a school some other times. I would have had to been reliant on public transport which wouldn’t have been feasible. Secondly, if I wasn’t chosen for the course, I wasn’t chosen for the course. By thinking “What if” a lot, it wouldn’t change the fact it was decided I wasn’t suitable for that course at that time.

I do look back and see moments of regret. However, if I were to relive those events again, I would probably act the same way again and again. Without hindsight, my actions wouldn’t change. I chose what i thought was the best thing to do for what ever reason I had.

So in a way, we carve a path in our lives that’s ridged. It cannot be changed. There is no “What if”s because there is no alternatives. Even an event that’s dictated by randomness if relived would probably exhibit the same result. It is pointless to thinking about what did not happen. But we still do it. We are so fascinated with what was never was.

Which then brings my thoughts on the future. Assuming there is no celestial thing guiding (or shoving) us, do we actually have free will? Looking back at what’s happened, knowing if we’re experienced those events, the path wouldn’t shift, do we actually have free will? Perhaps yes and no.

Our current mental state will decide what actions and choices we will make. So I suppose, for best hope for “freewill” is to learn from the past. It may not even be freewill, but at least it would be preset path we’ve designed.

So in a way, it is good to reflect regardless of how young you are. It’s important to not get lost in the past, but to use the past to assist us making better choices for the future.

So in a long winded way, I have basically came to the conclusion of “Choose the best decision”. At least you have that exploration of coincidence to look forwards to in the future.

A Game By Any Other Name Would Be As Bleak

23 May

I have no idea if that title is appropriate for what I want to say, but I thought it sounded cool. Like how I used to think that the following MSN Messenger (damn right) names were appropriate:

  • Suicide Slug
  • Noxious Butterfly
  • Malificer

I stopped using the nickname “Suicide Slug” when i received an e-mail from a Suicide Prevention charity. I realised perhaps the name was in poor taste. I never looked back since. Merrymaker Mortalis is definitely a more cheerful alias. Speaking of Merriness; the Pokemon competitive community is kinda awful.

Pokemon Showdown (and Youtube comments as ever) lets you see the awful nature of some of these players. Either if you battle someone in Showdown they’ll even say “you suck” at the end of a battle. Or they’ll just leave immediately after the battle finishes. They may as well be battling against an AI. What’s the point of battling humans if you aren’t going to interact with them? You do something get nicely little chats afterwards, but they are very rare. That’s even if the opponent doesn’t forfeit. The only times I do forfeit is if I am testing a specific Pokemon tactic and my opponent KOs a key Pokemon. I explain why I am forfeiting and forfeit.

Now, I am speaking about perhaps a very small % of the whole community. But it’s enough of them to affect my enjoyment of that aspect of the game. I was using Pokemon Showdown the other day testing out some things. I was testing an idea for how to use some Pokemon. I like doing it. I’ve always enjoyed thinking up strange ideas on how to play a game and then immediately practise the idea. After a few games, i decided to stumble into one of the chat channels and exclaimed “I wish Heatmor had access to Sucker Punch this Generation”. I was met with a general tone of “shut up” with swear words thrown in. I critiqued the use of language and I was told “It’s like you’ve never seen swear words before”. That’s not the problem.

The problem is:

  • I don’t know you. You are a stranger. You are a stranger who is being unreasonably obnoxious. You are speaking in text, therefore I have no idea what tone you’re meaning to convey. Perhaps if you were speaking to me via voice or if I knew you, it could be a different matter.
  • Pokemon is rated E or 3+. Therefore, a child as young as 3 could (though unlikely) be interacting in the competitive scene. If not, they have internet & computer access and have discovered Pokemon Showdown. Is it really a good idea to speak like that to a stranger who could be just a child. Would you really say “<swearyswear> off” to a child?
  • Pokemon is a game. It is a game for E or 3+s. Why are you taking the game so seriously that you have to be rude to someone who you think is wrong. If someone holds an opinion which you disagree with, explain why you disagree with them. Being brash isn’t going to help at all. The person who you disagree with will just be reassured of their possibly incorrect belief. Hype is considered the second most powerful emotional force. Spite and Vengeance is the first most powerful emotional force. Congratulations.
  • A health competitive environment relies on a dynamic and shifting “Meta”. Meta is sort of like the strategies applied to win. An effective tactic will develop which the player base will adopt as the most efficient way to win. Since everyone uses the same tactic, the deciding factor is the player who can execute the tactic the best. However, there maybe ways to counter this tactic. The best counters are the counters that require a little more effort to execute than the thing they’re countering. The response to the counter becoming more popular is to change tactic to something that isn’t weak to the original counter. And then a new counter develops. In games that are actively updated and balanced, the meta can shift more dynamically. With Pokemon, the only major upsets comes from transitions into Generations (or Move Tutors that offer new abilities to Pokemon get added into future games in the same generation). The meta therefore can only be changed if the player base wants it to. If you’re going to be rude towards someone before hearing what they have to say, you will never learn any new insights. Something that might shake up the meta. Or you may put off a future asset to the competitive scene. You gain nothing by being rude.

This behaviour isn’t exclusive to Pokemon. All competitive gaming has this toxic side to it. It’s like the act of “battling” another human brings out the worst in people. Why can’t we play games for fun? Why do we have to play them to dominate and belittle others? It’s just more depressing when it’s in the family game Pokemon. The game preaches about love, respect and care. Yet, the competitive scene doesn’t feel like that. The toxic is the minority. But there is enough toxicity to affect enjoyment.

One must ask; what sort of person will behave so toxically towards another player in a family game?

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