A short story, if you will.
Imagine you’re playing football with friends. You bring the ball, play a little in the morning before work with co-workers and go on your way.
Less people come the next day, but you still have enough people to run a few games.
You play, showboat a bit too much and run circles around people- just having a good time.
You go home, play a little with your friends and enjoy it some more. The next day, everyone is playing basketball. You have your football, but no one really wants to play. You go home, your friends are playing tennis. No one really seems all too interested in playing football. A lot of excuses come up when you ask about it.
“I’m getting a team ready!” Oh, well let’s test some of the members! No?
“My uniform is dirty!” Well, that’s not even a excuse.
“Okay, let’s play later! I’ll bring the football” Hey, where are you? You said you’d… Oh..
So you have a game you really want to play, but no one to play with. Do you stop playing football or just find new friends to play with? I have this issue in any game that I get competitive in. I play, I advance in skill a little too rapidly- and people just stop playing me altogether instead of adapting. It’s frustrating.
I have my own moments of course. In “Magic the Gathering”, when a card called “Glimpse the Unthinkable” came out, I immediately lost interest in playing the game. I thought “if this is the direction that this game is going, I’m out.” Of course, I only played against douchebag players who make decks around this kind of thing. There are counters, but I didn’t feel like pursuing them, I would have to pay actual money to buy cards to keep up. I didn’t have the money.
When I played Soul Calibur, there was a guy I played with that basically would mash lows and throw allllll day. He kept winning, and kept playing that way. He explained that “there is a counter to everything, and I’ll keep using this until you figure it out.” That was profound for me at the time- I incorporated ducking throws and blocking/jumping over low attacks into my game. I stopped losing against him, and he changed it up. Before this, people I played with simply agreed that low attacks and throws were “dirty” and that they were above fighting that way. It’s too “cheap”. It costs nothing in Soul Calibur to incorporate new strategies.
I took this new tech to a friend of mine, and started playing “dirty” with the lows and the throws. He started learning to block and avoid them. I learned from one guy and taught it to another. Nowadays, when you go to throw either of us, we duck or jump. He stepped his game up, I stepped my game up. We both kept getting better.
You learn one loss at a time. You don’t learn if you don’t play. What do you do when a majority of the people on your friends list don’t play? When it comes to the 3DS, there is a limit to the amount of people you can have on your 3DS friends list. So if they’re not playing or trading, they’re a waste of space.. I hit this limit last week, because I’m an internet kid. It’s easy to fill this limit when you talk to people on Twitter.
Any person who wasn’t playing was immediately looked at like a roommate who doesn’t pay rent; if you’re not contributing, why are you here? Twitter folks are here to stay, but co-workers are going to be flushed out in a minute. There’s no reason to have them if they don’t play. They are only there for one purpose. This line of thinking took me to strange places, wondering “what are friends?” and “why am I talking to these people?”.
Anyway, I’ve gotten this far so far.
I don’t have a “team” because I feel it’s silly. To choose to pick only 6 Pokemon is incredibly limiting. I pick and choose depending on my mood and who I’m playing. If I’m playing someone who is new to competitive battling, I’ll opt to use Pokemon who are a little more experimental or untrained. When I play against a meathead who only opts to use power- I bring a lot of Pokemon with priority attacks (assuming they’re too stupid to have screens or Stealth Rocks).
I have a simple code of honor when it comes to picking Pokemon I fight with- I don’t use duplicate Pokemon (two of the same name), I don’t use duplicate items, and I don’t use Legendaries.
Everything else goes. I have a box of “go-to” Pokemon that are trusty in a pinch, but the rest of the group are just what I feel like using in the moment. Take this Breloom for example. I’m pretty much just copying an old friend’s Breloom here.
Puts you to sleep, hides behind a substitute- knocks you the fuck out. The thing I love about Breloom is that as long as she is behind a Substitute, she is safe from two of her weaknesses: priority moves and faster Pokemon who can strike her weaknesses. Sound attacks like “Hyper Voice” and “Boomburst” would obliterate her, even if she is hiding. Dual Chop Garchomp would eat her for breakfast after one Swords Dance.
If I lost to a Breloom like this, I’d think “what hole in my team allowed a Pokemon like this to sweep me?”. Should I have a Prankster + Taunt user in my team to stop her from using Sspore and Substitute?? Should I be running Gale Wings? Should I switch in and use Aromatherapy? Lum Berries? Grass types ignore Spore, should I use one of the new Grass/Ghosts? Losing to something like this is fun because it teaches me what I need to focus on.
Unfortunately, a lot of the people I play just like to do their favorite thing. They are rigid in their ways, and will just go with what they like doing, regardless of what happens. There is no learning, there is only excuses. If they lose, it’s not fun anymore so they just avoid or ignore me.
I think it’s my cue to move on to another game or chill with more competitive folks. I could easily play against strangers, but I don’t want to play against them. I’m almost completely certain that there will be another Pokemon game coming out in a year (Pokemon Z), so I’ll just move on to that when that time comes. For now though, I’m happy about the value I got for my buck with this game. It was totally worth it.