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Friday, August 16, 2019

A Player vs. Player Battling Update For Pokémon Sword & Shield


Last week, I was praising The Pokémon Company International from refraining from weekly updates for Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield. The fact that I'm starting off a new article this week with that message probably means that we got a new update and that cadence makes me frown.

Oh well. Watch the obligatory trailer. But as far as I'm concerned, the most important information is tucked away on the official website:

Last week I wondered if Galarian Weezing's second ability would explain why it's a Fairy type. Neutralizing Gas doesn't scream “Fairy” to me. Well, eh, that's not true. The fairies in A Midsummer Night's Dream did all kinds of things like that. Perhaps I'll nickname Galarian Weezing “Puck”.

Dynamaxing requires a Key Item (the Dynamax Band), but the actual Pokémon doesn't need an item. They can hold whatever they want, unlike a Z-Move or a Mega Evolution. That means you can flexibly choose who will Dynamax as the battle unfolds, instead of committing to it ahead of time. I think that's a net positive.

The most important aspect of today's announcement is the Battle Stadium, the online player vs. player area. There's Ranked Battles, which match-makes you based on your win rate by putting you in tiers. This partially resets after every “season” to make sure people keep playing instead of getting at the top and no longer playing, a weakness in other ladder systems that lack decay. There are also Casual Battles, because it's important for matchmaking services to offer ranked and unranked matches. (Take notes, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.)

The most important aspect of the most important aspect are Rental Teams, though.

Pokémon Sword Shield Rental Teams battle stadium official website
Now, despite how bad the movesets look on the left, these are player-generated Rentals, not GAME FREAK-generated.

There is a reason why Battle Factory was my favourite facility in the Battle Frontier (back when it existed). I don't like team-building. I REALLY don't like team-building in-game. I have amazing Pokémon knowledge and good decision-making and adaptable thinking.

Rental Teams means that I can enjoy Pokémon Shield's story mode for the story and not have to worry about training for effort values or mass-breeding for the best individual values (eugenics). If I want to have fun competitively, I can just download someone's Rental Team! And you can bet there will be vast communities out there listing all of their Rental Teams. Good addition.

Ludwig skipped over a lot of minute details about some new items and specific effects of some Max Moves, but he figures no one cares about that. Do you care about the player vs. player aspect of in-game Pokémon? If so, what do you think about these additions? If not, why don't these additions make you care?

Back to new Pokémon and features being introduced in September... and more food.


  1. The player generated rentals is such a great idea. Now I wonder if having to remake previous Pokémon models gen after gen had held back a lot of amazing features like this due to used up time.

    1. I'd like to think a feature like rentals and the character models are worked on by different teams entirely.

    2. Yeah, even I can't help but admit that in spite of using what was one of the most hated aspects of the non-mainline Pokemon games, they're hitting a winner with this one.

    3. I'll say this: They should've never gotten rid of Rental Pokémon from the Pokémon Stadium games.


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