Saturday, 19 November 2011

Gaming Feature: Freshly Ground Pokémon

Grinding - A tedious tale of repetitive leveling

Around the internet forums I usually frequent, there’s a specific season that goes around, every time a new entry in the series is released, the forums will have a tendency to become more interconnected than usual; I don't mean people taking a slight interest back in the game, it gets pretty hardcore there. Soon after, I guess I get swept in all the fun as well. Two important things were realized after restarting my journey to become the top trainer: the game is addicting, and there is grinding galore. The two main questions that would come to mind with novices would be, what is grinding in Pokémon, and what significance does grinding play in the overall scheme of the game? First of all, Pokémon, to those who may not know what it is, is an RPG where you catch, train, and even trade creatures in order to have them battle later. The answer to the second question is that the definition of grinding can only be called so under the following conditions:

• It's an incredibly repetitive action within the game
• The action itself is not the goal
• The action is incredibly cumbersome to perform

The grinding within Pokémon is viewed at two different levels. The first level of grinding is common in most RPGs, random battles. Battles constitute the backbone of Pokémon; random battles with wild Pokémon is a means to achieve your goal of winning the next battle by gaining the upper hand knocking out wild Pokémon. The second level of this is ironically, more socially based than the other, it involves the exploitation of the game's mechanics, which are Effort Values (EV's) and Individual Values (IVs).

To make Pokémon battle to the best of their ability, it is required to keep an eye on these factors at all times. Unfortunately, they're not available for display within the game and it's required to go on the internet and search how to best utilize these mechanics. In most cases this would be easy, but the fact that Pokémon is a very complex game in this sense, actually to the point where it seems a bit random, it takes a bit of luck to get what you want and incredible determination to achieve your goal. Of course there is a plethora of other things to keep track of, but for the sake of keeping things concise, I'll go into the most popular mechanics of the affair. There is no way to avoid this, unless the Pokémon end up failures in battle. This is the trade-off for such a time consuming task. On average, I used to take about 8-12 hours each day raising one or a throng of Pokémon, only to gain 20, maybe 30 levels on a good day.

From what was described, the game sounds shallow and incredibly boring, doing nothing but grinding for the sake of a battle, although, these games can be fun if you enjoy mathematics and manipulating numbers. But in conclusion, playing Pokémon is a great experience if you grind hard for your goal of a real battle; it seems weird, but thoroughly enjoyable for those of us who have time on their hands and a Nintendo DS in their pocket.

- Kevin Morrison


What pokemon game were you using to EV train that took you 8-12 hours for ONE pokemon.
I could usually EV train ~4/5 pokemon a day but this was only on D/P/Pt or later with the bands and pokerus. Were you using 3rd gen games (like in the screenshots)?

I was using 4th generation without said bands, when I didn't know about them. I always had a tendency to do things the hard way until someone tells me there's an alternative. Haha.

When I play Pokemon on the cartridge I never bother with EVs and IVs since I only play single player. If I want to battle I play Pokemon Online on the PC.

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