There is one activity is all of the recent (main version series) Pokémon games that I’ve never successfully done. The Battle Tower. It was introduced in the second generation of Pokémon games, in the Crystal version game, and has been a part of every game since. In some of the games, the name of the activity changed, but it was still largely the same thing. There have been changes over the years as the meta of Pokémon has shifted and evolved, but I only know this stuff because I looked it up to write this post. I’ve never actually participated.
I tried once. I don’t remember what generation or version it was, but I definitely tried once. I got very confused about the change in my Pokémon’ levels (how it worked, not why it happened), won a few rounds due to luck and type match-ups, and then got immediately destroyed by my first real challenge. Since there wasn’t much explanation of how to succeed at the battle tower in the game and I hadn’t even realized there was a meta to learn about at the time, I gave up and focused my attention on what was more interesting to me.
It was actually only in Generation 7, with Pokémon Sun and Moon, that I really took the time to understand IVs, EVs, and natures. Which is a giant pile of reading for you to do if you’re interested in spending the time to get the best Pokémon possible. If you’re unfamiliar with the terms and have no desire to dive into the deep end of Pokémon breeding, natures, IVs, and EV training, then feel free to not concern yourself with those things.
By the time I started trying to understand what IVs even were, and how EV training impacted my Pokémon, it had gone from an esoteric and almost secretive field of knowledge to openly being a part of the game. With items that boosted EVs with no immediate stat changes, berries that reduced EVs, the ability to change IVs using bottlecaps, and all kinds of items to change natures, double EVs, and gain easy access to the complex parts of the Pokémon meta, it had grown into something even a neophyte could eventually understand.
It wasn’t until I was playing Sword and Shield, though, that I tried to put it into practice. After my first pass through the game, my friend and I decided to play through it again with a specially breeded team of Pokémon with the perfect natures, our desired EV training, and the best IVs we could get (which Sword and Shield made the easiest of all the games so far, thanks to the raid system and how easy it was to earn money). It was an enlightening experience, to see how different the game was with a specially built team of Pokémon. As a result, I’ve done what I can in subsequent games to train my Pokémon along those lines as well as I can without devoting so much time to it that playing Pokémon stops feeling fun for me.
In my latest Pokémon play-through, in Shining Pearl, I’ve unlocked the ability to do proper EV training for my Pokémon right as I’ve gotten to the Elite 4. Thanks to the berries that lower EVs, the items that raise EVs, and a system that lets those changes take effect regardless of what level they happen at, I’ve turned my team of decent Pokémon into a bunch of powerhouses. Still, despite all this, I’m actually very far from the meta. All of my Pokémon are picked based on personal preference, rather than stats, power, or potential movesets. I don’t have the best of the best, I just have the best of my favorites.
Which means that when I went to go give the battle tower a try, thinking this time aorund things would be different thanks to my better training and decent understanding of the meta, I still got my shit wrecked. I’m barely dipping my toes in the meta of priority moves, power-ups, passing stats, and all that ridiculous top-tier bullshit that seems to be a part of the battle tower. I bet that getting my shit-rocked this time around was partly bad luck, just a bunch of unfavorable type match-ups and weird movesets, but it was still a little frustrating to learn just how much further I had to go before I could reliable beat this now-standard feature of the Pokémon games. Hopefully, I’ll post about this again a week or so down the line and let you know that I figured it all out, but for now I’m going to see if I can find a way to focus my attention on the other parts of the game that remain in Shining Pearl. Maybe it’ll let me skip it now that I’ve given it a try, like Contests.
I just want to catch them all and do some cool fights. That’s it.