Posted on Monday, March 3 2008 @ 05:56:49 PST
This is a little bit different from my usual blogging of meaningful stuff and parodies. For this blog, I'm going to write down my ideas for a massively multiplayer online rendition of Pokémon.
NOTE: This is NOT an actual game that is in development by anybody. This is merely me talking about what I'd like to see done if a Pokémon MMO were to ever surface.
OTHER NOTE: I realize that this speculation totally contradicts everything I said in my previous blog entry Pokémon: Rated AO. That was just for laughs. Anybody who actually took that seriously needs to stop and think.
So here's the very, very general idea: You start by creating a customized Pokémon Trainer, with lots of options to create a trainer unique to you. Then you pick a starting location from any of the regions from throughout the canon Pokémon franchise (the games, anime, etc), and from there you choose your first pokémon. After that, you're given some Poké Balls, a PokéDex, and you're set off on your adventure to become a great Pokémon Master.
Here it is in more detail:
About the Pokémon World:
It will be an online world where almost all of the trainers you can battle with, against, or otherwise interact with, are actual people playing the game. You can have friends and rivals, you can join factions, battle other players, compete in tournaments, among many other things.
The game is rendered in full 3D in the anime-style that the Pokémon series has stuck with since the beginning.
You start with your account name. You create an account name. This must be unique to you, and will never display in-game to other people. You can share this account name with friends though to add you to their list of friends and rivals (I'll elaborate on that later). Then you create your Trainer. You give your Trainer a general name. This doesn't have to be unique, so it should hopefully cut down on people running around with numbers and strange characters in their names. You can then customize your trainer's age, gender, and appearance. Your character's height is based on their age.
After creating your Trainer, you can then pick a starting region: Kanto(Sevii Isles are part of Kanto), Johto, the Orange Islands, Hoenn, and Sinnoh (any I forgot, let me know). Where you choose as your starting region will affect what three starter pokémon you can choose from.
After choosing a region, you are finally put in control of your character. You are free to walk around and talk to NPC's all you like, but eventually you are going to have to visit the nearest Pokémon Lab to acquire your first pokémon. Once you have chosen your pokemon, you are given five poké balls, a pokédex, and are set off in the great world of Pokémon.
Battle in this game will be very much like your traditional Pokémon battle system. The tried-and-true turn based system that has gradually evolved bit by bit since the original Red and Blue versions. Slightly different from the core Pokemon battle system though, is that rather than strict turn-by-turn, the system is move-by-move. This is done to counter the act of cruelness people can do by entering a battle with you and leaving you hanging there while they go do other things away from the game.
The move-by-move Stamina system may be familiar to Final Fantasy fans. Essentially, your pokémon must 'warm up' or 'cool down' before or after each move. As soon as your pokemon's Stamina bar is filled, you may prepare another move. Some moves take longer to charge up than others, though, or take longer to cool down. For example, Solar Beam will take a little bit of time to charge before the pokémon is able to use the move. On the flip side, moves like Hyper beam are instant gratification, but force your pokemon to charge up for a bit before attacking again.
And the wait time depends on the moves. Simple moves like Growl or Tackle will re-charge rather quickly, while stronger moves like Screech or Strength will take a bit longer to re-fill your Stamina bar. Once again, your moves are also limited by their Power Points (PP) so you can't go spamming a single strong move all the time.
This can effectively prevent jerks from leaving the battle, because if they don't do anything, their pokémon just wait their while the opponents can just keep attacking as their Stamina pars refill. To further prevent this, when a trainer's pokémon faints, they have thirty seconds to choose another to send out. If they don't meet the thirty seconds, a pokémon from their party is chosen at random.
When the battle is won, the trainers gain a win or loss on their Trainer ID card according to whether they won or lost. The losing trainer pays the winner a specified amount of in-game currency, and the battle is over. The loser must travel to a nearby rest stop or Pokémon Center on their own. Until their party is healed, though, they can't be challenged to another battle.
The only difference in mechanics between battling another player and battling a wild pokémon is that when facing a wild pokémon, you don't have that time limit imposed if your current active pokémon faints.
Friends and Rivals:
Your pokédex can keep track of more than just your list of seen and captured pokémon. You can also keep a record of other players on your friends list and on your list of Rivals. Friends are people you can keep in touch with, meet up with in-game, and generally hang out, trade, or battle. Rivals are a list of players with similar skill levels and levels of progress, that you have encountered in battle before. You can ask to re-battle these players at nearly any time, and you can compete with them to acquire certain goals before they can. Players on your friends list can be added to your Rivals list, but in order for Rivals to add to your Friends list, they must know your account name. This is to prevent unwanted friend requests.
Factions can be found all throughout each region. You can join either good or evil factions. The Pokémon League will always be available in every region, where you can join as a Ranger, but other factions are often region-specific. Team Rocket, for example, you can only join in Kanto, Johto, or the Sevii Islands (part of Kanto). in Hoenn, you may join either Team Aqua or Magma, and in Sinnoh, you may join Team Galactic. These plus the League wouldn't be the only factions available, there will be others, but these are the most notable examples. Generally the Pokémon League is the 'good' faction and the Teams are the 'evil' factions.
Which faction you join will decide what kind of quests and missions you may be given. In the League as a Ranger, you may be tasked with rescuing a lost pokémon or fighting off a group of Rockets from a public area. On a Team, you may be tasked with more dubious deeds such as stealing stuff or confronting League members.
Every Faction has a rival. For example, Team Rocket is up in arms against the Pokémon League, while teams Magma and Aqua are always at eachothers' throats, with the League appearing often to break them up when things get too heated.
Rare and Legendary Pokémon: These are especially hard to find pokemon. Rare pokémon include the Kanto Birds, Johto Hounds, Latios and Latias, etc. Legendary pokémon include the likes of Mewtwo, Mew, Deoxys, Lugia, all of those really important pocket monsters.
Rare Pokemon: Including Articuno, Zapdos, Moltres, Suicune, Entai, Raikou, Latios, Latias, Regice, Registeel, Regirock, Spiritomb, Cresselia, Mesprit, Azelf, Uxie, and some others I may have forgotten, are powerful Pokémon that are incredibly difficult to find. The odds of encountering them in the wild is harder than coming across a Shiny pokémon (for your information, that's tough). When you do come across one, however, you must try everything you can to catch it. They won't run away (that would be too cruel), but if you faint it, that's your own damn fault.
These pokémon may also be won in tournaments as a grand prize. No events are required to attain them, the pokémon itself can be a tournament prize.
Legendary Pokémon: These include Mewtwo, Mew, Lugia, Ho-oh, Celebi, Kyogre, Groudon, Rayquaza, Jirachi, Deoxys, Dialga, Palkia, Regigigas, Darkrai, Shaymin, and Arceus. These pokémon cannot be found in the wild. They can only be acquired by winning very high-profile tournaments. The winner of a tournament is given a special item that will trigger an event for that player, and that player only, as well as a gift-basket of Ultra balls and some strong recovery items. Upon completing this event, they will be given the opportunity to face a Legendary Pokémon in battle. They are somewhat easier to capture in battle than Rare Pokémon, but only because it would not be so rewarding if the tournament winner misses their chance to capture a Legendary.
Rares and the event-items for Legendaries may also be gifted to a player by Nintendo for impressing them in some way or another (much like how Bungie gifts the Recon Armor set in Halo 3 for impressing or making them laugh).
In order to prevent hacking, Nintendo would keep tabs on who owns Rare and Legendary Pokémon. If anybody is seen with a Rare or Legendary that they did not catch or receive in a legitimate trade, the players account will be banned. Rares and Legendaries are very, very powerful, and with too many of them floating around, the whole fun of battling would be lost (as would the whole point in calling them Rare and Legendary).
In relation to Rares and Legendaries, the Master Ball. Not purchasable. Not acquirable in quests. The Master Ball can only be received as a prize for completing a tournament. As its name implies, it is the one Poké Ball that will capture any pokémon without fail. It is highly recommended to be saved for Rare or Legendary Pokémon. A Master Ball will not be given as a prize in conjuncion with an Event Item unless it is an -extremely- high profile tournament.
Battle and Field moves:
Traditionally a pokémon can only learn four moves, and any of those four can be HM moves. In this PokéMMO, this changes slightly. When teaching a pokémon a new move that also has a use outside of battle, such as the HM moves, you may choose to teach either the Battle Move (the move used in battle as an attack), the Field move (the move in use on the Field, so you don't fill up a Battle slot), or both. Say you need to use Flash, but hate using it in battle. A pokémon can learn up to four Battle moves along with four Field moves. You can teach Flash the Field move without teaching Flash the Battle move, so you can still illuminate dark areas without filling a Battle move slot with an unwanted move.
Field Moves can also stack, to a degree. Field Moves have no type, but they stack according to their usage. For example, Rock Smash can stack on Strength, getting the power of both on only one Field Move slot. To limit stacking of Field moves, you may only stack one move on top of a base move. for example, you cannot have both Dive and Waterfall stack on Surf. You must choose between Dive and Waterfall to stack on Surf. Also, you can only stack a move if the base move is known in both Field and in Battle. You must know Surf as a battle move in order to stack anything on it.
as a quick guide:
Strength is stackable with Rock Smash or Rock Climb
Surf is stackable with Waterfall or Dive.
Fly is stackable with Flash or Defog
Cut is stackable with Rock Smash.
There are other Field moves, but I figure the HM's are most important. This game may never be made anyway, so I won't put thought on the less important field moves.
You will be able to send messages, text chat, and voice chat.
Players can trade their Pokémon with eachother to help complete their pokédex or improve their parties, or any other purpose that required a trade. Only one limit: If trading a Rare or Legendary, the game will ask to notify Nintendo that you are giving that Rare or Legendary to another player, and who that trainer is. If you accept, Nintendo will receive the notification, and the trade will commence. If you decline, you cannot trade your Rare or Legendary. This is to prevent illegitimate acquisition of wrongly-acquired pokémon.
So that's what I've got going in my head for a PokéMMO. I wish Nintendo would create a game like this. Considering the popularity of massive online gaming, combined with the popularity of the Pokémon franchise, a Pokémon Massive Multiplayer Online game could have incredible potential.