Gotta Catch ‘Em All – Part 1
The First 6 Hours
OK, I know I can’t write an update every six hours I spend on this task. If I did there would be an insanely large number of posts the coming months (yes, I do not expect this will take any less time than that). However, in this case, the first few hours were so full of impressions and experiences that there is plenty to write about already.
The first thing I did when starting this journey was to sign up for the Pokébank. Since I will be playing more than one game, I will need an easy way to transfer my captives… uh, my Pokémon between them. What I didn’t know was that there is some kind of event currently happening in the bank, so when I used it for the first time it gave me three legendary Pokémon: Regirock, Registeel, and Regice. A very nice surprise!
Next, I started the game from scratch three times. Why? So that I could get one of each starter of course! Now that the Pokébank has been introduced you don’t have to make the painful choice between the starters anymore. You just choose one starter, play until you get the Pokédex, transfer the starter to the bank, and rinse and repeat. The only problem is that while the starter you choose in your current game seems to always obey you no matter what level it is, the imported starters will totally ignore you the moment they hit level 11/21/etc if you don’t have the proper gym badge. As far as I know, this is common behavior from every Pokémon you import from other players. Starting out I wasn’t sure if it would affect starters that were imported from your own game and your own bank, but it seems like all imported Pokémon do this regardless of where they came from.
After finishing my initial grind for all the starters, I went online to collect some mythical Pokémon. I had already collected the download code for Mew in February and I got Celebi as a mystery gift on the very last day it was available. As I write this I have also gotten a hold of Jirachi. Sadly, they are all parked in the storage box for now as they are all level 100 and will not listen to a damned word this newbie trainer has to say. I’ll show them someday!
All this pre-work means that I started off my journey with having 8 Pokémon already collected by the time I got my Hoenn Pokédex. Not a bad start! I set out towards my first Gym badge with the intention of collecting every Pokémon between me and the Gym. I have to admit that the task was a lot easier than expected, mostly thanks to the wonderful DexNav. I am seriously in love with this feature! It allows me to find Pokémon in the wild without having to enter tall grass or having to endure 146 random encounters with freaking Zigzagoon before finding that one Silcoon I’m looking for.
The way DexNav works is that random Pokémon spawn in the tall grass as you walk around in the field. You will see a shadow moving in the grass and hear the monster’s battle cry. You can then sneak your way up to the Pokémon by walking slowly and get them with a surprise attack. As you get close enough the DexNav will show you an outline of the Pokémon you are sneaking up to on the bottom DS screen. If it’s one that you already have, just run away and wait for the next one to spawn and eventually you will find the one you need. And without having to do a single random encounter! I found this to be a much more enjoyable approach to finding the rarer spawns of each area. Sure, it took some time for them to appear, but at least, I didn’t have to struggle through countless common spawns first. This feature does not work in caves or affect fishing, though. So far those areas have only offered good old-fashioned grinding for me. (Why so elusive, Geodude?!)
Another great feature that the DexNav has is the ability to see whether you have collected all Pokémon in a certain area. While it doesn’t show you the exact number, it will tell you if you ‘still have more’ to find or if you are ‘nearly there’. If you have encountered a Pokémon before so that it is registered in your Pokédex you will see a shadow outline of it on the bottom screen until you capture it. Once you have collected all the creatures in one area, the screen will show an emblem. For those of us that are interested in collecting it is an extremely useful tool that lets you know with absolute certainty that you have got everything an area has to offer. The only thing that confuses me a bit is that there are two different emblems, one in gold and one in bronze. I have no idea what that means, but I’m assuming that it might refer to hidden Pokémon that appear after you capture Groudon/Kyogre. Maybe bronze means that you have all Pokémon currently available , but there will be more available later?
Farming for Pokémon has also been made easier with the skill False Swipe. I don’t know how long this move has existed in the games. It might even have been there since the very first game. I don’t remember it from the games I have played before, but I might have failed to notice it since I never focused much on collecting. But I have discovered it now, and it’s so useful that it’s almost too good! The move is attached to a TM, so you can have any able Pokémon in your party learn it. The move is used in combat as a normal attack, but the great thing about it is that it will never knock out the Pokémon you’re fighting. No matter how strong you are and no matter how many times you use it, it will always leave 1 HP in your enemy’s health bar. It’s perfect for when your Pokémon level up and you still need to collect weaker monsters in an area. When I got the TM, the only Pokémon I had captured that could learn it was Seedot (I call her Nutjob). She is now my main supporter for all my capture needs.
In order to evolve my Pokémon more quickly, I’m making good use of the Exp. Share item. I always keep one or two Pokémon in my party that are only there for evolutionary purposes. Having 4 active Pokémon in the party is enough for now. While the Pokémon that doesn’t participate in battle only get 50% of the Experience, it’s still a good way to ensure there is some progress happening constantly. I have disabled Exp. Share on a few occasions when my main Pokémon are getting close to the level cap of my current gym badges. I don’t want them to rebel when I need them the most. Most of the time this hasn’t been any issue, though, and I have gotten a few evolutions from the passive party members already.
Finally, I did try some fishing after I was given the Old Rod shortly before getting my second badge. I wasn’t sure how fishing worked in the game, so I did a little research on it and learned that I need all three Rods in order to get the water Pokémon in any area where you can use them. I’ve decided to not focus on fishing for now and instead wait until I have 2 or 3 rods before getting into it properly. There will be plenty of time for that later.
So far in the game, I have gotten the two first gym badges without any trouble. I might be a bit over-levelled because of all the collecting, and that makes the gym battles a breeze. I have collected almost everything in my path (with the exception of fishing) and gotten a few of my party members to evolve. After the first 6 hours, I had registered 32 different Pokémon as collected. It’s really not a bad start as it means that I have completed over 15% of the Hoenn Pokédex already. I know that the pace of collecting will slow down eventually, especially as I start looking for the more rare and hard-to-find Pokémon. I still remember the hassle of the swamp mini-game collecting and the super annoying honey trees in Pearl, so I expect to meet some time-consuming gimmicks along the way. I am enjoying the ride so far, though and I can’t wait to meet some of my old favorite Pokémons. I have also never tried breeding before, so I’m excited to get into a bit of breed-and-trade gameplay. There will hopefully be some good chances to get my hands on the version exclusives through that.
The future is still looking bright for this newbie trainer. Hopefully, the good flow will continue as I explore more regions of Hoenn, and beyond! I’ll check back soon!
From Hoenn with love,
Pokémon captured: 29/705 (Mythical 3/14)