Category Archives: Pokemon

November in Review

The Site

I got another WordPress.com achievement this month.

A thousand of you hit that button

A thousand of you hit that button

In the context of WordPress.com, a follower is somebody with a WP.com account that follows your blog so they can view updates in the WP.com reader.  This surprises me both because I am not all that fond of the WP.com reader and because I muted notifications about new followers a while back, so wasn’t really keeping track at all.  Also I turned off that little floating thing that has the “follow” button, so I am not sure how people even do the follow thing here at this point.

But now I have accrued 1,003 followers in the last 6 years, which is when “follow” became a thing on WP.com.  If you know how, you can find a list of all of your followers.  Mine is 51pages long and full of people I don’t recall.  But my third follower ever was Stargrace.  She has been pretty busy of late.  And follower 1,000 was Adam Harkus, who is a guitarist and travels.

Of course, a thousand isn’t all that many people and this month has actually seen another drop in page views.  The previous time I mentioned it, Google was the reason.  There was a date after which referrals from Google dropped by about 25% daily.

This month however Google has remained steady.  Instead the drop has come from referrals from other blogs and related sites.  I don’t know if the election and its aftermath has everybody otherwise occupied or if I am just wrote dull stuff this month… I certainly did not write much about WoW and haven’t been in a war in EVE… but on average a good 100 people a day simply aren’t clicking on links that lead to my site.  Life in blog lane.

One Year Ago

The launch of Fallout 4 caused a dip in porn viewing on the internet.

Nintendo announced they were re-releasing Pokemon Red, Blue, & Yellow on the 3DS Virtual Console.

BlizzCon was approaching and I laid out a “need vs greed” list of things I thought would happen at the event.  But before BlizzCon there had to be the Q3 quarterly results.  The big news was that World of Warcraft held steady and had 5.5 million subscribers.  However, Blizzard said they were not going to talk about subscription numbers any more.  They would be talking about Candy Crush Saga though, having purchased King for 5.9 billion dollars.

Then BlizzCon came and I had to score my list.

It also slipped out a bit early that the WoW Legion expansion would not hit until summer 2016, September 21 being the last possible date listed, which seemed a long ways off.  I wasn’t yet ready to return to the game.  I used gold to grab a WoW Token for 30 days of play time and spend the most of it just earning that money back running missions in my garrison.

I dipped my toe back in Lord of the Rings Online for a bit.

Still playing Minecraft, I finished up the Great Northern Road and highlighted the guardian farm that Aaron built.

In New Eden, the Parallax expansion was released, the last named monthly update in Syndicate to be released.  From then on names were reserved for big expansions while monthly updates were simply know by their date.

There was also the start of the ill-fated Fountain War Kickstarter campaign, which was plagued by hubris, gaffes, bad ideas, and “Grrr Goons” hostility.  Not that it didn’t deserve some of the latter as it was a clusterfuck and was not winning fast enough.  It was finally cancelled before the clock ran down, but it left a bad taste in everybody’s mouth.

There was also a Fountain War video which was better received… but then nobody was asking for $150,000 to produce it.

Meanwhile, another member of CSM X got cut.  Not a Goon.

CCP Quant took his EVE Vegas presentation and made it the first of the monthly EVE Economic reports to be publish.

And actually in the game, the Reavers were down in Wicked Creek to spar with TEST.  We were not there long, but it was one of those deployments that generated its own legends in the SIG.  We were called back because a small war was brewing in Cloud Ring against some foes, old and new.  Some had no sov and were hitting us from low sec.  We fell on them when we could in what was being dubbed the “Kickstarter War.”  Herein lay some of the seeds of what would be called the “Casino War” and, later, “World War Bee.”

Over at Daybreak, EverQuest II got the Terrors of Thalumbra of expansion while EverQuest got expansion number 22, The Broken Mirror.  There was the Phinigel “true box” progression server coming up for EverQuest.  The EverQuest II server consolidation was wrapping up, on Stormhold the Kingdom of Sky expansion was voted down, and the game turned 11, all of which I covered in a single post.

Daybreak also shut down Dragon’s Prophet, which lives on in Europe under another publisher.

Smed, gone from Daybreak, wanted to stop talking about money when it came to video games.

And finally, I had a test… a Star Wars test… for those wishing to date my daughter.

Five Years Ago

I looked back at the Star Wars Extended Universe novel Heir to Empire, which turned 20 years old. That might be my most coherent piece on the site.

In EVE Online, the upcoming Crucible expansion had a chance to remove the Incarna stink from the game. Oh, and ship trails were back. And Hulkageddon V was announced… about six months early it turns out.

I reviewed my 2011 MMO outlook. Rift appeared to be the unlikely winner, while DCUO had already gone F2P.

Speaking of going F2P in under a year, I had my first peek at Star Wars: The Old Republic in the beta. Pre-NDA drop, I used Star Wars Galaxies to describe the game as nothing new. Then the NDA dropped and I bitched some more. I did not find the game fun, cancelled my pre-order, and went back to Rift.

And then there was EverQuest II going free to play on all servers, which made me wonder what else in the SOE line up might follow suit.

Then, suddenly, Vanguard started showing inexplicable signs of life.

On the Fippy Darkpaw server, the Scars of Velious was complete and the Luclin expansion went live. Also, breaking the retro aspect, Fippy Darkpaw players got the same new hot bars that all EverQuest players got with the new expansion. They actually worked like hot bars in other games.

In Rift, we made it to Meridian and then faced our first boss while learning the rules of their LFG tool. Oh, and the damn Yule rifts were up before Thanksgiving. I swear, it gets earlier every year.

We learned of the real money auction house in Diablo III. An auction house focus for the game? I’m sure that will work out great.

And also on the RMT front was the Guardian cub pet in World of Warcraft. I did a couple of price checks on those, but somebody should probably go back and see how prices look a year later.

Oh, and WoW had lost 2 million subscribers. Remember when that was a big deal?  But it was still insanely profitable.

Torchilght II was delayed because we had other things to play, right?

AOL shut down Wow.com. That doesn’t mean what you think.

I announced the winners of my Azeroth travel poster contest.

Google was pissing me off by changing up Google Reader. I am still annoyed by some of the features they axed, but at least they fixed the layout so you could reduce the huge amount of white (read: wasted) space in the new default layout.

And we said farewell to LEGO Universe.

Ten Years Ago

Our World of Warcraft Saturday Night Permanent Floating Instance Group finished up Blackfathom Deeps,The Stockades, Shadowfang Keep, and started in on Razorfen Kraul.

In EverQuest, I picked up The Serpent’s Spine and tried running a new character though some of the new level 1-70 content.  I also set out a minor goal of taking screen shots to compare Faydwer in EQ and Faydwer in EQII that lead to posts about Kaladim and Kelethin.

And in EverQuest II, the Echoes of Faydwer expansion came out.  Once I found a copy and got past the patching process and into the game, I made a fae swashbuckler and went to town.

the Revelations expansion hit in New Eden, my first expansion update in EVE Online.  I followed the general wisdom and made sure I had a long skill training the night before.

The Wii and the PlayStation 3 were both released in the US.

And the maker of the ubiquitous ZMud client announced a replacement product called CMud.  I tried the demo version, but since ZMud continued to work for me, I stuck with that.

Most Viewed Posts in November

  1. Make My Alpha Clone
  2. Pokemon Go Account Hacked and Recovered
  3. EVE Online Passes 50K Players Online Again
  4. Election Night in Fountain
  5. The Demise of BattleClinic
  6. WoW Legion Sales Numbers Stacked Up Against Past Launches
  7. EVE Vegas – Like Finds Like and Other Things
  8. Running Civilization II on Windows 7 64-bit
  9. Pondering That Legion Level 100 Boost
  10. Projecting on BlizzCon 2016
  11. Ascension Day in EVE Online
  12. Scoring My BlizzCon Projections

Search Terms of the Month

why isn’t torchlight 2 more popular
[There is probably a long post in that. For me, it just wasn’t as compelling as Diablo III was]

eve online goonsquad war even when “alpha clone” -state
[I really want to know what they were looking for]

minecraft 1.11 were do you find the new woodland mansion
[I think I actually answered that one this month]

swg source code download for private use
[They try to limit that to just scoundrels]

Spam Comment of the Month

Thank you for sharing superb informations.
[I just like the plural at the end there. Give me all your datas!]

EVE Online

I did not end up playing very much EVE Online this past month, which is odd, because we got the Ascension expansion. That was a big deal, with Alpacas and new explosions and such.  But it was also a month where the Imperium was mostly at peace.  I went on a couple of ops into Fountain where we take pot shots at The-Culture.  But otherwise Delve has been pacified, Querious filled, and anybody who wanders into our space gets caps dropped on them.  Since I often only log in for strat ops, quite times can often lead to low play times.

Minecraft

The surprise entry this month, as my activity there of late had been rather listless.  But it too got an expansion which spurred an exploration drive as I sought out a woodland mansion of my own and then worked to link it up with the rest of our infrastructure.  It is a game where having a project can make all the difference.  Now what to do with that mansion?

Pokemon Go

The double experience holiday event helped push things along for me, as have the new daily first and seven day streak bonuses.  And I got a Snorlax from a 10km egg, which is now my highest CP Pokemon, ringing in currently at 2,185.

Current end of month stats:

  • Level: 24 (+2)
  • Pokedex status: 99 (+20) caught, 129 (+16) seen
  • Pokemon I want: Ditto
  • Current buddy: Ivysaur

Pokemon Sun & Moon

A new game for the core Pokemon RPG fans.  And a pretty decent entry in the field, as it walks the tightrope path between sticking to the core essentials and bringing new things to the franchise… besides new Pokemon.  My daughter and I have been playing it, though I think she is up on it because a couple of her friends at school play Pokemon as well.  My influence wains, but I’ll take any play time I can get with her.  And at least one of her friends has said it is so cool that her dad plays Pokemon too.  Hah!

Stellaris

I started out this month gangbusters on Stellaris.  And then I got past the hump and figured out the early game, only to fall into the abyss of the mid-to-end game that can really drag on as empires settle in and wrestle with each other over the scraps, form federations, and then stare at each other while the victory conditions remain way out of reach.  The Civilization end-game problem writ on a galactic scale.

World of Warcraft

Azeroth has been rapidly falling out of favor around here.  I certainly played less WoW than any other game I called out this month, and at least one I did not. (I played some Age of Kings at one point.)  Part of that has been something of a reaction to the pre-flying achievements needing mythic dungeon runs or a crazy rep grind, depriving me of the sort of longer term goal that might keep me going.  And then Blizzard has been breaking things.  I was getting back into pet battles, right up until a patch broke the PetBattle Teams addon.  Without that, sorting through 500+ pets to make a team for a given fight is just too annoying.  And for some reason, I can no longer send things via email to my alts, breaking a crafting thing I had going on.  So WoW may be on its way out for me very soon.

Coming Up

The final month of 2016, the year that will be that year for some time to come, looms.  There is still time for and additional disaster and a few beloved celebrity deaths.  But still, there is limited time left, though I am still predicting some sort of horrible New Year’s Eve ball dropping fiasco that will take out Anderson Cooper, Kathy Griffin, Carson Daly, and Ryan Seacrest live on national TV.  Guy Lombardo never faced such peril.

Otherwise, what have we got for December?  Probably a Steam holiday sale, even though we just had a Steam autumnal sale.  Steam sales have lost their edge.

I’ve got the usual five posts to write, looking forward and back, reviewing predictions and making new ones, and generally wrapping things up for the year.

There is a rumor that Pokemon Go will get new Pokemon in December.  No Man’s Sky is supposed to get an update to make things better, though the current $60 price makes it too pricey for me to gamble on just yet.  There will likely be the usual EVE Online monthly update, maybe with a holiday event.  Holiday events will be going on in all the usual games.

And for some of us it will be wet and cold out, which will give is a fine excuse to stay inside and play video games.

On the Run with Pokemon Sun (and Moon)

I’m not sure what that title really means, but there it is.

So, yes, there are a pair of new titles in the line of core Pokemon RPG games, Pokemon Sun & Moon.  They came out back on the 18th and my daughter and I got our copies from Amazon that day and immediately started playing.

Coming in Q4 2016

Now Playing at Our House

I let my daughter have first pick and she went with Moon, so I got Sun.  She was into the game right away, picking Litten as her starter.  As I sat down on the couch with her to start myself off, I announced that I, too, was going to choose Litten, the fire Pokemon always being the safest choice.

Which one will you choose?

The usual grass, fire, and water starter Pokemon

She objected strongly to this, pointing out that the house tradition was that we never, ever choose the same starter Pokemon.  I had to admit that this had been the case, which explains why I have never had the fire Pokemon as my starter, since that is always her choice.

Ah well.

Once again I was left with the choice of water or grass and, as I have generally done, I went with water.  Rowlet is cute and all, but grass always seems to be the weak option on the list as I recall from that time I chose Bulbasaur as my starter.  You choose grass and the Ponytas start coming out of the woodwork.

So I started off with Popplio, an escapee from an Italian circus act and the water starter.

As a starter he is cute enough, but the tradition for Pokemon starters is that they get strange as they evolve.  So he starts as a cute seal, then goes a bit further down the circus act.

Ongoing circus acts

Ongoing circus act

And the final evolutions for all three defy the cuteness they all started with.

An anime co-player, Thundercats, and Trump's anime wife

An anime co-player, Thundercats, and Trump’s anime wife

I think the final Litten evolution is the best looking of the group, though it still loses all the cuteness factor.  And so I have taken to hitting the B button every time Popplio, whom I named “The Popo,” starts to evolve.  I am far enough along with him in the game now that he should be in his final evolution, but I still have little Popplio with me.  I’ll have to evolve him at some point, you usually don’t get your best moves unless you evolve, but for now I’ll keep him cute.  I think I did the same thing with Piplup back in the day.

I was also quick to get a fire Pokemon into my party, having been denied one as a starter.  Fortunately Growlithes are easy enough to find early on.  And I also put the Munchlax, a download for those who purchase the game in the first couple months, into my party as well, starting off in the world with the following lineup:

  • Popplio – water
  • Growlithe – fire
  • Munchlax – normal
  • Drowzee – psychic
  • Ghastly – ghost
  • Magnemite – electric

So far that has given me a team that has somebody strong against whoever I am facing.

As for the game itself, I am enjoying it.  My daughter seems especially into it and actually finished the main story line last night. (There is still plenty of end-game content to go for her though.)

I saw a review of the game that described it as being very good for people new to the series, and I would have to agree.  The game guides you carefully to start off and does a good job of keeping you on track.  (Though, if you’re an old hand, the start can seem a bit slow.)

Your rival doesn’t even get the starter Pokemon yours is weak to anymore.  On choosing Popplio, I found that Hau, who fills the traditional rival role, though he isn’t as into the rivalry as some past players of that part, took Litten.  Water puts out fire.  It was actually planning for my rival that got me to add a Growlithe to my party as soon as I caught one.  I didn’t need him for that, though having a strong fire Pokemon in your party is never a bad thing.

And the game does its best to keep you supplied with various necessities as you start out and you get the experience share item early on, which favors lower level Pokemon, so keeps your party all around the same level.

There are also a whole host of quality of life improvements that showed up with Pokemon Sun & Moon.  Aywren has a post covering much of that.

If I had to pick one of the improvements, it would be the changes to storage management which, once I saw them, I wondered why they hadn’t done this already.  The whole storage system was still working about the same way it did back on the original GameBoy.  With Pokemon Sun & Moon it looks like Game Freak finally discovered drag and drop was an option with the 3DS touch screen.  I just hope this isn’t one of those features they do for one game and then don’t carry it forward to the next one.

Of course, there are some things that annoy me.  None of these are rage inducing game breakers, but rather little reminders that the world is not perfect.

Of course, there is the call for assistance that wild Pokemon get.  That seemed like a good idea when I first heard about it.  I even mentioned it as something I was looking forward to.  However, when you’re in a battle in the wild and you just want to capture that one Pokemon and they keep calling for help… and getting it… what was once an easy battle becomes this epic struggle to no great benefit.  I think it is probably good for the trial battles, where you fight one main opponent, but the battle is drawn out by the assistance, because those are supposed to be tough fights.  Fighting some wee Pokemon in the tall grass on your way somewhere shouldn’t be.

And speaking of things that I only expect in big fights, when did every trainer on the side of the road get handed a full restore?  Game Freak sought to extend those battles as well I guess, as if you knock their Pokemon down into the red, they’ll pop a potion and be full health again.

My daughter was a bit disappointed to find that the Pokemon Daycare of past games is now just for breeding.  It used to be a tradition to leave a couple Pokemon there while we moved on through the game, only to come back later and find them leveled up a bit.  Not a huge loss, but a change.

I’m also finding Team Skull to not be much of a force for evil in the world, acting more as comic relief.  Nice rhymes, but no threat.  But I am only about half way through the story, so maybe I haven’t gotten to their prime point yet.  Or maybe they are just a distraction from some other villains.

I’ve also found it awkward that the D-pad is no longer used for movement by default.  Yes, like the old Pokemon storage methods, the movement via the D-pad is something rooted in the ancient GameBoy history of the game  The analog Circle Pad, now your movement control, is just above the D-Pad has not only worked for movement over the 3DS era, but is arguably better for movement. (It is also quieter. My 3DS D-pad has an audible click to it.)  However, after getting out of a battle or a transaction, my thumb still falls naturally onto the D-pad and I spend a second or two wondering what is thwarting me from moving.  I’ll get used to it eventually, but for now my thumb just lands on the D-pad first almost every time.

But probably my biggest gripe and/or concern is about performance.  I have one of the original model 3DS XL units, as does my daughter, and the game gets noticeably laggy at points when there is a lot going on in the game or when it does a close up on a 3D rendered character. (Such a close up lags and lingers long enough for you too see how crude the texture over polygon looks up close.)  And load times seem to drag on much more so than they did with Pokemon X & Y or Pokemon Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire.

The game is still playable.  In fact, most of the time there is no performance issue at all.  But when it happens, I see it.  It makes me wonder if this game, or future titles in the series, really need the updated version of the 3DS with the 804 MHz quad core processor that the new models have rather than the 268 MHz dual core processors of the original models.  Or maybe Game Freak just bit off more than they should have with some of the 3D stuff.

Anyway, we continue playing at our house.  While I haven’t been as diligent as my daughter… I have been moving at a slower pace, trying to fill up the Pokedex as much as possible as well as playing a lot of Minecraft… I am still going.  I finished the final challenge on the second island and just arrived on the Aether Foundation’s artificial island.

Alola Region Map

That white platform in the middle of the islands

I will carry on from there tonight.

Bullet Points on Black Friday

No Black Friday deals here, but I am not much of a shopper.  Instead I am hunkered down with the TV, video games, and a large supply of turkey sandwiches as I sort through bits of news that were not worth a full post.

Pokemon Sun & Moon Scare

There was a story out earlier this week about a bug in Pokemon Sun & Moon that was causing players to lose their game saves.  That would be a miserable turn of affairs, especially since the bug seemed to be in the end game, specifically the Battle Tree competitive battle area.  I wasn’t that far along in the game, but it seemed like Nintendo was going to have to put out a patch. (A joy of the 3DS generation is that they can patch games even if you get them on a cartridge.)

And then a follow up came out that the problem was related to people using a hack to alter their game which was damaging their save file causing them to lose their saved game eventually.  Problem avoided for me, but I imagine that there are some people in the PKHex tool community that are pissed.

Pokemon Go Holiday Bonus

If you are still playing Pokemon Go (my wife and I still play daily, even if our daughter has moved to teen disdain when it comes to the game) then you have probably seen that, in addition to the daily “first catch” and “first pokestop” bonuses, for a limited time Niantic is also giving out double experience and double pokedust.  This event lasts through November 30th.  It might be time to crack a lucky egg and evolve all those Pokemon I have been saving up.

Death to The Mittani

Or, rather, death to the news site The Mittani Dot Com, as the team there transitions from the four year old Drupal based site to the shiny new WordPress based Imperium News Network site.  The INN site has been up for a while, but The Mittani announced the official cut-over this week.  The swap over has been accompanied by a resurgence in activity.

Of course, my first concern about the change was whether or not this change was going leave yet more dead links here on the blog.  I have been assured that the old links will route to the stories on the new site, though I won’t really believe it until the old site is gone.

New Ways to Mangle My Words

WordPress.com has added a Google Translate widget to the array of options for WordPress.com users.  So I put it up on the side bar.  However, your mileage may vary, as they say.  It will probably work okay when I stick to simple declarative sentences free of jargon, but I suspect that comedy will ensue when I start in on a post about EVE Online.

And that is all I could come up with.  Time for a turkey sandwich as I try to find my way back home in Minecraft.

 

Honest Game Trailers – Pokemon X & Y

It is Thanksgiving here and I am not writing a long post.  Instead, since Pokemon is a thing at our house at the moment with Pokemon Sun & Moon, a look back at the last original pair in the series, Pokemon X & Y.

 

And if that isn’t enough, HGT has videos up about past generations of Pokemon as well:

Pokemon Sun and Moon Arrive Today

We arrived at Friday and the fifth of five new expansions I planned to mention this week, Pokemon Sun & Moon.

Waiting for UPS deliver my copy

Waiting for UPS deliver my copy

You might take issue with that sentence at the top of the post.  First, I only mentioned the Minecraft update in passing on Monday and, second, Pokemon Sun & Moon are new games and not an expansion.

Well, I did mention the Minecraft update, along with the addition of llamas, and it depends on how you look at the Pokemon series of games.

On one hand, over the 20 year lifetime of the Pokemon series there have been seven distinct generations made up of twenty different titles, and whenever you buy a new one you start out from scratch.  There is no character continuity as in an MMORPG, where an expansion changes the world and its mechanics, but leaves your characters in place.  They are classic buy-to-play, forget when you’re done console titles.

On the other hand, you can make the argument, as I have in the past, that the Pokemon series has literally been the same damn game remade twenty times over with only minor updates along the way.  As I noted in my post about playing the Virtual Console version of Pokemon Blue, the game sprang into existence pretty much fully formed and the originals were completely familiar to somebody like me who only started playing Pokemon during the Pokemon Diamond & Pearl era.

Basically, each successive generation can be said to be an expansion, bringing with them changes to mechanics, new zones, new story lines, and new NPCs along with updates to graphics and supported platforms.  The catch has been that a pwipe between each release.

Anyway, that is more food for thought than a point a view I will fight to defend.  I would rather just go and play the game.  And the game should be arriving on my doorstep today.

I am actually pretty interested to play the new title, enough that I went and played the demo earlier this week.

While Pokemon Sun & Moon brings some of the expected updates to the table… a new region, a new set of Pokemon, a new story line, and a new nefarious organization in the form of Team Skull… there are actually some other updates that are unexpected in the continuum of the franchise’s 20 year history.

Probably the biggest change is the end of Hidden Machines, or HMs, those Pokemon moves that you need to saddle your team with in order to be able to navigate the world.  Replacing surf, cut, rock smash, strength, fly, and the rest is an ability to call upon Pokemon that can do those moves for you, but which need not be in your party.  Given that HMs also prevented you from transferring Pokemon to other games… the HMs change up a bit each generation… this is actually a pretty big deal and an alteration of a mechanic that has been in place since day one.

Then there is a big quality of life change.  When in battle now, your moves will indicate how effective they will be against your opponent.  One of the reasons I played the demo was that I wanted to see how they were going to implement this.  No longer will you have to memorize the move vs. type chart, it will say on the move itself whether it is normal, super effective, or not very effective.  Or mostly it will, if the demo is an example of how things will work, as the indicators were missing occasionally as I played through.

That change actually sounds like Game Freak might have taken a peek at how Blizzard did pet battles in World of Warcraft.  The effectiveness indicator has been a thing in WoW pet battles since day one as simple green up arrows and red down arrows for super effective and not very effective.

And also something that sounds a bit like WoW pet battles, wild Pokemon can now call for assistance, so you may end up facing multiple Pokemon when walking through the ever present tall grass.

On the possibly disturbing side of the change coin, Pokemon Sun & Moon also does away with gym battles.  Again, another part of the foundation of any Pokemon game up until now has been the need to defeat the gym leader in every big town… eight in all generally, though I seem to recall that number being doubled in one game… as you move through the region where the game is set.  How many gym badges you have has been a measure of progress through the game.

Instead there will be trials on each island, and each trial will be different, or so I have read.  Can that replace the traditional gym system we’ve grown to love, with gym mazes often being an art themselves?  We shall see.

And then there is the region itself.  As with past games, the new region, Alola, is based off of a real world location.  In this case, it is the Hawiian islands.

Alola Region Map

Alola Region Map

That part is actually fine.  However, the tradition is to change up things in the region to make it different from the real world.  So in Alola they don’t say, “Aloha!” as a greeting, they say, “Alola!” which is going to grate on me… a lot… until I train my brain just to substitute in the word, “Aloha.”  That might just be a problem for me though.  I have family in Hawaii and have spent a good chunk of time there.

There are other, more standard new items.  There is the inevitable new battle mode, the Battle Royal.  There are new Global Link options, new ways to connect and battle your friends over the internet, a new type of attack in the form of Z-moves, and the usual enormous set of side tasks and end game things to do outside of the main story line.

Of course, these are all things I have yet to actually experience, save for the demo, which was brief. (Though playing the demo gets you a special Pokemon, as does ordering early, as noted here.)  All of that comes after the first big decision, choosing the starter Pokemon.

Which one will you choose?

The starter Pokemon choices

None of them thrill me, having seen their final evolutions.

An anime co-player, Thundercats, and Trump's anime wife

An anime co-player, Thundercats, and Trump’s anime wife

So I will go with the safe bet, Litten, the fire Pokemon.  Fire always works well, water is generally okay, and grass is often hard mode.

Anyway, my weekend gaming plans are set.  Amazon should have my copy to me some time today.

Victory in the Hoenn Region

As I noted in my Friday post, my plans for the weekend’s gaming revolved around Pokemon Alpha Sapphire.  With Pokemon Sun & Moon just a week away I wanted to at least get a bit of closure and finish off the main story line of the game.  To cut to the chase, I made it.

Champion of the Hoenn League

Champion of the Hoenn League

I ran down the Team Aqua story line, got the last two gym badges, made my way up Victory Road, and defeated the elite four and the previous Pokemon League Champion, Steven.

He was happy enough to see me

He was happy enough to see me

I didn’t even cheese through with high levels… much.  I did go grab a couple of level 50s I had from past download events.  There was a Typhlosion (to give me some fire power) from the Pokemon Bank incentive way back and a Serperior (rounding the started types with a plant Pokemon) from another special code event that joined my party.  But otherwise it was mostly the same crew I started off with.  I had my starter Pokemon, once a Mudkip and now a Swampert, and the shiny Bedlum from the launch event which evolved into a Metagross.  The Latias you pick up along the way, and a Ninjask I was mostly using to hold HMs, rounded out my party.  They were all in the high 50s/low 60s for the final challenge and had just enough of a skill spread that I decided to give them a run before I loaded up a team with level 100s to just roll over the end.

And I made it.  I used a lot of potions between battles, and the final match against Steven was an awkward Metagross vs. Metagross standoff for a bit while I revived Kipper the Swampert where he finished things off with the move earthquake.

This could have gone on for a long time...

This could have gone on for a long time… they had both just healed up again

And then it was time to roll the credits.  I actually sat and watched them all the way through, which was good because they actually inject scenes of you and your Pokemon along the way.  Then, at the end of the credits you get to fight one more battle.

May just won't take "No" for an answer

May just won’t take “No” for an answer

After that there is a teaser for some of the additional content and a closing graphic.

Pokemon life

Pokemon life

Of course, while I became champion, I am nowhere near actually finishing the game.  I bypassed a lot of optional content in my final sprint, I accidentally defeated Kygore before catching him, there are other legendary Pokemon to catch, the usual Pokedex to finish, and a whole series of post-victory items, including the Delta Episode story line.

I may get back to that at some point.  But playing over the weekend set me up with a taste for more, so when Pokemon Sun & Moon arrives on Friday I will be ready to go.

Weekend Plans in the Hoenn Region

Despite the main thread of any given Pokemon game being a solitary endeavor, part of the fun of playing Pokemon for me has been playing with my daughter.  As with much of gaming, having somebody to talk with and share the experience with enhances the whole experience.

Which explains why Pokemon has tapered off for me.  Aside from a burst of time earlier this year playing Pokemon Blue, I haven’t really got out the 3DS for anything aside from the monthly distribution events.

My daughter also finds having people around her who play Pokemon stimulates her interest in the game, though for her that comes mostly from her peers at school.  In middle school her circle of friends had little or no interest in Pokemon, so she stopped playing and thus so did I.

So while we bought copies of the last major Pokemon release two years back, neither of us finished the game.

PokemonAlphaOmega_450

My daughter started the game, but then stopped just two gym badges in.  I kept going for a while, hoping to lure her back.  But she wasn’t interested, something that killed my interest, and so I left off after six gym badges.

Lately though my daughter, now in high school, has started hanging out with a happy group of friends who are into video games.  And while that has gotten her to play League of Legends (Lord help me) another game on the list is Pokemon.  One of her friends has been bugging her to finish up Pokemon Omega Ruby, to the point that she actually picked it up this week and has quickly caught up to me, with six gym badges and now just arriving in Lilycove City.

So, of course, I had to take up the 3DS as well to see if I could figure out where I left off.  The path though the Hoenn Region is a complicated.

Hoenn region revamped

Hoenn region

Fortunately, I bought the accompanying strategy guide available for the game, so I can follow that through and hopefully figure out where I should be headed after a long stay in Lilycove City.

And the goal for the weekend is to get through to the Elite Four and finish up the game.  The real question is how much do I want to cheese through the end?  Having downloaded all those legendary and mythical Pokemon this year, I have a small army of level 100 Pokemon that I can control once I get that 8th gym badge.  We shall see how I feel when I get there, but I would like to wrap the game up before next Friday when Pokemon Sun & Moon should arrive.