Category Archives: Pokemon

Pokemon UltraSun and UltraMoon Coming plus Pokemon Gold and Silver on Virtual Console

Nintendo had a brief series of announcements early this morning.  The expected Pokemon Stars, rumored to be the first Pokemon title for the Nintendo Switch was not on the list.  Instead, the Switch gets its own version of Pokken Tournament.

On the Nintendo 3DS front, Nintendo announced that the next titles in the core Pokemon RPG cycle would be Pokemon UltraSun & UltraMoon, which will be available on November 17, 2017.

UltraSun and UltraMoon

These titles will feature a new story line in the Alola region and will allow players to capture Pokemon not available in the original Pokemon Sun & Moon games.

This development hearkens back to the Pokemon Black & White and Pokemon Black & White Version 2, where the same landscape was used to tell a second Pokemon story.

There was also a Virtual Console announcement.  As I predicted back in January, Nintendo is carrying on with the old school Nostalgia by bringing Pokemon Gold & Silver to the 3DS via the Virtual Console.

For the GameBoy Color

The second generation Pokemon games will be available on September 22, 2017 and will, like the Pokemon Red, Blue, and Yellow versions of last year, be Pokemon Bank compatible.  No word on Pokemon Crystal however.

Pokemon Gold and Silver

My wish for a return to Sinnoh via a remake of Pokemon Diamond, Pearl, & Platinum will have to wait for another year it seems, though I hold out hope that we will get there eventually.

As for whether or not the Nintendo Switch will take over the core Pokemon RPG game line, that seems to have been refuted,  Nintendo seems committed to the 3DS/2DS handheld consoles.

Pokemon Lycanroc event at GameStop

Pokemon Sun & Moon have been out for about six months now, and we’ve not heard anything yet about the next release, so Nintendo is still promoting what it has.  There is still a Pokemon in the Alola Pokedex unaccounted for, Marshadow, who does look like a cross between a marshmallow and a shadow.  But as they dangle that before us, Nintendo also has another give away.

Between May 15, 2017 and June 5, 2017 you can go to your local GameStop to pick up a card for a special Lyncanroc Pokemon in its night time, full moon, werewolf-esque form.

Available for a limited time

Supplies of the cards are limited, so head to GameStop sooner rather than later if you want this Pokemon.  The code is only valid for Pokemon Sun & Moon.

Of course, you can always just evolve a Rockruff into this form by leveling him up past level 25 at night, but the GameStop version comes with a special set of moves and a held item.

Meanwhile, Nintendo also has another download offer going on this month.  Following the instructions at this link will let you download mega stones so you can have mega evolutions in battle for Pidgeot, Steelix, Heracross, and Houndoom.

May 2017 Mega Stones

As with the above, this offer is only good for Pokemon Sun & Moon and must be collected before the end of the month.

I continue to potter around in Pokemon Sun at my end, working on a project I will likely post about at another time.

Friday Bullet Points for a Warm Spring Day

Well, it has been warm in Silicon Valley this week, with temperatures up to 90 degrees at times.  After a wet winter that means that more than spring is in the air.  Pollen is a serious, palpable thing outside right now for those of us with allergies.  But a runny nose and a desire for some of those good old “makes you drowsy” allergy meds from my youth won’t stop me from at least doing a bullet points post.

Pokemon Go in the Grass

Bulbasaur knows what I am talking about!

Clearly in the spirit of my pain, Niantic is having a Grass Weekend mini-event for Pokemon Go.  Starting this afternoon and ending early Monday grass type Pokemon are supposed to be out in force.  In addition, lures dropped at Pokestops are supposed to last 6 hours rather than the usual 30 minutes.  Will that be enough to lure me out of the house?

Pokemon Sun & Moon Bean Collecting

Meanwhile, in Pokemon Sun & Moon, there is an in-game event around collecting Poke Beans at the Poke Pelago.  As with the Pokemon Go event, it runs until Monday.  The minimum and bonus thresholds have already been reached, so all you have to do to get some Festival Coins is register in the Festival Plaza, collect some beans, and then go back and update you status.  Details are at the link.  If you are a registered Pokemon Global Link player, you get double the Festival coins plus a level ball and some rare candy as well.

We’re well past the 6 million bean stretch goal…

Ashes of Creation Campaign Status

The Ashes of Creation Kickstarter that I wrote about earlier in the week seems to have hit the mid-campaign doldrums already.  After passing a million dollars in the first 36 hours, pledges have slowed down.  That is to be expected.  I will be interested if they have a mid-campaign plan after their very strong start.  Meanwhile, there has been some concerns about Intrepid’s Creative Director and CEO Steven Sharif and the depth of experience of the Ashes of Creation team.  Sharif has responded via an interview with Massively OP.

Activision Blizzard still Touting MAUs

The Activision Blizzard first quarter results were announced yesterday.  You can find all the data, such that it is, over on their investor relations site.  Blizzard and King were tied as the first quarter net earning powers, with King ahead it gross revenue but Blizzard having a higher margin.

Revenues on Slide 10 of the investor presentation

And yet the big “we’re doing good!” metric remains Monthly Active Users, or MAUs.  I have griped before that MAUs are meaningless without context.  The fact that the two net earners have wildly different MAU numbers (41 million for Blizzard, or less than Activision, and 341 million for King) seems to require at least some details about their disparate business models.

Meanwhile, the report also celebrates Overwatch becoming Blizzard’s eighth “billion dollar” franchise, making me strain my brain to come up with that many.

  1. World of Warcraft
  2. Warcraft
  3. StarCraft
  4. Diablo
  5. Hearthstone
  6. Overwatch
  7. Heroes of the Storm
  8. Lost Vikings

They must be slicing and dicing what constitutes a franchise to get eight billion dollar earners… or Lost Vikings was more popular than I imagined.  Also, I would argue that WoW is a continuation of the Warcraft franchise.  But marketing will segment how they see fit.

Anyway, back to the land of Benedryl for me.

April in Review

The Site

It has been a bonus moth for blog, with page view seeing a 50% boost over the previous month.  It still isn’t back to 2012 numbers… and never will be… but it was interesting to see the numbers jump up a bit.  Of course, I know why the number jumped up.  It was for the same reason the blog gets something of a bump every April.

I posted about April Fools at Blizzard.

A look at the list of most viewed posts this month tells the tale… sort of.  I generally don’t list the main page for the blog on that list, because it would simply be the top entry most months.  But this month it would be in second place, pulling in about 40% of the page views of the April Fools post.  Google was very nice to me for April Fools.

Still, it wasn’t as good as last April.  I did not get nearly as big of a bump from Google last year for April Fools… like 15% of the page views… but I was writing about the Casino War in EVE Online last April, something that stirred passions in a few.  And then there was the drama about WoW, nostalgia, and the Nostalrius, which was enough to carry the month to 40% more page views than this year.  Life in the page view lane.

Also I hit another meaningless milestone, crossing the 700 follower mark on Twitter.

I first started on Twitter back in 2010, so at this rate I will hit 1,000 followers at some point in 2020… provided Twitter doesn’t purge inactive accounts, as that would probably reduce my followers by half.

My Twitter feed combines the output from this blog and my EVE Online Pictures blog, along with occasional direct comments by myself.  The screen shots from the other blog are far and away the most likely to get liked or retweeted.  Even CCP Seagull has been known to retweet some of those screen shots.  There is probably a lesson in that.

One Year Ago

I wondered about the concept of the last good day in the context of MMOs.

The whole Blizzard versus Nostalrius issue blew up when the company sent the private/pirate server a take down notice.  Blizzard actually responded to things, but those hoping that they might actually get an official nostalgia server remain disappointed.

We did get a ship date for WoW Legion.  And, for once, nobody complained about Blizzard targeting a competitor with their chosen date.  At least not that I heard.

The Casino War was going badly for the Imperium.  I mean, sure, Dinsdale Pirannah was predicting a Goon victory, but he was in a small minority.

The Mittani held a state of the Goonion and logs documenting CO2’s betrayal were released, but that didn’t stave off black Thursday in Tribute as TNT’s holdings got steamrolled.  The war was getting serious.  First SMA and then FCON left the Imperium.  FCON showed up in Immensea soon afterwards while Darius Johnson tried to take advantage of the war by attempting to restart the original GoonSwarm.

There was a short Russian complication in the northeast that threatened to widen the war, but which eventually blew over.  No relief for the Imperium was to be found on that front.

There was to be no last stand at VFK-IV.  We pulled back to the Quafe Factory Warehouse in Saranen and attempted to fight back against the tide while I wondered what would constitute a victory.

There was some talk of names for the war.  I did not like the names coming from either side and stuck with Casino War, the name which Nosy Gamer coined and which went straight to the heart of the conflict.

Outside of the Casino War, I took a look at two books about EVE Online.  There was a Rooks & Kings video from the Serenity server. The Citadel expansion was released, bringing Upwell Consortium structures to New Eden.  There was a Blog Banter about what the most important announcement out of Fan Fest was.  And Xenuria made it onto the CSM at last.

Outside of New Eden, I gave Pokemon Blue a try and was surprised to see how fully formed the first versions of Pokemon really were.

Google was telling me that pretty much every game was dead.

And there was, as always, April Fools at Blizzard.

Five Years Ago

April 2012 set a daily page view record.  What is it about April?  I know you are going to say “April Fools,” but the record was actually set because of the Burn Jita event.

Yeah, the Burn Jita event.  It made for my most popular YouTube video ever.  And it lead right into Hulkageddon V and its OTEC connection.

Elsewhere in EVE Online, the LEGO Rifter got 10K votes, the War in the North seemed to be winding down with RAZOR back in Tenal and six fleets stalking Venal. Raiden managed to lose a bunch of sovereignty, by accident, which finished that up.  All that was left was to say we didn’t want that region anyways.  We also made conga lines, experience time dilation, and followed DBRB through high sec to kill some super caps.  And Seleene became the chairman of the Galactic Student Council.

I was also syndicated occasionally on EVE News 24.  I don’t think I got paid for all of that.

I made a list of small features I wanted other MMOs to copy.

Lord of the Rings Online hit the five year mark.

Potshot and I were wandering around EverQuest again, looking for lost dungeons.  We were not buying any $25 bags though.

In Rift, the instance group was driven out of King’s Breach.  But Trion added in fishing, so we could do that instead.

And it was April Fools at Blizzard.

Ten Years Ago

Back in April 2007 we were wondering what was going to happen with Sigil Games Online after their less than stellar Vanguard launch. (*snort*) I threw out a few paths that the game might follow going forward, one of which proved to be correct.  Soon we would be free from the rambling posts of Aradune.  There was a failure of vision to be corrected.  But I bought a copy all the same.  It was marked down.

Meanwhile, Microsoft Windows Vista, which launched the same day as Vanguard, was facing failures of its own, with Dell having to reintroduce Windows XP as an option for customers.  I know my own company was buying XP systems until Windows 7 came out… and became the new Windows XP.

In EverQuest II Gaff and I visited Emperor Fyst, I ran around in Nektropos Castle with the Everling clan, and complained about experience in Splitpaw.

While our WoW group was winding down for the summer, with Earl off to Broadway, the remaining four of us went off to Middle-earth with the launch of Lord of the Rings Online.  We had been playing in the beta, but eventually it came time to buy the game and sort out the founder’s options.  I had my first impressions. Titles were a thing!

I answered the musical meme question, “Five Reasons Why I Blog.”  Remember when those were “memes?”  Also, that seems awfully early in my career to be answering that sort of question.

I was also on about the pros and cons of player wipes, the requirement that one be able to solo in MMORPGs, and the problem of translating mechanics between games.

Van Hemlock was leet.

Nintendo launched Pokemon Diamond & Pearl in North America at last.  The EU would have to wait until July to get their copies.

Our Wii finally came out of the box.

And, finally, I had a problem with a video card that eventually had to be RMA’d, which sounds a lot like this April. I hope this won’t turn into a yearly thing.

Most Viewed Posts in April

  1. April Fools at Blizzard 2017 – Not Much to Talk About
  2. April Fools at Blizzard – 2016
  3. EVE Online CSM 12 Winners Announced
  4. WoW Dance Battle System!
  5. A Barrier to My Eventual Return to Azeroth
  6. Corpses in New Eden
  7. Null Sec Outpost Conversions and the Great Asset Recovery
  8. The Fall of Club Penguin
  9. A Decade on the Road to Mordor
  10. The Ongoing Tension Between Solo and Grouping
  11. Null Sec – We Rat and We Mine Things
  12. Nintendo and the NES Classic Edition

Search Terms of the Month

lord of the rings rambling large
[I ramble larger than most!]

eve online dying 2017
[EVE Online has always been dying. So have I.]

terry pratchett was more successful than rowling
[Only for very specific definitions of “success”]

how many hours does a heroic character save everquest
[In my case, all of them]

EVE Online

After Reavers came back from camping in Impass at the start of the month I haven’t done too much in game.  TNT and Space Violence are deployed to Catch, and I have a pilot out there, but the ops are almost exclusively EUTZ, so I have been on exactly one.  So I have taken my ops where I could find them and ratted a bit.  Even Ishtar ratting adds to the might total of null sec bounties.

EVE Fan Fest was the main focus of the month, with people happy or disappointed about what CCP did or did not say.  The usual story, everybody feels their part of the game is the most important and if only CCP would focus on the right thing then New Eden would flourish and time would roll backwards and the PCU would skyrocket.

Minecraft

I finished the road to the north Mansion, which covers 26km as it winds its way northward from the rail loop.  That done, I stated fishing about for the next project.  I began work on some upgrades around the north Mansion and even laid the ground work for the horse speed tester I wanted to build, but haven’t really done much when it comes down to it.

Pokemon

The Pokemon binge continued this month as I picked up a copy of Pokemon Omega Ruby from the online shop and ran through that.  I finished the main story, caught Groudon, and am working on other legendary Pokemon.

Pokemon Go

I have been somewhat low key with Pokemon Go over the last month.  The high the level, the bigger the gap to the next one, and I have only made about half way to the 250K exp needed to get to 28.  And that progress has been primarily due to the first catch of the day, first Pokestop of the day, and seven day streak bonuses.

My basic stats this month:

  • Level: 27 (+0)
  • Pokedex status: 154 (+5) caught, 179 (+7) seen
  • Pokemon I want: Final evolution of any of the starter Pokemon
  • Current buddy: Noctowl, who earns a candy every kilometer.

Coming Up

It is May tomorrow, which means May Day/Loyalty Day (the latter is causing people to freak out because they think Trump is somehow responsible for that nearly 100 year old non-event of a day), Memorial Day (which will mean a B-17 flying around the neighborhood), Mother’s Day, the start of the summer movie season, and FanimeCon here in Silicon Valley.  My daughter wants to go to that with some friends, while I will people watch and get street passes observing on the periphery.

On the video gaming front, this month’s patch for EVE Online has a couple of big changes, including the PLEX revamp… and… is anything else happening?  Hrmm…

I have been looking about for some new game to hold my attention, even going back to World of Tanks just to see how that has been faring, and to remind myself how bad I am.  I think I might have found something to occupy me for a bit, but we’ll get to that in May.

Refresher in the Hoenn Region

Pokemon Omega Ruby was pretty much the only video game I spent any real time playing this past weekend.  I did log into EVE Online to keep my planetary interaction operations going, and I updated and played a match in World of Tanks, but that was about it.

Of course, part of that was because my wife and I have been binge-watching Breaking Bad over the last week or so.  Binge watching TV means sitting on the couch, away from my computer.  But the 3DS handheld and Pokemon can sit with me on the couch.  I listen to the dialog from the TV as I play, putting the game down to watch the show when talking leads to action.

The combined activities meant I was able to get through the first six gyms in Pokemon Omega Ruby as well as resolving the main Team Magma/Team Aqua plot point.

Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire

That is one of the differentiation between the two games.  In Omega Ruby you fight Team Magma and are somewhat assisted by Team Aqua, while in Alpha Sapphire the reverse is true.  Both teams have a Bond villain scale plan for exploiting the powers of a legendary Pokemon in order to change the world and both realize the folly of their ways and come to you, the young hero, to resolve the problems they have wrought, all before you’ve even finished the last two city gyms.

It does feel a bit odd… or maybe anti-climactic, though since you the Hoenn region was facing a cataclysm, that term might be a bit too on the nose… to resolve what is ostensibly the main story line so far ahead of facing the elite four and winning the Hoenn league championship.

Then again, the real story line is, as ever in Pokemon, your own.

The whole thing has been a good refresher for the pair of games.  When they came out back in late 2014 I was coming off of the binge cycle and only played part way through, so when Pokemon Sun & Moon were looming I quickly picked up my copy of Alpha Sapphire and finished off the last essential bits… story line, elite four, and championship… before putting the game down to pick up Pokemon Sun.

Having run through it again I now know where I stand in the context of both games and can probably go chase down the post-championship legendary Pokemon in the pair.

Of course, going back to Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire meant doing without some of the game improvements that came in with Sun & Moon.  I do miss the simplicity of storage box management in the new games and it is a pain to have to return to gimping your team by having to make them learn specific HM moves like Surf and Fly in order to be able to move around the world. (Teaching a Pokemon an HM also used to lock it into that game.)  I also keenly miss the ability to remove status conditions after battle via the refresh option (have to drop a potion instead) and being able to put eggs into the Poke Pelago to hatch them.

On the flip side, Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire have some nice features of their own.  The built in region map is good and the local map that tells you whether or not you have caught all the Pokemon types that spawn in the vicinity is very handy.  The ability to soar over the landscape on Latios/Latias is  pretty spiff, and the Pokemon stats training is nice, though not as convenient as the Poke Pelago.

The one thing Nintendo does do is kill most of the back end support for a Pokemon title once a successor has been shipped.  While download events still happen, all the title specific special items have been turned off as has the social connectivity and the Global Trade Station access.  So if I want to wheel and deal and trade Pokemon I get from the game I need to use Pokemon Bank to get them into Pokemon Sun, at which point I can use the GTS there.

Anyway, I am still plugging away at Pokemon for now.

When You Have Finished Pokemon But Still Want to Play Pokemon

My video game play preferences tend to be subject to a certain amount of… hrmm… variability.

If I am into a game at a given point in time, I play it a lot and don’t want to put it down.  If I am not into a game… well, no amount of telling myself I should play can get me to log in.

No doubt, if you follow the blog closely (I’m sorry), you will have noted my changing whims and passions when it comes to video games.  I think that is pretty normal, when it comes down to it.  I might be a bit more binge-y than some, but things change and interests wane.  Sometimes a game is done and sometimes you are done with a game.

But what do you do when you have finished the game but still want to play?

Such is my issue with Pokemon at the moment.

For me, Pokemon is one of my most binge-y games.  I am either really into it and play every day, or I am not into it and can’t bring myself to take my 3DS off the charger.

Right now I am really into having quite enjoyed Pokemon Sun.  Unfortunately, I have pretty much done everything I wanted to in the game.  I finished the story, defeated the elite four, became champion, captured all of the island Tapu Pokemon, captured the ultra beasts in the end game story, and completed the Alola pokedex.

Alola Pokedex at 100%

But I still want to play, so I have pottered around a bit, upgraded Poke Pelago all the way, gotten the Festival Plaza up to level 76, and considered filling out the National Pokedex again.

However, the National Pokedex situation is… sub-optimal.  In a way, I like that it is in Pokemon Bank, so it can take data from any of the 3DS Pokemon games.  But in order to check where you stand, you have to log out of Pokemon Sun… and that takes a bit as the game taxes the old 3DS some… then open up Pokemon Bank, updated the Pokemon stats, and get the listing of what you have seen/captured so far, then save and close that out and launch Pokemon Sun again, at which point if I haven’t written down my next few goal Pokemon they will have fallen out of my short term memory already.  The joys of being old.

So the only key thing left to do is build up a team to battle other players… some might say that is the whole point of the game… but that is one aspect of Pokemon I am not really into.  When I get to that I lose interest and never get anywhere.

But I still want to play Pokemon.

No problem, I have a lot of older Pokemon games.  In fact I think, between my daughter and I, we own all but one of the DS/3DS series of Pokemon games.  Neither of us has Pokemon Yellow, but other than that we are covered.

If I wanted to use this play time to work on the National Pokedex I would have to limit myself to the 3DS titles or Pokemon Black & White / Black & White Version 2, since those are the only ones that can place Pokemon direction into Pokemon Bank.  Still, we have all of those titles.

Then there was the other issue, in that almost all of those games are “done,” at least for specific definitions of the word.  I am bad at going back to old games that are in progress and picking them back up again.  And, while you can erase and restart Pokemon games, I am also loathe to wipe out past efforts.

So I decided I would pick up a new copy of a title I had not played myself from the Nintendo eShop.  That left me with four choices, Pokemon Moon, Pokemon Yellow, Pokemon Omega Ruby, and Pokemon X.  I have played through companion titles for all of those games, which were Pokemon Sun, Pokemon Blue, Pokemon Alpha Sapphire, and Pokemon Y.  The variations of Black & White were out because you they are only available at retail at this point used or at inflated prices.

As much as I enjoyed Pokemon Sun, Pokemon Moon was too similar and I had just wrung about all the content I wanted out of the pair, having played my daughter’s copy for a bit to finish up the Alola Pokedex.

Playing Pokemon Blue was an interesting archeological exercise, a delve into the history of the series, but not something I was keep to repeat, even if Pokemon Yellow has color.

Pokemon Y was enjoyable enough, but the Kalos region didn’t thrill me and this first attempt at 3D in Pokemon was awkward at times as the camera seemed determined to keep you from looking in the direction you needed at times.

All of which left me looking at Pokemon Omega Ruby.  Not a bad choice.  The game has been out for a while and is available at the Nintendo eShop.

It also has a extensive end-game involving the capture of legendary Pokemon to keep me going.

Finally, while I finished up Alpha Sapphire, I only just got there.  It was the at the end of my binge cycle, so picking it up again… and I tried for a bit… has left me stumbling around.  Better to start fresh again.  Also, there is a bit of the Civilization aspect to this, where starting off is often one of the most enjoyable aspects of the game… once you get past the tutorial telling you things you know already.

So I downloaded it and started off.  Since I had already fulfilled the house rules obligation to not start with the same Pokemon as my daughter, I felt free to pick the fire type starter Pokemon, Torchic.

He is adorable

How he is described:

As cute as Torchic looks, this Pokémon can shoot fireballs of more than 1,800 degrees F out of its mouth and scorch its foes as black as cinders.

It is a pity that he evolves into rather less attractive forms. (See the starter Pokemon for the game here.)  But such is the way with Pokemon, the starters are always cute but lose that aspect as they evolve.

I kicked off the new game last night and, being in binge mode, am already two gyms in.  I did consider running the game as a Nuzlocke challenge, but decided against it.  I just wanted to dive in and collect them all, as the motto goes.  I might try Nuzlocke another time.

I have gotten used to some of the great features that Game Freak put into Pokemon Sun & Moon… I do miss just being able to drag and drop in the storage box for example, and having to burden Pokemon with HMs for travel and such will be annoying… but Pokemon Omega Ruby has some good aspects of its own, like letting you know when you’ve caught all the Pokemon in a given area.  We shall see how long my current passion/binge can sustain me.

The 3K Blissey Problem in Pokemon Go

As noted in the monthly review posts, I have kept going with Pokemon Go so far.  I started the game late and haven’t been the most active player, but I have managed to make progress, hitting level 27 last month and I still enjoy bringing up the app daily.

My continued progress… and my still playing at all… is probably related to the fact that there are six Pokestops in a 600m loop at the campus at which I work and three Pokestops easy walking distance from our home.  That, the daily bonus and weekly streak bonus, along with the various events have kept me playing and helped me get as far as I have.

That I am still playing isn’t to say that I am doing well.  My top combat power Pokemon are not exactly a majestic sight.

My Top Nine

But their mediocre combat power hasn’t really been a problem.  When I go off to do a gym battle I have always been able to make progress.  The game was set up so that even a modest group of Pokemon could challenge the inevitable 3K CP Snorlax at the top of the local gym.

You might use up five of your six Pokemon bringing him down, but so long as you had a couple of effective Pokemon and a large supply of heal potions and revives, no gym was unassailable.

And then came the second generation Pokemon and Blissey.

Blissey almost 3K

I first ran into a 3K CP Blissey after dropping my daughter off at rehearsal for the school production of Leader of the Pack.  I rolled up the street from the school to a level 3 gym, parked, and thought I would take it down.  I like to earn some coins now and then so I can buy a lucky egg and go on an evolve binge.  That is generally how I level up.

The Gydrados and the Snorlax in the gym were doable, but every time I went after the Blissey, I could make no progress.  It wasn’t killing my Pokemon and I managed to put together a team whose attacks were all super effective.  The Blissey just sat there and absorbed all my attacks, its health bar barely moving, until the 90 second battle timer ran down and I lost by default.

I couldn’t take it down.  The best I did was about half way before time ran out.

And I haven’t figured out a winning approach with my current collection of Pokemon.

So the game went from any gym being assailable if I had the time and patience and medical supplies to sustain an attack to simply having to pass on any gym with a Blissey of 3K CP or so.  My wife, who is level 30 and has better Pokemon than I, has the same problem.

We might have to go from concentrating on breadth of Pokemon caught and levels to pumping up the combat power of some of our Pokemon.