Accessibility in Pokémon - How much is too much?

How do you feel in regards to the accessibility of the current main series games?

  • There's too little accessibility.

    Votes: 1 8.3%
  • Just a little more accessibility would be nice.

    Votes: 1 8.3%
  • What we have now is good enough.

    Votes: 5 41.7%
  • I'd like Game Freak to tone things down a little bit.

    Votes: 4 33.3%
  • The accessibility is too much for my taste.

    Votes: 1 8.3%

  • Total voters
    12
Nepgear is cute.
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Lately, we've been getting more accessibility features in the Pokémon franchise, at least when it comes to the core series games. However, some would say it is becoming too accessible. This is especially evident in SwSh seeing as how the biggest accessibility features, the Exp. Share and the EXP. Charm (the latter only available in the Expansion Pass) is pretty much forced upon you regardless of how easy they can make the games at times. In addition, very few trainers ( and even Gym Leaders) rarely use more than three Pokémon up to Wyndon. All of those things can cause some players to feel like they aren't really playing the game. And that's not even accounting for all of the free heals and handouts...

On the other hand, making things like Bottle Caps more readily obtainable and the addition of items such as the nature mints and the Ability Patch (the latter being limited to the Crown Tundra in the Expansion Pass) can be seen as a blessing for competitive players. In fact, the previously mentioned Exp. Share and Exp. Charm could also arguably be seen as a good thing for those who just want to breeze through the main campaign and jump straight into competitive.

Now that I've outlined both the problems and the benefits of the main series games' current level of accessibility, I'd like to know one thing: how much accessibility should the main series games have? Where should we draw the line? Is what we have too much, too little, or just the right amount of accessible?

In addition, what sort of accessibility features would you like see implemented or scrapped for future games? Discuss!
 
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Just make all these boosts related to casual play optional. They aren't for everyone.

At the same time, I'd rather not worry about the EV cap or natures for casual play, just like in the first two generations. And if I were interested in competitive play, I'd much rather just alter EVs and natures with minimum hassle. IVs should be eliminated altogether to stop this eugenics nonsense (do a reasonable number of hybrid Pokemon instead). I do think that the Ability Capsule and Ability Patch should require some effort, though. Basically, if you're going to make players put in extra effort, let it be for something more interesting than mere stats.
 
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#TeamPower
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Honestly, even though I quite like how the core series games have become easier for younger players, I'd like Game Freak to tone things down a bit...
 
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I loathe the fact that the Exp. Share can't be turned off now. First, the leveling curve is not made with it in mind and that means you get overleveled extremely fast, making the game a complete breeze. Second, if you don't want get to get overleveled, you are pretty much forced to have a team of rotating members. The latter is the excuse Gamefreak used for this decision and i hate being funneled into specific playstyles. I like having my team of six pokemon because that's my preferred playstyle, but can't do that now if i don't want to get overleveled. What happened to having different options that allow you to toggle on and off each preference you want? What's next, removing Set from the game and forcing everyone into Switch? Even if i can say no to not switch, the game is still telling what the next pokemon is, ruining the surprise.

I don't mind breeding, getting perfect IVs and the other stuff for competitive being made simpler because it has been always obtuse. There's nothing challenging about breeding for IVs, natures and other stuff, it's just an huge time sink.
 
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I would play games on the easiest difficulty, but I wouldn't want the game to be played for me. The experience points being distributed to my whole party is okay because I always rely on my starter and rarely switch my Pokémon for training, which makes my starter overleveled and the rest of my team underleveled, which means when my starter gets taken out, I would lose the battle if I don't have the Revives to bring it back. The Exp. Share helps keep my team close to my starter's level so that if my starter faints, at least the rest of my team could stand a chance. Also, I would like HMs back because I would end up with a flying type and water type on my team anyway.
 
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I don't mind the games being made more accessible, especially in terms of competitive accessibility (even though I don't mind IVs, natures, egg moves, etc. and would be sad to see them gone). The issue I run into, however, is when these accessibilities are forced onto me. Things like the Exp. Share and Charm should be optional to allow for more playstyles and flexibility as restricting player choice is almost always a poor move. I generally like to grind and make it a point to have each member of my team at the same level--I'll even stop the story progression just to equalize my party. Having the Exp share always on in SwSh only made my team way overleveled, ruining any semblance of difficult with the exception of Leon's battle. And, to be honest, the variety of rules I see suggested to make the games more difficult don't really appeal to me, and would probably not alleviate my grinding issue anyways.

So, my issue is less with the games' accessibility, and moreso that they're railroading players into a specific, easier playstyle while not taking into account differing desires for difficulty. While B2W2's difficulty option is far from ideal--I only lost twice on Challenge Mode, to Cheren and Skyla--I do think that it was a step in the right direction. Honestly it's a little baffling that Pokémon doesn't have actual difficulty options despite having dabbled in them before and the fact that they're practically industry standard at this point. Granted, this is the franchise that took roughly 20 years before realizing that HMs were poorly implemented.
 
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I'm glad I read the first post before voting! At first I thought accessibility meant helping disabled players more easily find a way to enjoy the game. This has been a thing non-existent in most Nintendo-affilliated games.

As for what OP meant, some of it is convenient but some things just lessen how worth it it is to have certain pokemon. Like I guess the options there are nice so my old favorites can do better, but it also negates all the hard work I out into my competitive box.
 
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So, my issue is less with the games' accessibility, and moreso that they're railroading players into a specific, easier playstyle while not taking into account differing desires for difficulty. While B2W2's difficulty option is far from ideal--I only lost twice on Challenge Mode, to Cheren and Skyla--I do think that it was a step in the right direction. Honestly it's a little baffling that Pokémon doesn't have actual difficulty options despite having dabbled in them before and the fact that they're practically industry standard at this point. Granted, this is the franchise that took roughly 20 years before realizing that HMs were poorly implemented.
I still can't for the life of me understand why Pokemon still has no difficulty modes. It's a feature that has been present in games since the 80s, probably even before. It's honestly a perfect example on how behind Pokemon is in several areas.

Then again, when Pokemon put them in one of their games, the execution was incredibly botched. Seriously, who's gonna go through the effort of beating a whole game just to get an easy mode? Why even make that a thing?
 
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Well, no one here is 8 years old, so I don't think we're really going to get a fair assessment from the people whom the games (and these decisions) are primarily designed for.

That said, I'm not making an excuse - it's not hard to see that Pokémon also has a large adult fanbase and that a segment of that group has been pretty vocal for a while now about wanting native support for a more challenging campaign. I think GF maybe have it in their minds that older players are more interested in competitive than they are in the main campaign (and under that assumption, the main campaign being easier to burn through quickly would be a "positive"), and while sure, I don't have access to their market research data or anything, that does feel a bit shortsighted to me. I agree that it's pretty bewildering how, outside of an unusably gimmicky one-time marketing scheme, Pokémon has eschewed something as ubiquitous as basic difficulty settings for so long, and I do think that if they were to just find some time to go through and properly implement a Challenge Mode in a thoughtful way (so that it does more than just bump up NPC levels), it'd satisfy a fair amount of complaints.

In addition, very few trainers ( and even Gym Leaders) rarely use more than three Pokémon up to Wyndon.
I mean, that's just fundamentally incorrect. Bede and every Gym Leader after Kabu use four Pokémon, Hop uses four at Stow-on-Side, and five starting from Route 7, Marnie uses four when you battle her at Spikemuth, Klara/Avery use four during the Dojo's final trial...

Besides, you don't actually want the nobody NPCs on the routes to be packing teams of 5 and 6. It turns into a slog real quick without actually making things more meaningfully challenging (with very few exceptions, route NPCs are not and have never been difficult), and if you're worried about overleveling, there being more Pokémon to battle means there's going to be more experience gained.
 
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I think GF maybe have it in their minds that older players are more interested in competitive than they are in the main campaign (and under that assumption, the main campaign being easier to burn through quickly would be a "positive"), and while sure, I don't have access to their market research data or anything, that does feel a bit shortsighted to me.
I suspect that's what is going on, too; Sw/Sh feels like it was very multiplayer focused, from the raids being everywhere in the wild area to the lack of single player post-game challenges with the existing ones being made easier than before.
However Pokémon is a bit odd compares to a lot of MP games because the single player and the multiplayer are linked--you use your SP party in MP.

Now, back in--oh lord, the late 90s and early 2000s--I did MP in some PC games. Sure, I needed to learn how to play against other thinking humans, but I didn't need to invest time into the main campaign to get a character or army ready. I just started or joined a lobby.

I think the continued popularity of Showdown and other simulators shows that the actual games are rather inefficient for multiplayer; the investment for each team member can be pretty massive so there's too much of a time sink in trying to test out a new Pokémon or new strategy.
 
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Exp Share is the thing that’s increased my enjoyment the most.

Having to grind to level up Pokemon doesn’t make the game harder, just more boring.
I hate grinding and the Exp Share is incredibly useful for when you want to rotate team members and/or try a lot of new Pokémon. And with the larger dexes newer games have given us, there's plenty of choice to support this style of gaming. Its existence is not the problem for me. But removing the option to toggle it forces you into this playstyle, as has been pointed out already. And if at some point I have favourites that have became a permanent fixture of my team it becomes easy to be overleveled. Now, you could just avoid any wild encounters and trainers whenever you can to keep this in check, but this is both cumbersome and makes you basically not play the game.

On top of that, it's not just that there's the perma Exp Share. Camp also awards XP, so if you enjoy the activity and play it somewhat regularly, you'll quickly level up your Pokémon and it becomes easy to be overleveled. Ofcourse you could simply not use Camp, but that's again causing you to not play the game.

That said, I do like the QoL improvements GF introduced over the years, especially the items that can help you make your in-game team become viable for competitive. And that's stuff you usually don't obtain till the post-game, but that's also when you're most likely to need it.

Honestly, I think that if GF would just put on their big boy pants and gives us difficulty levels it would solve a lot of problems. But it almost seems like TPCi also considers the people outside their target audience when it comes to merch...
 
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And that's stuff you usually don't obtain till the post-game, but that's also when you're most likely to need it.
Although they do seem to be loosening up in terms of keeping this stuff locked until then. The Cram-o-matic can generate Ability Capsules for dirt-cheap, and Mints can generate as random item spawns throughout the Isle of Armor. The base game also marks the first time that competitive items such as the Life Orb and the Choice accessories have been easily available during the main storyline. (Well, okay, there's been some exceptions here and there, but I mean for the most part. The Life Orb is right there in the Slumbering Weald. The Band and Specs are right there no fuss at Route 2's lake and Spikemuth, respectively, and the Scarf just requires you to deliver that letter from the ghost girl in Hammerlocke.)
 
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My answer is that there's currently too much and too little, because GF has a different definition of accessibility. It should be about "how fun a game is for a newbie" and not "how easy a game is for a newbie".

Therefore, using the second definition I'd say "Too much" because the games are at their core still easy to use, battle, catch and buy items is all you need to clear the game and have your own experience at the same time. But sometimes that's a problem because some challenges are extremely laughable and lack twists to make them enjoyable.

For that reason, the games also feel "Too little fun", I know everyone has a different experience, but your character destroying everything easily in a game leads to your victories feel empty. Yet at the same time, the games have a factor that adds a difficulty they shouldn't have to: guide overreliance. It's definitely no fun at all spend hours looking for a Pokemon in an area, only to find out it appears in an specific patch of grass, or overlevel a Pokemon only to find out it evolves with a stone. It's like GF wants to promote fansites on purpose.

So yeah, they should focus more on the experience and what are players doing in the game, and less on how much time the players spend completing in the game.
 
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In my perfect game, things like exp. share would be gradually upgraded, based on the gym badges you gain. The item would begin as splitting exp. share between 2 pokemon like in gen 4, only it works as a key item. Then badges gradually upgrade its power to give full exp. to the battlers, and more Pokemon getting exp., until the final upgrade works like gen 6-7. All would be optional, too - not permanently on.

The point being: I wish accessiblity to be earned in this game, rather than be given to you on a silver plate. The way it's done now is problematic, as it doesn't scale very well at all: They are overpowered in the middle of the game, but early and later on, they prove to be more helpful for getting out of rough situations that might come up.

Plus, some forms of accessibility make the game feel too unnatural. The big one is exp. candies: Sure, they might make training easier, but you aren't actually training a Pokemon with them - Making using them feel less rewarding. I'd definitely remove stuff like that, too.
 
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I mean, that's just fundamentally incorrect. Bede and every Gym Leader after Kabu use four Pokémon, Hop uses four at Stow-on-Side, and five starting from Route 7, Marnie uses four when you battle her at Spikemuth, Klara/Avery use four during the Dojo's final trial...

Besides, you don't actually want the nobody NPCs on the routes to be packing teams of 5 and 6. It turns into a slog real quick without actually making things more meaningfully challenging (with very few exceptions, route NPCs are not and have never been difficult), and if you're worried about overleveling, there being more Pokémon to battle means there's going to be more experience gained.
I was more so referring to the Gym Leaders than anything else. Still, your point stands.

My answer is that there's currently too much and too little, because GF has a different definition of accessibility. It should be about "how fun a game is for a newbie" and not "how easy a game is for a newbie".

Therefore, using the second definition I'd say "Too much" because the games are at their core still easy to use, battle, catch and buy items is all you need to clear the game and have your own experience at the same time. But sometimes that's a problem because some challenges are extremely laughable and lack twists to make them enjoyable.

For that reason, the games also feel "Too little fun", I know everyone has a different experience, but your character destroying everything easily in a game leads to your victories feel empty. Yet at the same time, the games have a factor that adds a difficulty they shouldn't have to: guide overreliance. It's definitely no fun at all spend hours looking for a Pokemon in an area, only to find out it appears in an specific patch of grass, or overlevel a Pokemon only to find out it evolves with a stone. It's like GF wants to promote fansites on purpose.

So yeah, they should focus more on the experience and what are players doing in the game, and less on how much time the players spend completing in the game.
That is a great analysis of the situation. It makes me wish that I put an option for "Too much accessibly in certain areas, but not enough in other areas." option to my poll.

In my perfect game, things like exp. share would be gradually upgraded, based on the gym badges you gain. The item would begin as splitting exp. share between 2 pokemon like in gen 4, only it works as a key item. Then badges gradually upgrade its power to give full exp. to the battlers, and more Pokemon getting exp., until the final upgrade works like gen 6-7. All would be optional, too - not permanently on.

The point being: I wish accessiblity to be earned in this game, rather than be given to you on a silver plate. The way it's done now is problematic, as it doesn't scale very well at all: They are overpowered in the middle of the game, but early and later on, they prove to be more helpful for getting out of rough situations that might come up.

Plus, some forms of accessibility make the game feel too unnatural. The big one is exp. candies: Sure, they might make training easier, but you aren't actually training a Pokemon with them - Making using them feel less rewarding. I'd definitely remove stuff like that, too.
I agree with your entire post.
 
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