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The Permanent EXP Share

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When it comes to the EXP Share and how it functions now compared to Gen 6 (we could turn it off then, unlike Let's Go Pikachu/Eevee onward). I am aware that some people hate it. Why is that? I like it because it means I don't have to grind for hours. If I don't want something to get overleveled, I just put it into the PC (which we can access anywhere starting with Let's Go, Pikachu/Eevee). The thing is, this system was there in Gen one. The EXP. Share from Gen 2 onward has become a better version of the EXP. All from Gen 1.
 
I think its primarily because people conflate QoL and accessibility with making the game easier. They think the tedium is part of the difficulty.

I presume this has to do with "F*** you, got mine" specifically the "I suffered to get to where I am today, so everyone else should suffer to" subset. The idea being that becuase they had to waste time training up their party, that others must as well.

A related issue is that starting with Gen 6, Pokemon difficulty in general had taken a dive and as such people blamed the Exp Share for that (ignoring most other factors, including the free Mega Lucario, and the variety of mons you can get even at route 1).

These other factors are actually related with the former. Part of the difficulty in the earlier games is that Early routes had the diversity of Victorian England and as such were filled with Normal, Bug, Flying, Dark and Water types (if near the sea), a roster that has severe weaknesses that the starter may not compensate for (esp if you picked the Water starter). Assuming you had decided to fill yout party ASAP, you would be left with mons that struggle to keep up outside the starter, have common shared weaknesses and might not be enoguth to contend with the E4 (esp if said E4 wa sSinnoh's, which is not that far from when X and Y were released). If you wanted something that can counter a specific gym's type specialty and said specialty isn't weak to any of those types, then you have to find a nearby mon of the right type and train it up as it would likely be severely underleveled (an extreme case being the Johto games). BW actually srtated to adress the issue by making Audino, Unova's chansey analoge, an omnipresent but uncommon staple of all its area's wild pokemon rosters, which combined with the shaking grass mechanic, made it easy to level grind reltive to the predecessors (esp since it debuted a new EXP system that scaled based on how wide the level gap is, something I don't think the 3DS games had)

Another thing people complain about is affection, for similar reason. It is not QoL but rather another attempt to show the bonds betwixt trainer and mon, but it also made the game easier by basically loading the dice as far as evasion or crits go (and having new effects like a RNG based Sturdy or status purging).
 
To put it simply, GameFreak seem unable or unwilling to balance it.

I think a well designed RPG is one where playing the game thoroughly will on average make you strong enough to defeat each boss with proper tactics when you reach them, and grinding is a way to get around an obstacle you just can't figure out.

Now, I'll be honest; Pokémon wasn't too good at this in the past; I found that against level appropriate wild enemies it often takes 10 KOs or so to level, so that is a lot of fighting. They could get grind heavy, especially when you add a new party member or at the Elite Four. That said I found several of them actually scaled decently if you stuck to mostly six Pokémon at a time rather than switching heavily and didn't use Repel in caves and other areas. Playing like that I found FR/LG, HG/SS, and Platinum mostly required grinding for the Elite Four or very early on (and this was under challenge rules).

Always on Exp Share gave it the opposite problem; your party levels skyrocket if you try to play the game with a reasonable level of completion, even ending up higher level than the bosses, on top of the advantages you get from EVs. And now the DLC makes it worse by having you get Exp even faster.
Sure, you can switch around your party but doesn't it feel strange that having many Pokémon is now a way of making yourself weaker rather than a way of gaining the advantage of having better variety?
It's not like this is an unsolvable problem; Suikoden solved having a massive RPG roster without massive grinding back in 1995 by making characters level up very quickly until they're slightly higher level than the opponent and than drop off incredibly fast.
 
If people keep complaining about the games being too easy, chances are they'll just do an ultra-hard game in the future. One where there's no Exp Share until the Elite Four and Champion is defeated, Pokémon only get 1/4 of EXP compared to other games, all trainer battles involve Pokémon with held items and type coverage in moves, no Chansey or Audino for quick grinding, less recovery locations like Pokémon Centers, and more aggressive Pokémon that are hard to outrun and provide paltry EXP.

And trust me, we do have ultra-hard aspects in later Pokémon games that only a skilled player could manage. Remember all those Seven-Star Tera Raids, especially the recent one with Mewtwo? Even the recently introduced Ogre Oustin' is borderline impossible to do solo in later difficulties, and still very hard on multiplayer mode (I've only completed all 10 rounds on Hard mode twice).
 
If people keep complaining about the games being too easy, chances are they'll just do an ultra-hard game in the future.
People have done so since XY and they have only gotten easier. I don't think a lot of people were complaining about difficulty before those games, even Black and White (although you can already see some of the direction of making the games easier in this game).

Remember all those Seven-Star Tera Raids
Yeah, those poorly balanced, poorly optimized raids. Do people actually like these? I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of people just do them for the rewards and never touch them again.
 
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People have done so since XY and they have only gotten easier. I don't think a lot of people were complaining about difficulty before those games, even Black and White (although you can already see some of the direction of making the games easier in this game).

XY catches a lot of flak for this, but BW is the true beginning of this mess. Pretty much every complaint people had about XY's difficulty except the EXP Share started in BW (shrinking the trainer rosters, the constant tutorials and handholding, the linear map design, etc.). I had heard supposedly (I can't find the source on this) that the change in philosophy came from complaints about DPPt being too difficult/confusing, and around XY they also started talking about the influence of mobile games, so that seems to be what they consider to be their audience.

Yeah, those poorly balanced, poorly optimized raids. Do people actually like these? I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of people just do them for the rewards and never touch them again.

I don't even do them, the rewards aren't good enough. I feel like they may have even made the rewards worse on purpose because they know less people will want to play the 7 star raids because they're MUCH more difficult than the Max Raids. I miss when the raids had a higher chance of encountering shinies, that was actually good incentive to engage with them.
 
XY catches a lot of flak for this, but BW is the true beginning of this mess.
Yeah, i mentioned that in my post.

even Black and White (although you can already see some of the direction of making the games easier in this game).

My point is that i don't think difficulty was brought up as a negative for Black and White for a lot of people, and if it did it wasn't brought up nowhere near as much as the following games. XY was really the first time a lot of people started complaining about lower difficulty and the Exp. Share was the major culprit of that.
 
Yeah, i mentioned that in my post.



My point is that i don't think difficulty was brought up as a negative for Black and White for a lot of people, and if it did it wasn't brought up nowhere near as much as the following games. XY was really the first time a lot of people started complaining about lower difficulty and the Exp. Share was the major culprit of that.
I think the Kalos Gym Leaders not having more than 3 Pokemon is also a factor.
 
I think Gen 6 Exp Share was a step in the right direction... By Gen 5, aside from Exp Share, a Lucky Egg was also given out for free, and considering the new XP formula, to keep a team optimally leveled, you had to switch around items and lead Pokemon way too much, that alone took more time and micro management strategising than the actual battles by some point.

The new Exp Share brought us back to the era of switching only the lead without losing out on bonuses or having to worry THAT much about switching around items for optimization. You could just play more and worry less in gens 6-7, much like you did in gens 1-4, with the exception that back then, the optimal was running only 2 mons (starter + something complementary with Exp Share) most of the game and catching/grinding the final 4 towards the end of the run, while now you should get your 6 as soon as possible.
 
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If people keep complaining about the games being too easy, chances are they'll just do an ultra-hard game in the future. One where there's no Exp Share until the Elite Four and Champion is defeated, Pokémon only get 1/4 of EXP compared to other games, all trainer battles involve Pokémon with held items and type coverage in moves, no Chansey or Audino for quick grinding, less recovery locations like Pokémon Centers, and more aggressive Pokémon that are hard to outrun and provide paltry EXP.

I doubt it, if only becuase I'm ofthe opinion that we are a vocla minority and that there is a silent majority that is uncaring.

A soulslike would be very interesting but I'd only do it as a side game because it would have niche appeal at best for the same reasons, plus the fact that those games use a scheme that is incompatible with Pokemon (Real time vs Turn based)
 
I don't mind that it exists because grinding in Pokémon historically sucked ass but also the fact that it became permanently enabled and GameFreak's actual solution if you only want one Pokémon to gain experience is 'play with just one Pokémon in your party' is just...why not just give people the option to disable it like you originally did when you introduced this feature in Gen 6?
 
Aside from it making the games too easy, it's weird to me that Game Freak have a tendency to force things upon players. The Exp Share is one example, but there's also the Walking Pokemon mechanic in HG/SS; I ended up getting used to it, but for the 1st month or so of playing those games I really wanted to be able to turn it off and just walk around the overworld without a Pokemon following me. Would adding an off switch really have been too much to ask for?
 
To put it simply, GameFreak seem unable or unwilling to balance it.
There are multiple layers to this, but this seems like a decent summary.

Prior to Gen 8, wild Pokemon encounters were more or less unavoidable: They triggered automatically while exploring a given area (either in tall grass or interior dungeons). Yes, you could run if you needed to, but where was the incentive to actually do that? (Plus the speed calculation affecting whether or not it succeeded, costing you one turn if it didn't.)

Gen 8 making wild Pokemon encounters completely voluntary actually did a lot to balance this out -- yes, some Pokemon will chase you but you can still actually avoid triggering a battle with them. Gen 9 goes further by making even NPC trainer battles optional -- if you don't want your team to become "overleveled" then it really is up to you.

Also, EXP being scaled relative to level provides its own balancing element (however subtle): if you're underleveled, the boosted EXP allows you to catch up faster, whereas if you're overleveled, the reduced EXP increases the time required to become even more overleveled.
 
I’ve held off of answering while keeping tabs on this thread because I wanted to see what everyone else has to say, but I’m surprised that there’s one major issue that no one has really addressed aside from game balance issues:

The permanent version of the Exp. Share/Exp. All just doesn’t make sense from an in-universe perspective!

When the modern Exp. Share was first introduced as a Key Item, it made sense of why the party was able to all gain experience from battles. Now that it’s just baked into the game, there’s no explanation for it and kind of breaks my willing suspension of disbelief somewhat. Game Freak didn’t even bother adding something like “Your Pokémon like watching your battles from inside your Poké Balls.” which at least would kill two birds with one stone by also explaining how they’re always ready for battle.

The immersion breaking is also why I dislike the fact that things like playing in camps and picnics give your Pokémon experience points; why would play time transfer to battle experience? Maybe if they added a light sparring feature to the next Pokémon Amie feature I’d be more okay with it. In fact, I’m surprised that Game Freak hasn’t added a sparring feature between our own Pokémon already; it would be a good way to practice for PvP since Scarlet/Violet pretty much scrapped the idea of Battle Towers and similar facilities.

As for a solution that doesn’t revert to the Exp. Share key item toggle (since Game Freak seems adamant on party Exp being a thing from now on), there should be a compromise that changes the Exp. system depending on the number of badges you have. You start out with the “only Pokémon participating in battle gain experience” and then build up to what we have now by the time you get eight badges. That way, they can tie the way universal party EXP to your growth as a trainer.


Another thing people complain about is affection, for similar reason. It is not QoL but rather another attempt to show the bonds betwixt trainer and mon, but it also made the game easier by basically loading the dice as far as evasion or crits go (and having new effects like a RNG based Sturdy or status purging).
Ironically, I like affection for same reason I dislike the current universal EXP system; it actually makes sense in-universe. The only two things I don’t like about it:
  1. The fact that your Pokémon can break out of status effects, especially when you have a Pokémon with an ability like Guts or Poison Heal that benefit from said status. I’d much rather have it be like “your Pokémon toughed out the status effect for your benefit” which would negate the negative aspects of the condition while keeping the benefits of it OR have it not activate if your Pokémon has such abilities.
  2. The fact that the player is the only one to have these benefits. It should be spread to more important trainers like our more friendly rivals, the later Gym Leaders, and the regional Elite Four + Champion.
Overall, I’d rather have affection tweaked and improved rather than scrapped, unlike how I feel about the permanent Exp. Share. If can’t already tell, I value immersion over difficulty when it comes to Pokémon. XD
 
I liked the changes made in Gen 6 because it made setting up Pokémon for postgame challenges and pvp so much more efficient while anyone was able to simply toggle it off when they didn't what the shared exp but given the complaints that were made perhaps it could be reworked a bit.

Bring back the toggle option but have it to where you can either toggle it on/off for everyone at once or you choose which Pokémon do and don't receive shared experience.

It'd look like this:

EXP Share
  • Toggle On All
  • Chooses
  • Bulbasaur
  • Charamander
  • Squrtle
  • Pikachu
  • Eevee
  • Chompy
Allow it to be given to the player early in the game, and trigger the dialogue to ask whether or not they want it turned on right away. This would give players some more freedom to play the game how they'd like.

They should also nerf affection bonuses tbh.
 
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