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Gyms, Trials, or Something Else

Pokegirl Fan~

Golden Queen
I want something completely new. Having gyms return would become boring again and I feel that trials are gen 7 exclusive.
 

Storm the Lycanroc

Oshawott Squad
Whether the games challenge is gyms, trials, or something else it'll have to be just that a challenge for the player to overcome.

It'll be up to the developers to present us with an interesting and compelling reason to complete the challenge.
 

SleepingGiant

Discord mod (Sudo)
It'll be up to the developers to present us with an interesting and compelling reason to complete the challenge.
In gen 1 and gen 2, the reason was because a professor told you "because the Pokemon League is where the strongest players face off" and that was a compelling enough reason. To be honest, I don't see why any Pokemon game should be any different. Even in gen 7, Kukui basically told you the same thing about the trials ("4 islands, 4 grand trials!") and that was all I needed to get pumped.

The problem isn't the reason. The problem is that the reason is normally at odds with the story that's being presented to you. We begin the journey under the impression that the point of the game is to challenge the gyms/trials and become the best Pokemon trainer, but as we go through the game, a story comes a long and pulls us away from those challenges. Players begin to feel like either a story is being artificially shoved into your experience, or that the story keeps getting interrupted by tedious formulaic battles that distract from the story.

BW did a good job of making your challenging the Pokemon League actually go hand-in-hand with the story so neither had to yield to the other, whereas gens 3, 4, 6, and 7 all ended up in an awkward situation where you had to pause your Pokemon League challenge to beat some baddies, or you had to pause beating some baddies to continue your Pokemon League Challenge.

Consider:
  • In gen 1, the Giovanni gym battle was pretty epic, at least in my head, because it wasn't about evil plans or saving people. In your previous battles, you may have had reasons to fight, but this time, there's nothing on the line.
  • The final rival battle in gen 1 was also really epic for the opposite reason. Rival has been one step ahead of you the whole way, actually beating gyms before you, helping to kick Rocket's ass when
    that's needed. He was an arrogant jerk the whole way, but that's because he's actually good at battling and actually fills his Pokedex. The showdown with him was earned because you know he definitely deserves to be the champion, but you also hate his guts.
  • In gen 2, Lance being the champion wasn't much of a surprise, but what was a surprise was the rival's role in the story. He's pretty much a copypasta of gen 1 rival but his arrogance isn't ever justified. That sounds like quite a story flaw right? But no, that's actually the character flaw. Even though he goes the whole game trash-talking people who are weak, he is weak himself. Even though he manages to reach the Elite Four, all he can really do is continue losing to you on your way to challenging them. He wasn't the champion because he didn't earn it.
  • Contrary to gen 1 rival, Lance, or N, Diantha didn't ever earn that Champion's chair. She was just an actress. Yes the theme of the story was the old vs the young, aging, and mortality, and Diantha represented the positive side of aging and the optimism of the old embracing the young, but the execution of the story itself didn't make this apparent enough. By principle, obviously it had to be her, but they didn't build the hype leading up to this challenge. She kinda just existed. Gen 6 was my favorite gen but I can't in good conscience justify any part of how the gym challenge worked out in this gen. They were the least memorable, most tedious part of the game.

So, on to gen 7 and what GF could have done better:

Kukui is constantly shown to be not much of a trainer, but secretly training in Battle Royal under an alias, so it was kind of a cool twist. But there was no reason why he had to be the default champion. He never proved himself. Furthermore, the Pokemon League challenge was already kind of awkward because in both games you already cleared the story and beat your biggest threat. The game already felt over before you even reached Victory Road.

How to fix this? I believe Kukui should have promised you a new trial and a new totem located at the Elite Four. Just like a trial, you have a couple preliminary battles, and right at the end, one last Totem Pokemon is waiting for you there. You got this far earning the trust of Totems in different areas of Alola, so why not a final Totem battle? This is the region's story gimmick.

As for which Pokemon to be the Champion Totem, the SM Necrozma was just kinda "that awkward other Legendary Pokemon" that existed and not much else, so that could have been a good option. In USUM, I think it would have been a fitting time to go up against Nebby. No character better fits this role in the story than Nebby in my opinion, but there are other options to consider. Tapu Koko (it gave you the Z Crystal, could be a final test now), Magearna (opportunity for worldbuilding, maybe like Magearna could have had some kind of role in the origin of Pokemon Leagues), Marshadow (just to show off an epic Pokemon so people can yearn for it), even a throwback to Mewtwo or something. In USUM, it would have made sense if it was actually an Ultra Beast, which would either prove that we can get along with beings from the other world and we shouldn't just be scared of them, or it could have been Naganadel so that the URS gets their satisfying closing role in the story (plus giving you seen data on the thing so you don't need the internet to tell you about it).
 

Bolt the Cat

Bringing the Thunder
In gen 1 and gen 2, the reason was because a professor told you "because the Pokemon League is where the strongest players face off" and that was a compelling enough reason. To be honest, I don't see why any Pokemon game should be any different. Even in gen 7, Kukui basically told you the same thing about the trials ("4 islands, 4 grand trials!") and that was all I needed to get pumped.

The problem isn't the reason. The problem is that the reason is normally at odds with the story that's being presented to you. We begin the journey under the impression that the point of the game is to challenge the gyms/trials and become the best Pokemon trainer, but as we go through the game, a story comes a long and pulls us away from those challenges. Players begin to feel like either a story is being artificially shoved into your experience, or that the story keeps getting interrupted by tedious formulaic battles that distract from the story.

BW did a good job of making your challenging the Pokemon League actually go hand-in-hand with the story so neither had to yield to the other, whereas gens 3, 4, 6, and 7 all ended up in an awkward situation where you had to pause your Pokemon League challenge to beat some baddies, or you had to pause beating some baddies to continue your Pokemon League Challenge.

Consider:
  • In gen 1, the Giovanni gym battle was pretty epic, at least in my head, because it wasn't about evil plans or saving people. In your previous battles, you may have had reasons to fight, but this time, there's nothing on the line.
  • The final rival battle in gen 1 was also really epic for the opposite reason. Rival has been one step ahead of you the whole way, actually beating gyms before you, helping to kick Rocket's ass when
    that's needed. He was an arrogant jerk the whole way, but that's because he's actually good at battling and actually fills his Pokedex. The showdown with him was earned because you know he definitely deserves to be the champion, but you also hate his guts.
  • In gen 2, Lance being the champion wasn't much of a surprise, but what was a surprise was the rival's role in the story. He's pretty much a copypasta of gen 1 rival but his arrogance isn't ever justified. That sounds like quite a story flaw right? But no, that's actually the character flaw. Even though he goes the whole game trash-talking people who are weak, he is weak himself. Even though he manages to reach the Elite Four, all he can really do is continue losing to you on your way to challenging them. He wasn't the champion because he didn't earn it.
  • Contrary to gen 1 rival, Lance, or N, Diantha didn't ever earn that Champion's chair. She was just an actress. Yes the theme of the story was the old vs the young, aging, and mortality, and Diantha represented the positive side of aging and the optimism of the old embracing the young, but the execution of the story itself didn't make this apparent enough. By principle, obviously it had to be her, but they didn't build the hype leading up to this challenge. She kinda just existed. Gen 6 was my favorite gen but I can't in good conscience justify any part of how the gym challenge worked out in this gen. They were the least memorable, most tedious part of the game.
So, on to gen 7 and what GF could have done better:

Kukui is constantly shown to be not much of a trainer, but secretly training in Battle Royal under an alias, so it was kind of a cool twist. But there was no reason why he had to be the default champion. He never proved himself. Furthermore, the Pokemon League challenge was already kind of awkward because in both games you already cleared the story and beat your biggest threat. The game already felt over before you even reached Victory Road.

How to fix this? I believe Kukui should have promised you a new trial and a new totem located at the Elite Four. Just like a trial, you have a couple preliminary battles, and right at the end, one last Totem Pokemon is waiting for you there. You got this far earning the trust of Totems in different areas of Alola, so why not a final Totem battle? This is the region's story gimmick.

As for which Pokemon to be the Champion Totem, the SM Necrozma was just kinda "that awkward other Legendary Pokemon" that existed and not much else, so that could have been a good option. In USUM, I think it would have been a fitting time to go up against Nebby. No character better fits this role in the story than Nebby in my opinion, but there are other options to consider. Tapu Koko (it gave you the Z Crystal, could be a final test now), Magearna (opportunity for worldbuilding, maybe like Magearna could have had some kind of role in the origin of Pokemon Leagues), Marshadow (just to show off an epic Pokemon so people can yearn for it), even a throwback to Mewtwo or something. In USUM, it would have made sense if it was actually an Ultra Beast, which would either prove that we can get along with beings from the other world and we shouldn't just be scared of them, or it could have been Naganadel so that the URS gets their satisfying closing role in the story (plus giving you seen data on the thing so you don't need the internet to tell you about it).

Yeah, this is really the fatal flaw in the gym/trial system, it's so divorced from the storyline that it feels almost trivial (aside from the exception of BW as you pointed out). Whatever they do with this system they really need to tie it into the evil team plot better.

Mechanic wise, I feel like they've been a bit watered down in recent games because of the simplified puzzles, the puzzles have been one thing that's really made the gym challenges feel novel and without them it's little more than a series of monotype battles because why not. So either bring back the puzzles or come up with some other type of element that makes it feel like a legitimate test of your abilities like the usage of a particular battle style or strategy.
 

PrinceOfFacade

Ghost-Type Master
I want something completely new. Having gyms return would become boring again and I feel that trials are gen 7 exclusive.

I actually miss the gyms a great deal. I just want them to be better.

Gyms were 50% of the reason I played Pokémon games growing up, and it remains a nerdy fantasy of mine to become a gym leader. I do want gyms to return, but they have to upped a bit. Longer, better puzzles, harder trainers, and more likable gym leaders. And a Ghost gym leader! :D
 

Aetius

Sky Emperor
I didn't mind the concept of Trials, but I despised how they were handled in SuMo and UsUm.
In the latter they made the Totem battles a bit more engaging, however what came before that was not enough to be defined challenging.
I'd like them to return, or maybe become one with the gyms' puzzles.
After all, I wouldn't want the gyms to come back in a form similar to the one we had in the previous generations.
If they're back I want them to be revamped.
 

KibaLG8

Well-Known Member
Hi everyone. I wish i can get a hold of GameFreak and tell them to do Gyms again but after the 8th Gym you do a League Tournament, Battle a random trainer or 2, a friendly rival, and lastly your main rival, winning the League, then you face off against the Elite 4.

Im pretty sure they have the capacity to do alot, not sure how big UltraSun/Moon was Data wise but there are some Switch games that are as big as 13 GB so they better use all that data space for more features like that. I honestly wouldnt mind if the games had only 1 region 8 gyms, but had a League Tournament. But a lengthy post game wouldn’t be so bad.

Didn’t someone say that the main developers have been working on this game while the rest of them worked on USUM??
 

KKS-Lapras

Well-Known Member
I personally want gyms to return. I get the allure to a lot of people, a change in the formula. But said change was one a few specific things about Gen 7 that really left me feeling disappointed. I want them to finally give a Dark type Gym.
 

Mega Altaria

☆~Shiny hunter▢~
I personally want gyms to return. I get the allure to a lot of people, a change in the formula. But said change was one a few specific things about Gen 7 that really left me feeling disappointed. I want them to finally give a Dark type Gym.
Yeah if Gym do return I would definitely like to have a Dark Gym because the Dark-type is the only type that doesn't have any type specialists who are Gym Leaders.
 

Zamin

Well-Known Member
I don't mind really, I'd be down for either as long as there are no evil HMs in the game
 

Sprinter1988

Well-Known Member
I think Gyms returning are a given, but I really feel they need to change.
This mono-type stuff needs to go, its as simple as that. Its a sorry state of affairs that battling a Lass can result in you having to think more than battling a gym leader:

Battle vs Lass:
Bulbasaur defeated Lass's Meowth. Lass sent in Pidgeotto. Me: "Whoops! Better switch to Pikachu!"
Battle vs Gym Leader:
Gym Leader: "I like the sturdy Rock Type!"
Me: "Lol. I started with Bulbasaur sucka!" *spams Vine Whip*
Gym Leader: "How did you beat my Rocks?"

Look, having a "theme" to a gym is perfectly fine, but that theme needs to stop being a type. There are loads of themes you could do while still having a mixture of types:
Forest Theme - Nuzleaf, Pikachu, Noctowl, Beedrill
Cave Theme - Swoobat, Parasect, Lairon, Ursaring
River Theme - Floatzel, Dragonair, Masquerain, Stunfisk
Farmyard Theme - Miltank, Flaaffy, Grumpig, Ponyta
Urban Theme - Persian, Scrafty, Muk, Magneton
Scientist Theme - Porygon Z, Klinklang, Electrode, Rotom
Scary Theme - Haunter, Ariados, Golbat, Houndoom
Dog Theme - Arcanine, Stoutland, Granbull, Manectric
Cat Theme - Liepard, Meowstic, Luxray, Pyroar
Serpent Theme - Milotic, Arbok, Steelix, Dragonair
Monkey Theme - Primeape, Darmanitan, Ambipom, Simipour
Pink Theme - Musharna, Blissey, Clefable, Alomomola

I could go on, but that's 12...
 

MidnightMelody

Hopeful for Gen 8
I'd be cool with gyms if we got a different number than 8 of them
 

Ultra Beast Lover

Well-Known Member
I still think they should have the gyms or at least some of the gyms should involve using a Ride Pokemon to solve the Gym puzzles. For instance

Item search-Search for the hidden switch to get to the next room with your searching Pokemon.

Surf-Surf around obstacles.

Strength-Strength puzzle.

Rock smash-Smash your way through a maze while also looking for a switch.

Cut-Use cut to find and defeat four trainers and get to the Gym Leader.

Fly-Have your ride Pokemon fly you to the platform you want.

Rough terrain-Navigate rough terrain while being bombarded by trainers.

All-Use every single Ride Pokemon to get to the Gym Leader.
 

Orphalesion

Well-Known Member
I think Gyms returning are a given, but I really feel they need to change.
This mono-type stuff needs to go, its as simple as that. Its a sorry state of affairs that battling a Lass can result in you having to think more than battling a gym leader:

The worst was the first Gym in Unova, where they at first tried to make it more challenging by giving the Gym leader the type you were weak against....and then had an NPC hand you a Pokemon that would be strong against said leader >_>

I'd already be happy if they were at least dual typed. Like an "Ice and Fire" gym, or a "Psychic and Fighting"(Brains and Brawn) gym etc etc etc.
 

CMButch

Kanto is love. Kanto is life.
Gyms to return of course, but maybe with some twists, like to battle and do something else in order to get a badge.
 

RileyXY1

Young Battle Trainer
I'm believing that gyms are coming back. Trials are most likely exclusive to Alola.
 

KyogreThunder

Call of Fate
I think Gyms returning are a given, but I really feel they need to change.
This mono-type stuff needs to go, its as simple as that. Its a sorry state of affairs that battling a Lass can result in you having to think more than battling a gym leader:

Battle vs Lass:
Bulbasaur defeated Lass's Meowth. Lass sent in Pidgeotto. Me: "Whoops! Better switch to Pikachu!"
Battle vs Gym Leader:
Gym Leader: "I like the sturdy Rock Type!"
Me: "Lol. I started with Bulbasaur sucka!" *spams Vine Whip*
Gym Leader: "How did you beat my Rocks?"

Look, having a "theme" to a gym is perfectly fine, but that theme needs to stop being a type. There are loads of themes you could do while still having a mixture of types:
I've never really thought that having a type as a theme is a bad thing. I think the Gym Leaders should still use monotype teams, but also use secondary types to cover their weaknesses, along with TM, move tutor and egg moves. For example, a Water-type specialist may want to use, say, a Pelipper and a Lanturn with Volt Absorb, or a Qwilfish and a Ludicolo. A Ground-type specialist should use a Nidoking and a Quagsire with Water Absorb, or a Camerupt and a Gastrodon with Storm Drain, and so forth in that vein.
 

Sprinter1988

Well-Known Member
I've never really thought that having a type as a theme is a bad thing. I think the Gym Leaders should still use monotype teams, but also use secondary types to cover their weaknesses, along with TM, move tutor and egg moves. For example, a Water-type specialist may want to use, say, a Pelipper and a Lanturn with Volt Absorb, or a Qwilfish and a Ludicolo. A Ground-type specialist should use a Nidoking and a Quagsire with Water Absorb, or a Camerupt and a Gastrodon with Storm Drain, and so forth in that vein.

That does work to an extent, but that depends on the type combinations available. Ground, Water and Flying have plenty of pokemon with dual types that counter their weaknesses. Others types aren't so lucky - just about every fire type dies to water, Ludicolo is probably the only grass type that doesn't instantly die to flamethrower and the vast majority of bug types are stuck with double weaknesses, especially to rock, flying or fire type attacks.
 

Storm the Lycanroc

Oshawott Squad
One other thing to consider is how to make the Gym Leaders/Trial Captains memorable. Off the top of my head I can remember most of the characters from Generation 5 and 7. Why? Because they actually did things outside their challenges. In BW the gym leaders actually helped fight Team Plasma.

The Generation 6 gym leaders didn't do much so they're not as memorable.
 

Kage-Pikachu

Well-Known Member
I say combine the two in some way, gyms were cool but the puzzles were very simple (so are the trials) but it would be interesting if each gym leader presented a trial to you that dealt with a specific theme before you gain the privilege of challenging them to a battle. This battle should have special mechanics such as a special field that normally gives the opponent an advantage. This could be presented as the player needing to adapt to certain situations. Like having accuracy lowered because of darkness in the stadium, or having a battle near a volcano and having the heat take away hp or pp, automatic electric terrain, etc.
 
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