Pokemon Go has made Pokemon's popularity "Team Rocket" after years of a gradual decline. It has reinvented the way people play Pokemon and taken the franchise in a whole new direction. Never before has the franchise seen such an increase in the social side it has always promoted. Pokemon Sun & Pokemon Moon are also adding fuel to this poke-fire of excitement with their release scheduled for later this year. The pair of games are set to introduce a new style of game play, moving away from the style of the past six generations of the games. With Nintendo seeing this increase in interest of one of their oldest franchises, is it now time for them to consider an Pokemon MMO?
Digimon Masters is an MMO that has been running for years, utilizing the characters from Pokemon's rival franchise, Digimon. The game allows for players to explore a huge online world alongside both real and virtual friends playing the game. If Digimon can have a successful MMO run for nearly 5 years, Nintendo should start considering a Pokemon MMO.
How Would It Work?
Pokemon may be about to see its seventh generation of games added to the list, but all the games are contained into a single world: Pokearth. Each game has the player starting off in a different region, which allows them to choose from one of three Pokemon. By having an MMO Pokearth, a player could choose which region they want their adventure to start in. This would then effect which Pokemon the player can choose from to start their team.
The six existing regions and their starter Pokemon choices are:
- Kanto: Bulbasaur, Charmander & Squirtle
- Johto: Chikorita, Cyndaquil & Totodile
- Hoenn: Treeko, Torchic & Mudkip
- Sinnoh: Turtwig, Chimchar & Piplup
- Unova: Snivy, Tepig & Oshawott
- Kalos: Chespin, Fennekin & Froakie
Once they''ve chosen a starting region, the player would then begin their journey collecting that region's badges and capturing wild Pokemon. The Pokemon can be region-restricted, based on the Pokemon you would encounter in that region in the original handheld games. Once the eight badges have been collected, the player could enter the Pokemon League and earn the title of Pokemon Champion of that region.
Upon completing the Pokemon League, the player would be awarded the National Dex. The player could then travel to their next chosen region to find new Pokemon and players. Upon arriving, the player would be able to choose a new starter Pokemon from that region and begin to collect the Gym Badges and face a new Pokemon League. With the player already being a champion from another region, the game could simply unlock a system to make the Gym Leaders and Elite Four an equal match for the player. When a player has completed a region, they will have the freedom to return there at will during the game, but new regions would only be unlockable upon completing another region's Pokemon League. With this style, it would mean you encounter other players who have come from other regions you have not been to yet, using Pokemon you may have not seen before in the game. The player would also have the freedom in exploring the regions in whatever order they wanted.
How Would It Work With Dozens Of Players At Gyms And The Pokemon League At Once?
It wouldn't be difficult for this to be worked out for an MMO. While the player travels around they would be able to see other players and battle or trade with them. If they are entering a shop or Pokemon Center, they would also see the other players. However, unless in a party with friends they would enter a Gym or Pokemon League away from other players. This is a mechanic used by DC Universe Online already. With so many players, This would also reduce the chances of server issues when players are at those points.
How Would The Legendary Pokemon Work?
With players having the ability to move from region to region, each player could be given a single Master Ball in each region. This would be similar to how a player receives a single Master Ball in the games. For those who are unaware, a Master Ball is a rare Pokeball that has a 100% capture rate, meaning you do not even need to battle it. They are typically saved by players to make sure they capture one of the Legendary Pokemon within the games. However, you can risk battling and capturing with weaker types of Pokeballs and hope you don't knock the legendary Pokemon out. The Legendary Pokemon can be contained to the regions they appear in from the games. However, some Legendary Pokemon roam and are not fixed to a single location. The following Pokemon roam in their regions:
- Kanto - None in original releases, in remakes: Legendary Dogs: Raikou, Entei & Suicune, Eon Pokmon: Latias & Latios
- Johto - Legendary Beast: Raikou, Entei & Suicune
Hoenn - Eon Pokemon: Latias & Latios
- Sinnoh - Legendary Birds: Articuno, Zapdos & Motres, Elf Pokemon: Mesprit, Dream Pokemon: Cresselia
- Unova: Storm Pokemon: Tornadus & Thundurus
- Kalos: Legendary Birds: Articuno, Zapdos & Motres
With these Pokemon roaming randomly, they could simply release them onto the server to appear at random to players, regardless of the region the player is in.
Why It Would Work So Well!
Pokemon Go has brought a new social level to Pokemon. While playing the game with others has always been a key feature, it has not always been easy for some players to find other playing the game allowing for battles and trades. Thankfully, with the introduction of internet connections, the struggle to find a player with the Pokemon you need to complete your Pokedex became much easier. However, the anime show has always showcased the joys of travelling with companions. So far, Pokemon games have never had the option for you to travel around the game with a friend. So, an MMO would allow players to literally play the game together and make the gameplay far more social.
This would see a benefit for the player to breed their Pokemon also. With players interacting all the time, it would make it easier to trade eggs to friends, or if you're nice enough, one of your own Pokemon. With Pokemon Go bringing local communities together to enjoy the game, an MMO could take that to a global level.
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With Pokemon proving that a game can bring people together, and with such a wide and diverse history of games to use, it is time for Nintendo to take the step towards an MMO. It would be a brave move on their part, but a high-res Skyrim-style world would not look right for Pokemon. So, if they went for graphics to match those of the handheld games today, a Pokemon MMO would firstly look right to the fans and secondly give Nintendo a comfort zone as they step into the unknown.