Part 87: Side Note #08: BREEEEEEEEDIIIIIIIINGSide Notes 08: BREEEEEEEEDIIIIIIIING
Oh baby, strap in children, this is gonna be a long one, mainly cause there's so much to go over. Breeding is a way to put two compatible Pokemon together and make an Egg, which will hatch into a new Pokemon that inherits different features from the parents and some Pokemon can only be obtained in this way. Let's begin, shall we?
Firstly, in order to get an Egg, the two Pokemon must be compatible. This is done by either Pokemon being the same species, or Egg group and are opposite gender. Alternatively, one Pokemon can be a Ditto and this is the only way to breed Genderless Pokemon. Pokemon in the Undiscovered Egg Group cannot breed at all and are usually Baby or Legendary Pokemon. Out of the 13 Egg Groups that most Pokemon are a part of, a majority are part of two groups, while the final group is literally just Ditto.
Once you have compatible Pokemon, then there's a chance they'll produce an Egg. In Gen 2, this can occur EVERY STEP, but to make things easier, we'll act as if it happens every 256 steps like in Gen 3 onwards and increases if the Pokemon have different trainer OTs, encouraging trading. Here's a nice little chart:
So it's slightly rarer to get an Egg compared to later gens, but since it rolls this chance 255 times more in comparison, you'll usually luck out sooner or later. The last compatibility indication is an interesting once, since this is akin to inbreeding in real life. Basically, it makes it a real hassle to breed the perfect Pokemon via IV inheritance, but since there's not many ways to control it in these games, it might not come up too often. But when it does, boy is it annoying. When an Egg is ready to be picked up, the Day Care Man will stand in his backyard so you can see him from Route 34. Fancy.
Now that you have the Egg, what's gonna come out of it? Well, if you're breeding a Pokemon with a Ditto, then it will always be the first stage of that Pokemon, you can never get a Ditto Egg, even if you put two Ditto together. Similarly, breeding with two parents of same species or same evolution family will also result in the first stage of that evolution family. The only time this changes is when you're breeding two different, but compatable Pokemon. The Egg will hatch into the first stage of the mother's evolution family in all cases. There's also an interesting case where breeding either Nidoran with Ditto will result in the Egg hatching into either Nidoran at a 50% chance. Also also, Nidorina and Nidoqueen are in the Undiscovered group, where they remain to this day. For no reason really. So only Nidoran F can only breed, which is weird.
With the Egg in tow and the species determined, how long does it take? This depends on Egg cycles, which depends on the Pokemon it'll hatch into. Every Pokemon has an Egg cycle, even if they can't be hatched, with Magikarp at the lowest, with 5 and the highest being 40, for rare Pokemon. The actual highest is 120, for Legendaries, but those can never be legitimately obtained in Eggs. Every 256 steps the cycle is reduced by 1 and the game performs this for every Egg in party order. If the cycle reaches 0, the Egg hatches and any Eggs after this are not processed, so it's best to have the Eggs that'll hatch sooner later in the party. You can find which Egg cycle an Egg is on by the quote on the summary screen, which changes from 5 or fewer, 6-10, 11-40 and 41 or more. Finally, when the Egg hatches, it'll be level 5.
Now, there's quite a bit that the baby can inherit from the parents. Let's start with moves. By default, the hatched Pokemon will know any natural moves it can learn up to level 5. If both parents know a move that the baby can learn via level up, it'll hatch with that move already learned. If the father knows any TM or HM moves that the child can also learn, then the hatched Pokemon will also know these moves. This also applies to genderless Pokemon. If the father knows any Egg moves that the hatched Pokemon can also learn, then they will hatch with those moves. Egg moves are moves that a certain species of Pokemon can only learn this way if the father has them (usually by being a different species). Since only the father can learn pass them down in this generation, some Egg moves are incomparable together. In Crystal, if the father knows a move tutor exclusive move, then the child will also learn it.
If all this results in the baby learning more than four moves, then it goes in the priority of father's Egg moves, TM and HM moves, inherited level up moves, default moveset. This is also the order they will be listed in in the move screen.
Next up, the newly hatched Pokemon will inherit the opposite gender's parent's DVs, depending on its own gender. For genderless Pokemon, or those being bred via Ditto, it will instead inherit the Ditto's DVs. The Defense DV is always passed on, while the Special DV has a 50% chance of being passed fully, or a 50% chance to be passed and then 8 is either added or subtracted if the Special DV was between 0-7 or 8-15, respectively. It's weird, I know. Attack and Speed DVs are random, as is the HP DV, since that's determined through the other DVs. As you can see, it is an absolute hassle to get a perfect Pokemon and is unfortunately the best way.
Since a Pokemon is Shiny if its DVs are lined up properly, a newly hatched Pokemon has a higher chance to by Shiny due to DV inheritance, but only if its the opposite gender to the Shiny parent. This chance is calculated as 1/64, which is much better than normal.
And that's everything inherited. It's definitely a mouthful and it's definitely a hassle to get perfect Pokemon through this way, but it's still a pretty packed mechanic.