Part 35: Side Note 01: Slight Generational ChangesSide Course 1: Slight Generational Changes
While it's true that Gen 3 and 4 look somewhat similar, both outside and in battle, aside from new cool 3D elements, it's true that the games aren't too different internally either. The biggest change is the physical/special split, but how Pokemon are determined and how you catch them remain very similar. But there are some individual differences, so let's go over them.
Let's have a look at that little personality value, eh? While it'll change a fair bit in Gen 5 and lose a lot of features in Gen 6, it's mostly the same in Gen 4, though as an aside, level 1 Pokemon are now obtainable via Eggs, and wild level 1 Pokemon were only obtainable in Platinum. But anyway, the main thing is the addition of second abilities for a lot of Pokemon, still determined by a bit in their personality value, but a Pokemon from Gen 3, when traded up, can change abilities when it evolves, since the personality value is rechecked then and Pokemon that gained abilities in the generational shift will then have the correct one, even for first slot, odd for second slot. This doesn't exactly apply in Gen 5, since the bit checked is in a different place, but for Pokemon from Gens 3 and 4, the game makes sure to check the end bit like before. Well I find it interesting.
The other addition is Characteristic. That little note on the status screen denotes which is the Pokemon's highest IV and has 5 different phrases across the 6 different stats, each being used in a multiple of 5, so if a Pokemon "Likes to thrash about", its Attack IV is the highest and could be either 1, 6, 11, 16, 21, 26 or 31. I know, it doesn't help you in the slighest unless you actually know the numbers behind it, since some phrases don't make sense for the amount they represent. Such as Speed having "Quick to flee" only maxing out at 29, whereas "Alert to sounds" is the possible 31. But what if there's a tie? Well I'm glad you asked! You take the entirety of the personality value modulo 6, so divide it by 6 and the leftover integer remainder will go in order of stats to determine the phrase, so HP is 0, Attack is 1, etc. If there's a tie, if that chosen stat is not part of the tie, it moves onto the next stat, wrapping around until it reaches the first one of the tie, and uses that for the phrase. Sure!
What else is there... oh yeah, Unown's letter is now determined by a separate byte, and of course any traded up from Gen 3 will keep their forms. A lot of bytes go into a boxed Pokemon's data for all kinds of things, 128 in fact, with Pokemon in the party having extra appended values to hold calculated stats. These bytes are encrypted when saving, which explains why it takes so fucking long to save when you interact with the box in anyway, since that loads the data to the encrypt. The main problem is it does this for all box spaces, even at the start of the game when most of them were empty. This is why Gen 5 starts you off with less boxes, to reduce saving times.
Uh anyway, various forms are stored in the same data table, letting you trade Pokemon between games and still keep their forms, even if they aren't being displayed, this is why you're able to trade all Rotom forms between all games with no problems, though Giratina must lose the orb and Shaymin turns back if you look at it funny. There are also various unused bytes that can have future data slotted in, which lets the game keep track of Apricorn Balls and Shiny Leaves when you trade to Sinnoh games. Reread my HGSS part of my Crystal LP to refresh yourself on various mechanics.
And that's everything to do with a Pokemon's data, but what about the catch rate formula? Don't I go into extensive detail by this point? Well, no need, the formula is exactly the same, so refer to my previous writeup, everything applies here.
Well okay, not everything, we do have some new Pokeballs after all, so let's go over them. I went over the HGSS Apricorn Balls in my Crystal LP, so I won't repeat myself, especially since we won't encounter them in this LP. Anyway...
All previous Pokeballs are retained and are identical to how they were, with the exception of the Dive Ball, which now works similarly to the Net Ball, except it works on all Pokemon encountered while Surfing or fishing, so yes, it'll work on a Zubat you encounter on a cave's lake. It has the same 3.5x bonus.
First is the Heal Ball, which has a 1x catch rate and fully restores the Pokemon caught, HP, PP, status, all of it, like you used a Pokemon Center. It works on anything you catch, even if it gets sent to the PC, but it would be fully healed by that anyway, so it's not exactly optimal. The Cherish Ball is also 1x catch rate, but is completely unobtainable normally and only used for event Pokemon distributed over Wi-Fi, or obtained in stores or other Nintendo events. The amount of Pokemon found in these Pokeballs is a ridiculously long list and also completely pointless since none of them are obtainable now. Probably. I don't care if I'm wrong.
The Dusk Ball is probably the best Pokeball in the series and has a 3.5x catch rate on any Pokemon encountered in a cave, or at night, so 8pm to 6am. Why yes, this applies to every Pokemon in the game if you play during a ridiculously long window that you can change your DS clock to at ANY TIME and is amazing to catch legendaries. You know, the things that mostly live in caves? This ball is just amazing and legendary catching has just miserable for all these LPs. Well, maybe Gen 1 wasn't too bad...
The Quick Ball is a similarly amazing Pokeball, having a 4x catch rate when used on the 1st turn of battle, 1x catch rate otherwise. This just makes catching Pokemon a million times easier, since you don't have to worry about any of the process, just find the thing you like, and bam, got it. For 45 catch rate Pokemon, the toughest ones you'll usually use Quick Balls on, it's a 25% chance of getting it immediately. Which is lifting a real load off my back, let me fucking tell you.
Finally, the Park Ball, it's not really a Pokeball, being only used in the Pal Park to recapture Pokemon you've transferred up from Gen 3. It's identical to a Master Ball, with a 255x catch rate and will never fail. It doesn't replace the Pokeball that originally caught the Pokemon, it's just a guarantee you'll obtain it when you finally find the damn mon.
And that's everything. Even though not much changes under the surface, never underestimate the amounts I'll go to to talk about all kinds of crap, I love it.