The Let's Play Archive

Pokemon Shield

by Falconier111

Part 6: Fish and Camp and Rough It Outside

Update 6: Fish and Camp and Rough It Outside

Railway Station - Pokémon Sword and Shield

For some reason, we get a slideshow about the Wild Area, an upcoming feature of the game, that reads a lot like advertising copy. It isn’t very convincing

What are we stopped here for?

Mr. Station Master: Yes… This is the wild area station, make no mistake. I’m sorry to tell you that the train is halted, due to a flock of Wooloo on the tracks.

What’s there to be sorry about? This is brilliant!

This Wild Area is massive! There are loads of Pokémon to battle here! You get it, don’t you, Gloria? This is the best possible place to put together the greatest team!

Look at that!

And between there and here are countless new Pokémon waiting to be met! Oh, hello. And if it isn’t Sonia.

“Those two young trainers are setting out on a journey, but what are you doing with your life?” Ah… Never you mind that! Nothing to worry yourselves over! I’m looking into Zamazenta now; I’ve got my eye on a few old libraries I can pop by. If I discover something really huge, then maybe even Gran’ll admit I’ve got some talent!

Sonia, you read Biology at one of the best schools in the Region. I think “talent” accurately describes it.

You know Gran, if I’m not doing anything with it, I may as well not have it. But anyway,
I said you needn’t worry about it! I’m glad to be on the road. Really! It’s been ages. It’ll be great fun to fish and camp and rough it outside again.

Well, I’m off to go stick my head in as many of those red glowing dens as I can find. I’m going to battle this not out of a bunch of Dynamax Pokémon and fill in another page in the tale of my legend!

Ha! Knew it!

What cheek! Dynamax Pokémon are really on another level, you know! Well, the wild area is waiting for you. This is the real start of your adventure!

Wait, Gloria.


I think this is where we part ways. Can’t catch the same Pokémon, you know.





I’m going to beat the snot out of your Pokémon.

I’d like to see you try.

Wild Area (Version 1) - Pokémon Sword and Shield

Last update was pretty dialogue/plot heavy. This update will be VERY mechanics heavy. In fact, everything from here on out will be mechanics-related in some way, so if that isn’t your thing feel free to skip it. It’s why this update went up so fast.

The Wild Area. Hoo boy, the Wild Area. In older games, you had a thing called the Safari Zone, a place you went to catch unusual Pokémon in which the rules worked slightly differently; you didn’t fight them, for one, instead fiddling around with ways to raise or drop catch and escape rates, and you only had so much time to wonder around before the game kicked you out. In many ways, the Wild Area doesn’t look much like the Safari Zone; it involves combat like everywhere else, connects towns like a Route, and has trainers, wild Pokémon, and all the features you’d find in any other part of the game. However, it has a few glaring differences that demand a different approach.

For instance, while the area has tall grass haunted by Pokémon same as everywhere else, occasionally you’ll run into something wandering well away from both tall grass and any other Pokémon like them. These guys are in a class of their own; they’re usually at least 10 levels above their neighbors, have moves and stats solid enough to paste half your party the first time you encounter them, and can’t be caught unless you have Pokémon of comparable levels (which you probably won’t for a while). With planning and leveling, they can prove some of the most potent members of any party. Without them, you’re boned –

– Oh. Oh shit.

Let me tell you about Chungus. Chungus was the first permanent addition I made to my party my first time through Shield. I found her wandering the Wild Area and caught her to fill a gap in my team. She quickly proved her worth, outpacing the filler Pokémon I had with me at the time, and she ended up being my Grass and Poison standby. She was getting a bit long in the tooth by the time we reached the endgame – Roselias aren’t exactly considered top-tier Pokémon – but she still performed admirably in nearly every battle I fought.

What I’m saying is I ended up reloading multiple times to catch this Pokémon.

Anyway, you know how Hop mentioned sticking his head in a Den? He was talking about the news. Normally, they don’t have that glowing pillar in them; if you interact with those, they give you a few Watts (a special currency you can spend on vendors that only show up in the Wild Area). However, some have those pillars of light. Those ones are special. Those ones have Dynamaxed Pokémon.

Battle! (Max Raid) - Pokémon Sword and Shield OST

Look at that big mother. It’s about the only way you can make that Pokémon look even vaguely intimidating.

First off, you always fight these Pokémon in Raid Battles, which pit teams of four Trainers against one colossal Pokémon. While you can team up with players if you can find them, for the most part, you usually just bring in a bunch of NPC Trainers for backup – and you need it, because these Pokémon are usually strong enough (in this form) to take on all four of you. Of course, you have a secret weapon as well…

Dynamaxing gives your Pokémon a massive stat boost*, grants them access to special moves, and makes them grow unrealistically large – it’s what happened to Boyo back in the first update. You can only use Dynamax in a couple places (most Gyms and Dens, specifically), but your strategy during those fights will often revolve around when and how you use it. Anyway, eventually, your opponent either wipes you and your team, the battle lasts for more than four rounds and the game counts it as a loss, or you managed to defeat it. If you do…

You have the chance to catch it. Captured raid Pokémon are usually substantially stronger than those in the area around them, but that’s not the biggest reason to fight them.

Those top two line items are. In older games, you could sometimes find items called Rare Candies; if you use them on a Pokémon, they’d instantly go up a level, no fuss. Those exist here, but you also get those little EXP candies from raid battles that give your Pokémon free bursts of experience. While potent, rare candies only boost your Pokémon off to the next level, meaning some inefficiency in EXP gain. EXP candies boost them up wholesale. You make copious use of them just keeping your Pokémon up to date.

*Turns out I was wrong!

LiefKatano posted:

The only stat that actually increases during Dynamax is your HP, which increases by 50% (+ Dynamax Level * 5%). The increase in power is directly tied to Max Moves having higher base power than the move that makes it (usually; there's two exceptions where this miiiiiight not always be the case Fighting and Poison Max Moves, since the basic versions increase your Attack and Sp. Attack).

Wild Area (Version 2) - Pokémon Sword and Shield OST

And speaking of keeping Pokémon up-to-date!

In case you somehow aren’t aware, some Pokémon evolve into new (usually more powerful) types upon hitting the appropriate level. Evolutions vary from type to type: some Pokémon don’t evolve at all, some evolve at set points, some evolve more than once, some evolve depending on various environmental conditions. But in our case, Scorbunny evolves into Raboot at Level 16. Simple enough. If I wanted to, I could have canceled that evolution and kept Bruce a Scorbunny. I don’t know why I would.

I also got this thing; I had a screenshot but my Switch ate it. The funny thing about Dragon types like Axew is that, well, they’re rare. They’re very rare, always have been, and they and their moves tend to be very powerful. Like hell am I passing up the chance to have one on my team at this point in the game.

I found this bloke leaning up against a tree halfway through the area; he’s is one of the many randos bumming around the Wild Area. Some of them challenge you to fights, but others try to extort you for Watts in exchange for some item. I honest-to-God forgot what I got from this guy. It really doesn’t matter much.

Holy shit, I actually learned something about this game today. In the first several generations, at any point along a body of water you could throw out a lure and try and fish up some Water Pokémon. So far so good, but you actually needed to find a fishing rod first. In fact, you needed to find usually one of three, and the easiest to find only ever fished up Magikarp (Pokémon whose trademark move is Splash, which doesn’t do anything). I’d unconsciously assumed I needed to do something similar in Shield and never bothered with the fishing spots, catching Water-types through other means. But as it turns out, the game just kind of gives you a rod automatically and lets you fish from the start.

I fished up a Goldeen. It was garbage, so I didn’t bother catching or screenshotting it. Instead (even though the Switch also ate this screenshot), I found one of these in a Den; apparently they evolve into these, which are good and Water-type, so it took Monsnapitan's place. Sorry, little buddy, but you just got upstaged.

Finally, I didn’t think I would actually run into one of these. Berries first debuted in Gen 2 as special items that could either provide beneficial effects like healing or curing status effects – and unlike other such items, your Pokémon could hold them and use them automatically – or be planted in special furrows. If planted, watered, and left alone for a while, those Berries would grow into trees that would drop two or three more. At some point in the last few generations they dropped the formality and just had permanent trees that could drop every kind of Berry when you shake them.

If you shake them too much, though, a Pokémon falls out. I do kind of miss the whole raise-your-own-food aspect of Berry production, but I don’t mind the streamlining. In this generation, though, you can do something a little special with them.

One of the things you can do outside of towns is set up camp. It isn’t as impressive an experience as the advertising seemed to make it out to be. You can basically do two things; play with your Pokémon, or make them some food.

You have access to a few different kinds of toys you can use to play with your troops; aside from the factor, it gives them a little bit of free experience if they take the bait and come over to investigate. But the meat (lol) of the experience comes from the other option: making curry. Instead of eating up this post with pictures illustrating the process, I’ll just direct you to this YouTube video (it’s the only one I could find that actually shows the process, bizarrely enough). If you do all of that right, your Pokémon are healed to full, gain some experience, and gain a nice boost to Affection – and for once in this post, I’ll hold back from explaining the mechanics involved in that subsystem. Good Lord, this post is nearing two thousand words of mechanics chat.

And we’ve reached the exit to Motostoke, beyond which lies the plot. As such, I’m calling it here for today. As I mentioned before, we need names for a Roselia, an Axew (which is in fact female) and a Tympole.