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  3. Tiers

    View Introduction to Tiers if you don't know what tiers are. Pokémon Perfect tiers are named differently to those on Smogon. A numeral followed by the letter U, e.g. 1U, 2U, 3U, represents a main tier on Pokémon Perfect – the '1' of '1U' representing the tier level. For a tier to be a main tier, it must be balanced (nothing is too powerful and game-breaking) and diverse enough (include a variety of Pokémon and strategies). A numeral followed by the letter P, e.g. 1P, 2P, 3P contain all Pokémon that are deemed overpowered in the respective 1U, 2U, 3U tiers. The 1st tier level allows Pokémon that are banned in the 2nd level, and this process continues down. Read the tier list, and in-depth explanations of the tiers naming system and tiering system. Also check out our analyses for all tiers.

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All Gens My Banworthiness Guidelines

Discussion in 'Tiers' started by Ortheore, Mar 5, 2018.

  1. Ortheore

    Ortheore Leader

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    Banworthiness Guidelines

    Core ideology

    A pokemon (or any other element) should be considered broken when it causes the competitive depth of the tier it is in to fall below an acceptable standard.

    Note that for the remainder of this post I will often refer to pokemon, as it’s usually individual pokemon that are broken, but I can also mean moves, abilities, etc.

    Competitive depth

    Competitive depth refers to the extent to which players who invest time and effort into the game can be rewarded with significantly greater skill at the game and thus gain an edge over their opponents.

    There are actually several components to this, not all of which are relevant to a discussion on banning things. Physical skill can contribute to depth but is not relevant in a turn-based game. Mental skills such as pattern recognition, risk-reward analysis and generally outwitting your opponent do play a role in pokemon, but usually do not have any implications in banworthiness discussions as they are universal to most competitive games regardless of how deep its mechanics are (consider that competitive scissors-paper-rock is a thing). Instead, when discussing bans, we should be examining how deep its mechanics are, and the metagame depth that arises from those mechanics.

    In terms of a player’s skillset, metagame depth is reflected in their understanding of the game, its components and how they interact. This means knowing what is effective, planning for specific scenarios, understanding how specific conditions impact the progress of the match as a whole and so on. In a shallow game, players might easily reach a point where this understanding cannot be further developed in any significant way.

    So what traits might be used to describe a metagame in terms of its competitive depth? First, I would like to point out that over the course of a typical battle a player will create a number of sub-goals in order to win (e.g. land paralysis on pokemon X, so that my pokemon Y can attack more easily). This is significant because they usually demand players apply their understanding of the game. With that said, here are some traits a deep metagame might possess:

    · Players have access to lots of substantially different options for achieving a victory
    · Over the course of a typical match, players will generate a significant number of sub-goals.
    · Events that occur over the course of a match will frequently impact sub-goals and/or impact a large number of sub-goals at once
    · There is significant complexity and diversity in the metagame. These are arguably covered by the preceding points, but it is worth noting that complexity and diversity do correlate with a game’s depth (not perfectly, but the link exists)

    Acceptable standards

    A tier should be sufficiently deep to continue to reward players even after many years of scrutiny by elite players. This definition may seem not very useful because of the massive timeframe it involves, but it nonetheless serves two purposes. First, it illustrates that the requisite depth of a tier should be extremely high. Second, if a tier has been scrutinised for many years, to the point where it begins to feel thoroughly explored, then even though it may feel somewhat static, players should not implement bans unless they are certain that some element is problematic, as the tier could otherwise be said to have met this standard. Basically, don’t implement bans just because you’re bored.

    Further details on what might be considered problematic are listed below.

    Identifying problematic elements

    There are a number of ways in which an element may undermine competitive depth. These should be considered in the context of the question of whether a tier's depth is adequate. These include but are not limited to:

    · Certain “cheese” strategies may undermine competitive play, as they may present scenarios where players could hone their skills and then lose regardless to questionable strategies which may require low amounts of skill to execute (e.g. SwagPlay).
    · If a pokemon is simply too powerful it can reduce the number of viable options available to players, as it may require players to utilise a small pool of checks and counters and restrict otherwise top threats from seeing use.
    · Furthermore, if a pokemon is too powerful it can reduce the extent to which events impact player sub-goals or reduce the range of sub-goals. For instance, if M-Rayquaza is permitted in singles, battles hinge solely on who can abuse it the best, which devalues the importance of every other potential sub-goal.
    · Pokemon can also be too powerful in the sense that they punish imperfect play extremely heavily. In such cases, teams can be said to have limited options for dealing with that threat, and there are few turns that are impactful on the course of the battle, as that single instance of imperfect play represents the only meaningful turn over the remaining course of play.
    · Pokemon can explicitly restrict the options the opposing team has in dealing with them, as is the case with abilities such as Shadow Tag.
    · If a pokemon has numerous different sets, such that it is difficult to cover them all and/or deduce which set it has over the course of a battle that can indicate that the options for dealing with it are limited and it can also devalue skill by forcing players to guess blindly.

    A pokemon can form a key part of a broken strategy without otherwise being considered broken. Such strategies tend to appear optimal or otherwise superior, causing alternatives to be suppressed and thus reducing depth. Examples include Deoxys+Bisharp teams in early XY OU and Sableye+Dugtrio stall in later ORAS OU. In such cases it falls to the community to identify the component of the strategy that is the most broken and take action against it.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2018
  2. Disaster Area

    Disaster Area Little Ball of Fur and Power Leader

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    I don't think I have anything to add to or comment on in this. I think this would serve as adequate guidelines for banworthiness. Does anyone have anything to contribute to this or disagree with any part of this?
     
  3. Disaster Area

    Disaster Area Little Ball of Fur and Power Leader

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    I've written out some largely more technical comments to make minor improvements. I agree with the core of the text and just want to do some tweaks around the edges, at most.

    The thing about having a core ideology is that it asks us to reflect on what tiers are for and hence why we demand the ability to ban things. I guess the most literal answer is that we want a metagame that is enjoyable and has depth over a long period of time. And I think that what you suggest does fundamentally address that, so I don't see any problem with it.

    With that of course, the idea of having the next section also makes sense.

    I think that I would use a different word to mechanics here. I understand what you're trying to say, but I think given the way in which mechanics is usually used within the world of competitive Pokemon, we need a different word. Maybe we could talk about "how deep the gameplay is" and talk in terms of "gameplay depth" or even use the word metagame there instead of gameplay?

    I think that regarding complexity and diversity, you could simply say that they have some relationship with the game's depth, but they are not the only factor.

    I think use the word problematic rather than toxic, since that is the language you use in the subsequent section.

    I think use the word problematic here too, since you talk about problematic elements rather than in terms of stuff that results in not meeting an acceptable standard.

    I would remove "that are unreliable", I think it's not necessary or even necessarily right. Once you take it out though it makes sense.

    Change M-Rayquaza to Mega Rayquaza maybe? I guess this is ultra nitpicky lol.

    I don't think this should be a bullet point, but should instead be a remark afterwards. (Basically, make it a new paragraph instead of a new bulletpoint).

    To be honest though I think this last point maybe needs to be rewritten. I think the middle part is not necessary, and maybe the last part isn't totally clear either. Maybe mention Bisharp instead, and then maybe say that in cases like these it is up to players to determine which aspect of the broken strategy is most responsible. Presumably, it involves something having a unique and possibly novel niche in the metagame. A more complicated example to untangle is when a certain sort of stall was essentially considered broken in ORAS OU. Mega Sableye and Arena Trap/Dugtrio were both considered possible culprits, and both are so unique that from a glance it is not easy to tell what should be to blame, whereas in the case of DeoSharp it's quite clear that having an incredibly reliable hazard setter that can set up both SR and Spikes is more problematic, and that Bisharp without Deo-S would be far more innoccuous than Deo-S without Bisharp.

    I think it touches on a very interesting point though overall at the end.

    ...

    Also, put full stops at the end of the various bullet points at the end of the piece. :)
     
  4. Disaster Area

    Disaster Area Little Ball of Fur and Power Leader

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    I see you've made some changes.

    On any of the small things you haven't changed, what's the reason why?
     
  5. Roostur

    Roostur Member

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    Our core values are different. The way I see it is we have a game that we like to play with each other called pokemon. There are things that are in the game that make it unplayable competitively. We should fix those. For example sleep inducing moves. You could put all of your opponents pokemon to sleep and there isn't really a good strategy around this. So we introduce sleep clause. Well, game freak introduced it actually which gives it needed legitimacy as a rule.

    We should only fix things that make the game unplayable competitively. Because we aren't coming here for the most competitively deep turn based game. If we were we'd be playing chess. We're coming here to be the best at a game that we like/love. That game may not be the deepest game naturally, but that's not the point. The point is playing game freak's game together to see who the best is at it. Not to create our own, "more competitive" , version of it. And tbh in some cases it can be very arrogant to suggest certain bans. Because with some bans you're assuming you're so great and you have optimized your play so much to the point that you know there is no way around this certain strategy and therefore it should be banned. And most people are not any where near the level to do this when it comes to certain bans.
     
  6. Ortheore

    Ortheore Leader

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    I didn't see any real need, since they don't substantially alter anything. I suppose I'll go back and modify it.
    Go is significantly more deep than chess, js.

    Anyway, I just wanted to point out that the point of my guidelines is not to maximise depth, but to ensure there's enough of it to be worth playing competitively, which is not really different from only banning stuff that makes the game unplayable

    That said, I do disagree with the general reverence for GF and the assertion that it's arrogant to ban things. GF may have made enjoyable games, but that doesn't mean that they were both infallible and focusing on competitive gaming. Hell, half the reason pokemon is so popular is that there are many ways in which people can find enjoyment in the games, only one of which is competitive play. So yes, we should absolutely be prepared to ban stuff regardless of what we think GF intended, as GF both get things wrong and are trying to cater to multiple groups which necessarily demands the inclusion of elements that don't have a place in competitive play. As for arrogance and banning things, you don't need to be some competitive-pokemon-deity to recognise when a strategy is too strong and furthermore in any discussion on banning you're expected to provide reasoning as to why you think a ban should be implemented, thus demanding that your reasoning be of a high level to withstand scrutiny from your peers. And if a community that dedicates a lot of time and effort to winning competitive battles is collectively too ignorant to implement a ban then I don't really know what you're after.
     
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  7. Roostur

    Roostur Member

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    I find that in general there is a great level of disrespect for the makers of competitive games. Not just in Pokémon but in fighting games as well. People think “well I could beat the developers so I know more than them” . But remember, they made the game you’re playing competitively and it wasn’t an accident. They didn’t accidentally make a good competitive game. LOTS of thought and effort went into it. We don’t have the level of competitiveness and depth we have by accident. Game freak knew what they were doing when they were attempting to balance their game and their battling system.

    I’m for as little bans as possible. And if we do ban something it should have to go through crazy amounts of testing. It should be incredibly hard to ban something. Especially if there are people who disagree with the ban. Because the people against the ban have more leverage. Because changing something dear to people should be seen as blasphemous. And if you’re going to change something people love you have to have a REALLY GOOD reason. The people against the ban also have the developers intended ideas on their side. So you have to make an incredibly strong case to ban something. Isa’s argument for banning Chansey is an example of a weak argument that should be completely disregarded off the bat because it is an attempt to change something people love without a strong argument that that particular Pokémon is making gen 1 an uncompetitive mess. If you don’t like the gen you shouldn’t play the gen. Not try to change it to what you subjectively like.
     
  8. Sevi 7

    Sevi 7 Member

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    I actually wholeheartedly disagree with this, and I want to give an opposing viewpoint, because I have a lot of friends in the industry (and at one point considered going in myself). I think it needs to be understood that the people who play games competitively, put WAY more time into certain aspects of a game. Balance and competitiveness are generally not worried about too much until the end of alpha or even beta -after everything has been created and is functioning. And unless the game has a very competitive nature to begin with, QA and bug testing is given about 90%+ of the effort in that time, and everything else is given the scraps.

    Furthermore, a lot of companies only care about balancing in the sense of how enjoyable they find the game. This subjective issue is one of the reasons people used to do open betas. To give people the chance to test the game and give their opinion about what they felt was enjoyable. Again, unless the game is attempting to be competitive from the beginning, any changes to the game for the sake of competition is usually not implemented as much.

    Finally, I just want to point out that game freak, at least in the beginning, seems to have put the a very small amount of time into the testing for the game. All the bugs and "patches" in the generation really make the original generation look like a rushed job. This obviously improved after Pokemon's success and Nintendo either: allowed more time or put more money into other things. However, the first generation is obviously an important one on here, for discussion.

    tl;dr Game companies actually don't have a science to balance and sometimes players do know better, because they've put a lot more times into that aspect of the games then the developers.
     
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  9. Roostur

    Roostur Member

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    The point being they know their own game. It isn't a coincidence that we keep getting pretty good competitive gens. They obviously do put some effort into the competitive side of things and balancing even if it isn't their first priority.
     

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