This is article 1 in a series, see Gym Remodeling #2 – Fix Prestiging for more

As most Pokemon Go fans are aware, a giant gym rework is coming any day now. Pokebattler.com has decided to take this downtime to experiment with a theoretical rework to address some of the issues with gym combat in Pokemon Go. This is article #1 in the series, more articles will come each day with additional changes and tweaks to make things more balanced.  But that’s not all! In addition to these articles, the battle simulator, rankings, pokedex and prestige tool will all be updated with the new formulas and tweaks. Make sure to visit each day to see how these changes affect the gym meta for the better.

Pokemon Go Gym Issues

There are a few key issues that Niantic should address with this update which we will try and address with our own version of the remodel.

#1 – Lack of Variety

Pokemon Go combat is intended to be the place where players go to actually use the tens of thousands of Pokemon they catch in battle. It is the only real reason to power up a Pokemon, and the only reason to want more than one of any Pokemon. Of course, I may be biased with my reasons;). With Niantic making some potentially big changes with gyms, now is the perfect time to ask: so what do we want out of the next gym update? Here are a few: give us a reason to use our ghost Pokemon, make fire Pokemon useful again, create a reason for electric Pokemon to exist. Seeing the same Pokemon on defense and using the same Pokemon on attack all the time is, in my opinion, pretty boring.

#2 – Gym stagnation

Most gyms get to level 10 and just stay there for days, weeks, even months. Why? They take too long to knock down even with a team of players. It’s slow and repetitive work. And God forbid there are multiple Blisseys to deal with slowing things down even more!

#3 – Prestiging

One of Pokemon Go’s fundamentally broken mechanics in my opinion. Why should killing a 20 CP Ghastly in a few seconds give 1000 prestige while killing a Blissey with an equal CP Machamp gives 500? This makes it slower than it should to prestige up a gym. Why should you be encouraged to pick low CP Pokemon to fight when there is no good UI to support it? Why should you be discouraged to put in a good defender when you first take over a gym if you want the gym to get to level 10?

#4 – Blissey

The amount of work I’ve had to do to deal with the ‘Blissey problem’ is beyond comprehension. The mere fact that she throws every ranking algorithm for a loop shows she needs to be nerfed. There is no good reason for Blissey to be so extraordinarily better than every other Pokemon on defense and so tanky that using her on offense is viable as well. Mulitple Blissey stacks are incredibly annoying to deal with. On top of that, there is a major timeout issue where it is too hard to defeat Blissey with most Pokemon

In short, gyms are too slow and are lacking variety. Pokemon Go gym combat should be fun not a chore!

Pokebattler’s remedy #1 – Fix Super Effective

To keep things simple, I am going to assume that the only change to gyms themselves regards mechanics in terms of how many of each Pokemon can be on defense. In fact, I will assume that only 1 of each will be allowed. This alone will go a long way to solving both variety of Pokemon and gym stagnation. But this is not enough! We must go further. Let’s look to the original Pokemon games for guidance and solve things at the most obvious level, type effectiveness. Ratcheting up the effect of super effective, not very effective and adding immunities should dramatically increase the variety of Pokemon that are useful in certain situations.

Change #1 – Super effective text will not hide incoming special attacks anymore

The simulator will no longer penalize super effective dodging. This would ruin the point of the rest of the changes!

Change #2 – Super effective will now do 200% damage instead of 125% damage

Massive increase in speed for clearing gyms and a huge boost in variety. Also dramatically increases the power of some defensive movesets

Change #3 – Not very effective will now do 50% damage instead of 80% damage

You can now be far more potion efficient on attack and should learn quite quickly not to waste your time using the wrong attacker against a defender with a type advantage over you.

Change #4 – Immunities (0% damage) have been added for the following

  1. Ghost Attack vs. Normal Defender
  2. Ground Attack vs. Flying Defender
  3. Electric Attack vs. Ground Defender
  4. Normal Attack vs. Ghost Defender
  5. Fighting Attack vs. Ghost Defender
  6. Poison Attack vs. Steel Defender
  7. Psychic Attack vs. Dark Defender
  8. Dragon Attack vs. Fairy Defender

This should give ghost pokemon some use and shake things up a bit more

New Type effectiveness chart credit Bulbagarden

So let’s see what this does. We will be using level 30 vs. 30, Realistic Dodging and Dodge Specials Pro for this analysis. If you would like to see some other settings, change the settings on the rankings.

Attackers

Interactive

Rank Old NewChange
1DragoniteDragonite-
2TyranitarTyranitar-
3BlisseyGyarados+3
4SnorlaxVaporeon+1
5VaporeonExeggutor+2
6GyaradosRhydon+6
7ExeggutorFeraligatr+9
8MachampKingdra+13
9GolemOmastar+2
10EspeonGolem+1
11OmastarPoliwrath-12
12RhydonLapras+INF
13FlareonSnorlax-9
14HeracrossBlastoise+INF
15JolteonTentacruel+INF
16FeraligatrPolitoed+INF
17VenusaurDonphan+5
18AlakazamMachamp-10
19GengarBlissey-16
20LaprasHoundoom+INF
21KingdraVenusaur-4
22DonphanLanturn+INF
23PoliwrathGolduck+INF
24MukEspeon-14

Look at that, the Blissey problem on the attacker side is solved! Snorlax drops as well, which is good since he’s slow and boring too. Everything with Water Gun as an attack moves up, which is a bit boring but that’s fixable. As we will see in the Pokemon rankings, this is a little misleading. Generalists like Dragonite may be great overall but there are almost always better choices for individual fights!

Defenders

Interactive

Rank Old NewChange
1BlisseyBlissey-
2SnorlaxSnorlax-
3DragoniteSteelix8
4GyaradosLapras1
5LaprasDragonite-2
6TyranitarAmpharos7
7RhydonMuk16
8DonphanMiltank13
9SlowkingKangaskhan12
10SlowbroUmbreon7
11SteelixSlowbro-1
12VaporeonVaporeon-
13AmpharosGranbull-9
14ExeggutorClefableINF
15EspeonUrsaringINF
16HypnoCloysterINF
17UmbreonFeraligatrINF
18MukKingdraINF
19JolteonPolitoedINF
20TentacruelHypno-4
21KangaskhanMachampINF
22PoliwrathVenusaurINF
23GolemDonphan-14
24MiltankPoliwrath-2

This is a much bigger shakeup on the defender side in many ways. As you can see, the effect of Super Effective changes with the drop of Dragonite, and more impressively Gyarados, who is no longer to be found. Ampharos and Miltank of all things make an appearance. If Niantic forces different Pokemon into gyms like, in this simulation, you will see a much larger variety of Pokemon than you are used to, solving the lack of variety issue.

Individual Pokemon

Massive changes across the board, please feel free to look yourself

. A few highlights:

Dragonite

Dragonite is completely destroyed on defense now by Lapras, Cloyster, Jynx and Piloswine in under 8 seconds, as he should be! On offense, he is still a good choice against tankier Pokemon like Snorlax. In general, Dragonite moves to a generalist who is just OK instead of the best Pokemon in most situations.

Tyranitar

Once rather bulky, Tyranitar is now devastatingly weak to fighting moves, and with no fairy moves to fend them off, is killed in 8 seconds by Poliwrath and 6 seconds by Machamp. That’s what happens when you are taking 33 damage, instead of 13, per attack. Magneton and Scizor finish off the top 4. On attack, Tyranitar is still quite strong, but like Dragonite, is more of a generalist rather than a specialist.

Blissey

Dazzling Gleam on defense still counters the fighting Pokemon like Machamp a little bit but opens herself up for attack by Alakazam, Exeggutor and Pinsir.  Machamp rounds out the top 4 killing in just over 38 seconds now which is a big improvement. On offense, Blissey is still quite slow and bulky.  All in all, she’s not quite weakened enough, we will go further in future changes.

Machamp

On attack, Machamp takes down Tyranitar, Umbreon and Ursaring while taking nearly 0 damage, with Power ratings sitting around 500%. That’s 5 Tyranitars taken down in a row with 1 Machamp, taking 6.4 seconds each! Snorlax, Steelix, Miltank, Lapras and Cloyster all go down quickly due to the power of double fighting moves. Of course, if you accidentally fight a Dragonite or Gyarados with your Machamp, you are going to get destroyed far worse than you did before.

Thoughts

Definitely a big shake up. Perhaps 400% for double super effective is too much without further balancing. Then again, it is much closer to the real games now. Double weakness should be a big problem. Let’s keep it for now but consider tweaking it later if need be.

Removing the Super Effective bug that hides incoming specials makes everything so much cleaner. It is crazy that this bug has been in the game for a year and has never been fixed. It wouldn’t even be that hard to do, just make a third location for text to show up or prioritize incoming specials over Super Effective text.

There are still more changes to be made though! Stay tuned next time for stats adjustments. And let me know your thoughts on what kind of changes and updates I should make in the comments below, or send me a message on Twitter @Pokebattler_com

Read more in the series: Gym Remodeling #2 – Fix Prestiging