Pokemon Showdown, or Ultimate Pokemon Showdown, which is often formatted as Pokémon Showdown!, is a popular competitive Pokemon simulator based on one of the most popular media franchise where the players are to act as Pokemon Trainers and, catch and train to battle each other for sport. The instructions of the game lie in the name itself, Pokemon, which when broken down is not some twisted Japanese translation, rather is derived from two English words; “Pocket” and “Monster”.
Pokemon Showdown was created by Zarel and opened in October of 2011, but it was not until July 2, 2012 that it was adopted as Smogon’s official battle simulator (for all those who are not aware, Smogun is a web portal stimulator that acts as a platform operating solely Pokemon-themed games). Pokemon Showdown is a web-based project available on all major browsers and also has a downloadable client. This means you can play Pokemon Showdown on web browsers such as Google Chrome or download it from the internet and play it straight from your desktop.
Pokemon Showdown was designed to simulate the conditions of WiFi Pokemon games in a more stable environment, which creates a more efficient method in which to be involved in the competitive Pokemon setting. The aim of this article is to explain to new users to the way in which Pokémon Showdown operates and integrate all the current users into the community as a whole. This article, which may act as a guide to many, also contain sections which help give understanding to aspects of the program to veterans of the site, as well.
Currently peaking close to 10,600 users, Pokemon Showdown is the first simulator to support animated battles. It is currently the only simulator that supports one-click replay sharing, and reconnecting to disconnected battles. Other than such attractive features that have caught the attention of many avid players, the game also allows users to customize their settings to their own preference. In order to change those settings, one should navigate their cursor to the top right of the main menu when logged in and hit on the gear button to open up the settings menu. Currently, it is possible to change one’s avatar, change the background, disable animations, and change chat preferences. Most of these options are purely aesthetic so feel free to alter them to whichever way you prefer, because customizability is key to a wide range of users. Using commands, it is also possible to change some settings relating to battles.
A preview of what the settings look like
Covering the crux of playing any game, which in this case were the settings, we now move onto the next important step involved, the commands used to operate the game. Users will notice the availability of the “chat” feature within the stimulator. Within any of the chats it is possible to type in commands (messages beginning with /) in order to perform a particular action. A wide variety of these commands exist, however there are some which are only available to certain users because some things have to be earned after crossing a series or levels and putting in immense hard work and time! For instance, the /wall command is only available to Drivers and above. Similarly, only users ranked Leaders (&) and above are able to promote other users within a room.
Many often undermine the feature of chat provided to the users. But in fact it is recommended to all users, old and new, that to be on Pokemon Showdown and contribute regularly to the chat. Being a staff member requires both a high level of activity and quality. Being on the chat regularly gives a good indication of your intelligence and will ensure, with good behavior, that you earn respect from other users. Moreover, Pokemon Showdown itself is coupled with a unique and vast community, which ranges from each room on the simulator as well as its forums. If you’re frequently in the Lobby, you will notice regular users who discuss a range of subjects in the chat. If one has any questions, asking them in this Lobby chat is the ideal way of getting a response and if your question isn’t particularly complicated, this answer will most likely be quick.
It is no mystery that people are interested in contributing to the site or gaining status and this can be done in a range of different ways. Primarily, one can potentially be promoted through user ranks for chat contributions. This essentially means being a good influence in chat by leading strong and intelligent discussion, answering questions of other users, and not breaking the rules. One can also gain the Voice status by being a well-known and distinguished member of the community, completing the (discontinued) Voice challenges, or contributing to the simulator itself. Being voiced marks you as a particularly good user, granting you a position at the top of the user list, the ability to speak in moderated chat, and shows that you are a respected member to other users. Asking for status will not aid your cause and is most likely to set you back. In a similar vein, sucking up to staff is not beneficial and is not encouraged at all.
A glance on how the lobby chat works
However, with the lobby chat, it is important to keep the following things in mind, which also are requirements posed by the staff members of the game itself:
- Do not flame, be argumentative, or be a poor user in general. You obviously won’t be given any power if you insult other user, break rules or otherwise make more work for the staff. As well as the above, sycophancy is not beneficial, and will not aid your cause.
- Know what you’re talking about when answering questions or having discussions. Although you don’t need to be a great battler by any means to be a staff member, it does help if you know the metagame, so as to make it easier for you to help others.
- Show that you are mature and level-headed enough to have the privilege of power, and the responsibilities that come with it.
- Moderators have the power of banning users for long periods of time, and to earn this power, you must show that you are level-headed enough to only use this and other Moderator powers when absolutely required.
- Most importantly, gain the respect of the users and staff members. You will only be considered for a staff position when you have the respect of all of the Pokémon Showdown staff and users.
While the main room used on Pokémon Showdown is the Lobby, a variety of different rooms exist for different purposes. These rooms can range from different language rooms, rooms for people with particular hobbies or those dedicated to a particular playable format. Rooms can either be official, public (which means they’re listed under “chat rooms”) or they can be private. To join a room one can either type the /join [roomname] command into chat or hit the large plus button to the right of your room list and select your desired room.
Moving onto the next part of the game, which is the teambuilder. This component of the game is located at the bottom-left corner of the main menu. It is a large part of Pokémon Showdown and enables users to create their own teams from scratch, affiliate with other people’s teams, or edit any of their currently existing ones. Some formats on the simulator will not require you to create a team and let
you jump straight into battle. An example of this is the very popular ‘Random Battle’ mode, or as it is commonly referred to, ‘Randbats’ for short.
The Teambuilder icon will be visible at the bottom-left corner of the main menu
Building a team is fairly self-explanatory with the teambuilder guiding you along each stage of the process. You can select a Pokemon’s Item, Ability, Moves, Stats, and other details such as its Level (from 1 to 100), its Gender (None, Random, Male, or Female), Happiness, and whether or not it is Shiny. Keep in mind that some sets may require a Pokemon to have particular attributes. For example, Entei can only obtain the moves Flare Blitz, Extreme Speed, Crush Claw, or Howl from a specific event, which dictates that it must have an Adamant nature and be Shiny. If you attempt to enter a battle with a move set which doesn’t abide by these rules, you will be prompted to alter it before you battle.
An example of a finished Pokemon in the Teambuilder
Other features of the Teambuilder include the ability to rearrange the team slots (the “Move” button on the top right of the above image), delete existing Pokemon or teams, or import/export text versions of the team so that you can share your team with friends or the community.
Now we come to the most interesting part of the game, the one around which the showdown revolves around; battling. Organizing a battle on Pokémon Showdown is a very easy task to do. The first step involves selecting your desired format, team and then hit “Look for a battle”. One can either opt to play in a ladder game (in which you receive a random opponent), or to challenge a specific user. To play in a ladder game, select your format and team in the top left hand corner using the drop-down boxes. If your team is accepted and deemed legal by the server for that specific format, you will be put in a queue amongst other players to join a match. The server matches you with people with the closest rank to you ideally, but expands the parameters as time progresses.
Steps involved in battling of Pokemon Showdown
Alternatively, you can type /challenge username into chat or click on a person’s name to challenge them manually. However, these types of games will not change your ranking on the ladder. From the point of two players entering a game, you’ll either be thrown straight into a battle or into the Team Preview. Team Preview occurs in the majority of formats, in which case you will be given time to choose your leading Pokémon based on your opponent’s team. After you’ve made your choice, the battle will begin almost identically to in the actual games themselves.
To conclude with, much of what makes Pokemon appealing to its most dedicated players isn’t readily apparent to its more casual fans. The “pro” Pokemon player is someone who know every in and out of the game, who goes way beyond the surface knowledge most players have and seriously commits to the breeding and training of Pokemon so they’re ready for battles with other dedicated players. However, what makes Pokemon Showdown different from the other games available in the market is that whether you use it to learn competitive battling, to practice, or just use it for recreation, you are welcome to this community.
In short, the game doesn’t discriminate whether you’ve been playing since you were literally born, or are new to the concept and these “pocket monsters”, it helps to provide an interactive and learning portal for all.