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Pokétheticals: Rebuilding the Type Chart -- Laying the Foundations

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As we explored last time, it would prove folly to make all types equal. While it would certainly make for an interesting meta-game, it also helps to demonstrate a key point in Pokemon typing: not all types are created equal. Today we're going to lay the foundations for further explorations in our rebuilding of the type chart, so let's get started.

The Alphabet Theorem
Before we get started, I wish to go a bit philosophical. For a moment let us consider the current [English] alphabet: twenty-six different letters that together can represent hundreds if not thousands of different sounds. They can be paired together to create words. Pokemon types can be viewed to work similarly: they are a bit of an alphabet that can be used to describe Pokemon and moves. And likewise they can be combined to create unique words.

Let's take a look at the letter 'A'. It's considered a vowel so it is one of the most frequently seen letters in the English language. it also can, by itself, produce a variety of sounds. It can be pronounced sweetly like in May, or a bit deeper like in Dawn. Individual Pokemon types can also represent complexity. Consider the Flying-type: it can represent birds as an animal (e.g. Doduo the dodo bird), animals that can fly (e.g. Yanma, the dragonfly), or even a wind element (e.g. Gust).

Now there do exist alphabets or languages out there that one symbol or letter represents one sound -- and only one sound. Take Japanese hiragana. Each character there will only represent one sound, no matter how you pair it. In English we can have theoretically infinite sounds simply by pairing our letters together in unique ways and by adjusting which sound we're wanting our letters to represent.

Therefore, we will want to build types up based on the English alphabet: each type represents not just one idea, but a variety of related ideas.

Before that, we also have to consider another rule of consequence: while we aren't limited by our alphabet, having a larger alphabet is more conducive to certain ideas. Take for example the case of Stunfisk. It's a fish (an animal that is associated with water) that not only isn't a Water-type, but is actually weak to Water-type moves. There do exist alphabets with fewer than 26 characters (e.g. Hawai'ian) that have just as rich as a vocabulary, they just need to be a bit more creative in how they express certain ideas.

Counting the Types
Let's take some time to look at the types that we'll be playing with. Currently there are seventeen (17) unique types that exist. For simplicity, let's number the types according to a few criteria:
1) When they were first introduced.
2) When they are first commonly seen in a game
3) Pairs similar-types together.

Here's what my list looks like by following the above criteria. Note that the first rule is more weighted than the second rule, etc... I'll also take the time time to add in THREE (3) hypothetical types

1. Normal
2. Grass
3. Fire
4. Water
5. Electric
6. Flying
7. Bug
8. Poison
9. Ground
10. Rock
11. Fighting
12. Psychic
13. Ghost
14. Ice
15. Dragon

16. Dark
17. Steel

18. Fairy
19. Light
20. Plastic

So there we are: twenty unique types. That's our alphabet--and it's one that gives us a bit of leeway. But what does it actually mean? Well, we've now laid the basest of foundations. Now it's time to start actually fill it in.

The Types Defined
Having laid out what types we have, let's take some time to reorganize them by similarity or likeness to each other.

Elementals
2. Grass
3. Fire
4. Water
5. Electric
14. Ice
Materials
9. Ground
10. Rock
17. Steel
8. Poison
20. Plastic
RPG-esque
11. Fighting
12. Psychic
16. Dark
19. Light
13. Ghost
Creatures
1. Normal
6. Flying
7. Bug
15. Dragon
18. Fairy
Now this layout serves as a template in helping us decide what behaviors each type will exhibit. This doesn't mean that the types can't belong to multiple categories (e.g. Flying-type representing both Birds and Wind), it'll just determine primary characteristics.

Before we start getting into attributing characteristics though, let's take a moment to consider a few things. Like stated before, we can't make every type equal otherwise we'll end up with a dull meta-game. Therefore certain types will have to be "stronger" while other types will have to be "weaker"--in varying capacities. Currently the Steel-type is considered the great defensively while it's poor offensively, and Ice is great offensively but weak defensively. So let's consider that type can fall into one of several categories in terms of offense and defense. Specifically, we'll consider that they can do the following:

Strong: Type excels offensively or defensively (e.g. Fighting or Steel)
Average: Type has standard offenses or defenses (e.g. Flying or Bug)
Weak: Type has poor offenses or defenses (e.g. Poison or Ice)
Neutral: Type has few interactions with other types (e.g. Dragon or Normal)
Status: Type favors effects or boosts over raw ability (e.g. Grass)

So we will use these to give types certain flavors, but we'll also keep in mind some other requirements so that things are kept balanced. Let's take a look at a few select statistics:
The most number of types that one type can be super-effective against is five. Currently two types meet that: Fighting and Ground.
The most number of types that one can be weak against is five. Currently two types meet that: Rock and Grass.
The most number of types that can resist one type is seven. One type meets that: Grass.
The most number of types that can be resisted by one type is 11. One type meets that: Steel.

We'll use those numbers as a guide to help us set limits for types in their relationships. However this is getting a bit long winded, so with being mindful of the above concepts and mechanics, we'll continue next time to actually rebuild the type chart and make something new.

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Updated 23rd May 2013 at 10:41 PM by Maxite

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Pokétheticals

Comments

  1. Stratelier's Avatar
    (Actually, Grass beats Bug for the greatest number of types resistant to its attacks, with seven.)
  2. Maxite's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Stratelier
    (Actually, Grass beats Bug for the greatest number of types resistant to its attacks, with seven.)
    Oops! I've updated the main post to reflect that. Thank you.

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