If you’ve been following along with our Twitch channel and our blog, you probably noticed that both Rachel and I are doing a couple of Nuzlocke runs with Pokemon Sword and Shield, respectively. We’re both enjoying our runs so far, and today we brought along a friend who has a couple of Nuzlocke runs up his sleeve as well. Please welcome Ian from Adventure Rules!
Thank you! I am really excited to be here (virtually, that is) chatting with the two of you, particularly about Pokemon. Even more particularly about Nuzlockes, because that’s the aspect of Pokemon that most draws me into the games these days. As soon as I finished Sword and Shield I was thinking about what it would be like to Nuzlocke the game, both from the perspective of how fun it would be but also any new game elements that might complicate the challenge. Were there any parts of it that you all were worried about or unsure about as you thought about Nuzlocking these games?
We’re happy to have you here, Ian. I played through Shield first and I knew right away I wanted to do a Nuzlocke for Sword. It’s been a hot minute since I’ve done a Nuzlocke (and actually followed through with it) so I figured now was the perfect opportunity to do so. As for rules, I looked up the general rules online and then checked to see how I could tweak them for the game. The Wild Area for one was a big concern. How exactly do you make that fit into a Nuzlocke?
Nuzlocking isn’t something we do normally, so I was excited for this new challenge. When trying to figure out the rules for our more basic Nuzlockes, the Wild Area rules did get modified a bit after I started my challenge. It’s actually stated on the first chapter of my Nuzlocke a few weeks ago. Originally I was going to have each section of Wild Area be a new “area” so to speak for a new capture, but seeing how vast the Wild Area is made me rethink it. Now, I allow myself one new capture from a new Wild Area zone after each gym badge. Ian, you’re not doing a regular Nuzlocke. Yours is a Wonderlocke (or Surpriselocke?), correct? How has that been working out? Do you like it better than the regular Nuzlocke rules?
It’s hard to say right off whether or not I prefer a standard Nuzlocke to a Wonderlocke – I think they offer different experiences. The classic Nuzlocke I would say is a bit harder, but if the aspect of Pokemon that is most exciting to you is meeting new Pokemon and having lots of variety for your team, then a Wonderlocke can have a bit more to offer. Particularly if you’ve already played the game recently, during a regular Nuzlocke you can find yourself ending up with a team that is pretty similar to what you’ve already used. I didn’t want to be using Corviknight, Inteleon, and Coalossal again, for example. But the Wonderlocke does come with some different challenges also.
That’s true. Whenever I play a new Pokemon game I aim to have my team be all brand-new Pokemon. So, playing a Nuzlocke immediately after completing the main game some of my Pokemon are the same. I don’t mind though. I’ll need all the help I can get and it’ll be nice to know how certain Pokemon already work. I’d love to try a Wonderlocke for my next challenge though… what are some of the challenges you’re facing with that?
The biggest challenge is one I just ran in to my last play session. You know how there’s a limit – managed by your badges – to what level Pokemon you can capture in the wild area? Along with that limitation there is also a limit to what level your traded Pokemon can be when you level them up. So if you’re training a Pokemon that used to belong to someone else and it goes above a particular level, it will start to disobey you until you get the appropriate badge. Before you have any badges, that level is 20. But Milo’s ace is also level 20. So I trained my Pokemon to level 20 to be able to deal with Milo, but they hit 21 before I made it to the gym. Long story short, most of my team doesn’t obey my commands half the time now. So that’s definitely an issue unique to the Wonderlocke.
I honestly never even thought of the leveling aspect of traded Pokemon when you first mentioned you were doing a Wonderlocke! Considering I don’t do much trading — aside from when Rachel and I were trading to complete our Pokedexes in our original run-throughs of the games — I forgot about the accelerated growth rate of traded Pokemon. Are you worried about losing more Pokemon in a Wonderlocke than a regular Nuzlocke? For my regular Shield Nuzlocke, I’m finding that the heightened levels of the wild Pokemon, especially those in the Wild Area, to be dangerous when it comes to training my Pokemon. Trainers aren’t so bad, but wild Pokemon can get the best of my team. Rachel, are you finding any special challenges in your Nuzlocke, or any you’re anticipating?
Oh, that’s tough. It makes it all the more challenging though. You’re using similar rules as a Nuzlocke, right? If a member of your team faints, it dies? That must be frustrating when they don’t listen to you but interesting all the same. As for me, I’m not too far ahead in the game at the time of writing this post. So, as for right now, I’m not finding any special challenges. Unless you count me needing to pay attention more. There were a handful of times I forgot I was doing a Nuzlocke and derped around the routes while trying to level-grind.
Kris’s point about the wild Pokemon being higher leveled has absolutely affected my approach as well, particularly in the wild area. Where the area is broken into separate smaller “regions,” when you cross the line from one region to another the Pokemon levels can jump significantly. At one point I crossed a line where I went from facing level 12s at most to regularly facing level 15s, and I nearly had a loss there. To answer your question, Rachel, having a Pokemon faint does still mean a permanent loss for me, and so far I have had one. I switched a Deino into an ice type thinking the level difference was enough for her to survive the hit, and that turned out not to be true. Have you all dealt with any losses yet?
Ouch, that hurts. I think Sword and Shield upped the ante a bit this time around when it comes to the catch rate and even the damage. I find that when I’m a few levels higher than my opponent, it’s still tricky to get their health down. In past games, it was an automatic one-hit KO and it’s not like that anymore. This isn’t a bad thing, but when it comes to doing a nuzlocke, it really adds to the challenge. Luckily for me, I haven’t had to deal with any losses… yet.
I really enjoy that, even when my Pokemon are a few levels higher than wild Pokemon, it’s still a challenge to take down your opponents. Unfortunately, I have had a few losses, a couple that actually happened one right after another. Having to deal with the loss of a potentially awesome Pokemon teammate and then trying to level up another Pokemon to take their place can be troublesome. In a regular game, I always do my best to not allow any of my Pokemon to faint for friendship purposes — and because these guys are my teammates! — so I’m absolutely disheartened about these few losses already. I’m also doing my best to not heal during battles, but it’s not a hard rule for me so who knows if I will do so in a pinch, haha! When the Nuzlocke Challenge first became a thing in the world, the only two rules were to nickname your Pokemon for a stronger bond, and fainted Pokemon are to be considered dead. That was it. Since then, there have been tons of modifications, new versions of the challenge, and extra rules to make the challenge even more difficult. Considering that, are there any other personal rules that you guys have instigated in your challenges?
The most common optional rule I bring in is the Dupes Clause – if I get a Pokemon I already received in a trade and kept previously, I retrade it until I get something new. For me, all the fun of a Wonderlocke would be out the window if I just had six Charmander on my team. What excites me most is the variety of interesting Pokemon I could encounter and use, so having a rule that helps forward that purpose is valuable for me.
Having the Duplicate Clause in effect is a good idea. I too have that rule in my own Nuzlocke right now. Though, I’m sure it would be challenging enough to have an entire team of Galarian Zigzagoon. Maybe someday, but for now, we thank you for joining us on the blog today, Ian. Good luck with your Wonderlocke and I’m sure we’ll do this again soon.
Thanks for having me, it was a lot of fun making my first ever Double Jump cameo!
We’re so glad we were finally able to make this cameo happen! Thank you again for joining us. If you want to check out more of Ian’s work, give his blog Adventure Rules some love and you can also check him out on Twitter!