Confession of a HM Wuss : To Victory Road or Nuzlocke?

#1 Edited by wackojackman (177 posts) -

I'm currently enjoying Pokemon X, which is my first Pokemon game since Pearl. Having raised a fairly decent team and subs levelling in the mid 60s as well as beating all 8 gyms, I am now faced with Victory Road. Though, as I entered into the first cave I was met with the water on which you need to surf, also spotting the boulder you can push using strength... I immediately left, Victory Road had beaten me.

The one thing I have found annoying about Pokemon is how you are forced to teach HMs. Personally I have found that I dislike giving up the move slot and tend to treat that Pokemon purely as a HM user rather than a valuable team member. I also don't find those parts of Pokemon games add all that much to the experience, so I was happy to see the easing off Pokemon X did during the time I spent going round the 8 gyms.
My concern is that I don't want a wasted slot in my team as I take on Victory Road and the subsequent Elite Four. I was kinda just looking forward to get to some good ol' battling, not surfing, strengthing, waterfalling and whatevering.

I find myself in a funny headspace. I am happy with my team, which I am doing some online battling with, but at this stage I feel I am losing some love for the game and have felt the same with previous Pokemon games at this point. However, I am entertained by the idea of starting again and doing a Nuzlocke play through, my only worry is that starting again I will lose my team.

I was hoping that I could get some naturally sourced wisdom from the Giant Bomb community as to whether I am going to miss out by not stepping up, taking on Victory Road and finishing the game or whether Nuzlocking may get me some more enjoyment out of the game.


#2 Posted by Zalrus9 (161 posts) -

Personally, I find that Nuzlocking is the only way I feel alive when I play. If you find that Pokemon doesn't have as much emotional moments, why not make your own! Name your friends after family members, loved ones, and watch as you make a tactical blunder and lose them! Nothing is more enjoyable.

Just go for it! Delete that save! It will be the first step...

#3 Posted by SpaceBoat (176 posts) -

If you're less satisfied with the game, that's probably what you should do then. You could also just get through Victory Road, then visit the move deleter. You'll still need fly to get back to the Elite Four, but only one HM is better than all the HMs.

Not sure if restarting will solve your problem though. Because you'll still get to the same point and probably have the same issue.

Black and White handled this really well. I think you only needed to use HMs once and it was when they taught you what they were. Every other time, it was for shortcuts or to get a TM or something.

#4 Edited by wackojackman (177 posts) -

@spaceboat: You have a good point... I will end up getting to the same point and likely conjure up the same feelings. Is there much that you feel is appealing going on from Victory Road?
I have currently clocked nearly 60 hours playing the game, which I realise is probably a longer time than most took to get to this section... but if it took me that long to get to Victory Road and I am only starting to lull now, I might potentially have a decent amount of time enjoying the game again.

I guess the question comes down to... do I want to play a bit more competitively and finish the game, or do I want to forget about that and find new challenges within the story?

That's cool to hear that B&W started omitting it a tad. Is it generally a feature that bugs people, the whole HM thing?

@zalrus9 Yeah the idea I like about the Nuzlocke is the "dying" rule and the potential for using Pokemon that I wouldn't normally consider. What is the rule when it comes to obtaining Pokemon through game events?... ie the Snorlax and the fossil Pokemon?

I appreciate the feedback guys, thanks!

#5 Edited by I_Stay_Puft (4791 posts) -

HM slaves man that's how I've always gone through the game. Find that one or two pokemon who can probably learn all the HMs and keep them with you. Pokemon are advertised as slaves and commodities, they have no souls.

#6 Posted by SpaceBoat (176 posts) -

Restarting would probably be good for you because you can enjoy the game like that through the story. I usually don't do anything competitive until post game, but I know my sister is the complete opposite and doesn't do anything after beating the elite four. She really enjoys doing fresh runs, so you might feel similarly. Spending another 60 hours getting back to where you were is a pretty good trade in my opinion.

#7 Edited by JackSukeru (6105 posts) -

I've (reluctantly) taught one of my main team Fly, and another one uses Waterfall quite well. For the rest I have a Nidoking, which I've renamed HMKing, it knows Cut, Strength, Rock Smash and Surf.

I'm also just about to enter Victory road and will bring HMKing with me, it's annoying sure, but manageable. There's a PC before the Elite Four so you'll be able to switch back y'know? You can then easily prepare your main team before taking them on.

It was a lot worse for me in Black 2 because I rolled with an all Bug Pokemon team and basically none of them knew HM's (Surf is often pretty useful, but there's no fully evolved Bug/Water type PKMN) so I often had to bring 2 HM pokemon with me for side areas. All of my Pokemon being Bug-type gave them all the same weaknesses which meant I could get easily steamrolled by high level bird or Rock Pokemon if I also didn't bring with me the Bugs I'd trained to counter this. It was SUPER-annoying.

So yeah HM's suck, I've been trying to think of ways that they could make them less annoying without straight up removing them and had two ideas.

Either A: You make HM's a separate ability removed from your move list, though then each Pokemon might as well know them inherently because they wouldn't take up space anyway. Their use would then only be gated by Badges. The problem of you having the right Pokemon would still remain, but it would be mitigated somewhat. Maybe that's the point of the secret areas anyway, that you're only supposed to be able to get into them if you have the right Pokemon with you. If the obstacles were only there to gate your progress then there wouldn't need to be more than 1 of each obstacle in the game.

Or B: Pokemon have one extra move slot that's exclusive for HM's, meaning they can know 5 moves so long as one of them is a HM move and they could still learn more than 1 HM move if they wanted. Not sure what this would do to the balance of the game, but the 5th moves would be rather limited and the HM moves themselves could be nerfed if needed. It would ease up the problem where you have a good 3 moves that you want to keep but you can't replace your 1 crappy HM move so you're forced to overwrite something else. Also Pokemon used exclusively for HM's would be able to know 5 so they would be even more useful.

Neither is a perfect solution, but I hope they end up doing SOMETHING about it because it really is the last bastion of inconvinience in the series.

#8 Posted by crusader8463 (14744 posts) -

@jacksukeru: People often forget Pokemon is an RPG. Why not just make them items you find and your character uses them? Rowboat=surf, jetpack=fly, hammer=rocksmash, sword= cut, can of spinach=strength.

I'm pretty sure though that Surf is the only HM you need to beat the game as a couple places require you go across water. Strength just opens up shortcuts in caves and in a couple spots lets you find TMs. Cut as well. I too hate the need to sack a pokemon to the hm gods so I avoid it until I literally need it, and the above is what I found to be the case. I beat the game with just needing surf. Plus they really boosted the powers in combat and they are kind of OP honestly worth it to throw surf on one of your guys. I got my Swana to learn surf, fly, and ice beam and it pretty much soloed the elite four.

#9 Edited by Karkarov (3765 posts) -

@crusader8463: This dude is right. The only TM you "require" to get through victory road is surf. The rest can lead you to nice items, and or open short cuts.... but you don't "need" them to get to the end. Also there is a pokecenter in front of the elite 4 so you can change out your team at that point and even fly there later. Personally I just use Lampras as my HM beotch.

#10 Posted by JackSukeru (6105 posts) -

@crusader8463: I have thought about that as well, but I was specifially talking about solutions where you didn't remove the concept of HM's from the games. I mean, one of the reasons HM's exist is to push the concept ot Pokemon being useful for more than battling.

#11 Posted by Capum15 (5114 posts) -

Surf and Fly are the two HM's I have never had a problem with. Both are pretty good moves - Surf is the only water move my Geninja knows, thinking about it - and fly is a pretty good flying move. Cut and Strength are...okay I guess, but I'd rather not need them. I don't care for the other HMs (especially in past games when you needed Flash and Defog, uuuuuugh).

#12 Posted by Hunter5024 (6365 posts) -

I tried a Nuzlocke run once but it ended up being too grindy.

#13 Edited by SpaceBoat (176 posts) -

Don't you need to use Waterfall right at the end of Victory Road?

I think it would be ok if you just just use HMs without having to teach them to the Pokemon. Some of them are actually useful in battle, like Surf and Waterfall, so I'm not sure how it would go if they changed too much. Adding a special moveslot for HMs could be too good or too bad. If the BP of the move stays the same, it would be too good because some Pokemon would just have more moves, but if they lowered the BP to balance it, water types would take a huge nerf because Surf and Waterfall are the go-to reliable moves (for Special Attackers and Physical Attackers respectively). People already think it's a big deal that a lot of special attacks got their BP lowered by 5.

Having the Pokemon inherently be able to do those things would probably be ok. Just turn the HMs into TMs and everything would be fine. It also might help promote good team composition and make it harder to just barrel through the game with only one or two Pokemon.

#14 Edited by AndrewB (7782 posts) -

I never go it without one throwaway HM-loaded 'Kemon. Since realizing there was always that one Pokemon that was able to learn pretty much anything, and most all of the HM moves are terrible to use as regular attacks short of Fly and Surf.

#15 Posted by wackojackman (177 posts) -

@capum15: Haha Oh man I remember having to learn Flash in Pokemon Red & Blue, that potentially could be the root of all this.

@jacksukeru Yeah in thinking about ways around this HM thing I also thought about it being a move you can teach to a Pokemon but just keeping it separate in some form.

@hunter5024 Could it maybe be less grindy with the exp share? I realise some Nuzlocke-ers are turning it off for Pokemon X&Y, but I am unsure if I would as some of the main draws I see in a Nuzlocke is the 'death' rule and the catch one Pokemon per area... The idea of grinding is certainly something I am not too keen on, especially in a Pokemon game, for me that would not be fun.

That is kinda reassuring to hear that Surf is the only HM really needed for Victory Road. I used the Lapras you get for surfing earlier in the game.
My team currently is: Aggron, Charizard, Greninja, Venusaur, Sylveon, Goodra... I swap Drapion, Krookodile, Blaziken and a Dragonite in sometimes. Is the solution as simple as teaching Greninja Surf, he's currently working with Water Pulse and Hydro Pump in terms of water moves.

#16 Posted by Hunter5024 (6365 posts) -

@wackojackman: I'm sure that would make it less grindy, but maybe don't keep it on all of the time otherwise you'll get really powerful.

#17 Edited by ajamafalous (12448 posts) -

I've been saying since Gen II that HMs should be inherent abilities that Pokemon have that are only limited by which badge you have (i.e. Old situation: You get Cut and teach it to a Pokemon. Badge 1 lets you use Cut outside of battle with whatever Pokemon you taught Cut to. New situation: Badge 1 lets any Pokemon you own capable of learning Cut use Cut outside of battle without having to teach it Cut and waste a move slot). It's really disappointing to think that all of my teams in every game have had one or two Pokemon slots wasted because of the need of HM slaves. It's frankly pretty ridiculous that such a glaring issue hasn't been fixed yet.

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