Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield‘s lead producer Junichi Masuda and director Shigeru Ohmori have revealed changes they’ve made to EXP Share, and why they implemented the changes to how Pokemon gain experience.
It was revealed that Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield would has removed the EXP Share item, only to functionally grant experience to all Pokemon whether they battle or not. Some fans showed concern this would make the games too easy, or become harder to prevent a Pokemon from over-leveling.
For those unfamiliar, past Pokemon games have had only Pokemon who participated in a battle gain experience points. This results in tactics such as leading with a lower level Pokemon, then swapping it out on the first turn of battle. Defeating high-level Pokemon also grants more experience, and can give a serious boost to a low-level Pokemon’s experience.
While the very first game had half of the experience shared among all other Pokemon on your team (then dubbed EXP. All), later games would have the item held by a single Pokemon, gaining it half the experience even if it never entered battle.
Later games (starting with Pokemon X and Pokemon Y) made the item grant 100% of experience earned to each Pokemon in the party (rather than shared equally among them). This could also be disabled if the player so wished.
In addition, EXP shares also shared “Effort Values”. This fan-dubbed mechanic involves granting hidden points for defeating certain Pokemon, which can affect how a Pokemon’s stats grow. If your Pokemon defeat lots of fast Pokemon, it become a little faster. Later games also introduced ways to increase and decrease these “EVs” outside of battle, the latter through special berries that could be grown.
It should be noted that how much experience will be awarded was not revealed (such as less to compensate for it being spread out), and that as Pokemon level up, they require more experience to reach the next level. It was also not revealed how EVs would be shared among the party.
Other concerns included how the older system encouraged the player to use all their Pokemon, possibly putting a Pokemon in a sub-optimal battle due to needing experience.
During an interview with Inside Gamer, Masuda & Ohmori discussed the game. This included many factors already revealed.
New information included how the Wild Area was designed to bring back the feeling of freedom from older games, and how the three-turn limit on a Pokemon entering Dynamax was tested via an internal tournament, bringing much excitement and strategy. It was also revealed that designing a new Pokemon can be tough, with some getting almost the entire team involved, or taking up to six months on a single Pokemon.
When the discussion shifted to the new way experience is handled and the EXP. Share, Ohmori stated (in Insider Gamer’s words) “Almost everyone already had it on before, so for most people nothing changes in practice.” He also stated the following:
“Those who have it off, mainly want to train one specific Pokémon. We thought: is there a way to achieve that? There is, simply by putting the rest of your Pokémon in the PC. “
Editor’s Note: The above was a Japanese person speaking to a Dutch translator, then translated into English via machine translation. We have made every attempt to verify the translation.
It should be noted that if a player wished to train a low-level Pokemon, they would ideally look for Pokemon of similar or lower levels so the Pokemon does not lose the battle.
As aforementioned however, low-level Pokemon need less experience to level up. This could mean they are able to “catch up” easier. In addition, there are new ways for individual Pokemon to earn EXP, including Poke Jobs and the recently revealed EXP. Candies.
In addition, Pokemon can now max out their EVs in a stat via vitamins (while previously they could only be given to a Pokemon who had 100 EV points or less in the stat that was going to be raised, out of a maximum 252).
Though to lower EVs (should a Pokemon get EV points you do not desire), the player may have to find special berries. All previous pre-release footage has shown special trees, though a conspicuous lack of any farm or plot of land to grow your own (we are not ruling out your ability to farm berries however). If they are anything like the berry trees in Pokemon Sun and Pokemon Moon, rare berries could be only available through special trees, and even then by chance.
Though we would like to emphasize we do not know the inner workings of how experience and EVs have been changed.
What do you think? Sound off in the comments below!
Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield are both launching on November 15th, for Nintendo Switch.