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The Adventure Begins

From your first meeting with Professor Juniper as she greets you and asks your name, you are clearly entering upon a new Pokemon adventure!  Old hands will instantly recognize this variation on the traditional beginning, but if you are new to the games, what you are seeing is a playing-out of the traditional opening act; Player meets Professor, Player is introduced to Pokemon, Player identifies their rival, and finally the player chooses their starting Pokemon!

In this case the experience is slightly different, and slightly unique but that is OK. In the previous games of the series, the process of selecting your starter Pokemon took place in the Professor’s Lab straight away, but in Black 2, instead we get a cinematic CS and then we see Mom take a call from the Professor and learn the news – then come inside the house and Mom tells us about Professor Juniper (who is an old friend of hers) and then Mom asks you if you want a Pokemon?  Well, Yeah! Next she asks if we know what a Pokedex is?  If you’ve played previous games in the series you do, so say ‘yes’  but if not, say ‘no’ to get a short lesson about the Pokedex.

The third question Mom asks is, do you want a Pokedex? 

Hell, yes!

She expected no less, so she tells you about Bianca, Professor Juniper’s assistant, who it seems you need to track down, but no worries, she’s wearing a big green hat, right?  Mom asks if your X-Transceiver is in our bag, and here you can get the mini-tutorial on your bag if you need that…  We will be covering this device in some detail in its own section but if you are new to the games you may as well check out what she has to tell you now.

Mom tells you to go find Bianca, but before you leave go back to your room and use the PC there to learn that ‘X’ opens menus, and that you should save often!

After you exit via the front door, go ahead and hit ‘X’ to open the menu and you will note that there are four selections:  Bag, Save, Options and one that is your character’s name. Start with the last one (the button with your character’s name) to access your Pokemon Trainer Card, or TC which naturally has your photo, and contains your name, title, nature, and bank balance, which is $3000.

There is actually a long tradition going back to the first game that deals with the importance of your Pokemon Trainer ID Card – which among all of your other possessions proves that you have the right to possess Pokemon, to train and breed them, and to make purchases at Pokemon Shops.  In some regions if you do not have that card, you cannot do business!

Using the D-Pad, choose left or right to see the back of the TC, which shows your TC ID number,  the elapsed game time, and the date you began your Pokemon Adventure. The large white box is where you sign your TC, so grab the stylus from your DS and sign it!   Not done yet though!


A Welcome Message to Pokemon Black 2

See the arrows on the right side of the top data box? Push on the down-arrow to scroll down and reveal the other entries, which include Hall of Fame Debut date and time, which will record the first time you enter the HoF. In addition to that are your game stats for Times Linked, Link Battles, Link Battle Wins, Link Battle Losses, Link Trades, Wild Pokemon Encounters, and Trainers Battled. Cool That!

Along the bottom of the Card are some buttons, from left to right they are the Play Button, which animates your signature in the white box above, the Zoom Button, which makes the screen zoom in and out, the Write/Erase button  for clearing your signature and writing or drawing in the box, the Page Change button in the corner, a tick box, the exit ‘X’ and the back button to return to the main screen.

Switch back to the front of the card and look at the contents for a moment. You can change the Nature by tapping it. Tap it until you find a nature that fits your character, then tap the title until you find one that fits. All that remains is optionally to change the message at the bottom, which you can set to a custom phrase or pick one you have unlocked, but as you have not unlocked any yet, just leave it be for now then.

Back on the Main Menu, the Options button lets you change some basic settings, but the only one that really needs changing is the Text Speed, which you may like better at ‘Fast’.

The ‘Bag’ button takes you to your mostly empty bag, which at the moment only contains your Xtransciever and your Pal Pad. If you have not guessed it, the Xtransciever is like a cell phone – the only number you have at the moment is your Mom’s though… Call her to have a quick video chat.  You have three options:  “I’d Like to talk,”  “Aspertia City”  and “Goodbye.”   

Aspertia City is where we are now, and our home town, but if you were in another city, it would say so.   If you go ahead and tap Aspertia City, Mom acknowledges that this is where you are, then points out that since it is your hometown, why not visit home?  Selecting the talk button will get a sage observation about Pokemon.

The Pal Pad is where you register your new character and Trainer Card via the Nintendo Wifi Connection, which you do by opening the Pal Pad and choosing the bottom button, which will take you through the process of registering and getting your friend code, which you will need if you want your mates to add you to their Pal Pad! You may as well get that now!  The middle button is the one that you use to register the codes of your friends, and when you have done so, you can use the top button to manage your mates and connect with them.

Now that we’ve looked at the three menu options, all that remains is the Save Game button, so go ahead and press that and same your game now! You have no doubt heard the sentiment ‘Save Often’?  Well, that doubly applies here. You should get into the habit of saving anytime you have an accomplishment like a battle or capturing a new Pokemon, because not saving after can lead to regret. I cannot stress how much it sucks to forget you haven’t saved and hit the power button only to return later and realize you lost progress... So save early and save often!   

-- Exploring Aspertia City --

While your main objective is to find Bianca, your secondary objective is to explore your hometown and talk with the people you meet there, because who knows what wisdom they might be willing to share?  To the left of your home is a Science Fan, and the house that belongs to a nice old couple with kids. My rival is named Hugh, and it seems that he enjoys bragging about his Pokemon according to the old man.

As you head up the road, Hugh appears and brags a bit, then acts shocked to learn you are about to receive your first Pokemon! His little sister tells you to take good care of your Pokemon, and he insists on coming with you to find Bianca. Hugh prevents you from entering the Pokemon Center or School, but that is only because he wants to go to the Outlook, which is up the stairs on the left at the next crossroad;  we find Bianca waiting up there, so head over and introduce yourself!

Bianca explains that they want your help completing the Pokedex – relax, every Pokemon Professor asks Pokemon Trainers to do that!   Talk to Bianca again to choose your starter Pokemon:  either Snivy (Grass), Tepig (Fire),  or Oshawott (water). 

Which you choose is entirely up to you, and any of the three will be fine, since each type has pretty much equal strengths and weaknesses. The decision you are about to make is an important one though; you are about to pick the companion who will be with you for this grand Pokemon adventure, so pick well young Jedi…err… Pokemon Trainer!   As I said, there really is no wrong choice here, so make your choice. What’s it going to be?  A Lizard, a Pig or a Bear? I will say this much as guidance: Grass and Fire tend to be the more powerful early on, so they can be compelling picks for that reason, but after the water-type gets a few levels under its belt, it, too, can be formidable!

Once you make your choice you get to name your new Pokemon. I chose Oshawott and named him Hozer! Bianca then gifts you with your Pokedex which will be a very valuable and well-used tool for you. It is accessed via the Menu and ‘X’ in addition to showing you what Pokemon you have seen and captured, it has information that you discovered about each, which it automatically gathers from each of your encounters. How cool is that?

If you access the menu now you will note that there are now two new selections: Pokemon and Pokedex. Pokemon shows you your party, which will eventually contain six Pokemon, while the Pokedex contains the listing for each Pokemon you encounter, battle and capture. At the moment, it has just the single ‘dex entry since you have only encountered your starter Pokemon, but go ahead and highlight your starter and hit ‘A’ to pull up the record for it, and you will see the four basic data sets it records. These are ‘Info, Area, Cry and Forms.’

Info is just what is sounds like: the basic information about that type of Pokemon, including its ‘dex number, name, type description, type and its size data.  There is a very brief description that may discuss its abilities, and in the center of the Info screen is its footprint. The Area screen shows where you have found them and where they are known to be. Cry lets you hear the sound they make, and Forms will show you any alternate forms they may have. That is actually significant though, because for the first time in the history of the series the Pokedex now tracks Shiny statistics as well as regular. If you scratching your head at that info, the chances are that you are new to this, so now is a great time to tell you about Shiny Pokemon…

Before we get too far into the adventure there are some minor issues  that we need to briefly address in the way of background information that will help you later...  Basically this is information you want to constantly have in the back of your mind as you adventure, and the first bit is Shiny Pokemon!

– Shiny Pokemon --

As you journey through the world you will find that when walking or running through Tall Grass, through Double Grass, and just walking or running in specific special areas, you will encounter wild Pokemon.  Now, most of them are normal Pokemon in the sense that there is nothing special about them, but in rare occasions you will encounter what are called Legendary Pokemon – these are basically very special, very powerful Pokemon of which there are usually only either one or just a handful in existence.

There is a chance that the Legendary Pokemon you encounter may be what is called a Shiny Pokemon – and there is a chance that the normal Wild Pokemon that you encounter can also be a Shiny Pokemon!  Shiny Pokemon are the rarest type of special Pokemon in the world, and they are a highly desirable Pokemon – in fact so highly desirable that many trainers consider them the equal to almost any Legendary Pokemon you care to name at least in value and desirability.  In fact there are trainers who treat Shiny Pokemon as a fetish object!  A minority of trainers actually field entire teams of nothing by Shiny – carefully raised, honed to battle perfection, and uber rare.  It is reasonable to say that such teams are outwardly proof that even among Pokemon Trainers there is a notion of entitlement and that wealth can have an impact. 


A bit about those Shiny Pokemon Types

There is actually a private auction held several times a year in Tokyo at which reputable Breeders and Trainers sell(?!) the Shiny Pokemon that they have captured for real-world money!  Basically these are trainers whose honesty is a well-established fact, and thus when they offer a Shiny for sale, it is a legitimately caught one, not one created with an editor.  The people who put on the auction have a way to examine the Pokemon being offered and can actually identify edited Pokemon – which is how they can guarantee the authenticity of and bonafides of the Pokemon they auction.

So what exactly is the deal with Shiny Pokemon?

Each Pokemon has a specific appearance in both its form and colors, and you will come to be very familiar with that. Some Pokemon have alternate forms that a trainer can choose, with the alternate form either being set by conditions, a device, or by touching an object in the world (depending on the game and the Pokemon) and then, finally, there is the Shiny form, which it is said every Pokemon has but if you encounter a dozen in your lifetime, you are a fortunate Trainer!

What a Shiny is, in essence, is a rare and special appearance for the Pokemon. It is colored different from the standard form, sometimes with its base colors reversed, while others have entirely new colors. 

Depending upon which title in the series you are playing, Shiny Pokemon can have more pronounced appearance or more subdued appearance in how they react to the world and being deployed.  IN most of the games in the series each of the Shiny have a sprite effect and special sound that is triggered by their being deployed into battle, so that was previously the way you could tell that you had a Shiny in the early games.

The issue of Shiny Pokemon has come a long way since the first gen games, and in fact it has never been more formally dealt with than in Pokemon Black 2 and Pokemon White 2, which for the first time in the history of the series actually feature very obvious markers on the individual Pokemon Records to not only indicate that your Pokemon is a Shiny Pokemon, but also track statistical information relating to how many Shiny you have seen caught, and etc.

Other than the special colors, the special sprites and animations, and the rarity, Shiny Pokemon are really no different than the regular form for whatever type Pokemon it happens to be.   That warrants a deeper explanation: while it is true that your Shiny Pokemon is rare, and in those terms, special, that is as far as the rarity goes.  Shiny's do not possess better stats (well, usually...  There are exceptions to every rule, and of course when the Shiny happens to also be a Legendary, well then all bets are off).

That being the case if you obtain a Shiny that due to not having a complete party ends up IN your party, and that you mean to sell, it is critically important – most trainers say crucial – that you immediately travel directly to the nearest Pokemon Center (and preferably by flying) and deposit it into a Storage Box and then DO NOT TOUCH IT after that until you are ready to transfer it to the trainer you are selling it to.  The reason for that is simple: each individual battle that each Pokemon has influences its development, and can change its stats, and add to or subtract from specific abilities and resistances, and because of that it is critical that you do not use any Shiny you mean to sell for battles of any type – leave the decisions as to how that particular Pokemon is developed and trained to the person who is going to ultimately be its master, right?

Some trainers believe that a Shiny will have the top range of stats for their type, and that may be true… Who can say?  Either way as long as you plan to sell it there is no point in messing with its stats.  As previously noted, some trainers build their entire teams using them and so spend inordinate amounts of time and energy hunting for them and if they are truly lucky, capturing them, but mostly they pay for them...

To capture the Shiny though you have to be very lucky, because a Shiny is much more likely to run from a battle than to stay in it, and many is the trainer who encountered one, tossed a Pokeball, only to have the Shiny break free and immediately run away!  Conventional wisdom suggests that the trainer always use the strongest type of Pokeball they posses in trying to capture a Shiny, and always open by tossing a ball and trying for the capture because attacking to weaken it just gives it the chance to run...

Having a Shiny that close only to lose it is reason to cry, because even the most common Pokemon, when it is a Shiny, is worth the value of a Legendary to most trainers. You did not read that incorrectly; you can easily trade a common type Shiny for almost any Legendary! Now that you know, you’ll be sure to keep an eye out for any Shiny you find, right?   What’s that? How will you know it’s a Shiny?

Well, when you enter battle with it, it will make a distinct and special sound, and it will also release a starburst pattern of light as it appears, but the most obvious way to ID are its coloration, which will be very different than the normal version, though bear in mind that for some Pokemon that can be very hard to spot; for example, the Shiny for the Pokemon Metapod is a different shade of green, while the Shiny Weepinbell and Victreebell has oddly contrasting colors, but the most difficult of all to spot are Voltorb and Electrode, whose colors are simply reversed, with Voltorb having red on the bottom and white on the top for its Shiny form and Electrode the opposite!

When you do encounter a Shiny for the first time, I sincerely hope that you are able to capture it; a Pokemon Trainer’s first Shiny is a special event and the tradition is to never trade away your first Shiny, but to keep it and make it your most favored Pokemon Companion, in much the same way that Ash and his Pikachu get on.

If you decide to keep your Shiny (and we think you should at least with respect to your very first Shiny) it would be a good idea to set it aside in storage until the time comes that you have a firm understanding of the steps that it takes to properly level and train a Pokemon.  The worse thing that you could do is take a Shiny and badly manage its training, turning it into a mediocre battle companion.  There are a lot of really good training guides and even entire websites online that are dedicated to the art of training up Pokemon, and we strongly suggest that when the time comes for you to train your Shiny you consult them.  A little knowledge is a dangerous thing, so be sure you are an expert when the time comes, right?

Anyway, good luck, and may your aim be true!


The Universal Breeding Partner known as Ditto!

– Breeding and the Ditto –

Almost every Pokemon that you encounter has two sexes – Male and Female – though there are some that either are only one sex, or have no sex (or both sexes some trainers say) with a prime example of that being the very special Pokemon called Ditto which can mate with almost any Pokemon regardless of sex and produce a baby of its type. The exception to that is Legendary Pokemon, which cannot reproduce.

Obtaining a single Ditto is not a magic breeding toolbox, and this is something you should be aware of...  Because due to issues with Pokemon Nature, the minimum number of Dittos you are going to need to ensure that you CAN breed if you want to is two – one with that has the Nature of Rash, and another that has the Nature of Gentle – basically those two specific natures happen to be at opposite sides of the imaginary Nature Line – which means that they represent to two sides of the Nature Coin, or the opposite ends of the Nature Spectrum from each other.   Once you own a Ditto of each of those Natures there is not a single OTHER Nature you cannot mate with!

In most instances and for most ordinary Pokemon you will not need a Ditto to breed them – in the case of Legendary Pokemon you also will not need a Ditto because, frankly, all Legendary Pokemon are infertile and cannot breed. 

Most ordinary Pokemon appear in nature in both sexes, so you can capture a male and a female, and you can make the effort to not only capture a breeding pair, but take the time and make the effort to find just the right breeding pair in the hopes of passing on specific egg moves, influencing the nature of the baby, and even boosting its stats or making it likely that one set of stats will be favored over another.  In fact the world of breeding Pokemon is a complex and ultimately specialized element in the world of Pokemon, which is why you will encounter gamers who will readily identify themselves as either a Trainer or a Breeder!  Yes, they actually make that distinction!

The reason that Ditto becomes important is that among what are classed as ordinary Pokemon there are sexless Pokemon who do not have the ability to breed without a Ditto.  Not only that, but you will find that a small number of Pokemon will favor one sex seemingly to the exclusion of the other, making it almost impossible to obtain a breeding pair!  In that case Ditto is the answer.  But there is another reason to favor having the two special Ditto, and that is to seek specific special abilities, moves, and stats in your breeding and the Pokemon that hatch from your eggs.

Basically serious trainers – and those trainers who consider themselves Breeders – might breed dozens of the same type of Pokemon, as they seek specific Egg-level stats and the presence of specific moves at the Egg-level.  Once they obtain the desired result, they will then carefully raise that hatched Pokemon to the point where IT can be used for breeding, and then begin again, working towards a specific set of desired results, and in many cases the process can take ten or more generations!

You do not have to make any decisions as far as whether you are going to be a Breeder or not, but you should keep it in mind that at some point in the future you may WANT to be a Breeder, or you may want to breed a specific Pokemon to enhance your team, and at that point you would be very happy that you retained the Ditto of the desired Natures.  Just saying...



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