There's a kind of reckless joy to Pokemon X/Y's Wonder Trade that makes me feel like a gambler wedded to Lady Luck. You never lose. You just ... win less extravagantly every now and again.
For those unacquainted with the feature, Wonder Trade is an uncomplicated stroke of genius: you pick a Pokemon, hit the corresponding button and wait as Game Freak randomly pairs you with another like-minded Pokemon trainer. What happens after is entirely up to chance. There's no way to tell if the Bidoof you just put up will snag you a Pokerus-toting Mewtwo or a crappy Weedle until mostly after the fact.
But here's the rub. By and large, more Bidoof and Caterpie exist in the system than anything else. Wonder Trade is all but soaked in garden-variety Pokemon, making any attempt to net a not-literal shiny a test of patience for many. (Personally, I think it makes finding good Pokemon even more of a triumph but personal mileage will invariably, well, vary) Does it HAVE to be this way, though? No. As has been discussed on Reddit and various other platforms, Wonder Trade can be gentrified. All we need is to exert a little bit of elbow grease, patience and community spirit. Below is a list of suggestions in regards to how we can make Wonder Trade more of the wonder it was meant to be. (You don't need to abide by them, of course. No one can really fault the guilty pleasure derived from exchanging a Caterpie for a Gengar.) If you've any other tips to add to this so-not-official-it's-not-funny doctrine, let me know in the comments!
"It's got a great personality!"
Not every Pokemon released into Wonder Trade needs to be an Aerodactyl. Sometimes, they just need to be nice. Or naughty or bashful or - you get the idea. If you're not in the position to mass produce Snorlaxes (Snorlaxs? Snoreep?) but want to participate in the festivities of Wonder Trade, don't release yet another herd of Bidoofs on the network. Do some research. Take a moment to figure out which natures work best (Spoiler: Simple and Unaware work best) for the Pokemon. Release the ones who lack the appropriate personalities back into the wild. Wonder Trade the ones who make the cut.
The reason as to why everyone is fussing over a Pokemon's nature is because it can both positively and negatively two of the critter's stats by 10%. You can find more information on its intricacies here.Help competitive Pokemon players beat you up. You know you want to.
"AGGGGGGHHHHH! GET IT AWAY!"
Before I launch into what will most likely be a tirade, this is more of a pet peeve than something you should really consider. Some people may actually want that Pandour in order to complete their set. It could happen. No one's judging. Nonetheless, it makes me die a little inside each time I stumble across another Fletchling or yet another Weedle. We don't really need more of those on Wonder Trade. The current stash? Probably more than we will ever require.
If you share a similar stance on Caterpies, I've just got a suggestion for you: I implore you to not put them back on the Wonder Trade. I know pokeballs are expensive and that clothing in Lumiose City is impossibly expensive but you would be doing the system such an incredible favor. Release the next Bunnelby you find from the vicious cycle. Don't put them back into the Wonder Trade. Instead, go out and pick up something slightly less conventional.
"What an exotic beauty!"
Version exclusivity has always been part and parcel of the Pokemon series, a feature Game Freak introduced to encourage trading. Needless to say, the tradition remains unbroken with Pokemon X and Y. While there is no guarantee that your Pokemon will find a home with the right kind of folk, few would complain if you started channeling version-exclusive Pokemon into the wilderness. We're talking Pokemon, after all. Everyone wants to catch them all.
In case you weren't up to date as to what those are precisely, here's a handy-dandy list of Pokemon X and Y exclusives:
Pokemon X Exclusives
- Mega Charizard X
- Mega Mewtwo X
Pokemon Y Exclusives
- Mega Charizard Y
- Mega Mewtwo Y
"If only it looked more like a butterfly..."
Scatterbugs are a bit like real bugs. They're everywhere. Many regard them as one of the most common denizens of the Wonder Trade. ("If I see one more Japanese Scatterbug," Someone growls over Twitter.) And as such, they're loathed with a vengeance. However, did you know that Scatterbugs are also the juvenile form of the much more coveted Vivillons? Beloved not because of their combat prowess but because of their aesthetic diversity, Vivillons come in 18 varieties, each unique to a certain geographical region. To catch them all, you must trade like Samuel L. Jackson's favorite profanity.
That's where you come in.
If all your Pokemon are already in their mid-twenties or so, make it a point not to immediately discard the Scatterbugs you find. Put them into your party, turn Exp Share on and then go off and pick a fight. Because Scatterbugs turn into Vivillons at level 12, it'll only take you about a battle or two to get what you want. Once you're done, you can Wonder Trade the resulting Vivillon and bask in the knowledge you've made the world a better place. (Or use them to help you begin a collection of your own? Either works.)
"Frisky little bugger, ain't it?"
I get it. Breeding isn't easy. Breeding takes time. Effort. Party slots! But if you're not currently working towards your dream team, why not give your starter Pokemon a break and the companionship from the other gender? Romantic holidays aren't exclusive to human beings. Froakie, Bulbasaur, Charmander and other such iconic Pokemon are universally loved and desired. Nine times out of ten, people are looking to finish a set of starters. Assuming you're able and willing to withstand the tedium involved with breeding, I completely recommend taking a few afternoons to introduce an entire generation of Fennekins to the Wonder Trade network. (Need more Froakies.)
(Bonus tip: Have the lights come back on in Lumiose City? Own a Bike? Try this egg-celent egg-hatching technique)
"Is it sick?"
Pokemon games are so child-friendly that even their infectious diseases play nice. Pokerus, which is short for Pokemon virus, is a relic from the Generation II games. Unlike most status ailments, it is completely beneficial to its host. Infected Pokemon receive double the effort points (EV) they would normally obtain from battling. Normally, there's three in 65, 536 chance of it manifesting in a Pokemon but thanks to the the Wonder Trade system, Pokerus carriers are almost astonishingly easy to find.
If you find yourself in possession of a Pokemon carrying the Pokerus virus, do everyone a favor and spread it. Infect everything you own. Have them infect everything you plan to Wonder Trade. Infect anything that moves. People will love you for it. The Pokemon virus probably won't be able to fully erase the rage that comes with the sight of yet another Bunnelby but it will certainly soften the blow.
"Look at how well it gets along with the kids!"
No man is an island. Least of all, the enterprising Pokemon trainer. Some might think that they're above the unwashed masses but there's strength (and ingenuity) in numbers. Bulbagarden, one of the oldest Pokemon community websites on the Internet, ran Wonder Trade Wednesday, an initiative to entice Pokemon X/Y players into releasing useful critters into the Wonder Trade network in hopes of acquiring one of Bulbagarden's own, well, Bulbasaurs. On Friday, they arranged for their first #VivillonVendredi in hopes of spreading the butterfly love. Other communities, including the Pokemon subreddit, appear to be working towards similar goals. Browse around and you'll find threads declaring that great Pokemon will be released for the next hour and discussions on positive etiquette. (Here's the Reddit thread that inspires this entire article. You guys rock.)
If you're not already a part of the thriving Pokemon community, now's a great time to remedy that. Join in! Pokemon X/Y is still in its infancy but I suspect that community-driven events are going to be a big thing in the coming things. Mostly because post-game content seems to be incredibly sparse for the time being. So, why not get in at Ground Zero? But for God's sake, no more Bunnelbys, damnit.
Community member Zebetite has an excellent suggestion:
There are other ways to enhance the Wonder Trade experience. Items and TMs, for example. I'm a nut who's caught them all in previous games, but since I can't access my legion till December, I've taken to catching whatever I come across as I play. Then I give them a full restore to hold, use the best TMs I have on them, and send them on their way in the wonder trade. I certainly surprised that guy in Canada when he received a Heatmor with a Full Restore, Fire Blast, and Focus Blast!
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