Pokémon Black/White Diary Entry 2: Tweaks To Wild Pokémon And The Battle System

By Laura . January 14, 2011 . 4:01pm

Welcome to Diary Entry 2 of our in-depth coverage of Pokémon Black/White. The aim of this series of weekly articles is to allow readers to understand what new features and changes they can expect to see from Pokémon Black/White without spoiling the experience for them. We hope you enjoy giving these a read!


Oh, gyms… how I have missed thee. The first gym in Pokémon Black/White is in Sanyou City. It’s an introductory gym, so the puzzle — if you could call it that –- that you need to solve before entering isn’t very hard. The gym battle itself, however, is another matter.


There are three different gym leaders in the Sanyou gym; the one who challenges you is the one that has an advantage over your starter.


For example, if you start with Mijumaru (the water otter Pokémon), you get to fight the gym leader with the grass monkey, Yanapp. With my own team around level 5 or so, I had a lot of trouble taking on the level 14 monkey. This is probably the hardest first gym I’ve faced in a Pokémon game.


Of course, Pokémon Black allows you a lifeline to fall back on, but you need to look for it. Once I’d explored a little, I found a monkey with an element type that was strong against the gym leader’s monkey I was going to fight (in short, your monkey can spank his monkey). Similarly, if the gym leader is going to use Yanapp, you’ll be given Baopp, the fire monkey.


Some of the wild Pokémon in Black/White are really tough in general. The Otamaro (tadpole Pokémon) have extremely high Special Attack and could easily decimate your team even if you’re at a higher level. The experience reward for taking them on really isn’t worth the hassle. On the other hand, Dageki and Nageki, both fighting Pokémon, are tough, but also give you generous amounts of EXP.


Overall, the Unova region’s Pokémon are definitely different from what I’m used to. My Minezumi learned Crunch, an 80-power move, at level 16. Fun to fight with, horrible to fight against.


Another feature new to Black/White is the darker grass, where there are higher-level Pokémon that either appear alone or in pairs. Yes, wild Pokémon can also appear in pairs. These made for great training grounds for an EXP-Share low-level Pokémon later on in the game.


In addition, there are times when the (normal) grass will rustle. These are rare encounters; the one that I found in the grass led me to the healing Pokémon, Dabunné, who gives extra EXP like Chansey did in the previous games.


During short expeditions in the caves, I’ve found overturned dirt that seems to serve that same purpose, although I’ve received both rare items and found rare Pokémon in it. I’ve also come spotted a small black lump appear in the water on occasion, which I couldn’t get to as I didn’t have Surf at the time.


Speaking of TMs, Pokémon Black/White make it so you can re-use them; a concept I’m very much in favor of. After the first gym battle, I got one for a move that would increase both Attack and Special Attack. Handy move, so you can imagine how I liberally spread the TM among my party. Oh, imagine the possibilities when you start getting TMs for Earthquake and Sludge Bomb…



Black/White also introduce changes to EXP distribution. At one point in a battle, I switched a Pokémon out and replaced it with a higher level one. After defeating the opponent, I realized that the lower-levelled Pokémon gained more EXP than the higher level one. This makes for some quick levelling later on, I’d imagine, but I can also see how it would backfire once you get to the higher levels.


Now that I’ve fought more battles, I find that I enjoy the tweaks made to the system immensely, thanks to some very convenient streamlining. If you press the A button during the battle, the dialogue actually moves along quicker. There’s no waiting at all. If you disable the animations, I’d imagine a fight would be over quickly. At times, the health bar doesn’t even gradually deplete like you’re used to… it just disappears. This is a very welcome change from the much slower-paced battles of past games in the series.


Another interesting addition that makes the game more convenient is what I call portable Pokémon Centers. These are nurses and doctors who, after you battle and win against them, heal your Pokémon if you talk to them at any time.


If you missed previous entries in our Pokémon Black/White Diary, you can catch up on them below:

Diary Entry 1: Embarking On A New Journey

Read more stories about & & & & & on Siliconera.

  • Caligula

    I’m glad to hear the battles are faster paced. I love Pokemon to death, but I have to turn off battle animations because otherwise the battles are glacial.

  • skyblaze

    Some of those changes sound like a godsend… I can’t wait until it comes out! Thanks for sharing everything

  • This game sounds better and better everytime I hear about it, but I still think the PKMN are fugly…

    • MrRobbyM

      I kinda like some of them. But Yeah, most of them are ugly.

    • Braviary is the best one!!!!!

    • So a couple of months ago, I was joking with a bunch of friends about how they’d eventually run out of things to base pokemon off of and create a flashlight pokemon, that would evolve into a lamp and finally a chandelier.

      Then I saw Shandera.

      • Shandera is my favorite pokémon, good speed and killer Sp. Att, a pain to evolve but oh so worth it, don’t mess with it. (Not to mention it’s movepool is really good.)

    • Caligula

      Eh, some of the new Pokemon look bad, but as a whole, they look way better than R/S/E’s bunch.

      • How can you all judge based on entire generations of what is bette. There are over 600 of these creatures and surely, it isnt possible to take an bundle of say this bundle of 150 PKMN look way better as a whole than this bundle of PKMN. Why cant everyone agree that there are greatly designed pokemon and some crummy looking ones and end the day? R/S/E had Aron, and epic pokemon addition for us Steel fans, Groudon, Latios, Latias, etc. Idk, its just silly to compare gens.

        • Caligula

          As far as I’m concerned, there are definite stylistic differences between the gens (for better and for worse), so I don’t think it’s unreasonable to evaluate one gen’s style over another.

        • I actually agree here, the Pokemon from the third generation were at least as good as the ones from the first two, similar with the fourth and it isn’t different here, it’s the same with everything else, if you don’t like a Pokemon, don’t use it. :P

        • Zero_Destiny

          While if you ask me the best Gen of Pokemon was the first the rest kept gettin’ uglier and uglier lol Jokes aside though I do have some issue with later Generations of Pokemon because of how they started to mix elements. I like it when it was just fire beats grass, water beats fire etc. But now we have these mixture of ground and water types and fighting and fire, etc it feels less tactical so to say. Like your opponent is cheatin’. I don’t hate the newer games or the mixed Pokemon but I do miss the simpler days. Still psyched for this game and can’t wait to get White on day 1.

          • Exkaiser

            I dunno, mixed types allows new pokemon to develop their own strength/weakness niches. It was kind of a pain when basically all pokemon of a type were interchangeable because they had the same strengths and weaknesses. That’s how Pokemon Stadium played, and, while fun, pretty much everything felt the same. Makes it more tactical.

          • Zero_Destiny

            Eh I see what you’re sayin’ but I loved to exploit a Pokemon’s weakness just like I would spam all the enemies in PERSONA heh heh heh. I kinda feel that mixin’ the breads ruined it a bit because of that. With Pokemon I felt it was like a game of Rock-Paper-Scissors, but now anything can happen with all these mixing and matching. The new games are still just as fun and I’m still psyched but yeah that’s just my opinion on it.

        • Aara_Malik_Davoodi

          Actually, you can easily compare generations. There are differences in art styles between each and every generation of pokemon, except arguable the first and second. So if someone likes one art style but not the other, they’re naturally going to like the whole of one generation over the whole of another

  • I’m really liking these new features.

    People say that all Pokemon games are the same but I think that’s what everybody wants – the same game but with little tweaks and more stuff in general.

  • So did you encounter any shiny pokemon in the grass spots? And can you trade pokemon over from the other games after finishing the first gym? I would love to move over my 6 Shiny raikous, or even better, my team of dragons and just use them to run through the game.

    • skyblaze

      I dunno… that would take all the fun out of it for me. Besides, don’t higher level pokemon disobey you when you don’t have enough badges? I think it’s been that way since day 1…

      • By the third or fourth gym Pokemon up to lvl 50 (I think) could obey, so it wasnt that difficult since well, the gym leaders are so unchallenging and use weak pokemon. When I faced them I was always at the upper limit to what the pokemon could obey.

        • What happened to not taking the easy way out?

          • well I dont trade them over at high levels, usually at lvl 5 or so after they hatch (of course I teach them valuable moves, like the best Earthquake, Blizzard, and Thunder)

            Even if I dont trade over I just level grind to the highest levels, its just faster when they get traded over, you know?

          • That’s still taking the easy way out. Best way to approach each game is to start fresh. Unfortunately for you, the PokeShifter isn’t available until post-game, so you’ll have to do that anyways.

          • Impossible!!!!! What that doesnt make sense, why force us to start from fresh!!!!! Dude, please tell me you are joking. Its some big joke, lol, right?! Right?!

          • Exkaiser

            He’s not joking.

          • Pal Park for Gen IV was the same. You could find it mid-game, but you weren’t allowed access until you got the National Dex. Besides the Gen 1 – Gen 2 shift, each time the generation shifted, you’ve always had to start fresh.

            I believe I’ve told you about the revamped EXP system before as well. Well, w/o all the technical details. That should be somewhere here in the comment section in this article if you’re interested.

      • Caligula

        I agree with skyblaze. Running through the game with overleveled Pokemon just seems to defeat the point of the game. But people are entitled to play the game they like, so whatever floats your boat.

        • Well that should be the players fault but the fault of the people who designed the game, hence why the game should be more difficult. Gym Leaders with stronger pokemon, better AI, Wild Pokemon whose attacks do 1.5 times more damage, trainers pokemon who do no less than 2.5 times more damage. Even without trading over, my pokemon always end up way overleveled, when I just battle every wild pokemon I run into, you know.

          • Caligula

            You’re free to feel that way, and I don’t really care how you play the game. But you have to remember that at the end of the day, Pokemon is a children’s game. It will never be–and should not be–difficult.

          • No, Pokemon is a game for people of all ages not a children’s’ game.

          • Caligula

            It can be played by everybody, but it’s still directed towards children. It’s kind of like Mario Kart–everybody can play it and enjoy it, but most of the people playing are going to be kids.

          • But the most people that play Mario Kart are adults. Children are playing Just Dance, and Super Mario Galaxy 2.

            I have to disagree, its been 5 or 6 generations of PKMN and the series is as stale as a 2 month old loaf of bread sitting on the picnic table in during the vernal equinox. HG and SS was a bit on the difficult side post post game though, and Im sure they will go that route in the future, or perhaps pursue it for the console version of PKMN for the Wii. In the words of the honorable president of the United States, it is the CHANGE WE NEED!

          • Caligula

            If adults were the main people playing Mario Kart, then why would they have made it so difficult to do poorly on Mario Kart Wii? I mean, come on, the bullet? That thing is cheap–it’s designed to rocket you from last place to first. Adults are mature enough to handle losing, and kids aren’t. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out who the bullet was made for–the kids playing the game.

          • Youre giving too much credit to adults, why else would they have extensive help functions in Epic Yarn, Super Mario Galaxy, Donkey Kong Country Returns, New Super Mario Bros, and Sudoko, and other games of that nature. Mario Kart Wii is significantly easier than the previous entries so that adults could handle it since they arent used to playing videogames. Kids have played other kart racers, like Sonic & SEGA All Stars Racing is more difficult and its doubtful adults play that. Adults cant play true games, for example, when has an adult made it to the pokemon trainers league world championships?

          • Caligula

            …What? You’re contradicting yourself here. You noted that they have extensive help options in Super Mario Galaxy. True. Who did you just say primarily plays Super Mario Galaxy in your previous post? You said children. Children are the ones being helped out by easier games, not adults.

            Claiming most adults can’t play video games is not a valid point. Plenty of adults play video games (iirc the average age of gamers is 34), and by definition an adult would be more intelligent, more coordinated and more resourceful than a child, negating the need for a help function. The little kid who can’t read yet is the one who needs the game to give hints. (Also, a term like a “true” video game is pretty vague. Define “true,” since it reeks of subjectivity to me.)

          • The adults that play on Nintendo systems need more help than those children. The Wii was sold to like first time videogamers and stuff who need all the help they can get. I cant honestly imagine them being able to play say Super Mario Galaxy unassisted, though they wouldnt be play galaxy anyway. But maybe the high selling Mario Kart they would be playing with the gimmick wheel. Well with that bonus unbalanced power up, they are getting the help they need. But Adults were going all crazy over say New Super Mario Bros Wii with its help options and it was bundled in that new one this holiday to appeal to them (since kids already have the Wii, of course).

            Since adults have played less games, then they would be less coordinated, less resourceful and in need of much more help than children, who are usually quick to learn and grasp concepts and adapt to changes at fast speed. And if a kid cant read, why are they playing pokemon?

            true, as in, games like modern fps, serious racing games, platformers and action adventure games like assassins creed, tomb raider, uncharted, etc, non true being sudoku, bejeweled, facebook games…

          • Caligula

            Again, you contradicted yourself. “I cant honestly imagine them being able to play say Super Mario Galaxy unassisted, though they wouldnt be play galaxy anyway.” So… you admit that there are help options on Super Mario Galaxy, but you also claim they’re not playing SMG anyway. Tell me. Who are the help options there for, if adults aren’t playing? (Psst. It’s children.)

            Let’s take an example of games adults do play. How about the Sims? I’ve been playing the Sims for over a decade. No help there. Or… Redead Redemption. Any help given there? No. What about World of Warcraft? No help there. The games that appeal to older demographics don’t get hints because the people playing them are old enough to get it on their own.

          • tr1gun1212

            Yeah, all of the games you two mentioned are designed for kids, ESPECIALLY Pokemon. It’s obvious from how easy they are, no violence or sexual themes, etc. It does not mean that adults cannot enjoy them, too, but they are surely specifically designed for children. Also, for the most part, any game that is not written in kanji (for those games made in Japan, obviously), such as Pokemon, is for children. Plus, games are almost mostly for children in Japan, anyway.

          • @Caligula

            Why would children be using those options if the previous Mario titles didnt have them and that Mario appeals to well Mario fans and begets repeat buyers. Hence the help options are for the adults who are experiencing the Mario series for the first time in their lives.

            There are help options in the Sims, remember Rosebud and Motherlode, you know and its an open experienced game. You cant “lose”. WoW, there is plenty of help, WoW for Dummies. RDR, thats for mature games, not children, people in their teens to twenties I guess is the gamer demographic right. I dont know many people in their thirties or later to play games that are not Wii games, havent seen many online either. Heavy Rain is a game that appeals to adults and probably is the game that potentially refutes my claims, unless we accept that onscreen cues are “aids”…

          • Caligula

            Well, let’s see. When I was 8 years old, I got a N64 and Super Mario 64. I thought Super Mario 64 was hard. Had there been a help function then, I might have used it. I wouldn’t be surprised if part of the reason help functions were not instituted in previous games was because of lack of space. I mean, think about it, SNES cartridges? Those things were puny.

            Have you played The Sims, Tsuna? Just because you have money on that game does not mean you’re playing well. You can have oodles of money, but if you’re not playing well, your baby could get taken away by the social worker, your Sim could lose his job, another Sim might starve to death… there’s a lot more to that game than just making money. The game is more a juggling act of a bunch of little dumb AI-controlled people than anything else. And… “WoW for Dummies”? Please fess up and tell me you’re a troll. “WoW for Dummies” is a BOOK, sold separately by a company other than Blizzard. In other words, that’s not help. Your point is invalid.

          • @Caligula

            Oh trust, Ive played The Sims extensively through the years, 1, 2, and 3. There is no winning and there is no losing. You live with the consequences and do things on purposes. Its just a life simulator, its not like Sim City where you can go bankrupt and well lose control of the city and get game over.

            Ive not played WoW, but help is always available. People said you can call the helpline for tips, and then there is consistent always persistent chat in the game with others.

            I really dont understand why you say children are potentially in need of much help in games and adults do not.Just because they are young doesnt mean they need aid, they can learn fast and grasp concepts quickly and avoid using a help me show me feature, where an adult learns better by learning by seeing and they dont have time for repeating and retrying levels.

          • Kamion

            What? Of course children play Super Mario Galaxy. My 6yo sister loves to play SMG on my other sister’s Wii and she uses the help system from time to time.

            The Help-System is there for kids. Nintendo makes family consoles (Famicom, do you get it?) so they started to make their games accessible to everyone.

            Some of these comparisons in this thread do really not hold. Especially Mario and WoW. Just because there’s a chat and helpline does not make it an easy game. There are a lot of mechanics to learn and if you ever played WoW and had to live with the horrid community, you would not say that “help is easily available”. Have fun with paying the helpline to tell you to lrn2play.

            And YES, children need help in games because 1. they can rarely read well when they play these kinds of games 2. the logic in the games needs to be simple 3. they’re kids. You said that “adults don’t have time to retry levels”. Well, Super Meat Boy certainly sells well and it’s all about that. You know what would happen to a child playing that game?

            Frustration. And it would stop playing.

          • Exkaiser

            I thought you hated hard games and needed strategy guides to play laughably easy games like Persona 3?

            Make up your mind. I think your trolling’s getting a little confused.

          • I think you missed my relatively recent post addressing that finishing Persona 3 Portable on normal mode without a guide helped give me the confidence that I needed to finally play games without guides and on difficulty modes other than easy. I just finished Mass Effect without a guide too, and even Resonance of Fate, I think I mentioned too. Im no more the helpless, needs my hand held along the way on the pansy level difficulty settings. The people on this site convinced me to try for myself, and taking the advice worked!

          • Exkaiser

            Oh, okay.

  • I may actually be interested in getting back into pokemon games…

  • JustaGenericUser

    “After defeating the opponent, I realized that the lower-levelled Pokémon gained more EXP than the higher level one.”

    Hmm, sounds like the system in some RPGs where if you’re a lower level than the enemy you gain more EXP. But I wonder if this also means if you’re higher level than the enemy you gain less EXP, meaning later down the line it’s going to take a lot longer to gain levels than in other Pokemon games. I assume this is what the article means by possibly backfiring later.

    Nice to see they made battles go faster, too.

    Now then. Sorry for off-topicness, but I need some help. Every time I first enter Siliconera, there’s a comment already in the comment box… a comment I made weeks ago. Sure I can just clear it, but it keeps coming back next time I return, so it’s kind of annoying especially when I tab multiple articles. I want to know how I can get rid of it for good so that the comment box is always cleared.

    • That could be a cache problem, or maybe your browser’s auto-fill? Try clearing your cache and see if it helps. :)

    • Ren

      Yup, the higher your level in relation to your opponent, the lesser exp you’ll recieve.

      I have that problem sometimes, but it tends to resolve by itself, have you ever tried logging off Disqus and loging back again?

      • Cant you offset that issue by having PKMN just gain boosted exp?

        • Ren

          First: Explain yourself better so I can respond to that.

          Second: Stop using true to refer to games. Find some actual terminology that won’t offset people.

          Third: This is in regard to some things you posted to Caligula and Tommy Lee that I could post there but the threads are already too stacked.

          I take offense to say that people, even kids, that can’t read won’t play certain games. I only started understanding English around 2006, and even before that I had finished Crystal, Silver, Saphire and Emerald without understanding even one word of the whole game aside from the pokemon names. My younger brother can’t understand neither English nor Japanese, but he still finished my japanese copy of BBS this year and my american copy of KH2 and Emerald when he was six and he didn’t even have a good grasp of portuguese at the time, even more a foregein language to us like english. I’m not saying every single game can be played without understanding it, but it doesn’t mean a kid, even if younger then we were, who can’t even read will stop trying to play something it likes. And if you say I at least knew the roman characters, go learn the kanas and play a japanese pokemon game without any other japanese knowledge, it really won’t help you.

          And I don’t really understand why starting the generation from the start should be so annyoying to you. Do you need to have all of your stronger or already prepared monsters from the previous games to make the next one enjoyable? Playing a new game normally means starting from point zero, finding new monsters and exploring a new region, and for a game wich collection and raising are its main points, isn’t bypassing them like burning fourty/fifty bucks on a experience you already had? If playing the game from where it should be played is annoying, why not just skip the game altogether?

          • I think he meant the Lucky Egg and trade EXP bonuses.

        • The formula’s actually been tweaked to give you more 1.4 more EXP than the previous generations if your Pokemon is the same level as the opponent’s. As long as (opp. level + 2)/(your level + 2) doesn’t go less than 5/7 it’ll be receiving equal or more experience than the previous generations.

        • Ren

          If you meant what Tommy Lee said, not really. Like he said, while you’ll recieve more experience when battling against a pokemon with the same level than you would in the previous generations, you’re going to recieve less experience for having higher levels than the opponent and more experience for having less levels than the opponent. Experience boosts are applied during this calculation, so while you’ll still recieve more exp with boosts than with pokemons without boosts, the same rules above still apply. The boost can help, but it’s always better to just go to an area with higher leveled pokemon and use your exp boosts there. And if leveling is such a issue, just use the Lucky Egg you’ll gain for free during the middle of the main story, it won’t offset the relative level experience system, but will still give you more exp than you would have gotten otherwise. Anf if things turn out to be really difficult, just go to the league or eastern Unova after game or go Tabbune hunting on the special spots(The best pre-league leveling method) by running around like crazy without touching the tall grass until a special spot appears with your probable Tabbune, the pokemon who gives the third best experience in all game.

      • JustaGenericUser

        I’ll try your suggestion first and then Ishaan’s later if yours doesn’t work. Of course I won’t know if it works until I return to Siliconera later. I’ll edit this post when I do. Thank you both for the responses.

        EDIT: YES! Your suggestion worked. Logged out, logged back in, no more auto-fills. Thank you so much!

  • PrinceHeir

    i might try this or just wait for a 3DS version? haven’t played pokemon since crystal. so this must be a good start for me ^^

  • NeoTechni

    I’ve been asking for some of those since Pokemon Gold!

    Now I just hope it doesnt ask you 3 times if you’re sure you want to save, and get rid of the 20 messages Joy asks before you can heal.

    • Ren

      It actually only asks if you want to save once(it doesn’t ask if you want to rewrite it) and there’s even a progress bar for the save(it takes as long as HG/SS), but there’s still the whole nurse talk on the PokeCenter and the C-Gear notification when you load the game(if you want to turn it on, and if you choose to not, if you are sure you don’t want to turn it on) can get annoying.

      • NeoTechni


  • http://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/Experience#Gain_formula

    Concerning the revamped EXP system, if you compare the two formulas, you’ll see that if two opposing Pokemon are of equal level, the winner gets 1 + (1.4 times) more exp than the previous generations. Of course less technical veteran players wouldn’t notice that, and seeing decreasing values of EXP as they gain levels would discourage most from grinding. I think the main game Gen V wild Pokemon, other than Dabunné, have less Base (Battle reward) Exp than others from the previous generation though, but I’m too lazy to actually look it up.

  • Awesome stuff, I’ve already Pre-Ordered Black! I’m gonna finish the game before I send my SoulSilver Pokemon over to Black, then sell SoulSilver for more money for a 3DS =) Nice to see that the battles go buy quicker, this will hopefully make training more fun and less time consuming…March 4th can’t come SOON ENOUGH!! =D

  • “Dabunné”? I clearly read “Tabunne” a coloquial Japanese expresion. ._.
    And your style of playing is… weird, I came to the first gym with 2 Pokés, levels 10 and 8, Miju and Yoterry, the Doggy, I didn’t need the monkey to kill them. The most difficult gym for me has been the 2nd one, Minezumi’s evo is fast and annoying. :/

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