Sunday, June 9, 2013

Completing the National Pokedex in Pokemon White 2

Last week I put the final touches to the primary version for my Walkthrough and Guide for Pokemon White 2 over at SuperCheats.  

My guide for White 2 is actually the third guide I have written for the fifth generation of the Pokemon game franchise, and my seventh guide overall for the series.  That says a lot, particularity when you consider that the average play time for one of those games when you are doing a guide is more than 300 hours.

That actually surprised me - it was not that I had forgotten the guides I had written so much as that I did not realize there were so many, starting with HeartGold (August 2010),  LeafGreen (November 2010), FireRed (March 2011), Emerald (March 2011), Black (April 2011), Black 2 (December 2012), and finally White 2 (May 2013).

Of the Pokemon guides I believe that White 2 was the most ambitious, since it covers game play and information beyond just completing the story and challenges in the game. 

Writing a Pokemon Walkthrough and Guide

The process of writing a game guide and walkthrough is pretty similar from game to game, and even from genre to genre in that it largely entails playing the hell out of the game so that you can cover every aspect of play for the main and secondary story lines.  You have to cover all of the plot elements, and in the process provide step-by-step instructions and strategies for beating boss mobs and the more complicated parts of a game.

In addition to all that, these days you also have to shoot game play videos to include as part of the illustrations for the guides - that was not always so - with the focus for each video being examples of how to do strategic things, and beat specific mobs, bosses, or enemies.

The Pokemon game series is even more challenging because in addition to all of that, you also have to keep track of and report which Pokemon are found where, and a major element for both play and the guides includes leveling up and evolving the different Pokemon lines.

If you are not familiar with the games, in addition to a story element and the basic goal of beating the regional Pokemon Gym Leaders to obtain their Gym Badges so that you can then go on to challenge - and hopefully defeat - the currently serving Regional Pokemon Champion - there is also the challenge of completing the Pokedex for the region covered by the game, and then going on to complete the National Pokedex, which includes the Pokemon from all of the regions in the canon, past and present.

The Regional & National Pokedex

If you are wondering just what a Pokedex is, well in simple terms it is an electronic encyclopedia of Pokemon, and it plays a major role in the games in that every Pokemon Professor from the first game and game generation all the way to the current game has asked the player to assist in completing the current National Pokedex, which is a complete record of all of the Pokemon known to exist at that time.

The National Dex is partly behind the slogan "Gotta Catch 'Em All!" and in some ways it is the bane of the existence for many Pokemon Trainers (Pokemon Trainer is what the player is called).

Once you complete the story in each title and beat the Regional Champion to become Regional Champ yourself, there is still the matter of completing the National Pokedex.

When I finished the game in White 2 I had seen something like 450 Pokemon, and I had captured and collected something like 370 or thereabouts.

At the present time the National Pokedex consists of 649 unique Pokemon - and when the newest games that make up the 6th Generation are released later this year that number will be very close to 1000!

Using a combination of previous generation titles, related offshoot games in the Pokemon series, special real-world and WiFi events, and trades with other Trainers (players) you can easily complete the regional Pokedex, but completing the National Dex is still something of a challenge!

Actually completing the National Dex is rather unusual.  In addition to writing the unofficial guides for many of the games, I happen to be a fan of the series, so I would have played the games whether I had been tasked with and assigned to write the guides or not.

I was introduced to the series with the title Pocket Monsters Green, when I was doing a contract in Japan, so it is fair to say that I have been playing these games since the very start, and even then thanks to the fact that there are special and rare Legendary Pokemon that can only be obtained by attending real world special events, a quick mental review of the games - there have been 21 games in the main series mind you - I have only actually fully completed the National Pokedex in 2 of the games, despite having played them all.

Completing the National Pokedex is important to most players - for bragging rights to be sure - but also because in addition to ensuring that you have at least one of each Pokemon it also lets you obtain special rewards, get a specially colored Trainer ID card in the games, and yeah, bragging rights.

Like a lot of Trainers I like to attend regional and national Pokemon events where I can pit my teams against the teams of other Trainers for battles -  informal and official - as it is a lot of fun.

Plus there is the fact that often the only legal way to obtain the full set of Pokemon for each game is to attend those events, as that is often where the rarest of the Pokemon are distributed.  Though that is changing, with WiFi-based distribution getting more popular.

Going for the Gold: The Pokemon White 2 National Dex

The challenge for completing the Unova Region Pokedex (that is the regional 'dex for the Black/White/Black 2/White 2 games) came down to a handful of special events and actions...  

You might find it interesting to learn how it all worked out for me, so I thought I would explain it.  It all started with the release of Pokemon Black 2 and White 2, which took place on 7 October 2012.

The first significant aspect that you will need to understand is that the rare and legendary Pokemon that are called Legendary differ slightly from the regular and rare Pokemon in that for one thing you cannot breed them.  They can only be caught and collected, not created.

There are actually several types of Legendary Pokemon - there are the regular Legendary Pokemon that area captured in the games, usually with each of the titles in a series having one of a related pair of Legendary Pokemon.

For example in Black/White and Black 2/White 2 there is a set of two Legendary Pokemon: Reshiram and Zekrom, each of which appears only in its designated game.  To obtain both of them you would have to own both games or get someone who owns the other game opposite the one you have to trade it to you.

The thing is, each game only has ONE of the Legendary.  So you basically have to either own both games or get some other player to give you what amounts to the only one of that type Pokemon in their game.

To get another they (or you) would be forced to delete your game save and start over again - and you may be shocked to learn that a lot of players do that when they first start out...  But the veteran players are more likely to buy an extra copy (or copies) of the games so that they have the freedom to play and restart in order to obtain additional Legendary Pokemon they can trade without disrupting or destroying their primary game save.

That should give you a pretty good idea of how all of this works, so back on subject again, the process of obtaining (or at least incorporating) many of the special Pokemon actually began with the two previous games in the current generation, Pokemon Black and White, but I will start at the logical beginning for White 2, which is my currently active title.

Once the game was advanced to the point that trading Pokemon between versions was possible, I traded in the special Pokemon that I needed for my version and stuck them in a box for later use or, in the case of regular Pokemon, version specific Pokemon, or the ones that were the first in an evolution series, they waited for me to have the time to evolve them in order to complete their entries in the dex.

So this is the order in which the first through final stages of completing first the Regional and then the National Pokedex occurred:

(01) Genesect - #300 in the Unova Pokedex.
Genesect is a rare and Legendary Pokemon..  Obtained via WiFi distribution through the Nintendo WFC in the game, simply by being sure to purchase it as soon as it was available.  For a few weeks starting when the game was officially released Nintendo was offering players who owned the games the ability to connect their game to the Internet and obtain this first special and rare Pokemon.

(02) Victini - #000 in the Unova Pokedex
The first Pokemon to ever have a dex number of #000, Victini was the early adopter reward for Pokemon Black and White.  If you bought the game when it first game out, you could obtain the special Wondercard via WiFi and then pick up a special item called the Liberty Pass at your local Pokemon Center.

Using the Liberty Pass, once you reached the city of Castelia in the game, you could  board the boat for Liberty Garden and capture and collect Victini there.  That was (and as far as I know still is) the only way to get this particular Legendary Pokemon.  Which means if you did not get it then, you are not getting it now unless you find someone willing to trade you one.

(03) Keldeo - #298 in the Unova Pokedex
On August 27th, 2012 Nintendo launched its first real-world Legendary Pokemon distribution event at GameStop stores throughout North America. Gamers could appear at their local GameStop with a copy of Pokemon Black or Pokemon White and receive one of this rare and special Legendary horse Pokemon. So I did that with my copies of both Pokemon Black and White...

Amazingly enough Nintendo offered Trainers a second opportunity to obtain this Legendary Pokemon, as between January 25th and February 12th, 2013 they made it available via the Nintendo WFC (a WiFi event basically) that allowed any Trainer who owned a copy of Pokemon Black 2 and White 2 to log into the WFC using the Mystery Gift Selection from the game main menu and download the Wondercard for this Pokemon.

If you did so you could then open a spot in your active party and obtain this Pokemon from the delivery boy at your local Pokemon Center. I did that for both Black 2 and White 2, so I ended up owning four unique Keldeo.

(04) Meloetta - #299 in the Unova Pokedex 
On 4 March 2013 Nintendo began to distribute, for a very limited time only, this Rare and Legendary Pokemon via GameStop stores in North America.

On 4 March you showed up at your local GameStop with your DS/3DS and your copy of Pokemon Black 2 or White 2, and you could receive one of this rare Pokemon to add to your game and your dex.

I did that for both Pokemon Black 2 and White 2, and for Pokemon Black and White, giving me four unique Meloetta to add to my collection and Pokedexes.

(05) Tornadus - #198 in the Unova Pokedex
A member of the “Kami Trio” which consists of three Legendary Pokemon: Tornadus, Thundurus, and Landorus. See the entry for Landorus for more details and on how I obtained them.

(06) Thundurus - #199 in the Unova Pokedex
A member of the “Kami Trio” which consists of three Legendary Pokemon: Tornadus, Thundurus, and Landorus. See the entry for Landorus for more details and on how I obtained them.

(07) Landorus - #200 in the Unova Pokedex
While there are other ways to obtain this Pokemon, which is known as a member of the Kami Trio in the games, the easiest method for obtaining it was to purchase a copy of the Nintendo 3DS digital game Pokemon Dream Radar ($2.99 from the online Nintendo Store), and then play the game until you unlocked this Pokemon, whereupon you capture it and then transfer it to your game - which in my case was Pokemon White 2. So that is what I did.

The Kami Trio consists of three Legendary Pokemon - Tornadus, Thundurus, and Landorus (with Landorus being the controlling member of the trio). Both Tornadus and Thunderus could be obtained as version-exclusive Legendary Pokemon in Pokemon Black and White (respective) in their “Incarnate” form.

Once you had captured/collected both (one in each of the games) you had to trade the one you did not have in your game so that you had the pair in your active party, you could then journey to the Abundant Shrine at the top of the Waterfalls on Route 14 and, presenting yourself to the Shrine, you would then spawn the controlling member of the trio, Landorus, who you could then capture and collect.

All of the trio collected in this manner were in their Incarnate forms. You could then trade them to Pokemon Black 2 or White 2 to add them to the dex in those games (these Pokemon were not present in either Pokemon Black 2 or White 2).

If you obtained the trio via the side-along game Pokemon Dream Radar they were collected and captured in their alternate form, which is their “Therian Forms” as this was the only way to obtain them for Pokemon Black 2 and White 2 if you did not trade them in from Black or White or both.

Obtaining the trio from Dream Radar was the preferred method however because if and when you did that, you could add the Therian Landorus to your party, visit the Abundant Shrine, and in recognition be gifted with a special devide that is called the “Reveal Glass” that allows you to transform any member of the trio from Therian to Incarnate form, or from Incarnate to Therian Form.

You could transform these Pokemon using the Reveal Glass, and you could also do the same to the Incarnate trio obtained from Pokemon Black and White.

Post-Champion Completion Efforts
Having at this point completed the main story and having beaten the Elite Four and the Unova Regional Pokemon Champion, I was ready to start seriously working on completing the National Pokedex.

To do that first I had to trade all of the version-exclusive Pokemon from Black 2 into White 2.  If you are working towards completing the National Pokedex or for that matter the Unova Regional Pokedex this is an obvious next step!

(08) Weedle - #013 in the National Pokedex

This is a regular Pokemon that is exclusive to Pokemon Black 2 - while I could “see” it in my version of the game by battling one or more of the NPC Trainers in the new area that is opened up after unlocking the National Dex, which consists of the cities or towns of Nacrene, Striaton, Accumula, and Nuvema, Routes 1, 2, 3, 17, 18, and the Pinwheel Forest, Wellspring Cave, Dreamyard, Plasma Frigate or the P2 Lab, I could not actually capture or collect it that way, as it has to be traded with Black 2...

(09) Kakuna - #014 in the National Pokedex
See entry (08) for details...

(10) Beedrill - #015 in the National Pokedex
See entry (08) for details...

(11) Magmar - #126 in the National Pokedex
See entry (08) for details...

(12) Spinarak - #167 in the National Pokedex
See entry (08) for details...

(13) Ariados - #168 in the National Pokedex
See entry (08) for details...

(14) Sudowoodo - #185 in the National Pokedex
See entry (08) for details...

(15) Heracross - #214 in the National Pokedex
See entry (08) for details...

(16) Magby - #240 in the National Pokedex
See entry (08) for details...

(17) Plusle - #311 in the National Pokedex
See entry (08) for details...

(18) Volbeat - #313 in the National Pokedex
See entry (08) for details...

(19) Spoink - #325 in the National Pokedex
See entry (08) for details...

(20) Grumpig - #326 in the National Pokedex
See entry (08) for details...

(21) Registeel - #379 in the National Pokedex
See entry (08) for details...

(22) Buneary - #427 in the National Pokedex
See entry (08) for details...

(23) Lopunny - #428 in the National Pokedex
See entry (08) for details...

(24) Stunky - #434 in the National Pokedex
See entry (08) for details...

(25) Skuntank - #435 in the National Pokedex
See entry (08) for details...

(26) Bonsly - #438 in the National Pokedex
See entry (08) for details...

(27) Gible - #443 in the National Pokedex
See entry (08) for details...

(28) Gabite - #444 in the National Pokedex
See entry (08) for details...

(29) Garchomp - #445 in the National Pokedex
See entry (08) for details...

(30) Magmortar - #467 in the National Pokedex
See entry (08) for details...

(31) Cottonee - #546 in the National Pokedex
See entry (08) for details...

(32) Whimsicott - #547 in the National Pokedex
See entry (08) for details...

(33) Gothita - #574 in the National Pokedex
See entry (08) for details...

(34) Gothorita - #575 in the National Pokedex
See entry (08) for details...

(35) Gothitelle - #576 in the National Pokedex
See entry (08) for details...

(36) Vullaby - #629 in the National Pokedex
See entry (08) for details...

(37) Mandibuzz - #630 in the National Pokedex
See entry (08) for details...

(38) Latios - #381 in the National Pokedex
This is the second of the pair of unique Rare and Legendary Pokemon from a previous game and region that can be obtained in the Dreamyard - though this is the one that is exclusive to Pokemon Black 2 mind you... Since I already had captured and collected Latias for White 2, trading this one in next made the most sense.

(39) Zekrom - #644 in the National Pokedex
This is the second of the pair of unique Rare and Legendary Pokemon from the Gen V games and Unova region that is obtained as part of the story.

(40) The Big List
At this point having either captured and/or traded all of the Pokemon that are available in Gen V into the game, it was time to figure out what was required from the games in the previous generations.

While theoretically that could run up to and including the Gen III games from the GBA, it would not actually be necessary to first collect and transfer Pokemon from them into Gen IV and then to Gen V because in addition to the core games from Gen IV that I owned (which meant Pokemon Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum) I also owned a copy of Pokemon HeartGold as a result of my having written the guide for that game.

Subsequently between all of the Gen IV games I had access to all of the Pokemon I would need to complete the Gen V National Dex, just not as individual Pokemon. And even if I had been able to obtain them as individual Pokemon the number of Pokemon that would entail would have ended up overwhelming my Pokemon Storage System in White 2!

What I ended up doing was sitting down with White 2, loading the National Dex, and making a list using just the numbers (so it would fit on a single page of paper) of all the Pokemon. Basically that meant creating a bunch of columns with the numbers 1 through 649 on it, with a little box next to each that could be filled in or ticked to indicate that I had that one.

With that done I then consulted the National Pokedex on and drew arrows connecting the first form in each set through its evolutions. That way I could figure out which Pokemon I actually needed to have, and then I could evolve each of those to cover the rest of the forms in their specific evolutionary chain!

With that accomplished I began to transfer each of the required Pokemon until I had them all.

(41) Legendary Pokemon from Previous Generations
The next to final task was to look in the special boxes that I had set aside in each game to see what Legendary Pokemon were present.

Because I plan to compete with Pokemon White 2 (and later either Pokemon X or Y) I needed to be sure that all of the Pokemon I transferred in to it were completely legitimate - I know that some of the trades I did in previous games ended up getting me hacked Pokemon (I did not know that they were hacked at the time or I would never have traded for them), so I needed to access the different database and Legendary Lists online to verify the OT and ID No of the Legendary Pokemon I owned, being certain only to transfer the ones that were legitimate.

The End Results

Well, there you have it. The end results are that I now have on my game all of the Pokemon that I will need to complete the National Pokedex - I just need to evolve them all through their full chains.

There is still a lot left to do beyond that mind you - I still need to fully upgrade the shops in my Join Avenue Mall, and I want to go back to N's Castle and fully explore it as I did not do that to my satisfaction before.

There is also the matter of the pass that Professor Juniper gave me that allows me to use the airport in Mistralton City to fly to the Pokemon Nature Preserve, where I understand that in addition to some hard to find Pokemon with potentially great natures and abilities, there is also supposed to be a Shiny Hacorus that is literally there for the taking!

I also need to show Professor Juniper my Unova Pokedex now that I have the Kami Trio in my dex and collection so that I can obtain the reward for that - which is an Oval Charm that according to the rumors makes it easier for the Daycare Man to find eggs. That could come in handy for completing the National Dex Collection since some of the Pokemon I need for that can only be obtained by breeding.

Rumor has it that the reward for showing the Professor your Dex after you have completely filled it is a special Shiny Charm that makes it exponentially more likely for you to encounter Shiny Pokemon in the wild - that would be pretty cool considering that throughout the entire span of the decades that I have been playing the games I have only managed to capture a total of eight (8) Shiny Pokemon...

If you are curious, my collection of Shiny Pokemon consists of:
  • #078 - Rapidash. I named him Oranoco, and he was captured in Kanto.
  • #130 - Gyarados. I named her Lucy Rouge, and she was captured in Johto.
  • #172 - Pichu (SPR2010). I named him PICHU, and he was captured in Sinnoh.
  • #244 - Entei (GAMESTP). I named him ENTEI, and he was captured in A Special Place.
  • #340 - Whiscash. I named him HIRO, and he was captured in Sinnoh.
  • #373 - Salamence. I named him Javier, and he was captured in Hoenn.
  • #455 - Carnivine. I named him Sweet, and he was captured in Sinnoh.
  • #624 - Pawniard. I named him Brightone, and he was captured in Unova.
Of the eight above only three are wild captures - my Rapidash, Carnivine, and Pawniard. The Whiscash and Salamence were obtained as trades so I did not capture them, while the Gyrados is the Shiny you got automatically from a previous game. The Pichu is the Pointy-Ear give-away one, and the Entei is, of course, also a give-away one from GameStop.

That pretty much wraps up the National Dex completion report. I would be interested to hear your story of how you have completed or are working on completing your National Dex for Black 2 or White 2- will you have it done before X/Y release? That is my goal :)

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