6 Quality-of-Life Improvements We Still Need in Pokemon Games

Pokémon's thrown out HM mules for good, but what other quality-of-life improvements could they make?

Published: October 2, 2021 12:00 PM /


The hidden machine, Cut, being used in Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl

Every mainline Pokemon game brings with it some quality-of-life improvements. They recently confirmed on the official Pokemon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl features page that HM mules are a thing of the past, even for remakes. Now you'll be able to call on wild Pokemon to use hidden moves instead of forcing your team to learn them. This is a relief for long-time fans of the series, but there are still several quality-of-life changes they could make to improve the experience.

Asynchronous Friend Trading

A Wooloo being traded in Pokemon Sword and Shield

In Pokemon HOME, you can place a Pokemon in the Wonder Box, which can be traded for another player's random Pokemon even when you're not using the service. However, if you want to trade with a friend, you both need to be connected to the internet and using the app at the same time.

It'd be useful if you could simply choose a friend and designate a Pokemon to be traded away. The next time your friend logged in, they'd receive a notification that you'd requested a trade. Ideally, they'd be able to see which Pokemon you were trading and its held item if applicable (useful for trade evolutions). They could then accept on the spot and pick a Pokemon to send to you, put the trade on hold while they hunted or bred a Pokemon they wanted to trade or decline.

It would also be convenient if they allowed you to either do this in the game or using the Pokemon HOME version on your Nintendo Switch, instead of requiring the use of a mobile phone, but at this point, we'll take what we can get.

Easier Pokemon Customization

There are two specific improvements I'd like to see here. First, it would be nice to be able to change the Poke Ball your Pokemon is stored in, maybe limiting this to only store-bought and not prestige balls. It's more impressive to snag a Pokemon with a low catch rate in a standard Poke Ball, but this is only visual. They allow us to change the Nature of a Pokemon using a mint now, which is vastly more important for battling, so why not something purely aesthetic?

Second, we should be able to change a Pokemon's ability from their Hidden Ability to a standard Ability. We can already 'upgrade' from a standard Ability to their Hidden Ability using an Ability Patch, and change from one standard Ability to another with an Ability Capsule, but not 'downgrade' from the Hidden Ability to either standard one. While the Hidden Ability is rarer, it's not always better.

Exact EV Numbers

The EV graph of a Cresselia in Pokemon Sword and Shield
This Pokemon is fully EV trained, but only one stat is maximized.

While you can see a graph of your Pokemon's effort value (EV) distribution, it's difficult to tell precisely how many EVs are in each stat unless you've maximized it, i.e. put 252 EVs into it. In Pokemon Sword and Shield, you can tell if an EV is maxed by pressing X on the summary and checking for gold sparkles around the name of the stat.

If you're not using a 'standard' EV spread -- maximizing two stats and sticking the remaining six into a defensive stat -- you'll have more trouble. In this case, the only way to know for sure how many EVs your Pokemon has is to count as you train them. If you're boosting the EVs they gain using things like vitamins, power items, or Pokerus, it might not be that tedious. Either way, it'd be so much easier to be able to see at a glance exactly how many EVs your Pokemon has instead of keeping a spreadsheet open in the background.

PC Box Organization

A PC box full of Pokemon

If you're collecting or breeding Pokemon or trying to fill in your Pokedex, your Pokemon storage boxes will fill up quickly. While Pokemon HOME has filters for sorting Pokemon, we need more robust ways in the games to organize our Pokemon without moving them constantly.

Allowing players to choose which box a Pokemon should go in when it's caught or traded would already be a big step up. Another option is locking a box, preventing new Pokemon from being added to it even if there's space. Finally, the ability to sort, in a particular box or across all boxes, by things like Pokedex number, type, level, IV rating, newest acquisitions, or whether a Pokemon is fully EV trained or not, would save a ton of time.

Quicker Battles

A Goodra dynamaxing in Pokemon Sword and Shield
This animation isn't as cool the 100th time you've seen it.

You'll probably spend the majority of your time in any Pokemon game battling. You can already speed up battles by turning off animations and making the text speed faster in options, but there's still room for improvement.

If you're doing a lot of Max Raid Battles in Pokemon Sword and Shield, the majority of your time is spent watching the Dynamax animations, which you can't turn off, and staring at the battle messages scrolling by. It's even worse if it's hailing or there's a sandstorm since you have to watch the HP of each Pokemon tick down at the end of every turn. Even at the fastest text speed, it's time-consuming. If we could fast forward battles by holding down a button or choose which messages we wanted to see, it would make repetitive battles like this less of a chore.

Updated Moves and Movesets

The physical/special split of Generation IV is perhaps the most important mechanical change ever introduced. It made it so that moves, not types, were physical or special and increased the viability of many Pokemon as a result. The problem is that they haven't introduced a ton of good moves after the split.

For example, Electric was previously a special type, so it has some excellent special moves like Discharge, Thunderbolt, and Thunder. But an Electric-type Pokemon with a high physical attack, like Luxray or Zebstrika, is crippled by its moveset. The best physical Electric-type move is Wild Charge with 90 power, but it does recoil damage. Aside from that, Spark or Thunder Fang, with their measly 65 power, are the next best options. They'll get you through the main plot, but they're nigh unusable in competitive formats. This is one of the most egregious examples, but every type could use some better damaging moves in what was originally the opposite category.

These are the quality-of-life improvements I'd most like to see in future Pokemon games, but I'm sure there are plenty more. Do you agree with my list or think some of the ideas would take away challenging aspects of the game? And which quality-of-life changes do you think they should add?

Have a tip, or want to point out something we missed? Leave a Comment or e-mail us at tips@techraptor.net

Sarah Mathes
| Former Staff Writer

Sarah is a freelance entertainment and lifestyle writer. Although she technically got her start playing video games with the… More about Sarah