Is hacking Pokemon cheating? For trading or building a collection, you can easily say so. For battling, however, it’s more of a breeding shortcut than anything else. While I appreciate the breeding aspect of the series and what the developers have done in Pokemon X & Y to speed up the process, it is still too slow and can be very tedious at times. Just look at the stats: even with perfect breeding conditions (having two 6 IV Pokemon, an Everstone, and a Destiny Knot), there is still only a one-sixth chance that you will get a perfect Pokemon with flawless natural stats. I have made over twenty perfect Pokemon using this breeding system, and though I sometimes get my desired Pokemon within the first five eggs, there have been a number of occasions where I had to hatch over a hundred eggs just to get a single perfect monster. In addition, many Pokemon carry multiple abilities or must be a certain gender, so on top of a one-sixth chance of getting the correct Pokemon stats, now there is a 50% and sometimes 33% chance of getting the correct ability/gender. In a nutshell (or should I say Cloyster shell?), breeding can take a very long time. This is where hacking comes in.
Hacking, at least in the sense that I use it, is merely skipping the many steps of breeding. After all, many play Pokemon solely for the battles. They don’t try to catch them all or follow the story. Us competitive players are not making Pokemon impossibly stronger or giving them moves that they were never programmed to learn. In fact, to my knowledge, you cannot create and transfer any Pokemon with unusual specifications. Pokemon Bank does a good job of stopping Pokemon that have illegal stats and moves. As long as the species of Pokemon can legitimately acquire its stats and learn its given moves, it will pass through. Thus, anytime you battle an opponent online, whether they are using hacked or legitimately obtained Pokemon, you can be certain that their Pokemon are not breaking any rules. And best of all for those interested in hacking together a custom team, all you need is a copy of Pokemon Black or White Version and access to the Internet or an Action Replay.
Here’s the way I see hacking: if you want to play Pokemon at a competitive level, you will have to make “Perfect” Pokemon. It’s pretty safe to assume that the grand majority of people competing in Rated Battles will use Perfect Pokemon. Besides, whenever you battle an opponent, you should always assume that their Pokemon is trained and bred to its best potential. It’s at this point that whether a Pokemon is hacked or not becomes completely irrelevant. If I fight a great Charizard, there is no way to tell if it was bred or hacked. It doesn’t matter; the stats would be the same anyway. Competitive Pokemon play is not about just maxing out all the stats you can, its about building a balanced team of Pokemon you like and adjusting their stats according to how you decide to run your other Pokemon. This is what separates a great trainer from a novice. Strategy, move coverage, type coverage – that is what you have to think about when trying to make a good team. Yet, without an aid for creating Pokemon, simply put, it just takes too long.
Many people just want to battle, and the time you invest in breeding doesn’t even show in your Pokemon. For all your opponent knows, it could have taken you a month to make your team, or a day. This is why hacking for the sake of competitive battling is not only good for the individual, but good for the community. Since making Pokemon battle-ready is so easy nowadays, you can spend less time breeding and more time coming up with unique strategies and experimenting with Pokemon you normally wouldn’t consider using. If you come up with an amazing combination of moves to use on a Pokemon, you shouldn’t be stopped by the breeding mechanic. As much as we love to play Pokemon, we do have other things to do and in many cases other games to play. I would hate it if I spent 80% of my time breeding Pokemon and the remaining 20% actually battling with them. It’s like only being allowed into a chess tournament if you handcrafted all your own pieces. Let people buy or borrow pieces. They do the same thing and making them doesn’t give you an advantage.
There is nothing to stop you from making Pokemon only using what the game provides. Some people put more value into Pokemon that they take the time to train, and that’s fine. Play the way that gives you the most enjoyment out of the game. If you plan on entering an officially sanctioned Pokemon tournament though, make sure you use Pokemon that were bred in-game. Think of hacking as experimenting: once you find a strategy you are satisfied with, you’ll want to then use legitimate Pokemon to avoid any kind of discrepancy that may arise in a tournament.
As a result of hacking, we have a bigger community of people to play against and a more accessible way to discover new strategies. Now go out there and create your Pokemon dream team!