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An ode to the tempting spawns of Pokémon Sword and Shield’s Wild Area

I want them even though I know I can’t have them

A Pokémon trainer sprints towards a Machamp Game Freak, The Pokémon Company/Nintendo via Polygon

Pokémon Sword and Shield introduced the ability to run into Pokémon extremely out of your level range in the Wild Area and I cannot stop running into them.

The Wild Area, an open and free wilderness where Pokémon run around, is a new addition to the Pokémon series. This area is broken up into different zones. Those zones feature some Pokémon that are way too strong for you to catch in the early hours. If low-leveled Sneasels are running around and an Abomasnow pops up outside of the grass, you can guess that the Abomasnow is going to be out of your level range.

Before I beat the game and had access to catching them all, I couldn’t help but to run into these obvious traps. I didn’t want to battle them. I wasn’t trying to farm them for experience points or anything like that. I wanted to catch them, and every time I saw something in the Wild Area, my pea brain would forget that it was an obvious set-up by Game Freak.

I’ll be minding my own business, biking through the Wild Area, picking up items and farming berries when I see a Gallade in the distance. “Holy crap, is that just a fully evolved Gallade over there? My team is only level 36, but surely it will be a low level and I can catch it,” I think to myself, biking headfirst into the Pokémon.

A Conkeldurr stares at a Pokémon trainer in the Wild Area
Desire ...
Game Freak, The Pokémon Company/Nintendo via Polygon

No, I am wrong, yet again, and the Gallade is way too strong for me. Rinse and repeat with any of the powerful, tempting Pokémon in the Wild Area. I do not know what particularly draws me into them every time. The second I see a new, overly-powerful Pokémon walking around in front of me, my brain completely forgets what happened last time and I charge into them at full speed, only to realize, “Wait, shit.”

I think the thrill of seeing something so rare — a fully evolved Pokémon — makes my brain reset. I get so excited and overwhelmed by seeing a wild Umbreon or Vileplume, that I forget everything else around me. That’s part of the magic of the game. I get so mystified by these spawns that I forget the first rule the game teaches me upon entering the Wild Area: there will be Pokémon that are too strong for you.

I try to tell people: If a Pokémon in the Wild Area looks too good to be true, it probably is. But I’m completely unable to take my own advice.

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