Pokémon Sword & Shield: Shinies Aren’t That Special

Shiny Pokémon were introduced to the world during the second Generation and have been with us ever since. These are Pokémon who exhibit different color patterns than their non-Shiny counterparts along with sparkling animations and unique sound effects — but all the differences are only cosmetic. Pit a Shiny Grookey against a normal Grookey and they will be evenly matched. Shiny Pokémon might be rare, but they certainly aren’t special.

The appeal of Shiny Pokémon makes sense — catching a Shiny Pokémon is an incredible feat, and the odds of acquiring one are unbelievably slim. In Sword & Shield those odds are about 1/4096 for Star Shinies and 1/65536 for Square Shinies. Those who have the time and patience are rewarded with something that not many others have. It’s a feeling that’s akin to grinding in MMO games. Keep doing the same thing over and over and eventually you’ll reach max level… or catch a Shiny.

However, there are two big differences between Shiny Hunting and regular old grinding. First, Shinies are simply a game of chance. Someone could put in thirty minutes of trying to acquire a Shiny and be successful, while another person could work for days and still come up short. By this standard, catching Shiny’s takes no skill, and those who spend more time aren’t more dedicated — they’re simply less lucky.

The second issue with Shiny Pokémon is that they are becoming less and less rare (at least when discussing Star Shinies). The odds of catching them as dropped significantly over the years. The first Shiny Pokémon in existence had a 1/8192 chance of appearing. Sword & Shield’s rate of 1/4096 is almost half of that. Moreover, the value of Star Shinies has been diluted by Square Shinies. Why waste your time trying to acquire something that isn’t even the rarest thing in the game? Of course, the odds of acquiring a Square Shiny are slim to none. Let’s put it this way — a roulette wheel landing on black FIFTEEN times in a row still has a better probability of occurring than a Square Shiny appearing.

When we get down to it, Shiny Hunting is essentially gambling. However, instead of using money, you’re gambling with time. Whether or not that Shiny Wooloo pops up after one hour or one hundred hours is completely random. For those of you who enjoy hunting Shiny Pokémon, more power to you. However, realize that just because something is rare doesn’t mean that it’s special, too.

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