Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Ray Rizzo and the Case of the Dream Ball Aegislash

Dream Ball animation close up.
Fan sites and blogs have been fueled by recent events of Nationals in the US. A lot of what is on these sites relates to the events held, individual recounts of the tournaments, etc. Nothing to far from the norm. However, there has been one issue that apparently arose from this past weekend: Ray Rizzo's use of an Aegislash that emerges from a Dream Ball (as seen to the right). The issue here is that Aegislash is a 6th Gen Pokémon from X and Y and Dream Balls are only available in 5th Gen (Black, White, Black 2, and White 2). This makes it seem like RIzzo may have used some sort of cheat device on his game. Outcries of foul play, as well as defense of Rizzo have sprung up all over the internet. Many fans are calling for the Pokémon Company International to take a stand on this, and formally take action against him. Some suggest simply removing some of the Play! Points he earned (which are used to qualify for events like Worlds) while others are calling for his three previous World's Championships to be voided. This almost sounds like something you would hear happen to a major league sports player who is suspected of cheating, so those at his defense (and Rizzo himself) shouldn't be surprised. I don't really follow competitive players like they are major league athletes or celebrities, but many people do and therefore he is going to be under great scrutiny from these people. 

Despite the "evidence" against him, there are some things about this issue that nullify it. First of all, Rizzo explained on his Facebook page quote:

“Basically someone who I’m not going to mention because people might troll them over this and I don’t want that to happen, unknowingly bred a presumably hacked dream ball Aegislash and the ball passed down from one of the parents, so the completely legit baby Aegislash ended up having a dream ball too. The person who bred it for me didn’t notice because they thought the parents were perfectly fine. So then they traded the baby Aegislash to me so I could EV train it and use it. Let me tell you I don’t know anything about ingame. I have maybe 60 hours of gametime and I couldn’t tell you the difference between a dream ball and a dusk ball, so I had absolutely no idea it was in a dream ball. I just take my Pokemon through Nintendo’s hack check online on battle spot and at the competitions and they’re totally fine because they are always bred completely legitly, so I go ahead and use it. I simply do not play ingame, there’s no way I would have even known it was in a dream ball since it doesn’t tell you, and I wouldn’t have even known there was anything wrong with it being in a dream ball because it passes hack checks and I don’t even know what [...] a dream ball is or how you get dream balls.”

Aegislash being sent out.
Does this completely clear him? No, not really, but it doesn't really prove he hacked either. In my mind, this is a completely plausible scenario. This does mean that somewhere along the line, however, a hacker was involved. This is where I stand against hacking (yet again). If the previous quote is true, and I have no real reason to doubt it, then that means somebody willingly traded Rizzo's friend a hack which in turn put Rizzo in this situation. That is why I don't like people who cheat. They think they have the right to do whatever they want in the game, and to some degree they do. Pokémon games are becoming a really community game though. With the addition of the PSS system, it's easier than ever to interact with random people you don't know. When you hack your game and pass off your cheated merchandise as legitimate to someone who doesn't know how to tell, we end up in a situation like this. Someone who is innocent in the matter is publicly defamed. All because some jerk wanted to catch their pokémon in a rare pink pokéball.

Now, this is not to say that Ray Rizzo and his breeder friend are completely blameless either. You guys are in the big leagues. You should know as much as possible about this game, seeing how it is essentially your current claim to fame. Pleading ignorance in the tone Rizzo used doesn't jive with me. If he had been more like, "I haven't dealt with a Dream Ball before, so I didn't know this combination wasn't obtainable normally" I'd been fine with that. Not everyone utilized the Dream Radar or Dream World features last gen. (If a pokémon wasn't obtainable from the Dream Radar or World, then it should not be in a Dream Ball.) Instead he basically says he's ignorant of essentially anything ingame. That's not really a good defense. Any good lawyer will tell you that ignorance of the law does not excuse you from it. This is the same case, ignorance of an illegal combination, so he's kind of going to have to accept people thinking whatever it is they think. As for his breeder friend, he SHOULD know better. He breeds pokémon to trade, seemingly for competitive tournament play. He should know what combinations of pokéball, shininess (because some pokémon aren't legally shiny), etc are acceptable for tournament play. 



The Dream Ball
In the end though, I don't personally think Pokémon Company International has to do anything to Ray Rizzo. If the pokémon is reviewed as not having been altered by a cheat device then I see no reason for penalty. Keep in mind, I'm not just addressing stats, moves, or ability. I mean it should not have been altered AT ALL. Some people think it's ok to hack to change a pokémon to it's shiny version. I work hard to find them legally, so I do not. I know this has no effect on battle, I don't care. I worked hard for mine, and a hacker did not. That's the only reason I need to not like it. Also, Rizzo is at a point now, like it or not, where he has to prove unequivocally that he doesn't cheat... Aegislash can't get flagged for any reason or people will claim he is a hacker. Back to the Aegislash itself, we know the parent was obviously hacked, but that wouldn't transfer via breeding. In this regard I would say the Aegislash is 99.99% legit, and since the pokéball the pokémon is in is quite honestly "unimportant". Because of this, the pokéball would not flag a hack checker. Neither would shininess.. but I REALLY don't have any respect for people who have to hack just to get a different color and dilute the rareness of the feature.

An important note here is to learn from Rizzo's mistake. I would never suggest battling at a Video Game Championship with anything traded for via Wonder Trade or GTS. Instead, take that pokémon and breed it. Any pokémon bred legally, despite the legality of the parents, is legal as I previously mentioned. Also, if you don't know your pokéballs (since that is apparently an issue among the competitive battle scene), just breed with Ditto. All of your pokémon will be in regular Pokéballs so there will never be a question. Don't like regular pokéballs? You prefer pokéballs with patterns? Then take a couple minutes and learn them. Hopefully, Rizzo learned this lesson and will be more careful next time he's in the spotlight.

UPDATE: If you are concerned that some of your pokémon might be in a pokéball they aren't supposed to be, Serebii has added a new section that details all of the potential pokéballs that pokémon can legally be in.