After being teased for about a week, Pokemon GO has finally updated their HP and Defense formulas! In this article, we'll go over why Pokemon CP changed so drastically, and what Niantic’s assumed intent is for with these changes.
What Has Not Changed
Base Stamina Changes
While Blissey is one of a few Pokemon nerfed from the stamina change, -14 stamina is hardly noticeable. In this respect, it is safe to say that the stamina changes were meant as a global buff to viability of all Pokemon. The scales tip less favorably for some Pokemon with the Base Defense rebalance.
Base Defense Changes
Where Higher is the higher of Defense and Special Defense, and Lower is the lower value between Defense and Special Defense from the main series games. If a Pokemon have equal Defense and Special Defense, ScaledDefense is simply 2x Defense.
This change can be seen as a compromise between Pokemon GO’s previous Base Defense and the original base defense Pokemon GO had on release. On release, Defense and Special Defense were weighted equally. With the 2017 update, the higher of these two stats for each species was given 7/8ths more weight than the lower, allowing Pokemon with more specialized defensive stats to excel in defense in Pokemon GO. While this weight change had a positive effect on the Base Attack stat, allowing Machamp and Alakazam to finally stand out as attackers, this change in Base Defense has played a heavy hand in making Blissey so insanely tanky.
This midway change only grants specialized defenders a 5/8ths weight opposed to a 7/8ths. This has resulted in nerfs in every Pokemon’s Base Defense unless both their Defense and Special Defense are balanced in the main series, in which case there is no change at all. Pokemon hit hardest by this are Physical Tanks such as Rhydon and Steelix and Special Tanks such as the infamous Blissey.
It isn’t clear if the changes in the defense stat weights were meant by Niantic as a personal assault on Blissey or as a global nerf to most Pokemon to further normalize bulk. Even with these changes, Blissey remains the greatest gym defender in Pokemon GO but she holds significantly less weight as a high total damage output (TDO) attacker.
On paper, Pokemon with a higher total damage output (TDO) have a natural advantage in PvP. To illustrate, Blissey, formerly the highest TDO Pokemon in Pokemon GO, had enough bulk to outlast any opponent in combat. This suggests that under most circumstances, Blissey would be able to beat any opponent before they could defeat her. Unless Niantic banned Blissey (or adopted a PvP system unlike any other combat in Pokemon GO) Blissey would centralize the meta-game: either you’d be winning with Blissey or losing against Blissey.
With these changes in place, Blissey’s comprehensive TDO is now only ~30 points above Dragonite, another solid TDO Pokemon, where before it was over 300 points higher. Should PvP be anything like raids or gym battles, this puts Blissey in a much more manageable position opposed to a dominating one. It is for this reason it is reasonable to assume that these changes which appear to aim towards normalizing bulk (and therefore TDO) in Pokemon GO may be in preparation for PvP.