In this episode of ATPT, we are joined by JRE47, a prominent Pokemon GO PVP reporter for the Silph Arena and GoHub.
JRE47 talks about his experience with Pokemon GO and how he got involved in PVP. He also shares the origins of becoming a PVP reporter for the Silph Arena and his role in the community.
JRE47 explains the importance of the Dev Diaries and how they can provide insight into the development process of Pokemon GO' and are a vital form of communication between Niantic and the playerbase. He also shares his thoughts on the current state of PVP in Pokemon GO and where he thinks it's headed in the future.
We also dive into JRE47's personal experience with Pokemon GO, his favorite Pokemon, and his journey towards becoming a PVP expert. He shares his tips and tricks for those looking to get involved in PVP and how to become successful in the competitive scene.
Trainer's Eye is a series where the stories are real and people still play this game. From PVP to Shiny Hunting, each person's Pokemon GO journey is unique and we dive into each journey here on As The Pokeball Turns!
Opening Song: "Forget You" by Alex_MakeMusic from Pixabay
Connect with JRE47: Twitter | Reddit | GoHub
TRAINER'S EYE #8 - "Page 400" ft. JRE47
David: [00:00:00] Hello everyone. My name is David Hernandez and you're listening to As the Pokeball Turns.
David: Hello everyone and welcome to another episode of As the Pokeball Turns, a Pokemon Go Podcast where we discuss news, events, and other topics around Pokemon Go. Today we have episode eight of Trainer's Eyes, a Segment where we get to hear from you, the community, on how your Pokemon Go journey [00:01:00] started, where it has been, and where it is currently going. Journalism is the activity of gathering, assessing, creating, and presenting news and information. According to the American Press Institute, the purpose of journalism is not defined by technology, journalist, or the techniques they use, but the principles and purpose of journalism are defined by something more basic: The function news plays in the lives of the people. Now, that begs the question, what function does news play in people's lives? In the day of technology where news is on hand 24/7 and the avenue of social media giants like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, constantly feeding news content, it is easy to feel jaded by news and feel that it's role is to gaslit the masses or manipulate the public. However, the purpose of news and ultimately journalism isn't to control people, but to provide people with the information they need to make the best possible decisions, whether we're talking politics or simply a game like Pokemon Go. When it comes to Pokemon Go, websites like GoHub, Leek Duck, Gamep [00:02:00] ress, and countless others gather information and report it to the Pokemon Go community about certain avenues of the game ranging from raid bosses, PVP, or even decisions or lack thereof made by Niantic. In turn, they help inform the player base on which Pokemon to consider investing stardust and time, as well as providing insight to different topics, most notably the in-game boxes and changes with the in-game mechanics. Today, we get to hear from a Pokemon Go journalist who started out analyzing Metas in Pokemon in early days of the Silph Arena Reddit. He is the author of both "Nifty or Thrifty" and "Under the Lights" and has officially reached his fourth hundredth article for Pokemon Go, My friends, allow me to introduce to you Ryan, aka JRE47!
David: We are now live with the next episode of Trainer's Eyes. Today I'm joined by arguably one of the most influential people in the PVP scene, JRE47. JRE welcome to the show.
JRE47: Hi, Thanks for [00:03:00] having me.
David: Definitely, man. So before we do get started, I didn't know you were JRE until I put the pieces together because back when, that sounds weird, Right? But back when the, Silph Cup first started and it was the Kingdom Cup, I believe, and I read the Nifty and Thrifty series, and one of the Pokemon you suggested was the, I believe, the Sunny Forme Castform and I was like, " This is a spicy pick. I'm gonna try it." And I didn't know that was you until I kind of look into your bio and stuff like that and you read all this stuff. I was like, Oh, this is the dude who suggested to use Castform and I just wanna say thank you for the bottom of my heart, just, making that suggestion cuz I will never be able to use Castform probably ever again at this point.
JRE47: I love all the Castforms, but yeah, the, the sunny one was pretty spicy back then. You're right.
David: Yeah, definitely, definitely. Now, you know, people of course know you as the author of the Nifty or Thrifty series and everything else, but before that you had an origin story, you had somehow get into Pokemon Go of the crazy game that we somehow still choose to play for whatever reason. And I gotta ask everything I ask my other guests, like, how did your journey in Pokemon go start?
JRE47: Well, I was bitten by a radio [00:04:00] active spi-, No, I'm kidding. Um, , I, uh, I actually picked up the game, after about the first month. My wife started from day one. She's a teacher and so, the kids that she teaches were into it, so she got into it. I've never done, and this is my perhaps mortal weakness coming out. I've never done anything Pokemon before Go. I mean, I was familiar with the franchise just from everybody hears about it somewhere or other, but I picked it up cuz my wife was playing and I wanted to play with her, so, those first couple years before pvp, I just did like everybody else did, went out with my friends and local folks to the local parks and walked around and hung out and caught stuff and chased down Snorlaxes late at night when you, somebody would tell you, Hey, there's one at that next block and you go sprinting and going to get it. I never imagined, I'd get into PVP because again, never doing Pokemon before this. that's not something that I like missed. Most of the other Pokemon games, you fight other trainers, you, fight Blue or whoever it may be. I didn't have that, so [00:05:00] it's not something I was necessarily looking forward to, but when it came along, my local group was getting into it and I just thought, "Hey, I'll give it a shot." And so I did and the rest is history.
David: So when Pokemon did came out, I'm not talk about Go, but you know, the original franchise back in the nineties, was it just something like you weren't interested in or was it like you're past the age of it being appealing?
JRE47: I was born in 80, uh, yes, I'm an old fart. so I didn't grow up with it necessarily like some other people did, it was around and I had friends that were into it, but when it was starting to get big, I was already in high school. I'd kind of moved on to other things and, most of my friends had as well, so kind of missed it a little bit. I certainly could have gotten into it back then, but I was just focused on other stuff, Once the first couple generations come out and it's been around for a while, it's like, eh, it's a little late to jump in now, at least I figured. So there's what like a 20 year gap where I didn't do any of it and then all of a sudden there comes go. We played it pretty frequently. My kids were still pretty young then, so we take 'em out in the stroller and go to the park and they could play while, you know, we play in the park [00:06:00] on GO.
David: And what team did you choose?
David: Valor. Any particular reason or just your favorite color or?
JRE47: My wife was Valor. Oh, it's as easy as that. I just picked the same team she did.
David: So you never expected to get involved in PVP as you do now?
JRE47: No. Um, so some people don't even realize the Silph Arena, which came along before GBL, before P-V-P got what it is now. That was around for close to a year before GBL had ever launched, back when it was still a twinkle in John Hanke's eye as I like to say. Um, again, I had friends that, were definitely big into the game and they were getting into the PVP aspect cuz they did have some more of that, uh, history of, battles in Pokemon, this is what we do with our Pokemon. They started getting into it with the Silph Arena. I missed the very first cup and got in very late into the second cup, so about two months after PVP had really gotten started with Arena. I just got into it myself. It was down to like the last week of it, and there was a tournament coming up locally. So I looked [00:07:00] into it and tried to figure out, what some good stuff to use that I have or like a quick maybe go out and find and build up. And it was actually through that, that I started doing some of what I do now with the writing where I'd lay out a bunch of things like on paper like, okay, I've got these and this is good against this and this would plug this hole. And just in putting some of my initial teams together, started coming up with some of my, analytical style that kind of continues today.
David: I'm guessing that's how the Nifty and Thrifty series started?
JRE47: Yes. So, oh gosh, it was either the third or the fourth month of the arena. Again, I was really starting to get into it at that point, cuz my very first tournament, I actually won! I came in with a Victreebel back before people realized what Razor Relief was all about. I shredded like the best guy in our area. I just had the per, I think he had an Azumarill versus my Victreebel and that ended up winning it for me. So after that, I mean, I was very encouraged to keep going and so I just got more in depth and started making like actual spreadsheets of what I had and what I could use for, certain teams [00:08:00] and what my opponents would likely be using and how to match everything up. And then through that I just had like all this information in front of me and I'd recently gotten into Reddit and Silph Arena had their own subreddit at the time. And so I just kind of threw some of my stuff out there like, "Hey, I've been looking at some of this stuff. Here's some ideas that might help some other people." cause we were all getting into it at that point. Again, this was pre GBL, people were still getting into Silph. So I was like, I got all this stuff already written down. Why am I just gonna sit on this? So I just put it into what ended up being my first, Nifty or Thrifty and I just threw it together and was like, Hey, here's some ideas and here's some stuff that's cheap cuz at the time I didn't have a ton of Stardust. Early on I basically powered up everything I thought was neat. So I just, I never had a bank of Stardust just sitting around. So I was looking for cheap stuff to get into it and, through that I just kind of came up with, well let's do some thrifty stuff, some cheap stuff, and then the whole article was just kind of born out of that, start with the cheap and, and go up to most expensive, which is still what I do three years later,
David: [00:09:00] That's fair. So is it fair to say that PVP, it wasn't the design of PVP that got you into the scene of pvp, but more so just the community aspect as well as just being able to kind of figure out what's good and what's not?
JRE47: Oh yeah, cause like I said, locally we had people that were interested in doing it and participating and getting together at, you know, the local, Wegmans, in their little convenience area and sitting down at the tables and having these tournaments. So yeah, that was big. Then it was just like the next extension of what we'd already been doing for a couple years prior to that.
David: And the one thing I love about the Nifty and Thrifty is that it picks Pokemon that you wouldn't expect, to me, they're almost like spice picks, so like I said, you know, I used Castform in the Kingdom Cup and it was fun to use it and it actually did pretty decent. I think the better option would've been I think Blazi-, no, it was Charizard at the time, but I just didn't have the Blast Burn. So it's always that fun, good substitute to have, especially for maybe people who are just starting out in PVP may not have the exact meta counters needed.
JRE47: Right and that's one thing I still tried to do today. Even as people are obviously much more experienced than they were back [00:10:00] then, two, three years ago. Not everybody has everything. You got all levels of players, some that have been playing for years, some that may have just picked it up, two months ago or walked away after that first year or two and are just coming back. So they may not have, like you said, that Blast Burn Charizard cuz they weren't around when that was, available. So try and go with the biggest stuff if you have them, these are some of the best things to play, this is the quote unquote meta that you're gonna see everybody out there using, but a lot of people stop there and they don't look at some really good alternatives, be they just cheaper versions or ones that have a unique twist that they can win some things that even the top meta picks can't win. So I always try and go sometimes a little bit too in depth perhaps, but I always try and go beyond just, the top 10, 20, 25 picks and go with, "hey, if you don't have those, or if you just don't want to use 'em, if you just wanna spice things up or you have another favorite, "Hey, can I use this thing that I've loved for the last 20 years since gen three came out? Can I use that?" Yeah, it, works [00:11:00] too. I try and make it fun, I mean, it's a game and we're supposed to have fun in a game, right? So I try and make it fun.
So when it comes to picking Pokemon for Nifty and Thrifty, like what do you look for? do you look at certain moves, certain stats? How do you decide which Pokemon to include in your article for Nifty and Thrifty?
JRE47: Early on, I didn't use simulations and stuff. I didn't even know about like PVPoke and things like that. I would basically just go with what I was aware of, so I'd, be looking at what I had in my inventory and some unique twists that might come from some of those things. And then I started, talking to some of those friends and some fellow players, started discovering discord and various ways to reach out to folks and picking some of their brains for stuff and then just putting that down to paper, like, here's some things that we talked about in our local Discord server. These are kind of neat, you may not know about these and then certainly through that also, what are kind of considered the top picks for whatever meta that might be. Once I discovered PVPoke, that all changed drastically cuz he's always done a [00:12:00] fantastic job kind of racking and stacking what's good in the format and obviously with simulations they're not a total story, but they're a real good start to the story of what's good and what has a lot of positive matchups in any given meta or any given cup. So that's been a huge help in helping me start to get, again that top 20 or 25 or so of here's the things that I really need to make sure I cover cuz most people are gonna look at these and kind of stop there and use this stuff. And beyond that, I still always try and focus on the thrifty stuff. That's kind of what got me started, especially now with GBL, you have these one week formats and that's fun, but, I might never use some of the stuff that I build specifically for that one week ever again. So if I can find something cheap, I definitely wanna do that and not blow all my Stardust and then have it essentially wasted a week later. So I start with all the thrifty stuff and I really try and take anything that even halfway viable out of those kind of cheaper categories and make sure those get in the [00:13:00] article. And then as it goes, I focus more and more on stuff that you really will get a lot of mileage out of, be it core meta quote unquote or not. And then throw in a few spice picks here and there, but once you start getting like, legendaries or stuff like Steelix that takes, you know, 75,000 dust for a second move, those are getting kind of expensive, you really wanna get some good bang for your buck. So most of the spice I kind of front load. PVPoke, I will confess does drive a lot of my initial kind of list making of what I'm gonna talk about.
David: But I think you do a good job of explaining kind of why PVPoke suggested those Pokemon, in my opinion. I've always found that it's most important to not just do things randomly, but to understand why you're doing them because it gives you better insight to handle the bad situation when something does come up and how to be able to read things correctly.
JRE47: Yeah, because even the rankings, as good a job as he does, the rankings aren't everything. There's been articles I've had where I've got stuff that's outside the top 50, even outside the top hundred. But when you look at it in that specific meta and [00:14:00] you condense the list of what you're most likely to encounter, you know, the most popular stuff, it might perform better than picks 50 through a hundred. You're picking something, over a hundred and it just this is its moment, this is its 15 minutes of fame where it has the right moves, the right stats, the right typing, whatever it may be, to just explode in this one format. I go pretty deep. I examine a lot of stuff that never makes the articles, cuz most things you get down to that point, they're down there for a reason, but there's usually a few gems to pull out.
David: Usually the ones that are on the low end are usually the ones where you're doing it for the memes and not really trying to, at that point.
JRE47: There's anything wrong with that, but yeah, I, I gotta, that's another thing is I gotta be a little choosy about what I put in cuz the first few articles I put together, of course, were a lot shorter than they are today. At some point, I think it was near the end of the first, Silph Arena season, I discovered that Reddit has a character limit and I was often butting right up against it, cause I had too much stuff in there. The 40,000 character limit that you have in Reddit [00:15:00] often dictates where my cutoff is as far as analysis anymore cause like,
David: I gotta take these words out, maybe get this parenty. Yeah, I have like, I'm on Twitter all over again instead of long version. Oh gosh.
JRE47: Yeah. It's been nightmare at times where I'm like, "Oh geez, I gotta cut out 10 different Pokemon from this article cause there's just no room." If it wasn't for that, I would rant even longer than I do now, which would probably put a lot of people sleep, so that's a blessing in disguise.
David: Now with all that being said, like on estimate, just gimme an average, like how long does it take to do a write up for you? Do you have a routine?
JRE47: So the very first thing I do anymore is I'll literally create a couple of spreadsheets and I've posted some of these actually over the last few months on Twitter. I'll take a list and I break it up by cost category, like those, with the 10,000 dust, second move, I always kind of rack and stack those first. And then I'll go all the way up to like, Legendaries and then the last column will be like Deep Excel investments. These days I usually call it lucky that category cuz you want to get 'em the lucky trade and save something cuz they're so ridiculously [00:16:00] expensive. And that can take a couple of hours to, like a day depending on how deep the meta is. Like for something like Ultra League, Premier Classic, obviously that format is massive. You've got everything in there basically except legendary, so the list of covering everything is just astronomical. I'll start by pairing it down and after that, for the Nifty and Thrifty at least, it's probably a good day or two of just analyzing everything and then maybe two days beyond that to just actually sit down and write the thing. Total hours, geez, it's, it's probably like two or three, sometimes four plus, like full eight hour blocks of just hitting it hard trying to get it done.
David: I assume you also do edits as well and reviewing before you even release it or is it just kind of all one go?
JRE47: I mean I have to take obviously breaks and parts of it, and then I'll come back and, reread what I already did like the previous day just to make sure. "Oh geez, I was half asleep here and this sentence doesn't even make sense," you [00:17:00] know, stuff like that. That said it's almost Easter egg like the number of little spelling errors and bad links and stuff that make the final article anyway that people come, "Hey, did you mean Power Whip or did you mean Grass Knot in this one?" Oh crap, I missed that! I mean I do this all by myself. I don't have any interns or anything. I have kids that I could maybe force into that role, but I think they'd resent me for it. So , I just, I do it myself.
David: And any good starting work, dude, like you gave
JRE47: Yeah, that's right.
David: Brought 'em to this world. Like, come on, let 'em work for .
JRE47: You gotta earn your keep Jr. Yeah, no, um,
David: rent's not free, man. Come on.
JRE47: That's right, that's right. so yeah, I, the Nifty or Thrifties in total take, I'll say on average three to four days of just really hitting it hard, getting it done. The community day articles, you know, things where I'm just focusing on one or two specific odds that I'm covering. Those used to take a couple days, most of the time now, I can knock those out in just a day if I really have to. I've been doing this so long, it's just like once I sit down and start going, I can just roll.
David: So PVP [00:18:00] is obviously been kind of the hit or miss in my opinion when it comes to community. Some people like it, some people don't.
JRE47: And there's not a lot in between, yeah.
David: There is not a lot to you to like it or you don't kind of feature.
JRE47: That's right.
David: Do you feel there are other ways to maybe encourage new players when it comes to pvp or is it just set in stone, like you're either gonna like it or you're not?
JRE47: I think it's an experience anyone could enjoy, I think the main reason it turns people off, well, there's a couple reasons it probably turns people off. From what I've gathered, one of 'em is obviously it's never been a hundred percent stable and that's just kind of known and commonly reported on, people know there's a certain level of experience there, certain amount of lag and bugs that may come with it and that turns people off, understandably. I mean, you don't wanna launch in both feet into something that may not be a hundred percent best experience all the time.
David: Right? It's like if you lose, you wanna lose cuz you, we just wanna good enough not because of some outside glitches, you had no control of.
JRE47: Yeah. Yeah. I mean that not a good experience for anybody, whether you've been doing it for, a week or a couple of years. But the other piece too is in a lot of [00:19:00] ways it operates much differently than the rest of the game. For those of us that did the Silph Arena stuff, there's still a community aspect to it, which I think a lot of people that have just ever done GBL don't really get cuz usually when you're doing GBL, you're just doing it remotely and you have no idea who you're playing on the other side. With the tournaments now that are coming out, the play tournaments in various cities, that's bringing some of that back, which is nice. And I think that's getting some people that never considered that to be like, "Oh, well, there is a little bit more to this and I can meet some other people through this and get a new kind of community experience through this. But for a long time that wasn't there, so that's definitely kept a lot of people away. And then also it's played differently than the rest of the game. Most of PVE, going into gyms or raids is just build up my biggest stuff and just max damage. You don't have to think about so much stats or what necessarily is best effective against a wide range of things, just how do I beat this one raid boss and what's a thing that hits that the absolute hardest and gets me the most raid [00:20:00] balls and kills it as quickly as possible. PVP is just a much different beast in, a lot of ways. You gotta think about second moves and you gotta think, I don't just have to go and beat this dragon raid boss, but I have to be able to handle waters and fires and grasses and all this other stuff that's out there too. It's a different way of planning what you keep in your pokedex and what you invest your dust and your candy into, and what you go out and grind for and what events you're excited about. It's difficult for a lot of players to keep up both. You kind of have to almost pick one or the other as far as what am I really gonna throw myself at? The raiding aspect and the megas and all of that, or PVP? It's a different investment and it's a different way of thinking to get into pvp that unless you've been doing it for a while, it can seem insurmountable.
David: And I wanted to add to what you just talked about cuz we think about how you got involved with pvp. You said point blank, that you would not have gotten involved with PVP if it wasn't for community. It wasn't the gameplay that attracted you, it was the people you went to do for the second Silph Arena, I [00:21:00] believe is what you said,
JRE47: The second cup. Yeah.
David: Second cup of Silph Arena and that's what got you started and that's what's continued to maintain your presence in the pvp, whether it be from just doing the Silph tournaments or even now with what you do with articles.
JRE47: And I think that's one reason, at least, I hope, that's one reason my stuff continues to resonate with people is a lot of guides and all you'll see out there for various metas and not to slam my fellow content careers, what they do is awesome, but a lot of it focuses just only those first few top picks and it stops there cuz you have to have just the right amount to get on an infographic or get into a YouTube, video. So you can only go so in depth and a lot of people, again, might just not have that. They have never made that investment or don't even have it on their bench to build up. So I still try and go beyond that and just go with stuff like, "Hey, if you wanna get into this, you wanna play, you know, this weekly format. Here's all the top stuff, but here's some other stuff you might have that could also work and you could have a good time with these and actually succeed with these too. So I think that's why it continues to help folks is [00:22:00] still focus on that budget aspect and that spice aspect per se, of here's some alternatives that you can also have fun with. The stuff for people that have been playing for three plus years and the stuff for someone that may have picked it up three weeks ago.
David: Now speaking of which, obviously back in November of 2020, Niantic decided to introduce XL Candy, and I want your opinion on the state of XL Candy, do you believe XL Candy has been healthy for pvp
JRE47: Boy? Um...
David: JRE uncensored folks get ready.
JRE47: Uh... I'll say yes and no. And, and, and I'll qualify both of those. So I've been quite obvious in, some of my write up since XL came along about how they could unfortunately erect Master League and to a large part these days, even Ultra League. When you start needing to have Level 50 things, you know, 3, 4, 10, you know, fully, fully maxed things, that just breaks some people's backs, myself included. I can't go [00:23:00] out and keep up with that kind of grind, I just can't. I already did the grind to get bunch of stuff to level 40 and that took a ton of time. I do understand why it exists. and I don't have a problem with it as far as growing the game. You had a lot of people cap out at level 40 with both their own player level and their Pokemon level years ago now, literally long before that XLs came out. They needed something like that and I understand why Niantic did it. I'm not a huge fan of how they did it, I guess is the big thing. It's gotten obviously easier, a little bit since then to get XLs and they've come out with new ways to do it and they're trying, but it's still, like you said, we're nearly two years later and I would reckon most players still don't have a full fledged open Master league team that they're really comfortable with, that they've been able to realistically build, especially for like the Legendaries, I mean, How you grind for those? I even wrote when they didn't have Master League Classic or Premiere or any of that, it was just open Master League and[00:24:00] I wrote a whole article about the grind you have to go through to build a legendary, one legendary, up to level 50 and it came out to be something ridiculous like you'd have to do like five or six raids, obviously catch the thing in each of those raids for like two weeks straight, just to get the XL candies for one legendary. A lot of these legendaries had only been out for like 10 to 14 days that entire two years since XL candies had been introduced, so it's like unless you're Raiding constantly or just trading like a madman, it's not even possible for a lot of these things, so
David: Legitimately, probably, yes.
JRE47: Yeah. I, mean it, it's like a full time job to keep up with that stuff, really. It's, it's crazy!
JRE47: So the system I don't so much have a problem with, it's just the slow trickle of how you can accumulate these things and the amount of time you have to dedicate and time you have to sacrifice from the other aspects of our lives, our jobs, our families, our friends, all of that. This is a real time commitment for all these that a lot of people just [00:25:00] don't have or just don't feel like doing. At that point, it becomes more like a job instead of fun, in my mind.
David: It is and I think more of the issue, and I think we'll probably agree on this, it's the rate of XL candy because you can do quick catches all day. I consider myself more on the beginner level of the hardcore level somewhere, that's where I consider myself. I know I'm not a casual by any means, I left that a long time ago. You know, I play pretty hardcore when it comes to Community Day, I do the quick catch and at best, at best, I might get 200 XL candy. And that's me going hardcore, literally quick catching, nonstop, in a car. I'm not even walking at this point cuz if, you know, you know, at that point
David: And and I only get 200 and you expect people who have maybe less of a drive than I do, who don't even drive and maybe just walk to be able to meet that, to not only, like you said, it's started to trickle into Ultra League and maybe to a degree in Great League almost to where you have to have XL candies in order to be competitive almost.
JRE47: Right, right, for some of the very top picks, they require that now. And like you said 200 sounds like a lot, but that [00:26:00] only gets you to what, like level 45 or so? You're still way far off from 50 at that point.
David: So you wrote your hundredth article on December 9th, 2019 and you know, you came from a guy, like you said, you just did Reddit articles to doing stuff for both Silph and Pogo Hub. I believe at the time.
JRE47: I started doing GBL specific writeups pretty early on. At the time I didn't do like meta reviews cuz it was basically like Open Great, Ultra, and Master L eague, but I just did a couple highlights like Alolan Raichu I think was my first formal GBL article cuz it's cheap and at least back then it was really good in Great League. So yeah, I started with that and then eventually Hub picked up my articles.
David: Did you ever imagine like getting to the number 100 article and then even, I'm sure you're probably way past that now. You're probably in like the two to three hundreds at this point.
JRE47: I'm approaching 400. It doesn't seem like that many in some ways and yet in other ways it's like, I've been doing this for literally four years and so that's not a real long time in the grand scheme of things, but that's a long fricking time[00:27:00] to be doing something like this.
David: It's a long time in Pokemon Go's history because that's literally about,\ more than half of its lifespan at this point.
JRE47: Right. It doesn't feel like that long, but then when I look at the body work that went into that, I'm like, how am I still doing this? And how are people even still interested in hearing what I have to say after that long? But it's just a formula that seems to work. People keep coming back for it. The ideas just keep coming, there's always something changing, the weekly cups we have now, things are always changing with that, move shakeups, there's community days, there's always something coming up the next weekend or middle of the next week there's always something to write about.
David: Definitely! And with all that you've written, all the time you do spend trying to prepare the articles, how do you balance being both a father, all responsibilities at home, work, writing articles, how do you balance it all?
JRE47: If I were to give a one word answer, I'm sure the appropriate word would be imperfectly. Um, so, my wife is very supportive and she knows this is a hobby for me. This isn't a [00:28:00] job or, something where I work for, I mean I'm, associated with Hub now, but I'm just an independent guy just doing this cuz it's fun and it helps people. It's certainly something that, if it became a strain on my family or other aspects of my life, as much as I love it, it would have to go. I find hours late at night when the kids are in bed or, on a slow Saturday like today when I can hit it, I do a lot of stuff, that you might not commonly think a guy would be doing like I do the dishes every night, cook a lot of the meals. People have seen some of my meals up on Twitter and stuff. And I love doing that stuff too. And my kids are,
David: I'm jealous when I see your meals.
JRE47: Yes. . It's funny, when I was growing up and like living on my own, I, I could do like a hot dog and that would be about the extent of it. Just enough to keep myself alive. And then once I got married and we had the kids and all, and my wife was working, it was just like, I started slowly getting into it and I just love it now to the point where I can now like experiment. I'll be like, "Oh yeah, I, know that's a recipe, but I'm gonna try this and see how this works out." [00:29:00] And usually it works out. Not always. There's plenty that I don't put up on Twitter that were definitely failed experiments, but-
David: That's how it was for me, so I cook too actually, so I always have is like, "okay, this is either gonna come out good or it's just gonna come out that I only get to enjoy."
David: Whether it makes it on Instagram or not depends on how good it comes out. So, you know, with all your experience when it comes to PVP and the Nifty and Thrifty series, have you ever been able to give input, whether it be on the Silph Cups or maybe even Niantic themselves in regards to doing PVP Metas or stuff like that?
JRE47: So I was actually on, and it was a huge honor and I'm still glad I got to do it even though it perhaps didn't end as I hoped. This past year of the Silph arena, this past season, I applied for and was on the meta team. The team that puts their various cups together and builds those monthly formats. Great group guys doing that, we had a really good time together, some very smart, sharp guys doing that. Problem with me is, again, that time balance. Putting stuff like that together on a monthly basis and planning [00:30:00] ahead into the future obviously takes time that quite frankly, I just ended up not having. There were times where I would be like coming into the discussion late, a lot of things had already been decided and I missed out on some of it. There were some things I was able to contribute and there was one month in particular that I kind of up the cup and there were some other ideas I got to the team that may even come out in the future. And it was a great experience and I'm happy I got to do it. And I wish those guys nothing but the best. But eventually it was just like, it's not working out. It's basically either I do this full bore or I do the writing and GBL stuff full bore, and there just wasn't time for both. I'm not in a place where I can keep doing that anymore, so, we parted ways at the end of the last season and they've got a couple of folks coming in to backfill, incoming seasons and they'll do great, they've always done great, and they'll continue to, with or without me. If there's ever an opportunity for me to help and I told him this, I'm, happy to look things over. I talked to like, the owner of the PVPoke site with some frequency, and I've given him some thoughts over the years for things to [00:31:00] tweak and ranking of things and all that. Indirectly through Go Hub, there's been some ideas that I've been able to feed off to some of the folks at Niantic and some things that have been needing a little rebalance, tweaking in the future that I've would been able to throw some ideas out there. And hopefully those continue to come and, I'm happy to seize opportunities where they are, but doing what I do and flying solo like I do, the time is just not there to do all I would hope to, but where I can, I do, and I'll continue to.
David: You know what people need to work on? They need to work on how they can duplicate you into two people cause then that way you can have one of you do the Silph part and then the other part can do the article part.
JRE47: I, I could do it with a clone or two like an ERJ maybe and instead of ERJ I, I could go for that.
David: er, jd, that , I might have found the title for this episode. Anyway, so anyway, moving on. Back in March this past year, you actually got to sit down with Michael Steranka and I gotta ask like, what was that like [00:32:00] for you?
JRE47: Weird in a good way. It was surreal. How that all started, actually, I don't even remember exactly how it started, but he was relatively recent, at least in the public's eye, as a Niantic person. At that point he'd already been there for some time, but with one of the dev diaries and then with a growing Twitter account of his own, he had started to be somewhat recognized as being like a big deal over at Niantic. There was some topic that came up, I think at the time it was right around the time they shortened the Community Day hours from six back down to three. And we all knew at some point that was probably coming. We were hoping it wouldn't, but then the way it happened and just how suddenly it happened and there was no build up to it, it was just like, we're doing this and y'all are gonna like it. And I didn't like that and a lot of other people didn't, so at that point, I was very blessed to have a decent sized Twitter following and I guess a little bit of a, not clout, but enough of a name and a following that somehow my message, which I [00:33:00] posted directly to Michael. I don't typically tag people directly on Twitter, cuz I don't like calling people out per se. A lot of the things I get frustrated with at kind of a level at Niantic as a company, as a group, like the execs, but for that one particular, he had written or had an interview, I think it was with somebody else, another article. And I quoted that article and I highlighted his name specifically cuz it was his interview and I was just like, " hey, this is a big topic on a lot of people's minds, I have some thoughts on this" and I put some of those on Twitter, but then I was like, " if we ever have an opportunity to chat, you seem like a decent guy. I think we could talk about this if you ever wanted to." And within like a day, he reached out to me and was like, "Yeah, let's talk." I was like, "Oh wow. Really? That easy?" Me? So
David: I wasn't suspecting that answer.
JRE47: Yeah. right? I, I mean, I knew he seemed a good guy and, and I've since met him in person and he, he is a really nice guy and I think he really does have a lot of good ideas and cares about the game. I know he gets a bad rap for a number of things and he and I don't agree on [00:34:00] everything. Even when we chatted, it was obvious there were some things that, you know, had just agree to disagree. But you can still talk. I mean, you can still have a good conversation, be civil about it, and that's what we did. So I talked to him for, it was like an hour and a half and we just chatted. You know, I had some questions typed up I wanted to focus on, but once I got through those, I'm in the conversation just kind of went, and we were just two guys chatting over the phone about his ideas, my ideas, maybe some places where things could meet in the middle, some places where they obviously couldn't, and just got a better understanding of where each of us was coming from. There weren't any questions he really dodged, there were some that maybe I didn't get the answer I was looking for, but he tackled everything I asked him and even a couple things that didn't make the eventual write up I did on that where he was very candid about his thoughts and where he sees the game going. Again, we didn't agree on everything, but, we both walked out, feeling good about it and I typed up what I was able to from the interview and I think the community learned a lot through that. It was one of the [00:35:00] very few insights we had at that time into what makes them tick and how they think about things cause you know what the communication's been like in general for,
David: it's been excellent. Couldn't ask for anything better.
JRE47: Oh yeah. Right, right. So yeah, so to have that kind of just a sit down, just regular player like me that, you know, who am I, I, I write a bunch of silly articles and he sat down and talked to me and I, I appreciate that and I still appreciate that and I'm hoping there will be another one in the future. He's open to it, it's just a matter of timing.
David: I mean, if he's open to it, I might need to invite him on to my podcast. But you can ask, that's another story for another day.
JRE47: Hey, He, if he said yes to me, I mean, you never know.
David: But you got to get a Niantic point of view from the word of somebody who's very involved with Niantic on how, why they made this decision. Now, whether you agree with the decisions, an entirely different discussion, which we can go for another two hours about, That's where a lot of the conflict I think comes in.
JRE47: I agree. it's not I'm sure everything folks want to get outta that and there were even some folks, " Why didn't you ask him this?" I'm like, [00:36:00] Well, I just didn't think of it. Sorry, I'm, I'm imperfect interviewer, I guess. But, uh, I was glad we got to do it and I'm still glad we did even though there were some things I wish I put different or pushed them a little more on, but what came out of it was good.
David: You've been pretty vocal about a lot of Niantic's shortcomings, but more specifically, you've been very vocal about the dev diaries. Why are the Dev Diary so important for you? Let me start there.
JRE47: If you remember the, #HearUsNiantic from about a year ago, last fall that was a big, community wide, effort where I think everyone was frustrated. They were on the verge of or I think at that point they even had reverted the interaction distance for stops and for gyms back to pre pandemic levels, which I think we'd all forgotten how short that was until they went and reverted it. Everybody got together and rightfully let them hear over at Niantic what we thought about that. This is not in the best interest of the community. Why are you doing this? There's no good reason and they listened to that. So that's where the dev diaries came from [00:37:00] as they said, "Look, we recognize, we haven't communicated very well. We didn't give you a advanced notice on any of these things that we've done recently. We are gonna do better and they wrote very clearly in that like their first bullet point communication. We've gotta do better here. We are going to give you some regular communication, something you can latch onto and hold us accountable to fulfill this pledge we're making to communicate better. The dev diaries we've gotten, Not great. Probably not what people wanted, certainly not what I've was hoping to get out of 'em. But in my mind, it's about more than that. I mean the whole thing a year ago with the Hear Us Niantic was again, they said, "We are going to communicate better." Well, here we are, a year later, I don't see it. Yes, they have a lot of tweets that go out from the Pokemon Go App account. Great! A lot of those are fluff pieces, some are actual usable info. They have blog posting. Same thing. Hit or miss, but something's going out there. It's still very one sided and there's been no real sign [00:38:00] that anything has changed from when that kind of stuff happened. The disconnect is just ridiculous. Dev Diaries themselves, I'll agree with everybody out there telling me, " JRE shut up about 'em, they don't matter!" In truth, yeah, they really haven't mattered, but they're just yet another sign of the very basic thing they said they'd use for communication with us, and they've just dropped them. It's just like we stopped doing it and hope no one would notice that we're not communicating in the one way we said we'd communicate from here on out. We're just not doing it anymore. Oops. Our bad. The diaries aren't that big a deal per se, but the fact that they're not even doing that and when they stop doing it, they don't even say anything about it. It's like, " come on, you can do better than this and you told us you'd do better than this."
David: You know, there's this old saying like, under promise, over deliver kind of thing. And I feel like Niantic bit more than they could chew because I believe the Dev Diary is supposed to be every two months, right?
JRE47: Yeah. Yep. That's what they said.
David: When I first heard it, I'm like, " I don't know if this is gonna go so well, cuz I felt like it'd [00:39:00] be too much," which low and behold here we are. It has been a bit too much. My bigger concern, and I wanted to get your input on this, but to me there's a disconnect to what content is expected to be in the dev diaries. When Dev Diaries were first introduced, what did you expect the dev diaries to include?
JRE47: I expected what it's called, a developer diary. A lot of other companies and games, you see a Dev Diary and it's, " Hey, here's why we did this rebalancing in the last patch and here's our thought process behind why we nerfed this thing and buffed this other thing over here." Here's what we're doing to balance the game and to add new features on that we think will enhance the game and make for a better experience for you. Basically the first couple diaries were essentially, I think the first one was, " Here's why we do community days." Okay, that's nice, but we all know that already and then the next one was " Here's why we're doing seasons from here on out." But none of it was like from the developers, it was from like the marketing folks. We kind of wanna hear about what you're doing behind the scenes, [00:40:00] things that aren't already out there apparent to us to make the game better and to have that back and forth between you, the company and us, the players, and something we can both be happy with. And it's never been that, the closest they got was the one where they talked about some of the tweaks coming in GBL back a couple seasons ago for pvp. It was basically, again, just an overview of here's some of the things that we've already implemented and it didn't still really go into the why. You look at Dev Diaries from other companies, I won't mention specific ones cuz there's a bunch out there. They're very different from what we've had in Go and the people writing them, even in the way they're written and things are focusing on, are very different than what we've had is our quote unquote Dev diaries. It's essentially become, and this is why I think a lot of people just don't care that they've stopped, it essentially became another marketing piece like any other blog post and they just slap Dev Diary up at the top. I was hoping for something more like a [00:41:00] developer diary and we've never really had that.
David: With everything you've done so far, you know, you've gone into Pokemon Go, you enter the PVP scene doing the Silph Road, the Go Hub, being an advocate for the Pokemon Go community in regards to just the dev diaries, what do you consider your biggest accomplishment?
JRE47: So there are a number of things I could point to. There's the fact that Go Hub reached out to me and said, "Hey, we want you to have your stuff up on our site." One of the biggest Pokemon Go sites out there. The fact that they reached out to me of all people, I take that as a huge compliment even today and those guys are great and I'm happy to be in partnership with them. Similarly the Silph Arena reaching out and saying, "Hey, we wanna have your articles up on our site." That was awesome! Michael getting in touch with me and saying, "Hey, I wanna chat with you. Let's have a talk." Awesome. And I am so honored with all of those things and, humbled by that, again, just father of three writing random articles. People want to, chat with me and include me and stuff. I, take that as a huge compliment and that's great.[00:42:00] The biggest thing to this point, still for me, is the things I get in DMs where players will reach out and be like, " you told me about this pick I never would've thought of, and I reached legend this season because of something you JRE recommended and ideas that you put me onto and help me build this team and go out and have fun and be successful." Those are still the things I value the most and it's the whole reason I do this is, to help my fellow players, to give them ideas that they may not have even thought of for themselves, give them that success and give them fun in this game that has brought us all together. I still highly value that above everything else. and the fact that I'm still able to help people after almost four years and 400 of these articles. Never would've thought I would've gotten to that point.
David: Now, before we do go, if people wanted to get in contact with you or wanted to read your articles, where would they be able to reach you?
JRE47: Twitter's probably the best place, at JRE Sea Wolf. No funky characters or anything. It's, it's pretty easy to find. I'm on Reddit all the time. at, [00:43:00] j r e four seven. You can find me any of those places, or, on, Go Hub, if you just wanna go back and read the majority of my past articles from the last couple of years at least.
David: Definitely and I'll make sure to include links to this Twitter and all the other stuff you've mentioned in the description of today's episode.
That's all I have for today. Thank you all for joining me for another episode of, "As the Pokeball Turns!" As a reminder, you can subscribe to this podcast on apple, Spotify, or your podcast streamer of choice. If you want to support the show, consider becoming a patron by clicking the link in the description of today's episode. Feel free to follow me on all my socials and i'll see you next time!