AOTW Rapid-Fire!! Illuminate, Pickup, and Honey Gather


There’s no denying that what we all love about the Pokémon games is the battling. It’s the core “easy to learn, difficult to master” mechanic that’s kept many of us, myself included, coming back for more time and time again for upwards of fifteen years, and boy howdy, are the developers aware of it. If you need evidence of their own self-awareness, look no further than the vast library of Abilities. The vast majority of Abilities come into play during battle, some of them also having a bonus effect in the in-game world. But there are a few Abilities that function exclusively outside of the FIGHT/ITEM/POKÉMON/RUN menu, and what better time to discuss them than when many of us are still in the midst of a new game’s campaign? This is an Ability of the Week Rapid-Fire!!: Illuminate, Pickup, and Honey Gather!

Okay, how the heck do I make these ones worth reading about? This is gonna take a whi-aw, CRAP, is this thing on? This keyboard? That I’m typing on? It’s on!? Dagnabbit. Okay, guys, yes, I know. These three Abilities are nobody but nobody’s first choices to run on any given pokémon. But you may also notice that this is the 77th article in a series where over 100 Abilities have been covered. Not exactly first choices. So let’s dive in!

So, who just loves random encounters? Pokémon has always had this RPG staple, and the franchise has arguably struggled with maintaining a balance between exploration and the random encounter rate. Yes, we have Repels, but…

So you have to wonder who exactly it was at Game Freak that thought Illuminate was a good idea? This generation three Ability increases the random encounter rate with wild pokémon by 200% when the pokémon with Illuminate is at the head of the party. Starmie, Lanturn, their pre-evolutions, Volbeat and Watchog have access to Illuminate, which pretty much makes them ideal for training up a weaker pokémon, either with Experience Share, or simply giving them the chance to peek into a battle for one turn.

We’ve all been in a situation at least once. You’ve been exploring a new area for a while, and suddenly that rare pokémon decides to rear its head. And wouldn’t you know it, you’re out of pokéballs! Well, it’s not a magic bullet, but Pickup can certainly help you avoid this situation. After every battle, a pokémon with Pickup (and is not already holding an item) has a 10% chance to gain a new item. This includes things like Great Balls and Antidotes early on, to Leftovers and Max Revives later on. The potentially Pickup’d items change every generation, but you can check their frequency of appearance and what level pokémon can obtain them on Pickup’s Bulbapedia entry. Most of the pokémon that have Pickup are stage ones of their evolutionary families, and very few pokémon keep it when they evolve. The only evolved pokémon with Pickup are Ambipom and Lioone, but you’ll also see Lillipup, Pachirisu, Teddiursa, and a few others. Pickup also gained an in-battle effect this generation. When facing an opponent using a one-time use item, the pokémon with Pickup will grab the item after it is used, as well as items that are thrown at it with Fling.

Remember Combee? It’s okay, I didn’t either. Like, Vespiquen is pretty slick, but I’ve never been less afraid of a bee than Combee. But they, as well as Dream World Teddiursa are the only pokémon with access to Honey Gather. Functioning in a similar way as Pickup, Honey Gather allows a pokémon without a held item a chance to collect Honey after every battle, with the probability increasing every ten levels. Unlike Pickup, though, Honey Gather still has no in-battle effect.

That does it for this Rapid-Fire, guys! See you next time!