The purpose of a Poké Ball is to capture Pokémon for the individual's use. This utility has been in use since ancient times.
Poké Balls are often mass produced in factories and sold at local markets, although one must show their Trainer ID in order to purchase them. There are several variants of Poké Balls (See Below) and the most common Poké Balls are produced by Silph Co. They work by encasing the Pokémon in a light that integrates them into the ball itself. How this is done is often mysterious to those not within the companies that produce them, who are all sworn to secrecy.
The basic understanding of how a Poké Ball works is that when the Ball's mechanism activates, it produces a sort of laser that synchronizes with the genetic make up to a Pokémon. This allows it to essentially disintegrate the Pokémon into light particles that transports them inside the ball. A Pokémon may resist to break out of the Ball if not tired enough. After which a sort of calming agent is induced in the Pokémon that allows it to listen to its Trainers commands.
A Pokémon inside its Poké Ball can be considered in stasis though completely aware of its surrounding. It appears Pokémon in their Poké Balls are self sustaining through unknown means, though they are usually very hungry when taken out. Only six Poké Balls may be on a Trainer's person at all times, any extra Pokémon confirmed to be caught is instantly transported to the PC Storage System by the Pokédex's sensor. A Poké Ball is stated to be a sort of Power Limiter
to a Pokémon, which can explain the reason why legendary Pokémon caught in one never try to use their full powers.
Apricorn-based Pokémon seals date back to antiquity. Most ancient civilizations used Apricorns as primeval Poké Balls, but others were made out of different materials for different purposes. For instance, in the Hoenn region, a giant Poké Ball was made out of stone to capture a giant Claydol.
In the past couple decades, the Poké Ball proper has come into widespread use. First developed by Silph Co. in 19XX, the Poké Ball is a capsule device structurally resembling a hollowed-out Apricorn; however, its design is primarily composed of electronic systems.
Beyond seamlessly integrating numerous convenience functions that Apricorn fittings struggle to find space for, these systems also boost the capture ability of a low-quality Apricorn extract gel to full-Apricorn levels, making the device much more cost-effective and mass-producible.
While the Pokémon League (of any region), Devon, Silph Co. and others have given their assurance that the catching of Pokémon is entirely humane, several Pokémon rights groups have objected to the entrapment of wild Pokémon, seeing it as cruel and abusive and promoted the banning and condemning of Pokémon training. They often promote relations with Pokémon based on natural trust rather than the entrapment and abuse they perceive from Poké Balls. Although most of these groups are harmless, there are several extremist groups
that often executed harsh tactics that incorporated a streamline ideal
and are often borderline terrorism
. Notable groups include Team Magma and Team Aqua, who were involved in the Great Atmospheric Crisis, and Team Plasma, a cult involved with the Unova Dragon Awakening.
Since the expiration of the original patent in 199X, competitors such as Devon have devised special-purpose and novelty variants.
- Poké Ball - The standard version. Easy to manufacture, and relatively cheap. Appearance (sphere with red upper half and white lower half, with a black band and a button on the hinge) can be found in numerous locations around the world. Easily recognizable.
- Great Ball - Manufactured with a more rigorous quality assurance process. In addition, a more-refined Apricorn extract is used, boosting its capture power.
- Safari Ball - A cosmetic variant commissioned by the Safari Zone.
- Sport Ball - A similar variant commissioned by Johto's National Park for its Bug-Catching Contests.
- Ultra Ball - Made with a much less diluted extract than Poké Balls and Great Balls, accounting for both its higher capture power and cost.
- Master Ball - Provides virtually guaranteed capture; its production involves the concentrated extract of the specially-bred Purple Apricorn. This breed, though potent, is also extremely fragile and not very fertile. Thus, manufacturing is extremely expensive, making the average market value of a single Master Ball well over several million Pokédollars. It can only be reasonably acquired by very wealthy individuals (or researchers good at securing grants), making it a coveted prize in giveaways and competitions.
Lesser Apricorn-Based Variants
Apricorns have been used for centuries as Poké Balls, and several specialists in the Johto region are very skilled at hand-crafting specialty Poké Balls out of different Apricorns. These Balls are usually rare and cannot be mass produced using current machine-manufacturing techniques.
- Level Ball - Made using Red Apricorn. Highly effective when capturing Pokémon that are of a lower level than the opposing Pokémon. How this works is considered a trade secret.
- Lure Ball - Made using Blue Apricorn. Due to the Blue Apricorn's increased durability when in contact with water (almost three times more than usual), the Lure Ball is popular among fishermen as a fishing lure.
- Moon Ball - Made using Yellow Apricorn. For reasons currently unknown, the Moon Ball is very adept at capturing Pokémon that only evolve when exposed to Moon Stones (Clefairy, Jigglypuff, etc.).
- Friend Ball - Made using Green Apricorn. While it has the same catch rate as a regular Poké Ball, the Green Apricorn nature of the ball has a calming effect on the captured Pokémon, making it much friendlier to the Trainer that catches it.
- Love Ball - Made using Pink Apricorn. The Pink Apricorn extract used in making the ball is primarily used to capture Pokémon of the gender opposite of the Trainer's current Pokémon. When the Pink Apricorn extract used in making the ball is exposed to the clashing pheromones of two Pokémon of the opposite gender and the same species, its stability becomes more rigid and becomes much more adept at capturing Pokémon, but only while the opposing pheromones are present.
- Heavy Ball - Made using Black Apricorn. The Black Apricorn extract used in Heavy Balls is very good at capturing heavy Pokémon, due to its high resilience to pressure.
- Fast Ball - Made using White Apricorn. The Fast Ball is mostly used to capture very fast Pokémon, though how exactly it does this remains a trade secret. It could be that the White Apricorn Extract is appealing to speed-oriented Pokémon, making it easier to catch them.
Devon Corporation Poké Balls
Devon made Poké Balls rely less on Apricorn extract and more on patented Devon technology to capture Pokémon.
- Premier Ball - Slight cosmetic variation of the regular Poké Ball. Given to customers who buy ten or more Devon brand Poké Balls at once.
- Repeat Ball - Communicates directly with the Trainer's Pokédex to determine how best to capture the Pokémon. Best when used on a Pokémon which the Pokédex already has full data on. Otherwise, has regular capture rate.
- Timer Ball - Poké Ball that detects the beginning of a battle. It has a higher success rate the longer the battle has been going on, due to the energy that the ball has been gathering since the beginning of the battle.
- Nest Ball - Poké Ball designed to better capture very weak Pokémon. Primarily used by high-rank Trainers who cannot weaken low-level Pokémon without knocking them unconscious.
- Net Ball - Poké Ball designed with fishermen and bug catchers in mind. Using Devon's patented Captcha-Net technology, it entangles Pokémon in a weak energy net before capturing. For best effect, it should be used on Water and Bug type Pokémon, as most other types of Pokémon are resilient to this energy net.
- Dive Ball - Poké Ball designed for use underwater. Much more waterproof than other non-specialized types of Poké Balls.
- Luxury Ball - Devon's variation of the Friend Ball. Instead of instantly making the captured Pokémon happier, though, it makes the Pokémon easier to please by stimulating the Pokémon pleasantly while in the ball.
Poké Balls of other manufacturers
These Poké Balls originated in the Sinnoh region, and are made by smaller companies for specific purposes.
- Heal Ball - These Poké Balls contain a one-use Miniaturized Pokémon Recovery Device (MPRD) that heals Pokémon as soon as they are caught. Unfortunately, the MPRD burns out after one use.
- Quick Ball - Opposite of the Timer Ball. Uses the same Timer technology as the Timer Ball, but reversed, so that it is best used at the beginning of a battle. There is currently a legal battle underway between Devon and the Ball's manufacturer.
- Dusk Ball - This Ball uses technology that makes it more useful at night or in dark places, such as caves. As such, it is popular among campers and spelunkers.
- Cherish Ball - A cosmetic variation made by commission for the Pokémon League made to be used when giving away rare Pokémon as prizes or rewards to Trainers.
- Snag Ball - A unique Poké Ball produced and used by Team Snagem in the Orre region to capture Pokémon that already belong to Trainers. Snag Balls can be any type of Poké Ball that has had its safety features 'unlocked' using a specially designed 'Snag Machine'. One large version exists, but there are also some smaller versions that can be affixed to the arm. Naturally, use of a Snag Ball is outlawed by the Pokémon League and is punishable by a five to ten year prison sentence.
- Clone Ball - Poké Ball of unknown origin and manufacture. Several eye-witnesses report seeing Poké Balls that are actually capable of flight, and function similarly to Snag Balls. These Balls are made to look like eyes. Most, if not all, of these eye-witness reports coincide with sightings of Mewtwo.
- Park Balls: These Poké Balls are created for use specifically within Pal Parks. As the Park itself amplifies the Ball's effectiveness, it is usually a failproof product.
- Dream Ball: Which serve a similar purpose in Unova's Entree Forest and has a similar catch rate.
- Ball Decorations - Recently, it has become a popular fad in the Sinnoh region to attach stickers or seals to Poké Balls. Some stickers exist that create special effects when the Pokémon inside is released, such as pyrotechnics or holographic letters.
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