Why Exp Share isn’t a problem in Pokemon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl

Brent Koepp
Pokemon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl Trainer with Pokemon screenshotGame Freak / The Pokemon Company

The Pokemon community was filled with outrage when it was revealed that Sinnoh remakes would include a new level up system. But Exp Share in Pokemon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl isn’t going to ruin the game.

While the Exp Share mechanic has gone through many iterations over the years, Pokemon players were furious when 2019’s Sword & Shield not only made it automatic, but also made it so that it couldn’t be turned off. Many argued the change made Gen 8 too easy.

So when Studio ILCA announced they would be implementing the feature the same way in the Sinnoh remakes Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl, fans of the Nintendo series weren’t happy, to say the least. However, the fury is a little overblown as the mechanic actually isn’t as big of a problem as some expect.

Pokemon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl’s Exp Share

Pokemon Brilliant Diamond & Shining PearlThe Pokemon Company / ILCA
Pokemon players will experience Sinnoh again with many changes.

Similar to Sword & Shield, Exp Share will be turned on from the start in Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl. This means every Pokemon on your team will automatically get experience points when winning a battle or catching a new ‘mon.

The mechanic essentially cuts out the need for grinding each individual character. In the classic Game Boy titles, for instance, players would often unnecessarily switch Pokemon into battle that they didn’t even need just to make sure they got points.

For those who don’t mind grinding XP, it added an extra layer of difficulty and extended gameplay time by hundreds of hours. Those not fond of the leg work found the gameplay design a slog and a chore.

In defense of the original games, being forced to level up each individual character added weight to being a “trainer” and required you make tough decisions. But it also meant a lot of players not using the bulk of the region’s Pokemon.

Pokemon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl’s Exp Share is not a problem

Pokemon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl Team Galactic battleThe Pokemon Company / ILCA
Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl will feature many Trainers with the same levels as the originals.

Let me state up front: Studio ILCA absolutely should give players the option to turn off Exp Share. Those who don’t want the feature should not be forced to use it. However, too much weight is being put on the mechanic “ruining” the game.

For starters, Pokemon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl have went to great lengths to re-create an accurate adaptation of the 2006 DS titles. While it’s not clear if the entire game will be faithful, gameplay has so far shown a handful of battles where the level of ‘mon and trainers have remained the same as the original games.

In comparison, 2018’s Lets Go Pikachu and Eevee lowered the levels of many encounters which made the game incredibly easy, especially when paired with Exp Share.

Pokemon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl next to 2006 Diamond & Pearl imagesGame Freak / The Pokemon Company
The Sinnoh remakes technically give your Pokemon used in battle less XP compared to the original.

With Exp Share automatically turned on, the points you get per battle are actually divided up and spread across your team. This means that individual Pokemon actually get less XP then you got in Diamond & Pearl.

A side by side comparison of the same battle seems to confirm this as a level 15 Starvia in the same part of the story gives you 487 Exp Points in the original, whereas Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl only gives you 297 in comparison.

The catch, of course, is that the rest of your team also gets roughly 150XP each, even if they weren’t used. The new mechanic technically means you do level up quicker as it speeds up the growth of your entire team, but it does NOT give the Pokemon used in battle more experience points.

What about over-leveling?

Pokemon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl Gym Leader RoarkThe Pokemon Company / ILCA
BDSP will feature a new version of Exp Share.

One of the main concerns from fans is the idea of quickly becoming over-leveled due to Exp Share. But no one is forcing you to go out into the wild and grind points for hours.

Because individual characters technically get less XP in the remakes (as explained above), you shouldn’t be over-leveled by doing the same tasks you did in the originals anyway.

Even if this is a concern, BDSP lets you swap Pokemon out anywhere you want as the PC Box system is now portable. Simply swap out your ‘mon if you feel they are getting too many points.

Will Exp Share ruin Pokemon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl?

Pokemon Brilliant Diamond & Shining Pearl Bidoof Dex entryThe Pokemon Company / ILCA
Trainers can now access their PC on the go to swap Pokemon out who are leveling up too quickly.

Fans do have a right to be frustrated that Exp Share cannot be turned off. More options are always great and in 2022, the Pokemon franchise desperately needs to allow players to tailor the experience that best works for them.

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The mechanic does not ruin the game, however, as many players only bring a few ‘mon into wild encounters or Trainer battles anyway. The feature mainly cuts down the need to then go and find extra battles for each individual ‘mon.

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As it stands now, though, the feature is a bit of a blessing and a curse. For longtime and casual fans whose main focus is completing their Pokedex and using every single monster in the game (there will likely be over 400 characters), Exp Share really does cut out hours of needless grinding.

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But on the other hand, there is no denying that hardcore players are being punished here to a degree. Ultimately, trainers are given enough tools to avoid the downsides to automatic experience and the mechanic helps most casual players as well as newcomers – and that isn’t a bad thing.