Holy ****, look at this giant wall of text.One move or ability makes a Pokemon notably different only in competitive play, bro. We're discussing how the single player can improve. We all know (... or should know) that competitive battlin' in the Pogeymanz is bloody 'Karplike.
With that said, sparsely distributed variety means moot if it's indeed not common (few Pokes have game-changing abilities like Wonder Guard or Adaptability), not necessarily even beneficial in gameplay (ohai Kecleon's ability), or downright unneeded. My Challenge thread is a testament to this: people can beat the entire story of a game with a ****in' unevolved Rattata. If that can be done, clearly there's no need for further Pokemon variety in terms of battling ability. The game needs more difficulty. Pokemon's uniqueness come from design, not ability in battle.
Regarding this, Game Freak makes the games easy so any scrub can play 'n win (it is a child's game, after all...) with any Pokemon, even if they're pathetically weak. And that's where the problem stems from. The game is designed t' be so easy, a full team of the weakest Pokemon can still succeed. This design flaw was meant t' make it so you can use any Pokemon, yet because of this any Pokemon above moderate strength makes the story a laughing stock whenever it's not at a type disadvantage. It's less fun t' use strong Pokes as a result (ohai every starter not named Chikorita).
This lack of difficulty outs anyone with a taste for potently strong Pokemon. Hell, the amount'a people this lack of difficulty puts off likely is more than the low difficulty attracts. This is one'a the many reasons why competitive battling is so damn popular: Pokemon fans gets tired of this shit difficulty and when they realize there's somethin' of insane difficulty right 'round the corner, they're eager just t' see what all the hubbub's about.
I'm not sayin' a very notable upping of the difficulty will suddenly have everyone of every age playin' Pokemon, but this'l at least satisfy the old fans greatly and perhaps bring in players who abandoned it long ago. For anyone not obsessed with the Pocket Monsters themselves; a feeling that's slowly faded across every generation since RSE, no doubt; the gameplay needs to be more interesting. A grand new level of difficulty is just what Pokemon needs t' usher in some truly great RPGs, t'is an important step I'd say is quite fundamental to the growth'a the series' audience. An unnecessary one based on points I'd previously discussed in another thread (that whole popularity begets popularity junk), but unnecessary doesn't often mean not good. I'd greatly prefer a Pokemon game with a masterwork plot than highly ramped up difficulty, but the latter is still a good start.
Game Freak acknowledging the existence of competitive battling outside'a VGC would be nice too...