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In the early days of my playthrough of Brilliant Diamond, I noticed the catch rate of the Pokémon within the underground was ridiculously low. I would waste 15+ Ultra balls on a 1HP, paralyzed, ~lv25 Pokémon only to fail capturing it in the end.

I recently just acquired all 8 Gym Badges, and the catch rate of the Pokémon within the underground has become more normalized. Now, I will catch lv50+ Pokémon with a single Quick ball, or just 2 or 3 Ultra balls.

Does the catch rate within the underground scale with badge progression, or is there some other mechanic I may have missed?

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According to Dragonfly cave, there's a new variable in the catch rate formula for VIII generation:

For regular wild battles, this modifier has one purpose: if you have not yet completed the main storyline, then if your Pokémon's level is lower than the level of the wild Pokémon, this value will be 410/4096 (~0.1). Otherwise, this value is 1.

This is somehow confirmed on Reddit:

Carried over from Sword/Shield, if a wild Pokemon is higher level than the Pokemon you have out, the catch rate is really bad.

So yes, you are experiencing better catch rates because your current Pokemon levels are higher and you have completed main game.

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    This is good information. I did not know about the reduced catch rate for higher level pokemon, even in Sword/Shield. Thanks! Jan 4, 2022 at 18:31

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