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Pokémon GO Details Changes to Raid Battle System

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A cooperative Raid Battle system was added to Pokémon GO earlier this year. Raids let players join together to defeat a single powerful Pokémon at a Gym location. This week Niantic announced several big changes coming to both standard Raid Battles as well as the special invite-only EX Raids with Legendary Pokémon.

“We want Trainers to walk away from Raid Battles feeling like they’ve earned some amazing rewards, even if the Raid Boss flees,” states the update post. “To help make this more of a reality, we’ve made adjustments to the quality of items Trainers receive after defeating a Raid Boss. The addition of Stardust rewards for participating in a Raid Battle will help Trainers continue to power up the Pokémon they need to take on even more powerful Raid Bosses.”

Standard Raid Battles are getting the following changes:

  • Trainers will now receive Golden Razz Berries for completing Raid Battles.
  • The numbers of Potions and Revives awarded to Trainers for completing a Raid Battle will decrease slightly, but the quality of Potions will increase.
  • The likelihood of receiving Fast and Charged Technical Machines for completing a Tier 3 or higher Raid Battle has increased.
  • Trainers will now receive Stardust for participating in a Raid Battle, whether they win or lose.
  • Magikarp will make a triumphant return to Tier 1 Raid Battles.

Additionally Niantic received a hefty amount of feedback to the oft-frustrating EX Raid Battles, which was the only way to gain super rare and powerful Legendary Pokémon.

The following changes are being added to EX Raid Battles:

  • EX Raid Battles will take place most commonly at Gyms found in parks and sponsored locations.
  • Trainers with a high-level Gym Badge are more likely to be invited to EX Raid Battles taking place at that Gym.
  • Trainers who have completed a larger number of Raid Battles are more likely to be invited to EX Raid Battles.
  • EX Raid Battle start times now take into account popular Raid Battle times at that Gym.
  • Trainers invited to EX Raid Battles will receive an in-game notification if the EX Raid Battle is canceled.
  • Trainers will receive Stardust and Premium Raid Passes when an EX Raid Battle is canceled.

With these changes the EX Raid Battle system will officially move out of beta (or ‘field test’) and into official launch.

Also happening this week is the Pokémon GO Global Catch Challenge. Every Pokémon you catch this week will contribute toward the challenge, with overall goals in the millions and billions. The rewards are listed below:

  • Bronze Tier (500 million Pokémon caught): All Trainers will earn double XP, Lure Modules will last six hours, and more Pokémon will appear all over the world.
  • Silver Tier (1.5 billion Pokémon caught): In addition to the Bronze Tier rewards, all Trainers will earn double Stardust, and even more Pokémon will appear.
  • Gold Tier (3 billion Pokémon caught): In addition to the Bronze and Silver Tier rewards, Farfetch’d will appear all around the world for 48 hours and Kangaskhan will appear in East Asia for 48 hours!

The Pokémon GO Global Catch Challenge will conclude on November 26.

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Disastrous Pokémon GO Fest Results in Mass Refunds

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When Pokémon GO first launched in July 2016, it instantly became a cultural phenomenon. Its unprecedented mainstream popularity lead to widespread network issues that lasted for weeks.

Unfortunately all reports from last Saturday’s Pokémon GO Fest on July 22 tell a similar story. While it was meant to be a fun one-year celebration gathering, it instead brought back the same network issues that plagued the game at launch.

Connection issues hampered excited players throughout the day, with most event-goers unable to do the one thing they bought a ticket for. Amenities and organization were also subpar, with few charging stations and very long lines to get in (and out of) Grant Park.

Pokémon GO Fest ended up being such a disaster that Niantic announced mass refunds for everyone who attended ($20 ticket price). They’re also offering $100 worth of PokeCoins. Of course many people paid much more than that with airfare, hotel stay, and the typical overpriced event food.

There’s a video now circulating on YouTube from the event that features very disgruntled event-goers, and Niantic CEO John Hanke being booed on stage.

Niantic released an official statement:

Today at Pokémon GO Fest in Chicago, technical issues created problems for a large number of players attending the event. From everyone at Niantic, we apologize to all of the Trainers who came out to Pokémon GO Fest today. Although we were able to solve many of the technical issues, we were not able to offer every attendee a great experience. We appreciate the patience of all the Trainers who joined us in Chicago this weekend. We will strive to make sure our experiences are of the highest quality going forward.

In addition to the refund and PokeCoins, all attendees will have the Legendary Pokémon Lugia added to their account. Lugia was meant to be the big reward for completing the challenges, but connectivity problems lead to Niantic simply releasing it. Apparently Team Mystic came out ahead on the few Pokémon captures that could be earned, unlocking Articuno as the other Legendary Pokémon.

Given how well Niantic has supported Pokémon GO and stabilized the servers following its rough launch, it’s exceedingly disappointing to see a large-scale event like this crash and burn. Niantic has had a year to iron out the kinks. You would think they’d be able to better prepare for an actual scheduled, ticketed event.

 

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Pokémon GO Fest Chicago Will Include a Global Event

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Pokémon GO’s one year anniversary celebration is in full swing. Niantic has finally detailed what exactly is going down at their ticketed celebratory event Pokémon GO Fest, and it is a neat way to integrate with players all over the world.

Pokémon GO Fest takes place Saturday, July 22 in Grant Park, Chicago, IL. Three Challenge Windows will task both players at the festival and Pokémon GO players everywhere. For the first challenge, festival goers need to catch different types of Pokémon in order to unlock certain rewards. Catching enough water Pokémon grants an XP bonus, while Fire gives out more Candy. These are global rewards that will benefit everyone playing Pokémon GO.

If you’re not attending the event in Chicago, you can still participate. The duration of these earned bonuses are tied to how many Pokémon everyone else catches around the world. Reaching Bronze increases the bonus by 24 hours, and Silver by 48 hours. If enough Pokémon are caught to reach Gold tier, it will unlock the second Challenge Window, which Niantic is keeping a mystery. Completing the second Challenge will reward the third, which unlocks “a major global reward.”

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Niantic hasn’t release the actual numbers required to hit any of these target goals. It would be disappointing for those who paid to play at Pokémon GO Fest to not even unlock the later challenges. I’m fairly certain Niantic won’t let that happen.

The one year mark is also celebrated through new loot boxes and hat-wearing Pikachu. Special Anniversary Boxes can be purchased at a discount in the in-game shop. They include Incubators, Ultra Balls, and Raid Passes for the recently added Raid Battles. Any wild-caught Pikachu can be found wearing Ash’s iconic hat from the Pokémon animated TV show. These extra perks last until July 24.

Pokémon GO Fest takes place on July 22.

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Massive Pokémon GO Update Revamping Gyms, Adding Co-op Raids

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The single biggest update is coming soon to Pokémon GO. The upcoming patch will revamp how Gyms and Gym battles work as well as adding a new cooperative Raid Battle feature.

Gyms will soon feature six permanent slots that can be filled with its controlling team’s Pokémon. Each Pokémon must be unique – no more stacking Dragonites and Snorlaxes! Opposing teams will have to battle them in the order in which they were assigned.

A new motivation system will be integrated with Gyms. Pokémon will lose motivation over time while in a Gym, especially if they lose a battle. As they lose motivation their Combat Power will decrease, making it easier to assault bulky Gyms after awhile. Gym owners can raise their Pokémon’s motivation by giving them berries, giving berries a much more important use. If a Pokémon’s motivation bar is completely drained, it will leave the Gym and return to its Trainer after its next loss.

Gyms will also provide items the same way PokéStops do. New Gym Badges can be leveled up by gathering Gym items every day as well as giving Gym Pokémon berries.

Raid Battles are an entirely new feature. A Raid Boss will take over a Gym, kicking out the current Pokémon. The Raid Boss initially appears as a giant egg with a countdown timer, signaling that a powerful boss will soon appear. Up to 20 trainers will work together to defeat the Raid Boss within a five-minute time limit, and the chance to catch a powerful Pokémon.

You’ll need a Raid Pass to join the fight. You can earn one free Raid Pass per day by visiting a Gym, but you can only hold one at a time. More will be available for purchase in the in-game shop.

New items are being added as rewards for winning Raid Battles. Rare Candy works like a wild candy, letting you use it on any Pokémon. Golden Razz Berries increase the chance of catching a wild Pokémon as well as fully replenishing a Gym-assigned Pokémon’s motivation bar. Two new Technical Machine items let you teach Pokémon new moves.

The Gym portion of the update is being rolled out soon, which will temporarily disable all Gyms during the transition. Then the Raid Battle feature will be added over the next few weeks, beginning with a beta for select players.

 

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Pokémon GO Celebrates Valentine’s Day With More Candy

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In case you’re still playing Pokémon GO, Niantic Inc wants to share the love this week. To celebrate Valentine’s Day this year you’ll receive double the normal amount of candy for catching, hatching and transferring Pokémon. Your buddy Pokémon will also find candy twice as fast from walking. The seasonal event begins today, Feb 8, at 11am PST/2pm EST. It lasts for one week, ending at the same time on Feb 15.

More candy won’t be the only special feature in the event. Chansey, Celfable and “many other adorable pink Pokémon” can be found more often. I just strolled through the original 151 Pokémon that makes up Pokémon GO’s roster and found Jigglypuff, Wigglytuff, Clefairy, Mr. Mime and Jynx that could be included in the event. You could also include Slowbro, Slowpoke and Lickitung depending on how far you stretch the word “adorable.”

From the 2nd generation of Pokémon you’ll see an increase to Cleffa , Igglybuff and Smoochum when hatching from eggs. Currently the only Gen 2 Pokémon available are the babies, and only acquired through eggs. I’ve been hatching eggs since they added Gen 2 and yet to find any, but hopefully you’ll have better luck.

Lastly Lure Modules will see a huge boost. Normally a Lure Module lasts 30 minutes, but during the week-long event a single module will last six hours. Expect to see many Poké Stops with the sparkly sign of a module this week. Catch ’em all, love your Pokémon and hope Niantic and The Pokémon Company realize what the game really needs is more Pokémon.