pokémon go

Pokémon GO Finally Adding Trading this Week

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The basic Pokémon tenet of trading Pokémon has been noticeably absent from Pokémon GO. Now, nearly two years after launch, Niantic Inc has finally announced that trading, gifting, and an actual friends list are being added to Pokémon GO later this week.

To add friends you’ll need to exchange Trainer Codes, not unlike how Nintendo operates their friends lists. Plug in the code and you can send a friend request and add them to your new friends list.

To trade Pokémon you must be physically near someone you’ve added to your friends list, both Trainers must be at least level 10. Trading Pokémon requires Stardust, but the traded Pokémon earns Candy in the process. The amount of Candy depends on how far away the two Pokémon were caught from each other. You can lower the Stardust trading requirements by building your friendship level.

Each friend has a friendship level that can be increased through gifting or cooperative battles. Gifts are received through PokéStops, and can’t be opened normally. Instead you have to trade them to friends, which they can open for a showering of loot, and a postcard of the PokéStop location.

Rare Pokémon such as Legendaries require a Special Trade. A Special Trade is limited to once per day, and only between a Great or Best Friend with high enough friendship level. It’ll also cost a bunch of Stardust.

Trading has been a highly requested feature for Pokémon GO since launch. Niantic had promised it was a forthcoming feature. Pokémon GO originally launched in Summer 2016 and went on to become a global phenomena, and introducing much of the world to the magic of an AR mobile game.

The trading and friends update should hit later this week.

jurassic world alive

Jurassic World Alive is a Better AR Game than Pokémon GO

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I love Pokémon GO. I fell in love with the brilliant concept of hunting Pokémon in the real world and forgave the horrendous networking issues along with everyone else when it launched two years ago.

Jurassic World Alive borrows much of the basic gameplay and mechanics of Pokémon GO, using dinosaurs in place of Pokémon. Even if you’re not a big dino-fan, Jurassic World Alive improves upon Pokémon GO in several key areas, making it the AR game I’m more likely to play when I’m out.

Bingo, Dino DNA

Inn Jurassic World Alive you are a member of the Dinosaur Protection Group. Your mission is to save dinosaurs by, uh, shooting them with tranquilizer darts, creating genetic hybrids, and battling other dinosaurs. Who knew prehistoric conservation could be so much fun?

jurassic world aliveJust as in Pokémon GO, your primary job is to collect creatures on an augmented reality map, localized to your current location. Dinosaurs and Pit Stops are scattered around the world, the latter giving you darts to capture dinosaurs and gold for upgrading them.

When you find a dinosaur you enter a timed mini-game. The dinosaur runs around as your flying drone attempts to fire tranq darts from above. A crosshair reappears in different places on your target as you hit the marks, upping the challenge. It makes capturing the dinosaurs far more engaging and less frustrating than flinging a bunch of poké balls.

The other key difference is that you never capture a single dinosaur. Instead you collect a number of DNA points, depending on how well you hit the crosshairs. A direct bullseye will net over 10 DNA per shot, while a grazing shot gives half of that. If you miss the crosshair you’ll receive none at all.

Since each capture session is timed, you can only get a limited amount of DNA from each dinosaur. This provides a welcome incentive to capture duplicates dinos.

Gather a certain amount of DNA and you can create that dinosaur. Rarer, stronger dinosaurs like the Tyrannosaurs Rex require much more DNA. Each dinosaur can also be leveled up by collecting additional DNA, with upgrades granting more health and stronger attacks. You’ll definitely want stronger dinos because the turn-based combat is legitimately fun.

We Need More Teeth

Combat in Jurassic World Alive isn’t limited to Gyms as in Pokémon GO. You simply select the Battle button from the menu and match up with a similar rank opponent. You can bring up to four dinosaurs on your battle team, with the goal of defeating three of your opponent’s dinosaurs before they do the same to you.

Battles are intuitive and fun. Unlike the constant clicking chaos of Pokémon GO, combat in Alive is entirely turn-based. Each dinosaur has two to three moves you can choose from. Most include secondary effects like slowing down an opponent, or adding a protective shield for your next turn. Passive abilities include armor that reduces damage, or automatically counter-attacking after receiving damage.

jurassic world aliveThere’s enough variety in the starting common dinosaurs that I’ve already been adjusting my team several times over as I find the right mix. The Velociraptor, one of the easiest dinosaurs to level up in the beginning, hits extremely hard with an ability that does an additional x2 damage. It has very little health, however, making it good for a strong opening attack that I immediately switch out with something beefier, like the Euoplocephalus.

While many of the abilities are outlandish and very video gamey (like the aforementioned shield, which literally looks like a sci-fi hologram in front of the dinosaur) I appreciate that most of the dinosaurs are drawn from real world creatures. Each stat sheet includes a nice little About This Creature section, featuring a few sentences of science facts. Euoplocephalus, for example, means ‘well-armed head.’ It’s not exactly National Geographic but it’s nice to see some effort made to create some educational content in a game about collecting and battling dinosaurs.

In another improvement, the Supply Drops, Jurassic World Alive’s equivalent of Poké Stops, are much more frequent and accessible. This makes a huge difference to folks living in more rural areas, where the dearth of Poké Stops makes Pokémon GO almost unplayable. A free incubator is also given every six hours, which always includes a pack of 20 darts, no matter where you are.

You can purchase additional incubators (essentially loot boxes), gold, and darts with cash, and cash can be acquired with real money purchases. But it never pushes them on you, and I haven’t felt the need to spend any real money despite devoting quite a few hours into my new dino collecting hobby.

If I have one complaint, it takes a long time to level. Like Pokémon GO, your character also levels up. Reaching higher levels spawns better and rarer dinosaurs in the wild. The leveling feels painfully slow, even early on, limiting you to seeing the same few dinosaurs everywhere.

As it cross its two year anniversary Pokémon GO’s star-studded status has faded from the public view. Pokémon remains a stellar franchise and finding Pokémon in an AR game is still very enjoyable. I have no doubt that the upcoming Switch tie-ins, Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee, will spark a wave of new interest.

I love Pokémon and Pokémon GO, but Jurassic World Alive does a better job of everything Pokémon GO does. At this point I have fully switched over from Gotta Catch ‘Em all into humming that classic John Williams theme.

pokemon go fest

Pokémon GO Fest Returns This Summer

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Niantic has announced the Pokémon GO Summer Tour 2018, which includes the return of Pokémon GO Fest in Chicago, Illinois on July 14-15.

Pokémon GO Fest 2018: A Walk in the Park will feature activities for Pokémon GO players of all ages. It takes place within a 1.8 mile stretch in Lincoln Park in Chicago. Tickets will go on sale this Friday, May 11. Single-day passes will cost $20, and nearby hotels will offer discount rates. Event details have not yet been announced.

Seeing Niantic return to a large-scale physical meet-up is interesting. Last year’s Pokémon GO Fest, which also celebrated the one-year anniversary of the hit mobile game, was an unmitigated disaster. The network was down for much of the event, preventing most ticket holders from actually playing the game. Niantic would later issue mass refunds to everyone who attended.

The Summer Tour also includes Safari zones for Europe and Asia. These are similar to Pokémon GO Fest but they are non-ticketed and open to everyone at public parks. The first takes place in Dortmund, Germany June 30 and July 1.

In addition to these events, Pokémon GO will continue to feature monthly Community Days. Community Days last only a few hours and feature a specific Pokémon with some added bonuses. The next Community Day is on May 19, when trainers will find a lot more Charmanders in the wild.

Pokémon GO launched on mobile devices in Summer 2016, becoming a global phenomenon and popularizing the AR genre. Its popularity has noticeably died down, though Niantic continues to support the game with frequent events and updates.

Pokémon GO Fest 2018 takes place in Chicago on July 14-15. Tickets will be available this Friday.

pokemon go

Discover More Gen 1 Pokémon in Pokémon GO this Week

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With the recent arrival of Mythical Pokémon Mew comes an increase in all first generation Pokémon in Pokémon GO. Those are Pokémon who appeared in the Kanto region, the setting of the original Pokémon Red and Blue games of the late 90s. The Kanto Celebration is going on now and ends April 17.

Initially the Gen 1 Kanto Pokémon were the only Pokémon available when Pokémon GO launched in Summer 2016. In the nearly two years since, Pokémon GO has added Pokémon from Gen 2 (Johto) and Gen 3 (Hoenn), which technically makes it more difficult to capture any specific Pokémon.

Certain rare Kanto Pokémon such as Snorlax and Aerodactyl will appear in Raid Battles during the event, allowing trainers to team up and capture them. Trainers can acquire special boxes containing Raid Passes to challenge these Pokémon.

Capturing any Kanto Pokémon during the event will reward double the Candy.

Recently Pokémon GO added an all new daily quest system called Field Reserach, which give short-term goals and rewards such as capturing a certain type of Pokémon or visiting PokéStops. More long-term goals were added as Special Research. The first works toward unlocking Mew, the original Mythical Pokémon from the Kanto region.

The Kanto region Celebration event ends April 17.

pokemon go

Pokémon GO Celebrates Earth Day with Special Event

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Niantic, Inc is teaming up with charitable organization Playmob to host an Earth Day Clean Up event with Pokémon GO on April 22.

“Earth Day is an incredible movement and opportunity to team up with friends and neighbors to focus on making the world and our own communities healthy and sustainable,” said John Hanke, founder and CEO of Niantic. “We’re looking forward to joining Trainers around the world in their efforts to clean up and preserve the environment in support of the world’s oceans and Mission Blue.”

The Pokémon GO Earth Day Clean Up is a series of events that invites the Pokémon GO community to join together and help clean up the environment in certain areas. A total of 37 events are listed in 12 countries. Find the list of area events here.

“We know gaming can be an amazing force for good” adds Jude Ower, founder and CEO of Playmob. “It’s a pleasure to work with such a purposeful and innovative studio and the inspirational and devoted teams behind Mission Blue and all the supporting NGO partners, collaborating on what we see as the start of a bigger movement towards global solutions through play.”

Trainers will receive a special avatar item to celebrate Earth Day. Rewards will be unlocked for all trainers if enough people participate in the Earth Day event, which lasts 48 hours. If at least 1,500 people join, everyone will receive twice the Stardust when catching Ground, Water, and Grass type Pokémon. With 3,000 participants, trainers will receive three times the Stardust.

The Pokémon GO Earth Day Clean Up even takes place April 22.

legendary pokemon

Get Entei and Raikou as April’s Legendary Pokémon

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The Year of Legendary Pokémon continues as April introduces the legendary tiger-like Pokémon Entei and Raikou, originally from Pokémon Gold and Silver.

Beginning April 4, Nintendo 3DS owners can download the Pokémon for free via the Nintendo Network for Pokémon Sun and Moon and Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon. The promotion for this pair will end April 25.

Redeeming through Sun or Ultra Sun will net Entei, while Raikou will join owners of Moon and Ultra Moon. The Ultra versions will be level 100 and have much more powerful moves, while the Sun and Moon versions will be level 60.

Here are the instructions:

  • Open your Pokémon Sun, Pokémon Moon, Pokémon Ultra Sun or Pokémon Ultra Moon game.
  • Select Mystery Gift on the main menu.
  • Select Receive Gift.
  • Select Get via Internet, then Yes to connect to the internet.
  • Watch as you receive your Pokémon!
  • Resume the game, make sure you have an empty space in your party, and speak to the delivery person in any Pokémon Center to receive your Pokémon!
  • Be sure to save your game!

Both Legendary Pokémon hail from the Johto region featured in 2000’s Pokémon Gold and Silver, otherwise known as Gen 2. Gold, Silver, and Crystal were recently ported to Nintendo 3DS.

Entie is a Fire type known as the Volcano Pokémon. Raikou is the Electric type Thunder Pokémon. Both Legendaries, along with the Water type Suicine, could be found as random events throughout Pokémon Gold and Silver. The three of them are called the Legendary Beast Trio, but the monthly giveaways this year have only allowed for up to two Pokémon. See the full schedule of monthly Legendary giveaways.

In related Pokémon Legendary news, Latias and Latios have been added to Pokémon GO for a limited time. Starting this week the Dragon and Psychic Pokémon will appear in Raid battles depending on the region. Initially only Latios will be available in North America, until May 8. Then the pair will switch locations. They will leave the Raid Battles on June 5.