Pokémon GO Social Distancing Includes Halving Hatch Time, Doubling Gym Distance

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A game that forces you to walk around outside is probably the last thing we need to be playing during the coronavirus pandemic. To help alleviate these issues (avoid losing players), Niantic is making several changes to Pokémon GO.

“We have always believed that our games can include elements of indoor play that complement the outdoor, exercise and explore DNA of what we build,” states Niantic. “Now is the time for us to prioritize this work, with the key challenge of making playing indoors as exciting and innovative as our outdoor gameplay.”

Adventure Sync works indoors just as much as outdoors, tracking steps taken to hatch eggs as long as you have your phone while doing chores or exercising. Future changes will improve Adventure Sync with indoor movements.

Hatching eggs is now much easier, as the requirement for hatching all eggs placed in incubators has been halved. This should fit perfectly with the annual Springtime egg event, which doubles the amount of candy upon hatching, and increases the length of Lucky Eggs to one hour. Unique Field Research rewards include encounters with Alolan Exeggutor and Azumarill, and flower hat-wearing Pikachu will appear in the wild. The Spring event ends April 16.

The distance to interact with Gym battles has also been temporarily doubled, including spinning them as PokéStops from much farther away. For some reason, that double distance does not apply to regular PokéStops, however.

The GO Battle League offers PvP battling from the comfort of your own home. The walking requirements for admission have been reduced to zero, along with discounted prices on poké balls and incense.

Pokémon is free to download on mobile devices.


Dungeons & Dragons Releasing Free Content All Week, including Kid-friendly Adventures

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With many families stuck at home during the global pandemic, Wizards of the Coast is offering some of their digital Dungeons & Dragons material for free. Every day this week will bring new downloadable content via DMs Guild and other websites.

Some of the free material released so far includes an Adventurer’s League Player Guide and Dungeon Master’s Guide, as well as some older Adventurer’s League modules from the Tyranny of Dragons storyline. The Adventurer’s League supports pick-up-and-play games with both strangers and friends, with emphasis on shorter one-shot missions within an overarching story or theme.

Adventure with Muk is also free to download and designed for kids. It was originally a fundraising project released during last year’s Extra Life initiative. Adventure with Muk is an all-in-one activity book, coloring book, and adventure starring a lovable goblin and his animal companion.

For those looking to take their first big steps into role-playing, the highly-regarded started set, Lost Mine of Phandelver, is free right now on D&D Beyond and Roll20. Phandelver is a mini-campaign that takes players from levels one to five as they help the frontier town of Phandelver deal with a number of threats. With Roll20 and D&D Beyond, players can play online using digital tools. Useful if your party can’t meet up due to social distancing.

Look for more free content released throughout the week, at 5 pm Pacific/8 pm Eastern. Note that you’ll need to sign up with free accounts on DMs Guild, Roll20, and D&D Beyond to download and access their respective content.