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.”
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.
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.
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.
Two weeks ago Pokémon GO kicked off a limited Holiday Update that added Pikachus wearing Santa hats, as well as a few select Pokémon from the second generation games. Niantic recently announced they are expanding the Update in two different ways. The first will reward free egg-hatching incubators, while the second sees an increased chance to finding the original Gen 1 starters and their evolutions.
“As the year draws to a close, we want to give you a great way to celebrate the end of the year with Pokémon GO,” states the press release. “For the next couple of weeks, you’ll have even more reason to explore the world with your friends and family while you enjoy our year-end event.”
Running right now through January 3, 2017 (“afternoon PST”), you can earn a free single use incubator each day upon visiting a PokéStop. This is a huge boon since incubators are limited use. All the newly added Gen 2 Pokémon like Togepi and Pichu can only be found by hatching eggs.
The Update also adds “a greater chance of finding [Gen 2] Eggs.” If you’re like me and have played Pokémon GO every day and still haven’t found a Santa-sporting Pikachu, Niantic is keeping them around longer as well, and increasing their spawn rate.
The second update hits on December 30 and runs through January 8, 2017 (“afternoon PST”). During this period the original Kanto starters, Bulbasaur, Charmander, and Squirtle, and all their evolutions will see an increase to their spawn rate. These are some of the rarest and most sought after Pokémon.
As an added bonus, Lure Modules during this time will last 60 minutes instead of the usual 30. Gotta Catch More of ‘Em!