Is the Pokémon GO Johto Festival the Best Event Yet?

The Johto Festival may be the best event ever in Pokémon GO.  I’m not sure it’s the most fun but it seems to best thought out so far.  Pokémon GO is a game I never gave up on.  I’ve played every day since July 9, 2016 but there were long stretches where I was playing for less than ten minutes a day.  Niantic has put a tremendous amount of energy into making this game fun again and with the new features I find myself playing for the equivalent of hours a day.

The event sort of snuck in alongside the Celebi Special Research that was announced on August 20th.  I was excited about Celebi being release because, even though I already caught Celebi at GO Gest, it’s always fun having special research to do in the game.  As a reward I will receive 20 Celebi candy which is nice but would be more exciting if my Celebi was higher than 73% or if Celebi was at all useful in the game.

Tagged on to the global release of Celebi was the surprise release of the Johto Festival.  This event is similar to the Kanto festival in that it is spawning huge numbers of Johto region Pokémon, with an emphasis on Pokémon that will evolve in Gen 4.

Screen shot from The Silph Road.

In the announcement it was said that “Pokémon originally discovered in the Johto region, such as Natu and Sunkern, appear more frequently in the wild.”  At first this seemed like an odd designation of Pokémon to choose to represent the Johto Region.  I should have picked up on what this actually meant which was that these Pokémon’s shiny variants had just been released.

The thing that makes this event so good is that they have really done a great job of integrating so many things: friends, research, 7 day bonuses, evolution items, buddies, evolutions, gifts.  The only thing they really didn’t incorporate in some small way is the weather system or battling.

The normal event we’ve seen lately is simple: introduce some new shiny variants, have them spawn in increased numbers, and include something like increased candy, XP, or stardust.

With this event they have included two Pokémon spawning more frequently, Natu and Sunkern, both with the possibility of being shiny.  In addition you can get a Pineco through research task.  The interesting part is that you need to evolve Sunkern and Natu to get Pineco.  Additionally you also need Sunstones to evolve Sunkern.

If you’re like me you’re kicking yourself for trashing dozens of Sunstones after not really having any use for them for months.  Niantic has shown a little mercy by including additional research tasks which will award you Sunstones.  The layers to all of this make this event and the shiny hunt much more interesting than in the past.

So far I’m 0-6 for on Shiny Pineco.  I’ve largely ignored Sunkern and Natu for the past year, something I’m really kicking myself for now.  This event makes me question if I can ignore any Pokémon moving forward for fear of being short on candy.  This has lead to an extra layer of strategy where I’m forced to trade Natu and Sunkern in order to get the candies I need for more evolutions.

During the last event Snubbull and Houndour were released into the wild and shinies with no increased spawns.  The catch was that Snubbull and Houndour spawn in my area no more than once a week if I’m lucky.  With the Johto Festival we’re seeing a huge increase in both of these Pokémon which have now given me a fighting chance.

The Special Research starts simply enough with needing to power up a Pokémon 5 times, battle a gym 2 times, and battle in a raid.  This was all simple though as a stardust hoarder I was a little resentful of having to be forced to use some of my stardust.

I suppose using a few thousand stardust on my 98% Machamp wasn’t the end of the world.

After that you need to make three new friends, evolve an evolved grass type Pokémon, And Catch a Pokémon 3 days in a row.

The last of these tasks was a little annoying.  While I don’t feel the need to have to complete the research in 3 hours like people did with Mew it just isn’t very exciting to have to catch one Pokémon a day for three days.  This is simply a speed bump, not an actual challenge.  It would be a lot more interesting if they’d made something challenging that very well could have taken three days but would keep you engaged rather than this overly simple task.

At Pokémon GO Fest you had to catch 10 Pokémon of several different types to get past one task.  With a three day time span it would have been nice to see something like that.

In Part 3/8 you need to reach level 25, use a Sun Stone to evolve a Pokémon, and hatch 9 eggs.  The Sunstone thing would have been welcome at any time in the past but this had me even more upset about having dumped so many Sunstones in the trash over the past months.

With part 4 I am once again resting my Chansey to walk an Eevee 10km, Evolve an Eevee during the day into Espeon, then sending 20 gifts to friends.

Being at the half way point two days into the event seems a little quick but I do know through reading spoilers that there is another speed bump approaching soon.

All in all there are a lot of moving parts to this event that make it more interesting than any in the past.  I love the addition of a Special Research and I’m really hoping they include this in upcoming events.  That additional piece makes everything that much more engaging.

For a game that struggled so much during its first year the continued improvements just keep coming.  With everything they keep throwing out there it doesn’t even seem like a big deal if we don’t see Gen 4 until early 2019.

Just kidding, that would be a huge deal and players would revolt.  However, since players are always complaining about everything anyway, what’s the worst that could happen?

 

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