Pokémon GO Fest Was Almost Pokémon NO Fest

When it was announced earlier this week that GO Fest was returning to Chicago this year I wasn’t sure or not if I’d be able to go. In fact, I’m still not entirely sure.  Regardless I waited by the computer for the countdown and dove right in to buy tickets.

Last year I was fortunate enough to get my tickets within about five minutes.  This year it was a bit of an emotional rollercoaster.

There were numerous errors but after forty-five minutes I was able to secure my tickets for the 2018 version of Pokémon GO Fest.  Given the backlash last year I am pretty confident that they’ll have worked out a lot of the kinks for a smoother event this year.

What they’ll need to do this year to ensure a smoother experience:

1.) Figure out the lines.  The two hour wait was a little crazy.  On top of that the line just snaked around endlessly.  Despite getting there two hours ahead of the event we still had an additional two hour wait and it was four hours until we were able to start playing, albeit intermittently.  Two entrances should help some of this but, honestly, I don’t understand why there needs to be a line at all.  Letting people just check themselves in whenever or wherever they want seems like it would be much more efficient.

2.) Figure out the cell service.  This was the main issue with last year’s event.  There were too many people in too small a space calling on too much data from cell providers.  Hopefully with the event being much more spread out this year it won’t be as much of an issue.  Lincoln Park appears to be about 5-6 times the size of Grant Park so I’m hoping that keeps things running.  Luckily with the lessons learned last year I know that Niantic knows what to do if things fall apart.  Hopefully they’ll do it a little earlier this time.

3.) More diverse spawns.  I’ve seen screenshots of the Safari events in Europe with several Chansey and Larvitar on every screen.  I’d really like to see rare spawns and have the opportunity to catch stuff I don’t see every day.

4.) Exclusive Shiny Pokémon.  I haven’t seen a single Unown since last year’s GO Fest and I’m assuming we’ll be seeing a return this year.  Shiny Unown would be a great start.

5.) Go Fest Research Quests.  Having some specific quests to accomplish, rather than just wandering aimlessly through the park, would be great in having the event be a success.

6.) Mystery content release.  It would be great if some brand new feature would see a debut at, or slightly before, GO Fest.

The idea of what they are doing with habitats sounds like fun.  It would be great to be able to pick certain habitats to explore and stock up on Pokémon and candy we’re missing.

The challenges last year were worldwide but this did not work out in anything approaching the grand fashion Niantic had planned.  It would be great to see something like this pulled off properly even with in game notifications.

Research and weather are the two major new features since last year.  It will be interesting to see how they play into this year’s event.

And then there’s photo ops.  Personally, I’ll trade my photo ops for a Chansey with 93% or higher IVs.

I definitely feel the same feeling I felt in the lead up to last year’s event.  Last year I had this curious feeling about what a live Pokémon GO event could be like.  This year I have the same curiosity about what will be different paired with a hope that it doesn’t have the disastrous start hat last year did.

Pokémon GO Fest 2018 and Pokémon GO Safari Zone!

Last year I was so psyched to get tickets to Pokémon GO Fest.  I had imagined what it would be like.  The event ended up being nothing like what I, or anyone else, imagined.  The day started with about 6-8 hours of the most frustrating experiences I’ve ever had and concluded with about 6-8 hours of the most fun game play I’ve ever had in the game.

It’s looking like Niantic has really learned from the mistakes it made in 2017 and that this event should go off much more smoothly.  Eliminating the two-hour line (hopefully) and expanding the radius of the event should drastically reduce the frustrations from last year.

Last year began with the two-hour wait in line, but the promise of the day ahead made it seem like it was going to be worth it.

The excitement of approaching those GO Fest Pokéstops made it seem like something major was about to happen.

Everyone was absolutely packed into the park, ready to play.

This is what most of those in the picture where looking at on their phones.

As you can see by the timestamp on this screenshot, I got the badge for successfully entering my QR code, four hours after arrival at the start of the line.

This is one of the four Pokémon I caught in Grant Park during the event.

Hours later the event spilled out onto the streets and Lugia and Articuno made their first appearance in the game.  This was nearly twelve hours after arriving and it was a pretty exciting moment for the game.

Here’s some brief footage I took of the first ever Lugia raid in Chicago.  I’m not sure, a year later, if they can recapture this participation and excitement but I’m really looking forward to seeing.

I’m hoping there are some other cool items this year, such as the regional they brought in last year.  At this point there is only one available Pokemon in the came that I do not have, Cradily, and that will almost certainly be not true by GO Fest.  With special events I’m sitting on thousands of candies for all the most useful Pokémon in the game.  Aside from ultra rare spawns, really only Chansey and Snorlax, there aren’t really any candies I need.

Here’s a brief wish list for what I’d like to see this year:

  • Ultra rare spawns
  • High IV Pokémon
  • New shiny release(s)
  • Rare candy rewards
  • Limited edition movesets
  • New Unown letters
  • BIG Margikarp
  • Increased overall shiny spawns
  • Bonus (Double XP, Double Candy)
  • Reduced km for hatches and buddy
  • Include rare raids
  • Something to do in gyms to make them relevant
  • Beginnings of Gen 4
  • Quests specifically for GO Fest
  • Quests for region exclusives

That’s an awful lot, but at this point at level 40 with my Pokédex missing only one of 362 Pokémon available to me, there needs to be something great at GO Fest this year.  I’ll be at 362 by the time GO Fest comes so I’d really like something exciting to keep me interested.

Just looking through my screen shots from last year it looks like a totally different game.  Niantic continually tweaks and improves this game so who knows what surprises are in store for us in the lead up to July.

 

Pokémon GO Special Battle Showdown

Wow.

After nearly two years it seems that Niantic has finally discovered a way to make events a surprise.  Out of nowhere Niantic announced this morning that they’ll be launching another event, a mere 24 hours after the previous one ended.  Just when I thought I’d be able to build my Pokéball inventory back up it looks like I’m still destined to have my item storage depleted.

Here’s the official announcement:

Trainers,

It’s time to test the strength of your Pokémon during a special battle event! Fighting-type Pokémon, such as Machop and Makuhita, will appear more frequently in the wild starting May 1 at 1:00 p.m. PDT.

But what’s a battle celebration without some competition at your nearby Gym? Until May 14, you’ll receive 2× bonus XP for Gym Battles and Raid Battles. Plus, Raid Battles will also award a guaranteed 3,000 Stardust for participating—and at least one Rare Candy if you win!

Several actions at Gyms will yield bonuses, including a 2× Badge multiplier, so you can receive even more benefits at a Gym you visit frequently. Just stopping by? Spinning the Photo Disc at Gyms will also yield more items!

Our Battle Showdown is sure to pack a punch, so don’t miss it!

—The Pokémon GO team

I feel like we were inundated with Machop during the Kanto event but this seems to be a very good way for newer or more casual players to earn their Gold Black Belt badge and earn some vital Pokédex entries.

The most interesting part of this event is that it focuses around gyms.  Battling will earn extra XP, raids will earn extra XP and guarntee rare candy, and there’s even a multiplier on gym badges.  To the best of my knowledge this is the first time I’ve seen gym badges be relevant in the game since being launched nearly a year ago.  It would be great to see some future research surrounding gyms and gym badges.

Additionally, with hundreds of shiny sprites added to the game we can no longer predict when or if a specific shiny variant will be added to the game.  It is very possible that we’ll see shiny Machop or even several shiny fighting types added with this event.

In a stark contrast to where this game was at this point last year, Niantic is giving us nothing but reasons to make sure we play this game every day.