It’s Raining Hoenn

Niantic surprised us all this morning with an announcement about Generation 3 Pokémon dropping later this week.  Even more surprising is the announcement of a new weather system in Pokémon GO.

This has been rumored for a while now but actual weather hitting the game will mean an increased chance of catching particular Pokémon.  Even more interesting is Pokémon battle effectiveness will also be adjusted based on the local, real time weather.

While it seems a little cruel to increase certain Pokémon spawns in the rain and snow it is also a very interesting change to the game.  While the third generation of Pokémon will add a very brief excitement to the game it’s just a matter of time before we catch them all and are left with the same game and same problems.  I’m in favor of anything which improves the level of strategy involved, particularly in battle.

Generation 3 Pokémon are apparently going to be released in waves based on type.  For example they will release all the fire type Pokémon, then all the grass type, etc.  I know a lot of people will have a lot of different opinions on this tactic but I really feel like, while fun, a new generation of Pokémon is not the most pressing need in the game right now.

 

Niantic has been full of surprises for us lately.  The Global Catch Challenge ended with the release of Farfetch’d, something I was not super excited about as a grand prize.  Then they shocked us by releasing Ho-oh shortly thereafter.  While we all knew Ho-oh was coming eventually no one seemed to know when.  With the double XP, and even after the event, Ho-oh raids have been some of the best attended I’ve been to.  After a month of Suicune it was easy to get excited about a potentially useful Pokémon raid being released.  It was even nicer after Suicune went away and you didn’t have to take your chances waiting for a Tier 5 egg to hatch.

Overall new generations are always very exciting.  One of the best parts of the game is catching a brand new Pokémon and watching it get registered to your Pokédex.  Sadly it is also one of the shortest lived joys.  After a few hours of Farfetch’d I was already sick of seeing them.

After a few catches unless the Pokémon are very rare or very useful there’s no real point in catching them.  At this point I’m most excited about catching a Pidgey for the XP, a Rattata to get one step closer to my gold Rattata badge, or a Magikarp for another crack at a shiny.

The introduction of weather is one of the most exciting changes I’ve seen in a while because it is a step toward new game play features that are greatly needed to keep long term players interested.

Here’s to hoping we have an exciting December ahead of us!

 

3 Billion Was Not That Farfetch’d

Well, we did it.  As a global community, around this time last night, we successfully caught 3 billion Pokémon.  There was really no doubt that this would happen. but it was still fun.  With that milestone we saw the release of Farfetch’d, previously only available in Asia.

In reviewing the reward tiers this was pretty much the least exciting.  Double XP and 6 hour lures was a nice incentive.  Double stardust was probably the most enticing reward as stardust remains one of the most difficult things in the game to obtain.

Getting access to Farfetch’d gives me mixed emotions.  Part of me feels like the region exclusives should stay locked in their regions.   The excitement of catching a brand new Pokémon and seeing it registered to your Pokédex is one of the most powerful things in this game.  However, as the final reward for this event it was a little anticlimactic.  As with any of the region exclusives once you catch one that’s pretty much it.  There are too many Pokémon in this game that are completely useless.  Farfetch’d, along with all the other region exclusives, is one them.  It’s no good for battling and no good for attacking, it’s simply a Pokédex filler.  Once you catch one, you don’t really need any more.

While it was nice to catch I hit the streets, put on a lucky egg, and tried to do as many raids as possible.  Tier 5 raids dish out a whopping 40,000 XP during this event with a lucky egg on and after catching Farfetch’d I was eager to try to collect as much XP as possible before the event concludes.

This afternoon I finally hit level 39.  That means I’m 75% of the way through the game.  Now begins the length 5 million XP slog to level 40.  Short of double XP events it’s going to be some pretty slow progress from here on out.

Overall I think this event has been a little different and pretty fun.  However, what it proves is that he addition of new Pokémon only introduce a very brief excitement back into the game.  There are some fundamental changes and additions that need to be made if they are going to capture the same level of enthusiasm that the game once enjoyed.

Until then I’ll continue to play every day, slowly making my way to 40.  I haven’t missed a day since the game came out.  The difference is between those days where I play for a total of 20 minutes, and the days where I am walking 20 kilometers and end up playing for 10 hours or more.

Let’s hope I’m still level 39 when the next round of excitement begins!

Late to the Party

So I finally did my first Suicune raid today.  A combination of work and personal obligations, cold weather, and dwindling interest in raiding from the community made it so that it took me twenty four days into November to finally complete a raid.

With a lucky egg I was more interested in the 40,000 XP than I truly was in catching the Legendary Beast.  This is something that Niantic will likely need to address in the near future.  A few months ago nothing was more exciting than raiding and I was organizing raid groups of thirty or more to raid at 5:30 AM before work.

With the introduction of Suicune, the worst of the Legendaries released so far, there is really very little interest to get groups together.  I attempted a few times so far this month but could never get enough people together.  Today I happened upon a group of fourteen with little organization.

I’m hoping that Niantic has something up their sleeve to entice the community to be more active in future raids.  These were my first raids since the rewards were adjusted which was another nice enticement.

Currently I’m looking to simply make it to Level 39 by the end of this event and continue on the grueling journey to Level 40.

Rare Clear Communication from Niantic Regarding Pokémon GO Raids

Yesterday Niantic announced some clear changes and explanations surrounding the EX Raid system in Pokémon GO as well as changes to the regular raid system.  You can see the official announcement here.

This shouldn’t be a big deal, however, Niantic is constantly extremely vague with information surrounding every aspect of the game.

While I would still prefer that the EX Raid system goes away it is encouraging to have some sort of insight as to how it actually works.  They are responding to a very common complaint with the game and one can only hope that they listen to the other valid complaints that many of us have.

From that announcement:

EX Raid Battle changes

  • EX Raid Battles will take place most commonly at Gyms found in parks and sponsored locations.
  • Trainers with a high-level Gym Badge are more likely to be invited to EX Raid Battles taking place at that Gym.
  • Trainers who have completed a larger number of Raid Battles are more likely to be invited to EX Raid Battles.
  • EX Raid Battle start times now take into account popular Raid Battle times at that Gym.
  • Trainers invited to EX Raid Battles will receive an in-game notification if the EX Raid Battle is canceled.
  • Trainers will receive Stardust and Premium Raid Passes when an EX Raid Battle is canceled.

And, also:

Raid Battle changes

  • Trainers will now receive Golden Razz Berries for completing Raid Battles.
  • The numbers of Potions and Revives awarded to Trainers for completing a Raid Battle will decrease slightly, but the quality of Potions will increase.
  • The likelihood of receiving Fast and Charged Technical Machines for completing a Tier 3 or higher Raid Battle has increased.
  • Trainers will now receive Stardust for participating in a Raid Battle, whether they win or lose.
  • Magikarp will make a triumphant return to Tier 1 Raid Battles.

One can hope that this is the beginning of what will be much more clear communication from Niantic about updates and changes being made to the game.  The real test will be seeing if having access to this information improves anyone’s chances of actually getting the elusive EX Raid pass.

It would be nice to get my hands on a Mewtwo before they do some sort of mass release and we start catching it with Santa hats in another month.

Pokémon GO Travel and the Global Catch Challenge

Pokémon GO players have eagerly been awaiting the announcement of a Thanksgiving event.  Earlier today Niantic announced the Pokémon GO Travel and the Global Catch Challenge.  In true Niantic fashion they’re a little short on details such as the actual start date and time or giving us a ballpark of how hard it will be to catch 3 billion Pokémon.  I don’t have any sense for how many are caught in an average week and I’m sure most players also do not have access to that information.  Nevertheless it looks to offer some potentially interesting rewards.

I don’t know what the likelihood of all of us hitting the 3 billion mark is but I suspect that no matter what it will happen.  I can’t imagine anything that would take the wind out of our nearly windless sails more than the potential for unlocking a regional exclusive and then not delivering.

Catching my first Farfetch’d would be pretty cool but the double XP and double stardust is even more appealing as I lumber slowly toward level 40.

This could keep the game interesting for another week or two but Niantic still has a lot of work to do to make this game at all compelling for most of us who play daily.

For now I’ll just enjoy these small windows of fun and hope for the eventual update that will rekindle the game for us all.

Universal Paperclips for iPhone

My weeks long obsession with Universal Paperclips had just come to a close when I learned today that the game’s developer has just made it available for mobile.  You can now get Universal Paperclips in the iTunes App Store!

That being said I wasn’t going to pass up an opportunity to purchase the game for the iPhone and thank Frank Lantz for his incredible game.

Playing on the iPhone is a different experience.  Tapping on the buttons (something you’ll be doing a lot of) isn’t quite as quick as on the desktop version.  Additionally I had become very adept at leaving the Paperclips window open to get the most out of the game.  This is much harder to do on a device without true multitasking.

I can’t say I’ll log the same hours on the iPhone as on a desktop.  One of the things I enjoy most about this game is doing it in spurts, then relegating it to the background while you do other things, then returning to find that you’ve built up money, Yomi, honor, or whatever the current currency in the game is.

Perhaps this just means I’ll be able to run this on my phone while I’m on my computer in the future.  At any rate I this has been the surprise game for me this year.  I’ve had more fun playing this than many others and I look forward to the future work of Frank Lantz.

The Pokémon GO Update No One Was Asking For

It’s happened, it’s here.  Sometime this evening (a few hours ago) I logged onto the game to be greeted with this latest bit of news in the app.

That’s right.  With all that Pokémon GO has been missing in the past few months, this is the update that just dropped.  We have new clothing for our avatars.

If you are keeping up with the Pokémon GO community there is a very common communication you hear from players.  We’re bored.  We want something new.  We love the game but we don’t feel like there’s any reason to play on a day-to-day basis.

Here’s a list of a few things I can think of that I’ve heard that people want:

  • Daily/weekly quests
  • A clear path toward obtaining Mewtwo
  • Releasing the remaining Gen 1 and Gen 2 legendaries
  • Releasing Gen 3
  • PvP
  • Trading
  • Dealing with spoofing
  • A battle upgrade

I’m sure I’m leaving stuff out.  However, you may notice that nowhere in there did I mention that we are looking for new hats.

Forgive me.  A new hat.  A new hat.  Apparently there is exactly this: a new pair of shoes, a new pair of shorts, a new shirt, and a new hat.  One version of each for the male avatar, one version of each for the female avatar.

Avatar customization probably wouldn’t rank even in the top fifty things I’d like to see implemented in Pokémon GO.  That being said if there were changes to be made, I can think of a lot of things I’d rather see than one of each article of clothing.  I’d much rather see facial hair, tattoos, and better customization of body type to name just a few things.

Rumors are circulating that some sort of Thanksgiving event may be on the horizon.  Perhaps even the release of Ho-Oh.  While that is somewhat interesting it is just yet another legendary raid, a part of the game that was once exciting and is now sufficiently stale.

December is going to see the release of some (or all) of Gen 3.  This will give the game a momentary boost but once our Pokédexes are filled again we will all be craving some new content and reason to play.  Let’s hope Niantic hears our pleas and doesn’t give us a Slaking T-shirt instead.

The Shiny Shuppet Showdown

 

As the Pokémon Go Halloween event draws to a close we currently have shiny versions of two of the Pokémon familes available.  The running theory is that Shiny Shuppet should should be showing up any moment now in the game.  With Sableye being released initially followed by Duskull a few days later, it seems that Shuppet should show up any time now.

This is somewhat exciting as we now have five available shiny Pokémon in the game where we only had two a little over a week ago.  However, the release of these shinies makes Pokémon GO even more of a tedious slog than it already is.

One thing last year’s Halloween event didn’t have was shinies.  I remember by the end of the event last year being quite happy with never seeing a Cubone, Meowth, or Gastly ever again.  This year I feel the same way about Duskull, Shuppet, and Sableye.  Unfortunately the lure of a potential shiny keeps me glued to the game in hopes of catching a rare version of even just one of the Gen 3 ghost types.

Shuppet, in particular, annoys me the most.  I find there are just some Pokémon that I find I always hate catching.  Shuppet falls into that category.  Duskull, while getting old, never seems like such a bother.

I can’t complain.  I’d rather catch 5,000 more Shuppets than just one single Venonat.  Venonats make me wish there was an option to switch to Wolfenstein mode and dispatch of them with a Chain Gun.

Making Your Own Quests in Pokémon GO

Once of the most sought after features missing in Pokémon GO is quests.  With that feature missing I know a lot of long time players, myself included, have taken to creating our own.

At the start of the new Halloween Event, not quite a week old, I made it my personal quest to try to catch all five of the newly released Gen 3 Pokémon in the wild — no evolutions.  I just completed this quest this morning.  While it doesn’t give me any sort of in game reward it gives me a goal to shoot for and something beyond the monotonous grind of the normal game.

Usually events give a little boost of excitement but this time it falls a little flat.  Double candy is awesome but when you have every available Pokémon in the game it really loses a lot of its impact.  Last year I was excitedly walking and catching to finish off the last ten or so Pokémon I had left to evolve.  This year the most exciting thing is finding a Pidgey or a Weedle just for pure grinding and evolution.

My next quests are getting the Pikachu Fan gold medal, the Tiny Rattata gold medal, and the Big Magikarp medal.  Additionally I’m looking for any shinies besides the one Pikachu that I have at the moment.

I’m in this game for the long haul but I can understand why anyone would bail or already has.  There just isn’t enough compelling content to keep the game interesting at this point.  The most compulsive of us will keep playing.  Many people are looking forward to the full Gen 3 release which may come in full or in part this December.  Personally, I would like to see more reason to log into the game other than catching the new Pokémon.

Simple quests and rewards for those quests would be a much better long term strategy for Niantic.   Until then I’ll keep making my own.

Pokémon GO EX Raid Pass Changes?

One of the most complained about “features” of Pokémon GO has been the somewhat recent inclusion of the EX Raid Pass Invitation system.  That’s saying a lot because if there’s one thing that Pokémon GO players like to do it’s complain.

I’m no exception.

There is a lot to complain about with the game.  The important thing that I hope Niantic understands is that while a lot of this can be viewed as whining and people being ungrateful we complain because we love the game and we want to see it live up to its potential.

Last night Niantic tweeted this: “Trainers, thank you for your feedback on EX Raid Battles.  We’re working to improve the invitation system based on what we heard from you.”

This is promising, however, I’d like to see the system just go away.  EX Raids have made me actually raid less.  I live about 45 minutes from where I work.  I used to do a raid or two on my way too and from work, sometimes on my break.  I no longer do this.  Why?  Because my fear is getting a raid pass for my work area on a day off or my home area while I’m at work.  Now I only raid around my home in hopes of getting an EX pass there.  I also work an erratic schedule so the likelihood of my not being able to participate in a potential EX Raid Battle is fairly high.

I also just went on a trip about 1,000 miles away.  Of course I didn’t participate in any raids there even though I wanted to as I didn’t want to run the risk of getting an EX pass there either.

Mewtwo is one of the most coveted Pokémon in Pokémon GO.  I know some people who have two or three.  I really feel like it would make much more sense to limit it to one per trainer and have a quest involved.  Quests are something I’ve wanted to see in the game since day one and even something that Draconius GO seems to have figured out.

Here are an example of some potential quest ideas.  You could say complete any 5 or any 10 of these.  Maybe you’d need to complete all of the quests listed below.  This is just me brainstorming about some things that would make me want to keep playing the game and repeating some of the aspects of the game that have gotten quite stale over the last fifteen months or so.

Quest Ideas:

  • Achieve level 30
  • Hatch 100 eggs
  • Win 500 gym battles
  • Get a gold gym badge in five gyms
  • Evolve 1,000 Pokémon
  • Catch 5,000 Pokémon
  • Collect 200 Pokédex entries
  • Defend Gyms for 2,000 hours
  • Collect gold level in 12 different Pokémon types
  • Walk over 1,000 kilometers
  • Do 100 raid battles

After completing all of these a number of things could happen.  You could receive a 50km egg and have to walk it to hatch a Mewtwo.  You could have to battle Mewtwo a number of times and weaken him to try to catch him.  You could have to battle some sort of NPC a number of times then get a Mewtwo.

Alternately they could make it much more challenging and have the quest be to catch a Weedle with an excellent throw.  After that I think they could just hand you a Mewtwo and you would have earned it.