My Problem with the Sinnoh Stone

I’ve got a big problem with the Sinnoh Stone.

Back in August I wrote My Ideas for Pokémon Go Generavion IV Evolutions which outlined what I’d like to see with the introduction of the Sinnoh Pokémon into the game.  What I hoped was that we wouldn’t see an easy way to evolve all the Sinnoh region evolutions right away with candy as that would be way too easy.

What we have so far is the Sinnoh Stone.

The Sinnoh Stone is very simple.  So far the only reports are in getting it from a 7-day research reward.  And it only evolves eleven of the Sinnoh evolutions from previous generations, exactly half of the twenty-two that will ultimately be available for Gen 4.

While this doesn’t allow you to simply evolve any Pokémon immediately (think Crobat when Gen 2 was released) it also doesn’t add anything interesting to the game.  Now all I have to do is continue doing my daily research tasks and once a week I will be able to evolve a new Pokémon from this batch of eleven until, at the end of January, I will have one of each of the evolved forms for my Pokédex.

Not very compelling.

What I had hoped, and outlined in the article previously mentioned, was that there would be specific requirements for each new evolution.  I don’t necessarily have a problem with the introduction of the Sinnoh Stone as the one stone to evolve them all, a departure from the main series games.  What I have a problem with is the stone being the only thing you need.  Much like the “Visit PokéStops 7 Days in a Row” in the Celebei quest this is just a huge, unnecessary time gate to prevent you from just doing it immediately.  If it’s going to take seven days to do it, I would like to be doing something to work toward it for those seven days.

It will now take exactly eleven weeks to evolve this first batch of evolutions.  And that’s fine.  I don’t mind it taking eleven weeks.  Twice as long would be fine with me.  What I mind is waiting.  I’m not doing anything to work toward this, I’m just waiting and at the end I’ll get a stone that morning and evolve.  It will just mean that I waited the appropriate amount of time and for five seconds, once a week, I did the thing I needed to do.

My main hopes for these evolutions was that there would be tasks to do, something to work toward. What I would have preferred, if we assume the Sinnoh Stone stays in the equation, was to just let it drop once a week.  That’s fine.  Eventually I’m going to be sitting on 16 Sinnoh stones and trashing them the same way I do with Metal Coats, Sun Stones, and the lot.  But while I’m waiting for the next one to drop wouldn’t it be cool if I was working toward something else?  The coolest Pokémon to evolve are the ones that take additional tasks (e.g. Milotec, Umbreon, Espeon).

With the exception of Rhyperior there aren’t really any others from this first half that I’m going to evolve more than one of outside of potential shiny variants.  After that’s done I’m hoping they’ll consider something more interesting to do with the remaining eleven evolutions.  Here are some ideas they could introduced.  It would be great to see some assortment of things like this happen to evolve a Pokémon, especially the meta relevant ones.

 1.) Walk 10km as buddy.
 2.) Defend gym for ten hours with Pokémon.
 3.) Win 100 gym battles with Pokémon.
 4.) Obtain gold medal for Pokémon type.
 5.) Evolve during specific weather.
 6.) Trade specific number of pre-evolved Pokémon.
 7.) Make 3 excellent throws.
 8.) Catch specific number of specific type of Pokémon.
 9.) Earn specific number of candy with buddy.
10.) Win specific number of raids.
11.) Reach trainer level 30.
12.) Reach trainer level of 35.
13.) Reach trainer level of 40.
14.) Make 10 ultra friends.
15.) Make 10 best friends.
16.) Hatch specific number of eggs.
17.) Obtain silver gym medal in specific number of gyms.
18.) Obtain gold gym medal in specific number of gyms.
19.) Obtain certain number of gym badges.
20.) Trade certain number of kilometers.
21.) Complete 10 tier 1 or higher raids.
22.) Complete 10 tier 2 or higher raids.
23.) Solo a tier 3 raid.

These are over twenty things off the top of my head that could make the week between waiting for stones to drop much more interesting.  Instead, for this first batch, we will simply wait and then evolve.  Unless you’re new to the game you probably don’t even need any additional candy, you’re just ready and waiting.

I know it’s early but so far I’m disappointed and hoping that the second half of the evolutions are going to be a lot more interesting.

Pokémon GO Sinnoh Region Launch – 24 Hours Later

A little over 24 hours ago Sinnoh Region Pokémon began appearing in Pokémon GO.  This is nearly a year after Hoenn Region was introduced in late 2017.  Hunting, Catching, and Evolving new Pokémon still remains my favorite part of the game.  Since the launch I’ve had no time to play outside of at home or my commute to and from work.  Given that fact you’d think I wouldn’t have made much progress.  However, here’s where I stand with candy for the three starter Pokémon.

For Turtwig, Chimchar, and Piplup I have 48, 86, and 92 candies respectively (I’ve caught more since making this image).  That seems a little too easy.

The game has changed a lot since its launch in July of 2016.  I remember distinctly not evolving my first Venusaur until October and my first Charizard in November.  There were no Pinap berries, essentially no events, and your biome more directly impacted your spawns.  Yet here I am with a very good chance of being able to evolve all three starters to their final evolution by the end of the second day.

I’m excited to see this next generation introduced but it seems like before I will get a day off of work to go out and hunt I’ll pretty much be done with this first wave, all while simply casually catching at home, my kids’ skating lessons, and on my commute with my GO Plus.

A few things are still not figured out with this launch.  Firstly, Niantic made a brief and bungled attempt at rebalancing stats which they immediately rolled back.  Until that is redone we’re all in a holding pattern, waiting to see what is worth powering up and how the new gym game is going to look.

Secondly, there has still been no increase in Pokémon storage.  With nearly 500 Pokémon soon to be in the game, this is making catching and grinding difficult.  Even if you only kept one regular, one shiny, and one lucky of each Pokémon you would still run out of space.  With the addition of trading in there is so much need for more space.  Culling Pokémon is much harder now that they all have some sort of value in the game whether for distance, lucky acquisition, or simple friendship boosting.

And, lastly, how are the Gen 1-3 evolutions going to work?  We can already see that those Pokémon do not have the option to evolve in game.  With the starters so easy to acquire I’m really hoping that my long held hopes for getting these Pokémon will come into play.  At least something like this.  With these  Pokémon out for so long, and now spawning again at increased rates, it would really make the game fun if there was a big challenge in rounding out your Pokédex with these evolutions.  Making up 20% of the Sinnoh Pokémon it would be a real let down if all I had to do is run through my Pokémon and just evolve them all consecutively.

This is only the first wave and it will be interesting to see how the remaining waves are introduced into the game in the coming months.

For now I will simply sit and lament my 98% Chansey which I’d hope to evolve into a killer Blissey.  It’s looking more and more likely that it may never live to see the full potential I’d hope for it.

RIP, Pure Bliss.  2018-2018.

 

How Niantic Can Make An Extra $1 Billion With Pokémon GO

Sometimes I think Niantic just doesn’t like making money.  This seems odd to say about a company that’s made nearly $2 billion on Pokémon GO.  Often I’ve heard fans complaining about Niantic doing things as a money grab.  I actually think quite the obvious.  I think they’re leaving  a ton of money on the table with simple features that they could get Pokémon GO’s most active players to very willingly plunk down money on.

I’m extremely lucky.  I live in the perfect area for Pokémon GO.  I’m not in the city so I can easily hold a gym (or multiple gyms) for the necessary time to get my 50 coins a day in the game.  I’m not in a rural area so I don’t have to worry about my Pokémon unintentionally holding a gym for a month.  I’m living the suburban dream.  I casually stick a few low tier Pokémon in gyms every day then collect the in game currency.  I don’t even have to worry about reviving or using potions because they’re usually recently caught Pokémon that I plan on transferring anyway.

At 50 coins a day that amounts to 350 coins a week or 18,250 coins a year.  That’s a cash equivalent of $182.50 if you don’t take into account the coin discount you get with larger dollar amounts in the shop.

With all those coins coming in on a daily basis I don’t spend much on the game.  That being said I’ve probably logged more hours playing this one game in the past two years than I have on nearly every other video game I’ve ever played all grouped together.  I could think of a lot of ways Niantic could force me to part with my Pokécoins quicker and run the risk of having to spend more real life money in game.

Here’s what I would gladly pay money for in Pokémon GO:

1.) Wider Sighting Radius

One frustration I often have with the game (and mentioned in my Pokémon GO Quality of Life Improvements article) if that if we’re around any number of Pokéstops we only see activity there.  We have no idea if there’s a Blissey just hanging out 150 feet away.  When playing at home I am often able to see Pokémon that are just a few feet away that my wife or kids cannot see due to subtle differences in their GPS drift.  Wouldn’t it be great if, as a paid feature, we could expand the radius?  Not infinitely, just enough to be able to casually catch Pokémon that were just a little farther away than what we currently have.

Proposed Cost: 200 Pokécoins per 50 meters up to 500 extra meters
Total Cost:  2,000 Pokécoins

2.) Extra Infinite Incubators

This is something that any hardcore player and even a lot of casual player would gladly cash in coins for.  I know plenty of players that don’t buy incubators because of the temporary nature of them but would be more than willing to pay a lot more for an incubator that will last forever.  I’m sitting on tons of incubators and I still don’t use them unless there’s some sort of special egg event where my changes of actually hatching something decent are greatly increased.  If I could buy two more infinite incubators I’d certainly be using them all the time.  I don’t think you should be able to have nine, mind you, but an extra two would really help out people’s egg game.

Proposed Cost: 2,000 each, up to 2 additional incubators
Total cost: 4,000 Pokécoins

3.) Extra Egg Slots

It would also be a great feature to add an additional 3 or even 6 egg slots.  I’ve already proposed separating out 7km gift eggs into their own storage area but it would be great if you were also able to just hold more eggs in general.  7km eggs have definitely made egg storage a little crowded and the lack of variety in 7km eggs makes them fairly useless for anything other than gaining a little trade distance.

Proposed Cost: 2,000 each, up to to 3  additional slots
Total cost: 6,000 Pokécoins

4.) Extra Buddy Slots

Extra Buddy slots would also be a great feature.  In the main game you’re walking around with up to six Pokémon at a time.  Six Pokémon to train, develop, and get to work together.  I don’t know if we need a full six slots, two may suffice, but it would be great to have some additional slots available.  Perhaps even expanding the Buddy system to include actual training to raise battle readiness and stats.

Proposed Cost: 10,000 Pokécoins each, up to 2 additional slots
Total Cost: 20,000 coins

5.) Temporary Pokéstops

Every so often I’m in a spot where there’s just no Pokéstops.  Having the ability to plop down a Pokéstop for say 12-24 hours and have that introduce wild spawns and be a source of items would be incredible.  This could be particularly useful for people on vacation or in rural areas.  I’m not sure if these Pokéstops would be visible by other players (like lures) or just for the trainer who uses them (like incense) but either way this would be a great feature.  This isn’t something I would use every day but I can certainly think of occasions where this would be a great feature.

Proposed Cost: 10,000 Pokécoins for 24 hours
Total Cost: Limitless

6.) Extra Battle Parties

This is something I’d really wanted to see developed when it first rolled out and the raid bosses were fairly challenging.  With the whole Regice, Registeel, Regirock crew it doesn’t seem like selecting a Battle Party even matters.  However, if raids and the gym battle system were to be altered to make them a more challenging part of the game this would be something that would be really helpful to have going into battle

Proposed Cost: 200 Pokécoins each, up to 15 additional parties
Total Cost: 3,000 Pokécoins

7.) Increased Pokémon Storage

With the release of Gen 4 imminent this is something I’m sure we’re going to see.  However, I’d be more than happy to increase storage to 3,000 slots and beyond.  With the introduction of trading and lucky Pokémon I’m far less willing to part with anything these days in the case I may want it for a friend in need.  Honestly I’d probably keep forking over 200 Pokécoins at a shot until the maximum storage is achieved no matter how high that number was.

Proposed Cost: 200 Pokécoins per 50 slots, up to 3,000 slots
Total Cost: 6,000 Pokécoins

8.) Gift Storage

I only have 66 friends in Pokémon GO and managing it is already challenging.  Having the ability to bank more gifts would really keep me able to exchange gifts more frequently on a day-to-day basis and level up my friendships.  I don’t think you should be able to increase gift storage infinitely but an additional ten slots would make a huge difference.  I’d love to hear from someone that has 200 friends and see what their ideal gift storage would be.

Proposed Cost: 500 Pokécoins to go from 10 gifts to 20 gifts
Total Cost: 500 Pokécoins

9.) Pokémon Center Storage Unit

In the main series games there are Pokémon Centers where you can store items and Pokémon as well as healing them up and trading with friends.  If Pokémon Centers were introduced in Pokémon GO it would be a great way to have a storage unit where you could do the same.  Perhaps we’re getting greedy where 2,000 slots is not enough.  Sometimes I just don’t want to trash valuable items (rare candy, golden rasberries, TMs, etc.) but I also don’t want to be carrying them around all the time.  The ability to store them somewhere in the physical world where I could pick them up later when needed would be really cool.   It would also be cool to have some sort of exchange where you could trade items or sell to other players in game.

Proposed Cost: 200 Pokécoins for 50 slots up to 2,000 slots
Total Cost: 8,000 Pokécoins

10.) Golden Lures

We have super incubators, golden raspberries, and now silver pinap berries.  Why note an advanced lure that lasts longer?  This would be great paired with a temporary Pokéstop when in a remote area or on vacation.

Proposed Cost: 150 Pokécoins each, or bundled for savings

11.) Golden Incense

This would be the same as above.  I’m usually on the go when I’m playing but if I was stuck in an area where I wasn’t able to access Pokéstops or decent spawns this would be a great way to be able to sit back and catch Pokémon in conjunction with lures

Proposed Cost: 150 Pokécoins each, or bundled for savings

12.) More Research Storage slots

When research first came out the number of slots seemed fine.  With so much research now relying on special events, catching limited time shinies, and Spinda forms I find myself having to spin stops, check research, and trash tasks constantly.  It would be great to build a little more of a buffer up to make that process a little less tedious and I’d be willing to pay for that.

Proposed Cost: 500 Pokécoins each, up to 3 additional slots
Total Cost: 1,500 Pokécoins

The total cost of buying the max of all these additions (and one of each of the temporary items) comes to  61,300 Pokécoins.  That’s  $613 ($423 with the 100 Pokécoin discount).  That’s a huge sum of money.  Not everyone would buy everything but there’s a number of items there that I, for one, would be extremely likely to purchase.  There are some items on this list that, quite honestly, I wouldn’t have any interest in.  I’m just going on what I know other players would like to see.

Pokémon GO has about 65 million active monthly users and 5 million daily active users.  Even if a small fraction of these users bought a small fraction of these items Niantic would be swimming in even more cash.  The great thing about this game is that in its current form your ability to spend money on the game does not impact anyone else’s game experience.   There are maximum limits on competitive advantage.  Spending money really only improves your ease of playing.

We will see what Gen 4 brings and if any of these things will ever become a reality.

15 Essential Pokémon GO Quality of Life Improvements

I play Pokémon GO every day without exception.  I’ve never missed a day since I installed the app on July 9, 2016.  I’ve probably spent more time in aggregate playing this game than any other game I’ve ever played.

And I’ve played a lot of games over the years.

Obviously I love the game or I wouldn’t subject myself to this.  That being said there are so many areas where I see there could be huge quality of life improvements that would make the daily play of the game so much more fun and less frustrating.

As I said I love the game but it is tedious.  Very, very tedious.

Here are what I am identifying as the top improvements that could be made to relieve some of the tedium and leave more time for the fun parts of the game.

1.) Shiny Indication

Some Shiny Pokémon are easy to identify.  When you tap on a shiny Mareep or Dratini, it’s instantly obvious, even before you see the sparkles fill the screen.

With others, the difference is barely noticeable.  During Community Day, where the entire object is to capture a new shiny, you are generally playing outside int he bright sun.  It can be difficult to distinguish between a normal and shiny Pokémon in regular light, in the sun it is barely possible.  During the three starter Community Day events I caught shiny Pokémon without even realizing it.

It would be great if there was something more to identify a shiny.  One option would be to have an icon hover above the Pokémon like with weather boost.  My preferred option would just to make the sparkles continuous throughout the encounter, radiating outward during taunts.  This would eliminate any ambiguity and lessen the possibility of having a shiny run on you.

2.) Sort/Search by Distance/Location

For trading distance is important but when you’re in the trade screen you have no indication of where a Pokémon was caught.  Sorting by location would be a great way to easily find Pokémon for the best distance.  Perhaps a little readout below each in the list showing the distance caught from current location (e.g. 7km, 150km, 823km, etc.).  Perhaps even color coding the tier it’s in (0-10km, 10-100km, 100km+) based on how many candies you’ll be rewarded on distance (1, 2, or 3).

3.) Show Us The IVs Already!

If I had to pick one change I’d like to see in the game, this would be it.  Show us the IVs and stats!  Show us when we catch a Pokémon so we can quickly make a transfer decision.  Show us on the main sorting screen to make bulk transfers quicker and easier.  The appraisal system is so incredible tedious and wishy-washy.
As a proud member of Team Instinct I’m subjected to Spark being super misleading with his appraisals.  “Room for improvement . . .”  “. . . definitely got some good stats . . .”  33%?  C’mon, Spark, just be upfront with me and tell me this Natu sucks!  I can take it.  Are you afraid of hurting my feelings?
Better yet, just give me the exact numbers so I can make a split second decision and move on.

4.) Separate Pokémon Storage “Boxes”

With 1500 Pokémon storage and rumor to be 2000 soon we really need a way to divide up our huge Pokémon inventories.  Being able to quickly mark a Pokémon for trade or evolution would be a great way to not have to scroll or search as much.  Just hanging out in your evolution box for mass evolutions or jumping into your trading box to trade with friends would make for a much more enjoyable experience.  Even having an option to custom name a box (like you can with Battle Parties) would be great.  Right now naming all of my Pokémon “Trade” then searching for “Trade” each time is cumbersome.

5.) Nearby Tracking

This is something people used to be shouting about nonstop but it still remains true.  If I’m in a location with even a few Pokéstops nearby my entire Nearby tab is filled with Pokéstop spawns.  There could be a Snorlax 150 feet away from me, just outside of my sight radius and I wouldn’t know because Nearby would be showing me that there was a Taillow half a kilometer away at the library.
We used to have the extremely confusing footprint tracking system when the game first launched.  It was very ambiguous but eventually we got used to it.  It was the equivalent of someone saying, “You’re getting hotter, you’re getting colder,” as you moved around.  Some type of similar system or compass could work.
The Silph Road launched their own Silph Tracking Tool a while ago.  The idea behind this tool was actually really cool.  It works 100% independently of the game but the premise behind it works pretty well.  If something like this was built into the game it would really bring back a level of exploration and excitement we haven’t seen since the very early days.

6.) Nearby Filtering

Another great option would be nearby filtering.  Right now Pokémon GO has a built in algorithm to determine what Pokémon we see in Nearby.  It would be great if we could toggle on/off what Pokémon we want to show up.  Maybe I’m hunting Zigzagoon because I haven’t evolved my first ever Linoone.  But let’s face it, once I catch a Linoone what are the odds I’ll ever want to be alerted about a Zigzagoon ever again?  Simply toggle Zigzagoon off and it’ll never bother you again.
I’ll catch Weedles, Pidgeys, and Whismurs for XP and evolutions but what are the odds that I’m going to travel out of my way to catch one?  I may be working toward my Tiny Rattata medal and actually seek them out but after I’ve achieved 300 tiny Rattata the odds are I would choose to simply toggle them off and never be alerted to their presence again.
Also, by default, Venonats should be toggled off.  Maybe even without an option to toggle them on for any reason.

7.) Link to Pokédex on Pokemon Screen

Another nice feature would be a quick link to jump to the Pokédex screen from the Pokémon info screen.  This way you wouldn’t need to back out of the Pokémon list, go the Pokédex, then scroll through several hundred Pokémon to find the one you were looking for.

8.) Candy Totals in Encounter Screen

I find this would be incredible helpful in a lot of situations.  Sometimes you’re not sure how many candy you have for a particular Pokémon.  If there was a little readout up top that displayed your current candy total for that Pokémon you could make better decisions about berry usage or whether or not you need to capture that particular Pokémon.

9.) Better Friend Gifting Indicators

The newly implemented Friends features have been very welcome, however, I think there’s some room for improvement.  You can now see if there has been friend interaction in the same day with a blue halo and you can see if you’ve sent a gift the same day as well.  You still have to tap on every friend individually to see if they have an open gift slot if they haven’t opened a gift in over a day.  There should be an indication of whether or not you can send a gift at all.  Additionally, sorting by friends who need gifts would also be handy.
10.) Quick Friends & Gyms Button
In two years there have been so many new features added to the game.   The core menu items (Pokédex, Shop, Pokémon, and Items) remain the only options when you tap the Pokéball.  What would be really useful would be options for Gyms and Friends from that main menu.  These are part of the game that are accessed considerably more frequently than the Pokédex or Shop and it’s a little goofy that they’re both buried under the main avatar menu.

11.) Friends Search

I have a mere 63 friends but it’s already becoming troublesome to navigate and find friends without a search feature.  This was added to the Pokémon Storage section a while back and I can’t imagine living without it there.  It seems like it would be trivial to add to the Friends section.

12.) Friends List Slide Bar

While we’re at it, why can’t we also have a slide bar like in the Pokémon Storage section?  This would be another simple quality of life fix that would make managing a large friend collection a lot easier.

13.) Daily streak indicators

Sometimes I genuinely can’t remember if I’ve spun a Pokéstop that day or not.  An indicator on the Me screen would be very helpful to quickly answer that question.  A grayed out Pokéstop would indicate no stop spun, a solid blue one would indicate the task has been accomplished.  There could also be multiple small Pokéstops in a similar manner to the gifts in the Field Research section to indicate how many days in a row they have been spun and if today is complete.
The same would be true of catching Pokémon.  Generally this is simple to accomplish even without leaving the house but I imagine in rural areas there could be more uncertainty as to whether or not one has caught a Pokémon that day and this could be helpful.

14.) Quick Trades

Now that QR codes are live (within the last hour or so) we need a feature to quick trade.  If we have QR codes active within the game, why not have a feature where, with a quick scan we can be trading instantly with another player on the fly?  This would be a big improvement over to hunt through our clunky friends lists.
15.) Remote Berry Feeding Within Sight of Gym
This is probably the most minor change I’d like to see.  I live right down the street from a gym where I frequently have Pokémon.  It would be so simple to simply tap on the gym and feed berries remotely.  Instead I have to go to my avatar, scroll to gyms, sort by defending, tap on the gym then tap on the Pokémon to get to the gym to feed.  This is unquestionably the smallest quality of life feature I can imagine.  In fact, I may be the only person on Earth that would like this feature.  At any rate, it seems easy enough to code but I wouldn’t exactly halt work on any major features to roll this one out.
The game is better now than ever.  With some simple fixes the ease of playing could be dramatically improved.  If Niantic could implement any of these fixes it would greatly relieve my daily frustrations.

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?

 

My Ideas For Pokémon GO Generation IV Evolutions

With Generation IV just around the corner I’ve been thinking a lot about how that roll out will look.  Sure, we’ll have plenty of new Pokémon to catch and hatch, but what about all the evolutions from Pokémon that are already in the game?

There are 21 Pokémon from Generations I through III that will evolve in Generation IV.  In addition there are seven baby forms.

When Generation II launched I remember one of the most anti-climactic things was simply evolving the Pokémon where I already had the candies.  I had a Crobat immediately and evolved both Espeon and Umbreon the same day as well.  Hitmontop was a challenge because you needed to hatch the right Tyrogue and Blissey was also challenging in that Chansey candies were so ultra rare at that point.

As we’re over two years into the game at this point, even casual players should be sitting on a decent number of candies for a lot of these Pokémon.  Additionally, with the introduction of raids, rare candies are not exactly hard to come by and anyone can dump candies into any Pokémon they choose.

Evolving these next generation Pokémon minutes after Generation IV launches and adding 21 Pokémon to your Pokédex would be a considerable letdown.  Not only do I have all the candy resources I need, I’ve got all of the Pokémon in the list ready to go with either good or great IVs at this point.

Even the Mew quest was a little bit of a letdown.  As a serious player there were so many items in that quest that I just automatically accomplished.  If quests had launched on day one it would have taken me months to get my Mew.  I would have felt so much more accomplishment at getting Mew, and probably even more anger at the fact that his IVs were at 76%.

I’m hoping they utilize Special Research to get some or all of the Generation IV evolutions.  Research has been out for months and my Special Research tab is looking pretty sad.  That’s eve though I’ve had the opportunity to do twice as much Special Research projects as most players by attending Go Fest (i.e. two).

Potentially you could have a quest for each evolution item.  Completing the quest would give you the evolution item, then maybe even introduce it into the pool of evolution items you get during your 7 week streak.  A challenging quest would be a great way to get your first Pokémon for the Pokédex.  Let’s face it, with evolution items at this point I’m trashing them to make space in my storage as there’s no real reason to evolve more than one or two of any of the Gen 2Pokémon that require them.

The staggered roll out of Gen 3 did a lot to keep things interesting but I think we need more.  In order to make Gen 4 a fun and engaging roll out, here’s my proposal to ensure that no one is able to complete 20% of their Sinnoh Region Pokédex within minutes of launch.

Generation 1 Evolutions

Gen 1 Pokémon have been out for more than two years.  I’m all for making things accessible to new players but there needs to be some challenge to evolving any of these in Gen 4.  These are all screenshots of Pokémon from my collection.  Even for the super rare Tangela I have 156 candies, that’s without ever using a Pinap berry.  I went months to hatch my first Tangela and I think I’ve only ever seen one or two in the wild.  To just evolve it instantly would be too easy.

Here’s a breakdown for how I’d like to see the Gen 4 evolutions for Gen 1 to work out.

Magneton to Magnazone

  • Candy Cost: 100
  • Walk Magneton 10km
  • Complete Evolution Item Research Task
  • Evolve During Rainy Weather
  • Must have Gold Rocker Medal
  • Must have Gold Depot Agent Medal

Lickitung to Lickilicky

  • Candy Cost: 50
  • Must Defend Gym(s) for 12 Hours with Lickitung

Rhydon to Rhyperior

  • Candy Cost: 100
  • Win 100 Gym Battles With Rhydon Before You Can Evolve
  • Must be Trainer Level 35 or Higher

Tangela to Tangrowth 

  • Candy Cost: 50
  • Gold Gardener Medal
  • Special Research Task to Unlock Grass Evolution Item

Electabuzz to Electivire 

  • Candy Cost: 50
  • Gold Rocker Medal
  • Gold Pikachu Fan Medal
  • Special Research task(s) to Unlock Electric Evolution Item
  • Evolve During Rainy Weather

Magmar to Magmortar 

  • Candy Cost: 50
  • Gold Kindler Medal
  • Gold Sinnoh Medal
  • Evolve During Sunny Weather

Eevee to Leafeon 

  • Candy Cost: 25
  • Walk 10km
  • Evolve as Buddy in Sunny Weather
  • Gold Gardener Medal
  • Gold Backpacker Medal

Eevee to Glaceon 

  • Candy Cost: 25
  • Walk 10km
  • Evolve As Buddy in Snowy Weather
  • Gold Skier Medal
  • Gold Backpacker Medal

Porygon2 to Porygon-Z

  • Candy Cost: 50
  • Gold Pokémon Ranger Medal
  • Walk Porygon2 10km
  • Evolve During Partly Cloudy Weather

 

Generation 2 Evolutions

Not being in the game as long as Gen 1, the Gen 2 evolutions could potentially be a little easier to achieve.

Aipom to Ambipom

  • Candy Cost: 50
  • Can Only be Evolved from Aipom Received in Trade

Yanma to Yanmega

  • Candy Cost: 50
  • Gold Bug Catcher Medal
  • Win 20 Gym Battles Using Yanma

Murkrow to Honchkrow

  • Candy Cost: 50
  • Gold Delinquent Medal
  • Must Trade 5 Murkrow
  • Must be Evolved Between 12am and 1am

Misdreavus to Mismagius

  • Candy Cost: 50
  • Complete Ghost Pokémon Special Research Tasks
  • Can Only Be Evolved on Halloween

Gligar to Gliscor

  • Candy Cost: 50
  • Gold Ruin Maniac Medal
  • Gold Bird Keeper Medal
  • Walk Gligar 10km

Sneasel to Weavile

  • Candy Cost: 50
  • Evolve During Snowy Weather
  • Gold Skier Medal

Piloswine to Mamoswine

  • Candy Cost: 100
  • Gold Skier Medal
  • Must Win 3 Piloswine Raids

Togetic to Togekiss

  • Candy Cost: 100
  • Complete Research to Obtain Fairy Evolution Item
  • Use Fairy Evolution Item

Generation 3 Evolutions

Gen 3 have been around for around eight months.  These are the least likely for players to have tons of candies for but I’m certainly not hurting for candies on any of these Pokémon.  It would be great to see some challenge brought to these evolutions as well.

Kirlia (Male) to Galade

  • Candy Cost: 100
  • Gold Psychic Medal
  • Gold Fairy Tale Girl Medal
  • Kirlia Must Be Male for Galade (this seems to already be the case)
  • Gold Hoenn Medal
  • Trainer Level Must Be 35 or Higher

Nosepass to Probopass

  • Candy Cost: 50
  • Gold Hiker Medal
  • Gold Hoenn Medal
  • Must Defend Gym with Nosepass for Combined 12 Hours

Roselia to Roserade

  • Candy Cost: 50
  • Gold Gardener Medal
  • Gold Hoenn Medal
  • Must Win 20 Gym Battles with Rosella to Evolve

Duskclops to Dusknoir

  • Candy Cost: 100
  • Gold Hex Maniac Medal
  • Gold Hoenn Medal
  • Must Evolve During Foggy Weather

Snorut to Froslass

  • Candy Cost: 100
  • Gold Skier Medal
  • Gold Hoenn Medal
  • Must Evolve During Snowy Weather

New Baby Pokemon

Baby Pokémon will most likely hatch from eggs.  This makes sense but it was a little unsatisfying in Gen 2 when you were just incubating eggs to try to round out your Pokédex.  Much the way the Alolan 7km eggs were fun for a week or two then got really stale.  It would be very interesting if they considered bringing out breeding in Gen 4.  This would make for an interesting extra element of game play.

The following baby Pokémon are who we will see introduced in Gen 4.

  • Mime Jr. (baby Mr. Mime)
  • Bonsly (baby Sudowoodo)
  • Happiny (baby Chansey)
  • Mantyke (baby Mantine)
  • Munlax (baby Snorlax)
  • Budew (baby Roselia)
  • Chingling (baby Chimecho)

Some ideas for how to potentially introduce these new baby forms:

1.) Hatching

This is the obvious, if boring, way to introduce the new babies.  You simply release them into 2km eggs, presumably during an event, and we just get them randomly.  This is usually not very satisfying.  Who among us did not hatch an unwelcome number (more than one) Mantine during Gen 2?

2.) Breeding at Pokémon Centers

To be honest, I’m not a scholar of the original games so I’m not fluent with the game play dynamic of how breeding worked in the original series.  The idea of having Pokémon Centers is something I heard floated a while ago for Pokémon GO but I haven’t heard mentioned again.  It would be interesting to introduce this new mechanic in the game as a place to heal, train, and breed Pokémon.

Perhaps leaving two Pokémon at a Center (a male and female) for a specified time would result in gaining an egg that you’ll have to walk and hatch.  For Happiny maybe you need to leave it at the Center for a week then walk it 20km.  For Mantyke maybe you leave it at the Pokémon Center for ten minutes and walk it for .5km because, let’s face it, who will ever want more than one baby Mantine?

3.) Research Tasks

Additionally there could be research tasks though I think the breeding requirements would be the best options.  Happiny and Munchlax should be the more difficult to obtain as they are meta relavent.  The rest of them I can’t see anyone wanting more than one for the Pokédex.

4.) Encounters in the Wild

Encountering babies in the wild may be my least favorite option but it’s something we haven’t seen before.

The Mime Jr. Dilemma

Mime Jr. poses and interesting dilemma.  This is the only region exclusive baby form being introduced. This does make things a little uneven as far as all other regions are concerned.  I suppose with trading it is more possible to obtain a Mr. Mime so maybe that doesn’t matter.  I still do not have Mr. Mime but admittedly I haven’t really made any effort to obtain one either.

Still, it seems odd that one region essentially gets an extra exclusive.

In Conclusion

Some may not think some of these ideas are fair.  For example, evolving only during snowy weather is hard for people who live in Southern California.  Currently shiny Snubbull is released in the game and I live in an area where I never see Snubbull.  I’ve caught a total of two during the event and they were from research tasks.  Like with region exclusives there would be some unbalance, but that’s part of what makes getting the rarer Pokémon such a challenge.

Ideas like only being able to evolve Pokémon during a specific day (like the Halloween idea) may seem very rigid, however, I think that paired with an event this would be very doable even for a new player.  Getting your Gold Hex Maniac medal during a Halloween event would be pretty easy, then concluding it with getting the super rare evolution on Halloween would be interesting.

With trading now in the game, these limitations could exist for people who want a challenge without training.  Anyone else that simply doesn’t want to jump through these hoops would need to go the trading route, potentially as a special trade.

If everything is just released with a simple candy cost then I guess I’ll join millions of others in just going through the motions and evolving 1/5 of my Gen 4 Pokédex in ten minutes but I’m really looking for something more interesting and challenging in this release.

And I’m really looking to never have more than one Mantyke.

 

 

Trading is Coming to Pokémon GO

I’ve got to admit, I’ve never been a big fan of the idea of trading.  I think this puts me in the minority but I always envisioned this being something that could so easily be exploited by spoofers.  It could be something that created a black market within the game.  It could even propose real world safety concerns, meeting fellow trainers in some dark alley to do the deal.

I’m happy to say that earlier this morning trading was announced and it seems on the face of it they’ve addressed a lot of these concerns.  It’s not a perfect system at first glance but, honestly, it takes a concept that could break the game for many players and just layers in a nice new feature.

Firstly, the main thing that is being introduced, of which trading is just one part, is the new friendship system.  This is something I’d been hoping would exist in the game for a long time though I wasn’t really sure what it would look like.  Now we know.

I’ve met so many people at raids and playing the game in the general that just the idea of being able to keep in touch with them is a really cool feature.  There is now also the added feature of getting extra attack bonus and premier balls meaning that it will be easier to do raids with smaller, tighter groups.  This is huge particularly in more rural areas.

There is also a new feature which allows you to obtain gifts from Pokéstops.  Giving these gifts to friends increases their friend level.

Trading is a cool aspect though I wonder if it will really help me complete my Pokédex.  World travelers and spoofers may be willing to trade their regional exclusives with me but most people thought those regional exclusives would net them some high IV Pokémon in return.  With this update they have announced that stats would be re-rolled upon trading meaning that it would be impossible to get a 100% IV Pokémon in return for anything.  This is a good thing in many ways but I wonder what someone who traveled (or spoofed) will really want in return for their region exclusive.  Obviously one would want to trade for something that they really want.  I guess one could only hope they missed a particular legendary or are looking for a shiny variant of something.

The above screen shot has many people scared.  Many are wondering if this is just a mock up or if there will really be trades that cost 1,000,000 stardust.  A subsequent screen shows that getting “Best Friend” status with someone would bring this same trade down to 40,000 stardust.  That is totally acceptable but at 1,000,000 stardust I can’t think of anything I’d want that bad, never mind the Pokémon I’d have to offer up in return.

Overall I’m pretty excited about this feature.  It has the potential to be the biggest and potentially best change to the game of the year.  While research has added a new aspect to the game it has ultimately gotten stale pretty quick.  I’m hoping Friendship can have a more sustained impact on the game.

A little over a year ago there was little reason to open the game and play for more than five minutes a day.  Now with continuous events and updates there’s more reason to play than ever.  I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I won’t be able to get every new shiny form that is released even if I spend hours a day trying.

This is what they game has needed for a long time, a reason to tap every Pokémon, and more features to keep things interesting.

Looking forward to many new friendships and looking forward to an action packed summer!

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’s Kanto Event Starts in a Matter of Hours

It’s official!  After my speculation the Kanto event begins later today, in just a few short hours.  Here’s the official announcement.

Trainers,

The appearance of the Mythical Pokémon Mew has attracted Pokémon that were originally discovered in the Kanto region. These classic Pokémon will be seen more frequently starting April 10 at 1 P.M. PDT, so you’ll have the perfect opportunity to earn a gold Kanto medal and even complete your Kanto Pokédex!

What’s more, certain Pokémon such as Aerodactyl and Snorlax will be featured in Raid Battles across the world. Keep an eye out for one you haven’t encountered yet!

As you encounter and catch more Pokémon originally discovered in the Kanto region, all actions will be rewarded with double Candy. So, not only will you be able to catch Pokémon you might not frequently see, but you may also get the chance to register their evolved forms in your Pokédex as well.

During this event, there will also be special boxes containing Raid Passes! These boxes will give you an opportunity to challenge many powerful Pokémon originally discovered in the Kanto region.

This special celebration ends on April 17, so get out there and make some more discoveries. If all goes well, you may be able to finish your first Special Research request and encounter Mew!

—The Pokémon GO team

It’s not quite the shiny extravaganza everyone was hoping for but the double candy will be enough to get me to transfer several hundred rare Pokémon and clear out some slots for Sunday’s Community Day Event.  I may also be rewarded with double candy if I’m fortunate enough to catch Mewtwo on Saturday.

We may still get surprised with shinies.  An interesting theory I’ve seen is that they’ve released all the shiny sprites just so they can surprise people instead of everyone always being able to predict what’s coming next.

Honestly I’d be happy to finally find a shiny Magikarp at this point.  Shinies are rare enough that I have a lot more hunting to do before I even collect half of the currently available ones in the game.

Who knows?  Shiny Pidgey may be mere hours away.