Pokémon Go Community Day Impressions

Saturday marked Pokémon GO‘s first Community Day.  Community Day was announced more ahead of time than a normal Pokémon GO event, however, it only lasted three hours.  This was a bit of a bummer for those of us that were working between 1:00 PM and 4:00 PM CST.  This seems to be something they’ve already remedied for the next event giving us over a month to plan for February.

I was able to play for about 20 minutes on my way home from work, largely while I was getting gas.  Luckily for me this particular gas station is always a hot spot despite being sort of in the middle of nowhere.  I was able to catch two shiny Pikachus which wasn’t too shabby.

It’s worth noting that I’m seeing a ton of Tauros around after not having seen them at all in about six months.  My theory is that they may be rotating Gen 1 Pokémon soon.  I have nothing to back this up but that’s what I’m going with.

The February event, announced today, will feature Dratini as the special Pokémon.   With a month’s notice I’m looking forward to actually participating this time around.  Despite Dragonite no longer being the most sought after Pokémon in the game this should still be fun.  I must admit I don’t care all that much about the special moves but to catch a ton of Dratini would always be welcome.  Considering my record for Dratini caught in a single day probably stands around three I’m looking forward to bulking up on candies.  Rumors are out that this may mean shiny Dratini as well, something that would be very nice as a special release.

I was finally able to get out and do my first Kyogre raids this morning and things worked out very well.  It was unusually warm and the forecast said rain despite not much more than a drizzle.  This lead me to catching two weather-boosted Kyogre, matching the number of Groudon I caught during the incredible harsh weather we had here the month it was out.

This also took me up to 100 Legendary Raids.

The new update has some great features.  The best feature is fixing the bug where you scroll to the top of your Pokémon screen any time you do anything.  Additional features include sorting the Pokédex by region and finally grouping the incubators together.

One odd change is the size of Pokémon.  For some reason Pidgey now is about half the size of Snorlax.  They listed this as an improvement to the way Pokémon scale.  This seems much more like a bug to me.

But nothing makes me prouder than finally completing my 300 Tiny Rattata Medal.  The reward for this medal is that I can resume ignoring Rattata again and I’ve got to say it feels pretty good.

I’m 2.5 million XP away from Level 40 and I’m looking forward to ignoring a lot of Pokémon after I hit that milestone.

I’m looking at you, Weedle!

Pokémon GO Generation 3: Round 2

After the initial launch of Generation III Pokémon GO has now seen the addition of more ice and water type creatures into the game.  The introduction of more Pokémon has definitely been exciting.  More exciting still is the new weather system which means the possibility of catching more powerful (up to level 35) Pokémon in the wild as well as overall higher IVs.

Delibird has been released and if most players are like me then most players are already sick of catching them.

Exciting for me is that I managed to finally get my steel gold medal, catching 200 steel Pokémon in the game.

The next day I rounded everything out by finally getting my gold fighting type medal.  This is largely thanks to the influx of new fighting types in Generation 3 such as Makuhita and Meditite combined with them spawning more often in the frequently cloudy weather here in the Midwest.

This leaves me with dragon type being the only gold medal I need.  Unless Generation 4 releases some common dragon type Pokémon I shouldn’t see that until some time in 2021.

Wailmer raids have started showing up in the game.  This is exciting as Wailmer’s evolution, Wailord, takes 400 candies to evolve.  There is a great nest nearby but with temperatures in the negatives it’s unclear whether I’ll be able to spend any time there to eventually evolve my Wailord or if it’ll take me several months like my first Gyarados.

Only 3 million XP stands between me and level 40.  So basically I only have to do the entirety of level 38 again and I’ll be there.

I have about 12-14 evolutions ready to go for the Pokédex at this point.  So far the pacing of this generation has been pretty good.  It’s not taking as long as the first two but still a challenge.

At this point recent updates have left a few annoying things with the games, some of them bugs.  These things desperately need to be addressed in a future update.

1.) The transfer/appraisal bug.

On the surface this sounds minor but it is a huge hassle once you get to playing.  Any time you appraise, transfer, or evolve a Pokémon it takes you all the way back to the top of your Pokémon storage screen.   If you have maxed out your storage to 1500, or even at any amount, it means a lot of scrolling, searching, and wasted time.

2.) Scrolling between battle teams, Pokémon, and eggs.

For some reason scrolling between them now requires an extremely delicate touch.  It’s easy to be on your battle party then slide all the way over to eggs.  It’s not the end of the world but it doesn’t match the scrolling in any other section of the game and is frustrating when you’re just trying to get to your Pokémon.

3.) Battle parties not allowing additions.

Some battle parties I have will not allow me to add a sixth Pokémon.  This didn’t happen when the feature was initially released, it only started happening with the recent update.  It pretty much makes some of my custom parties useless.

4.) The Pokédex page.

With nearly 400 Pokémon currently accessible this page is a mess.   With images loading server side it takes forever for them to all populate.  The ever-so-slight color variance between generations makes it difficult to figure out where one ends a new one begins.  Tabbing them by generation seems like a very easy and minor fix to implement.  Additionally a search feature or ability to select by type may be in order.  Anything to make finding who you are looking for easier.  Additionally there seems to be a bug where an additional Barboach shows up after Groudon is unable to be clicked on even though that is not the correct spot in the Pokédex.

It’s been pretty common place that with every new update comes a handful of new and frustrating bugs but as we approach the year two mark for Pokémon GO I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect some of these things will be changed for the better.

I anticipate two things from 2018: a fix for some of these frustrating bugs and finally hitting level 40.

Happy New Year!

Slakoth Mega Spawn?

Slaking is the Pokémon everyone playing Pokémon GO wants right now.  Even though plenty of information has come out about it being extremely overrated, it is hard to resist the Pokémon with the highest CP in the overall game.  Since the Gen 3 launch nearly a week ago I’d only caught a few Slakoth leading up to today so I was preparing for a months long journey to getting my first Slaking, much like my time working toward Dragonite and Tyranitar.

Imagine my surprise when I was on my way to work and stumbled upon a small neighborhood which was bursting at the seems with Slakoth.  Everywhere I turned there was another and another.  I just kept catching them over and over.  With it being party cloudy everything I was catching was weather boosted and I caught a few with decent IVs.

I also stumbled upon my first Vigoroth, Slakoth’s evolved form.  I’d seem a silhouette of one on day one of the Gen 3 launch that I passed up, not yet realizing what it was.  He had a really high CP but, not thinking anything of it, I used a Pinap berry and caught him on the first throw.

It turns out he had IVs of 96% and was level 34.  It turned out from all the Pinap berries I’d used and all the Slakoth I’d caught I was already ready to evolve my first Slaking.  I did not delay and was not disappointed.

Slaking instantly became my most powerful Pokémon in the game by almost 1,000 CP (I never power anything up).  After evolving him I still continued to catch Slakoth on the rest of my afternoon journey to work.

So, what happened?  Why was a Pokémon so hard to find all of a sudden spawning like Pidgeys?  I was under the impression that Slakoth nests didn’t exist, much like Dratini and Larvitar.  Momentarily I thought I’d simply stumbled upon a nest.  After more thinking I’m wondering if some weird switch was accidentally flipped and suddenly they were spawning everywhere in the game for a brief time.

At any rate it was a pretty remarkable hour or so of playing the game.  On the one hand it’s exciting to have my most powerful Pokémon without even needing to use any candy or stardust to power up.  On the other hand some of the thrill of the hunt is now suddenly gone.  I can’t remember any Pokémon that I’ve desperately wanted that took me so little time to catch.  I walked Larvitar for well over one hundred kilometers to get enough candy to evolve right before raids came out.  I walked and hunted Dratini for months.  Even Abra and Machop took me forever in the days before Pinap berries.

I don’t know if there’s any truth to my theory of an accidental mega spawn but I’d be interested to know if anyone else experienced any similar situations today.

With Slaking out of the way so early I’m not setting my sights on Ralts and eventually Gardevoir.  Ralts has been another rare find in my area.  I’m not sure if another Mega Spawn is possible but I’m intrigued to find out what exactly happened today.

In the meantime I’ll be putting my Slaking in gyms where, apparently, it will be nowhere near as effective as I’d hoped.

It doesn’t get much better than that.

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!

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.

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.