We’ve mentioned it before but now the Pokemon Go Battle League is finally here! It is being rolled out slowly based on Trainer level in order to ensure stability as the new system stretches its legs. It’s all starting with a preseason that will act a bit like a beta. During this time playing won’t be competitive but you will be helping to balance and optimize the Go Battle League. It will also give Niantic the opportunity to learn how the league is being used. This will help them determine the length of seasons, thresholds for ranks, and more.
The preseason will begin in the Great League then go to Ultra and finally the Master League. Leagues will rotate every two weeks. You will also be able to rank during the preseason, however, once Season 1 begins your rank will be partially reset. You will also still earn rewards. As you battle you’ll earn a large amount of stardust. How much is determined by your rank and how many of the five battles you win. You’ll also be able to earn important battle-related items like rare candy and TMs along with exclusive Pokemon Encounters. That includes Pikachu Libre. There will also be Pikachu Libre themed avatar items that you’ll be able to unlock.
Premium Raid Passes are turning into Premium Battle Passes. This will allow players to enter the premium track in Go Battle League. The premium track is even more rewarding than the normal track. Though it won’t help you increase your rank or rating any faster.
But, before you can do any battling you’re going to have to walk 5 kilometers to unlock a set of 5 online matches. Or if you’ve walked 2km you can instead purchase your way to battling with Pokecoins.
Have you ever wished you could be even better friends with your Pokemon buddy in Pokemon Go? Well if you have then you are in luck because the Pokemon Go Buddy Adventure Feature is coming soon. What is that? Well, I’m glad you asked.
With the Buddy Adventure feature, you will have an all-new way to interact with your Pokemon. You’ll be able to see your buddies out in the world on the map, actually walking, or flying by your side. When you have AR+ mode on you will be able to feed your buddies and interact with them like never before.
Click on me to make me bigger.
You will also be able to level up your friendship with your Pokemon buddy by doing a number of different things. They include walking together, playing together, battling together, visiting a new place and more.
Here are the perks for using the Buddy Adventure feature:
Good Buddy: Your buddy can join you on your map view! You’ll also see how your buddy feels on the buddy profile page.
Great Buddy: Having a hard time catching a Pokémon? Your buddy may help you out in Pokémon encounters! It can also bring you items that can help you in your Pokémon GO journey.
Ultra Buddy: Your buddy will help you explore the world around you by letting you know about interesting places nearby! Your buddy will also bring you Souvenirs, which you can keep track of on the buddy profile page.
Best Buddy: Become Best Buddies, and your buddy will sport a Best Buddy Ribbon to show off to everyone just how close you two are! Pokémon that you’re Best Buddies with can get a CP boost in combat as long as they’re still assigned as your Buddy Pokémon.
When you’ve reached the highest mood you can also unlock the following perks:
The distance it takes for your buddy to find Candy will be cut in half.
The number of hearts earned per action will double.
Trainers can earn bonus hearts!
Click on me to make me bigger
After the initial launch of Buddy Adventure Niantic is also introducing a shared AR+ mode. This will allow up to 3 players to take group photos of themselves together with their buddies.
There is a fantastic new dev blog post up on the official Pokemon Go site that talks about the design that went into the Buddy Adventure feature as well as some of the hardships. How DO you feed an Alolan Exeggutor? For the answer that we’re going to have to wait until the feature is released. We don’t know yet when that will be
A Pokemon Go player dies in New Mexico after witnessing a robbery and being shot as she was trying to get away. 21-year-old Cayla Campos was driving with her boyfriend near midnight near Bianchetti Park in Albuquerque just before midnight when they witnessed a robbery taking place.
As she was trying to get away the robbers shot into her car, hitting her in the back of the neck. She then crashed her car into a nearby house. None of the news reports have mentioned the status of her boyfriend who hasn’t been identified, most likely for his own safety.
Right now the people who were involved in the robbery and shooting also haven’t been identified and they are still at large.
According to the rather morbid pokemongodeathtracker.com, there have been 18 deaths attributed to playing Pokemon Go and 60 injuries since July 10, 2016 when a fan was stabbed while playing the game. Of course, it isn’t the game itself that is dangerous but playing the game can put you in dangerous situations if you aren’t considerate of your surroundings. The game mechanics also encourage you to go outside just before midnight which is most likely why Cayla and her boyfriend were out so late to witness the robbery.
Our thoughts are with Cayla’s family and her boyfriend in this terrible time.
For the last few months in Pokemon Go Team Rocket has been waiting at Pokestops to start a fight with some of their Shadow Pokemon, but it appears that Team Rocket is about to start upping their game. A series of tweets from the Pokemon Go official account show profiles for three members of Team Rocket; Cliff, Arlo, and Sierra. Nothing else is really known about them at this point but there has been speculation that they’ll appear in the game as bosses.
It has also been theorized that Giovanni himself will make an appearance in the game. He appeared at Pokemon Go Fest in Japan earlier this year photobombing players. He has also now been spotted in a new loading screen that features Cliff, Arlo, and Sierra along with a bunch of Shadow Pokemon on the steps of a building that is at least inspired by the Viridian City Gym from the anime.
It would appear that they’re building up to something big on social media but when that will actually take place we will just have to wait and see. Until then there is still a lot to keep us occupied. Altered Forme Giratina is back in Raid Battles and will be appearing in the first few Wednesday evening raids in October. Another, currently unannounced Pokemon will be there for the last two. This month’s community day event is Trapinch, which is admittedly not all that exciting. But, Halloween is coming and we know from past experience that Pokemon Go will have an event for us to take part in. This in some way makes up for the fact that Flower Eevee is the reward for completing research again this month.
In case you need a bit of a refresher Niantic has been fighting an ongoing Pokemon Go lawsuit since 2016 brought about by a group of people who lived near locations in the game and felt the game created a public nuisance. Niantic denied these claims but has agreed to settle the case.
As part of the settlement, Niantic agreed to pay legal fees and a small stipend to each participant. They also agreed to roll out some new rules and policies for how Pokestops and Gyms are set up in residential areas and parks.
Anyone living within a 40-meter radius of a location in the game will be able to fill out a form on the Pokemon Go website to request its removal. Niantic is then obligated to address 95% of removal requests within 15 days and carry out the removal within 5 days of agreeing to the request.
Pokestops and Gyms in public parks will in the future be switched off outside the park’s hours. This means no more sneaking into parks after they’ve closed, which was at one time a very big issue for the game. Players will also be reminded when starting large raids to be respectful of their real-world surroundings. This sounds to me like we’ll be seeing a new popup when you enter a level 4 or 5 raid.
The next month is going to be a very busy one for Pokemon Go players thanks to the Pokemon Go Ultra Bonus Event which will be running until nearly the end of September. The Ultra Bonus Event will take place over three weeks, each week will have different things to keep an eye out for. It isn’t the only event taking place in the next month either. Here’s the full calendar of events starting from this Friday.
August 23-30 at 1 PM Pacific – Water Festival
Water-type Pokemon will appear more frequently in the Wild
Wartortle, Poliwhirl, Seaking, Lapras, Qwilfish, Mantine, Lotad, Feebas, Piplup, Buizel, and Finneon will appear more frequently in the wild near water
Water Type will hatch more frequently from eggs
Kingler and Crawdaunt will be able to learn Crabhammer
Shiny Carvanha and Shiny Barboach
Water Type will appear more frequently in raids
On Wednesday, August 28th from 6 PM to 7 PM local time You can encounter Uxie, Mesprit, or Azelf in raids in the respective regions
2x Hatch Candy
Water Type Buddies will have candy distance halved
September 2-9 at 1 PM Pacific – Johto Journey
A chance of hatching an Unown from a 10km egg, options are U, L, T, R, A.
Raikou, Entei, and Suicune will be in raids
Shiny Sentret and Shiny Gligar
2x Incubator Effectiveness
September 10-16 at 1 PM Pacific – Global Hatches
Regional Pokemon Farfetch’d, Kangaskhan, Mr. Mime, and Tauros will hatch from 7km eggs. There will be a chance for shiny versions of them all. This will continue through September 23rd.
All Deoxys forms will appear outside EX Raids for the first time
2x Incubator Effectiveness
September 15 at 11AM-2PM Local Time – Community Day, Turtwig
3x Catch Stardust
September 16-23 at 1 PM Pacific – A Unova Unveiling
Unova Region Pokemon will appear
Chance for Shiny Mewtwo
Mewtwo with Special Move Psystrike in Raids
Klink will appear in Raids
Chance for Shiny Klink
Shiny Patrat and Shiny Lillipup
2x Incubator Effectiveness
There is also a new Special Research available with 7 steps that will ultimately lead to catching Jirachi. These 7 steps aren’t easy and they’ll take a little while to get through. But with all this activity going on this might be the best time there has ever been to be a Pokemon Go player.
Pokemon has been one of my favorite fandoms for well over two-thirds of my life. I was only ten when the original Pokemon Red and Pokemon Blue were released and it was unlike anything I had ever played before. I was instantly hooked to the adventure, the mechanics, and the phenomenon that came from it. I vividly remember facing off against the horrible Team Rocket for the very first time at Mt. Moon. Eventually, I took them on at the Silph Co. building and their own hideout, then one last epic battle against their boss to take away the Earth Badge and head toward Victory Road. That’s why Team GO Rocket in the smash-hit mobile game, Pokemon Go, is such a fantastic entry for longtime fans of the franchise.
Prepare For Trouble, Make It Double!
For the uninitiated, Team Rocket, in the mainline games, is an evil organization hellbent on stealing Pokemon and causing havoc. Led by the devious gangster Giovanni, they cause trouble all in the name of more power and money. Giovanni, himself, is (during the events of the original games) the leader of the Viridian City Gym, making him the final Gym Leader before hitting up the Elite Four. It’s even alluded to that they had something to do with the creation of the genetic powerhouse, Mewtwo, which was confirmed in the anime and other media. Team Rocket became an iconic part of the Pokemon franchise and even my mom knows who they are, partially due to ten-year-old me playing the games all those years ago.
Pictured: Not Twerps, clearly. (Source: Pokemon Let’s Go! Pikachu and Eevee trailer, TPCi)
Unlike some of the evil organizations across Pokemon games, Rocket shows their ugly face more than once in the series. In the direct sequel games to the first generation, Pokemon Gold and Pokemon Silver featured them as the primary threat. There, they caused mass evolution of Magikarp, cut off Slowpoke tails to sell as a delicacy, and generally caused trouble on their path to find their missing leader. By the 7th Generation, Giovanni had figured out how to travel through the multiverse, where he collected alternate versions of other “Team” leaders that had defeated the protagonist in each of their respective dimensions. At that point, Team Rainbow Rocket was the post-game threat, which ended in Giovanni threatening to return yet again.
That’s where it left off and may have hinted at what came next, with Giovanni’s final words in Pokemon Ultra Sun and Pokemon Ultra Moon, “Now…what new world shall I unleash my evil schemes upon…?”
Team Rocket Comes To Pokemon Go!
Let’s cut to the real world and the incredibly successful Pokemon Go mobile game. Catching Pokemon while traveling around the real world, battling, trading, and completing research quests is just usual fare. After three years of constant events, the very loose lore of the game sometimes throws the players a bone. This time, it all started at the “Pokemon GO Fest” in Dortmund, Germany. An ominous familiar black hot air balloon sporting a giant red “R” was seen during the event. Players and fans knew something bigger was coming.
Sure enough, they did. Lasting for a day initially, some Pokestops were discolored. Upon approaching them, they’d turn black instead of the usual blue and have that classic red “R” up top. Spinning it would do something new, however. Instead of just gaining a few new items and moving on, a Rocket Grunt would attack you, starting an actual battle. After the tough battle, the first Pokemon they’d have used was available to catch using premier balls, not unlike catching a raid Pokemon. But, something was off about these Pokemon. They emit a dark aura around them because they’re Shadow Pokemon!
Old School Fans Would Know Shadow Pokemon
Delving back a bit into the history of old Pokemon games, you’ll find Pokemon Colosseum and Pokemon XD: Gale of Darkness. During those games, the evil Team Cipher created a process that removes emotion from Pokemon to harness their fighting spirit. Players can catch Shadow Pokemon and “purify” them. Aside from a Shadow Mewtwo appearing in the Nintendo Wii U and Switch game, Pokken Tournament, this type of mechanic hasn’t really appeared outside the third generation era.
From the shadows, Dratini! (Source: Pokemon GO)
Of note, the Japanese version of Shadow Pokemon in prior entries is referred to as “Dark Pokemon.” Meanwhile, the Japanese version for Pokemon Go still refers to them as “Shadow” in the prefix. Anyone old enough to remember the original Team Rocket expansion of the Pokemon Trading Card Game will remember cards like “Dark Gyarados” and “Dark Raichu,” which can back up the thought process that “Dark” and “Shadow” are considered one in the same.
Team GO Rocket Blasts Off!
So, that event lasted all of a single day, going away in a flash. Within a few days, the dastardly Team Rocket was showing up in New York City for a big take over of Pokestops. After several hours, they were “defeated,” only to drop more hints at a more widespread take over set for two days later. They’re relentless! All of Pokemon Go’s Twitter and social media went into black out and Team Rocket took “control.” Giovanni stepped forward with a new team name: Team GO Rocket! He even alluded to his final line in Pokemon Ultra Sun and Pokemon Ultra Moon. They took control of all Pokestops for an hour on a set day. As quickly as they came, they were defeated yet again, with threats of a potential return. But, are they gone for good? Unlikely.
Pokestop right there! (Source: Pokemon Go)
Where Will This Lead?
Team GO Rocket Pokestops now have the in-game “Hero” medal tied to defeating them. It’s clear that Pokemon Go players now have a force to take head on. With the ability to purchase both Team Rocket and Team Rainbow Rocket’s attire for your avatar to wear, I wonder if we’ll have the ability to join them one day.
I recall the end of Nugget Bridge during the original Pokemon games, where the final opponent turned out to be a Rocket Grunt. He asks if you want to JOIN them! Maybe this is our chance! Probably not. But, in this world, who knows? Could we see the infamous Jessie and James hop to Pokemon Go? Will we get Slowpoke without tails as an event? Could we see Team GO Rainbow Rocket emerge eventually and have us face off against other notorious Team leaders? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what Team GO Rocket and the Pokemon Go team has up their sleeves next.
Harry Potter: Wizards Unite seems to be the game everyone spent the weekend signing up for but not the one they were spending money on. In the first 24 hours on both android and iOS combined it has been estimated that Harry Potter: Wizards Unite spending was just $300,000.
One can’t help but compare the launch of this game to its older brother Pokemon Go. In the first 24 for Pokemon Go the game had been downloaded 7.5 million times, versus 400,000 for Wizards Unite. It had also generated approximately $2 million in player spending. To make it even worse, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite actually released in more countries than Pokemon Go had at that point in its life.
Why are the numbers so low? Well…there are a few things that could be contributing to it. First, there’s the fact that Harry Potter doesn’t have the massive popularity that Pokemon does in Japan which is where Pokemon Go and Ingress both bring in a sizeable amount of their revenue. Having a game based on a Western IP isn’t instant money when you consider that in the Western audience players are less likely to spend money on mobile games.
There’s also the issue that current Pokemon Go players are less likely to play Harry Potter: Wizards Unite. Mobile phones, and the games themselves aren’t really designed for you to switch between games easily. It’s far more likely that you’ll pick one game and stick with it. Unless you’re a HUGE Harry Potter fan you’re more likely to play the game you’ve been playing, so not picking up that new game.
Finally, it also has to be considered that Harry Potter is an older IP now and the last movie wasn’t very well received. It’s quite possible that a lot of people have moved on from the series and so aren’t interested in playing the game.
Whatever the reason we will be keeping an eye on how Harry Potter: Wizards Unite performs into the future and we’ll have a review of it ready to go very soon.
If you thought Niantic was going to let an opportunity like the release of a Pokemon movie go without mention then you may not be paying attention to the world of online gaming enough. Pokemon Go is Hosting a Detective Pikachu tie-in event to celebrate the release of the film. Starting tomorrow, Tuesday, May 7th and running until May 17th a number of different things will be taking place in Pokemon Go and for the sake of simplicity here they are listed below.
Double XP on All Pokemon Caught in the Wild
Increased Encounters with Prominent Pokemon from the Movie; Bulbasaur, Jigglypuff, Psyduck, Aipom, and Snubbull.
Detective Pikachu Photobomb in Snapshot Photos leading to being able to catch Detective Pikachu
Detective Pikachu Inspired Raids
Detective Pikachu Inspired Field Research
Detective Pikachu Themed Shirt
Detective Pikachu Themed Hat
As of the time of writing this, we don’t know any details like how often you’ll be able to catch Detective Pikachu, who will be in these raids, or what the field research will entail. We also know that there will be a chance to see a shiny Aipom in the wild. Sadly Ryan Reynolds won’t be voicing Pikachu. But it would be so cool if he did. While the event begins tomorrow if you want to see the movie you’ll have to wait until the end of the week, it releases in theaters on May 10th in most countries around the world.
Niantic, the creators of the massively popular Pokemon Go have started the slow release of their next location-based game, Harry Potter Wizards Unite in New Zealand. It is being called both a soft-launch and a beta, so it isn’t quite clear when the next rollout of the game will be, or where. Niantic has also warned that features, design, and the overall appearance of the game are all subject to change. The game may also be buggy and unstable at times.
You may be asking yourself what the difference is between Harry Potter Wizards Unite and Pokemon Go or even Ingress, the game Niantic made before they made Pokemon Go. Well, from the sounds of it there is going to be a bit more story, which is to say any really. The game has the same basic premise as Pokemon Go, go out into the world to find important items and people. But, according to Gamespot, it has a lot of similarities to a traditional RPG thanks to things like skill trees and potion brewing.
Android users around the world can currently pre-register for the game on Google Play. Also, if you’re an active Pokemon Go player you should have received an email from Niantic offering you the opportunity to reserve your username in Harry Potter Wizards Unite ahead of the launch so you’re guaranteed to have the same name in Pokemon Go and Harry Potter.
Hopefully, the release of Harry Potter Wizards Unite in New Zealand means that the game is very nearly ready for a global release. We’re in that sweet spot just before summer where the weather (for most of us at least) is getting warmer and being outside is preferable to being indoors.