Update: Pokemon Go has never really had much to do with the mainline Pokemon games but that’s all changed with a new update.
It’s not much, but to mark the release of Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon on the 3DS, Pokemon Go will allow you to dress you avatar in clothes from the games.
Given the sunny climes of the Alolan region the clothes you have to choose from are shorts and tank tops. We have to admit it’s a little weird to be walking in the cold winter weather while your gaming avatar wears shorts and a flowery crop top.
It is, however, an interesting joint venture from Niantic and The Pokemon Company and we wonder what other kind of tie-ins could come in the future.
Read on to find out more about the big new update that brought Raid Battles, Exclusive Raids and new Gym features to the game.
Original article continues below…
Pokémon Go has been out for a long time now, and while the app has progressed a lot in this time – just remember how unstable the servers when it launched – there’s still lots more work to be done.
Some of these features are ones that developer Niantic spoke about prior to the release of the game, while others have been promised since the game’s release.
Without further ado, here’s our guide to every new update rumors as well as the tweaks promised by Niantic so far.
Latest Pokemon Go update
This summer Pokemon Go received its biggest update since it was first released and you can find out more about it and other incremental changes below.
Gyms are being overhauled, new items are being added and a brand new cooperative group gameplay feature called Raid Battles is being introduced in the coming weeks.
Gyms have been changed up to encourage players to engage with them more often, adding a spinnable Photo Discs like the ones currently at Pokéstops which will distribute unique items and Gym Badges.
Gym Badges will serve as mementos but you’ll also be able to level them up through further interactions with Gyms which will earn you unique opportunities to receive bonus items.
Gyms will also now have six permanent slots that can be filled by the controlling team’s Pokémon and teams looking to take over the Gym for themselves will battle these six Pokémon in the order they’ve been assigned to the Gym. Each slot must now be filled by a different Pokémon (no double Digletts, please).
A big problem with Gyms in Pokémon Go is that players would often dump powerful Pokémon there and never return to check on them. A new motivation system is changing that. Now, when a Pokémon is defending a Gym they’ll lose motivation over time and their Combat Power will temporarily decrease, making them even more easy to defeat. Trainers from the Gym’s ruling team will need to take time feed the Pokémon defending their Gym berries in order to maintain their motivation.
There have been further small changes made to the way gyms work in the game since this initial update.
The biggest change is that players will now be able to heal the Pokemon they’ve left in gyms without actually having to physically return to the gym by using berries. The health regained from a distant berry will be less than that from actually returning to the gym but it’s a convenient addition.
Other small but convenient changes include the ability to see which gym you’ve placed your Pokemon in via its stat screen and your journal will now tell you how many Pokecoins a Pokemon has garnered when you withdraw it from a gym.
The biggest new feature is Raid Battles which aims to bring a more cooperative and social dynamic to gameplay. When it’s introduced in a few weeks, players will be able to team up with others near them and work together to defeat powerful Pokémon known as Raid Bosses.
Raid Battles are timed in-game events that’ll be located at Gyms. When they’re happening, the Gym will be unavailable and a large egg will appear on top of it with a timer. When the timer reaches zero, the Raid Boss will be revealed. Players from all teams will be able to join together to defeat the Raid Boss, earn new items or even catch the Raid Boss.
To get involved, you’ll need a Raid Pass and you can get one of these for free each day by visiting a Gym, though they can also be purchased.
Players will also be able to form private raid groups with their friends using a customized code system.
After defeating a Raid Boss you’ll get rewards, some of which are exclusive, including Rare Candies, Golden Razz Berries and two Technical Machines (Fast and Charged).
The changes to Gyms will start being rolled out worldwide today (with Gyms being temporarily disabled to do so) and players will see Raid Battles introduced to the game in the coming weeks.
In addition to Raids there are also Exclusive Raids. These new invite only Raids will soon be the only way to catch legendary Pokemon Mewtwo, which was launched in a stadium event in Japan.
To secure an invite for an Exclusive Raid, you’ll need to have completed a Raid relatively recently at the same Gym where the Exclusive Raid is being held. Exactly how much time will pass between the end of a normal Raid and an Exclusive Raid is unclear but Niantic has said it’ll give players warning an Exclusive Raid is coming to give them time to coordinate with other players.
Pokémon Go update rumors: what we may see next
The expansion into generation 2 Johto region Pokémon was the first of three major updates planned for this year according to Niantic CEO John Hanke.
During a keynote at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Hanke said there would be three “major” updates to the game later in 2017. Though Hanke didn’t detail what exactly these update would be, we at TechRadar guessed they would involve player-versus-player battling, trading and commercial partnerships.
Since then, commercial partnerships with companies like Starbucks have already happened and Niantic has confirmed that both player-versus-player battling and trading will be coming to Pokemon Go in the future.
The Pokémon Company boss, Tsunekazu Ishihara, told that so far they had only achieved 10% of what they hoped to and that “Going forward we will have to include fundamental Pokémon experiences such as Pokémon trading and peer-to-peer battles, and other possibilities.”
It wasn’t made clear when these features would be added but one more big update is anticipated before the year is out.
Trading was a key component in the original games so it makes sense that Niantic plans to bring it to Pokemon Go.
In the beta, trading was a local-only affair, meaning that you couldn’t trade with players over the internet, and Niantic has now confirmed that will be the case for when it starts in the core game.
Tatsuo Nomura, senior product manager at Niantic told Polygon trading “won’t be “through the internet” when it launches.
This local limitation does make some degree of sense – a big part of the fun of Pokemon Go is exploring new places and finding different Pokemon. Being able to trade across the internet would somewhat defeat the sense of discovery that Niantic has attempted to foster in the game as you’d be able to get Pokemon from anywhere without having to visit.
Being able to trade locally, however, means that any Pokemon you’ve discovered already and just haven’t been able to catch can now be yours with the help of a friend.
Another feature that’s been rumored for some time and now confirmed is battling between players.
As it currently stands the only battling functionality in the game is between players, opposing gyms, and Legendary Pokemon. However, PvP battling has been promised since before the game’s release and given that it’s such a huge part of the core games it’s natural that it would appear here.
It’s not clear how Niantic plans to make PvP battling work, but the most appealing method would be to allow players to indicate via the game’s settings that they’re willing to engage in battles which would make them appear on the map for others to challenge when near them.
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