Although the game has waned from being popular among mainstream news cycles, “Pokémon Go” will be offering its players the chance to capture another legendary Pokémon. The blazing phoenix-like Ho-Oh will now make appearance during raid battles., Niantic’s go-to method for bringing players in touch with legendary Pokémon like Mewtwo and the trio of birds that serve as mascots for the game’s three teams.
While raid battles are group encounters that have up to 20 players teaming up to tackle one super-powerful Pokémon, the mention of a Ho-Oh raid seems relatively unforeseen. Those unfamiliar with Niantic’s social media presence or who fail to keep up with the screen dedicated to sensing raids would easily miss this news. As befits a creature of its majesty and scarcity, raid encounters with the blazing bird of legend will not be around for very long. To be specific, Ho-Oh raids will only be operable from now until the 12th day of December this year.
Any player seeking to capture Ho-Oh during a raid must first obtain a Raid Pass item within the game. This item can be acquired either from going to a gym or by purchasing a Premium Raid Pass from the in-app store. Once a raid battle begins, all participating players must defeat a “Raid Boss” within a 5 minute time limit. Upon defeating the Raid Boss players can see a Pokémon egg that will hatch once the 5 minute counter reaches 0:00. In addition to the chance to get rare and unique pokemon, players can also receive free items like Potions, Berries and “Technical Machines.” Raid battles were one feature added to the game during a massive update in June 2017.
Pokémon Go’s inception can be traced back to a partnership April Fools’ Day joke in 2014 between Nintendo, The Pokémon Company and Google Earth. After several test runs in limited regions, the first build of the complete game was released in July of 2016.
Just over a year ago, masses of people suddenly descended on some of the most random and obscure locations, deliriously excited about something that onlookers were at a loss to understand. What they were witnessing was the release of a brand new type of video game – one that took players out from in front of their TV’s and got them interacting with the world around them. Since then, the numbers of players have declined, but millions of die hard fans still remain.
While there have been rumors of several similar games scheduled to be released in the last year, including one based on the wildly popular Harry Potter series, none has materialized or gained anywhere near the massive following of Pokémon Go. As a result, Niantic closes off it’s first year as the completely undisputed champion of interactive “real world” video games.
On July 22, they will celebrate this crowning acheivement with a massive POGO celebration to take place in Grant Park, located in Chicago, IL. During the festival, Niantic will coordinate challenges taking place in Chicago with challenges that players around the world can participate in, based on challenges chosen by the players in Chicago. A final challenge will take place in the evening on the 26th, with a special reward being offered for completing the challenge. Rumors abound that the much-awaited legendary Pokémon will finally be released to anxious players around the world.
Aside from the initial release of Pokémon Go, this may be the first time that video game players all around the globe are all participating in playing one video game at one time, making it a truly global event. Given the stunning success that Pokémon Go has experienced, it is unlike that they will maintain their stranglehold on the market for this type of video game for long, but for the moment, they are basking in their success. In August, Niantic will also be hosting special events throughout Europe, as well as being part of a week-long celebration in Japan in August.
In the summer of 2016 ‘Pokemon Go’ released to almost hysteria inducing levels of popularity. The game skyrocketed up the iOS sales charts and soon everybody and their brother was outside trying to catch the rarest Pokemon. People realized early on that the gym system was struggling and ever since then the developers at Niantic have been trying to get it just right. Changes seem to be in full effect a year later and Niantic seems to be doing their best to make the new Gym Raid system part of their core gameplay mechanic. A recent update made it easier than ever to fight to hold on to gyms.
In just the past few months we saw an update to the gym system that introduced the concept of Raids. Rather than just stacking your strongest Pokemon into a gym and holding it forever, Niantic implemented a system where you could pool Pokemon together to fight in strategically timed group battles. When you station your Pokemon at a gym you can also stop by and feed the Pokemon at that gym from your berry pouch, strengthening and healing them to continue fighting for your team. This was a neat update but it meant that you had to constantly go check on your Pokemon while they were at a gym. If you had a lot of Pokemon out and about this became an obvious issue.
In order to address these obvious issues, the developers at Niantic made it possible to care for and nurture your Gym Pokemon without actually having to go see them in person. This patch, though small, makes a fundamental difference in the realm of holding gyms for prolonged periods of time. Hopefully these small updates lead to larger improvements in the future as Pokemon Go inches toward becoming the game we had hoped it would be.