2022 has been a year of major changes in Pokémon GO. This week alone, Niantic has updated the community on major changes to the game including tweaks to remote raid passes in availability and price, the ability to buy tickets for other trainers, and upcoming social features. Let's get into the details.
So… there is a lot, and most of it is very vague. I have communicated that to Niantic and there is, I can confirm, more information coming down the road. What we'll do now is stick to what the Pokémon GO blog says and talk about it:
One of the best ways to explore the world around you is with your friends and family. So, starting with May Community Day's Special Research, Trainers will be able to purchase and gift tickets to any of their Pokémon GO friends that they have achieved a Friendship level of Great Friends or higher with. More tickets—including tickets to the global Pokémon GO Fest event—will be available for gifting soon.
(Does me not being particularly excited mean that I'm a selfish player?)
Today we're announcing new social features to help bring people together to enjoy Pokémon GO, new bonuses for participating in local raid battles, and changes to items in the in-game shop.
When I went into this, my fear was that remote raids were going away. That seems to not be the case. Let's keep reading.
The new social features—some of which are based in a separate Niantic app—have been tested over time and will be available in Pokémon GO sometime in the next few months. Our hope is that these features will make it easier for Trainers to communicate with each other, discover new communities, and enjoy local raid battles. We know that this feature is much needed and we look forward to making the social experience even better over time.
There's honestly not much to say here until we know the details. It does seem as if this is going to be a chat which can be a great addition. I know that it is important to Niantic to protect their younger players, though, so I'll have to see how limited this function is before I can comment much. If it comes down to, say, a feature that allows Trainers to select pre-written responses… it may not work. On the other hand, anything can help. Even outside of remote raids, I've wished there was a Gift Sticker that said something as simple as "Feel free to open, I'm good on XP." Anything to help with certain communication barriers is good, but again — time will tell.
As of this month, Mega Energy and Rare Candy XL are available as rewards for completing local raid battles, making it easier to evolve and strengthen your Pokémon. Also, starting on May 23, the shop's 1 PokéCoin Event Box will no longer include Remote Raid Passes and will instead feature a rotating array of items.
People are mad about this as well as the three Remote Raid Passes going up to 300 coins over 250. Honestly, I accept this and don't see it as a huge negative. When Remote Raid Passes were 250 for three, that made them cheaper than standard Premium Raid Passes. Niantic wants people to get out there and play, so I find making Remote Raid Passes the same price as the stationary passes isn't necessarily the greedy move it's being portrayed as. I love Remote Raiding. I did almost 100 this week alone in pursuit of Shiny Bow Lapras. And yet… I get it. Certain things about the game deeply frustrate me. This is not one of them.
Trainers all over the world have helped Pokémon GO continue to thrive and grow over the past two years. Now, we're excited to get back to playing together in person. To support players who have difficulty reaching Gyms, we will continue to work on solutions such as tools for community leaders to organize local events and faster approval for new Gyms.
No real information here but, again, I hope against hope it doesn't mean the eventual end of Remote Raiding. I am of two minds because Remote Raiding has absolutely destroyed my local raid scene. We used to be in-person and passionate and now we are remote and a bit more robotic about it all. I miss aspects of raiding in person but, if that becomes the only way, I'll really miss aspects of remote raiding.
What it all comes down to is this: If Pokémon GO truly does go back to the way things were, will the fanbase accept it?