This past weekend, Niantic wrapped up their string of GO Fest events as well as the overall Season of GO with Pokémon GO Fest 2022: Finale. This is the first time that such a Finale event has existed, as previously GO Fest was only on-location pre-pandemic and only remote during the pandemic. Does this structure work? Let's take a look at the event to determine if this new path forward should remain in place in future years.
What worked for this Pokémon GO event
- Free: This event was free to anyone who had bought tickets to the standard Pokémon GO Fest 2022 remote event back in June. This felt generous to me, as that event was already worth the price of the ticket. I expected to have to pay for this and was willing to, so the fact that it wasn't a separate ticket from the original is a big win.
- Ultra Beasts: I enjoyed the focus on Ultra Beasts and the conclusion to the missing Professor Willow storyline. It was fun to raid and encounter Pheromosa, Buzzwole, and Xurkitree after initially experiencing just Nihiliego at the original remote event. The other Ultra Beasts rolled out to the on-location, in-person events first, so focusing this Finale event on catching remote players up worked beautifully. I also enjoyed the emotional note that Rhi's time as the leader of Special Research ended with. I hope this isn't the last we've seen of this character, though the fact that we still have more Ultra Beasts waiting to be released makes me think that we'll see Rhi again.
- Sky Forme Shaymin: There have been releases where Niantic only gives us one Mythical when it can change Formes. Hoopa comes to mind. My worry with Shaymin was that we wouldn't be given one of each Forme and that instead, the Special Research would unlock the ability to change Formes. Instead, we got both. We got another Shaymin encounter which had special animation showing off the Sky Forme the same way that the original event showed the Land Forme. I appreciate this and hope that it remains the standard for Pokémon with multiple Formes. A large portion of players are Living Dex collectors, and this is the way to satisfy those dedicated players.
- On-location Shinies appear: The on-location GO Fest players also got new Shinies that weren't available during the original remote event, and all of those were a major focus of the Finale. Again, the structure of a focused release for the on-location events followed by the wide availability in the Finale event worked perfectly. Of the new ones, I managed to snag a Shiny Combee.
- New Shiny release: Not only did we catch up with the Shinies released at the on-location events, but the Finale event also debuted a brand new Shiny with Swirlix.
- Beast Balls: I loved the animation for these new Beast Balls and appreciated that they caught Ultra Beasts easily. This seemed like a solid call to prevent players from spending a lot of time on the catch screen that could otherwise be spent playing.
What didn't work for this Pokémon GO event
- Team GO Rocket: I would've liked to see hourly balloons, especially with the tasks revolving around them. It seems like this terrific feature of the game often gets forgotten during major events.
What worked for this Pokémon GO event
Pokémon GO Fest 2022: Finale perfectly capped off a summer of fun events. The structure of a global remote event followed by special on-location events followed then again by a global remote finale is the perfect answer to the pandemic problem. This is how you continue the success of global GO Fest while also creating special, on-location, in-person events that players want to go to. Niantic should make this the new standard for summertime in Pokémon GO, because it was a terrific combination of the classic "get out and play" gameplay and the "bring the fun to you" vibes of the previous years' remote events.