Where, oh where have the Team GO Rocket balloons gone in Pokémon GO? For days now, the black balloons emblazoned with R that float onto screens to initiate battles with Team GO Rocket Grunts, Leaders, or even the Boss himself have been missing from the game. Oddly, Niantic didn't think to put a push notification in the game about this occurrence but did take to social media to explain the situation. However, an update to the current Rivals' Week event blog entry has led some to believe this problem is going to last longer than expected. Here's everything we know so far.
On Friday, April 9th, 2021 at 8:35 PM EST, Niantic posted the following to Twitter:
Trainers, while we investigate errors associated with Team GO Rocket encounters, they will be temporarily unavailable. We'll update here with more information. We apologize for any inconvenience.
There has been no commentary beyond this tweet, but something was unsaid.
The Rivals' Week blog over at Pokémon GO live once said:
Sources tell us that Team GO Rocket will be taking over PokéStops more often. Their balloons will also be appearing more frequently!
Now, in place of that, it says:
The speculation is that the newest update that has introduced a long list of Kalos Pokémon to the game's code has somehow broken the functionality of Team GO Rocket balloons. It's unfortunate that it happened during an event where Rocket battles were set to be one of the main features and, I'm sure many would agree, the most interesting feature.
What I wonder, though, is if Niantic has been working on this problem for some time now and have been unable to fix it. Notice that this month's Team GO Rocket research was Timed Research that ended five days before the error… rather than Special Research, which it has historically always been. Niantic made it super easy to earn a Giovanni battle this month, which, to me, suggests that they may have known an issue was coming.
As we find out more details on the return of Team GO Rocket to Pokémon GO, we will report. If ever there was an event that deserved one of Niantic's over-used make-ups, this would be one.