Team GO Rocket Troubles: Does Pokémon GO Neglect Its Villains?

Team GO Rocket has gotten the good ol' Niantic shaft in Pokémon GO all of 2021. Think of how prominent pre-pandy Team GO Rocket content was! We received a Special Research at the start of every month. Once 12 AM hit on the 1st, we were off and running. We were tasked with defeating Grunts, battling the Team GO Rocket Leaders, purifying Shadow Pokémon, and ultimately facing off with the boss, Giovanni. Every one of those months would see Giovanni with a new Shadow Legendary Pokémon. This was slowed down during the pandemic but GO Fest 2020 made up for it by dedicating its entire second day to Team GO Rocket. At the event, Leaders had their old Shadow Pokémon and four different Shadow Legendaries, one being Shadow Mewtwo making its debut, could be earned through Research. After the event, Team GO Rocket content slowed, though we were treated to the arrival of Jessie and James, who featured heavily. Now, in 2021… we get next to nothing. The mob bosses of the Pokémon world have been related to a feature that barely gets any updates and rarely gets an event feature. All of 2021, we received the Shadow Legendary Birds of Kanto for the third time and were then given a single, solitary new release with Shadow Ho-Oh in June. At GO Fest 2021, there were no Team GO Rocket features. With this one popular feature falling into obscurity, what are some ways that Niantic could make Rocket battles as prominent a feature as raids in Pokémon GO?

Team GO Rocket in Pokémon GO. Credit: Niantic
Team GO Rocket in Pokémon GO. Credit: Niantic
  • More access to previous Shadow Shinies: People love to hunt these! When they cycle out, though, we are stuck with the same options for long stretches. Personally, I think we should see the Leaders' Shiny-capable Shadows rotate monthly like Mega Raids. Have a month of Arlo, Sierra, and Cliff having Scyther, Beldum, and Pinsir. Then, the next month, they can have Venonat, Sneasel, and Seedot. Keep rotating to keep these fresh like like Mega Raids, because this feature is already far more popular than Mega Raids in Pokémon GO.
  • Team GO Rocket night: How is this not a thing? How is GO Battle Night a thing and this isn't? Seems crazy!
  • Event features: We should see Team GO Rocket features in every event just like we see raids in every event. For example, why not bring back Shiny Shadow Aerodactyl for the Ultra Unlock event to tie into the Fossil focus? Or why not debut Shadow Mr. Mime to tie into the new part's Regional theme? The lack of tie-ins for Rocket content while every other aspect of the game gets an event feature is glaring.
  • More affordable Rocket Radars: Three Remote Raid passes cost 250 coins. A single Rocket Radar costs 200 coins. Now, one can earn these for free by defeating six Team GO Rocket Grunts, but the in-game shop's price is just too hefty. For what we're getting, it would make more sense as a bundle item. Making them the same price as Remote Raid Passes would be reasonable.

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About Theo Dwyer

Theo Dwyer writes about comics, film, and games.
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