Recent Pokemon Go updates had been hinting at something big, and now finally we’ve got an official announcement from the team, and it’s big. Not, “another Pikachu with a hat” big (though we have another of those), but big enough that it could tempt people into returning to or starting the game.
Halloween and Generation 3+
Starting October 20 at noon PDT, players will be able to get double candy from walking/catching/hatching/transferring Pokemon, hatch/catch a Halloween inspired Pikachu, and get special store deals. Unlike other deals in the past, though, this one is offering super incubators (which help you hatch eggs faster) and raid passes, the game’s biggest money-makers. What kind discount remains to be seen, but the company’s been better about these packages since its anniversary failure.
Pikachu isn’t the only one dressing up. In a rather odd move, Niantic is giving players a Mimikyu hat as well. While it’s not unheard of for Niantic to give away some seasonal vanity items, this one stands out because it’s modeled after a very recent Pokemon from Generation 7. The generations are important because, for the most part, Niantic stays within the confines of generations when releasing content.
This is key when compared to the fact that this Halloween, Niantic is releasing several ghost Pokemon from Generation 3. As it did with baby Pokemon before them, Niantic is releasing a small batch of new Pokemon before following up with the rest of that generation, with the next batch rolling out in December.
A new Pokemon Generation is big enough news, but there are some other factors at play here. First are the boxes giving discounts on social and grinding options; I’m not a gambling fan, but the incubators do act as a grind booster as well, plus the raid passes help encourage the main social play of the game (raids). Next is the double candy event when new Pokemon are being released (though admittedly none is as useful as Gengar, our current ghost overlord). Keep in mind that last year’s “Thank You Event” doubled stardust and earned XP, meaning we may have two events that speed up grinding while we’re receiving new content.
Last, but not least, Generation 3 is also unique in that there is no prep-work needed. Unlike Generation 2 and upcoming Generations, none of the currently available Pokemon get a new higher (and stronger) evolution in Gen 3. However, Generation 4 does, so new and returning players have time to catch up and hold current and soon-to-be-released Gen 3 ‘mon in preparation for that.
Datamining for meat treats
Dataminers have pointed out that Gen 2 legendary Ho-oh has been nerfed despite not being released. As others have noted, Mewtwo received similar treatment soon before being released. Perhaps we’ll receive the fire chicken for Thanksgiving?
There’s also code again for a “Battle Party” feature. Players have complained since release about not being able to make preset teams, and Niantic has said it’s something it will work on. The code seems to indicate that this is start to progress, such as having a warning message when placing a potential attacker into a gym, threatening your pre-built attack team. Finally getting Battle Parties would really help streamline the game’s combat options, depending on how Niantic handles it.
More AR talk
Last, and probably least, is that Niantic CEO John Hanke is once again speaking to general (tech) sites about Pokemon Go and AR. Hanke may be correct about AR offering unique non-game features that could modify our daily lives, but as it’s coming from someone for pushing tech ahead of the game he’s responsible for, it isn’t exactly sitting well with the community.