If you’ve followed any of MOP’s Andrew Ross’ coverage of Pokemon Go over the last year, you know that he’s been critical of the MMOARG’s “exclusive raids,” which have been a buggy mess since at least this past summer. Good news, though: Niantic says it’s been listening to feedback and is working on the mode.
Specifically, the company says it will swap EX raid battles to gyms in parks and sponsored locations, prioritize local trainers and frequent raiders for invites, focus the battles around logical local timeslots, and notify and compensate participants for cancellations.
“When the feature first entered field-testing, the system randomly selected a set of Trainers who were eligible for the EX Raid Battle,” writes Niantic. “By taking Gym Badge level and total Raid Battles completed into account, we’re able to give Trainers who actively engage with the Gym where the EX Raid Battle is taking place and those who have invested more time into the Raid Battle feature a better chance of being invited to participate.”
Once these features are live, says the studio, it’ll “be removing the field-test label and considering this the official launch of the EX Raid Battle feature.
What it doesn’t solve, of course, are the monetization problems. As Andrew explains it, the proposal appears to effectively prioritize (and reward abundantly) those players who pay for raid tickets while hindering those who rely on free passes. Moreover, while Niantic’s new focus on parks may seem a boon for rural players, areas of the world with few gyms and pokestops won’t be helped at all, and players will still have no control over when raids occur.