Massively of the Go: Pokemon Go’s April events bring snakes, trash, and mysteries

    
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Pokemon Go’s St. Patrick’s Day “had no effect” on at least one snake: Snivy! But fortunatelt, the Gen 5 pokemon is getting its own Community Day April 11th, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. local time. Frenzy Plant doesn’t really do much to make its final evolution stand out in PvE or PvP unless you’re missing a good Venusaur or Meganium, and it’s disappointing that it’s a shiny that was previously released. However, this is a triple stardust event, plus may be a hint at a return to Community Day normalcy, as starters and rare pokemon have largely been absent from events since 2020.

But that may not be the only hint at a return to some good old times. While Niantic is being its usual coy self with its monthly outlines, April does have some good announcements this time around. Let’s dig in for this edition of Massively on the Go.

As usual, going straight to the source may help you get some of the nitty gritty details, but as of this writing, the calendar below can be fairly useful in planning out your POGO month, and I’ll pick apart the kernels that seem most relevant to our readers, with updates coming as Niantic releases them.

Courtesy of u/SerenityMae

This month, Rocket Leader Giovani returns with Shadow Zapdos, which is fairly usable in PvE and PvP (just don’t purify it!). You’ll have from midnight on April 1st to 11:59 p.m. on April 8th to complete the Timed Research on this, which most likely will have Rocket spawns increased. Hopefully, more details are announced soon. 4/22 Update: If the bugs for Team Rocket prevented you from saving Zapdos, worry not! Niantic has now fixed the Rocket issue and will have the Electric Pokemon return June 1-17.

April 4th to April 8th is when we’ll have some egg-themed Pokemon and “other spring- and Egg-themed surprises,” including the return of the Blissey line with a flower crown. As of late, the Costume Pokemon, including Pikachu, have generally been limited to a single creature. Aside from winter 2019’s Pikachu family, the last whole family to get the costume treatment was February 2019’s Eevee family with flower crowns, which was rereleased for spring 2020’s event. 3/30 Update: Niantic has released its referral program. You may want to invite your friends back so they can get Chansey/Blissey for gym defense to generate coins.

File:428Lopunny-Mega.pngIt’s anyone’s guess what the “spring surprises” will be, but we do know April 4th is the day we’re set to receive a new Mega Evolution. The obvious choice would be Mega Lopunny, since… well, spring and bunnies go well together. It’d also be our first (part) Fighting-Type Pokemon, allowing players to get extra candy from Fighting-type pokemon caught while the bunny is in its Mega form. 3/29 Update: Niantic has revealed that yes, Lopunny is the upcoming Mega. Find your best one and consider getting it to Buddy Rank 2 for Fighting type candy harvesting.

Then again, April 6th is its base-form evolution’s spotlight hour (which is also when you can get double candy for transferring pokemon). I guess Gardevoir could also be the surprise since it just looks as if it’s dressed for spring, but that seems as if it might be a bit much, giving us both our first Psychic and Fairy Mega Evolution. However, with no other clues given, I would guess that Gardy could be the May reveal.

Speaking of spotlight hours, Mankey gets one on April 13th, and it’s useful for Great League. Grimer is set for April 20th, but I think most people will care more about the double stardust from catching, and April 27’s Fineon hour is most useful for the double catch XP.

In terms of raids, the new Therian formes for Tornadus and Landorus are March 30th through April 13th and April 13th through 27th, respectively. Again, Tornadus may have some limited use, but Therian Landorus is set to shake up the Ground-type rankings, so be prepared for that one. There’ll also be a roundup of the original forms for all three Forces of Nature starting April 27th. As no end date is given, I think we can assume that it will be sometime in May. Though the Therian forms thus far look superior, the roundup does give people another chance to harvest (XL) candy.

File:621Druddigon.pngFrom here, we have a few new events. The first is Rivals Week, April 13th through 18th, and it’s focusing on pokemon with rivalries. I’m guessing this means pokemon pairs like Zangoose and Seviper, Karrablast and Shelmet, Heatmore and Durant, Meowth and Murkrow, and possibly others too, like Ekans and Spearow/Pidgey. What’s interesting is that Niantic says there will be “some Pokémon making their Pokémon Go debut,” and if one-sided predator/prey situations are included, this could be referring to the Diglett family’s issues with Druddigon, a Gen 5 Dragon-type pokemon. Considering the complaints about the lack of dragons for quests, I suspect this could be a safe time to introduce the pokemon, as its base stat total is equal with the lowly but adorable Raichu. The only other non-legendary rivalries (as I doubt Niantic would be that generous) come in later generations, and it seems unlike that Gen 7’s Gumshoos is making an appearance with Alohla Rattata. 4/5 Update: Well this is a little disappointing. Rivals week details were announced, and while Skrelp and Clauncher are making their debuts, they’re, um, not rivals, just opposite version exclusives (which, in POGO, are basically just going to be used for collections and possibly Ultra League PvP). Nidoking/queen, Magmar/Electabuzz families, and more also fit the bill. It’s nice the Hitmons are coming back (especially after the Kanto event issues) but they’re parallels, not rivals. The only rival pokemon seem to be Zangoose and Seviper, so be on the lookout for another chance to grab some shinies. 4/13 Update: Rocket balloons are broken and, aside from leaders, not spawning, so they’ve been removed from the event text.

April 20th through 25th is “Sustainability Week,” which is when we need to clean up Grimer and literal garbage pokemon Trubbish. I’m hoping the “and more” will include a return of Galarian Weezing, but we’ll just have to wait and see. 4/13 Update: What a pleasant surprise! The new details revealed that Binacle will make its debut in POGO for this event, as will shiny Trubbish. Unlike past cleaning events, this one can be done alone and be as simple as picking up garbage at a park and sharing your effort on social media. Super environmentalists can even apply for seed money for larger projects. The base event is good for getting Drilbur and Roselia XL Candy, but if enough people participate in the Sustainability Campaign, across POGO and Ingress games, POGO players will have more 5 star raids, three free Remote Passes, and double catch xp.

Finally, April 24th is something called “Friendship Day” but Niantic’s keeping mum on that. 4/12 Update: We’ve got some info on the event now. We know the event is from 11am-2pm, though the included 40km trade distance plus increased Lucky Pokemon chance will continue until 5pm local time. In addition, incense and lures will last three hours, catch xp will be tripled, and has a Collection Challenge worth 100k xp. Get those lucky eggs ready! 4/21 Update: The Collection Challenge is now 175k xp and the Global Challenge has been completely removed.

We’re also once again getting weekly Raid Passes in our bundles, so people stuck at home still should have at least something to work with in terms of raiding. I’d also like to remind readers that Pokemon Go was actually a bit of an April Fools’ Day joke, and the released game did pixelize the released pokemon at the time, so keep your eyes open for that. 3/30 Update: Seems Niantic decided to announce their April Fool’s Event, probably because it’ll affect PvP by cutting switch times in half for the day, limiting Rockets to Aipom, and increasing Ditto spawns.

Now, vaguely related is some data on the most popular pokemon around the world by Google searches. Given Niantic’s origins, I’m sure they have this data, as does The Pokemon Company. Company mascot Pikachu seems to be propped up in Asia, Oceania, the Middle East, and Africa, while English-speaking countries tend to prefer other, evolved pokemon. The reordering of pokemon by popularity at the bottom does seem to match the company’s marketing, aside from Onix not getting its share of poke-fame.

4/14 Update: Seems we’ll be ending April with a New Pokemon Snap event in POGO. Details aren’t exactly exciting in terms of who’s coming back for candy harvesting, but we are getting more Smeargle appearances from photos and it can finally be shiny, but just until the event’s over. After that, we’ll be waiting until whenever Niantic brings it back. As the Squirtle Squad variant hasn’t returned in over 2 years and shiny Meltan had a 1.5 year gap until it made a brief return, Smeargle fans should be ready to take some pictures April 29 at 10am until May 2’s 8pm end.

Massively OP’s Andrew Ross is an admitted Pokemon geek and expert ARG-watcher. Nobody knows Niantic and Nintendo like he does! His Massively on the Go column covers Pokemon Go as well as other mobile MMOs and augmented reality titles!
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