Massively on the Go: Pokemon GO’s new season Goes back to the biggies in June

    
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It’s always hard to be a Pokemon GO player. On the one hand, the upcoming stalker app, Campfire, shows us that someone at the top really has not been listening to the right people. But in typical Niantic fashion, there’s also some good news. While the Season of Go really isn’t inspiring in name, some of its upcoming content includes a few things people have been asking for.

For example, XL Candy, used to max out pokemon levels beyond the previous level cap, will be accessible to players Level 31+ starting in June, and the three-month seasonal bonus will once again guarantee not only a bonus regular candy but also XL Candy. As Go Fest is coming up, that’s even more meaningful if you’re looking to do some trades, especially since we’ll have two special trades per day. And that’s just the tip of the Bergmite for the season, not just the June events.

Let’s start with the Season of GO details first.

Go Stadium has highlighted some of the more interesting ‘mon coming up, but I want to focus on a few in particular. Golett is usually a rare pokemon, so seeing it on the list is great, and Larvitar too since it’ll have a fairly useful Mega for raids. I gave it a shoutout in the Mega ‘mon list, though it’s unreleased, so Steelix and Aerodactyl’s Megas (coming back this June) are quite useful now too. Trubbish, as a reminder, gives a nice stardust bonus, so be on the look out for those!

But PvP seems to be the main winner this summer. Galarian Stunfisk is a good PvP pick, one that my recently returning friends used to get up to rank 20 this season despite neither being big on PvP and being in their early 30s at the start of the season, so that’s quite good for casuals. Spheal’s final evolution, Walrein, is a top pick in PvP, so if you missed its Community Day, look for some good ones to evolve this December. Dewpider, on the other hand, is already good to go, so if you want a new interesting ‘mon for Great League, look for those and evolve them at will!

While Season 11 is going back to the usual model of ranking and isn’t getting a move update, there are a few things more casual players may be interested in, and I don’t mean the various cup themes. The June 18th Battle Day (100 battles possible and x4 stardust win rewards) also includes Primeape learning the legacy move Cross Chop, so ape fans may want to jump on that. You’ll also get Bea-themed gloves, which also unlocks at Ace Rank (rank score 2k).

Rank 16 unlocks Pancham as a potential reward ‘mon, giving us the rare chance to catch one without needing to get through the 12k-egg restricted gates panda’mon is usually locked behind. It’s not a terribly useful pokemon, but fans and collectors may want to make use of this opportunity.

It should be noted that Master League Classic is nowhere to be found. That’s concerning since few people legitimately playing the game and not pumping tons of money into raiding can really compete at the high-end levels. Ryan Swag of Gamepress put together a video on how much extra these changes could cost, but as I believe most POGO readers here are fairly casual, it may not be too much painful for us. It does, however, show the game is trending more towards pay-to-win.

Of course, the Season of Go isn’t just rewarding casual PvP fans. 10k eggs in general are seeing more dragons being included and less “fluff,” but the 10k reward for walking 50km a week contains only useful and rare pokemon for once, with Dratini actually being the worst reward. Considering it’s still a very useful pokemon in both PvE and PvP, I’d say it’s not half bad!

We also have the dates for this season’s Community Days:

  • Saturday, June 25th, 2022
  • Sunday, July 17th, 2022
  • Saturday, August 13th, 2022

Unsurprisingly, what we don’t have are the times. Between the riotous Stuffel fiasco and snooze-fest Alola Geodude, the only thing the adjusted times have done is alienate players and cut down on overall community participation, which a normal company would be concerned about but Niantic has not addressed. I’m sure the company will put a spin on the numbers as it’s done since the start, but whether or not we see it revert to something more accessible is wholly unknown at this moment, much like the identities of the featured pokemon. It would be nice if Niantic addressed these in developer diaries, but as two-thirds of those diaries have been glorified marketing, it’s difficult to predict if even that will work.

6/9 Update: June’s Community Day hours for Deino will primarily be from 11am-2pm, with the evolution working until 7pm. Niantic is continuing to experiment with Community Day, adding post-event 4-star raids which were previously removed from the game almost 2 years ago, so people can raid its evolution, Zweilous, and cause more Community-Day-esque Deino to appear for 30 more minutes. However, Niantic is not providing more raid passes for this, which overlaps with Psystrike Mewtwo. The CD move, a charged Dark-type attack, Brutal Swing, doesn’t have its full stats, but from what we do know, it could be like Surf, which would only make Hydreigon a better Dark-type attacker. However, players are not happy with the announcement, even though it does more closely align with what I’ve said about raids bringing people together. There is double candy during the event, 1/4 hatch distance, lure bonus of spawning wild Zweilous once enough Deino have spawned, and I’m sure later a kitchen sink, but making the raids unavailable to remote raiders is causing concern, as is the potential 10 player requirement for the raid bonus. We’ve contacted PR about this and are waiting for a reply. 6/10 Update: Support has stepped up to clarify that 10 people aren’t required.

As an aside, there has been talk of a #PokemonNODay that mods removed on Reddit, though more extreme supporters are pushing for Go Fest. Players who want their voices to be heard may want to do minimal play at most on one of these days (like your daily catch or spin) and turn off your adventure sync to send a message. Interestingly, no major POGO personalities or outlets have promoted this in a public manner yet.

It’s also important to note the other seasonal bonuses not previously mentioned. The nerfed incense is about to get worse, as the season-long buff was making it last 90 minutes. To note, Niantic was originally also removing the “increased effectiveness while walking,” but that has since been re-added. If the nerfed incense was already upsetting enough in its current state, it’s only set to get worse without a basic change to the item.

We’re also losing the two daily raid passes per day. The damage boost for remote raiders is intact for the next three months, as are guaranteed gifts, plus Niantic is giving a damage bonus to the Friendship Raid-Damage Bonus. And that’s important to note for June.

We already talked about Mega Raids a bit, but regular raids are looking mighty interesting. Some of the biggest pokemon we have – Kyogre, Groudon, and Mewtwo – are all coming back this month, and Mewtwo is receiving both of its legacy moves. What’s interesting about this is that all three of those pokemon essentially have Mega forms, yet the schedule makes it appear that they won’t be appearing this month. There may be something else though, which we’ll discuss later on. For now, I’d simply suggest that people grab these legendaries, as they’re useful now and will be in the future. For Mewtwo, I’d prioritize the Psystrike variant but also warn that you may need an Elite Charged TM either way, as it’s the only way to get both of Mewtwo’s legacy attacks at once, which some players may find quite useful.

Spotlight hours in June aren’t looking great. As always, the double candy event is probably better spent on using your Melmetal box, though it’s a shame we have to wait for June 14th for the double transfer event, as I’m sure many of us will be wanting to ditch some Go Fest pokemon as soon as possible. However, Mantine and Spinarak are useful PvP pokemon, so those nights may be useful.

What’s odd is that, as you can see, June 28th doesn’t list the bonus or the pokemon. So let’s talk about the other events, skipping over Go Fest. 6/6 Update: Eagle-eyed redditors note that the final Spotlight goes to the new hat-chu and double stardust.

June 7th-12th at 10am local time is Adventure Week. Niantic has given us no further details on this yet, but traditionally the event pushes Fossil and Rock pokemon, plus bonuses for spinning new pokestops, which is probably why it hasn’t been seen since June 2019. As Niantic’s “See you out there” hashtag has been being pushed this year as if COVID is already over despite the fact that we’re in the middle of a huge wave in the US, it’s not a surprising move. Still, as long as Niantic keeps most of the event simple enough that players can stay safe, it would be nice to have, say, walking quests that give out Tirtouga or Archen as both have been quite rare for years now.

5/31 Update: Niantic’s dropped official details on the event. As predicted, Niantic is using the event to push people outside and into new areas, and it’s based on Fossil and Rock pokemon. Yes, Tirtouga and Archen will be at least quest rewards, but also in eggs. Their shiny forms will also be available, as well as Tyrunt and Amaura. While both are fan favorites, the latter it currently predicted to be ok for PvP, while the former is atrocious looking in that department (but being part Dragon, may be usable for PvE, though hardly a contender for best). Outside of eggs, Cranidos and Aerodactyl should be priority catches, especially the latter for Mega use. All of the above and more will also be available from research tasks, but you may want to be prepared for Niantic to push you to explore new areas.

6/5 Update: Go Fest players unlocked a bonus event for Adventure Week: a special research day on the final day of the event, June 12, from 11am-3pm local time. The new fossil pokemon will be spawning for an hour, with each of the two rotating every hour of the event so you won’t have to worry too much about hatching 7k eggs. For newer players, Onix and Rhydon are both very useful pokemon, as is Cranidos for raiding and Shieldon for PvP. Aron also gets a mega in the future but Onix’s evolution, Steelix, get a much better Mega, so don’t worry too much about that.

The other event, from June 16th-30th, is a crossover event with the new Pokemon GO TCG expansion which launches July 1st. I half wonder if the June 28th pokemon may be related to Meltan and Melmetal since they were introduced in Pokemon GO, perhaps making its shiny available or even finally giving Melmetal its signature move. As always, we’ll update this when we know more.

6/6 Update: We’ve got details of the upcoming event, and fans of collection challenges should be happy that they’ll have a few new ones to tackle. Wimpod will also make its debut, and while we don’t have stats for its evolution, Niantic has noted it will need 400 candy to evolve, so have some water or bug Megas prepared. Remember, Mega Beedril energy comes from gyms, so that should be an option, but as Mewtwo will be in raids, I’d suggest Mega Slowbro. Meltan’s shiny form returns as well, so make sure your Mystery Box will be ready (and that you have Mega Steelix prepared if you’re in need of regular or XL Meltan candy). There’s a bit more, but this should highlight some of the bigger tips the event blog leaves to the imagination.

As June itself may seem light on events from that, recall that June 4th-5th is Go Fest. That alone is going to pack a lot into two days. Day 2 tends to be a mystery, but Niantic’s teasing something interesting.

Pokeminers have also dug up big news furthering the tease: Ultra Beasts are coming. For those who don’t know, Ultra Beasts are weird pokemon from another dimension. They have legendary-like stats, and are treated as such, though technically are a different category. Most are admittedly not useful, but a few are, especially the first one being teased, Nihilego. As Gamepress notes, it’s mostly going to be useful as a Poison-type in raids, unless Niantic seriously screws that up.

But overall, as the miners noted, Ultra Beasts have their own kind of “raids” via wormholes. Niantic may be introducing those in Go Fest and pushing them going forward, especially if they prove to be a more difficult kind of raid that actually pushes the community together rather than keeps us alone together. While it would step on the toes of the desirable 5-star legendaries we noted at the start of this article, it might also explain why Niantic is turning on damage buffs and cutting players back down to a single raid pass per day. As always, we’ll have to wait and see what the future holds.

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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