Massively on the Go: Our planning guide for Pokemon Go Global Go Fest 2023


While the timing and quantity of events change each year, Pokemon Go is holding its global Go Fest 2023 August 26th and 27th this round. Last year’s Go Fest proper was one of the worst ones, and there’s already been one misstep for the London Go Fest, but the announcements so far make it seem like Niantic will keep this year’s event more vanilla, and that’s a good thing.

That isn’t to say you’ll want to skip the event, though. For today’s Massively on the Go, let’s dive into the details of what’s been revealed and what’s expected in the absence of clear communication from Niantic. We’ll be updating as usual as Niantic trickles out finer details.

Ticket value

I won’t talk about the value of giving or denying Niantic money out of ethical concerns, but for those who do choose to spend money on the game, this event is a better value than most other events. Even a rural player shouldn’t have to drive too far when compared to, say, the Osaka or London events, which may cost around the same but also include major travel prices for the majority of the player population.

The raid passes alone practically pay for the ticket itself assuming you play both days (18 free passes), but both Carnivine and Pachirisu are regionals and can save you some plane tickets/special trades. Neither is useful, but obviously both are rare for most of us. Similarly, the ticket will save many of us a special trade in the future while giving us extra ones for the event.

The biggest prize is Mega Rayquaza. We’ve had some details for a bit, but one thing to note is that you need the ticket to get Mega Energy from Mega Ray raids. The Mega Rayquaza bonus, at least one additional Meteorite to learn Dragon Ascent, is quite valuable. (Mega) Diancie will certainly come out in the future at some point, and it has its uses, as does Mega Rayquaza. That being said, Mega Ray is much more useful and a better investment. You can get both if you have the time, but if you get only one day to play, I’d suggest making it Sunday, especially if you buy a ticket.

There is one small issue to note: Despite the above image, there’s documented evidence from at least one Reddit user that Mega Rayquaza isn’t functioning as advertised. Admittedly, the tri-type bonus is a Primal pokemon bonus, but for whatever reason, Rayquaza in the main games has a Mega instead of Primal. It’s also the Sky High Pokemon and represents power over land and sea, confirming predictions. The problem may be in the coding of a Mega rather than a Primal. Without that bonus, Rayquaza is “only” an upgraded Mega Salamence, but that’s a big upgrade. We assume this will be fixed, but we’re noting Mega Rayquaza and Niantic could let us all down, and we’ll update this article should we learn more.

8/21 Update: We now have private communications from both PR and Niantic Support that the issue with Mega Rayquaza has been passed to the Niantic team. While they have not publicly noted this, knowing that they’ve been informed hopefully means we’ll see some resolution.

8/23 Update: There was a recent posting that the Mega Rayquaza issue is known to Niantic and a fix is set to go through in the “next release.” Unfortunately, Niantic is also known to either not test its builds properly or fail to adhere to tester feedback, so whether its truly fixed or not will be anyone’s guess. It does however, mean that the advertised function on Mega Ray is correct, and that you should feel reasonably safe aiming for and investing in a good Mega.

Now, assuming Mega Ray comes as advertised, other Go Fest bonuses are basically the cherry on top. Remember, Niantic doesn’t disclose odds, so don’t get overly excited about more shinies. Elite Collector medals have seemingly no value beyond bragging, if that. 7k eggs have no details (I’m guessing they’ll at least have Pachirisu and Carnivine), so it’s difficult to give any value there, but eggs are another gamble I also don’t suggest people put much stock in. Avatar poses, though, can be nice but also more expensive, so Niantic throwing one in adds even more measurable value. If you’re playing both days and can afford it, the ticket value is clearly there.

CDN media

8/25 Update: Thanks to redditor sonjya00, we now have the 7k egg ‘mon. None are currently raid relevant, but it does mean you can potentially get all the new shinies from 7k eggs (not counting Cowboy Hat Snorlax, as it was previously released only for Go Fest Seattle 2022).

Spawns for all

As usual, there are spawns for everyone – and spawns for those with tickets. While ticket-less players won’t have access to the previous section displayed, everyone can get pokemon from the image above, and there are some good picks here.

Before I go into a lot of detail, I do want to give a few quick shoutouts.

  • Roselia could be very good for some people who need to build their Grass teams, but it seems so common that I feel like most active players have some by now.
  • Lapras is a fan favorite but quite outclassed and can be saved only depending on how its Gigantimax form is handled.
  • Barboach’s catfish evolution is good in PvP, but it’s very similar to Swampert, which feels really accessible lately.
  • Wobbufett is still quite usable for gyms, Carvana gets a Mega form later (though mostly outclassed by Mega Gyarados in all ways), and none of the hat crown pikachus is more than a collector’s item.

Most of those are exceptions aside from Roselia, which we’ll discuss more later. The PvP picks are pretty self explanatory in that if you want them for PvP, you should grab them. But the “Very Useful” and “Useful rare/regional” have some notes.

Let’s look at the Quartz hour rotation (10am-11am and 2pm-3pm local time):

  • Heracross gets both tags because it’s a regional that gets a Mega form. Bug isn’t the best type, but as we saw with Hoopa and the Elite Raids, it has uses people greatly underestimate. It’s also a unique typing, though, and if you’re going to invest in a Mega Pokemon, I often suggest making it one you’ll actually use in combat if the need ever arises. 8/25 Update: You can also get it from the “Earn 1000 Stardust” task.
  • Similarly, Audino also will get a future Mega with a unique typing (Normal/Fairy), but it also grants a whopping 2,100 extra stardust when caught, more than any other pokemon.
  • Both Foongus and Morelull also grant bonus stardust. Neither is super useful, but with all the bonus stardust spawns, you could potentially pop a starpiece during this time for some nice bonus dust.
  • Also, you have East Shellos, a regional getting its shiny, but that’s really about it. Still, Quartz will be quite a busy rotation hour, even for non-PvP players. Update 8/25: It’s also available from the “Power Up 5 Normal-type Pokemon” quest (which also can be achieved if you simply power up the same Normal pokemon five times).

Pyrite (11am-12pm and 3pm-4pm local time) is slower but very interesting.

  • There’s already a leak for the next season from a trusted leaker, and it mentions Community Days for Grubbin and Timburr. That could mean Grubbin will get extra value soon, but as it’s unknown and its current use is limited, collect/trade/hoard with caution.
  • Timburr, on the other hand, has been a rich man’s Machamp since release. Lucario and Shadow Machamp perform better and are easier to access, even in terms of XL candy at this point, but having it in the wild does mean people can get some small Fighting-team upgrades. If it gets a Community Day, I’d expect it to be a PvP move, so it should have value for everyone. Just remember, it’s an expensive evolve (200 candy) unless you trade it to drop the candy requirement altogether.
  • Gible already has good value, and don’t forget, it has a future Mega, so if you don’t have a good one to invest in (or need a good Ground team), grab some. Remember though, save Gible evolutions for whenever its Community Day move, Earth Power, comes back. 8/25 Update: You can also get it from the “Earn 1000 Stardust” task.
  • Finally, Joltik’s shiny makes its debut. It’s not a bad PvP pick in Great or Ultra Leagues, but it’s a big investment, and often you want the Shadow form, so I figure for most of our readers, it’s just a collector’s item. Update 8/25: It’s also available from the “Power Up 5 Ground-type Pokemon” quest (which also can be achieved if you simply power up the same Ground pokemon five times).

Looking at Malachite (12pm-1pm and 4pm-5pm local time):

  • You’ll notice Scyther got the “Useful rare/regional” tag. Much of what was said about Heracross applies to Scyther in terms of its already released Mega (Bug/Steel), but Scyther isn’t regional and is Gen 1, so there’s less pressure to get one. It does have Kleavor as a Hisui evolution, which currently isn’t great nor can Scyther be evolved to it in POGO, but it could be a future thing.
  • Snorlax is mostly a PvP/Gym pick, but this one has a cowboy hat, so it’s also collectible. 8/25 Update: You can also get it from the “Earn 1000 Stardust” task.
  • We’ll talk about Roselia later, but briefly, it gets its Community Day moves, so pick some up if you need Grasses.
  • Side note, Oranguru gets its shiny, but like the above Shellos, that’s about all there is to say about that. Update 8/25: It’s also available from the “Power Up 5 Grass-type Pokemon” quest (which also can be achieved if you simply power up the same Grass pokemon five times).

Finally, we come to Aquamarine(1pm-2pm and 5pm-6pm local time):

  • Starting with the lowest priority, we have West Shellos, which is a new and regional shiny but also nothing more. Update 8/25: It’s also available from the “Power Up 5 Water-type Pokemon” quest (which also can be achieved if you simply power up the same Water pokemon five times).
  • Then there’s Goomy, which is still fairly rare, will debut its shiny, and has a Hisui evolution in the future. It will most likely also see its own Community Day, and knowing that it has two forms in advance means Go Fest gives you an extra chance to be prepared for that. Update 8/25: It’s also available from the “Power Up 5 Water-type Pokemon” quest (which also can be achieved if you simply power up the same Water pokemon five times). Correction, it’s from the “Earn 1000 Stardust” task.
  • Finally, we have Bagon and Beldum. Both will have access to their Community Day moves which are essential for their use and both have Mega Forms. Admittedly, Mega Salamence (Bagon’s final form) is basically being replaced by Mega Rayquaza, but Mega Sal is also more accessible for most players, so it has some value, especially if you don’t Mega frequently or walk your buddy for Mega Energy.

Normally I feel there’s a natural lull in the action during one of the rotating hours when you may want to take a break, but this year feels a bit more even-handed. I would advise against missing out on Quartz because it’s very full of good pokemon, including a regional and various stardust bonuses. Malachite might be one you can afford to relax from if you’re not hyper-fixated on trying to get a Shiny Cowboy Hat Snorlax or (for ticket holders) some Carnivine.

Raid options

Now, if there is only one thing I’d recommend people pursue in Go Fest 2023, it’s Mega Rayquaza. It’s number two on our list of Best Megas to Invest In, though basically tied with Lucario, which I’d argue is only a bit more useful because so many raid pokemon can be countered with Fighting-types. Utility-wise, Lucario’s got nothing on Mega Ray, as it grants bonus xp and (XL) candy to Dragon, Psychic, and Flying types, all of which are popular/useful over-represented Legendary/Mythical types. As someone who primarily uses Megas for utility rather than combat, I intend to have multiples if possible.

See, Mega Ray has two requirements. First, you need 400 of its Mega Energy, which has low drop rates. And second, you need a Meteorite to teach it Dragon Ascent, which you get from special research (if it’s the same as Osaka’s Go Fest) or by chance (most likely only for ticket holders, after completing their Meteorite quests) from Mega Rayquaza raids. While we don’t know if there’s a time limit on Meteorites, there is one on Mega Energy. You have from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, August 27th. Whether or not you can get Mega Energy during the Global Go Fest via Remote Raids (or Meteorites, for that matter) remains to be seen. That being said, you can at least get Mega Energy for Ray as a free or ticketed player.

But that’s all (most) of Sunday. Saturday is a different beast altogether. Let’s start with what’s probably the easiest to recommend: the Primals. If you didn’t get them during the Hoenn Tour or leading up to Go Fest (starting 10 a.m. August 23rd), this is a good time to get Energy or a good/shiny one. The problem, however, is we don’t know if Kyogre or Groudon will get their signature moves. While it’s less a problem for Kyogre as it doesn’t want/need it in PvP, it’s a serious question for Groudon, who needs it for both PvE and PvP.

Then there’s the Carbink/Diancie issue for raids. Carbink is a PvP pokemon, but its soloable raids give some Diancie Mega Energy. Carbink raids at the London Go Fest gave a measly 10 Mega Diancie Energy from raids, but Diancie needs 300 Mega Energy to Mega evolve. While we’ve heard the events gave enough Mega Energy to evolve Diancie, we don’t know how things will play out at the Global Go Fest. For that reason, at the moment, I’d only do Carbink raids as a collector or PvP fan, not if you want to farm Mega Diancie Energy. 8/25 Update: You can also get Carbink from the event quests that ask you to spin 10 Pokestops/Gyms or Catch 10 Pokemon, with Onix potentially being the other mystery pokemon reward.

Cowboy Hat Snorlax and Goomy are also options for small groups/solo, but they both spawn in the wild as well. For an active and invested player, Saturday raids are above average at best. I’ll help friends, but probably focus more on Groudon (which I want a perfect of), maybe doing one or two Carbink and Snorlax raids. Sunday, though, is when you’ll probably want to go hog wild.

To note, Go Fest this year will have a “Ready” button that will start raids within 10 seconds once everyone in the lobby presses it. That can be a big problem for those who are solo players or have small groups and rely on finding random groups at just-the-right moment. For this reason, I would suggest people create teams in advance, especially for the Mega/Primals. Pokebattler can help with that, but to keep it super simple, prepare Grass and Electrics for Kyogre, Water pokemon for Groudon, and Ice pokemon for Rayquaza. Make sure your pokemon are using moves of that type as well!

Evolution perks

This is where we finally talk about why some of the above pokemon are more prioritized than usual.

  • Let’s start with Roserade. Again, Roserade may be quite useful to some people’s Grass teams. It’s useable in PvP too, but raid fans basically only want the Fast Move, Bullet Seed.
  • Metagross is still the undisputed champ of Steel, best seen while looking at Xerneas counters. When it gets its Mega form, it’ll blow everything else out of the water. We have gotten its Community Day and move quite a few times, but I know many players who need some or a good one.
  • Salamence is largely outclassed (aside from its Shadow version), and even its Mega is being replaced during this event by Mega Ray, but you may still want one, especially since it normally has the highly expensive Draco Meteor as its only Dragon Charge Attack. It basically needs its Community Day move, so if you want to use one, this is the time to evolve it.
  • Lickilicky is mostly an Ultra League pick, but it’s mostly for taking out Ghost Pokemon. Even that can be a bit tricky, as Body Slam, the event move, is largely there to try to trick players into shielding. Hitting a Ghost with the Normal Slam attack results in little damage, so it’s a gamble.
  • Similarly, while Flygon is a solid pick, there are often better options out there, aside from maybe certain Cups with pokemon typing restrictions. Everything else, though, is basically a collector’s ‘mon.

Mega picks

The Mega picks this year are all over the board. For example, if you care only about Primal raids on Saturday, go with Mega Swampert, as it gives extra XL candy for Groudon and Kyogre plus wild Stunfisk. However, Mega Lopunny works well for non-raiding PvP fans, granting XL candy for Lickitung, Miltank, Audino, Heracross, (Cowboy Hat) Snorlax, and Timburr, among others.

A case could also be made for Primal Kyogre, as it gives bonus XL candy for Kyogre raids, plus wild Heracross, Grubbin, Stunfisk, Pachirisu, and a slew of common pokemon.

If you’re really feeling hardcore about Carbink due to its Great League power, though, I would recommend using Mega Altaria. The Fairy typing will get you that Carbink XL candy, but also extra candy from Gible, Goomy, and Bagon.

Any of the above are fine at the start on Sunday or if you’re not going to raid much, but once Mega Rayquaza shows up, anyone going hard for it should probably use Mega Pidgeot. You get extra XL candy on Ray, Lickitung, Miltank, Audino, Snorlax, Scyther, and some others, so it’s a good spread favoring PvP more. If you’re less PvP inclined, Mega Salamence gives Ray, Gible, Goomy, Bagon, and Scyther, which are powerful PvE picks. There’s also Mega Pinsir for those who wanna gamble on the potential of bugs in the future, giving you Rayquaza bonus XL candy plus extra candy from wild Heracross, Scyther, Grubbin, and a few others.

8/22 Update: You could also consider using Mega Lati@s. Both give Dragon and Psychic boosts, meaning it’ll give you extra XL candy not only for Rayquaza, but Bagon and Beldum for their event moves, plus Goomy and Gible. It’s very niche by comparison, especially since the Bagon and Beldum have had multiple events for candy in the past, but this could be a good choice for newer, raid-focused players.

As always, we’ll update this post as we draw nearer to the Global Go Fest and learn more about the event or even what the future of the game may hold. Stay safe out there, trainers!

8/22 Update: We have more official event details now, so this article has been updated throughout to reflect that information.

8/25 Update: Collection challenges are back, and has those plus the event research. It also seems that Carbink is a rare wild-spawn and that Incense is working as well as it did during COVID, with spawns appearing roughly once per minute even when stationary. There is also a report that there are contests for the biggest Pikachu and biggest Goomy. LeekDuck also has a list of the tasks, which we’ve posted above where relevant. Finally, speaking of tasks, we have note one but two confirmation posts that tasks don’t simply change each hour but are refreshed, allowing the same stop to give out new tasks even when they’ve been completed, so don’t worry about having to change locations for new quests to complete.

8/27 Update: For those who want Mega Rayquaza energy, you can get it via remote raiding even before it’s released in your time zone. And despite advertisements, non-pass holders apparently can get Meteorites from Rayquaza raids.

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!
Pokemon Go studio Niantic is considered a controversial gaming company owing to multiple scandals and deceptions, starting with the Wi-Spy privacy scandal; over the years, it’s repeatedly failed to secure player data, endangered players during the pandemic, and refused to address documented stalking in POGO. It also rolled back popular accessibility features to incentivize data collection, faked data, and lied about event results. Following 2021’s community-driven Pokemon No boycott, Niantic vowed transparency and communication; it has not delivered.
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