Massively on the Go: A slow New Year start for Pokemon GO events


Pokemon Go is still not bringing its A-game. After a buggy end of the year complete with utterly breaking Beware and accidentally releasing-and-taking-back unreleased Kyurem forms (which don’t seem to use form changing but do use the vanilla Kyurem candy), Niantic is kicking the year off with mostly recycled content and the original three Forces of Nature with new moves that don’t do much for the meta, Landorus aside (as usual).

We’ll still try to pull out some highlights of the month in this Massively on the Go, but the main thing it feels like we should expect is for Niantic to keep trying to milk players.

CDN media
Via G47IX

In terms of raids, nothing new is being released outside of Hisui Typhlosion, which we’ll discuss later. Shadow Moltres is a welcome enough sight, but most communities at this point seem rather sick of the whole Rocket Raid mechanic in general. Moltres is certainly one of the more useful types, though we’re also getting a Shadow Ho-oh weekend. Worse, though, is that Shadow Ho-oh is overshadowed (heh) by its Apex form’s Sacred Fire+.

Ultra Beasts are kind of fun, but Niantic, for whatever lore reason (but probably related to selling Remote Raid Passes), treats them almost like regionals. Xurkitree is the far and away the most useful, while Buzzwole is basically a PvP pokemon and Pheromosa is a glass canon still outranked by basic pokemon in its best-case situation. We’ve got no new Megas, and the new Landorus move only makes it a rival for non-Primal Groudon with Precipice Blades.


Topping it off and allowing us to skip to our usual conclusion, the Spotlight Hour info notes there’ll be another (most likely) $5 month-long “eggs-pedition” addon in January. It’s certainly feeling like Niantic’s tone-deaf decision to nerf Remote Raids in April 2023 has drastically affected its bottom dollar, despite its protests that evidence (and finances) aren’t what they seem. As a side note, the Sinnoh Tour’s info is still incomplete in terms of spelling out the city-wide add-on, which has filled a few of my local LA-based Discords with confusion.

Trying to ignore the cash grabs for a moment, this month’s Spotlight picks aren’t too bad. Things could change as we get event details, but currently January 2nd with Castform’s basically just for XP grinders, while January 9th is for Eevee fans and new players. January 16th’s Ralts isn’t too bad, especially with last month’s rumors of Gallade’s Mega incoming, but the big deal is the extra transfer candy, if you’ve been able to hold out that long. January 23rd isn’t worth talking about, but January 30 is not only Foongus, which is worth bonus stardust, but also double stardust. Do not miss this! We’ve only once gotten both double stardust and a stardust-bonus-‘mon, so this is certainly worth using a starpiece for.

In terms of events, the first is obviously a New Year’s event, from January 1st-3rd. Oddly, yes, there’s another paid research, though one of the rewards is Pokecoins. We don’t know how many, but it is an interesting idea assuming it’s not an error, which Niantic specializes in making. Naturally, though, hatch distance is the main feature for the event, which means Niantic is once again aiming for players to spend more. The new Jigglypuff and Wigglytuff are cute, but at the same time, it bears mentioning that we are still in a historic low for storage.

Next is January 6th’s Community Day for Rowlett. Sniper-eyed Americans with knowledge of the Japanese name for this pokemon might realize this choice may be in poor taste, but ignoring that, the pokemon is not great for raids, debatable for PvP. We do get triple stardust though, so there’s that.

Interestingly, that falls in with the first day of the new Lustrous Odyssey event, which runs January 6th-10th. Not a lot of hints here, but it is interesting that we’ve had an Adamant event previously, as there are orbs in the main game series that are Adamant and Lustrous, but they have to do with Dialga and Palkia respectively, and the Adamant event had nothing to do with Dialga. As always, though, we’ll update this as we learn more.

1/2 Update: We now have details on the event and lustrous doesn’t exactly seem like a fitting term for the event. For one, only new Rockruffs have a chance to evolve into the new form. While it’s somewhat faithful to the main games as only Rockruff with the right ability can evolve into Dusk Form Lycanroc, there have also been ways to change abilities since Gen 6, before Rockruff was available (1/4 Update: It was pointed out that Rockruff was still unable to benefit from this). As Rockruff will only come from random quests, eggs, and raids, combined with all the paid research, this is feeling like another paid event, especially as many of the wild-featured pokemon at this point aren’t exactly exciting, with Morelull being the most useful in terms of farming stardust. While Hisuian Sneasel and Hisuian Growlithe will also be research rewards, they also dilute the pool of possible Rockruffs that can possibly evolve into the new form, which is even worse if you’re also looking for a shiny Dusk Form. Perhaps this is why it’s Lustrous Odyssey, as obtaining the shiny form is looking like a long, costly trip. Thankfully, it’s not predicted to affect the PvP or Raid meta at all, but that only helps add to the disappointment of the month overall.

1/6 Update: It appears we were right about the Adamant and Lustrous orb connection, Niantic just hasn’t been good with the themes.

January 14th is Hisuian Typhlosion Raid Day, but its current stats are dwarfed by same-type Chandelure, so unless it gets some good moves, it’ll just be another collector ‘mon. At least it looks neat and can be shiny during this event.

Continuing the December-started theme of tons of short events, yet another short event this month will be January 13th-16th’s Dazzling Dream event. Again, this is a new event with scant hints, but between the Ralts Spotlight and the event sounding like the move Dazzling Gleam, I’m guessing it’ll at least feature Fairy-types. As usual though, we’ll update this as we learn more.

1/12 Update: We’re seeing that one of the features of this event Niantic didn’t announce is the first-ever Hatch Collection. Many of the pokemon simply aren’t worth the incubators, especially as all of them come from 7k eggs (pictured below). It’s also a four day event that essentially asks you to hatch an egg a day and pray to RNG Arceus that you don’t get any repeats. I highly advise players to not push themselves or their wallets to complete this, as it could send a signal to Niantic to continue pushing this kind of content.

1/4 Update: As predicted, the full details of the event confirmed that it’s a Fairy pokemon event, as well as double stardust for catches (aim for Morelulls for their bonus dust!) and hatches. Cutiefly’s shiny is new for collectors, and PvP fans have a chance to build up their Carbine candy or find/trade one with the right PvP stats, but otherwise, not a lot for long time players to be excited about. To note, the paid research, while saving you some money, essentially is just Niantic’s way to try to make cash instead of allowing players to use coins. Most of the research is just barely worth it, but since Niantic seems to be outsourcing coin-based purchases in order to make more direct money, players who want to be more conscientious about spending should feel more comfortable cutting back on spending this month so far.

January 20th’s Community Day Classic was previously mistakenly leaked via, of all sources, the official Pokemon blog, so we know it’s Porygon, which is not super useful. We’re not sure what the bonus is yet.

1/2 Update: Again, no surprise, it is Porygon, and the bonus is triple catch XP. A minor bonus, though, is that if you don’t need Porygon but do need Sinnoh Stones, possibly for the upcoming Tour, you could at least get three from the event and save them for future use.

Interestingly, that Community Day Classic takes place during the January 19th-24th Raging Battles and Go Battle Week. Most likely it’ll be PvP focused and there’ll be a quest for some avatar item usually associated with rank play, but as always, we’ll have to update readers later as we learn more.

1/11 Update: We have details of the event now. We were correct that it was PvP related in terms of both spawn pokemon and raising the daily cap (100 per day total), but missed the “Raging” clue: Annihilape is making its debut. It’s looking good for a PVP ‘mon if the current datamined moveset doesn’t change, but focused more on its Fighting-typing. As a raid ‘mon, it doesn’t look so great as a fighter, and worse as a Ghost-type. Being resistant to Fighting and a ghost that won’t take Super Effective Damage from Darks most Fighting-types keep on-hand, it could work as a gym Defender, probably within the Survivalists tier of our Gym Guide.

Collectors have a chance at getting Shiny Sawk/Throh (which are normally regionals but have appeared together before), plus the addition of Rockets means more opportunities to get good Shadow ‘mon. It’s another shortish event, but it’s probably one of the better ones for this month. As usual, though, the paid research seems underwhelming and it’s not offering much in terms of exclusivity.

11/19 Update: And it seems we were right about the PvP avatar item as well, via a timed research awarding this season’s PvP hat.

Finally, we’re ending February with two overlapping events. First is the previously mentioned Shadow Ho-oh Raid Weekend on January 27th. Again, even with the special event move it certainly won’t get this weekend, it’s outranked by Shadow Moltres as both a Fire and Flying-type in best-case raid scenarios, and Moltres will be out every other weekend. Put more effort into Molty before this weekend, especially since it seems to lose two weekends this month.

And then there’s the January 27th-February 1st Taken Treasure. This is yet another new event, probably related to the February Sinnoh Tour, but we have no further information than that at this time.


1/16 Update: And via official details, it seems the event is a Rocket event. As you can see above, part of that includes the debut of a new Pokemon fam, Varoom, a Poison/Steel type whose final form, well, isn’t looking meta-relevant, which is fine because you can only get Varoom from 12k eggs. If that didn’t kill your interest, or fact that most of the new Shadow ‘mon we’re getting look like side grades at best (save possibly Giovani’s new toy, Shadow Kyogre), at least there’s the ability to use Charge TMs to get rid of Frustration on the good Shadow ‘mon you already have, plus the rare Bruxish available in some research tasks.  As usual, there’s also a barely-worth-it paid research, this time with a pose.

That’s a lot of mystery for one month in the face of overwhelming mediocrity for sale. While there’s usually a lot of hype for each year’s Regional Tour event, Sinnoh is already not looking great. I don’t advise anyone to travel for the event so far, but especially if you’re on a budget, you may want to keep those wallets closed in January until Niantic gives us something to be excited about.

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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