Pokémon Go: the world’s first augmented reality app to become a household name. Niantic’s mobile AR game is still going strong two years after it first released, with a constant drip of events and updates keeping budding trainers glued to their phones and pounding the streets.And while it hasn’t managed to top the peak of its popularity in 2016, it’s still going strong and finding plenty of new ways to improve its player experience. Including making it easier for its players to catch ’em all from inside their own homes during coronavirus quarantines.So what’s the latest news for Pokémon Go? As you’d expect, brand new features are being added all the time and themed events are still going strong.But without further ado, here’s our guide to all the latest Pokémon Go news and updates.
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Pokémon Go news and Pokémon Go updates
What’s new? Niantic is reacting to the Coronavirus pandemic with some temporary updates and changes. There’s a new Buddy-focused event taking place and the Abra Community Day has been rescheduled.
Coronavirus changesGiven Pokémon Go is a game which attempts to draw its players outside, Niantic is having to react to the Coronavirus pandemic and make some temporary changes which will make it easier for players to continue to catch ’em all without stepping over the door. In a statement to Polygon, the developer has said that it’s “prioritizing updates to Pokémon Go features and experiences that can be enjoyed in individual settings.” The changes are already in place and include increasing habitats so that more Pokémon should appear around player’s homes. Other moves from Niantic are a 99% reduction on incense packs so that players can attract Pokémon to where they are and increase spawns with the time they work increased to one hour rather than just 30 minutes. Incubators will also result in hatches at double speed, while PokéStops will drop gifts more often. Niantic has also announced a new feature called ‘Today View’ which gathers a lot of useful information like streaks and current events in one place so that you can keep on top of your game.To make up for the lack of opportunities to pick up PokéBalls from your own home, there’s now a one Pokécoin bundle which is available as a one-time purchase and contains 50 Great Balls. These bundles rotate weekly and this one is available until April 27.In terms of event changes, for April Shadow Entei will still be available to save from Giovanni but there won’t be a new set of Team Go Rocket Special Research. The Coconut Pokémon Alolan Exeggutor will be available as a Research Breakthrough encounter, and it’ll come with bonus Stardust, until May 1.As of March 31 Niantic has temporarily doubled Pokémon Go’s Gym interaction distances to allow players to “team up in Raid Battles from home”. “The distance from which you can interact with Gyms has been temporarily doubled, allowing you to be farther from Gyms and other Trainers as you challenge Raid Bosses,” Niantic wrote. “This change also allows you to spin Photo Discs at Gyms if you are within the doubled distance; however, it will not change the distance required to spin Photo Discs at PokéStops.”As of April 15, Niantic has made it possible to Raid remotely. With the new Remote Raid Pass, Trainers will be able to access Raid battles from a Nearby screen. At first, Trainers taking part in battles remotely will have the same attack power as those there in person. Later (at an unconfirmed time) remote power will reduce and those in person will have higher attack power.Niantic has said that other adjustments will also be made to the feature over time, including changes to the number of players who can remotely Raid and the ability to incite friends into Raids regardless of location. To take part you’ll be able to buy individual passes in the in-game shop for 100 PokéCoins though later there will be a 1 PokéCoin bundle in the shop that will feature Remote Raid Passes. Since there are far fewer chances to spin PokéStops, at midnight each day players will also get a bonus Research Task. Slightly different from Field Research Tasks, these will focus on activities that can be completed at home. As far as Gifts are concerned, Buddy Pokémon of any level will now bring Gifts to Trainers when they’re running low so that it’s easier to keep in touch with friends and family. Gifts are an important way to stay in touch with friends and share items.Finally, it’s now possible to activate multiple Star Pieces, Lucky Eggs, and Incense at a time to extend their effect durations. Each of these items will have a 30-minute duration but you’ll be able to activate more of them in order to extend their durations beyond that for up to 24 hours per item. Spotlight HourSpotlight Hour will still be taking place for the month of April, every Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. local time. This time around, for each Pokémon Spotlight Hour there’ll be a different Pokémon and bonus. The Pokémon and remaining bonuses are as follows:
Tuesday, April 28, 2020: Pidgey will be in the spotlight, and you’ll earn twice the XP for evolving Pokémon.
Pokémon Go Battle LeagueIts preseason now finished up, the first season of Pokémon Go’s competitive Battle League began on March 13. Trainers who took part in the preseason and achieved a rank of 4 or higher will receive a Premium Battle Pass as a reward. Due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, Niantic has waived the walk and pay entry requirements for Battle League. Players who are not in-game close friends will no longer need to be close to one another to Battle and will be able to challenge one another as long as they’re only Good Friends, allowing for tournaments to be held remotely.Trainer Battles within the GO Battle League will rotate between three leagues and players will be able to rank against fellow Trainers, earning rewards for ranking.The GO Battle League is beginning with the Great League until March 27, which will be followed by the Ultra League until April 10, then the Master League until April 24, after which all three Leagues will be available until May 1. Season 2 is expected to begin on May 1, when each of these Leagues has been cycled through. Players can earn Stardust depending on rank and number of battles won as well as items like Rare Candies and TMS as well as the chance to get exclusive Pokémon encounters. Some changes are being made to Battle League based on learnings from the preseason.Winning will now matter much earlier than Rank 4, with Ranks 2 and 3 requiring platers to win a certain number of battles in order to advance to the next rank. The Pokémon you can encounter as GO Battle League rewards are also changing for Season 1 with Metagross being the first guaranteed encounter reward. Players that reach Rank 4 will have the chance to encounter Bedlum, at Rank 7 it’s Rufflet and, finally, Pikachu Libre at Rank 10.Reaching Rank 10 will also allow players to earn avatar items and an avatar pose exclusive to Season 1 inspired by Steven, a Pokémon League Champion in the Hoenn region. At the end of Season 1, players who have reached Rank 7 or higher will receive an Elite Charged TM. Elite Charged TMs, along with Elite Fast TMs, allow players to select the attack their Pokémon learns. Live LeaderboardsAs of April 10, you can see who’s doing well in the Pokémon Battle League thanks to the launch of the GO Battle League leaderboard on PokemonGOLive.com. The leaderboard has come as the GO Battle League changes from Ultra League to Master League.The leaderboards show the top five hundred Trainers in the world as well as their Trainer nicknames, teams, ranks, ratings, and total matches.Rankings are based on the previous day’s in-game ratings for Trainers rank 7 and up but it’ll update between 8pm UTC and 10pm UTC every day unless maintenance issues cause a delay.
What’s the next Pokémon Go Event?
Buddy Up EventWe all love our Pokémon Go buddies and this dedicated event which will run from April 21 until April 27 encourages us to spend even more time with them with special bonuses. During the event, the firefly Pokémon Volbeat and Illumise will be appearing in all regions in the wild, in Eggs and as reward encounters. If you’ve been looking to get your hands on one of them now is the time as when the Buddy Up Event is over they’ll be returning to their designated regions, which are Europe, Asia, and Oceania for Volbeat and the Americas and Africa for Illumise. Also during the event, players will be able to encounter Woobat for the first time in the wild and after completing some Field Research Tasks. After Buddy Up is over, Woobat will still be appearing in the wild and in 2 km Eggs so if you miss out on this Pokémon during the event it’s not the end of the world. Some Pokémon that make great buddies will be appearing more often during Buddy Up, with Alolan Meowth, Chansey, Eevee, Feebas, Lillipup, and Joltik all appearing more frequently in the wild, while Alolan Meowth, Eevee, Feebas, Lillipup, and Joltik will hatch from 5 km Eggs more often.It’s also important not to forget the event-exclusive Field Research tasks for which the rewards include Stardust and encounters with Alolan Meowth, Volbeat, Illumise, and Woobat.As far as special bonuses during Buddy Up, players will find that their Buddy Pokémon will be bringing them presents more often. The distance you have to walk to earn Buddy Candy and hearts will also be halved and, accordingly, your buddy will get excited more easily. If you feed your buddy Berries and Poffins during the event, it’ll stay on the map with you for double the time. Finally, you’ll earn double XP for any Pokémon that evolves during the course of the event, whether they’re your designated buddy or not. Live Safari ZonesNiantic has announced that Pokémon Go Live Events will be coming to Taiwan, the US and the UK this year. The first event in Taiwan which celebrated the Lantern Festival has passed, while the others are still to come and will be ticketed at a cost of $12/£12 for General Admission and $18/£18 for Early Admission. Due to concerns over the COVID-19 outbreak, Niantic has stated that it will be postponing all of its Safari events with plans to look for alternate dates in the next 12 months. Players looking for refunds for their digital passes are encouraged to reach out through in-app support by March 25.
March 27 – 29: Safari Zone St. Louis, Missouri, US (Postponed)April 17 – 19: Safari Zone Liverpool, UK (Postponed)May 8 – 10: Safari Zone Philadelphia, US (Postponed)
When’s the next Pokémon Go Community Day?
What date is the next Community Day? April 25Who’s the starring Pokémon? Abra
After being postponed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Niantic has confirmed that the Abra Community Day is back on and will be taking place on April 25.This Community Day will be slightly different from previous days due to necessary changes that have been made to make it easier for players to take part from home. As a result, the day will be 3 hours longer than usual, running from 11am to 5pm local time. During this time, the Psychic-type Abra will be appearing more often in the wild, with opportunities to catch it in its Shiny form. Players who evolve an Abra during the Community Day will get an Alakazam that knows the exclusive Fighting-type attack Fast Attack Counter. Players willing to spend $1/£1 will also be able to unlock an exclusive Special Research story that’s tied to the Community Day. Called Investigating Illusions, it will reward players who complete it with 13,000 Stardust, a Poffin, and Rocket Radar amongst other things. As far as bonuses for the day, there will be triple Catch Stardust and Incense will last for three hours for the course of the event. It’ll be worth equipping your Buddy Pokémon when you take part, too, as those with a Buddy Level of Great or higher will bring useful items like Poké Balls during the event. Don’t forget to look out for a special April Community Day Bundle in the in-game shop too: for 1,280 PokéCoins, players will get an Elite Charged TM, 30 Ultra Balls, three Super Incubators, and three Incense.Niantic has also suggested that players take a snapshot while playing the Community Day for some kind of surprise which seems worth doing if you ask us.
Pokémon Go update: what’s next?
Now that Go Battle League has arrived in Pokémon Go, Niantic has ticked another big promised feature off its list. At the moment, we’re not sure what’s next for the game aside from, naturally, new Pokémon being added. We’ll update here when the roadmap becomes more clear.
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(Image credits: Niantic/Pokémon Company)
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