Pokmon Go’s big summer update has at last been confirmed, including multiplayer raids to battle with other players against super high-level Pokmon – and, eventually, the chance at Legendary Pokmon.
I was able to try the new features at E3 last week, in a sunny car park around the back of the Los Angeles Convention Centre. Rollout of these new features will begin in the near future, I was told.
There, myself and other players took part in raids, which are centred around Pokmon Gyms. Each gym now has a countdown clock, and when this reaches zero a powerful boss Pokmon will emerge.
(Well, these Pokmon can be powerful, but they can also be weak. We fought a mighty Larvitar, but also a puny Magikarp.)
Joining a raid will create an instanced lobby, which anyone else joining within a minute of it being created will also join. Up to 20 players can join in total.
Gameplay then progresses as with a standard gym battle, although other players are visible on screen. In other words – lots of hammering of your finger onto your smartphone before the raid battle timer ends. Sadly, there’s no improvement yet on battling mechanics.
Rewards for completing raids include special items, such as a Golden Razz berry, and the chance to capture the boss for the player who downed it.
Every player can get one raid entry ticket per day from a Pokstop – you can only hold one at a time – or you will be able to buy more from the app’s in-game shop, which are named Premium Raid Tickets. Niantic was not yet ready to say how much these will cost.
Defeat enough raids (again, Niantic was unable to say how many) and you may win a special raid ticket. These elite raids will happen in random places and feature Pokmon “up to and including” Legendary species – the ultra-rare types of Pokmon which have so far been locked out of the game.
This was something we were unable to try.
Other new features in the update include the fact that all Gyms now act like PokStops – as well as operating as a Gym, the spinnable discs, normally associated with PokStops, are being added too.
Gyms will also offer badges, awarded for defeating a gym. These come in bronze, silver or gold varieties – we expect for keeping on top of a gym regularly.
Gyms have also been rebalanced so they now always feature six slots, with only one Pokmon of each type allowed to be added (so no more impossible Blissey-only Gyms).
Pokmon added to a Gym will also now eventually leave – via a mechanic known as Motivation. Higher-level Pokmon will require more Motivation, provided in the form of berries, than lower-level critters. It’s another technique for making Gyms fairer and less dominated by strong teams.
For more detail on the Gym rework update and raid battles, Eurogamer has a wealth of helpful Pokmon Go guide pages.