This week has probably seen the biggest revamp to the world of Pokemon Go since its release last year. After losing the vast majority of its player base due to not meeting its launch promises, Niantic seems to finally be getting the ball rolling on a huge number of new features that might just bring the game back from the dead, including a new gym system, raid bosses and most excitingly for many: legendary Pokemon.
The latest version of the game brought with it the new gym features which include a 6 Pokemon cap with draining motivation, as well as the first proper opportunity to play with other players in the Raid feature. The whole announcement goes into a lot of details, but basically up to 20 players will be able to come together to take on a timed event at certain Raid locations after a counter times out. At this point a giant Pokemon will spawn and players will have to work together to take it down in 5 minutes and have the chance to earn some incredible loot and even amazing Pokemon. While Niantic never gave specifics about these Pokemon, there were theories that these were either going to be really high stat versions of normally accessible Pokemon, or the ever elusive and much more exciting prospect: Legendary Pokemon.
Thanks to the wonderful folks at The Silph Road, the team that always data mines and brings us all the upcoming info hidden away in the games code, it looks like legendaries are actually going to be coming after all! Here is the excerpt from The Silph Road mining:
It’s here, travelers. Official references to legendary Pokemon have appeared in the APK!
We see them in a few places. Namely, in the player stats:
and in the Item Types, where we find a Legendary Raid Ticket, a badge for ‘Legendary Battles Won’ and a deployment error called
So, altogether now, here’s what we think we know:
Legendaries will be encountered in Raid situations (either at events, or under special circumstances isn’t clear). They will require a ‘Legendary Raid Ticket’ item to enter the legendary raid.
We currently believe you cannot deploy legendaries to defend Gyms. This is an interesting restriction that may help prevent a significant imbalance between botters/illegitimate players (who oft find ways to score rare Pokemon) with legitimate trainers. Not to mention it will significantly cut down the black market value for accounts with these legendary species. At any rate, if this is true, we expect we’ll be able to use them in offensive teams all the same. Which is all I want. 😀
Other cute features that the mining revealed were a few quality of life changes including how healing at gyms work, a few more notifications, some insight into the new mechanics of gym restrictions and loot to name a few. It’s definitely worth checking out if you want to see the great changes that may be in store for players.
Oh, and you might be thinking that there is no more point in playing because of all the cheaters? Well Niantic is on to that too. Previously they have made it a lot harder to get away with cheating, from banning accounts and limiting the view of rare Pokemon. Now however they have stepped it up into a slightly more passive aggressive stance. Cheaters are going to have their Pokemon marked, meaning that it is going to be easy to spot a fake player from a real one. Pokemon caught using unofficial methods will be marked with a slash, shaming that trainer. While this doesn’t seem to be too much of a bad thing on its own, Niantic has also stated that games having this mark may make a players game “not act as expected”. What exactly this means is not yet clear, but it reminds me a bit of the Nintendo games where a player had a high level traded Pokemon and not enough gym badges… Here is an example of what the marked Pokemon will look like:
Image courtesy of Reddit user KERL0N
So it seems that Niantic really is listening to the community and is trying to keep the game as fun as possible for legitimate players. Whether they will still catch all the players cheating and how these new changes are going to bring players back still remains to be seen, but this is definitely a step in the right direction.