How PokémonGo Won Me Back

The biggest gaming app of the summer had been experiencing some let-downs just a few short months after launch. While the immediate success of PokémonGo was understandable (being as many hard-core fans of the series, like myself, basically had all their childhood dreams come true overnight) downloads and purchases began to dwindle as the summer went on. As for myself, I loved the game when it first launched, but coming back to school and the weather getting colder meant that the time and energy I could devote to PokémonGo became much more difficult to find.

However, over the past month, Niantic has launched several different PokémonGo events to bring back the huge numbers they saw in the first few months of release. A special Halloween themed event which boosted spawns of specific Pokémon helped many people (including myself) fill out their Pokédex by capturing and evolving Pokémon that they may have never caught before. Although that event only lasted about a week, it reminded me how much fun the game was when it first launched.

Only about a week later, a nest migration happened within the game. A nest migration occurs when Pokémon who have been appearing on a regular basis in a specific location suddenly change. Personally, one of my favorite Pokémon started spawning only a 10-minute walk from my house. Nest migrations have been happening approximately every two weeks, with the most recent happening several days ago.

After the migration, Niantic’s Twitter account alerted Trainers that they might be seeing more rare Pokémon in larger numbers, and seeing less of the basic Pokémon, such as Pidgey, Rattata and Weedle, which had been a complaint of many players. In addition to the new spawns, Pokéstops began giving out double the items, meaning extra Pokéballs for catching the newer, rarer Pokémon.

For those players lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time, a special event has been launched in specific areas of Japan. Huge amounts of Lapras, one of the rarest and most difficult Pokémon to catch in the wild, have been spawning in regions that have been devastated by earthquakes and tsunamis in the early 2010’s. Since the natural disasters, tourism in those regions has been at an all-time low, and Niantic hopes that special regional events like these will help boost tourism and rejuvenate the area.

Niantic has also begun implementing long-term bonuses and daily bonuses. If you catch a Pokémon every single day for a week, you get an extra boost of experience. The same thing happens if you check in at a Pokéstop every day for a week. For higher level players, who take much longer to level up and gain experience, this is really helpful. I’ve been able to level up quickly for the first time in months, mostly because of the daily bonuses.

So how did all these events bring back players who had lost interest in the game? Personally, the game became fun again. It became a whole new challenge and it reminded me why I loved playing the Pokémon series growing up. These special events and bonuses made me want to get out and play, or even just open the app while I’m walking across campus to log some distance.

And now, what’s next? Well, there are still some Pokémon who have not yet appeared in the game. While these Pokémon are mostly legendary (for the original video games, there’s only one, and they require a high level of skill to fight and catch) one non-legendary Pokémon still eludes us in PokémonGo - Ditto. Ditto is a special Pokémon that can transform its shape to mimic any other Pokémon, and no one can really figure out why it hasn’t shown up yet, although hackers and data miners have been able to find bits and pieces of Ditto in the game’s code. Another thing that should be appearing soon is Generation Two Pokémon. The data for Pokémon who originally appeared in the Gold, Silver and Crystal games has also been found in the game’s code. While we have no idea exactly how long we will have to wait for the next generation of Pokémon, we know that it’s coming. And personally, I can’t wait.
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