Niantic has announced a new event coming to Pokemon Go, and it takes place next week.
Kicking off May 22 and running through May 28 is the Rising Shadows event, which will see Shadow Pokemon take over gyms.
In these Shadow Raids, you will take on three and five-star Shadow Raid Bosses deposited by Team Go Rocket. Like most Raid Bosses, you have a chance to catch the Pokemon once defeated.
While Shadow Pokemon, as a rule, aren’t that hard to beat, these shadow monsters grow enraged as you battle them, boosting their attack and defense; however, you can subdue these enraged Shadow Raid bosses using Purified Gems, a new item that can be assembled from Shadow Shards.
These gem pieces may be dropped by Team Go Rocket, and if you gather enough shards to use Professor Willow’s newly invented Shard Refiner, you are rewarded with a Purified Gem.
Dropped when defeating Grunts, Leaders, or Giovanni, it takes five Shadow Shards to power up the Shard Refiner to create a Purified Gem. Once you have formed a Purified Gem, you can use it in a Shadow Raid Battle, when the Raid Boss is enraged. Purified Gems can calm the beast, negating its enraged state to make it easier to defeat.
This effect will stack if other Trainers in the Shadow Raid Battle also use Purified Gems.
During the event, you will have another shot at catching Shadow Mewtwo and even Shiny Shadow Mewtwo – if you’re lucky. The psychic Pokemon will be the five-star raid boss starting Saturday, May 27 at 10am to Sunday, May 28 at 8pm local time.
One-star Shadow Raids will feature old hats Shadow Poliwag, Shadow Machop, Shadow Bellsprout, and Shadow Beldum.
Three-star Shadow Raids will host Shadow Bayleef, Shadow Quilava, Shadow Croconaw, and Shadow Sneasel.
From May 22-May 28, the majority of gyms will be hosting these special raids. On Saturday, May 27, Team Rocket Go activity will spike, and they will be taking over all raids.
That said, gyms not under Team GO Rocket control may host other raids. One-star raids of this type will feature Clefairy, Tentacool, Marill, Skrelp, and Popplio. Magneton, Lapras, Mawile, and Empoleon will be the latest three-star raid bosses.
Tapu Fini will continue to stick around until May 24, and Regigigas will finally return on May 25. Same with Mega Pinsir in Mega Raids until the bug Pokemon is replaced by Mega Altaria.
Regarding Shadow Raids, it’s worth noting that as with Elite Raids, you cannot join using a Remote Raid Pass. Yup. Another special raid that folks who cannot get a group together or who live in rural areas cannot participate in. But Niantic doesn’t really care. They are worried about people acquiring too many powerful Pokemon and bringing them into PvP, thus skewing the battle meta. That’s my opinion anyway, and I’m just going by what I have observed.
According to producer Michael Steranka, some players were ‘abusing’ the remote raiding system, thus going against the ‘core message’ of playing outside with others. So, the company changed how the game is played. Sort of like how as a child, if you got on your mother’s nerves too much, she would force you to go outside and play with your friends. Essentially, that’s what Niantic is doing.
Changing the Remote Raid Pass system was “not a decision” the company “took lightly,” said Steranka, who admitted to IGN they used Remote Raid Passes all the time.
“What we noticed, is that the sort of uncapped experience of Remote Raid Passes led to a really unhealthy play behavior for a lot of our players in Pokemon Go. You would see players using dozens, sometimes hundreds of Remote Raid Passes in a single day. And that’s really not the experience we ever intended the game to be.
“So we did have to take action on that and we knew that it was going to be an incredibly unpopular [decision], and it’s a tough pill even for myself to swallow.”
There were folks using hundreds of Remote Raid Passes in a day? I wish I had such disposable income. Not to mention that much time on my hands. Not that I don’t believe the numbers the company crunched, there are indeed whales out there, but still. Hundreds of raids a day?
The thing is, those players are outliners. The majority of players don’t participate in nearly as many raids as that, and remote raiding is an important feature for some.
Steranka said Niantic employees are “constantly playing the game” with each other, battling, trading, and participating in events. That’s good news for the over 800 Ninatic employees having someone to play with – not to mention they are located in San Francisco: a huge city full of gyms and PokeStops.
But outside of California, a massive world exists where millions of rural towns exist, and some players even reside miles from a town with an active Pokemon Go player base. And then, there are the players who can’t leave the house and move about due to physical or mental limitations. These players aren’t being taken into consideration.
The town I live in, for example, has plenty of PokeStops and Gyms; however, the player base is dependent on which ‘mon is the current Raid Boss. Most who have played the game since its inception have the majority of Raid Bosses in their PokeDex. This puts new players in our area at a disadvantage because hardly anyone wants to go in on a raid for something they already have multiples of. What are these late-to-the-party players supposed to do? Drive 20 minutes to the next town over on Raid Night just to catch a Tapu Fini? No, they use a Raid Pass and invite friends not in the area, out of state, or out of the country to join the battle. I just can’t get over how unfair the new remote raiding policy is to many players and how the company is not the least bit concerned that it is alienating a large swath of its player base – and we won’t even get into the price increase for Remote Raid passes, which one can liken to a form of punishment just for using one.
However, Niantic believes the furore over the Raid Pass changes will subside, especially when players see what it has planned for the rest of the year.
“As players will see over the coming months, yes we are trying to pivot away from more of that remote playing experience, but that’s because we’re going to be introducing a lot of new and fun ways to engage with the game that we feel really confident that player’s going to enjoy,” said Steranka.
“2023 is our most ambitious year yet when it comes to feature development and Shadow Raids are the tip of the iceberg.”
In the meantime, I’ll just have to ignore many remote raid invites because I can’t afford to spend $5 multiple times a week onPokeCoins just to purchase a three-pack of Remote Raid Passes. But, this is just what Niantic intends – so I’ll basically be giving the company what it wants, in a manner of speaking.
If I am being honest, I haven’t been raiding much at all. And it is something I really enjoyed. I played the game all the time and raided whenever I could – both in-person and remotely. Now, I log in once a day, do my field research, and then log off. I’ll raid for Regigigas when it shows up later this month because it’s not in my PokeDex yet; however, I doubt I’ll be participating in the Shadow Raids. I work weekends anyway, plus the likelihood of getting the group of players in my town to agree on a meet-up time is slim.