And since all three Global Research Challenges were completed, everyone gets the promised (and over-hyped) ‘Ultra Bonus’. This turns out to be far less exciting than many were expecting: it’s simply another event.
However, the undoubted highlight is that Mewtwo will be available in normal Raids for the first time, offering everyone a chance to catch it without needing to first receive an EX Raid pass.
The bonus also involves Farfetch’d, Kangaskhan, Mr. Mime and Tauros appearing in 7km eggs, giving some Trainers the opportunity to hatch them alongside Alolan Pokémon which will also be in the eggs.
We say some trainers because those under 13 years old who sign into the game with a Pokémon Trainer Club login can’t have friends and therefore cannot receive gifts of 7km eggs.
We hope Niantic figures out a way to allow young Trainers to receive this part of the Ultra Bonus.
Here’s the timeline:
13-20 September: Articuno, Zapdos and Moltres Raids
20 September – 23 October: Mewtwo raids
Until end of September:
- 7km eggs have a chance of hatching Farfetch’d, Kangaskhan, Mr. Mime and Tauros
- Kanto Pokémon appear more frequently
- Kanto Pokémon appear in Raids
The next three Community Days have been announced. Here are the dates for your diary:
- Saturday, September 22: Chikorita (3x catch XP)
- Sunday, October 21: TBC
- Saturday, November 10: TBC
Plus, there's now a system in place which allows you to nominate new PokéStops.
Celebi is the latest Special Research reward
We have new Special Research to conduct! Celebi has been discovered by Professor Willow and you can help him find and catch the mythical Pokémon by completing research tasks. For more details see our guide to the quests for each of the eight stages of A Ripple in Time.
How to get Lucky Pokémon
There's now a new type of Pokémon to collect. You stand roughly a 10 percent chance of getting a Lucky Pokémon when trading with friends, and if you get one, your friend also gets one. There's a higher chance of a traded Pokémon being Lucky if it has been stored for longer, too.
A Lucky Pokémon is special because it can be powered up for 50 percent less Stardust cost than a normal one.
Recently, the system was updated to guarantee a Lucky Pokémon from a trade, but one of the traded Pokémon must be from July or August 2016 and you should have fewer than 10 Lucky already. If you have more than 10, the guarantee doesn't apply.
It's a great way to get a Lucky Mewtwo, so long as you and a friend both have Pokémon from July or August 2016. You do two trades, with one person trading a Mewtwo and the other trading an old Pokémon.
When is Gen 4 being released in Pokémon GO?
Expect the first few to appear around Halloween time. That's been the pattern over the last couple of years, and there's enough to keep people interested before then with the Regi raid bosses, Celebi and Alolan forms.
If you look closely in the artwork released to celebrate the 2nd anniversary of the game you'll spot some Gen 4 including Piplup, Turtwig and Chimchar:
How to get Alolan forms of Pokémon
Alolan forms of Pokémon are now appearing in Pokémon Go and more will be released over the next few weeks.
Rather than being entirely new Pokémon, these are Alola variants of Kanto Pokémon such as Ninetales, Raichu and Muk and quite a few more. Currently you can hatch Alolan forms from 7km eggs which you receive from friends' gifts. But do make sure you have space in your egg box before opening gifts. Otherwise you won't receive them.
- Alolan Rattata: Available in the wild and also in 7km eggs. Get Alolan Raticate by evolving Ratatta
- Alolan Meowth, Sandshrew, Grimer and Vulpix: Available in 7km eggs
- Alolan Persian, Sandslash, Muk, Ninetails: Evolve from hatches from 7km eggs
- Alolan Raichu & Marowak: Available as Raid Bosses from 19 July
Alolan forms of Exeggutor and Geodude were released into the wild, starting with a weekend of frequent spawning, but are now rare to encounter. Alolan Graveler and Golem can be evolved from Geodude, but there is currently no Alolan form of Exeggcute.
When is Pokémon GO Community Day in September?
On Community Day, a Pokémon appears everywhere for three hours. It has exclusive moves, and there are bonuses such as more XP or Stardust.
The next one is Chikorita and will be available on 22 September (10am-1pm in the UK). It's also virtually guaranteed that there will be shiny versions to catch and evolve, too.
The exclusive move hasn't been officially announced yet.
You can check the Community Day page to see the details of the next event. Note that you must evolve the Pokémon during the event hours in order to get the exclusive move for the featured Pokémon. TMs will not give you the special move either during or after the event.
Pokémon Go Research!
If you haven't played the game for a while, here's what you need to know about Research tasks.
There are two types of research: Field Research and Special Research. There's a brief description below, but much more in-depth detail in our Pokémon Go Research guide.
You collect one Field Research task by spinning a PokéStop. Doing this will give you challenges such as 'Catch a Dragon-type Pokémon' and 'Win 3 gym battles'. And completing some of those challenges will give you rewards that you currently get only by successfully defeating raid bosses. Harder challenges will yield better rewards, including the chance to catch rate Pokémon such as Tangela.
On the main game screen, you access these challenges via a new binoculars icon which replaces the weather icon that has been moved to the top right of the screen.
Completing one Field Research task will earn you a 'Stamp'. Collect seven stamps at your own pace - there's no need to maintain a daily streak - to achieve a 'Research Breakthrough'. This is a bigger reward: you get 2000 Stardust, 20 PokéBalls and an encounter with a Pokémon - the first is Moltres, the Legendary bird.
Being given rewards such as Technical Machines and the chance once per week to catch a Legendary will be a massive boon to rural players who might otherwise struggle to find enough players to beat a tier 5 Raid Boss.
The premise for Special Research is to find out if the strange happenings around the world are "connected to the Mythical Pokémon Mew". You must complete tasks to progress through eight stages of the research, with the final stage being the opportunity to encounter and catch Mew.
AR+ on iPhones
Also, if you haven't tried it yet, ARKit has landed in Pokemon GO in the form of AR+. Here's a guide on how to use AR+.
The new mode provides an enhanced augmented reality experience with better tracking and general performances boosts. The catch? It's available only to iOS users running iOS 11 on an iPhone 6s or newer. See how to update your iPhone here.
No Pokémon Go for iPhone 5 or 5C
Niantic has officially ended support for the game on devices which can't be updated to iOS 11. That means iPhone 5 and 5C (and all previous 32-bit models).
If you play on an iPad, it means the game will work only on iPad Air or later, and iPad mini 2 onwards. The full list of affected devices is here.
Basically, Niantic has stopped developing the 32-bit version of the app so it can focus on the 64-bit version, including adding more features and improving performance. This should also mean we see new features quicker.
Niantic clarified that you don't have to update to iOS 11 to play: you simply need a 64-bit phone or iPad:
Actually, Trainers will still be able to play the game using iOS 9 and above. The device must be compatible with iOS 11, but it doesn't need to be upgraded to iOS 11 at this point. For more information: https://t.co/1Xv2XOyf8d— Niantic Support (@NianticHelp) 10 January 2018
Top tip: If you are going to be playing Pokémon GO you are probably going to need a power bank. We highly recommend the Anker PowerCore 10,000 or Zendure A2 - pocketable, high-capacity batteries that charge your phone fast and are also pretty tough. If you're taking out young kids who have tablets but not phones, it's also worth considering Mi-Fi (mobile Wi-Fi routers).
Here are some alternative AR games which are like Pokémon GO.
Gen III and weather in Pokemon GO
There are now over 100 new monsters to catch from Gen III. A game update late in 2017 brought dynamic weather into the game, followed by the AR+ mentioned above.
Not only does the weather affect the visual effects and colour of the map, but it also effectively changes which Pokémon are likely to appear. So when it rains, you'll see more Pokémon that prefer this weather such as Mudkip and Lotad. It also works well for Castform, a Pokémon which changes its form depending on the weather.
There's a bonus too, as certain types of Pokémon are boosted by certain weather types. This increases their level (and Combat Power) and you'll earn extra Stardust for catching weather-boosted Pokémon.
Here's how sun, rain and snow affect the look of the map (which - incidentally - has changed from Google data to OpenStreetMap). You can read our guide to dynamic weather for more.
What's going on with EX Raid Battles?
As explained in a blog post, the invitation system for EX Raid Battles has been tweaked again.
- EX Raids take place at Gyms in parks and sponsored locations, for the most part.
- You're now definitely more likely to get an invite if you have a high-level Gym Badge at those Gyms (not just any Gym).
- More invites will go out per gym.
- You need to have taken part in Raid Battles in the week preceding the day when invites are sent out.
- The start times now take into account popular Raid Battle times at that Gym.
- You'll get an in-game notification if the EX Raid Battle is cancelled.
- You'll get Stardust and Premium Raid Passes when an EX Raid Battle is cancelled.
Here are some top tips on how to get an EX Raid pass, including which gyms are eligible.
In an interview with Bloomberg, Pokémon Company CEO Tsunekazu Ishihara confirmed that PvP (player versus player) battles would be coming to Pokémon GO.
He said, “We’ve only accomplished 10 percent of what Pokémon and Niantic are trying to do, so going forward we will have to include fundamental Pokémon experiences such as Pokémon trading and peer-to-peer battles, and other possibilities.”
How do I catch legendary Pokémon?
Legendaries aren't out in the wild. So to catch one, you need to arrange to attend a Raid with at least 5-6 other players (more if players are below level 30).
It's best to find a Battle at a Gym held by your own team since you'll get more balls after defeating the Raid Boss at a gym you own.
You won't be able to leave your legendary Pokémon in a gym to defend it, though.
If you don't know enough people who play the game, download the Discord app. There are lots of 'servers' (groups) already set up for specific regions and areas for arranging Raids. You can also search for local Facebook groups.
Gyms have been completely revamped since the game launched (not the battling mechanism, though). Here's what's happened.
First, gyms now act like Poké Stops and you'll get items by spinning their photo disc.
Next, gyms have six permanent slots. Each can be filled with a Pokémon (belonging to a member of the controlling team) but they must be unique, putting an end to multiple Blissey, Dragonite, Tyrannitar and Snorlax.
Pokémons in gyms have a 'motivation meter' represented by a heart icon and its CP will decrease along with its motivation as it has more battles. Trainers can give any Pokémon in one of their team's gyms more berries to restore motivation, but if it loses all motivation it will return to its trainer.
Also, when you fight at a gym, you'll take on the Pokémon in the order they were assigned to the gym, not in CP order.
You now earn new gym badges, which you can level up from the basic badge. The system goes Bronze > Silver > Gold.
You need the following points for each level:
- Basic: 0
- Bronze: 500
- Silver: 4,000
- Gold: 30,000
Bronze level gives you +1 bonus item when you spin the photo disc, and you'll get +2 or +3 for Silver and Gold levels.
A raid battle is where to 20 players will battle together at a gym to defeat the Raid Boss. You get 5 minutes to defeat it.
You'll need a Raid Pass in order to be able to take part, and you can get one free one per day by visiting a gym. Those that want to battle more will have a buy a Premium Raid Pass from the in-game shop.
Before a Raid Battle, the Pokémon in the gym are all kicked out and a big egg timer sits on top of the gym with a 1-hour countdown to the battle.
If you win you'll get some Premier Poké Balls and Golden Razz Berries to try and catch the uber-powerful Pokémon. The special items you'll get from a battle can include:
- Rare Candies - turns into a Pokémon's candy type when used on that Pokémon
- Golden Razz Berries - Much better chance of capturing a Pokémon (or can be used to fully restore motivation meter if the Pokémon is in a gym)
- Technical Machines - Fast and Charged. These can 'train' a Pokémon a new attack type (which it keeps permanently).
- Potions - Usually Hyper or Super potions for healing fainted Pokémon.
- Revives - These are now fairly rare, so the more you get the better, typically.
- Premier Poké Balls - use these to try to catch the Raid Boss after the battle.
As you can see in the screen above left, it's possible to use a group code so you can battle with only your mates and keep out spoofers.
You can't keep any leftover Premier balls, but this isn't a terrible tragedy: they're basically the same as standard Poké Balls in terms of effectiveness. Also, here's how to use Technical Machines you're awarded.
What is Pokémon GO?
Pokémon GO is a mobile game for Android and iPhone developed by The Pokémon Company and Niantic, a former Google startup that has since branched out on its own and is known for its earlier augmented-reality mobile game Ingress. Nintendo is also contributing with the development and manufacture of the companion Pokémon GO Plus.
John Hanke, founder of Niantic, said: "For the first time, Pokémon will roam free in the real world. Pokémon GO will allow players to capture Pokémon who inhabit parks, shopping areas, sidewalks and the countryside all around the world. Imagine discovering a Squirtle hiding along the waterfront in San Francisco, a Bulbasaur at Shinjuku Station or a Pikachu beneath the Eiffel Tower."
In Pokémon GO the aim is to locate, catch, battle and trade Pokémon, and you are encouraged to connect with other nearby Pokémon GO players as you do so.
"Get on your feet and step outside to find and catch wild Pokémon. Explore cities and towns around where you live and even around the globe to capture as many Pokémon as you can. As you move around, your smartphone will vibrate to let you know you're near a Pokémon. Once you've encountered a Pokémon, take aim on your smartphone's touch screen and throw a Poké Ball to catch it. Be careful when you try to catch it, or it might run away! Also look for PokéStops located at interesting places, such as public art installations, historical markers, and monuments, where you can collect more Poké Balls and other items," writes The Pokémon Company on its official blog.