This weekend was the first ever Shadow Raid event in Pokémon GO, with Shadow Mewtwo making their debut in Shadow Raids, and spawning frequently on gyms throughout the weekend.
Now as a semi-rural player, these sort of events make me somewhat apprehensive, because I know in the village I live in, there isn’t another player who wants to raid. I know a few children who play a bit with their families, and some incredibly casual players, but no one interested in raids. I am part of a community that is a group of around 10 people, all of whom live in similar areas to me, who will happily travel to play together in our nearest larger town. I wasn’t available to play on the Saturday, but after conversations in the group chat it turned out Sunday worked better for most of us anyway!
Sunday morning I got up bright and early, got ready, then drove to the next village over and picked up my friend Bev. We then drove onto the next area to meet up with our pals Becky and Terri and swapped into their car to travel together. With four of us we were a bit nervous we might not be able to take down Mewtwo, especially once we realised we had Windy weather in game, but we had made sure we had all prepped appropriate counters in advance. Stardust had been spent, TMs utilised, and we had all planned a Mega Pokémon that was a Dark type as most of our counters were Dark types, with them positioned in different slots in each of our teams to try to optimise the Mega Pokémon boost for as long as possible. We’d also all stocked up on Purified Gems, so we were ready to go!
So the first thing I have to say is that because this wasn’t a dedicated raid day event, we knew finding the raids wouldn’t be the easiest, and this is where Campfire truly came into it’s own. We were able to look across the whole area we played in, across two towns and multiple villages, and plan where to go based on what raid eggs were hatching and when, and I have to say without it, we’d have been a mess! It was a brilliant tool. I was sure to light flares as we travelled and as a result we were joined by a fellow trainer and his Dad who were desperate to get him his first Shadow Mewtwo. They joined us for a raid, successfully caught their Mewtwo, and went home. We were more than happy to help!
Campfire is rolling out to all trainers, and for an event like this, it couldn’t have worked much better to be honest. I’d like to not have to zoom in quite so close to see the gyms and what is spawning, but it really is a minor gripe. We were joined throughout the day by other groups in cars who had seen us lighting flares on Campfire, giving us 16 trainers at one point in our group. It was great seeing so many people out active and in person.
We did play the entire day from our cars bar odd sprints to gyms to dive into raids with minutes to go and a stop for Taco Bell for lunch when the raids seemed to slow down, because quite simply, we had to. Our towns don’t have very dense areas for POI particularly, and we wouldn’t have been able to do anywhere near as many raids as we did on foot.
We did roughly 26 or 27 raids in total, across around 8 hours. We left the house at around 10:30am, and I got home at 7:55pm. We really had to work for those raids! I got a shiny Shadow Mewtwo on our 4th raid, and then we had a drought for quite a while, until suddenly Terri, Bev and Becky got their shinies in quick succession around raid 18-21. They all then quickly got a second shiny each, leaving me the only one with a single shiny. But I was happy nonetheless! I was particularly pleased for Becky and Terri who had been out raiding the day before too, doing 14 raids without any shinies, so they were both quite over odds for the estimated 1 in 20 shiny rate. Our friend Rachel joined us at one point and got two shinies back to back within her 5 raids before she had to leave for family commitments. We weren’t jealous at all.
We did encounter some glitches as the day went on. At one raid which had just hatched we battled Mewtwo and after they were subdued, we were all suddenly thrown from the raid and told the raid had ended. It had 40 minutes left to go. We tried to click on the gym to get back in but clicking on the gym caused it to crash every time. Reloading the game wasn’t any use, we could click on anything else in game, except that gym, losing us all a raid pass. Quite frustrating. Bev had a couple of problems with Mewtwo fleeing before she had used all her Premier Balls to try to catch it, and I had a weird glitch which cost me another pass when I entered a raid and it threw me back into the 300 second lobby countdown by myself, whilst everyone else successfully entered the raid.
I did report the glitches, and got back my lost raid pass by the time the raid day was over thankfully. It seems the raid boss fleeing early is a known glitch as when I went to report my error, it was an option in the list to report, so hopefully Bev will also be able to get her raid passes back too.
Part way through the day I picked up a ‘Defeat a level-three or higher raid boss’ and was surprised to realise that Shadow Mewtwo did not in fact count towards this task. We then also realised that not one of us had gotten a single rare Candy XL throughout the entire day. They are only in the pool for tier 5 raid rewards, so if Shadow Mewtwo wasn’t counting as a tier 5 raid, we couldn’t get them as a reward. We know they are a rare reward, with with over 100 raids between us, surely one of us would have gotten one if they were an option? Let us know if you did or not in the comments! We know they are supposed to be a really rare resource, but none in over 100 raids feels rather too rare, so are they too rare, or just not available?
We had a really fun day together. I hadn’t laughed so much in ages, and it makes me so excited for London GO Fest because we are all travelling down and playing it together.
However, I think it is also important to recognise that we have a level of privilege with this because while we are all semi-rural, we do have access to cars, that meant we could travel to an area that was not rural to actually play this. If I had stayed in my area, I would not have successfully completed a Shadow Mewtwo raid. None of us would have. If we didn’t have access to Campfire we would have been aimlessly driving about trying to find raids. I wish Niantic could find some sort of happy medium for disabled and rural trainers because with no access to remote raiding, so many people were left out of these raids entirely.
We were able to complete these raids as a group of 4, because everyone put the work in to prep their teams and we made sure to communicate and use our Purified Gems effectively. When someone was running low, others who had made used theirs first so no one ran out. Smaller communities, disabled trainers and rural players already find it harder to have the same resources as those playing in big cities to have access to top tier counters and power them up. It isn’t a level playing field, so we just had to do our best as a small group to make it work.
My biggest advice from yesterday is that when you get access to it, Campfire has the potential to really change your in person gameplay. Our local communities mostly use Facebook chats, but it was Campfire that allowed us to see where we could raid, and that also added to our group as people saw our flares. We met some trainers who we had seen in some of our semi-rural gyms before in person for the first time for example, who had seen us lighting flares so knew where to come to play. Campfire really does have the potential to grow communities and bring trainers together, and I can’t wait to see how it will impact the game when everyone can access it.