(This article was originally posted on October 17th, after the initial round of Elite Raids, but has been modified (on November 14th) to provide additional, updated feedback after the second round of Elite Raids.)
Hey there, friends. I know, I’m usually just “the PvP guy”, but I wanted to talk briefly about something else entirely today.
Well I already did this after the first round of Elite Raids, but as this past weekend was mostly just a rinse and repeat of that first weekend of Hoopa raids, I wanted to AGAIN offer up some thoughts to Niantic on these Elite Raids, things that could perhaps be improved in future. Unlike my typical long posts, I’ll try to keep this short and to the point… and I encourage others to provide their constructive feedback as well. What worked, and would could be improved (and how)?
Doing these on Community Day weekend made things unnecessarily hectic.
Unlike last time (when Elite Raids were not announced until the weekend had already begun in some parts of the world), we at least had some time to prep and plan this time. But what we did NOT have was official confirmation of the raid boss, after-raid bonus spawns, or really much of anything except a date. And once again, even after many decried the first Elite Raids taking place the day after Litwick Community Day, this second round was again slotted in the same weekend as November Community Day, which featured a brand new final evolution being added to the game and had many players already rather burned out by the time Sunday and Elite Raids rolled around. I believe this led to situations like Magpiemalcolm who on Twitter said that they have “an active community of 200 players, [and] no one wanted to do Hoopa.” And also VioletJTB TL50, who said they “tried to persuade people to organise and plan but gave up in the end and met up with another group elsewhere, a 30 minute drive away. And mine is actually a semi-active community. Combination of bad raid boss and day after CD means no one cares enough.” As I noted after the last time Elite Raids were crammed into the same weekend as Community Day, many players that even WANT to do both have a hard time essentially devoting their entire weekend to Pokémon GO, and many were left scrambling to try to make it work, often unsuccessfully.
Or, an alternate idea from HigherFructose: “Really wish they would have made these available during CD instead of the day after. 😑“ Hmmmm. Then at least it would all be consolidated to one day. Perhaps something to do during the hours of Tier 4 raids after CD, or even, I dunno, extend CD hours a bit and include these during? Maybe something over the current 3 hours? Just a wild and crazy thought!
Key takeaway: Next time, selecting a weekend not already busy with PoGO activities would be very helpful. You know, like many of us players noted LAST time.
Why the need to lock down gyms for 24 hours with the raid egg?
This has been a puzzling and frustrating move for many communities. It has been proven in the past that the game has the capability to note specific player interactions with specific gyms and send notifications to players who have been to gyms that would now be getting Elite Raids… as that’s exactly what happened with the old EX Raid system. With Elites there is no need to send an invite, as these raids are open to all, but could the game not again send some messages to players who have been to Elite Raid gyms in the past and let them know what’s coming, coupled with Campfire or even simple “Elite Raids this coming Sunday, trainers… check with your local communities to get organized!” tweets, rather than the main indicator being just locking up that gym with a 24-hour egg? The game has proven is can do better in the past. Why are we not utilizing what’s already built in?
Key Takeaway: Notify players through infrastructure in place — old EX-style notifications in game, Campfire, social media — of upcoming Elite Raids rather than locking gyms down for 24 hours.
Campfire For All?
Along a similar thread… why was this pushed out while so many still lack access to Campfire? Yes, this is slightly better than a month ago for the first Hoopa raids, but Campfire is still underdistributed and, honestly, still rather half baked even for those who do have it. If Niantic is truly wanting us to use Campfire rather than the long-established socials already in use in many communities, THIS would be the time to really make that push. The concept of flares and all make sense, but not if many players never see it. Either Campfire flares need to somehow tie back into GO directly, or more people need to be able to have the same level playing field (be it Campfire or something else) to know what’s up. Why we are STILL all these months later relying on essentially a word-of-mouth, pass-it-on campaign to distribute Campfire to new players (from other players with their own limited number of invites) is completely baffling to me.
Lots of comments regarding Campfire (and other methods of organizing):
- ArtimusDragon noted that “Campfire helps *find raids but too many people don’t have the app which makes coordinating still an issue for anyone who doesn’t know about those old local FB and Discord groups.”*
- From TorvaldCoolguy: “Campfire was kind of a mess here. There was no way to signal more than 15 min in advance of your raid plans. My discord group decided to do some raids at 2 PM but we had no way to tell this to the randos lighting flares at every elite raid.”
- Brian (swtbcc) said: “Was able to get a local off campfire to join our Facebook group. It’s just difficult trying to communicate via FB, Campfire, and worse when PoGo does it’s thing and you can’t see who got in the lobby.”
- VioletJTB TL50 added: “No one used Campfire, no one wanted to commit to a specific time beforehand, at 2pm in the local WhatsApp, three different people posted 3 different gyms asking if anyone was doing it but no one wanted to walk to the other gyms so none got done.”
- Kata stated that: “Campfire is non-existent in my community. Few ppl has full access and many can’t access, bc they have Ingress and they cannot be invited for the full version.”
- And finally, from Jack (ThatHollowGuy): *”We have about 50 people in the chat. Only about half are active. People read all my messages and completely ignored me. I posted about elite raids non-stop this weekend in my local chat. Even used Campfire to show people when and where they would hatch. Only got 1 single families response. Only way we beat it was with people with multiple accounts.”
The fact that so many were left frustrated (and some of the success stories were only via multi-accounting, which is against TOS… more on that later) and, at best, using Campfire only to reach a handful of players and having to still fall back on established Discord/WhatsApp/etc communities are more and more signs that Campfire is falling woefully short of its goals. It’s simply not ready to handle events like this.
Key takeaway: Either push out Campfire more widely and directly before major new raid events like this, or acknowledge and encourage established methods like Discord or Facebook and WhatsApp groups to organize. Until Campfire is ready for prime time, we have no choice but to fall back to what we already have on hand, and adding Campfire into the mix is leading to LESS organization and more chaos and fracturing.
Allow for private lobbies.
I understand, to a degree, why these were not allowed for the Hoopa Unbound raids: concerns about players arriving a little late or NOT already being connected with the local community and being potentially locked out of the raid. But I’ve seen and heard about many players who were A.) unable to raid with their own friends and family, and/or B.) were crowded by spoofers not even physically present, because they were unable to go private and had to raid with whoever crowded in around them. This is frustrating.
As noted specifically by TorvaldCoolguy: “We also really need to be able to do private lobbies. It really helps when you have about 25 people like we did. Private lobbies aren’t about exclusion, they’re about making sure everyone is taken care of.”
Key takeaway: While the concept of not allowing private raid lobbies is somewhat understandable, in actual practice it causes many more issues than it theoretically solves. Allow private lobbies, please!
I understand not wanted to just make this fully remote, but there are compromises that could be had here. Allow remote invites only from someone physically present at the Elite Raid, for instance, and only a couple per person, or only allow such invites if a certain number of players are physically present, or something. I know this is to encourage local gatherings, and that’s a noble goal I won’t argue with. But allow it to bring in SOME remote players somehow and you’ll still accomplish your goals AND make the playerbase much happier… and allow many more of them to realistically take part. Arriving at my own local raids and finding just one or two (or zero!) other players when I KNOW I had some others in town but unable to travel to the raids was not a happy experience. We tried to play by the rules and that meant we missed out completely… again.
MANY players had a hard time getting enough player interest to find success this past weekend, and remotes WOULD help. Perhaps limited remotes to a certain radius so it’s still local community?
Some comments from the wider community:
- Lori Perez: “Not enough people interested in the elite raids. Probably cause they already did it when it first came out.”
- Richard Wimberley: “Turnout for the 1100 eggs was decent, but not nearly as many as the first round. (Did not go out again.)”
- Sue (HermesNinja): “There’s a good idea in there somewhere but the execution is flawed. Couldn’t do more than 2 elite raids this AM if we wanted to hunt the spawns afterward due to spacing of gyms; neither the raid boss nor spawns were plentiful or interesting enough to raid again; lag; tech issues.”
- Gastlygirl: “As others like Sue have stated, really couldn’t raid and do spawns given the placement of gyms (at least where I was as well). Also, super cold here and lack of participates was an issue.”
- Vadersblade: “Turnout was 10% of the first event. 50 > 5. Absolutely no rare spawns. Did two and went home. Good idea, poor execution, even worse they did it twice and didn’t fix anything.”
And LOTS more like that. And another irony with this mentioned by Harshal Ghaisas on Twitter: “You can’t use remote raid pass for Elite raids (which is stupid but I am personally cool with because I have a group of people who raid together) and then there is not a single box with premium raid pass in the shop ??”
Hmmm. It IS odd how remote passes keep getting pushed in boxes (for months now) yet not premium raid passes. What gives, Niantic?
Key takeaway: There are ways to achieve local gatherings and “meeting you out there” without completely pushing remote capability off the raft. There ARE ways to have that cake and eat it to with a little time and effort. This IS possible! Alternative ideas that would HELP with local turnout include raids lasting a bit longer (enabling folks to realistically walk to multiple in the same basic area) and/or a raid boss that’s more interesting than Hoopa. Just sayin’.
No Spawns, Just Bugs?
After many reports last time of the spawns and sometimes the raids themselves not working as advertised (including our own KittyPokemonsALot in Round 1), at least not consistently, if anything it seemed to be WORSE this time around. I’ll just let community comments speak for themselves here….
- Ken (PokeProfNet), a member of Niantic’s Partner Program: “I just did a few Elite Raids at 2pm and had some issues. The first raid gave all participants issues getting to the catch screen and we didn’t see the 15 min spawn timer after any of them!”
- Jack (ThatHollowGuy): “Spawns after were pathetic.”
- Gastlygirl: “Just did 2 raids at 2pm. First one didn’t give us the 15 min timer….”
- Stephen Merrington: “Exactly the same as last time. Successful raid, timer on screen. Zero spawns. Nice to get a group of 11 out but They’ll need more than Hoopa for us to bother again. With no wild chase shiny in this event, no one even wanted to stay out. “
- SinfulSynic: “All these hoopa (six Hoopa pictured in Tweet) and yet timers were all over the place and not near the raid or with consistent time tracking. And never saw any rare spawns. The most rare spawn I saw was wooloo.
- ArtimusDragon: “Only saw 1 Wooloo spawn after defeating Hoopa. That was fun 😅”
- Vinny T: “How come there was bonus clock after the elite raid but I didn’t see anything? We missed our chances to catch those rares. You know how hard it is to win such elite raid? Cmon man. This is unacceptable.”
Additionally, many reports of that raid itself being severely bugged:
- Mark (keklar): “Got timer, absolutely no special spawns. Also had a raid bug that when my team died, it kicked me completely out and said raid ID was no longer available, thankfully let me back in after trying to lobby again.”
- Tasia Larsen: “@NianticHelp I defeated a Hoopa today but the timer kept ticking Down. It said we didn’t defeat before the timer was up but the Pokémon fainted long before that. I did send a help ticket, is there anything I can do? I lost time and money on this raid. Including many items.”
- Ricardo: “Thank you @NianticHelp for the bug that made the game crash for almost 10 minutes, in the middle of an elite raid. The bug kicked us out of the raid and prevented us from going back in. We all know that bug type is the best against Hoopa, but this kind of bug is too much….”
- Josh Kulinski: “Fought hoopa in an elite raid today with about 30 seconds left We beat it but the timer kept counting down. And it said we failed and didn’t get a chance to catch it. Felt really bad.”
- Isaac Prasad: “Me and about 15 other trainers all got kicked out of the 5 pm Hoopa elite raid . It says gym battle has ended or something like that . Wasted a raid pass . Left home without a Hoopa and kids were crying at the park. Please fix this issue.”
Oooof. Those don’t sound like happy experiences at all. 😢
And on top of all that, multiple threads posted to The Silph Road already, with many of their own comments inside:
Key takeaway: Um… fix the bugs? PokeMiners is already keeping an extensive list for you, Niantic. But at the very least, let’s make the raids actually work for folks and have some spawns, even if the pool is less than rewarding, consistently after these raids. Third time’s the charm?
Oh, and one last thing….
Hoopa Transferrable? Since When?
Yes, after players were stuck with non-transferrable Hoopas (a Mythical) after the first round of Elite Raids, some panic started to set in. This WAS eventually rectified, but with no official (and certainly no in-game) announcement from Niantic. Saw lots of frustration about this (including replies to official Pokemon GO tweets), but it’s best summed up thusly:
Parththegr8: “I wish Niantic was clear on this. I tried to transfer them last month after the first elite raid day and I couldn’t because it was a mythical and there was no in-game news today that said that the Hoopas were now transferable.”
Overall, this is a net win. But uh….
Key takeaway: Some simple communication about such things would be nice, no? I love many of our alternative sources of information out there, like the Miners and LeekDuck and of course my friends at GO Hub, but it isn’t hard to put these sorts of things in a quick in-game news blurb, is it? A little communication can go a LONG way, Niantic.
So there we have it. Thoughts from me AND the larger community this time on how this whole thing could be done differently — arguably better — next time. Uh… again. 😅 You listening this time, Niantic, or are we just going to rinse and repeat all this once more in a month, when the weather is even more frightful for many of us players?
Anyway, what were YOUR experiences, Pokéfriends, and what do YOU think could be done to make this a more successful experience next time around? Fire away and hopefully Niantic sees this and takes heed. Again, keep it civil and constructive, pleaseandthankyou!
Back to PvP analysis next time, and until then, you can always find me on Twitter for PvP information AND things that matter to all of us, like this writeup above!
Stay safe out there, and catch you next time, Pokéfriends!