Let’s Talk About Pokémon GO Fest 2022

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This weekend brought with it Global GO Fest 2022. Events like this are pretty rare, and with in person GO Fests only happening in specific locations, for many trainers, it is our only chance to take part in such an event. There was a lot of hype in the run up, so how did the community feel about it afterwards?

The Good

Spawns

There was a pretty good and mixed group of spawns for each themed hour, and having four habitats rotating habitats meant you weren’t bored of seeing the same spawns for too long. There was a lot of shiny potential! Of the 13 featured spawns for City hour, only 2 were not available shiny. For the Plains hour, only 1 wasn’t available shiny. Rainforest had 4 non-shiny Pokémon, and Tundra had 3 non-shiny Pokémon. There was a brilliant mix of common and rare spawns, and you could grind out candy for some Pokémon you might not have much for.

The most lacklustre part of the spawns was the Alolan starter Pokémon which are not shiny, and have been featured heavily as part of the Season of Alola. They felt a little unnecessary, but with a good mix of rare spawns, each hour had something people could hunt for. Tundra hour was arguably the least exciting, and my group opted to take our pause for lunch during it. Each habitat had a good amount of different Pokémon featured, and while there were previous Community Day Pokémon in each hour, they didn’t overwhelm so could be easily avoided if you didn’t want them.

The new shiny Pokémon featured well in each hour too, making hunting for brand new shiny Pokémon a good priority that wasn’t too tricky. Such variety and an hour at a time to focus on them was really fun. Our last hour was a wild shiny Trubbish hunt for our group, and we managed to all complete the family in that final hour, so exciting!

Incense

The unexpected stationary/general incense boost was a complete surprise, but so very welcome! We really hope Niantic continues to do this for at least events like this, though we would love to see the incense boost back permanently. It meant you weren’t worrying about breaking for lunch, or needing to rest, because the spawns were going to continue at their increased rate even when stationary. This was a real highlight of the event, and hopefully for the follow up GO Fest event at the end of August it will also be a feature. It made the game more accessible for anyone playing from home, or who might not be able to move about constantly, which is always a good thing.

The only critique we would have for the incense is that the spawns despawn so quickly it is easy to miss the Pokémon on them, we wish they lasted a little longer. Niantic, please keep incense like this for all future events!

Shaymin Special Research

The Special Research for Shaymin had some great rewards, and the split paths meant you could easily choose which worked for your play style. Premium items like Incense, Battle Passes and Incubators were excellent rewards, and keeping the rewards even across the board no matter which difficulty you picked was a great choice for accessibility. The one negative is that you had to spin Pokéstops or gyms, which for trainers stuck at home for any reason, meant you were stuck. Even the hardest difficulty could be completed on the day if you were more dedicated. The Shaymin animation was particularly lovely too, it fitted Shaymin perfectly and was so cute! 

The only issue our group noticed with the research, is that one of our group got stuck on ‘Earn a candy walking with your buddy’. We walked over 16km, and for some reason, even though we could see the distance being walked in game, that task would just not complete. She tried multiple different buddies, all 1km, restarted the game etc, but it wouldn’t work, leaving her stuck and unable to complete the research during event hours. We’re not sure how many people had similar issues, so do let us know if you did!

The Bad

Shiny Rate

Looking at social media, most folks biggest issue was the shiny rate. Expected shiny rates for an event like this are speculated to be either 1/64, or 1/125, whereas Community Day is 1/20. It means that unfortunately despite a hefty price tag, you aren’t going to see shiny Pokémon at a comparable rate to a free event like Community Day. For many players, they didn’t get anywhere near the levels of shiny Pokémon they expected, with most who have played previous Global GO Fests reporting much lower shiny counts. With large amounts of feedback coming in from social media of players doing the full 8 hour event and coming away with anything from 1-8 shinies, getting over 10 seemed to be a rarity.

Even a really hardcore player like Fleeceking (who was first in the world to level 50), got 32, which for someone who grinds so hard, seems like not a lot. My group played the full 8 hours, and our shinies varied from 8 to 28 on day 1. Quite a difference! It can be really frustrating to see players getting a lot of shinies when you are walking the same route, and checking the same spawns, and getting so little. Several of our group went literally hours between shinies.

Day 2 wasn’t supposed to have increased shinies, but the rate definitely seemed to be similar to day 1, making it a little messy. With an apparent focus on raids, but with a sudden and unexpected shiny boost, it made juggling the day quicker. You had to have a Pokéball Plus, Gotcha or similar in order to not miss out on spawns.

The Ugly

Lure/Incense Issue

From the moment GO Fest started in the early time zones, till it finished, trainers reported issues with Lure and Incense spawns vanishing as soon as they were clicked. Niantic called this a visual bug, and stated that the spawns weren’t really there, but it didn’t make it any less frustrating. Constantly clicking on Pokémon that weren’t really there wasted time, and took up space on busy Lures that might mean you missed out on shiny checking a Pokémon that really was there. There is speculation from the community that the bug wasn’t a visual glitch, but in fact an issue with real Pokémon, but as Niantic has stated it was visual, we can’t really speculate further.

No Eggs or Research Tasks

It was really disappointing that there were no special GO Fest eggs, or event themed research tasks. Eggs in particular were really a let down to be missing, even some special 2km eggs would have been fun, that featured all the spawns from GO Fest. Even event themed research tasks that rewarded the costume Pikachu would have been something! It felt like a big part of the game had really been forgotten about, that is usually so key to it.

Our Writer’s Thoughts

Avrip

For me, day 1 was quite enjoyable. It didn’t feel as much as a grind as it usually is with the abundance of tasks. I could focus on playing the game how I wanted to play without the stress of knowing I had to finish tasks. I liked the fact that we could choose our difficulty too, without it affecting any of the rewards. While I enjoyed that concept, I can’t say the same for day 2. Day 2 for me felt more like a grind than anything. While you didn’t have to do that many raids to complete the tasks, I still felt pressured into spending a lot more than I intended. Plus the shiny odds in Australia was lacklustre. From a whole day of playing, I only managed to get 4 including one shiny Axew from a raid.

All up I would rate the event a 7/10. There’s definitely room for improvement but I did have a fun time playing GO Fest this year.

MeteorAsh15

I felt that this year’s Go Fest was a major downgrade over Go Fest ’21 even though I enjoyed it overall. The shiny rate was terrible, getting only 9 shinies in the 2 days. Plus, much of the spawns felt disappointing as they didn’t seem to be worthy of being in Go Fest.

That said, I felt that Axew raids were definitely more frequent than Gible raids last year. So that was a positive. The Shaymin animation was fantastic as well. And I like Day 2 more than Day 1.

Overall, it was a good experience but I expected much better. I’ll rate it 6.5/10.

Glawhantojar

I think my overall experience might have been skewed by my personal experience, which might not make sense on its own… Let me explain.  I played Day 1 at my local park, which is the hotspot of the area for Pokémon Go. The weather was perfect, and the park was packed!

I went by myself as I normally do but I ended up meeting a group that was walking together and raiding, and we spent the day walking the park as a group.  Talking about the game, Pokémon in general, and just random fluff.  It felt so good to get out and play with other people again, to socialize with people that I’d never met before, but whose interests aligned. This to me is one of my favorite things about the game, it brings people together. 

I enjoyed the special research and being able to pick our own path and difficulty.  The group I was with had several different variations of the research, so it was nice we all had our own stuff to focus on.

Shiny wise, I did pretty well. I got 18 on day one, and I got several that I didn’t have previously. I played the entire day, day 1.  I even managed to snag 2 shiny Groudon, and a shiny full odds Ledyba a couple of hours after the event spawns were gone.  Day 2 I hadn’t planned on playing the entire day, I played maybe 3 hours total and got 11 shinies.  So 29 total for the 2 days.

The bug with the Pokémon despawning but not disappearing was very annoying, and led to some frustrating moments when we stumbled upon Pokémon we were hunting only for them to not actually be there, so that took away from the day overall.  Honestly though, I’d give the day an 8/10.  I could have done without the Alolan starter Pokémon spawns, and their evolved counterparts in 3-star raids which seemed, weird?  Those were only minor quibbles though, overall, I really enjoyed my experience.

Conclusion

People were widely disappointed with this years GO Fest which is a real shame. It can be hard to keep expectations in check for something like this event in terms of shinies when we have been quite spoilt with 6 hour long Community Days for several years which meant you could easily get 20+ shinies. We hope Niantic reassesses shiny rates and try to have more even odds across the board. When you’ve paid $15 for an event, it is disappointing to get less shinies than on a free Community Day. The spawns were brilliant, the incense boost was great, Axew raids were fairly abundant, some of it was so great, it is a shame the shiny rate seems to have tainted the day for so many.

Ultimately the thing that made it for me personally was getting to play with our community again. We walked miles, our feet hurt, the wind was terrible, but we had great fun! It was exhausting, but being together and being silly together made the whole day, regardless of how many shinies we got.

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