In recent months we’ve had a few regional Pokémon have their shiny forms released as part of events. Heracross came first as part of the Ultra Unlock Part 2, and September brought with it the Lake Trio. Both these releases have their own problems, so let’s talk about it!
Ultra Unlock & Heracross
Heracross was released during the second part of the Ultra Unlock, as a ‘reward’ for the community fulfilling certain tasks during Pokémon GO Fest 2021. Previously we had seen the Kanto regional Pokémon have their shinies released into 7km eggs, which was a controversial choice at the time as it meant they were essentially locked behind premium items. To get your maximum amount of eggs hatched, you had to put some serious walking in, and use Super Incubators. Not cool! This year instead the decision was made to put Heracross into the raid pool. And to completely remove it from the wild in its usual spawning region. Ouch. When the Kanto shinies were released they weren’t removed from the wild whilst they were in the 7km egg pool, but for some reason, Heracross was. So even if Heracross was a local spawn for you, you couldn’t organically hunt it in the wild, you had to raid!
Heracross was a raid boss you could solo with the right team, so you didn’t need to get a group together at least, but even with the boosted rates, plenty of hardcore raiders didn’t get the shiny, or took a heck of a lot to get it. RNG is always a tricky one. My friend Matt got his shiny Heracross on his first raid for it, with his free daily pass in person, but for a lot of the world, lockdowns meant no chance to raid with free passes, or to use up premiums they may have had in their item bag, so they were left with expensive remote raid passes as their only option. Heracross didn’t have a rate as boosted as a Legendary, making it even harder to get. There was also a lot of speculation that after the first day of the event the shiny rate was made worse, from approximately 1 in 32, to 1 in 64. There has been community based research that suggests this isn’t the first time this phenomenon has occurred, and for it to potentially have happened with a regional Pokémon that was only available for an incredibly limited period of time, that hurts. Niantic won’t disclose shiny rates, we have to just trust that they are fair, but this isn’t fair.
Removing Heracross from the wild felt like a really cruel, and weird choice. It’s never been done before with a regional, so why now? Just a money grab? Or under some sort of misguided attempt to make it ‘fair’? Either way, not cool.
The Lake Trio
Now the Lake Trio, whilst usually raid bosses that spawn regionally, they can also appear in the wild on very, very, very rare occasions. Like, so rare most trainers will never have seen one kind of rare. Like, they might only spawn once in an entire area in a whole year kind of rare. Now, I can’t actually find any mention of anyone seeing any member of the Lake Trio wild since their shinies were released (please do comment below if you’ve seen otherwise!), so it looks like they are potentially not spawning in the wild right now. Or they are just that ridiculously rare that we can’t tell! Either way, Azelf, Uxie and Mesprit are Pokémon you can’t shiny hunt in the wild, even in their own regions, leaving raids the only option.
With their raids even being regional, to attempt to get a shiny from outside your region, you had to use remote raid passes, and attempt to get raids at times that might be difficult for you. The likes of Pokégenie saw incredibly long waits of thousands of people, often waiting for hours and hours, for people trying to raid Uxie in particular, and Discord servers saw raids fill up instantly when posted, with people begging for second lobbies. To even attempt to raid the Lake Trio was tricky, never mind grind for the shiny.
For us UK folks, raiding Uxie involved either staying up really late, or getting up early, because the Uxie time zone isn’t the most compatible with ours. GOHub’s own JellyBean was really determined to get Uxie, and it took her a whopping 101 raids. Major ouch. I did 26 raids with no luck, which is a lot less, but still above the estimated odds which are around 1 in 20 for a shiny Legendary from a raid.
How can we fix this?
When a regional Pokémon like Heracross is released as a shiny as a reward for something we as a community have achieved in game, it should not be locked behind raids or eggs. You don’t pay for a gift you are given, it is given! Heracross could easily have been released in the wild worldwide for a week, like Corsola was released for 24 hours once as part of an event (correction – it spawned across Europe as an apology for errors during Safari Zone Dortmund). Doing something that pushes players to spend more money in game is not a reward, it just feels like a way to earn money instead. Being able to organically hunt it in the wild is an easy way to fix this problem, that doesn’t come at the expense of players. A reward should be a reward, not a money grab! If it must be locked behind raids, the shiny rate should be higher, and more comparable to Legendary shiny rates, than boosted wild spawn rates.
For the Lake Trio, I believe that the regional spawns should have temporarily been lifted. They should have appeared as raids in all regions, rather than being locked to their own. I actually think this method would have been even more profitable for Niantic than the model they went with, because it would have meant that all three Pokémon were available 24 hours a day! I know I would have raided Uxie more if I could have done it in person, or at more suitable times for my region.
The other option if lifting the regions for the raids isn’t an option, would be to raise the shiny rate. 1 in 20 is an estimate based on research by the Silph Road team, but as so many of us know, just because the approximate rate is 1 in 20, doesn’t mean you will get one in anywhere near 20 or so raids. Personally I’ve done 60+ raids without a shiny for multiple different shiny Legendaries, and there are many out there who have done 80 raids, or even over 100 raids, with still no shiny luck. With something region locked, and remote raid passes being either 100 coins each, or slightly discounted at 250 for 3, higher shiny rates would have felt fairer. I don’t know if it would be possible, but once you are past 20 raids, if your shiny rates could then become boosted, and drop to 1 in 15 for example, so that people aren’t going massively over odds for shinies, would be a good option. For limited time regionals, 1 in 10 could be a more reasonable rate, because it is so much more difficult to raid outside of your region.
Being able to raid outside of your region also requires you to be willing to add people who you may not know to the game, so for children with accounts this may not be something do-able at all for safety reasons. It can be hard enough as a parent to find local players you trust to add your child in order to raid, if you even have the social features of their account enabled, but to have to reach out to strangers on the internet is a whole other issue to consider. Internet safety is a big issue, and asking strangers for their information online is a tricky one, even as an adult. If they weren’t region locked, this would be much less of an issue, as many have a trusted local community to play with.
One of the ways these raids could have felt more reasonable would be if Niantic were just honest about the shiny rates. One of the things we consistently ask for is more transparency, and there is an argument that shinies that you are using premium items for are a form of Loot Boxes, so therefore shiny rates should be disclosed. If you knew the rate was 1 in 64, how hard would you try to raid Heracross? At least if you knew up front what your chances were, you might feel less cheated.
How do you think this issue could be solved? Leave us a comment below with your ideas!