My Experience with Origin Pulse Kyogre and Precipice Blades Groudon: A losing battle against exclusive moves

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Since 2018, I haven’t spent any Premium or Remote raid passes on Kyogre or Groudon, because I was saving passes for their eventual signature moves.

5 years later, my patience “paid off”… But I don’t feel happy.

Preface and Disclaimers

This article was originally intended for the Reddit sub r/TheSilphRoad (TSR), but the Reddit post has now been removed by the moderators. Several sections of this article may seem very TSR-centric, though I have edited most mentions of it to apply to a broader audience.

This is NOT an analysis (though there are some analytical sections), and it is also NOT a complaint post. It’s primarily a personal anecdote, a reflection of my own gameplay experience over the years, mixed with my opinions and some advice. The main goal is to share my story as sincerely as possible, in hope that others may gain some insights from it.

This article is very, very, very long, but I intentionally did not write a TL;DR, because I really think reading the entirety of it helps a lot in understanding what I want to say. If you’re really short on time, skimming all bolded parts is largely sufficient. If even that is too much, jump to the end and go back up.

For the purpose of this post, I’ll use “PvE” to refer to “studying and investment of raid attackers”. This is actually not a good definition as per the TSR community’s responses, which is why I rarely use this term nowadays. But for this post, it makes the phrasing much easier, and aligns with what people actually use “PvE” for – “is XXX good for PvE”.

A bit about myself

I started playing in 2018. A week after Larvitar CD, to be precise.

I’m a free-to-play (F2P) player. At first, it was out of necessity – I couldn’t afford to spend money on the game, much less the kind of spending that I’ll mention in the next section. Now, it has become a mix of necessity and personal choice – I don’t think Niantic deserves my money.

  • Because I’m expecting a lot of “why are you so entitled as a F2P” comments, I should mention that many, if not most, points in my post are not specific to F2P players. More on this later.

I never really liked raiding. In fact, it’s not too farfetch’d to say I hate raiding.

  • See a full list of reasons here as a screenshot.

I have always considered myself as a field research player. Team Rocket battles are my 2nd favorite feature of the game. I know some people talk about the “joy of raiding”, but that never applied to me and probably never will.

“So why do you even care about PvE, then?”

The community in 2018, and its impacts on a new player

Because, in 2018, every “hardcore” player told me PvE was the end goal of the game. It was how you “get good” at the game.

Nowadays, some people on TSR reminisce about the “heydays” of 2018-19 when “the game was still about PvE first and foremost”. I would like to offer a different perspective, from a player who was just getting started and wondering what to do in the game.

In addition to my local community, I found two resources rather quickly – r/TheSilphRoad and GamePress. Apparently, the former is where all the hardcore players hung out, while the latter had the best resources and analyses. But they had one thing in common:

Every single discussion seemed to be about PvE.

DPS this, DPS that. Top of its type this, top of its type that. 15 attack this, 15 attack that. Shortman this, shortman that. These were the vast majority of discussions that were going on at TSR in 2018, especially if you sort by /new.

  • Raid counter infographics were among the most upvoted posts on TSR.
  • People laugh at those “casual players” bringing Aggron to raids.
  • Shinies apparently don’t matter according to vocal players, since they’re just cosmetic and “useless”.
  • The official Silph traveler card had “Raid X time a week” displayed at a prominent location.
  • People are more interested in “meta-relevant” Pokémon than everything else.

Similar sentiments were echoed in my local community. I should say that where I was, the community was the most awesome I’ve ever seen and remains this way today. I have nothing against them and have become really good friends with many of them. But:

  • When I first started, a few of the most hardcore players were showing off their 6 L40 Kyogre + 6 L40 Groudon + 6 L40 Rayquaza.
  • Some were also complaining about other high-level players not knowing type effectiveness or not bringing the right counters.
  • And the raiders I met in person were giving me advice like “evolve your Eevee to Espeon so that you can solo Machamp”.

I’m sure none of them had any bad intentions – they were just trying to help. But this, together with what I was getting from TSR and GamePress, created a strong impression in the young little me:

This seems to be how you “get good” at the game. I’m supposed to be aiming for the 18 L40 PvE-relevant legendaries like all these big players have. I’m supposed to grind through the Espeon-Machamp-Tyranitar-Mewtwo ladder in raids. I’m supposed to not care about stuff like shinies or the Regis, because they’re just useless visual distractions. I’m supposed to catch up with them in terms of my PvE teams. I’m supposed to treat PvE as my first and foremost, just like they do. If you don’t, you’re a casual.

I’m sure not everybody meant this way, even in 2018. But that’s the impression they created, intentional or not.

  • To be fair, that was a natural consequence given the state of the game in 2018. No PvP, few shinies available, no Rocket battles… The only “technical”, challenging aspect was PvE. I think in every game, there are lots of players who want to “get good” or be competitive, and PvE was what the 2018 players naturally had to latch onto.
  • In fact, even though raids were not competitive at all, people were creating competition out of thin air, such as solo challenges and PokeDraft.

And keep in mind, I didn’t even like raiding at all.

The Zapdos Raid Day Fiasco – and what the hardcore raiders said

Shortly after I started playing, we had the first ever raid-exclusive move on legendaries. At that time, it seemed like its implications were going to change the raiding and PvE scene forever.

Zapdos Raid Day happened a month after my start date. For the first time, it came with a raid-exclusive move that you could only obtain from raiding new Zapdos, not by TMing your old Zapdos.

And the entire PvE community – TSR, GamePress and others – were up in arms about it.

You can literally compare the outrage back then to recent controversies such as reducing interaction distance, nerfing incense and shortening CDs to 3 hours. The sentiment was echoed in every single post about Zapdos. Many players went from spending hundreds of dollars on raids to being F2P.

Keep in mind, that was only a few months after Kyogre, Groudon and Rayquaza had their first release in raids, and Kyogre even had its shiny. Mewtwo was in EX raids. Origin Pulse, Precipice Blades and Psystrike had also been added to the Game Master at that point, with stats that are overpowered (OP) even by 2023 standards. Connect the dots.

Now I’ll let the 2018 players do the talk. First off, from this GamePress article which summarized the issue elegantly:

This isn’t about Zapdos. We all knew when we invested in Zap that it would be outclassed in a future gen, and the reality is Thunder Shock is only marginally better. The community’s reaction comes from the precedent… we now know that all of our Kyogre, Groudon, Rayquaza, and Mewtwo will eventually be outclassed by an exclusive move version that is available on a 3 hour window.
This is a huge problem. We accepted that moves could be rebalanced and fully understand that a game mechanic change will eventually shift everything. We accept that some Pokémon are outclassed in future generations. But we never expected that legendary Pokémon would be outclassed by a limited release version of themselves, nor should we tolerate it.
Two weeks ago I was willing to raid 20 Regice a week in spite of it being a boring battle for a useless Pokémon. Yesterday I caught a Registeel in my first raid, and it will be the last one I do.

There were many, many TSR comments on this topic. Here’s a screenshot of them, and I encourage you to take a look. If you want to trace back to the original comments and links, you can find them here.

  • (The first comment features u/JRE47 in 2018, before PvP became a thing!)

As a new player that was barely a month old, I took these hardcore raiders’ comments to heart. Any legendary will get outclassed by itself in the future – no reason to raid hard now.

Dancing in the Cage: The struggles of powering up legendaries

The issue is, legendaries are ridiculously expensive. Daily free passes only give you enough rare candies to max out 6 legendaries per year… And a “top PvE player” needs 6-8 teams of that.

Let’s put the issue of exclusive moves aside for a second, and look at how affordable – or expensive – legendaries are.

Fact 1. If you do a Tier 5 raid 7x a week (e.g. with free raid passes only), they only give you enough rare candies to max out 6 legendaries per year. PvPing legitimately can bring up that number to 11-12, and even tanking in PvP only gets you to 20.

  • Detailed analysis here as a screenshot: “How many rare candies can a F2P player get?”
  • You can also get candies from catching the desirable legendary, but that’s insignificant compared to rare candies, as I elaborated in the link above.
  • If you use all your coins on premium or remote passes in addition to daily raids, multiply these numbers by 1.5. If you can only do remote raids instead, multiply them by 0.5.

Fact 2. At most points in the game’s life, there was, is and will be 6-8 different legendaries at the top of their types. This means for PvE players, there’s a legitimate argument to build 36-48 maxed out legendaries.

  • Detailed analysis here as a screenshot: “How many good PvE legendaries are there?”
  • If you don’t count shadows, raise the number by at least 2.

I already did the same calculations in 2018, and the “6 legendaries per year” figure was extremely demotivating. It was at the same time when I asked on TSR “how many Moltres should I get” ahead of its raid day, and most comments had the same sentiment:

Since you’re F2P, it means your rare candies are fairly limited.

Being a new player, I took this advice to heart, too.

Unfortunately, as I was already fully trained to treat PvE as the end goal (as mentioned earlier), what I got from these comments was not “legendaries are so out of reach that I should just give up”. Instead, I interpreted them as:

Because legendaries are (were) so crucial for PvE, I need to make the most use of whatever F2P resources I have, and min-max them to death in order to build legendary teams – so that I can “catch up” with local players who already have multiple 6xL40 teams.

  • (Keep in mind this is what the 2018 me thought, and isn’t meant to be general advice in 2023.)

In practice, this translated to the following min-maxing actions:

  • I had to use my free raid pass every day on a Tier 5 raid, at a gym with gym control for maximum rewards. Prior to 2020, I also had to raid in small groups for damage balls. No time to do T1 raids.
  • I had to spend rare candies very wisely. No RCs to waste on non-legendaries or “subpar” ones.
  • I had to save my gym coins on premium raid passes (aside from upgrades). Incubators apparently don’t matter, since eggs are typically treated as scams anyway.
  • I had to save my premium passes and only use them on something “useful”, instead of shiny hunting. (The comments I got in that question generally mentioned the same thing.)

It’s important to note that these limitations do not just apply to F2P players. They also apply to people who can’t raid more than 7x a week (rural players, busy players), people who have a budget on their spending, and people who just want to maximize the return of their resources.

These already felt like a chore as I never really liked raiding. But there’s another consideration…

When limited resources meets exclusive moves

With limited rare candy supply and inevitable exclusive moves, it meant one thing: I should stock up my Premium Raid Passes for now, and only raid hard when they come back with their “real” moves.

The 2018 players who were angry with Zapdos raid day had already pointed out this fact. In fact, this advice was explicitly given in some of the comments.

I also value long-term benefits much more than short-term ones. Not just me, but this attitude is very evident on TSR as well, even today – how many times have you heard “it will be back eventually”?

All these factors combined – limited resources, forward thinking and inevitable exclusive moves – gave rise to a simple conclusion:

Why should I go hard on Earthquake Groudon now, using paid passes, when I can instead save them for Precipice Blades Groudon eventually?

While there’s no reason not to use free passes, this absolutely applies to premium and remote passes. A raid now and a raid in the future give the same item rewards, but one gives a better move and the other one does not. IVs matter much less than moves for PvE. And I could put rare candies into Groudon without powering them up, so that when Precipice Blades comes, I would be ready for it.

This is especially true when I have no way of “catching up” in the short term, anyway. Recall that the 2018 me could only afford to max out 6 legendaries per year, so building full teams of all relevant legendaries at that time would have taken 6 years. By then, the signature moves would have likely been released, and I would have to start all over again, which takes another 6+ years. (This was before there were even hints of Elite TMs.)

If I can’t become a “good” PvE player with maxed legendary teams in the short term anyway, I would rather take a strategy that lets me do so in the long term. Or so the 2018 me thought.

  • This has not much to do with being F2P. Anyone with limited raiding ability can come to the same conclusion. Being F2P exacerbates the logic, but it’s far from the only reason.

Not just legendaries…

While not the focus of this article, legendaries with signature moves are far from the only ones with this problem.

As of 2023, exclusive moves can literally be put on anything.

  • See here as a screenshot: “Historical sources of exclusive moves, and all possible candidates for receiving them”

While we do have Elite TMs now, they’re a band aid or a last resort, not a solution. Each time there’s an exclusive move, in the worst case, it may be highly desirable to have 6 for PvE, one or more in each league for PvP, or both (not to mention shadows). One Elite TM doesn’t help much with such massive quantities that arise from practical uses, and multiple Elite TMs are simply too expensive and/or rare.

What happened in these 5 years?

I started the “don’t spend paid passes until signature move” strategy in September 2018. It’s been 4.5 years since then, and almost 5 since I started playing.

Now, in 2023, I have enough candies to max out 6 of most PvE-relevant legendaries, if I want to. But I think that’s primarily because of the long duration of time I’ve been playing and constant effort in PvP, and doesn’t mean it’s “easy” to get PvE legendary teams under a time limit.

  • See here as a screenshot: “My PvE resources after 5 years”

In other words, I could have built 6 Surf Kyogre, 6 Earthquake Groudon, 6 Outrage/Aerial Ace Rayquaza etc if I wanted to, but if I did, I would definitely not be able to power up another 6 Origin Pulse Kyogre, 6 Precipice Blades Groudon and 6 Breaking Swipe/Dragon Ascent Rayquaza right now in 2023 without taking another few years. Either that, or spend 18 Elite Charged TMs… Even ETM hoarders would likely raise eyebrows with such a hefty investment.

On the other hand, way too many legendaries and mythicals have gotten exclusive moves. Some are signature moves, some are not, and some didn’t even come from raids.

  • See here for a detailed table: “All exclusive moves on legendaries and their release timeline”. I’ll make this its own post soon.
  • Notice how half of them were in 2022 or later? That’s barely a year out of 6 years of raiding being a feature. Yeah, the frequency of raid-exclusive moves is really ramping up.

Key takeaway: The amount of time you have to wait for an exclusive move is highly variable and unpredictable. In the best case, it can be 1 year after shiny release (Reshiram and Zekrom), or even 1 year after dex release (Kanto birds). In the worst case, it can be up to 5 years. And sometimes the exclusive moves are totally unexpected, such as Breaking Swipe Rayquaza and Zap Cannon Registeel.

In the case of Kyogre and Groudon… 5 years after dex release, 4+ years after shiny release. The longest wait we’ve ever seen.

The thought of “only spending raid passes on exclusive moves” retained some traction in the community for a while.

  • When Psystrike Mewtwo was released in 2019, people were really frustrated that they couldn’t get Psystrike on the Psychic Mewtwos they raided hard just a year prior. At that time, a Level 25 Psystrike Mewtwo outclassed Level 40 Psychic Mewtwo (this is no longer true).
  • Less than a month later, when shiny Giratina-A was released, a post titled “Friendly Reminder: Giratina can learn the signature move Shadow Force” got 700 upvotes. (Shadow Force was released 3 years after this post.)

However, as time went on, it seemed like players have collectively forgotten about this. Elite TMs definitely contributed, but I felt it was primarily because exclusive moves just faded out of people’s memory.

Speaking of Elite TMs, I should make it clear that I’m glad they exist. I really do. But as mentioned before, I think of them as a band-aid, not a solution.

  • Accessibility, especially outside of PvP. Right now, the only sources of free ETMs are from GBL-related events: up to 4 Elite Charged TMs every 3 months, two requiring significant effort in GBL. I do GBL myself, but a significant portion of the player base don’t.
  • Demand, especially for PvE uses. As long as “6 of #1 of each type” remains the optimal strategy for raids, there will always be a potential need for 6 ECTMs on the same species, that’s directly incentivized by the game. When applied to several different legendaries (6-8), the number explodes real quick.
  • Also, the existence of Elite TMs does nothing to change the min-maxing strategy in earlier sections. For a forward-looking player, “a paid pass now and an ETM later” remains worse than “spending a paid pass later without needing an ETM”.

When I do get a hundo or a good shiny from a daily raid, they feel like a burden for an ETM that I’ll eventually have to spend, rather than something to enjoy.

The straws accumulating on the camel’s back

In the last 1-2 years, there have been a series of events and changes that have been really demotivating to me, whether they’re related to exclusive moves or not.

I’ve already mentioned here that exclusive moves can now be put on any Pokémon via any method. I’m not okay with it, but it may be just me. However, there are a few specific points that set even worse precedents.

#1. “One-shot-only” exclusive moves: Earthquake Ho-Oh, Fire Punch Groudon, etc

  • With only one non-ETM encounter from field research with random IVs, it sounded more like… “Hey, we decided to add this move to the ETM pool instead of the regular move pool. Now give us your ETMs!”

#2. Different exclusive moves on Pokémon that already had a raid-exclusive move: Breaking Swipe Rayquaza

#3. Completely unexpected exclusive moves, on legendaries without signature moves at all: Zap Cannon Registeel, etc

#4. Unpredictable timelines of exclusive move releases: Fusion Flare Reshiram vs. Origin Pulse Kyogre

  • As I showed in the table earlier, Kyogre and Groudon took 4+ years since shiny release, while Reshiram and Zekrom only took 1.

#5. Paywalled exclusive moves (and entire PvE-relevant Pokemon): Magical Leaf Celebi, Double Iron Bash Melmetal, and Apex Shadows

  • Also see this for my frustration with Apex Shadows.

#6. Legendaries not returning to raids with their past signature moves: Ho-Oh etc

With all things considers (especially #1, #2, #5, and #6), this doesn’t feel like a way to encourage raiding at all. It feels more like solely encouraging usage (and sales) of ETMs, which really isn’t enjoyable even if you can afford them.

Three things happening in quick succession really stinks: Hoenn Tour not having CD moves, Double Iron Bash being paywalled, and Ho-Oh not having any exclusive move. Coincidence or not? We can only guess, but it’s not a good sign. Just like…

#7. Deteriorating state of the game as a whole.

This is not even related to any exclusive moves of ETMs.

I’ll quote PokeMiners from their stepping down note last year, as they described it better than I can:

Recent decisions, actions, and responses to the community have made it clear to us that Niantic simply does not care about the quality of the game or its community. Every event launches with mistakes and/or confusion, they take the game down for 40 minutes without any mention, apology, or explanation, and new features are mismanaged and priorities are questionable at best. The changes to shop boxes without explanation, the quick removal of the 1480 box when it was added back for a few minutes, the launch of Elite Raids in their broken state, the repeated use of them with no fixes, the multiple Zorua and GO Plus issues, the confusing Ultra Beast marketing campaign, and most recently Hoenn Tour Global apparent nerf have all been on the tip of our minds, with each killing a lot of our motivation and love for this game. This has been a long time coming, and we do not take this lightly. Over the last 6 months, we have slowly been building to this point, with Niantic consistently pushing us closer to the edge more and more with the game being in the worst state it’s been in years, new features with illogical game design choices, zero quality control or care to improve broken events, blog posts, and infographics leading to more bugs and confusion, not taking responsibility for their mistakes, breaking promises to the community, and refusing to communicate even basic things like what an event actually is or when in some cases or make good on any of their promises from the #HearUsNiantic movement.

Think about what we had since just a year ago.

  • Removal of stationary incense.
  • Shortening of CDs to 3 hours.
  • Rising prices of Remote Raid Passes (and more rumoured nerfs prior to this season that thankfully didn’t happen).
  • Removal of 1 coin boxes.
  • Endless trash boxes in shop.
  • Nerf of legendary rates in GBL.
  • More and more ticketed events with paywalled Pokémon like Keldeo and DIB Melmetal.
  • Current GBL meta being extremely stale with virtually no move updates.
  • Bans of users submitting fake AR scans.
  • Discontinued Dev Diaries.
  • Hoenn Tour fiasco.
  • Regidrago Elite Raids fiasco.

When the 5-year wait finally ended…

Alright, let’s bring the topic back to Kyogre and Groudon.

Two weeks ago, during Hoenn Tour, and more than 5 years since they first appeared in PoGo – they finally got their signature moves, Origin Pulse and Precipice Blades. I had 1400+ candies of each, waiting for this day to come.

I “only” did 24 Groudon and 8 Kyogre raids. My best Groudon from the day was “only” a 91% 15/14/12, and my best Kyogre was… 89% 14/12/14 lol.

That was actually quite a lot of raids as a walking F2P, but far from what some of you can do, what I was planning to do, and even what I hoped for 4-5 years ago.

In the end, I’ll probably still ETM the functional hundos I had for each, but I don’t know if I’ll ever spend more ETMs on old ones. My PvE teams will still primarily consist of Shadow Swamperts (which are just better) and Shadow Mamoswines (which are comparable or better), but that’s not the main point.

As I spent the whole weekend walking from raid to raid, spending time on a feature I never really enjoyed, while giving up time I could have spent catching wild spawns or stacking Sableye from stops… I finally got it.

It’s not fun.

And the worst part is, I’m not sure which one would actually be more fun for me.

It’s not fun to get a 100% or 98% Surf Kyogre from raids, possibly using paid raid passes from coins I’ve saved up for years, only to immediately realize they’re just waiting to be outclassed by the exact same form of the exact same Pokémon eventually, unless I spend an Elite TM.

But it’s also not fun to save up raid passes for years as an attempt to save ETMs and duplicate rare candy investments, and then on the day itself, walk home with a 91% being the best I got.

It’s not fun to go hardcore on shiny and IV hunting Reshiram and Zekrom, expecting to get 3-4 years of utility from them, only to see them come back with an exclusive move just one year later. Or to evolve a Gible, Shadow Spheal or something you would never expect a CD for, only for it to get a CD and make your older Pokemon inferior.

But it’s also not fun to sit out on powering up Kyogre and Groudon while pumping rare candies into them, expecting their signature moves to come “soon” every year, and then end up waiting for 5 years. Or to save up to 6 per species for “inevitable” future exclusive move candidates like Meteor Assault Sirfetch’d and Brutal Swing (Shadow) Tyranitar, while not even knowing how long it will take, or whether the move will end up being paywalled like Double Iron Bash.

It’s not fun to accept that I’ll never be as “good” as those hardcore local players with 6 of each legendary in 2018, or that settling on a raid team that doesn’t cost tons of rare candies and other resources is okay, when I’m on a sub full of players aiming to get better and stronger PvE teams as if that was what they play the game for (at least in 2018). Or to have the feeling of being an inferior casual player using Magmar in a Regice raid come back and bite me.

But it’s also not fun to be constantly chasing after premium investments – Xurkitree, Kartana, Terrakion, Reshiram, Groudon – min-maxing my resources to shorten my gap with the whales, while also fearing if anything will outclass them in the future, especially by themselves with a different move (like Blue Flare Reshiram and Wild Charge Xurkitree).

It’s not fun to throw away free resources like the daily raid pass, 50 daily coins and rare candies obtained from these raids, or to use them sub optimally, when they’re supposed to be extremely valuable resources for F2P players.

But it’s also not fun to spend hours after hours doing all this resource optimization for a small part of the game, one which I only got into due to expectations from the hardcore communities, and not my intrinsic interests and values.

It’s not fun to be worrying about all this when I’m already getting less and less enjoyment out of the game, when so many issues highlighted in #7 above clearly demonstrate that Niantic doesn’t care about the game nor the players, especially F2P players like me.

But it’s also not fun to just quit the game on the spot, knowing my years of perseverance and long-term planning have yet to pay off, and many fellow players here depend on me to provide latest information and advice to guide them in their own decisions.

I know I’m being more negative here than I probably should, but these are all very real thoughts that have been circulating in my mind lately, and they’re things that I didn’t even stop to think about before. I was reminded of them when rumours of remote raid nerfs happened, when we were yet again waiting until the last day of the season for announcements, when the Melmetal ticketed research went live, and when I was standing in the rain trying to click on a Regidrago raid for 15 minutes with no success.

  • (Again, many points above also apply to non-F2P players.)

An open letter to Niantic…

I almost decided to skip this part, because I don’t want to be seen as complaining or whining, and because I don’t think Niantic will read this anyway. But I do have something to say.

I understand how power creep can be seen as necessary (even though my own opinion is that it’s very unlikely for this to go on forever). I understand why you may feel that you need exclusive moves in raids to encourage people to raid again. I understand you have limited content from MSG, and need to spread them out across years so that you don’t run out. And despite all I’ve said, I really, really appreciate having Elite TMs available. But to me, none of these changes the fact that it’s not fun.

The current approach to exclusive moves, raids or otherwise, feel more like a mental burden to use an Elite TM (if that’s even allowed), instead of something to enjoy and look forward to. Giving us “the ability to use an ETM” is not fun. Telling us we need to spend money on the exact same Pokémon in the same form that we did before is even more mundane.

I’ll quote the GamePress article from 2018 again:

We accepted that moves could be rebalanced and fully understand that a game mechanic change will eventually shift everything. We accept that some Pokémon are outclassed in future generations. But we never expected that legendary Pokémon would be outclassed by a limited release version of themselves, nor should we tolerate it.

At this point, I honestly think the novelty of exclusive moves has died off. Many players have now been trained to either ignore current raids without shinies or exclusive moves, or stock up an ETM to eventually use it and ignore future raids. Just like how the Community Day exclusive move system has trained players to not evolve or even not care about Axew, Goomy, Jangmo-o etc because they’ll get a better move eventually.

A significant portion of (former) PvE players have stopped caring because they’re tired of chasing power creep. And the majority of players, who absolutely do not care about moves, will still not care about these raids when they already have their shinies.

I’m not sure if I’m qualified enough to offer suggestions or if they even matter, but I’ll give it a try.

  1. Create more varied PvE mechanics that allow us to use a greater variety of Pokémon, instead of the same old Pokémon but with a better move. If I suddenly have a reason to use Toxicroak, Trevenant, Galvantula and Bisharp for raids, I can feel I’m making progress hunting for them. If I suddenly need to raid Groudon and Reshiram that I already raided before just because they can now outclass themselves, that’s a negative experience and feels like a chore.
  2. Make Elite TMs move available via non-PvP means, and do not take away existing means of obtaining past exclusive moves, nor free ETMs from PvP. Steranka said you “want trainers to have fun in different ways”, so reward us for having fun in different ways. Bring back ETMs from defeating Giovanni like it did in 2020. Make ETMs a random drop from raids or a reward for doing X number of raids. Bring back CD moves more often, unlike what you did for Hoenn Tour. Bring back signature moves on legendaries like Ho-Oh when they return to raids. And do not lock the Oo Battle Day ETMs behind paid tickets, like it’s apparently being done for the May GBL day.

There are much better suggestions I could give, but at this point it’s clear they won’t ever materialize.

Advice for my fellow players

To those who still find the game engaging and will continue playing it, kudos to you. Unfortunately, now that the game is almost 7 years old, most of us have learned that unless another #HearUsNiantic happens, we can only play and plan our gameplay within Niantic’s constraints, even if we don’t like them. This section is for players who do want to continue playing within these constraints.

I’m not going to focus on the common advice you’ll frequently hear from hardcore players (both 2018 and 2023) with heavy min-maxing flavors, such as “do not evolve/power up unless absolutely necessary”, “for X type you need attacker Y”, “do a T5 raid every day with gym control”, “10 top legendaries to spend rare candies on”, “how to maximize stardust”, etc. As seen from my personal experience… They don’t always make you happy.

Instead, I’ll talk about perspectives that are underrepresented in this community, things that many players (even myself) may not point out as much as they probably should.

#1. Consider time as an important factor when making investments. Even if something is inevitable, we don’t know how long they will take.

Jangmo-o will eventually get a Community Day, Dialga will eventually get Roar of Time, Keldeo will probably be released for free, Reshiram and Zekrom may still get Blue Flare and Bolt Strike eventually, and every shadow – even shadow legendaries – will eventually be released.

The question is, how long do you have to wait? Do you have the patience, and will you still be playing by then?

Pokémon GO will be 7 years old in a few months. We waited 5 years for Origin Pulse and Precipice Blades. Both are longer than the entire lifespans of most mobile games, and long enough for someone to go through several different stages in life.

Even legendaries typically have a return period of once a year or more nowadays, and that can easily go up to 2 years, which had happened to Rayquaza, Palkia, Dialga and Giratina-O. One year means 4 full GBL seasons, and possibly many raid bosses that they may be useful against.

I’m not saying everyone needs to get everything now, but this is an important consideration when planning your resources. How soon can you replenish the resources spent on these Pokémon? How much benefit and joy will you get from having them? And how long do you expect to keep playing?

#2. The game doesn’t revolve around PvE, and it’s not the default or only alternative to PvP in the game. A “good” raid team is usually sufficient – you don’t need a perfect one with “6 of the best”.

Many players love to treat PvE and PvP as two contrasting aspects of the game, and sometimes even the two “main” pillars of the game. Sorry, but I don’t think that’s true.

Not only because the vast majority of players are not into either, not only because other even more important and popular aspects like collection exist, and not even because there’s no standard definition of PvE itself – but because “PvE” and PvP have never been on equal footing.

PvP was designed to be an endgame, or one of the possible endgames for competitive players. In contrast, PvE has always been a means to an enda tool that helps players achieve other goals.

Even though PvE infographics seem popular on TSR, the reality is that people power up raid teams not for the thrill of powering them up, and people do raids not for the experience of standing in the cold for 10 minutes. They do so because it allows them to beat raids and get rewards, especially the Pokémon itself or a chance at its shiny.

Most people don’t buy furniture for the intrinsic joy of getting better furniture, they do so for a better experience of living in their homes.

A small group of players do get intrinsic joy from building better raid teams, or even treat it as their #1 end goal, and they’re what I refer to as “PvE players”, or “self-fulfilment players”. But I’ll wager this group is vanishingly small, even smaller than PvP players that hit Ace – and my 2021 survey gives credence to that.

When you take the self-fulfilment aspect of PvE out of consideration, there’s really not much practical reason in getting top-tier PvE counters. If 4 players all using 6 Mewtwo can beat a T5 raid in 150 seconds, 4 players ALL using 6 Shadow Mewtwo (with a “huge”, ~16% improvement) can beat it in… 129 seconds. All the rare candies and stardust on SIX Shadow Mewtwo save you 21 seconds if everyone else does the same, or 5 seconds if nobody else does.

No, PvE is not the end game. It’s not how you get “good” at the game. Especially not in 2023.

I interpreted things from 2018 in a completely wrong manner, thus felt I needed to do PvE to become a good player, and went down the wrong path for years. I don’t want to mislead anyone in 2023 into thinking the same.

#3. Think about what really interests you in the game. What “hardcore” players here care about may not be what’s best for YOU.

In 2023, there are so many things you can do in the game. Several forms of collection (dex, shinies, hundos, costumes, XXS/XXL, luckies, shadows), leveling up, medals, gyms and gym badges, eggs and walking, Rocket battles, field research, friendship/gifting/postcards, buddies, megas… And that’s not even including PvP and PvE.

Arguably you do need some basic skills in some of them (e.g. being able to beat Giovanni, contribute enough damage in raids), and most people broadly care about some of them (shinies). Even Niantic may “incentivize” or “force” certain features upon players (e.g. locking legendaries behind raids, leveling up requirements that involve every single part of the game). But there’s no reason why you need to be hardcore in everything, much less one or two specific features that a specific community happens to talk a lot about.

I have very little interest in doing raids myself. Yet, the hardcore communities and their attitude towards PvE in 2018 made me feel I had to do it against my interests. For 5 years, it added too much stress to my gameplay, resource management, and recently, my life outside of the game.

In recent years, I feel the TSR community itself is becoming more diverse, and I think that’s a good thing. We don’t need more players to interpret the game in the same way that I did as a new player.

So reflect on what you truly, personally enjoy in the game, and go for that.

Don’t be like me.

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