Our Thoughts on the Johto Tour Event

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The 26th February brought with it the second ever ‘Tour’ event, this time paying a trip to Johto. It was a global ticketed event, and after last years Kanto Tour feelings were a little mixed in the run up to the event, so we were curious to see how the event ran, and the community feelings on how it went. I played with a group of local trainers, so the first section here will reflect our experiences as a group for the day, playing on foot, in a fairly densely populated area for PokéStops and gyms.

Overall Thoughts

Spawns

First up, the spawns. The rotating habitats are always a welcome way to keep the day more interesting, and the evolved Kanto spawns were a great mix. Sometimes the Kanto spawns did overwhelm the Johto spawns (Onix in particular was abundant!) but even the rarer Pokémon seemed to be fairly accessible. You could easily grind the candy for the Pokémon you wanted like Larvitar, and each habitat had a good 8 different Pokémon to hunt for. We wished Girafarig, Remoraid and Hitmontop would have been more dominant.

In terms of incense spawns, the ‘exclusive’ spawns could have been a little more generous in their appearance. I easily went an hour between Mantine spawns on my account at one point, which made grinding for it harder because I couldn’t increase my chances more. We tended to find that the slightly more common incense spawns dominated, like Teddiursa, rather than Phanpy and Mantine. We’d have liked to see more of the newly released shiny Pokémon, rather than the pre-existing.

The addition of the wild Legendaries was really cool. We were all really excited every time one spawned, even if we knew it would almost certainly flee. I hope this is something we see again in the future, it felt so new and thrilling to find one wild! It took us back to the old days of chasing shadows on our nearby, and was absolutely one of the best parts of the day. Especially knowing they could potentially be shiny!

Shinies

Our group found that by and large, our shiny Pokémon were not the new releases. In fact, in our group, not a single one of us got a shiny Remoraid, Hitmontop, Tyrogue or Unown throughout the whole day. And we were walking for the first 9 hours of the event! We also struggled to get our ‘exclusive’ shinies that were new, so Mantine and Phanpy. Like most people we were hoping to get extras of them to trade, but none of us managed spares, and some of us didn’t manage to get our exclusive shiny full stop (I didn’t get Mantine).

We loved that the evolved forms of the Kanto Pokémon were available shiny, it made it a lot more exciting to catch them. Evolved shiny forms are always fun, and I hope we see more of this in the future.

In terms of shiny rates, it’s always important to manage your expectations for a ticketed event like this. The rates aren’t like Community Day, so I imagine a lot of us went in with fairly low expectations. Our group varied from approximately 10 shinies, through to 40 shinies. Quite a difference! RNG is such a funny thing, and it was interesting to see how varied our shiny rates were given that we played in the same way, in the same location.

The most widely reported shiny issue people had was that Corsola and Heracross appeared to be standard rates, 1 in 450ish, yet it was raid locked, making it almost impossible to get the shiny. This felt really unfair, as many of us will never have the chance to try to hunt these in person, and look to events like this specifically to try to add them to our shiny collection. We say it after almost every event like this, but why on earth do regionals need to be raid locked?!

Items

The varied research provided a lot of premium items, balls, and even XL Candy, which was very welcome. We didn’t struggle for balls, in fact, we tended to struggle for bag space instead! They kept us well topped up and not having to worry about our items.

It was great to have the cheap bag expansion box available, as well as a discounted incubator box. Being able to purchase one box to expand both our Pokémon storage, and our item bag was very welcome!

Bonuses

Quarter egg distance was great for those able to safely play on foot. We hatched large amounts of eggs (thought none of us got a shiny Tyrogue, which seemed the rarest hatch). It did add a lot of cost because we all knew that the shiny rates for the baby Pokémon would be decent, but that was our own decision! Having the babies in the 2km eggs worked so well, if they had been in the 7km eggs it would have been much trickier to keep open egg spaces to open gifts. Having the more preferable egg pool in the 2km eggs was spot on.

The extra special trades and additional free in person raid passes were also all very welcome additions to the day, along with the 3 free remote raid passes in the shop. We all used all of our free in person passes, as well as the remote raid passes. Free premium items is always most welcome! The extra special trades were handy for anyone who could meet someone else in person. I added to my Turtwig army, and did some very long overdue trades. We didn’t manage to use all our special trades, but having extra is always a good thing.

Remote trading would have been great for rural players and those still isolating/under lockdowns. We were lucky to be able to organise as a small group (The UK has lifted all restrictions), but many trainers don’t have access to local groups, or could not safely play together. When being able to trade is an essential part of a challenge, remote trading seems a logical choice.

Research

The overall consensus for the Special Research and Collection Challenges was that it was overwhelming at times. While it gave us a lot to do, it really was seriously a lot to do! Playing in a group allowed us to remind each other to claim tasks and keep the research moving as a whole, but it was easy to forget about!

For two of our group the Normal type trainer didn’t spawn at the same stop as the rest of us, and they then had to spend a lot of time chasing potential Pokéstops down, which took a lot more time than it needed to. Some of our rural players didn’t find a single trainer to battle at a Pokéstops, so were unable to finish that portion at all. It was great to be given the choice to turn these trainer battles off, and all of us opted to do that so we could concentrate on catching.

One of the biggest issues I’ve seen reported online is that people forget to evolve Espeon during daylight hours, and so were not able to complete the Evolution Collection Challenge. It was buried at the bottom of the list, and so easy to forget about. We opted to all evolve an Espeon immediately thanks to one of our group having seen on social media that people were forgetting it (thanks Bev!), or else we might have been in the same boat.

For the lone player, it could be quite stressful to keep on top of checking tasks, especially as they were in both the Today view, and the Special Research tab. I wonder if there would be a better way to organise this in the future, or if Niantic could add reminders to the event so people didn’t miss out because they were trying to hard to get everything done.

Overall Thoughts

I think I can safely speak for my local group that I played with that we had a brilliant day. It was tough on our feet, and hard work at times, but being able to play with our community again was awesome, and something we all hadn’t realised how much we had missed! We might not all have gotten the shinies we wanted, or even the amount we wanted, but we had a riot because we got to be together. It’s easy to lose sight of what we all loved about Pokémon GO, especially the last few years, but playing it together has to be the best part. I was so thankful to be able to play with my group, and I can’t wait for Community Day with them!

Our Writer’s Thoughts

Platinum

‘I played alone with a ticket, mainly in my local park, walking down to it during the first hour. I put nearly all my focus in the beginning on completing the research tasks and battles available and finished them all in about the first 3 hours, and once they were over with the event felt pretty calm, being able to focus fully on the spawns while completing the evolution challenge during downtime like waiting for a ride home. I played outside for the first 6 hours, then used incense from home. I do wish some conveniences from last year’s Johto Tour returned, like extended trade distance and a full week to finish the challenges. That’s pretty much my only gripe, it made me concerned I wouldn’t get the trading done. A few people in my community also missed out on evolving Espeon for the challenge, so having more time especially outside the event would’ve helped. My favourite part was having the legendary beasts appear in the wild, they were hard to catch but it was still tons fun to chase them down and it was a clever reference to the original game’s “roamers”.

Shiny tally 17, 10 unique ones, nearly all ticket boosted.’

Glawhantojar

‘I’m going to forgo talking about the shiny rate, other then to say I got 5 total in 7 hours (6 if you include the guarenteed Gyarados. I had a decent time with the event, the special research was interesting. They did a much better job of doing the npc battles this year by only giving us the ones we needed. I do think they could of spawned a bit more often. My biggest issue was the spawns, the 2nd evolution spawns were overwhelming at times. Especially Golbat, that thing was everywhere. One of the biggest draws for me was Shuckle and I think I saw 9 total, so that was disappointing. I think the catch challenges were fine, I finished all of them without much effort just by catching. They could do away with that evolution challenge entirely, that was objectively awful.

Overall I’d give it a 7 out of 10, fun but coulda been better.’

Teban54

Shiny count – 28 total, including 1 Gyarados, 1 Lugia, 2 Ho-Oh.
‘I myself completed all challenges, but then again I played almost the full 12 hours in an area with dense stops. For the challenges, the most annoying thing was to keep reminding myself to keep track of them and not to forget claiming the rewards, particularly the special research and the trainer battles. Every once in a while I got too into shiny checking and catching, then forget I actually still need to send gifts with a sticker or to battle a trainer. It’s why I finished the Celebi research quite late. I didn’t really like how you have to do things like battle Rockets and use charged TMs . They’re not hard, but feel like they eat into the time you could have spent on catching and raiding. But there are probably people who enjoyed them. The trainers themselves were not that hard to find aside from one or two, other than having to adjust my route based on the trainers’ locations. But I understand there are less fortunate players.
 I did it on foot on a college campus, so pretty dense in spawns and stops. Didn’t have a community playing with me (we do have a Discord with a few vocal hardcore players but everyones’s doing their own thing), but did meet one other player (details below)
Highlight: Randomly came across another player while walking. Turns out we have the same work gym, similar playstyles, and were even both hunting for Ho-Oh! We then went to do a Lugia raid just for the collection challenge, which was the only Lugia raid I did – and it was a shiny 98! Really reminds me of the old feelings of playing with a community.
Lowlight: I wanted a good Ho-Oh for ML but didn’t get one during the day, so for the last hour I just frantically walked from raid to raid inviting randos on Pokeraid. Still didn’t get a good one, and even failed a raid because only 3 of the 5 remote raiders joined and it had Solar Beam…
Ho-Oh grinding was one. Besides that, probably getting as many XLs as possible for the relevant Pokemon, and getting some new shinies as a lower priority. Ho-Oh hunting was not successful (best is only 89), I would say the rest pretty much are (did get a shiny Phanpy and one or two missing shinies).
As many others mentioned, I think splitting it to a few days would be a good idea. I hated how I have to choose between raiding Ho-Oh and catching the wild spawns, especially with an exclusive move that we don’t know when it will come back. I also wish the collection challenges and others in the “Today” tab can be more streamlined and not take up like 6-7 pages. Maybe have a big card that shows the summaries (e.g. New Bark Town: 5/8, Evolution, 10/40) and allow us to expand by clicking on them? Oh, and get rid of Apexes. Nobody I knew were particularly excited about them, and it’s an unhealthy mechanic for the game.’
Apex Shadow Lugia and Apex Shadow Ho-Oh Revealed!
Apex Shadow Lugia and Apex Shadow Ho-Oh Revealed!

EpicBookworm

‘I’m really torn about how I feel about this event. On the one hand, I really enjoyed the day. I got together with my community for the first time since the pandemic and was able to play to my heart’s content. There were some really thoughtful and cool features. For example, the set-up for the type trainers was excellent. Being able to only encounter the one you needed, and then switch them off after, was genius. And having the legendary dogs in the wild was incredible – I managed two wild shiny Raikou! However, I can’t escape the feeling that we’ve been scammed. We were led to expect a lot from this event, but where Kanto was generous and exciting, Johto was inexplicably stingy. I went into the city to play, but the spawn numbers were so low – I reset my game about 10 minutes after event start, it looked so barren. I got 23 shinies, but only 3 were new to me, and only 1 was a new release that day. And that was the common experience from my community – a good amount of shinies, but extremely few of the new ones we were all so hyped for. Then there’s Corsola. Frankly, that should have had an “if you’re extremely lucky” on it in the event info. So many people tried so hard for that blue coral – I spent the latter third of my event focusing on it – for absolutely no reward, because again, the decision was made to be stingy rather than generous, and to let the player base think otherwise so we’d spend hard. All up, an event with fun moments that revitalised my enjoyment of the game due to being able to play like I did before the pandemic , but definitely poor value for the time and money spent. I’m now less excited for Go Fest and future Go Tours, because I can’t trust that Niantic will balance their goal to earn profit from the game with a positive player experience. And that’s so foolish on their part, because letting the base down like this is only going to drive players away from the game.
We know from last year’s Go Fest and Kanto Tour that an event can be both rewarding for the players and financially successful for Niantic, so I really question why Johto set us all up for disappointment.’

MeteorAsh15

‘It was an overall good event with amazing spawns and research. The shiny legendaries in the wild was a huge + That said, I felt it was a very tiring event and should have lasted for 2 days. Shiny rates were okay and the Mt. Silver was my favourite.
Overall, 7.5/10 from me.’

DiogodosSantos

‘Here’s a perspective from someone who haven’t played over the last 5 months and installed the game for this event: I didn’t play for the entire duration of the event, and even if all the things to do where sorte of overwhelming (because there was a looooot), I find it better to have more to do in exchange for continuous bonus and never finish everything completely, than the other way around.
From an old grinder, that is now sort of a casual, I had fun playing, knowing I wouldn’t complete everything, but knowing as well, that I had always something to do, even if I played harder. Even without caring to much about shinies, got 8 or 9, which was cool as well. Now that I’m more balanced in expectations and I know that what’s really important is to have fun while playing, I’ve enjoyed the event!’

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