Pokémon World Championship London 2022: A Semi-Rural Player on Tour

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For the second part of my ‘Semi-Rural Player on Tour‘ series, I couldn’t have travelled to a much bigger event, attending the Pokémon Worlds Championships 2022 at the ExCel in London. This was my first time attending any sort of Pokémon event in person, including Pokémon GO events, so I was excited to see what it was like! I’ve played events like Global GO Fest with my local community, but getting to attend an in-person event like this was a whole different kettle of Magikarp.

I met up with fellow GOHub crew JellyBean, Spindiana and Avrip (the latter of which was competing in the GO tournament). I was really excited because none of us had actually had the opportunity to meet in person before! I arrived Friday evening and was immediately blown away by the amount of Pokéstops and gyms around Kings Cross. I think there were more around the train station and in sight than I have in my whole local area! After some chaos with travel due to planned strikes I made it to the hotel at 7pm, checked in and met up with JellyBean. We headed straight to the ExCel Centre which was fairly empty, but the area was filled with special event Pokéstops and gyms!

I’ve never seen special event Pokéstops and gyms, and there were so many! I don’t think I’ve ever sent out so many gifts to my friends list, or saved so many as postcards to keep as memories for myself. The DLR Welcome Tunnel Pokéstop had even been updated to include the Pokémon Worlds 2022 displays! It was so fun to see, and really made the event more exciting.

There was an in-game event for Pokémon GO players, with special spawns around the ExCel Centre, including Unown that spelt out LDN (short for London), Pansear, red flower Flabébé, Sawk and Zangoose (local regionals), as well as the other global Worlds event spawns. There were also special event field research tasks at the event Pokéstops rewarding the Worlds 2022 Pikachu, Bouffalant or Throh, and a Collection Challenge. Raids were also incredibly active at the gyms, you could easily jump into any lobby and find it filling to maximum trainers before you had blinked! Getting to raid in person where I live is almost impossible, and even getting enough folks to raid remotely can be tricky, so that was really novel. I haven’t raided so much in a long time, actually using up some of the stockpile of premium battle passes I’ve had for years.

Unown shiny rates were also incredibly boosted, I got two shiny Unown watching the GO finals, including what now the rarest Pokémon in my collection, a shiny Unown N with an IV of 0.

Usually when I know I’m going to play an event like Community Day, I ration my play in order to preserve Pokéballs and other items, because living semi-rurally keeping my items can prove tricky. On a daily basis I can interact with maybe 6-10 Pokéstops on the GO Plus as I head to work, and that is about it. If I’m not working, it could be a single Pokéstop. I always ensure I open my maximum gifts daily, and I limit my catches to only those I need candy for, or really love/want a good IV of. I know on Community Day I am going to use more balls than I can restock, so I have to have the best supply I can in advance, or else I’m going to struggle. Post-Worlds, despite catching everything in sight all weekend, I have more balls in my inventory than I started with! I don’t think I’ve had this many Pokéballs in years. I actually had to throw away potions and revives to make more spaces for balls, and put some of my rare candy hoard into Pokémon because I was suddenly consistently running with full bag space.

In terms of the event itself, the group play bonus was a bit of a mystery. It seemed to spawn the odd Unown, and maybe swap the global event spawns to slightly more of the regionals, but there wasn’t much discernible impact. Every stop remained lured up the entire event, getting to put a lure on was a real task in itself, and if you managed it, well done! You could make some serious progress on your Picnicker Badge. I saw MrMeme on twitter with screenshots of before and after they managed to put a Lure on at Worlds, increasing from 6751 to over 32000!

Usually with tasks like the ‘Battle a Challenger’ task and timed research, I would really struggle. Before I left my home town I had seen one singular challenger. Before I got to my hotel I had completed the timed research! I usually try to find work arounds with tasks like this, such as fleeing from the battle once I’ve entered, in order to battle the same challenger multiple times, but I didn’t need to. I was inundated with options!

There were plenty of Pokémon to catch and shiny check all day, a decent amount of tasks to complete from the Pokéstops, and I was able to organise a couple of special trades, including getting a Cowboy Hat Snorlax from JellyBean, and my 50th shiny Turtwig from Tom (thekruseship). Even if you didn’t watch the actual competitions, GO could easily keep you busy all day! As well as the shiny IV0 Unown N, I was also able to get a shiny Unown D, shiny Zangoose, shiny Beefeater Worlds Pikachu, and a rank 1 Great League Mudkip. Exciting!

I plan to write about other parts of Worlds in other articles, but in terms of being someone who usually plays in a semi-rural area, it was really wild, and such a completely different experience. Not having to worry about catching everything, which is truly the whole point of Pokémon GO, because rather than run out of resources, I could actually gain more than I could use!

I hope Worlds will be in the UK again, as I would love to attend in the future. If you play rurally, London itself is an experience in terms of just how many spawns and stops there are, and then being at a Pokémon event made it even more incredible. I can’t recommend enough trying to attend an event like this if it is viable for you, or one happens in your country. It was endless fun!

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Turtwig obsessive, real life Psyduck, Pokémon GO AR Photographer, found footage horror fan and Pokémon GO Hub AR Queen

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