We’ve all heard the complaints – shorter Community Days are harder to fit into a busy every day schedule – and after playing hard this weekend, I must say that this statement strikes home in more ways than one.
This article is my ramblings on the recent changes Niantic made, how it feels to me personally, and why I think we can go back to the three-hour event format despite it being so inconvenient at best.
If you’re looking for some more useful content, I suggest you read Under The Lights: Community Day Bewear article for a PvP focused view of the Drain Punch bear.
I live a relatively busy life, as I imagine most 30 year olds do. In between making food, having a job with too many meetings and trying to spend some meaningful time with my partner and family, it has become increasingly hard to find time to play Pokémon GO consistently.
If I think back to 2016-2018, it seems unimaginable that I would ever have enough time to play Pokémon GO as much as I did back then. Not that the game has gotten worse – it hasn’t – but it’s the sad reality of growing older. You simply have less time, more obligations and more chores to do.
With that being said, I always thought that having longer Community Days will make it easier for me to play. Honestly, it hasn’t. I’ve skipped most Community Days in the past. There I said it.
I didn’t touch Hoppip during its Community Day. I love Hoppip, but honestly, I kinda forgot about the whole thing throughout the day. I did (or rather didn’t) do the same thing with Spheal Community Day (January 2022).
Sounds dumb, I know, but the longer play window would make me more relaxed, and I had problems finding the time and place to play. In both cases, I just forgot about the event, and I went about my day like it wasn’t happening.
Now, Stufful Community Day was different. Oh boy, was it different.
The fact that there are only three hours to play made me nervous. Will I be able to play? Will I be able to skirt my mundane activities to catch a golden teddy bear? Is this really what life is all about?
I went for a walk with my partner at around 3 p.m. local time. We had a hard time finding a parking spot, my dog was going bonkers (she didn’t go out that day, rained heavily in the morning), and finally at around 4 p.m. I took out my phone to play.
And then it struck me.
I missed this. I missed the stress, the frantic gameplay, the quick catching, the Pinap bonanza.
400 Candy to evolve? No problemo, I’ve been farming Pinaps for ages. After playing for 50 minutes, I had enough Candy to evolve three Bewear. I felt like a Poké god, can’t lie.
The short duration, the grind, the stress and the emotional rollercoaster felt liberating. My partner said she enjoyed it as well, as I had no reason to reach for my phone any more.
Sure, I checked out some of the local spawns, did my due diligence with storage management, but I was done for the day. I was tapped out, and it felt good.
Sometimes, less is more
I understand both sides of this discussion, and there is an argument to be made that longer Community Days make them more accessible and easier to fit into one’s schedule.
But I think it makes them less fun. Less dramatic, less engrossing and less immersive. Community Days always felt like this monumental day where you knew that you’re in for a grind. I love that feeling.
It reminds me of World of Warcraft raiding sessions, where you meet other players for a couple of hours and you grind the heck out of a particular raid.
The real problem is that the proverbial cat is out of the Poké bag. Players don’t react well to nerfs and to more restriction, and that’s normal and expected.
Maybe this is a good thing. Maybe Niantic is onto something with this change. Maybe they’re completely wrong and this is terrible for most people.
Honestly, I don’t know.
What I do know is that it felt invigorating and quite revealing to me.
After playing again under this stress and time limitation, I will gladly skip on a boring Community Day in order to block out some time for my family, friends and real life.
Conversely, if there’s a particular CD Pokémon I want, I will block out those three hours for myself, my Pokédex and my shiny collection. Yes, I’m getting older and I’m getting more protective of my personal time and hobbies.
Maybe that’s a good thing.
On the topic of Special Research Tickets
This one hurt me the most, but I think paying for the Special Research Ticket was more or less mandatory this time around, especially for someone with limited time to play.
The simple fact that you got a metric ton of Stufful Candy, plus a Bewear in a Field Research encounter, made it quite easy to spend a dollar on it.
I am not sure if Bewear is an outlier – I think it is due to it’s insane evolution requirement – but I do see the benefit of having an easier way to a fully evolved CD Pokémon as an option.
With Pokémon GO’s ageing demographic being more and more willing to spend in-game money, I assume we will see an increase in convenience purchases throughout the app over the next few years.
I don’t know how I feel about this, but for the time being, I’m fine with the price and willing to spend money to have an easier and more enjoyable CD. It’s a whole different story if Niantic decides to hike the price, but let’s cross that bridge if/when we get there.
And that’s about it what I have to say. I enjoyed the shorter event time – it actually felt easier to prioritise Pokémon GO over real life. I hope Niantic can find a way to accommodate more players and their habits with event timing, but I am in favour of having shorter, more focused, events.
What are your thoughts? Did you have a good time this weekend?