Good morning (or evening) Trainers! We’re happy to kick of the second week of 2018 with an interesting news roundup. Niantic has once again managed to disappoint surprise us with their EX Raid pass mechanism, but there’s more going on than that.

#1 — A new wave of EX Raid passes sent

A few hours ago, a new wave of EX Raid passes was sent out, targeting again mostly first time raiders and leaving experienced raiders in the dark. The EX Raid is scheduled for January 16th, with the actual time of the raid depending on the popular local play hours. Gym selection algorithm is unchanged and still prefers frequently raided gyms inside parks.

Interestingly, we’ve received a lot of reports that players have received a raid pass although they still have an unused one for the January 9th EX raid. This image was submitted by one of our Indian readers:

Double EX Raid passes
Double EX Raid passes

The community is once again split on the whole EX Raid system. It’s becoming increasingly hard to understand (or even estimate) how the invitation system works, which once again lead to widespread criticism in the community.

Reversal, arguably the most hardcore Pokémon GO Youtuber decided to take a break from the game after repeatedly not receiving an EX Raid invite:


#2 — S2 cells are in active research

It seems that the wider research community has found a common research topic for this month – S2 cells.

S2 cells are a way to geometrically describe a sphere, or Earth in the case of Pokémon GO, into compact representations of regions and points. Unlike normal geometry, S2 cells have hierarchy and levels and each cell can be broken down into smaller cells, denoted by a rising level number.

S2 cells and space filling curves in action

Uraxor, a reddit user, ran down a list of interesting S2 cell levels and how they are used in the game (link):

If you’re interesting into learning more about S2 cells, read this excellent blog post by Side Walk Labs: S2 cells and space-filling curves: Keys to building better digital map tools for cities.


#3 — Regional spawns have increased

Rejoice, region hunters! The spawn rates for all regional Pokémon have been ever so slightly increased following the last week’s Seviper-Zangoose switcharoo. We haven’t still received word from our friends in the far east, but the increase has been observed for Tauros, Mr.Mime, Seviper, Zangoose, Plusle and Minun, so we’re guessing other regional exclusives are also included.

We suggest you read up on Zangoose and Seviper with our family guides.


#4 — Hub’s discord server is live 🎉

You asked, we delivered. You can join our brand new Discord server using this link:

https://discord.gg/8GUqNnA

But be aware that it’s early days for the server and a lot of changes are expected. We plan to focus more on Discord in the months to come, as we’re filling a bit of disconnect from our readers and would love to have a way to talk directly.