Our Thoughts on Pokémon GO Fest 2020

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With many of our writers participating in the first ever At Home GO Fest from all over the world, we wanted to share their varied experiences of the weekend. From playing solely at home in full lockdown, to those who were able to safely go out and play, we experienced a wide range of different play types and results.

ElliotUnbound playing in southern California

✨Shiny Count: 20

Elliot played from home on both days, and for him the best part was “the rare spawns, especially Litwick, Unown, Gible, Durant and Darumaka.”

“Both days started with server issues, but they didn’t last long enough to ruin the experience. I was a little disappointed in how little Gible was spawning, considering it was in their promo poster. Day 2 should have let us open 200 gifts like Day 1 since many of the spawns had very low catch rates and thus were very costly on Pokéballs. Speaking of which, I wish they increased the catch rates for those rare spawns so they wouldn’t be as frustrating and costly to catch.

Both days were so good so it’s hard to choose. But, I’ll go with Day 2 since I was able to get so many good shadow Pokémon I didn’t have before. I got 20 shinies in total, 10 each day. Most of which I didn’t have before. It was definitely not what I expected since I read reports from other countries beforehand saying the shiny rates were low.”

Elliot would happily play another at home GO Fest type event, and says “Save TONS of Pokéballs and berries. You’re going to need them.”

Venasto1se playing in Essex, UK

Venasto1se played both days walking on foot, and loved the in game media stream on Day 1, as well as the rotation of the habitats. Venasto1se enjoyed Day 1 more, as after completing the quest line for Day 2 in 60 minutes, felt they had little drive to keep playing for the full duration of the rest of the day. Their biggest problem was sunburn, so next time, make sure you pack sunscreen!

JorroTreul playing in Oak Island, North Carolina

✨Shiny Count: 31

JorroTruel was able to play driving around with family, and enjoyed bonding with their niece, as well as grinding candy and stardust. They were less impressed with the server issues. They preferred Day 2, but would have liked to have seen more spawns. Jorro would play another paid event like this, and recommends making sure you are stocked up on lucky eggs and incense!

Kratos playing in a town near Barcelona

✨Shiny Count: 23

“Going outside was allowed, and that’s what I did. I wore a mask the whole time and I didn’t forget to bring sunscreen, hydroalcoholic gel and a bottle of water. Covid didn’t affect my play that much, aside from the fact that I had to wear a mask and bring gel. I planned a safe route and I tried to avoid any risks.”

My best parts were rotating habitats, Challenge Arena & bonuses, good rocket lineups on Day 2, Shadow legendaries with the 10IV floor, rocket balloons, some spawns…

I added 60-70 people to my friends list to send them gifts and get rare candies once the bonus was active but… that never happened due to server issues. I couldn’t even load my friends list! And once the bonus began, there were only 4:38 minutes left to open gifts, which I couldn’t do because servers were not responding. So I missed a bunch of rare candies and I felt bad for spending so much time adding people. Some friends lost remote raid passes as they were kicked out from raids. Server stability on Day 2 was better. The spawn quality was a bit mediocre in some habitats (Vulpix, Numel, Carvanha, Houndour, Buneary, …). I understand most of them have megas but… I wasn’t really excited to catch them to be honest.

My shiny count was more or less what I expected (for the number of Pokémon that I caught). I’m not really a shiny hunter but I understand why some people might be a bit frustrated. The shiny rate seemed a bit too low considering the fact that some people couldn’t go outside due to strict lockdown measures. [I preferred] Day 2. There was so much stuff to do: catching, raiding Dialga/Palkia/Giratina, battling rockets with decent lineups (we all missed shadow Sableye, shadow Beldum, shadow Dratini, shadow Larvitar and more), etc.

Overall, the event was pretty good. There’s still room for improvement, true, but overall I had a good time. Servers need to be upgraded, though.

Manage your expectations! Don’t feel entitled to shinies, don’t expect to get a hundo of each legendary, … and prepare your storage/bag in advance.

VALORXCAM playing in Lindsay, Ontario, Canada

✨Shiny Count: 39

I played whilst walking through the entirety of both days! COVID-19 has not affected our town as of lately as we have only had 4 confirmed cases since the beginning. Although masks are mandatory in a commercial businesses here, our Pokémon community worked together to distance ourselves and stop a potential spread!

The best parts of GoFest to me were:

  1. Many new shiny releases (I’m a Shiny Hunter)
  2. Being able to take on old Raid Bosses and new ones like Gible with everyone while respecting social distance!
  3. Shadow Birds and Mewtwo being quest encounters with a minimum 10/10/10 IV apread.

Day 1 had its issues here and there but all in all, no real problems to me!

VALORXCAM preferred Day 2, but would love to see GO Fest as a worldwide event going forward to play again. Don’t forget your sunscreen!

MeteorAsh15 playing in Visakhapatnam, India

✨Shiny Count: 12

Ash played entirely from home, and didn’t feel like he missed out on anything. He “got a good number of shinies and the spawns were surely fantastic”, and preferred Day 2. He had hoped for more shines, and did experience some game crashes, which he felt were understandable. He would 100% play further at home paid events, but would have liked to have seen a more increased shiny rate and IVs for weather boosted Pokémon!

Rudolf playing from from Chile

✨Shiny Count: 4

Rudolf played from home: “COVID did not affect me, on the contrary, it helped to enjoy my first ever GO Fest.” He enjoyed “the first day, full of spawns, bonus and rewards. On the second day, shadow legendary birds, Shadow Mewtwo, and Victini”

“On the first day, we had some issues with the friends list, and it affected the game play later for like an hour. We lost that entire hour thanks to this issue. Also, I find sort of disappointing that you have to pay extra for playing at home. In the end, you are paying additional $15 plus, or so.

To be a GO Fest, I expected more shinies. That’s why i bought the Ticket in the first place. But its understandable since you are not in “the real thing”. Maybe it could be improved to ticket holders a bit, and for the rest, have the same ratio as it was generally.”

Rudolf preferred ‘Day 1 all the way, Day 2 was boring, except for the Rocket Takeover and Shadow Pokemon’ and ‘totally would play [again]. I just hope that Niantic can improve the mistakes in a future edition, so we ticket holders can be more satisfied.’

His top tip? ‘Save on Pokeballs and the resources weeks before the event, that way you can enjoy the experience even more without worrying.’

Ahilej playing in Zagreb, Croatia

✨Shiny Count: 14

Was playing from home and while driving. COVID-19 affected that I didn’t travel anywhere. He experienced a little bit of lag and was unable to open or send gifts on Day 1. Day 1 was a pure grinding day, so he preferred Day 2. Zagreb isn’t sure they would play another paid at home event like GO Fest, because really you needed to spend more money on remote raid passes to be involved. He hopes for more real world events soon!

JellyBean playing in the UK

✨Shiny Count: 20 (Played tactically though and only tapped on those I wanted or needed shiny versions of)

Played at home apart from 1 hour of walking. Still under lockdown here to a degree so no big meet-ups happened as would usually. I ‘loved raiding around the globe! Liked the variety of spawns. Didn’t think I would but really enjoyed the Team GO Rocket takeover tasks’. She wasn’t sure about Day 1, but Day 2 definitely made up for Day 1, but isn’t sure she would pay for an event like this again. Her advice is to go into an event like this with no expectations, take what happens, and don’t get stressed!

Fitz City GO Hub writer and YouTuber playing in St Louis

✨Shiny Count: 8

Fitz played at the Botanical Gardens on Day 1 and the St Louis Zoo Day 2 and had to wear a mask all day both times.

Fitz says “Surprisingly I ended up with a low amount of shinies. Only had 2 all day from Day 1. In my experience, it was as if I was punished for making a trip to St Louis and grinding at amazing places for Pokemon GO when instead, I could have had similar results at home.

He preferred Day 1 ‘hands down’ but wouldn’t pay again for a similar event in the future. He felt too many spawns were available to non ticket holders, with only a handful being exclusive to the event.

“It’s all random chance, but at the end of the day, don’t do what I did and drop a bunch of money to try and have a “GO Fest” like experience. Enjoy an event like this from home/hometown. Don’t set expectations high and do your best to have fun.”

ShinyHunterLiam  playing in Essex, UK

✨Shiny Count: 46 (21 on day 1 & 25 on day 2, expected less than that!)

Liam played whilst walking, and the best part for him was the increased shiny rate (The clue was in his name!). He preferred Day 1 and thinks the event was worth every penny, despite brief outages on Day 1. His top tip is ‘Take lots of water with you as well as battery packs. Stay safe and SHINY CHECK EVERYTHING! Get your tasks and research out the way early so you can click on everything in sight!”

Diogo dos Santos playing in Águeda, Portugal

✨Shiny Count: 28

Diogo played walking, sitting, & drinking! His best part was “being with the gang drinking some cold ones and catching shinies”, but he found the Friendship hour “slow as hell”. He preferred Day 1 and would absolutely play another at home paid for event. Diogo advises you to stock up your bag with balls!

Kittypokemonsalot playing in Lincolnshire, UK

✨Shiny Count: 39 (RIP to the shiny Heatmor I lost from incense!)

I played from home (watching TrainerTips stream in the evening) and in the car, driving to some local spawn points and go-plusing while running errands. Day 1 was all about those shinies for me, there were a lot spawning I needed so I was mostly shiny checking and if not shiny, letting the Pokéball Plus do it’s job. I was very focused on getting those regional shinies because who knows when we would get chance to travel again? I had about 45 minutes which were pretty much unplayable when parts of the US started their GO Fest, inbetween our friendship and fire hour round 2. The lag was so bad I couldn’t check incense spawns at all, and I was unable to access the friends list at all, so the 200 gift limit was impossible.

Day 2 was a bit trickier as I was a little weary about letting the Plus be my only way to catch incense spawns while battling as it seemed to disconnect often. Once I completed the research, I didn’t do many Rocket battles and focused on shiny hunting again. I would have liked to have seen slightly more variation in the spawns on Day 2, as none of the Machops, Growlithe, Sudowoodo, Exeggcute etc that were featured on Day 1 appeared at all, which were a lot of the ones I needed. However, I totally get that the focus was on the regionals and the more exclusive Pokémon that don’t usually spawn in the wild, or are incredibly rare.

My highlight was catching a shiny Unown G; this week marked 2 years since my Grandad passed away, and his nickname was G, so it felt like a little nod from the universe. My lowlight was losing a shiny Heatmor that jumped out of 2 golden razz ultra ball combos, thankfully my 2nd one so at least I still got 1!

I would definitely play a paid for event like this again. It was so much fun to have so much to shiny check, and I think the rotating habitats were a great idea. I do think going out rewarded me with more shinies than those who stayed in, as I was able to go to more spawn hot spots and therefore see more fresh spawns than anyone relying on just incense. For me, I know I realistically won’t probably ever go to a ‘real’ GO Fest or Safari Zone, so it was amazing to be able to partake in this from home, and I hope they consider doing something like this again.

Sunscreen, sunglasses, food, drink, comfy shoes, battery packs, spare cables, suitable weather clothing and a waterproof would all make my ‘must haves’ list.

My advice would be to manage your expectations, GO Fest isn’t Community Day shiny rates, and remember that the rare spawns are half the fun too. It was so good seeing Charizard, Venusaur and Blastoise in the wild, as well as Togetic, some of the Eeveelutions, and both the Unowns. I think it’s important to realise that it’s not just about shinies, getting access to 2 regionals from outside my region (Heatmor and Seviper), and their shiny forms, was so cool, as well as the surprise addition of Rotom via the photobomb feature.

All photos by kittypokemonsalot

Author & tags

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

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