If you’re reading is, chances are high that you’re a returning player coming back to Pokémon GO. Well, welcome back Trainer, let’s get you onboard as quickly as we can. In this guide, we’ll go over the features introduced in 2018, with references to Hub’s article where you can discover more about them. Brace yourself, it’s going to be a fun ride — Pokémon GO has changed a lot since last time you picked it up.

P.S. This article heavily uses Andrew Goldfarb’s (IGN) now legendary Twitter thread about Pokémon GO, check it out!

Generation III and Shiny Pokémon

Let’s kick off this guide with a bang: a whole new generation of Pokémon and a number of  shiny forms are available! Generation III has been released, bringing more than 130 Pokémon to the game. In addition, a large number of Pokémon now has shiny forms which are available through capture encounters.

We suggest you head over to our Generation III hub for more a full list of Gen 3 Pokémon and to our List of Shiny Pokemon in Pokémon GO and where to find them for shiny Pokémon. Also, don’t be afraid of the Alolan Exeggutor, it was only briefly available.

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Weather system

Pokémon GO now supports in-game weather conditions, which corresponds with real weather around you. Each weather condition boosts particular Pokémon type spawns and moves.

Weather Boosted types
Sunny Grass Ground Fire
Rainy Water Electric Bug
Windy Dragon Flying Psychic
Snow Ice Steel
Fog Dark Ghost
Cloudy Fairy Fighting Poison
Partly Cloudy Normal Rock

Weather spawns have the following features:

  • Can appear as Level 6 – Level 35 Pokémon (normal spawns only go up to Level 30)
  • Guaranteed minimal IVs: 4 ATK / 4 DEF / 4 STA
  • Reward 25% more Stardust per catch
  • Have a different spawn animation around them (“white smoke”)

Additionally, moves boosted by weather effects deal 20% more damage.

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Field Research

Field Research is a new type of questing that is available on PokéStops. The Field Research systems sends you on missions and tasks with different rewards. You can obtain one Research Stamp every day by completing a Field Research assignment.

Field Research rewards include:

  • Various items: PokéBalls, berries, Stardust, Rare Candy
  • Pokémon encounters:
    • the Pokémon can’t flee
    • the Pokémon is always Level 15
    • the Pokémon can’t be weather boosted
    • you use your own PokéBalls and Berries for catching it
    • thematically tied to the Field Research assignment and / or current in-game events

You can do as many Field Research assignments per day as you want, but you can only get one Stamp. By collecting seven stamps, you unlock the weekly research reward: a Legendary Pokémon encounter.

Field Research Pokémon GO

Mythical Pokémon and Special Research

You’ve read it right: Mythical Pokémon are now available in Pokémon GO. Well, Mew at least. Similarly to Field Research, the Special Research system is a series of story driven quest chains that lead to unlocking a Mew encounter.

We don’t want to spoil the story, but you can check the entire Quest chain on our Mew Quest Guide: A Mythical Discovery guide.

Additionally, read through Mew’s Most Useful Move sets for more info about Mew’s usage and move sets.

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Raids and EX Raids

Raids are a huge topic in Pokémon GO, as they are a form of group play and they allow players to battle difficult Legendary Raid bosses and useful Pokémon in lower level raids. Once defeated, players can capture Raid bosses in a post-raid capture encounters:

Raids come in six different forms:

  • Level 1 — easy solo raid
  • Level 2 — difficult solo raid
  • Level 3 — easy group raid (1-2 players)
  • Level 4 — difficult group raid (2-3 players)
  • Level 5 — legendary raids (5-6 players)
  • EX Raids — special, invitation only raids, that feature a Mewtwo

In order to raid, you need to have a raid pass. These come in two shapes: a free daily raid pass and premium raid passes obtainable in the store.

Free Pass EX Pass
Normal Raid Pass Pokemon GO Exclusive Raid Pass

As mentioned earlier, if defeated, players can capture the raid boss and they receive a plethora of rewards: experience, Stardust, Rare Candy, Fast and Charge TMs, Golden Razzberries.

Raid bosses capture encounters have the following features:

  • appear as Level 20 (Level 25 if boosted by weather) Pokémon
  • have good minimum guaranteed IVs: 10 ATK / 10 DEF / 10 STA
  • you capture them using Premium Balls and berries

GO Hub has a ton of raid guides which are easily accessible by searching the website.

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Community Day events

In addition to everything above, Pokémon GO now has a monthly Community celebration titled Community Day. Each Community Day features the following:

  • a special Pokémon that spawns in high number
  • an exclusive move for that special Pokémon, learned by evolving the Pokémon
  • a shiny form for the Community Day Pokémon

Community Day events are always popular, especially when a popular Pokémon is featured during the event. At the time of this writing, the next Community Day Pokémon is Larvitar, and the expected exclusive move is Smack Down.

Larvitar Community Day
Larvitar Community Day

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Also, Trainer Tips has an awesome video for returning players, be sure to check it out!