If each area of the world meets the challenge requirements during Pokémon GO Fest in Chicago and thus all goals are achieved, Zapdos Day will be unlocked on Saturday, July 21. Furthermore, during the 3-hour period where Zapdos will be available, all Zapdos caught will know the exclusive (fast) move Thunder Shock.

Exclusive moves have always been a great incentive used by Niantic to keep players interested and keen on participating in a specific event. However, the exclusiveness of some meta-changing moves is not beneficial in the long run. The purpose of this article will be to discuss whether or not this FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) is good for the game and how Niantic can find a fair solution to that.

Smack Down Tyranitar scenario

If you have been playing Pokémon GO since the beginning, your account is probably two years old now. Before Larvitar Community Day was a thing, your Rock Throw/Stone Edge Golem army that you spent countless stardust (and candy) to power up was something to be proud of. However, after Larvitar Community Day, Smack Down/Stone Edge Tyranitar outclasses Golem by far, rendering your old hard-earned team almost obsolete.

Pokémon Stats Max CP Best Fast Move Best Charge Move
ATK DEF STA
TyranitarTyranitar Rock Dark 251 212 200 3670 Smack Down Rock Stone Edge Rock
GolemGolem Rock Ground 211 229 160 2916 Rock Throw Rock Stone Edge Rock

This wouldn’t be too bad if there was a way of getting Smack Down Tyranitar naturally, but there isn’t. Smack Down Tyranitar, the BEST Rock type attacker in the game by far, is a non-obtainable Pokémon as of now, and that doesn’t seem likely to change in the near future. That’s right, you have been playing this game for two years, but if you couldn’t play during the limited 3-hour period when Smack Down Tyranitar was obtainable due to a wedding, a flight, or whatever reason, there is no way to get it as of now.

Unlike Stone Edge Tyranitar, Draco Meteor Dragonite was not game-breaking. Draco Meteor only outperforms Outrage in some occasions where you’d be able to fire it off right before fainting, which isn’t very often the case. Getting a Draco Meteor Dragonite was nice, but nothing to be stressed about.

Thunder Shock Zapdos: Will the same thing happen again?

During Community Day official announcements, Niantic always mentions specifically that TMs won’t work during the 3-hour period to get the exclusive move. However, this time around, Niantic hasn’t specifically mentioned that, but they haven’t said the opposite either.

Thunder Shock Zapdos is a direct upgrade from Charge Beam Zapdos. Thunder Shock is fast, smooth, has good EPS and lets you fire off your charge move pretty fast. Furthermore, it’s way easier to dodge with it rather than when using the Charge Beam variant. Despite Thunder Shock/Wild Charge Raikou still outperforming Thunder Shock/Thunderbolt Zapdos, Thunder Shock Zapdos will still be much better than its Charge Beam variant. Wild Charge Zapdos would’ve outperformed Raikou DPS-wise, but… that didn’t happen.

Pokémon Stats Max CP Best Fast Move Best Charge Move
ATK DEF STA
RaikouRaikou Electric 241 210 180 3349 Thunder Shock Electric Wild Charge Electric
ZapdosZapdos Electric Flying 253 188 180 3330 Thunder Shock* Electric Thunderbolt Electric

* Exclusive move

Zapdos was the Research Breakthrough reward not too long ago, and Zapdos Raids happened one year ago. At this point, several trainers have invested a lot of stardust (and rare candies) in powering up one Zapdos (or even more!). If Niantic decides to not let TMs work during that 3-hour window, these players will definitely be upset, and that’s not good for the game.

Why isn’t that good for the game? (you might be asking yourself). Well, it’s not good because if that happens, people could eventually stop powering up legendary Pokémon. They have always been safe investments (at least the ones worth powering up as of now), but thinking that a future exclusive move will render them obsolete will contribute to that fear of missing out. Can you imagine how powerful a Precipice Blades Groudon would be? Or an Origin Pulse Kyogre? Or a Sacred Fire Ho-Oh? Or… a Psystrike Mewtwo?

If you know that this can happen and that you can regret investing in a legendary Pokémon that might become obsolete once it gets its special raid day, you will probably stop powering them up, and that means that raids will become more difficult, as legendary Pokémon are often on top of the list of raid counters for most of the raid bosses.

How could Niantic solve that?

There are several ways of solving that issue. The following list of ideas (with their respective pros and cons) are great examples of simple solutions to get rid of this FOMO:

Solution #1: Let us earn an Exclusive TM through research
  • Pros: Fair way to achieve your goal with effort
  • Cons: Exclusive Moves wouldn’t feel as exclusive anymore (not really a con)

Having a way of obtaining an Exclusive TM that would let you teach your hard-earned Pokémon the exclusive move would solve the issue. Even if you’d need to complete plenty of tasks in order to get one Exclusive TM, it’d still be worth the effort and it would feel more rewarding. Making that Exclusive TM only obtainable during the 3-hour period to teach the exclusive move to previously evolved (or powered up) Pokémon would only partially solve the issue, as trainers that aren’t able to play during that period of time wouldn’t be able to achieve their goal.

Solution #2: Expand the amount of time available to obtain the exclusive move
  • Pros: People wouldn’t feel so stressed about the whole situation
  • Cons: Previously evolved (or powered up) Pokémon would still be left out

This wouldn’t 100% solve the issue, as previously evolved or powered up Pokémon could still be left out, but at least it would slightly reduce the frustration and stress about getting that exclusive move on your Pokémon. It would just work for unevolved CD Pokémon, but it’s still an improvement over the current situation…

Solution #3: Let us train with our Pokémon so that they can eventually learn that exclusive move
  • Pros: Rewarding, fair and hard-earned experience
  • Cons: Hmm… can’t think of any (?). Probably the only con would be that rural players wouldn’t be able to battle as much due to the lack of gyms in those areas, but that’s a different issue

The good old training system was removed from the game with the gym rework, and we miss that. Well, a new training system based on battling against rival gyms could lead to interesting rewards, such as reducing the amount of resources needed to power up your Pokémon after a certain number of battles together, getting access to an exclusive move, or plenty of other interesting rewards.

Strengthening the bonds with your favourite Pokémon by battling while earning interesting rewards such as the ones just mentioned would be an awesome way of solving the issue by letting the trainer feel that his/her effort was worth it.

Solution #4: Let “Exclusive TMs” work for every single exclusive event
  • Pros: Moves would still be exclusive (although not as much as they used to)
  • Cons: You’d still be limited to a given period of time (although you could probably plan in advance)

If you were able to use one of the rare and difficult to obtain “Exclusive TMs” at every single Community of Legendary Day, you wouldn’t be as stressed about it. Did you get a 100% Charmander through research after its Community Day and you thought that it was useless now? Well, you’d still be able to evolve it during a different Community or Legendary Day in order to get Blast Burn.

Conclusion

It’s understandable that exclusive moves always give you an incentive to get out and play, but the fear of missing out associated with the exclusiveness of some game-breaking moves can sometimes lead to unsatisfying experiences.

Perhaps you’re the kind of player that doesn’t care about anything meta-related, but for some hardcore players, getting that one Pokémon with its exclusive moveset can lead to completing a specific Trio or Duo challenge, or a Time Attack Raid, whereas not getting it could lead to frustration.

Furthermore, the possibility of previously caught/evolved Pokémon becoming obsolete due to an exclusive move only obtainable during a 3-hour period is not good for the game. You have worked hard to earn those candies and the stardust required to power them up. If that Pokémon is legendary, you can add up rare candies on top of that to make it even more frustrating. Niantic, if you’re reading this, we would appreciate a solution to solve that issue and get rid of that fear of missing out.