When Michael Steranka – Senior Marketing Manager, Live Events took the GO Fest stage after the group photo and asked the crowd if we’d like to test something for them, no one could predict what he had in mind. Niantic threw a surprise raid test in Chicago, dubbed “multi-thousand person raid test” and featuring 12 new Gyms that popped up in Butler Field (Grant Park, Chicago).

The test was a raid load stress test, orchestrated in Chicago but also available worldwide, as confirmed by our own Papa Jorro in a quick conversation with onsite Niantic employees. The stress consisted of the following elements worldwide:

  • a free raid pass was given out to players
  • raid lobby timers were reduced to 60 seconds
  • in Chicago, Meowth Level 2 Raid Boss was the featured raid boss
  • worldwide, there were no special raid bosses

According to PapaJorro, a GoHub Writer on the ground at GO Fest who spoke with a Niantic representative, what just happened was a high density raid test in a small area. They wanted to see how the servers could handle it & kept the timers short to prevent people from all over rushing in.

The following image was posted on reddit and shows the state of newly created gyms used in this stress test:

A player by the name of Krean1337 manage to make an in-game recording of the whole stress test:

We’re unsure on why Niantic decided to do a stress load test at this particular moment, but they rarely do things like these randomly. We’ll keep you updated on any developments on this topic.