Now that the dust has settled and things are back to normal I am finally able to report on my experience of last weekend’s Safari Zone event at the Les4Temps mall in Paris, France! This is a big article, with around 1300 words. In order to traverse it easily, we’ve prepared a Table of Contents. Enjoy the long read and pictures, see you on the next event!
Table of contents
My event experience
The Les4Temps mall is located in the business district La Defense and about a 10 minute metro ride away from the center of Paris. Having seen all the sights in Paris on a previous trip I opted for an AIRBnb in La Defense about 3 minutes away from the mall. Lures for the event started at 08:00 and were active until 20:00 (12 hours). With those details out of the way let’s move on to my experience.
On Saturday I went to the mall first thing in the morning and a small line outside the mall had already formed. The gates for the event attendees opened at 08:00 and around 09:00 the registration officially went underway. During that small waiting time the spirits where high and the people were generally in a good mood.
Having read our own reports and reports from other outlets I have to say in Paris we had no troubles finding the registration point for the event as there was only one main entrance besides the lower level entrance from the metro station.
Some discontent arose from the fact that you had to queue in your respective team line which naturally was in favor of Instinct and Valor trainers. Seeing that most trainers belonged to team Mystic the line for those trainers quickly wrapped around the courtyard in front of the mall while the other teams already had their trainer kits.
— PoGo BXL @Amsterdam (@PoGoBxl) September 16, 2017
Speaking of which.. The trainer kits contained some nice gimmicks (rubber armband in your team color, a transparent sticker of your team’s logo, a poster for the latest Nintendo game, a foldable Pikachu hat), a map of the mall, the wireless password and of course the QR code for the ingame registration. In my personal opinion I was a little bit disappointed because I was missing the physical patch the Go Fest event attendees got in their kits.
As a suggestion for the next event I would propose to Niantic to switch back to the patches seeing as this would not favor any team and speed up the registration progress immensely. Maybe drop the rubber armbands and add all 3 team stickers to the kits. The ingame registration with the QR code worked like a charm and as soon as I received my ingame badge all the lured Poke Stops appeared.
A few minutes into the event my backlog of 10 km eggs hatched and I was able to pick up some new 2km eggs from the Poke Stops at the event. So with a full batch of eggs to incubate I started walking, incense and lucky egg going strong, to make myself a picture of the mall and the event proceedings. After my first loop I noticed that at the tail ends of the mall, where the team lounges where located, my game had troubles loading and I would get errors on spinning Stops and catching Pokèmons.
After switching back and forth from wireless to mobile I could determine that the problems were not related to network or server performance but were caused by the handover from one mobile cell / wireless access point to the other. Once I was a few meters into range the game recovered and I was able to play as usual. Knowing this I just made a habit of pausing my game for the few meters it took the game to recover and then proceeded playing.
In my opinion this is in no way avoidable and I don’t think the mall operators or the Niantic should be blamed for those short outages.
Generally speaking the network infrastructure held up pretty good. There were no outages of cell service or WiFi and the game never froze or lagged. Hats off to the mall operators and Niantic for this improvement.
Meeting Mystic7 and Niantic employees
Niantic Staff was on site for the entirety of the event and monitored the situation closely. They were not often seen as they kept mostly to themselves in the mall offices but I was fortunate enough to talk to one of them during my interview with Mystic7.
As expected, the mood was tense and it didn’t help that the GO Hub logo was very prominent on my shirt. Nevertheless, I managed to engage the Niantic staff in some casual conversation and could at least get the following snippets of information:
- From Niantic’s perspective the event was going well. No problems to report.
- They were in constant contact with Barcelona and Germany to exchange statuses
- No comment on availability of EX Raids in Europe
- No comment on availability of Gen3
- Seeing as they were not involved in the planning of the event he could not comment if Niantic had contacted cell providers beforehand but he assumes they did (*)
(*) Reports from Germany confirmed that at least Vodafone added some cellular infrastructure outside of the mall to accommodate the additional traffic that was expected.
Also I asked if he is a fan of the game himself and if he is excited to see some of the upcoming features in the Niantic offices when he’s working there. He confirmed that he is indeed excited himself but of course couldn’t comment on anything.
To this specific Niantic employee:
Thanks so much for the nice conversation. It was really relieving to see that you guys are fans yourself and work your asses off to provide us with the best gaming and event experience you can. I hope you don’t get in trouble for talking to me!
As for the rest of the event I have to say the atmosphere was good. The moderator on the main stage regularly provided instructions in French and English on how to register ingame and even gave a nod to the GO Hub! A Pikachu Mascot danced and was available for pictures and the biggest French Youtubers (@Newtiteuf and @DavidLPokemon) gave an interview onstage and were also available for pictures and autographs.
Safari Zone technical details
We managed to collect the following details about each of the venues and create this table:
|Paris||Les quatre temps||1981||139.400m2||~30||720||7200|
Spawns were limited almost exclusively to the following Pokèmons:
- Unown (A-F-I-R-S)
Noticeable missing where Cyndaquil and Chikorita, the Generation 2 starters, as well as other region exclusive Pokèmons. Having had the opportunity of catching Kangaskhan in August after the first Safari Zone events were dropped, a lot of trainers were expecting at least one other region exclusive to be available. Sadly that was not the case.
The 2km event eggs hatched the following Pokèmon (Confirmed):
I have to say that the event, at least for me, was all I wanted it to be.
- No issues regarding connectivity or server performance.
- No weather related dependencies.
- Perfect balance of available space and people (4000 was the exact right amount)
- Very good organization (Staff was always available when facing issues)
- Got my golden Pikachu medal
- Got a shiny Pikachu
- Got a shiny Magicarp
- 400+ Chansey Candy & 98% Chansey
- 300+ Larvitar Candy & 98% Larvitar
- 300+ Mareep Candy & 98% Mareep
Additionally I had the opportunity to hang out and interview Mystic7 during my time at the event, but that’s in an article coming up soon on the Hub!
Lastly, I want to thank all the nice people I met on my trip, especially:
- Lisa & Justine
- and of course, Brandon aka Mystic7 for his time
P.S. Maybe I will see you in Praque on the 7th of October.