Pokemon Go Safari Zone Montreal Review

Montreal Safari Zone: The Bon, the Bad, and the Horrible

Safari Zone Montreal 2019
Safari Zone Montreal 2019

Safari Zone Warden

I was lucky enough to make last minute travel preparation and attend the Montreal Safari Zone thanks to GoHub! On the whole, PoGo players tend to be very critical of the game we love and its “developers” See, there I go doing it! The point is, it can be good to reflect and evaluate constructively on what worked and what didn’t. I would also like to give some tips for improving your next event (or maybe you have some for me!)

With enough constructive feedback, we can hopefully improve future events. The best example occurred two months ago. At that time an update impacted the switch mechanics of pvp and a huge combined response came from the pvp community leading to the changes being reverted just two days later.

It’s important for me to disclaim that I am probably not a typical player. I play daily but nearly all of my efforts are related to or aimed toward Player vs. Player (pvp) battles. As blasphemous as it is, I do not go out of my way to grind for shinies, nor do I care particularly much about 100% IVs. I will go so far as to mulch Hundos that aren’t raid relevant. gasps My review of the event will obviously be affected by how I play the game, so keep that in mind.

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The Bon

Obvious pandering An homage to my bilingual hosts. For those who are culturally-challenged, this is some of the good stuff.

  • The Venue
    The event was held on a small island off of the larger Island of Montreal in Parc Jean-Drappeau. Overall, it is a very scenic park with hilly terrain, water, beach, gardens, and The Biosphere Museum among other human-made sights. The intended path for the event was large, but bathrooms and water stations were strategically located throughout that made it relatively convenient. However, there were some drawbacks here as well.
  • The PokestopsIf you have never been to an event such as Go Fest or a Safari Zone, the stops are unbelievable with a density greater than is normally allowed by current s2 cell rules. They popped up along what amounted to a walking track around a portion of the park and lake.
  • Spawns & Shinies

Tropius being exceedingly hard to get for North Americans made this alone nearly worth the trip. It was all over which lead to so many opportunities to catch some for your entire community back home (or reroll aggressively for those sweet, sweet pvp IVs…which 9 times out of 10 will roll 15 attack… le sigh).

Pokémon GO Tropius
Pokémon GO Tropius

Unown are a little less obviously exciting. If this is your first event or if you are a medal hunter and want every letter/punctuation then the ‘Dex entry or progress is worth something, but these get less than exciting long before you leave.

Trapinch for the upcoming Community Day. I don’t always get to play for the whole 3-hours, so this was a great way to farm some candidates ahead of time.

Trapinch Community Day
Trapinch Community Day

Shinies are a big draw, possibly more so for some than the regionals. With the limited number of different spawns, you were almost guaranteed shinies of a chunk of what was spawning.

Field Research quests, as per usual for these kinds of events, were easy to complete and rewarded players with mostly more chances at things they were already catching. The Nincada research was plentiful and allowed a lot of opportunities for an otherwise rare Pokemon. It took me until writing this to appreciate how useful those catches/candy could be.

Hatches were an interesting and exciting part of my Safari. Like GoFest, all of the eggs were 2k (further improved advantage of the 1/2 walk distance of the Ultra Bonus Unlock). Instead of like GoFest where the hatches reflected things catchable at the event, the eggs here contained anything from the pool of hatchable ‘Mon. This lead to strings of nonsense hatches, but there were just enough exciting ones to keep it interesting. Gible was one of my very first hatches of the event! Other notables included a litwick, shiny Seel (a new one for me), and towards the end a Deino.

The Bad

The reality is, not everything was fairy dust and unicorn farts (which thinking about it might be the same thing?!) Many of the things that made the event great, were the same things that made for opportunities for improvement.

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The Venue

The park was much larger than the event itself (which was still very sizable including a ~2mi ( ~3.2km) walking loop for the Safari Zone Area and it was not well indicated where the event was actually taking place. If you took the Metro to the park, it brought you out where there was signage leading you to the play area, but otherwise you could be wandering around a very large park. Go Fest(s) this year (and possibly always before) had maps of the exact play area, whereas this did not. This lead to me being a few minutes late to the Zone. Not the end of the world, but not ideal either. There were event maps on location which would have been helpful ahead of time.

The Spawns

The Tropius definitely kept me engaged, still getting excited about them even after catching so many, but the overall lack of variation of spawns were thin by the end. As I mentioned before, it did lend to some concentrated shiny hunting, especially for newcomer Yanma, but it did feel a bit grind-y.

At GoFest Chicago the spawns met different playstyles. You could go to an area for shinies and ho hard in the paint for shinies, or you could hit up another area for those never before seen level 1 Mawiles and Absols. Catching low level wild Togetic was amazing to pvpers looking to make a Togekiss for Great League. That allowed me to break up the monotony. At Safari Zone, I found I was less able to escape it. I did settle into a good shiny checking routine, catching what I could regardless, but it left a little to be desired.

The Horrible

Honestly, there was nothing truly awful about the event (despite my droning in the previous section). I included this section for the parallel and to reiterate that while I am critical of some issues, ultimately I had a great time and would recommend these events in the future. People coming together for Pokemon Go is amazing.

Prepping for Your Own Adventure

Based on my experiences, and what I could see of others’ experiences, I wanted to briefly touch on optimizing your experiences.

In game items:

  • Bring plenty of balls. Despite all of the stops, I went through a net -300 Ultra balls and I wasn’t even aggressively catching.
  • Pinaps are a necessity for those event Pokemon candies. Some of the quests required any berry or specific ones, but the stops provided more than enough for those.
  • Make room for the above by paring down your stock of potions, revives and anything else that isn’t necessary at these kinds if events. No raids, means those items are sitting there collecting dust.

Things to Bring

  • A CHARGER!!! There are charging station Pokestops at the event, but anytime you aren’t moving, you are limiting yourself here. I saw a lot of people with what appeared to be small capacity chargers. This is not the place to be frugal or minimalist. Get something 0that can charge your device several times over. I was using a 25000mAh (Volume) bank with 2.4A output (rate of recharge). I started the event at 77% and ended at full charge. The other thing about the provided chargers, especially after they are outside for days, is that they sometimes get ruined and are unreliable.

Food/meds/clothing:

  • Bringing prepackaged snacks and a refillable water bottle is cost-effective and saves time that you aren’t in line for food. We did stop for food, and while the food trucks were a bit expensive, the food and options were all pretty good.
  • A lightweight backpack
  • Consider basic meds such as ibuprofen, etc. Its a long day of walking, and if you start to feel rough, it can keep you in the game. Perhaps you are as coordinated a baby Girafarig and will need pain relief for your inevitable wipeout. You know who you are…
  • Clothing! I know I’m not an elementary school teacher and, presumably, you are capable of dressing yourselves, but for the love of all that is holy (or scientific) please think of what 8 hours of walking…in warm weather…will do to your inner thighs. I saw someone walking and I am sure she had recently gotten done with a rather long horse ride. Be mindful of anything that can rub you for 8 hours whether it’s the straps of your backpack, purse, or hot thigh on thigh action. This is strangely starting to feel like a talcum powder commercial.

I’ll reiterate that I had a great time and I was lucky enough to attend with my amazing Poke-wife (also married IRL). I would definitely recommend attending any event near you, but tickets go quickly. I’ll leave you with my event stats for

Stats:

  • 81 tropius
  • 67 Unown
  • 14 shinies (1 hatched):2 Yanma, 2 Scyther, 2 Aipom, 2 Zigzagoon, Sneasel, Gastly, Aerodactyl, Pikachu, Torchic (accidental click), and a hatched Seel.
  • Unfortunately I didn’t track my catches, hatches, or stardust to give a proper account of those things.
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