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Credit: Niantic

Mewtwo In Pokemon GO.

While Legendary Beasts Entei, Raikou and Suicune are making their way to Pokémon GO as early as today, the biggest prize in the game is yet to arrive for most people. Niantic has different plans for the Psychic-type Mewtwo, currently the most powerful Pokémon in the game but only available to the elite trainers who made their way to the Pikachu Outbreak in Yokohama, Japan. The rest of us are going to have to work with what the game is now calling "EX Raids," formerly known as "Exclusive Raids." Niantic gave us a bit more information on how it will be rolling these out, and it sounds like tough news for people who were hoping to get their hands on a Mewtwo sooner rather than later. From the announcement:

While these Legendary Pokémon are traveling the world, we’ll also begin an EX Raid Battle (formerly Exclusive Raid Battle) field-testing phase at select Gyms before the feature is made available globally. We have collected some valuable early feedback on the new EX Raid Battle feature and will look to further test and hone the experience through the feedback of the dedicated global Trainer community. During the field test, we’ll be making periodic adjustments to EX Raid eligibility requirements, frequency, times, locations, and durations with the goal of making the EX Raid Battle feature engaging, rewarding, and most importantly, fun for Trainers who regularly participate in Raid Battles.

There’s a lot to unpack here, but we’ll start at the beginning. Most importantly, EX Raids are going to be getting a slow rollout with tuning along the way. So expect to see some info about these around on social media for a little while before you’re able to experiment with it yourself, unless you win the testing lottery and wind up one of the first people who get to try it out. The necessity of more extensive testing also gives us some information, namely that the requirements and rewards are going to be markedly different from normal Raids, even normal Legendary Raids. As with the rest of the game, Niantic walks something of a tightrope. EX Raids must be special and unusual without being inaccessible, which is a marked challenge for a game that’s played in all different types of ways by all different types of people.

Here’s the line that really concerns me though: the idea that Niantic wants to make this "fun for Trainers who regularly participate in Raid Battles." It sounds, on its face, like there are plans to add some sort of raiding requirement for unlocking an EX Raid, whether that’s completing a Raid at a particular Gym or completing a set number of Raids in order to get your hands on an EX Pass. Both could be troublesome. For one thing, it’s likely to be difficult to balance for rural players that might not have access to more than one Gym. For another, it doesn’t quite account for people that might play only on the weekends or just with a slightly less hardcore schedule. It’s easy to miss Raids if you’ve got something else going on, and busier players need a shot at Mewtwo as well. And because of the way this game works, Raids need to be accessible enough not only to make sure they’re equitably distributed but also to make sure that those with access can actually complete them. It would be a bitter pill to show up at a Mewtwo Raid with an EX Pass and not be able to complete it just because there aren’t enough other people with the pass. 

If successful, however, this could be the first sort of actual quest in the game, something I wholly support: "complete X Raids for a chance at Mewtwo," basically. The game needs objectives like that, but only if they’re balanced right. Expect to hear more soon, and expect things to change before a global rollout. The announcement says that EX Passes are being delivered "soon," and that lucky trainers will get to test things out as early as September 6.

“>

Credit: Niantic

Mewtwo In Pokemon GO.

While Legendary Beasts Entei, Raikou and Suicune are making their way to Pokémon GO as early as today, the biggest prize in the game is yet to arrive for most people. Niantic has different plans for the Psychic-type Mewtwo, currently the most powerful Pokémon in the game but only available to the elite trainers who made their way to the Pikachu Outbreak in Yokohama, Japan. The rest of us are going to have to work with what the game is now calling “EX Raids,” formerly known as “Exclusive Raids.” Niantic gave us a bit more information on how it will be rolling these out, and it sounds like tough news for people who were hoping to get their hands on a Mewtwo sooner rather than later. From the announcement:

While these Legendary Pokémon are traveling the world, we’ll also begin an EX Raid Battle (formerly Exclusive Raid Battle) field-testing phase at select Gyms before the feature is made available globally. We have collected some valuable early feedback on the new EX Raid Battle feature and will look to further test and hone the experience through the feedback of the dedicated global Trainer community. During the field test, we’ll be making periodic adjustments to EX Raid eligibility requirements, frequency, times, locations, and durations with the goal of making the EX Raid Battle feature engaging, rewarding, and most importantly, fun for Trainers who regularly participate in Raid Battles.

There’s a lot to unpack here, but we’ll start at the beginning. Most importantly, EX Raids are going to be getting a slow rollout with tuning along the way. So expect to see some info about these around on social media for a little while before you’re able to experiment with it yourself, unless you win the testing lottery and wind up one of the first people who get to try it out. The necessity of more extensive testing also gives us some information, namely that the requirements and rewards are going to be markedly different from normal Raids, even normal Legendary Raids. As with the rest of the game, Niantic walks something of a tightrope. EX Raids must be special and unusual without being inaccessible, which is a marked challenge for a game that’s played in all different types of ways by all different types of people.

Here’s the line that really concerns me though: the idea that Niantic wants to make this “fun for Trainers who regularly participate in Raid Battles.” It sounds, on its face, like there are plans to add some sort of raiding requirement for unlocking an EX Raid, whether that’s completing a Raid at a particular Gym or completing a set number of Raids in order to get your hands on an EX Pass. Both could be troublesome. For one thing, it’s likely to be difficult to balance for rural players that might not have access to more than one Gym. For another, it doesn’t quite account for people that might play only on the weekends or just with a slightly less hardcore schedule. It’s easy to miss Raids if you’ve got something else going on, and busier players need a shot at Mewtwo as well. And because of the way this game works, Raids need to be accessible enough not only to make sure they’re equitably distributed but also to make sure that those with access can actually complete them. It would be a bitter pill to show up at a Mewtwo Raid with an EX Pass and not be able to complete it just because there aren’t enough other people with the pass. 

If successful, however, this could be the first sort of actual quest in the game, something I wholly support: “complete X Raids for a chance at Mewtwo,” basically. The game needs objectives like that, but only if they’re balanced right. Expect to hear more soon, and expect things to change before a global rollout. The announcement says that EX Passes are being delivered “soon,” and that lucky trainers will get to test things out as early as September 6.

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