Niantic is continuing to adapt “Pokemon Go” to the coronavirus pandemic with the introduction of Remote Raid Passes and a new type of event.
The first move is a big change to one of the pillars for the location-based mobile game. It’s also a badly needed one. With social distancing and stay-at-home orders prevalent throughout most of the world, it effectively halted difficult raids in the game. No one can realistically tackle a five-star battle without help from family members or friends. Many of these battles require at least one other person.
Remote Raid Passes are a solution because it lets players gather virtually for raids that appear in their collective Nearby screen. That means players can’t raid with someone across a continent; instead, it has to be a “Pokemon Go” gym that they can tap on while on the main map screen.
Although it appears that Remote Raid Passes will work similarly to regular ones, they do have major differences. According to Niantic, 20 trainers can join a raid battle but a limited number of them will be Remote Raid Passes holders. In addition, remote raid pass holders will be able to do the same amount of damage as those near the gym but that will change in the future. Most likely when stay-at-home orders are lifted and the COVID-19 pandemic has subsided they will contribute less damage in a battle.
Niantic says it will adjust the feature over time and so some of the figures and options can change. Options that are being floated are changing the maximum number of remote raiders and adding the “ability to invite friends to raids regardless of location.” That could be an even bigger game-changer, allowing players to raid from far away. Lastly, remote raids will count toward raid-related tasks, so those are likely to show up again in research tasks.
Keep in mind, Remote Raid Passes are a separate from Premium Raid Passes. They are not the same. Niantic will offer 1 PokeCoin bundle that features the new passes. They also will be offered at a discounted price of 100 PokeCoins, meaning Remote Raid Passes will be more expensive than normal ones. Niantic hasn’t set a date for the feature’s release but the company did say it was coming soon.
Personally, this will be an interesting exercise. Players can coordinate raids via the Telegram or Discord apps. If they want to make it more intimate, they can perhaps use Zoom to go on a raid train together with other players. Raids are one of the key social elements to “Pokemon Go.” It’s how players meet up face to face and make friends. For many, it’s how they get to know their community and neighbors.
Remote Raid Passes are a step toward bringing that part of the game back, but in the meanwhile, Niantic is adding other tweaks to facilitate play from home. For example, players will now receive a daily bonus Field Research task without using a Pokestop. It will be added as fourth task, but players can only hold one at a time. Another change is that Buddy Pokemon will bring players gifts if they don’t have any on hand. This means that they don’t have to go out and spin a stop to get a gift for friends.
Lastly, Niantic is organizing its first-ever Incense Day from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 19. Taking advantage of a boosted 1-hour incense that has been active since the shelter-in-place order in California, “Pokemon Go” will have different types of pocket monsters available for those who use the power-up. The type of Pokemon falls under the following schedule:
11 a.m. to noon: Water-type Pokemon such as Poliwag (shiny available), Tentacool (shiny available) and Spheal will show up with an occasional Clamperl (shiny available).
Noon to 1 p.m.: Fire-type Pokemon such as Growlithe (shiny available), Ponyta (shiny available) and Houndor (shiny available) will show up. The rare Pokemon will be Litwick.
1 p.m. to 2 p.m.: Grass-type Pokemon such as Oddish (shiny available), Roselia (shiny available) and Lileep (shiny available) will be available. Ferroseed will be the rare Pokemon.
2 p.m. to 3 p.m.: Psychic-type Pokemong such as Slowpoke, Baltoy (shiny available) and Bronzor (shiny available) will be available. The rare Pokemon will be Gothita.
3 p.m. to 4 p.m.: Bug-type Pokemon such as Caterpie (shiny available), Ledyba and Skorupi (shiny available) will be available. Joltik will be the rare Pokemon.
4 p.m. to 5 p.m.: Ground-type Pokemon such as Wooper, Barboach (shiny available) and Hippopotas (shiny available) will be available. Drilbur will be the rare Pokemon.
All throughout the event, Sentret will appear more often and yes that Pokemon can be shiny as well.