Niantic is sending Pokemon Go into its second year with some big changes to gyms with a reworked battle systems and the introduction at long last of a proper team raid feature.
Seeking to balance out the gym battle system, the changes going live soon will see gyms stand or fall based on a new characteristic: motivation.
While it’s amusing to think you might demotivate opposing Pokemon with your own ideas and values, in reality it’s just a system to reduce the CP of high Pokemon over time and make the gym easier to conquer. To keep the Pokemon attached to a gym motivated, you can feed them berries – if the gym is owned by your team.
Defeating Pokemon in battle also decreases their motivation. When their motivation runs out, they’ll return to their trainer (assumedly dejected and sad about everything).
In Ingress parlance, they’ve added resonator decay to Pokemon Go, and that’s probably a good thing as it will now require effort to maintain gyms on the part of the owning faction.
Other changes: Gyms can now only have one of each type of Pokemon; you will now find a spinnable photo disc at gyms; there are now gym badges that can be levelled up by visiting the gyms in question; and of course the gym graphics have been given a bit of an overhaul.
If that wasn’t enough, the big(ger) news is the addition of a team raid system to take down gyms in special events that could see you catch a rare Pokemon (think Legendaries) if you’re successful.
Raid events are pay-to-play, requiring a Raid Pass. You can get one free pass per day by visiting a gym, but you can only hold one Raid Pass at a time and you’ll need to hit the shop to buy more.
Gyms you can Raid will have an egg on top with a countdown; when it hatches it’ll reveal the gym’s Raid Boss, and up to 20 trainers will be able to team up to defeat the Raid Boss.
A successful assault will give you a chance to capture a rare Pokemon (we’ll assume it’s the Raid Boss, though it’s not explicitly stated), and some new items – Rare Candy (a universal candy that can be used for any Pokemon), Golden Razz Berries that greatly increase your chance of capturing a Pokemon and Technical Machines that can teach your Pokemon new abilities for battle.
Niantic isn’t known for making sweeping changes to its games without careful consideration of the consequences. Gyms are currently offline in the game and will return in the next few weeks, first as a beta for a limited number of players and then a wider rollout.
We’re excited to see how these new features play out! Are you? Tell us in the comments!