Pokemon Go went through a bit of a resurgence recently. The launch of raids brought back a lot of players, and then Legendary Pokemon arrived and brought back even more. Everyone was excited at the prospect of more, with fan-favorite Mewtwo looming on the horizon. Finally, he arrived, but the manner through which Niantic is releasing him has been a months long disaster, causing strife, anger, and frustration among the playerbase that they just won back.
Here’s how Mewtwo raids works in Pokemon Go: players do random raids throughout the week or weeks. Invites are sent out to certain players who completed certain raids at certain gyms, often sponsored gyms like Sprint or Starbucks. Those players then have to show up and coordinate for the specific window of time allotted for the raid.
Here’s where this is totally broken: no one has any idea what is happening. All of the factors listed above are random and outside of players’ control. They don’t know what gyms will be picked, though the emphasis on sponsored gyms has focused players on them. They don’t know which raids need to be done. They don’t know when the Mewtwo raid will be, so they might not be available. And finally, they might just get unlucky and fulfill all the requirements and not get an invite.
This is what just happened to me after waiting months to receive an EX Raid pass. I’d had them pop at gyms I had raided at before, but often felt that I wasn’t in the raids that qualified. This week though I raided at a sponsored gym and saw others who had only done that one raid get an invite while I did not. It was also annoying that the Mewtwo raid would be on a Saturday, when all of us had raided there during the week, meaning many would likely not be able to make it.
And while this was frustrating, it doesn’t prove that the Mewtwo raid system is broken, that proof is in how many people have had the exact same experience as me. Every time EX Raid passes roll out there are stories of groups who raided together, only to see some players get an invite while others didn’t.
This system has caused so much frustration with players that it’s fairly easy to see the lack of enthusiasm surrounding it. When Mewtwo first rolled out players once again rallied together and organized to raid in the most effective way. Now, there are fewer players at each raid I go to, and subreddits, forums, and Discord are all filled with people complaining and giving up on getting Mewtwo.
This was supposed to be Pokemon Go’s biggest success, and it’s turned into another massive failure. Players need to know how to qualify for these things, and the system needs to facilitate their success, not force randomness and failure onto them. And yes, this is still billed as a “field test”, but it’s a test that has run unchanged for months now. Niantic has done this before, “testing” and awful Pokemon tracking system before deploying it everywhere without a single change.
Mewtwo raids need a total rework if they want to be successful. Players should be given clear guidelines for how to qualify. Then, once they qualify, they should be given options to choose from for time and place. Could crowds be a problem for some locations? Sure, but there’s ways to deal with this, such as having limited slots for each location and time. First come, first served is much more fair than the randomness that Pokemon Go players are dealing with right now.