2020 was the biggest year for Pokémon GO thus far. This year of uncertainty brought major changes to the game, which saw Niantic continue with planned drops such as Buddy Adventure, GO Battle League, and GO Beyond while also adjusting to the global situation with Remote Raids, Remote Raid Invites, and more. While there were some stumbles along the way, I believe that, if Niantic sticks to this trend, they can make 2021 even better. Here are ways that Niantic can improve Pokémon GO as we head into the next year.
What Pokémon GO Should Do
What They Should Stop Doing
Today’s Pokemon Go Spotlight Hour is kicking off at 6pm local time and is just the first of many new events coming to the game.
As revealed earlier this month by Niantic, Snover is the featured Pocket Monster during December's last Pokemon Spotlight Hour.
And the good news is that you’ll earn twice the XP for evolving Pokemon during the mini-event being held today.
But while Spotlight Hour is just a fleeting chance to get an XP boost, more big Pokemon events are on the way.
Those Trainers planning on buying a ticket for the Kanto Tour can look forward to the first rewards dropping in January.
The Unova region will be getting the special treatment on January 5 until January 10, with a start time set for 10am local time.
These will be the featured bonuses and rewards available during the Kanto Tour warm-up:
This will be followed by an event celebrating the Sinnoh region on Tuesday, January 12, 2021, and running until Sunday, January 17, 2021.
And before all that kicks off, Trainers should be aware that a January Research Breakthrough encounter will be happening on January 1.
This event runs until February, meaning there will be plenty of time to encounter Chansey in Research Breakthroughs.
Other events can be listed below for the coming days and January 2021:
Pokemon Spotlight Hours
In the month of January, Pokémon Spotlight Hour will take place every Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. local time, and each hour will spotlight a different Pokémon and special bonus!
Celebrate 2021 with our New Year’s–themed event
Happy 2020! Wait, no—it’ll be 2021 in just a few days. Turns out Slowpoke is just late to the game as always. Silly Slowpoke!
For this year’s New Year’s event, you can expect new costumed Pokémon (like a silly Slowpoke wearing 2020 glasses) and new avatar items, as well as the return of some familiar Pokémon wearing party hats. This event will run from Thursday, December 31, 2020, at 10:00 p.m. to Monday, January 4, 2021, at 10:00 p.m. local time.
Celebrate the different regions of the Pokémon world in January
As we count down the days to Pokémon GO Tour: Kanto, we’ll be celebrating during the Season of Celebration with events themed around different regions of the Pokémon world! Different weeks will highlight Unova, Sinnoh, Hoenn, and Johto, as Pokémon originally discovered in these regions will be appearing more often in the wild.
The year 2020 is wrapping up, and it has been a year of major change in Pokémon GO. Trainers have seen the game add both new features and new species, all the while adjusting to the ever-changing situation with the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdowns that followed. Now, let's take a look back at what has been a defining year for Niantic's worldwide mega-hit game and determine the Best and Worst of 2020 in every aspect of Pokémon GO. Now, after a week of ranking, here are the full results. Click on each topic to see the full breakdown of why these were Niantic's best and worst moves in this wild year.
Worst New Pokémon Releases
5. Deerling's Winter Form
2. Galarian Mr. Mime
1. Galarian Mr. Mime again, because… the hell?
Best New Pokémon Releases
5. December Kalos Rollout: Fennekin, Froakie, Chespin, & more
4. Scraggy & Rufflet
3. Trade Evolution Releases: Timburr, Roggenrola, Axew, & more
1. Galarian Ponyta & Sirfetch'd
Rare spawns can enrich Pokémon GO, but sometimes, a certain level of rarity can seem less like a fun challenge and more like a paywall.
Worst Raid Bosses
5. Forces of Nature Trio
4. Mega Blastoise
Best Raid Bosses
5. Reshiram & Zekrom
3. Origin Forme Giratina
2. The Lake Trio
1. Articuno, Zapdos, & Moltres
A major lesson for Niantic to learn here comes in both positive and negative ways. Kyurem absolutely grinded the raiding community to a halt in December, so my personal hope is that Niantic sees how the short raid stay with Legacy moves on returning Pokémon, like the Kanto Birds, is how trainers want to see species return to raids.
5. Dragon Week
4. Fashion Week
3. Animation Week
2. Holiday 2020 Event
1. Magikarp Community Day
5. Seasons Change
4. Wooper Watch
3. Sinnoh Celebration
2. Throwback Challenges
1. GO Fest 2020
Some of the year's events were hit or miss in Pokémon GO but, personally, I found something fun in each and every one of these. Yes, even the Magikarp Community Day that no one, absolutely no one, asked for.
Worst New Features
5. Candy to Candy XL Conversion
3. Raid Tier Consolidation
2. Mega Evolution (on debut)
1. AR Mapping Tasks
Best New Features
5. GO Battle League
4. Shadow Bonus
3. Level Requirements
2. Buddy Adventure
1. Remote Raids
2020 was a year of major change for Pokémon GO and we saw Niantic adapt in multiple ways. Not only did they adjust raiding to make it possible to do so from home, but they also fixed Mega Raids in many ways after the initial launch's backlash.
Worst Shiny Releases
4. Jynx, kind of
Best Shiny Releases
Hopefully, Niantic takes note from this year that the player base isn't exactly fond of limited-time, raid/Egg-exclusive Shinies. Shiny Pokémon like Rufflet would be great if made a raid mainstay like Timburr, but these limited-window releases end up leaving Pokémon GO trainers disappointed.
Best Pokémon of 2020
2. Shadow Mewtwo
It's been a great year, fellow trainers. I hope you've had a lot of fun and caught many Shinies along the way. I'll be here with you in 2021 with daily Pokémon GO updates, species spotlights, and paying guides right here on Bleeding Cool. Thanks for reading, and thanks for being part of the worldwide community that keeps the amazing world of Pokémon alive.
Pokémon GO announced its partnering with The North Face and Gucci for an in-game clothing collaboration.
News of The Pokémon Company's involvement was announced days after the two clothing brands revealed the official The North Face x Gucci collection by Alessandro Michele. Italian fashion house Gucci teased its upcoming collaboration by tweeting an image of a flag featuring the Pokémon GO logo attached to a pole with a The North Face x Gucci tent.
The official Twitter for Pokémon GO also reposted Gucci's tweet on its account, along with the eyes emoji.
While no other details were included in the post, The Pokémon Company previously teamed up with Japanese clothing company Uniqlo to place Pokémon-themed designs into the in-game clothing shop. Based on that collaboration, it's expected that Pokémon GO players will see apparel and accessory items that feature elements from the Pokémon franchise but also channel the outdoor camping styling of The North Face x Gucci collaboration.
The Pokémon Go x The North Face x Gucci trifecta news came a week after a recent Pokémon GO event introduced Galarian Mr. Mime. During the event, which ran Dec. 18-21, players completed a series of tasks that resulted in an encounter with Galarian Mr. Mime. Players also had the opportunity to collect enough Mr. Mime Candy in order to evolve into Mr. Rime. Other characters introduced to the game in December included Alolan Vulpix, Jigglypuff, Chimecho and Snorunt.
Niantic also recently debuted a more comprehensive search system for Pokémon GO called Pokémon tagging, which allow players to create different colored tags and use them to filter Pokémon in their collections.
The '70s-inspired The North Face x Gucci collection includes outerwear such as puffer coats, quilted jackets, windbreakers, and vests, as well as clothing like shirts, skirts, and jumpsuits, for women and men. According to the press release accompanying the campaign visuals, "It is a well acknowledged notion that travel leads to self-discovery, and in this conviction The North Face is aligned with Gucci, which similarly empowers people in their quest to celebrate and express their own characters and personalities." The collection will launch in China on Dec. 29 and around the world in the first weeks of January.
The year 2020 is wrapping up, and it has been a year of major change in Pokémon GO. Trainers have seen the game add both new features and new species, all the while adjusting to the ever-changing situation with the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdowns that followed. Now, let's take a look back at what has been a defining year for Niantic's worldwide mega-hit game and determine the Best and Worst of 2020 in every aspect of Pokémon GO. This time… we're talking about the worst new features of 2020. Let's go!
5. Candy to Candy XL Conversion
The implementation of Candy XL isn't a huge problem in Pokémon GO, but the conversion isn't quite user-friendly. The truth is, this function is purposely not very effective because it's not meant to be. In the press conference in which Niantic announced the arrival of Levels 41 through 50, they also announced this feature… but specifically said that the main way to get Candy XL is by earning it through encounters, raids, and hatching. This conversion isn't meant to be the main way by which it can be earned, hence the low conversion rate. Even so… 100 Candies for one Candy XL is such a crazy conversion rate that it makes one wonder why this feature exists at all.
The new tagging feature is as inoffensive as it is useless. It's fine for sorting purposes, but a whole tab for tags seems excessive. Niantic could very well improve this feature, as they could any of the others, but for now, in the midst of a year with majorly positive game-changing implements, this one is more middling than it is interesting.
3. Raid Tier Consolidation
Another great idea in the concept phase that ended up with wobbly execution in Pokémon GO. When Mega Raids were introduced, Niantic removed Tier Two and Tier Four raids. This had some terrific impacts, with Pokémon that couldn't be defeated by solo trainers now soloable. With the exception of Shuckle, now every non-Legendary and non-Mega boss can be soloed. That's great! However, since this happened, the raid rotation has been, bar none, the driest in the game's history. Niantic's consolidation has had net positive and negative effects, so it's not a complete loss, but now they have to add spice back into raids in order to justify this change.
2. Mega Evolution (on debut)
Personally, I don't mind Mega Evolution. I find it to be fair at the moment and Niantic's changes to the amount of Mega Energy rewarded through raids was quicker than expected. However, this makes the list because, on launch, the Pokémon GO fanbase, in general, was outraged and that should be recognized here. Niantic has course-corrected in major ways, but the one lasting negative aspect of Mega Evolution and Mega Raids is that these Pokémon stay in rotation for far, far too long. The Mega Raid rotation is stale as stale can be and needs quicker turnover for it to be as permanent a feature as Niantic is clearly hoping.
Now… notice that all of these features either already have improved or have room to improve.
That is not true of this next feature.
1. AR Mapping Tasks
I love Pokémon GO. There's never a time where I'm not, in some way, active in the game. It's open next to me right now with an Incense on. I truly appreciate all aspects of the game and feel that Niantic has done a great job bringing the world of Pokémon to life like never before. I am excited when every new feature drops. I was excited for this. But I have to be honest.
No one likes AR Mapping tasks.
No one wants to do AR Mapping tasks.
This is not only the worst feature introduced this year but, for the way that it actively impedes gameplay, for the way Niantic never really told us why we're doing it, for the way it feels like work rather than play, and for the way the rewards are absolutely bottom-tier, this is the worst feature ever implemented in Pokémon GO.
The year 2020 is wrapping up, and it has been a year of major change in Pokémon GO. Trainers have seen the game add both new features and new species, all the while adjusting to the ever-changing situation with the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdowns that followed. Now, let's take a look back at what has been a defining year for Niantic's worldwide mega-hit game and determine the Best and Worst of 2020 in every aspect of Pokémon GO. This time… we're talking about the best Shiny releases of 2020. Let's go!
With the release of Shiny Wooper, Niantic finally figured out how to deliver a good surprise in Pokémon GO. Rather than teasing out a surprise by telling us a surprise was coming, setting an expectation that could've ever be met, Niantic advertised a small event in which trainers would be able to remove Frustration from Shadow Pokémon for a day… and then, when the event went live, a flood of Wooper came in with a surprise Shiny release confirmed soon after. It was fun, surprising, and exciting in the same way that made me fall in love with Pokémon GO to begin with.
Riolu was rare before its Shiny release, was relatively rare during it, and remains rare after it. Here's what separates the release of Shiny Riolu, one of the best of 2020, from the release of Shiny Deino, the worst in Pokémon GO history. We were given a fair shot. Riolu was part of a limited about of Pokémon that could have from 7KM Gift Eggs during the Sinnoh Celebration, which meant that if you were going to grind Eggs, you were going to see Riolu. This fair shot at the Shiny, as well as another event feature for Riolu in 2020 after its initial release, set the standard for how Niantic should release rare Shinies.
The release of Shiny Vulpix just puts a smile on my face. First, Shiny Vulpix was released as part of the Seasons Change event, set to last four days in October 2020. It was a short window, but Pokémon GO trainers soon were happy to discover that Vulpix had, during this release event, a boosted Shiny rate. Then, to make the release even better, the following event which debuted 12KM Strange Eggs in Pokémon GO ended up being, in part, a continuation of the Seasons Change event that carried over certain features… including Vulpix spawns. This meant that trainers were essentially given ten full days to hunt Vulpix with a somewhat boosted Shiny rate.
This one was exciting. After two years of Spiritomb being relegated to annual Halloween Special Research, with only one encounter per trainer, it was moved to Field Research and given a Shiny release for Halloween 2020. It was a difficult Shiny to hunt for and remains rare, but makes the list because the existence of a Shiny Spiritomb with a wider release didn't just make specifically the Halloween 2020 event exciting, but the prospect of an annual Shiny Spiritomb hunt enriches Pokémon GO's Halloween festivities in general.
As part of a tie-in to the Secrets of the Jungle movie, Niantic released the first guaranteed Shiny Mythical Pokémon through Special Research… Celebi. Not only is this a historic moment, not only is the pink Celebi flat out one of the best shinies in the game… but this makes the number one spot because of the doors it opens for Pokémon GO. After years of wondering how Shiny Mythicals would be handled (with the obvious exception of Darkrai, Genesect, Deoxys, and the raid species that can be farmed) and if they'd ever come at all, the answer came: guaranteed Special Research. Indeed, we already know Shiny Mew is headed to us in February 2021, so we will surely see the same at some point for Jirachi and Victini. What a way to close out a year of incredible Shinies.
The year 2020 is wrapping up, and it has been a year of major change in Pokémon GO. Trainers have seen the game add both new features and new species, all the while adjusting to the ever-changing situation with the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdowns that followed. Now, let's take a look back at what has been a defining year for Niantic's worldwide mega-hit game and determine the Best and Worst of 2020 in every aspect of Pokémon GO. This time… we're talking the worst Shiny releases of 2020. Let's go!
Overall, Ferroseed's Shiny release wasn't so much horrible as it was underwhelming. In November 2020, Niantic hosted a series of sponsored events that were fun if a bit underwhelming. Relegating Ferroseed's Shiny release to these events made it quite the rare Shiny to have… but also made it a paywall Shiny.
4. Jynx, kind of
2020 saw Niantic adjust how they handled certain events. While you could generally bet on a Shiny release or two in past events, now Niantic has introduced two possibilities. Sometimes, they'll focus on a certain Shiny, like Lotad or Cubone, which they will hype up in their announcement as if it were a release when really it's been out in Pokémon GO for some time. Also, they will "release" a new Shiny as they did with Shiny Jynx in the Holiday 2020 event, which kicks off tomorrow. "Release" is in quotation marks because Shiny Jynx was obtainable in the past through hatching and evolving a Shiny Smoochum, with the only difference with this new event being that it can now be encountered in the wild in its Shiny form. This isn't overall a bad idea, and it worked for Clefairy earlier this year, but the highly anticipated annual Holiday event deserved a much more hype Shiny release.
Unown makes the list not because of its release but because of what happened after its release. Niantic released Shiny Unown for GO Fest and then later featured it in raids… only to totally remove it from the game. Now, those lucky enough to encounter a rare wild Unown have no chance of it being Shiny. A limited-time Shiny release works for certain Pokémon like Meltan that can be hunted at a player's own pace, but with a Pokémon as rare as Unown, it seems cheap to revoke its Shiny capabilities outside of events.
The already rare Rufflet saw it's raid/Egg-only Shiny release during the Secrets of the Jungle event this month, but it didn't seem to have the raid/Egg-only Shiny rate that made other species like this worth the raid pass. Not only this, but Rufflet raids were unusually rare, making this Shiny release seem like an afterthought for Niantic.
Far and away the most controversial Shiny release in Pokémon GO history, Shiny Deino was released as part of the Dragon Week event. Or so we're told. This rare Pokémon was available as part of the event's Timed Research and was announced as available in the wild and raids, but a cursory glance at the Pokémon GO community on social media this week led to memes where trainers made fun of the absurd rarity of even a regular, non-Shiny Deino. Deino remains one of the rarest Shinies in the game, and I personally believe that Pokémon GO needs rare Shinies to exist. When the map is filled with Pokémon that everyone already has, and an hours-long hunt yields exactly the same, the game gets less fun. However, Pokémon GO trainers deserve a fair shot at a Shiny in its release week, and they were not given that in the maligned Dragon Week event.
Pokemon GO trainers have been tasked to make ten great throws in a row alongside the Galarian Mr. Mime special research event.
Niantic Labs introduced Galarian Mr. Mime to Pokemon GO within a ticketed entry special programming event. While deciding to participate gives players access to a unique storyline with the featured Pokemon as the final reward, it also comes with additional smaller tasks. These include any of the usual pick-ups from PokeStops from catching any amount of Pokemon to making a number of skilled throws.
Pokemon GO Make 10 Great Throws in a Row Rewards
"Make 10 Great Throws in a Row" is one of three programming-exclusive tasks that trainers can pick up alongside the primary line. Once completed, trainers receive an encounter with Jynx, Shiny Lapras, Shiny Woobat or Shiny Cubchoo.
Making several skilled throws in a row is no easy feat. However, once trainers nail down a working method, this task should be completed in no time. Some report better success holding onto their PokeBall and throwing directly after a Pokemon jumps or attacks to increase the chance it will hit. Others prefer to throw once the precision circle shrinks to near-Excellent size and curve it. As Excellent is the next higher tier, performing throws of that caliber could add toward the total.
Other similar tasks include catching ten psychic-type Pokemon and catching ten ice-type Pokemon for a near identical list of encounters.
The Secrets of the Jungle movie tie-in event is ending in Pokémon GO today and will lead into the Chill Tunes event. Before we celebrate the arrival of Galarian Mr. Mime, though, let's take a look back on the event that did something historic in Pokémon GO by debuting a guaranteed Shiny Celebi.
The Shiny Release in Pokémon GO
December 2020 may always be remembered as the time Pokémon GO offered us all a free Shiny Celebi. In a month that felt otherwise lacking in Shiny releases, especially with the upcoming Holiday Event's major Shiny release (Jynx) being a species that could already be obtained in its Shiny form through hatching and evolving its baby form, this guaranteed Shiny mythical release felt like the culmination of the whole year of events.
The Special Research that led to Celebi was easy. Potentially too easy. Six or seven pages of tasks would've made more sense than four… but there is a caveat here. It must be noted that many trainers were annoyed at the infrequency of Jessie and James balloons. Defeating the Team GO Rocket duo twice (four total battles) was required to catch Shiny Celebi and, personally, I found this to be fair. Many wanted Shiny Celebi on the day of release, of course, but the rarity of the balloons made the win all that much sweeter. The Shiny Celebi release was a major success for Niantic.
Less of a success was the release of Shiny Rufflet in raids and Eggs only. The Shiny rate was observed by many trainers on social media to seem oddly high for a raid/Egg-only species. This event would've been better overall with increased Shiny Rufflet raids because, as is, it felt like a bit of an afterthought.
Secrets of the Jungle Raid Rotation & Eggs
Durant raids! While Durant was in the wild, the fact that this regional Pokémon was popping in raids worldwide was a terrific bonus. Now, the Eggs were less of a win. As Niantic reinstates pandemic bonuses, it would also be smart of them to return event eggs to the 7KM Gift Eggs which are more obtainable for those quarantining, especially during the winter. It would have been great to be able to grind out hatches for coveted Shiny Pokémon like Bonsly, but the randomness of the 5KM Egg drops made this aspect of the event less doable for many trainers.
Pokémon GO Bonuses
Finally, the return of Jessie and James and the concurrent Explorer Pikachu event, both of which are set to outlast the Secrets of the Jungle event, enriched this week of gameplay. The choice to give Jessie and James Shadow Pinsir and Shadow Scyther worked well, giving trainers a chance to hunt these Shiny Shadows that they may have missed when Cliff and Arlo awarded these encounters.
Overall, while the Rufflet Shiny release and Eggs were undercooked elements, the Secrets of the Jungle tie-in was another stellar event from Pokémon GO.
Part of the fun of the main series Pokémon games is the lore of each species, which Pokémon GO recreates with short descriptions in their Pokédex entries. However, looking into the roles these Pokémon play in other games, and even the anime, can enrich the experience of hunting these creatures in Niantic's mobile game. In honor of the Secrets of the Jungle event's release of Shiny Rufflet, let's take a deep dive into this Pokémon's lore.
Dex entry number 627, Rufflet is a dual Normal/Flying-type species from the Unova Region, introduced into the world of Pokémon with Generation Five. Rufflet can only be encountered as a male. Referred to as the "Eaglet Pokémon," this is what Rufflet's Dex entry says:
Known as a natural-born warrior, soon after its hatching, it will challenge its parent to a fight in order to gain their acceptance.
Rufflet evolves into Braviary, the Valiant Pokémon, which retains its Normal/Flying-typing and can also only be encountered as a male. Interestingly, this quirk of the Rufflet line's gender is reflected in another bird Pokémon from the Unova region: Vullaby. Vullaby can only be encountered as a female.
Pokémon GO fans are currently seeing Rufflet in raids, but this level of availability wasn't always the case. Rufflet was once an encounter exclusive to GO Battle League, which left many trainers without this little fluffy boy for some time.
For fans of the anime, Rufflet has one major feature and a few cameos. The major feature in Unrest at the Nursery! sees Rufflet come into conflict with a Vullaby as a Pokémon daycare. Beyond this major debut appearance, Rufflet appears briefly in A Shocking Grocery Run!, Mounting an Egg-xhilarating Challenge!, and more.
Other Pokédex entries offer new information about Rufflet: