‘Pokemon Go’: September events focuses on flawed Mega Evolution system

Mega Evolution sparked a buzz among the “Pokemon Go” community, but though the concept is intriguing, the execution has left a lot to be desired. Almost immediately upon its release, fans have grumbled about the onerous requirements to access the feature. Others are upset by the time it stays activated.
Whatever the case, few people are entirely happy with how Mega Evolution has turned out in “Pokemon Go.” With that being the case, Niantic is doubling down on the feature with a series of themed September events.

WEEK 1
The first one out of the gate runs from 8 a.m. Sept. 1 to 10 p.m. Sept. 7. The goal of the event is to complete 2 million Mega Raids, which given the player base shouldn’t be too difficult unless everyone declines to participate. If accomplished, Mega Pidgeot will be unlocked in raids.
To ferry this process along, trainers can expect more Mega Raids, attack boosts with friends and Field Research tasks, including one that provides Mega Energy. (It’s the Battle Another Trainer quest.) In addition, a slew of Pokemon will appear in the wild. They include: Abra (shiny), Magnetmite (shiny), Exeggute (shiny), Rhyhorn (shiny), Tangela (shiny), Electabuzz, Omanyte (shiny), Aerodactyl (shiny), Murkrow (shiny), Treecko (shiny), Torchic (shiny), Lotad (shiny) and Roselia (shiny). Lotad is the spotlighted shiny Pokemon.
The benefit from having these Pokemon out is that they’re helpful against the current Mega Raid roster. At the same time, it will be interesting to see if any of these event changes will spur players to do more than the occasional Mega Raid.

WEEK 2
From 8 a.m. Sept. 11 to 10 p.m. Sept. 17, the major quest is for the community to complete 275 million battles to unlock Mega Houndoom. Although that seems like a big number, it’s doable because players can battle in gyms, Team GO Rocket battles and trainer battles to complete the task. Niantic is encouraging players to use Mega-Evolved Pokemon, but given the difficulty in obtaining Mega Energy, that’s a hard ask.

For those who saved the Mega Beedrill energy from the initial Special Research Quest, this week is the time to use it. Mega Beedrill will have a temporary CP boost in Gym battles, Team GO Rocket battles and trainer battles. Mega Energy for the bug Pokemon will also be available in Field Research tasks. That goes on top of the tasks available to the Kanto starters.

It will be worth doing the Team GO Rocket Battles this time around because they will be cycling through a new set of Shadow Pokemon. It’s highly likely there will be new shadow shiny Pokemon. On top of that, bug Pokemon such as Caterpie (shiny), Weedle (shiny), Paras, Venonat (shiny), Scyther (shiny), Pinsir (shiny), Ledyba (shiny), Spinarak, Wurmple (shiny), Kricketot and Burmy (shiny) will appear more often in the wild. The event marks the debut of shiny Ledyba. It’s more orange instead of red.

WEEK 3
From 8 a.m. Sept. 22 to 10 p.m. Sept. 28, the event is focused on friendship. It features a Mega-Evolution themed Timed Research story. If finished, players will unlock an extra treat during Halloween. One of the cooler features of this event is that Mega-Evolved Pokemon will be around for 12 hours instead of the normal four. This makes Mega Evolving a Pokemon more reasonable. In addition, Poffin duration will double during the event, meaning that players can advance their Pokemon closer to Best Buddy status. That’s important in Go Battle when having perfect Pokemon with a Best Buddy level boost can help eke out wins.

The Pokemon available in the wild for this event are themed on size. Larger Pokemon that appear on the map will show up more often. They include Doduo (shiny), Alolan Exeggutor (shiny), Pinsir (shiny), Lapras (shiny), Snorlax, Furret, Wobbuffet, Mantine and Skarmory (shiny). Shiny Doduo also makes its debut. It looks like a slightly paler version of the normal one.

The event leads into the Halloween season and the introduction of Mega Gengar to the roster of Mega-Evolved Pokemon. That’s worth being excited about because the shiny version of Mega Gengar is gorgeous.

IS IT WORTH IT?
All these events are supposed to entice players to give Mega Evolution a try by showing how fun it is. The general concept is good and brings more depth to raids and battles. The big problem is that Mega Evolution is so expensive financially for trainers. Niantic hasn’t offered enough viable ways to obtain Mega Energy needed for the transformation. As of now, it’s mostly tied to Mega Raids, which require a pass. The limited Field Research tasks give players a tiny amount Mega Energy and are reportedly difficult to find.

Beyond those two methods, there’s not many opportunities to earn Mega Energy. By tying the transformation to such a limited resource, it makes Mega Evolution a feature that’s rarely used. It also raises more important questions. What happens when there are no more Mega Raids for the Kanto starters? How will the feature be fairly incorporated into Go Battle League? The whole system, which appears to push players to spend money on raids, appears unsustainable because Mega Energy for a specific Pokemon is such a finite resource.

Niantic promises fixes, and let’s hope they push something out soon because the way Mega Evolution works now, it discourages players from using it. Instead, they hoard Mega Energy because there’s a fear that they won’t be able to use it in the future. It’s fear of missing out but skewed in a different way, and it puts Mega Evolution out of reach for many. That’s disappointing for a new ability that had so much promise to positively impact the game.

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