Pokémon GO Fest 2022, the biggest event in the massive mobile game’s calendar, is confirmed for the 4th and 5th June this year. For the not-inconsiderable sum of $14.99, the weekend will include rotating habitats, Land Forme Shaymin, shiny debuts, and “customized special research,” where players can set their own difficulty levels. We’ve all the details below.
To entice you out this year, Niantic has revealed a huge pile of details about the event, both for those with and without tickets. Taking part for free looks a reasonably generous affair, with the vast numbers of extra Pokémon appearing in the wild, access to most brand new shinies, as well as collaborative challenge events each hour and a short free Special Research story on the Sunday.
Those shinies? New to the game for the event will be Shroomish, Numel, Karrablast, Axew and Shelmet. However, the Unown B shiny is going to be available to ticket holders only, which I’m embarrassed to admit is enough to get me to pay up. B comes alongside an increased shiny rate for the rest of the beasties.
For those who fork out the fifteen bucks, there’s a lot more to get involved with. Saturday, a far quieter day without paying, becomes far busier. Alongside an extra day of the Global Challenge Arena (where the game sets targets that will inevitably be triggered by players worldwide, to unlock little bonuses), increased shiny rate across all Pokémon types, and the Unown B shiny, comes this Customized Special Research.
This is all for the goal of encountering Land Forme Shaymin, but Niantic are saying it can be personalized to how you best like to play the game. This is across two factors: difficulty levels, and “gameplay focus.”
The former will let players pick between Relaxed, Standard and Master versions of the challenge, as-yet undetailed difficulty levels for which the outcome only appears to be the stickers rewarded. The latter is much more interesting, suggesting it will let you change the focus of how you play, between “Catch, Explore or Battle to change Special Research tasks accordingly.”
This sounds a lot like it could be a very welcome recognition of the different ways people have come to play Pokémon GO over the last couple of years, given that a battle-focused approach might be more possible without having to walk for miles. We asked Niantic for more details about this, but were told none are yet available.
Come Sunday, there’s yet another Special Research story, that will follow on from the end of the freebie short story out that day. Alongside this, Team GO Rocket balloons will be showing up a whole bunch more, and you’ll get two Mysterious Components for defeating a Grunt instead of one. From that I’m assuming defeating leaders, and possibly Giovanni, will be a factor, if they’re trying to rush players toward gaining Rocket Radars.
GO Fest has certainly been a far more subdued affair for the last couple of years, but there’s reason to hope that 2022's will be a more amenable experience. While gathering in large, unmasked crowds remains a fool’s endeavor, hopefully by the summer we’ll have seen a drop in Omicron rates, making the prospect of heading out to your local park somewhat less concerning.
Of course, the event lives or dies on the basis of the quality of the Special Research, which hasn’t exactly been the game’s strongest aspect of late. Last year’s GO Fest ended with the disastrously damp squib of revealing everything players had been working toward for the weekend, the catching of Hoopa, wouldn’t actually be available for months! And that was after a god-awful story about gathering a “band” of Pokémon to put on a concert that also never happened. Dear God, I hope they can write something better this year.
More details are bound to be revealed over the next month or so, as well as the inevitable information leaking from the dataminers. And then of course there will be the make-up event in August to look forward to, to apologize for whatever goes wrong during the June weekend.