At its core, Pokémon Go has always been about getting players moving, going to places of local interest and meeting Pokémon fans from everywhere. Go is even in the name! So in an age of social distancing, sheltered from commands and so many quarantines, Pokémon Go and games like this really had to adapt their gameplay to keep players safe. In March 2020, this meant the cancellation of Community Day for the first time in more than two years.
It was a difficult choice to make because now, more than ever, we need the community, but it was also the right choice. So when a little over a month later, Niantic announced that the community day had been postponed, many players (myself included) were skeptical.
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While I’m certainly skeptical of the concept of Community Day: Stay at Home Edition, I feel like a lot of what Niantic has done here has worked very well. I was able to finish the special research, catch and evolve a Shra Abra, and feed my Alakazam within the first hour. Also, I really enjoyed myself more than I expected although I could not leave my house.
Special paid research story
While I had reservations about requiring players to spend real money on important game features, the paid special search, Investigating Illusions, was, in my opinion, the greatest success of this first community day: Stay at Home edition. At just US $ 1 (or local equivalent), it was affordable, and every aspect of the research was easy to do without leaving the house.
A special four-step search, Investigating Illusions, consisted primarily of catching Abra, but also included steps to power Pokémon, transfer Pokémon, and evolve Pokémon. The most difficult step was making three throws of Great Curveball – that is, it was not difficult at all. The end of all research was also rewarded with a ton of awards, including:
- Ten Poké balls
- 60 Abra candies
- Two meetings with Abra
- A meeting with Kadabra
- A meeting with Alakazam
- Three incense
- One Rocket Radar
- Five silver pinap berries
- Five Golden Razz berries
- Three rare candies
- One Poffin
- 13,000 Stardust
- 4000 XP
That’s a lot for just a dollar! It certainly wasn’t the same as walking miles on community day, running tons of PokéStops and gyms along the way, but it helped make the event more rewarding.
Hey, trainers! Just because the community is physically separate doesn’t mean we can’t spend the community day together! Welcome to the start of our 24 hour coverage #PokemonGOCommunityDay! 🔮 pic.twitter.com/wEh0kk2jVY
– Pokémon GO (@PokemonGoApp) April 24, 2020
Community Day has always been about bringing together local Pokémon Go players. Whether it’s in a local park or at the mall, every community day I go with my family, and we definitely meet friends and we made new friends as we all got together to catch Pokémon. The idea of having a community day without being able to meet other players seemed contrary to the very concept.
Although it is certainly not the same thing, I have to give huge accessories to the Niantic social networking team. They started tweeting, retweeting and engaging with players around the world as soon as the community day started in the first time zones and didn’t stop until the last Abra was captured . For 24 consecutive hours, they engaged with the global community and encouraged home players to connect in a different, but still satisfying, way.
Another huge victory for this first community day: Stay at Home Edition, boosted incense was the key. Although I usually use incense during community day, it was absolutely necessary when I was playing at home. The parks and malls where I usually play on community day all have multiple PokéStops with each of the Lure Mods for the entire event, so there are always more Pokémon than anyone can catch.
Between the enhanced efficiency of the incense and the extended timer, I was able to constantly catch Abra the entire time I operated this incense. There was always at least one on screen, not to mention a few other Pokémon that are worth my time.
The snapshot feature of Pokémon Go isn’t really something that I bother most of the time. I’ve used it to catch Smeargle and on a rare occasion since, but that’s it. So when the announcement for Community Day: Stay at Home Edition included a fun surprise teaser if you took a snapshot, I figured it probably wouldn’t matter much.
Then I took this snapshot only to be gifted with the happiest little Abra I have ever seen. For those who do not know Abra, this Pokémon spends more than 18 hours a day sleeping, so they are not often seen from top to bottom, and certainly not excited. It didn’t have a huge impact on the gameplay or anything, but it made me smile. I would love to see Pokémon Go have more photobombing surprises like this.
What could fine tuning use?
Although I was able to finish the special research and develop a brilliant Alakazam during this community day, there were certainly some aspects that could have gotten better.
- Rate of occurrence without incense: As impressive as the rates of appearance with incense, they were downright terrible without. When I had no incense, I spent more than ten minutes between spawning new Pokémon and the number of Abra was depressing. I know that Niantic is already trying to increase the spawn rate for players trapped at home, but this is something they could still improve on.
- Brilliant rates: Usually, I walk away from Community Day with dozens of Shiny Pokémon – so much, in fact, that I set aside the last half hour to pick the best ones to evolve. Despite the fact that the incense worked for three hours and caught tons of Abra, I only managed to catch one bright one. My roommate, who did the same time with Incense, caught only one.
- Poke balls: I’m lucky I can afford to spend money on mobile games (or games in general) right now, so I bought the April Community Day pack. This pack contained 30 Ultra Balls (among other useful items). However, even with that and the rewards of Investigating Illusions, I had to be a lot more selective about the Pokémon I had caught. I just didn’t have enough Poké Balls to catch everything. While the idea of getting Buddy Pokémon to retrieve Poké Balls from nearby PokéStops is great, it only worked for Great Buddies or higher. It would be great if all Buddy Pokémon could bring back Poké Balls. Without PokéStops to spin, there is simply no way for players stuck at home to get enough Poké Balls right now.
Overall, I feel like the Community Day: Stay at Home edition has been a huge success. Sure, there can always be improvements, but I was able to finish the special Investigating Illusions research, grab a bright and decent Abra and turn it into Kadabra in an hour of play, all from the safety of my home.
And you? Did you have a good time during the community day? Are there any changes you would like Niantic to make? Let me know in the comments below, and be sure to check out our full Pokédex, as well as our many Pokémon Go guides so that you too can become a Pokémon master!