Pokemon GO is undergoing some changes and it could be the biggest we’ve seen since the game first hit mobile devices almost a year ago. We already knew Niantic was planning on shutting down gyms while the company prepared for “collaborative group gameplay features.” This was briefly mentioned during the announcement for the Solstice event that kicked off over the weekend and brought an increase in fire and ice type spawns (a few other additional perks as well).
Today, Niantic has finally revealed their plans for a completely revamped gym system that addresses many of the complaints users have had with the game from the start. First off, you can now collect items from gyms just like a Poke Stop, which is perfect for hanging out near a gym, battling it, and collecting items.
New Gym features
The old Prestige/training gameplay? Gone. Gyms will have 6 permanent that can be filled by the controlling team’s Pokemon in the order they’re placed inside. The crazy part is only one of each kind of Pokemon can be placed in a gym at a time, so you’ll no longer see gyms filled up exclusively with Blissey’s. Diversity is great.
Each Pokemon inside a gym now has their own “Motivation” meter (think of it as a gym specific life bar). The more that Pokemon is defeated in battle, the more their motivation meter drops and CP gets lowered as a result, making it easier for other opposing Pokemon to take it down. To keep your Pokemon’s motivation meter topped off, you can feed it berries while it’s placed inside a gym.
There are also gym badges that can be awarded for spinning photo discs, feeding berries, or battling. The badges can even be leveled up for bonus item rewards.
Probably the biggest change to gyms is are Raid Battles. You’ll need a “Raid Pass” in order to participate. Passes are given out once a day by visiting gyms but you can only carry one in your bag. Once you’re ready to use a raid pass, you’ll be able to team up with up to 20 friends to take down a more powerful than usual Pokemon called a “Raid Boss.” You can see Raids taking place in your Nearby menu, and once a Raid Battle begins, all Pokemon currently assigned to a gym return to their original trainers and a huge egg appears at the top with a countdown.
Once the countdown hits zero, the Raid Boss is revealed and if you quickly defeat the Boss within the 5-minute time limit, you’ll have the chance to capture the souped up Pokemon for yourself. Defeating Raid Bosses will also allow you to collect new items like Rare Candies (adds candies to any Pokemon), Golden Razz Berries (super charged Razz Berries), and two types of Technical Machines (TMs) that allow you to permanently teach your Pokemon new Fast or Charged moves. Remember, these special items are only available by defeating a Raid Bosses, so there’s a huge incentive there.
Unfortunately, Niantic still isn’t committing to a solid launch date, only mentioning that the new gym update would be rolling out “soon” so fans will have to sit tight. Once the update has rolled out to everyone across the world, Niantic says gyms will return, although the Raid Battle feature will only roll out slowly in beta to select gym locations. Niantic will be revealing new Raid Locations on their social media channels, so pay attention to those if you want to take part in raids as more open up.
In the meantime, now would be a great time to start evolving and powering up your best Pokemon to prepare for battle. Whether or not this will draw in new players or backsliders remains to be seen, but it’s easily the most exciting development to come out of the game in quite some time and certainly spices things up for veterans.