Pikachu vs. COVID-19


From Tumisu on Pixabay

Outdoor games, like Pokèmon Go, are adapting to deal with the coronavirus quarantine.

The outbreak of the coronavirus, known as COVID-19, has shut down a majority of businesses and quarantined most citizens. In response to the adverse situations, many organizations are trying their best to adapt so that their services are still of use, and this includes the popular mobile game, Pokèmon GO. The game has updated several features so that players can play the game from home.

To quote Niantic, the software company behind Pokèmon GO, from the in-game news, “We are continuing to prioritize updates to Pokèmon GO features and experiences that can be enjoyed in individual settings. Events may vary in certain areas until further notice.”

The first update was to the egg hatching system, which requires players to walk a certain amount in order to crack eggs with creatures inside them. Since the update, all eggs hatch with half the amount of steps. This makes it easier for eggs to be cracked by players using the Adventure Sync feature of the game, which tracks a player’s steps even when the game is not on, making it possible to hatch eggs from walking around inside and doing daily chores, or just going for a short walk outside in a safe area where social distancing is practiced.

Pokèmon GO has also been releasing a new gift box in the in-game shop to help out with spawning or creating creatures, as well as having enough Pokèballs to catch the creatures. Each week, a new gift box is available in the store for only one Pokècoin, which is an in-game currency players earn through defending gyms. The first week’s box included thirty incenses, which the players can use to attract and spawn Pokèmon at their location for the next half hour after it is used. The second and third week’s boxes included Pokèballs so that players who have run out of them can get them without having to go out to Pokèstops.

From Pixaline on Pixabay
Players can now play from home and still get the experience of the game.

To make up for the cancellation of several events, including Raid Hour and the Safari Zone event, Niantic has made changes to the GO Battle League, which is an in-game fighting system that allows players to fight each other from wherever they are. Normally, players had to walk three kilometers in order to unlock a series of five battles and would have to do so each time. To help out with the quarantine, Niantic has made it so that the GO Battle League does not require any distance to be walked to unlock.

Small changes have also been made to friendships and gifts, making it easier for friends, which are players in contact with other players, to level up their friendships, get more items from gifts, as well as give more items from gifts. 

The latest blog posts from Niantic have discussed several major changes that their team is currently working on due to the uncertainty of when the coronavirus and social distancing orders will disappear. The most significant update includes changes to Raids, which is a type of battle in which groups of players fight a large boss creature at a gym. Since people should not be going out to the gyms, which are placed at landmarks throughout the cities, or gathering with groups of people, Niantic is creating a way for players to do Raids at home. While the details have not yet been released, players will soon be able to take on Raid bosses at home with the help of players online.