Pokémon GO’s Exclusive Mewtwo Raid Beta Test Shows The Idea Should Be Abandoned

September 21, 2017

It’s early, but I’m calling it. Exclusive raids in Pokémon GO are exactly as bad of an idea as they were when they were first announced. If the ongoing beta test has shown anything, it’s that the idea is unnecessary, doesn’t work, and should be abandoned entirely.

Why am I arriving at this conclusion? I’ve been tracking the test since it started rolling out in select cities, and I’ve watched dedicated fans break their backs to try to secure themselves invites. Forum threads are filled with players who had done dozens or hundreds of Legendary Pokémon GO raids hoping to get an invite, yet they haven’t, namely because Niantic hasn’t communicated at all about the true requirements of being able to test out the raid or where exactly the tests are rolling out at any given time.

My immediate advice to these people would be for them to stop killing themselves to meet criteria that may not even exist right now, but the fact remains that Niantic is being thoroughly uncommunicative about exclusive raids, and that many of these problems may translate into the final product. If exclusive raids keep their qualifying criteria a mystery and just tell players to “raid a lot” to hopefully get an invite, that will play out just as poorly. Sure, the cynical view is that this will make people rush out and buy raid passes all the time to make sure they’re a “top raider” to secure an invite, but that’s not going to last long as players get frustrated and burn out. And if they’re already doing so during this early test, it’s only going to happen on a larger scale when it’s live.

But other than the process to get beta invites being unclear, this test is bringing other problems to life too. Some of the stories I’ve read so far include people getting exclusive invites based on Pokémon GO raiding in cities they were just visiting, and now they’d have to travel back across the country to actually partake in the raid on a certain day. I’ve seen people break their neck raiding and actually secure an invite, only to realize it was scheduled in the middle of a workday and they couldn’t possibly attend it. The funniest story I’ve heard is that a player got an invite to a raid at a sponsored Starbucks inside of an airport. Other players were telling him how to buy a ticket to get past security then get a refund, and pray that somehow, there were enough other airport raiders that at the exact same time to actually beat the raid.


What the hell is going on? How is any of this possibly a good idea?

I understand that Niantic is trying to put Mewtwo on a pedestal and reward its most dedicated players with a chance to catch him, but this is just not working out. What to change?

  • If these raids are going to remain exclusive to some degree, have very clear set goals and set times when they occur. To qualify, you need to do say, 10 raids in a month, or 5 Legendary raids, complete with an actual in-game checklist to make sure you know how far along you are in completing this goal.
  • Every month, exclusive raids are in a set, pre-known place over a specific weekend. This month would be the 29th, 30th and the 1st, so players can pick a date that works with their schedules. This is the only way exclusive invites will work, if there is a lot of information known ahead of time, and there’s some flexibility to work with.
  • Or, my personal preference, just abandon the exclusive idea entirely. Let’s be honest, Mewtwo is cool, but cooler than the other 10 Legendary Pokémon across two generations to be worth all this trouble? No, and frankly, there’s nothing to even do with a Mewtwo in Pokémon GO except use him to catch more Mewtwo or other Legendaries. He’s hardly the holy grail of this game like he was in the original handheld version. Sure, make Mewtwo raids incredibly rare, have a 48 hour countdown timer and a 3 hour spawn window so people can organize, and make the battle tough. But do not exclude enormous parts of the playerbase in a game you always claim is meant to bring people together. “Dedicated” players already have their reward in the form of 15 copies of each Legendary and 3K+ CP Pokémon. They don’t need Mewtwo all to themselves too.

This seemed like a bad idea when it was first announced, and it seems like a bad idea now, in practice. Granted, anything Niantic does is probably based around making money, but again, if their plan is to just get people to frantically buy raid passes in the hope of getting an exclusive invite, that’s going to sputter out quickly after empty inboxes or failed attempts or the first, exhausting catch. Exclusive raids cut against everything core to what Pokémon GO is, a community game that can be played by anyone without leaving others out. This system is leaving players out by design in addition to having a mountain of logistical problems on top of that.

Either be crystal clear about the requirements, time and place of exclusive raids, or scrap the idea altogether. I know which path I’m voting for.


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