When Pokemon GO launched in the summer of 2016, it seemed like everyone and their mother was playing the game for a few weeks. That hype died down due to fatigue, bugs, cold weather, and login problems; but the game has come a long way since those first few months. The latest update makes some major improvements to the Gym system and added Battle Raids, which seems to be bringing a lot of old players back into the game. Unfortunately, so much has changed that logging back in might be a little confusing. We’re here to help.

If you missed the last six months or so of Pokemon GO, this quick guide will help you catch up on everything that has changed…

Generation 2

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One of the first things many players will notice is that there are a lot of new Pokemon running around. About five months ago, Niantic started slowing adding some new Pokemon to the game. At this point, the Pokedex is much larger than it originally was and there should be a lot of new monsters to catch. This doesn’t really change the gameplay at all, aside from some new Eevee evolutions to master and a few other special Gen 2 evolution techniques.

Pokemon GO players can now evolve their Eevee to either Espeon or Umbreon. Be sure to follow Game Rant’s helpful guide on how to evolve Eevee into either of the two. We’ll quickly note, though, that the naming method can only be used once, so players will want to hold off until they have a powerful Eevee to evolve.

Other Pokemon now have new Generation 2 evolve options, but some of those evolves require special items. These special items – Dragon Scales, Sun Stones, Metal Coats, or King’s Stones – can be obtained from Pokestops, but are pretty rare. Players will want to play their evolves carefully based on the rarity of the items.

Niantic has made a few other tweaks to Pokemon evolving. Horsea’s evolution to Seadra and Zubat’s evolution to Golbat now only require 25 candies instead of the previous 50 candies. Hitmonlee and Hitmonchan candies are now combined into Tyrogue candies. And Slowking no longer evolves from Slowbro, but from Slowpoke.

Gym Updates

Gyms are no longer based on Prestige and training. Instead, they now feature six permanent slots that can be filled by the controlling team’s Pokémon. Each Pokémon assigned to these slots must be unique. For example, only one Blissey can be assigned to a Gym at a time. In addition, opposing teams will battle the Pokémon in the order they were assigned to the Gym.

When a Pokémon is assigned to a Gym, a motivation meter will be displayed. Pokémon assigned to defend a Gym lose motivation over time and as they are defeated in battle. As a Pokémon loses motivation, its CP will temporarily decrease, making it easier for opposing teams to defeat. To help keep the Pokémon motivated and in tip-top shape for their next battle, Trainers can treat their team’s Pokémon to some Berries, which restore their motivation. If a Pokémon loses all motivation, it will leave the Gym and return to its Trainer the next time it loses a battle.

Battle Raids

Pokemon GO Raid passes problem

A Raid Battle is a cooperative gameplay experience that encourages you to work with other Trainers to defeat an extremely powerful Pokémon known as the Raid Boss. Before a Raid Battle begins, all Pokémon assigned to the Gym will return to their Trainers, and a large Egg will appear atop the Gym. When the countdown above the Egg reaches zero, the Raid Boss will be revealed.

Before you can battle the Raid Boss, you’ll need a Raid Pass. You can get one free Raid Pass per day by visiting a Gym, but you can only hold one at a time. You can also get Premium Raid Passes from the in-game shop. Upon using your pass to join the battle, you and up to 20 other Trainers work together to defeat the Raid Boss. If you successfully defeat the Raid Boss within the five-minute time limit, you’ll have the chance to catch an extra powerful Pokémon of your own!

Rare Candy, Golden Razz Berry, New TMs

  • Rare Candy – This item can be transformed into one Candy for any Pokemon.
  • Golden Razz Berry – This item makes catching wild Pokemon much easier. In addition, if fed to a Pokemon defending a Gym, its motivation level will be completely restored.
  • Fast TM – A Technical Machine that teaches a Pokemon how to perform a fast attack. If that Pokemon already knows a fast attack, this one will replace it.
  • Charge TM – A Technical Machine that teaches a Pokemon a new charge attack. If a charge attack is already known by that Pokemon, this one will replace it.

Pinap and Nanab Berries

Niantic has introduced two new types of Berries into Pokemon GO with the Generation 2 update. Pinap will double the number of candies with the next catch and Nanab slows Pokemon moves so they’re easier to catch. Only one type of berry can be used on a Pokemon at a time, which means no more Berry stacking. If players want to reset the Berry choice, they can exit and re-enter the catch screen.

Search Feature

The new search function offers Pokemon GO players a variety of ways to search through their Pokemon collections. For example players can search by name as typing in a nickname (e.g MyTyranitar) will come up with a Pokemon called MyTyranitar and typing in Tyranitar will show all Pokemon that are Tyranitar. Players can also search by Pokemon type, searching for one type (e.g water) or multiples types (water, fire, grass) at a time.

Special Events

pokemon go fire ice event

Pokemon GO features lots of special events now. During these events, which are usually announced shortly before they kick off, players have an increased chance to catch Pokemon of a certain type, in addition to other bonuses for playing. Events usually last a few days. Check back here to stay informed about upcoming in-game holidays.

Hopefully this is enough information to make diving back into the game a little less intimidating. Good luck out there, trainers!

Are you planning to get back into Pokemon GO thanks to the Gym updates? Let us know in the comments.

Pokemon GO is available now on Android and iOS devices in select regions.

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