Ever since Pokemon GO's announcement trailer, fans have been eagerly awaiting the release of their favorite legendary Pokemon. Starting strong with the team mascots Zapdos, Articuno, and Moltres, the appeal of legendary raids is clear to anyone who still plays the popular AR game.
With limited-time-only legendary creatures available all over the world, players everywhere have returned to the game, and major cities are seeing Pokemon GO trainers coming together as a community once more. But while the excitement of an exclusive and powerful Pokemon is enough to draw in the fans, there are a few issues that Niantic is yet to address.
One noteworthy example is the impact that bringing legendary Pokemon to the game has had on the game-changing raid system that was introduced shortly before the mythical birds arrived. This feature finally had players grouping up to take on strong opponents, but it now feels like the audience is missing.
When free raids are limited to one attempt per day, there's not much incentive to spend that raid pass on a non-legendary Pokemon. Of course players are able to purchase additional passes with in-game currency, but if they don't have the gold then it will require a real-world transaction to be made. Granted, gold is easier to come by these days thanks to the updated gym system, but a raid pass still requires two days to earn, and that's if the player manages to achieve the gold limit for that particular day.
Another issue that the Pokemon GO fan base is facing is the large-scale raid exhaustion that players in the game's forums claim to be facing on a regular basis. When the major draw of a game comes from the desire to capture as many legendary creatures as possible, rather than collecting a diverse supply of Pokemon, the gameplay becomes a little monotonous. Right now, players are facing a whole new wave of legendary Pokemon which will be around for the next three months.
Many of the complaints issued on the game's subreddit stem from the fact that trainers could use a break from constant legendary raids. While it's not necessary to do them, the exclusivity of the Pokemon mean that failing to catch an Entei while it's in your country means that you might not ever get another chance.
A better way of handing legendary releases might be to adopt a similar system to Blizzard's Overwatch where the base game gets updated with new content on a semi-regular basis for special occasions like the team-based shooter's Summer Games Event, but is not constantly requiring players to earn loot boxes during the off-seasons. Releasing back-to-back exclusive content is tiring for fans, and Niantic could benefit from giving trainers a short break to recharge their batteries.
What's more, Pokemon GO still has a large backlog of issues that the developer needs to spend more time working on. With Niantic being a relatively small development team, it is likely spending a large amount of its resources preparing the next wave of legendaries, when the majority of dedicated fans might prefer that their app doesn't crash on a daily basis. Despite releasing over a year ago, Pokemon GO is still riddled with bugs and issues that players shouldn't have to expect from such a profitable game.
Getting back to the topic at hand, obtaining a legendary doesn't even benefit players in any meaningful way, as none of the currently-available mythical Pokemon can be placed in gyms or shown off to other trainers. Given enough Rare Candy, they can eventually become powerful attackers, but it often feels like Niantic's effort to keep gyms from becoming legendary clubs has prevented the Pokemon from having a purpose. If the developer implemented a limit of one legendary per gym, it might help to alleviate some of the feeling of emptiness that the special creatures carry with them.
It's fair to say that the addition of legendary creatures has been a great move for the developer, and fans are responding well to it, but if things continue to carry on this way, the fan base may grow tired with the game once more. Now that Mewtwo is finally out and the legendary dogs can be found in-game, perhaps Niantic will see fit to change up the legendary formula, providing new motives for capturing the powerful exclusive creatures.
With Gen 3 creatures also on the way, perhaps the addition of a new cast of Pokemon will be enough to breathe fresh life into the game and alleviate some of the exhaustion felt by trainers everywhere. If not, perhaps the promise of long-awaited trading and PvP features will provide enough variation for most.
Pokemon GO is out now for Android and iOS devices.