Pokemon Go's latest update includes at least one mention to a "Raid," according to data-miners. Raids are, of course, a long-rumored and often teased feature for Pokemon Go that has yet to become a reality. The general prospect of gathering up a large group of people in real life to take on a cooperative challenge is understandably exciting. Exactly what Niantic might be planning is in terms of raid functionality is yet unclear, however. First things first though: What exactly is a cooperative raid, and how would Pokemon Go implement it?
How Will Co-op Work in Pokemon GO
Raids are most commonly associated with MMOs like World of Warcraft these days, usually involving a set number of 10-40 players gathering to take on encounters that would otherwise be impossible for a single player or group. Raids are entirely cooperative, with players working together to take down AI-controlled enemies.
Historically, however, raids were originally much more open ended. In classic raids, any number of players could join a fight without any required level or gear. A "raid" was just many people gathering to take on challenging content, as opposed to a very specific kind of content made for an optimized group of people.
Pokemon Go raids could potentially work either way: in an extremely structured format or open to as many participants as want to play. Considering the game's unsaid goals of inclusiveness and accessibility, a scaling encounter would likely work best. But some type of structure would also be impossible, so raid rewards don't necessarily become trifling. Otherwise, why have raids at all?
Luckily Niantic has already provided a look into just what raids might look like in Pokemon Go, going all the way back to the game's original live-action trailer. The trailer featured a raid occurring in Time Square in New York. Dozens, if not hundreds, of nearby players received a sudden raid notification of a nearby spawning Mewtwo. Players then had a limited amount of time to attack Mewtwo with their Pokemon of choice. They appeared to "catch" Mewtwo just as the timer expired.
It's obviously been some time since that original trailer and the game that Pokemon Go would eventually become looks completely different than what it did in concept. Nevertheless, it does give us an idea of what Niantic is considering, including some worrying details. That raids might be exclusive to key locations like Times Square is worrying. That raids seemingly randomly spawn is also worrying. Pokemon Go players in rural areas already struggle with finding local activity. But let's hope Niantic's considering those players too as they design raids.
However Niantic ultimately puts raids into Pokemon Go, fans should at the very least be excited about the possibility of Legendary Pokemon like Mewtwo finally becoming available.
Pokemon Go is currently available on iOS and Android devices and is free to download.