Niantic has lifted the lid on what is described as the biggest update to Pokémon Go since the game launched.
The update will introduce a revamped gym gameplay experience, the ability to earn gym badges, co-op raid battles, and more.
The new gym system will allow players to spin for items like they do at PokéStops. Prestige and training has also been removed, instead, gyms now feature six permanent slots that can be filled by the controlling team’s Pokémon. Each of these Pokémon must be unique and opposing teams will have to battle Pokémon in the order they were added.
“At the heart of the update is a new motivation system that will significantly change how you interact with Gyms,” Niantic adds. “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, so you’ll want to keep your team’s Pokémon motivated by giving them Berries frequently!”
As part of the revamp, players will be able to earn Gym Badges when interacting with gyms. These serve as mementos of players’ adventures and reflect contribution to a gym’s success. Badges can be leveled up by battling, giving Berries to the Pokémon in the gym, and spinning the gym’s Photo Disc.
Another new feature being introduced is Raid Battles. These are a cooperative gameplay experience that encourage players to work together to defeat an extremely powerful Pokémon known as the Raid Boss. At certain points, all Pokémon assigned to a 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. To take part in the raid, players will need a raid pass. A free pass can be obtained once per day by visiting a gym or premium passes can be purchased from the in-game store. Upon using the raid pass, players will have five minutes to defeat the boss with up to 20 other players. If the boss is defeated within the time limit then players will be rewarded with “an extra powerful Pokémon.”
Finally, the update will include a large number of new items, such as Rare Candies, Golden Razz Berries, and two types of Technical Machines—Fast and Charged. A Rare Candy is a mysterious candy that, when used on a Pokémon, turns into that Pokémon’s Candy. While Golden Razz Berries will greatly increase your chances of catching a Pokémon you encounter in the wild.
The update is scheduled to arrive this summer. At launch, raids will only be available to a small amount of players, but Niantic will roll the feature out to more and more players over a number of weeks.