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Game

Watch the Pokémon Presents stream at 3PM ET for updates on ‘Pokémon Scarlet,’ ‘Violet’ and more

The latest Pokémon Presents is livestreaming at 9AM ET today, promising updates on Pokémon apps and games “including Pokémon Scarlet and Pokémon Violet,” The Pokémon Company said. It didn’t add more details, but the last Pokémon Presents revealed the Scarlet and Violet release windows, among other news. 

The company also showed off some visuals from the game at the last Pokémon Presents, including a pastoral countryside and urban landscapes, as well as the three new starters Sprigatito, Fuecoco and Quaxly. It also announced a new “Daybreak” update for Pokémon Legends: Arceus.

We now know that Pokémon Scarlet and Violet are coming to Switch on November 18th. A subsequent reveal in June showed two new professors and clues about the game’s open world. In addition, a series of rough screenshots may have shown new battle mechanics and evolutions, as well as clues about the total number of Pokémon. Hopefully, all will be revealed when the trailer drops today at 9AM ET.  

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Game

The original ‘Pokémon Snap’ comes to Switch Online on June 24th

Are you more interested in playing the original Pokémon Snap than the modern version? You won’t have to pull your Nintendo 64 out of the closet to do it. Nintendo is releasing the N64 game on June 24th for gamers subscribed to Switch Online with the Expansion Pack. It’s still the on-rails (sometimes literally) creature photo safari you remember, complete with tossing fruit to either attract or stun Pokémon in the name of a perfect snapshot.

There’s no mention of any Switch-specific enhancements. The Virtual Console version for the Wii let you post critter pictures on a message board, but that’s not strictly necessary when the Switch lets you capture screenshots to post on Facebook or Twitter.

Pokémon Snap probably won’t persuade you to get the Expansion Pack by itself. Along with classics like Paper Mario and Kirby 64, though, the pattern is clear. Nintendo is still busy fleshing out Switch Online’s extended library with some of the better-known games from the N64 era, and it doesn’t mind adding titles that have present-day counterparts.

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The quest to make an AI that can play competitive Pokémon

An AI can beat a chess grandmaster. An AI can become the StarCraft esports champion. But creating an AI that could play Pokémon at the competitive level has been a more elusive problem.

Thanks to the variety of monsters, stats, moves, and items, a Pokémon battle has hundreds of thousands of factors for any player — or machine — to consider. But that hasn’t stopped some people from trying. Most recently, Future Sight AI, created by computer scientist Albert III, successfully made it into the top 5 percent of the competitive ladder.

Albert posted a video explaining how it all works, but to summarize, the bot takes in all the information it can about the current state of the game, extrapolates the possibilities for all the turns it could take, looks a couple of turns ahead to how these would play out, and then chooses the option that can lead to the highest number of best outcomes. By doing all of that within 15 seconds, turn after turn, it can beat all but the very best human players.

That’s pretty impressive, especially when you consider that Albert had almost no experience with artificial intelligence or other major aspects of the program before he started working on it. “I took classes in college about machine learning, [but] the real question is: was I paying attention?” he laughs. “The main software that it runs on is called Node.js. I hadn’t touched that at all before I started this project.”

“Even though computer science is my day job, it’s something that I love so much that I can’t help but do it in my free time, too,” he says. That passion, combined with pandemic boredom, propelled him to look into an idea that was first inspired by his interest in basketball. “[Some websites] would do this thing where you’d be able to watch a game and see the team’s current chance of winning, and I thought about doing that for Pokémon,” he says. “Then just kind of one thing led to another and then I ended up with an AI on my hands.”

One thing leading to another is a pretty good summary of Albert’s work on Future Sight AI. He says he wanted to learn new skills and simply broke them down into small enough tasks until he was able to create his vision. “This is such a bad reference but there’s that song in Frozen 2, called ‘The Next Right [Thing].’ It’s just that. Just keep doing that until you get somewhere,” he says. Nowadays, for example, he knows Node.js so well that he can use it in projects at his day job, too.

His step-by-step approach means that he actually wasn’t aware of previous attempts to make similar AIs. Earlier projects are not as well documented as Albert’s, though there have been a few varying success levels that gained some attention within the community.

An early example was Technical Machine, first created in 2010. Though it was updated through 2019, Technical Machine only ever fully supported Pokémon up to Generation 4 and did not create its own teams, one of the key features of Future Sight. Additionally, at the time of its release, the competitive ladder base was not established in the same way, so it’s difficult to tell how successful Technical Machine was overall. One Reddit comment, however, stated that “Technical Machine at its smartest was still leagues worse than a normal player.”

Another example was posted on Reddit in 2015 by a user who went by onmabd. Comments indicated that it was “one of the stronger bots to date.” The competitive ladder gives players a ranking of 1,000 to begin with, which then goes up or down depending on wins and losses. There’s no public way to view the data, and it changes over time, so it’s tricky to evaluate what a “good” rank is. However, during his creation process, Albert found that the average player’s ranking settles at around 1,170. Onmabd’s AI managed to reach 1,300, which would put it in the top 30 percent.

Pokemon European International Championships

Photo by John Keeble / Getty Images

More recently, a user on Pokémon community forum Smogon going by pmariglia shared another attempt. Their AI beat Technical Machine in a best of three and was able to reach a rating of between 1,250 and 1,350 — again, around the top 30 percent.

Future Sight AI ranked at 1,550 on average during testing. Though Albert apologized on Smogon “for making it seem in my video that [Future Sight] is the first bot of its kind or the first to get as far as it did,” (as well as detailing where the two projects take different approaches) he says that ultimately he’s glad he didn’t know that other people had already attempted his project. “I don’t know why I never thought to look into it [but] if I’d gone down their path I might have ended up with the same results,” he says.

He also was never expecting the video to gain as much attention as it did. For starters, when I ask about its creation, he laughs. “I have to reveal something,” he says. “That entire video was animated in Powerpoint. I have to say I don’t have much video production experience [so] I had an idea for what I wanted the video to look like and I just kind of kept working on it until I could get the tools that I knew how to use to do it.”

Then, there was the delayed reaction. Posted in July, it was only viewed about 100 times in its first three weeks. The next week, it jumped up to 300,000. (As of late November, it’s almost at 600,000 views.) Albert thinks that it was picked up by somebody in the Pokémon community who posted it to Twitter, causing it to blow up, but he never found out who.

He says that it was difficult to process the sudden influx of viewers, but that he was appreciative of how supportive the Pokémon community was. “I kind of just had to take a step back a bit because the whole point of what I’m doing is that I want to teach people about computer science,” he says.

In particular, as a Black man, Albert wants to be the kind of representation he never had in the field. “I figured I have experience in public speaking, I like doing projects that people might find interesting, so really I wanted to put out a channel that said, ‘This can be an example of someone like you doing fun things in computer science.’ That’s genuinely the core of why I’m doing all of this.”

For now, his focus is on getting Future Sight playable in actual Pokémon games. Thus far, it has used Pokémon Showdown, a community-created simulator that allows online battling and functionally forms the center of the competitive scene. But early on Albert was hinting that he wanted to make something that could tie in with the releases of Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl. Most recently, he’s managed to get it to beat the final boss of Sword and Shield, despite not having any code to deal with Dynamaxing, which is banned in common competitive settings.

Beyond that, he doesn’t have too many concrete goals. “I mean this is such a corny thing, but I want it to be the very best like no one ever was,” he says, echoing the old Pokémon anime theme tune. “But seriously, I don’t know. I just started this for fun and I want to take it as far as I still find joy out of making it.”

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Game

‘Pokémon Go’ can now run on iOS at higher frame rates

Niantic has just rolled out updates for the Pokémon Go app, and one of the new features for iOS will let you run the game at higher frame rates. The Verge has discovered a new option that allows you “unlock your device’s native refresh rate for higher FPS.” It’s not explicitly stated in the app’s change log and probably falls under the “various quality-of-life improvements” the developer has listed. Also, the option is off by default, so you’ll have to find it in settings if you want to take advantage of your phone’s capabilities.

As the publication notes, Pokémon Go was previously capped at 30fps on iOS — players have had to employ workarounds to get their games to run at 60fps — but newer phones are capable of more frames per second than that. The iPhone 13 Pro, for instance, has a 120fps screen. The Verge says switching the feature on made a huge difference and made the game a lot more responsive. While Niantic may have been trying to cater to owners of the new iPhone, the option can also be accessed on its predecessors. It just may not work as well on hardware powered by older chips.

You can find the the feature in the game’s advanced settings, which will show “native refresh rate unlocked” when it’s switched on.

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Pokémon Legends Arceus Release Date, Trailer, News, and More

Every generation of main-series Pokémon games brings something new to the table — a slew of regional Pokémon to add to your team, fresh faces in the gyms and Elite Four, and sometimes innovative elements and style changes like Pokémon Sword and Shield‘s Wild Areas and Dynamaxing. But from what we’ve seen so far, Pokémon Legends: Arceus is set to deviate from the standard Pokémon game mold and give players an entirely unique Pokémon training experience.

Set for an early 2022 release, Pokémon Legends: Arceus is being pitched as a “new approach for the Pokémon video game series.” Players will be returning to the Sinnoh region from the Pokémon Diamond and Pokémon Pearl games, but long before the events of those titles. Borrowing elements from Nintendo’s ultra-popular Zelda: Breath of the Wild, the game appears to be an open-world adventure with more opportunities for exploration than past Pokémon titles.

While official details for the game are limited to an announcement trailer and a few additional notes from Nintendo, there’s a lot to unpack and plenty of interesting fan speculation on what this new Pokémon adventure will look like. Here’s everything we know about Pokémon Legends: Arceus so far.

Further reading

Release date

Pokémon Legends: Arceus will be released on January 28.

This will be just a couple of months after Nintendo released Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Pokémon Shining Pearl on November 19, making for a very exciting combination of releases for Pokémon trainers.

Platforms

A Trainer speaks with his Bidoof.

Pokémon Legends: Arceus will be released exclusively for Nintendo Switch.

Trailer

The first trailer kicks off with a narrator explaining that the events of Pokémon Legends: Arceus take place “a long, long time ago when the Sinnoh region was still only a vast wilderness.” Cut to a Breath of the Wild-style scenic view and wild Pokémon roaming the landscape uninhibited, much like they do in New Pokémon Snap.

It appears that catching wild Pokémon is going to look very different — players will be able to hunt packs of Pokémon down from a third-person perspective and throw Pokéballs at potential catches in real time as opposed to the turn-based battling sequences in other installments. It looks like battles with wild Pokémon will take place without jetting to a separate battle screen as well.

Instead of a new trio of starter Pokémon like the average game kickoff, it appears the starters in Pokémon Legends: Arceus will be a mix of starters from previous generations — Rowlet, Cyndaquil, or Oshawott will be this game’s starters.

At the end of the trailer, the book the narrator is reading from is closed. Our view is filled with smoke for a moment before revealing the mythical Pokémon Arceus. End scene.

The trailer shown off at Nintendo’s August event started with a similarly cryptic message, this time stating, “This is a tale of a time long ago when the lives of humans and Pokémon were still separate.” Finally, we know the name of the region we will explore, which is called the Hisui region and will eventually become the Sinnoh region in the future. We are then shown a variety of locations and Pokémon, including fields, snowy vistas, and moonlit forests before seeing our first real look at civilization. This town, Jubilee village, which is very much inspired by historical Japanese architecture, appears to be full of characters we will be able to interact with from the Galaxy Expedition team, composed of a Medical corp, Security corp, and Survey corp led by Cullen.

Our resident professor this time around is Professor Laventon, who studies Pokémon ecology and will provide you with your very first Pokémon. The Galaxy Expedition team is led by Kamado, who will recruit you as a member.

The latest trailer, and possibly the last, shows off a lot more of the gameplay we’ll experience in Pokémon Legends: Arceus. However, it also introduces us to several Wardens that will apparently protect special Pokémon. Mai is the first, who is partnered with a Munchlax that she describes as being almost like a sibling. Iscan appears to be a more casual and perhaps lazy Warden, and Lian is having trouble getting close to a rampaging Kleavor. Arezu seems to be fond of fashion but is also eager to learn more from your trainer.

Jubilife Village is going to be what your main hometown is called and is where you’ll be able to change your character’s appearance, shop, and craft, plus take pictures.

Pokémon nobles were also introduced in this trailer. These are “frenzied” Pokémon with unique names that look to serve as boss encounters of sorts. The one shown off was Lord of the Woods Kleavor, as an example. This is a brand new evolution of Scyther.

Gameplay

With previous Pokémon installments, we’ve been able to successfully assume what the plot will look like — you start off in a small town and build your Pokémon squad as you take on the gym leader challenge and eventually the Elite Four while fighting some sort of criminal organization, your rival, and plenty of trainers in between. There are even new Noble Pokémon to capture.

We know that the game will revolve around creating the region’s first Pokédex, a task likely given to you by a yet-to-be-named Pokémon professor. Will there be any sort of gym challenge? We’re not sure.

From previously established Pokémon lore, we know that Arceus is thought to have created the Sinnoh region and possibly the entire Pokémon world; the lake guardians Uxie, Azelf, and Mesprit; and the creation trio Dialga, Palkia, and Giratina. It is thought to be one of the oldest Pokémon around. Where we fit into Arceus’ timeline in this game is completely unclear, but we’re very excited to find out.

We initially got the impression that this would be a fully open-world game, however it has been clarified that it will be more hub-based. The team even directly compared it to how the Monster Hunter games worked, where you will go to a specific hub to complete different excursions you accept. Once done, you will need to go back to turn in the task and take on another.

The basics of Pokémon games have also been upended in this game. We see our trainer sneaking up on Pokémon through tall grass and capturing them with Poké Balls from a distance without doing battle. Some may flee when they spot you, others attack, and some simply can’t be caught without a fight. However, battles still certainly exist, as throwing a Poké Ball near an enemy Pokémon will trigger a traditional turn-based fight on the field where you will have the chance to capture your target.

While the turn-based style remains, a few new battle features have been added, such as a turn order on the right side of the screen. Instead of taking turns, some Pokémon are faster and can get multiple turns before others, so pay close attention to the action order. You can influence the order by choosing to use any move in either strong style, which is stronger but slower, or agile style, which is weaker but faster.

A Pokémon trainer flies under a bird Pokémon in Pokémon Legends: Arceus.

Aside from running and rolling across the land, you will also be able to fly with the help of your Pokémon. Using a hang glider apparatus, your trainer can be carried through the air or ride through oceans and rivers and even along the ground itself, with the help of different ridable Pokémon. Considering the scale of the world we’ve been shown, this will likely be a major feature for getting around.

Base camps will be where you can stock up on supplies, such as Poké Balls, while out in the field, or even craft your own with materials you gather in the world. Resting at a base camp will also heal your party of Pokémon who have taken damage in battle.

Jubilife Village is your hub and where you can do a lot of preparatory tasks. Aside from a huge range of customization options for your character, including hair styles and dozens of outfits ranging from sophisticated suits to traditional Japanese outfits, you can also use different materials and ingredients to craft items like potions.

There will also be a photography studio of sorts where you can strike different poses with any of your Pokémon, hopefully with the ability to save and share them with friends.

Alpha and noble Pokémon will also be new and unique encounters in the wild. These are two different types of very dangerous Pokémon. Alphas are described as being far bigger than typical Pokémon, with red eyes, and are extremely aggressive. Noble Pokémon, on the other hand, are said to be granted some sort of “mysterious blessing” that grant them unique skills. They aren’t necessarily dangerous, though, as some may aid you, but others, like the one seen in the trailer, could be in a frenzy and attack on sight. Frenzied noble Pokémon appear to be one of the types of excursions you will be tasked with taking down.

Multiplayer

A trainer battles a wild Pokemon in Pokémon Legends: Arceus

There are no clear glimpses of multiplayer action in the announcement trailer, but every single main series Pokémon game so far has had the option for battling and trading with friends. We’re going to assume that Pokémon Legends: Arceus will include multiplayer action.

Usually, there are two versions of a game in every generation,  and trading Pokémon with other players was essential to filling out your Pokédex.

While there wasn’t anything included in the trailer that looks like the Wild Area from Pokémon Sword and Shield where players could mix, mingle, trade, and battle with ease, we’re hoping that there are similar elements built into this new game.

DLC

An Ursaring with red eyes in Pokémon Legends: Arceus.

There’s no word on DLC content yet since the game isn’t close to being released. Of course, Pokémon Sword and Shield saw two DLC expansions in The Isle of Armor and The Crown Tundra. These introduced players to new areas within the region, gave them access to new wild Pokémon, and unlocked cool multiplayer options.

Pre-order

Pokémon Legends: Arceus starters Rowlet, Cyndaquil, and Oshawott

You can pre-order Pokémon Legends: Arceus from several retailers. There hasn’t been any sort of bonus content announced for pre-ordering the game, but that could change as the release date draws near.

Pre-order from Amazon 

Pre-order from Best Buy

Pre-order from Gamestop

Pre-order from Nintendo

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Game

Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl: Grand Underground Guide

We’re deep in the cycle of Pokémon games releasing both new titles as well as remakes of the originals. Newer games, like Pokémon Sword and Shield, have been more controversial among the die-hard Pokémon fans for one reason or another. However, even if the new games no longer satisfy the older fans, the remakes of the first several generations are there to bring the older titles onto your current hardware with plenty of graphical, technical, and mechanical improvements. The latest of which are the Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, remakes of Diamond and Pearl for your Nintendo Switch.

Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl make the Sinnoh region look and play better than ever. One of the most interesting features of these games that we never saw brought back was called the Underground, where you could do a few simple optional activities. In the remake, however, things have been overhauled with new content, turning it into the Grand Underground. Whether you played the originals back in the day or are a brand-new trainer in the Sinnoh region, here’s a full guide on everything you need to know about the Grand Underground in Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl.

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How to get to the Grand Underground

The first thing you’ll obviously want to know is where the Grand Underground is and how to access it. Thankfully, you can’t miss the required item to reach this area in Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl. Once you’ve beaten the first gym and thwarted some of Team Galactic’s plans in Floaroma Town, you will pass through Eterna Forest to reach Eterna City. You won’t be able to progress farther than this point until you go into the Underground Man’s House, which is conveniently located right next door to the Pokémon Center.

Once you go inside, just talk to the old man about caving and he’ll provide you with a new Explorer Kit. You’ll be prompted to use it immediately to enter the Grand Underground and find three gems for him. Complete this simple task, turn them in, and he’ll also give you a Digger Drill item, which you’ll need for later. Once you’re free again, you can simply use the Explorer Kit at any time to warp back to the Grand Underground whenever you wish.

What you can do in the Grand Underground

So now that you’ve made it to the Grand Underground, what can you actually do here? Well, there are quite a few reasons to dive deep into these caves, including new ones exclusive to Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl. There are special rooms that you can find here that are the only places in the game you will find certain rare Pokémon, you can do different mini-games for special items, and you can build your own secret base.

How to set up your secret base

Standing in the secret base full of Pokémon statues.

Let’s start with your secret base. Remember that Digger Drill item the old man gave you? This is what you’ll use to carve out your hidden chamber in the Grand Underground. To set up your hideout, simply approach any way you like and use it to excavate a new room all for yourself. Just be aware that your Digger Drill is a one-time-use item, so if you want to move your secret base somewhere else you’ll need to buy another one from a vendor. In the original game, your base was just a place you could set up some basic decorations that had no real effect, but in Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, they have introduced statues, which play a very important part in the Grand Underground ecosystem.

You will need to find these statues first, though. While exploring the Grand Underground, follow your map to the shining spots. Once you’re in the right area, hit R to activate your radar to identify exactly where a treasure is located. This will start a digging mini-game, which we will cover in depth below, where you have the chance at collecting gems, rocks, plates, fossils, evolution stones, and statues.

When you have statues, you can arrange them in your base using a grid. The reason you’ll want to use statues over other decorations, or specific statues over others, is because they will increase your odds of finding different Pokémon types in the different biomes you find in the Grand Underground. Whatever the type of Pokémon statue you place, the better odds you have of encountering more Pokémon of that same type.

Pokémon obviously come in a range of shapes and sizes, so it follows that their statues do as well. That means some will take up more squares in your grid than others, but the larger a statue is, the more it raises your chances of finding a Pokémon of that corresponding type. You’ll want to balance out and maximize your space by mixing in larger and smaller statues to get as much benefit as possible. Later on, you can expand your base to fit more statues too.

Where to find rare Pokémon

Garchomp facing off against Lucario.

The biggest draw for most trainers to start spelunking in the Grand Underground has to be all the rare Pokémon you can find only there. This is the only spot you can find a number of pocket monsters that weren’t in the original games, or only in the Platinum version. To find them, you will need to go to different areas, which are called Pokémon Hideaways, to track them down.

Pokémon Hideaways are all themed differently, with unique Pokémon spawning there related to what type of environment it is. Withing the Grand Underground, the map itself can be separated into six different zones, each one with a mystery room where the new Pokémon live. You can even arrive in zones of your choice based on where you use the Explorer Kit to travel to the Grand Underground since the two maps lay on top of each other. To get to each different zone, you can use your Explorer Kit in these areas:

  • Twinleaf Town
  • Eterna City
  • Celestic Town
  • Snowpoint City
  • Sunyshore City
  • Fight area

Aside from the statue method of boosting different Pokémon spawn rates, you will also encounter more Pokémon in Pokémon Hideaways by getting new HM and completing milestones. To specifically increase your odds of finding Pokémon that are only in Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, and not the originals, you will need to complete the Sinnoh Pokédex and unlock the National Pokédex.

Master the dig and Diglett mini-games

Digging items out of the wall.

Finally, there are two mini-game-type activities you will want to master as part of the Grand Underground experience. These are the digging game, where you can get all those rewards we mentioned when talking about statues, and encountering Diglett and Dugtrios.

Let’s start with the digging mini-game since it’s much more complex and has a range of rewards to earn. While exploring, you will find the dig spots, just like in the tutorial mission where you first got the Explorer Kit, those telltale sparkles on your map. Approach them and interact to begin the digging game, opening up a new grid. Your goal is to recover all, or as many, of the hidden items as possible using either the hammer or pickaxe tools. Before you begin, the game will tell you how many items there are to find as well. However, you only have a certain number of total swings before the area you’re working in caves in and kicks you out as indicated by a growing crack along the top of the screen. Hammer swings will cause it to grow faster than the pickaxe, so be careful swinging that thing around too much.

The hammer tool is best used first, since it is more blunt and powerful, but once you locate a treasure you will want to switch over to using the pickaxe to avoid breaking the prize. Once the cave inevitably collapses, you will get a full recap of all the goodies you managed to uncover, and any treasure chests you found will pop open for you to reveal their loot. All of it will be placed in your inventory. Remember to take your gems to the different vendors for more Grand Underground items like podiums you can place your statues on.

Running through the Grand Underground.

Last up, keep your eyes peeled for Diglett and Dugtrios while exploring the caves. As soon as you enter the Grand Underground, you’re likely to notice a meter underneath your map with a counter starting at 0 that maxes out at 40. By finding either a Diglett or Dugtrio, which appear at intersections on the map, you will cause them to “run” away and leave behind a trail of pink sparkles. By collecting these sparkles, you will build up that meter below your map, with a Diglett raising it by 1 and Dugtrio by 3.

When you eventually reach a full bar with 40 points, a few awesome things happen. First is that your odds of finding a shiny Pokémon in any of the Pokémon Hideaways will go from 1 in 4,096 all the way down to 1 in 2,048. That won’t make it a guarantee you’ll get a shiny one, but those odds are still way better than normal. Second is that you will also have better chances of finding the special green sparkling statues in the digging mini-game.

Just know that these effects are not permanent. Once the bar is full, you only have four minutes to capitalize on these increased odds before you will need to build it back up again, so make it count.

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Pokemon GO Thanksgiving 2021: Hoopa Unbound rules, catch, and release!

Pokemon GO has a set of events and in-game happenings going on during the long weekend of Thanksgiving, 2021. This series of events includes no less than one of the most powerful Pokemon in the Pokemon universe: Hoopa Unbound! We’ll also have some raid hour action, Cresselia, lots of blue-colored Pokemon (like Squirtle with sun glasses from the Squirtle Squad) and a few bonus gift package balloons from Ed Sheeran.

Ed Sheeran

Niantic / The Pokemon Company

Ed Sheeran has officially made his transition from normal massively-successful musical artist to digital gaming universe performer courtesy of Niantic’s own Pokemon GO. His appearance in the game isn’t quite the same as artists that have appeared in games like Fortnite or Roblox. Instead, you’ll hear the song Overpass Graffiti playing in the game at night from November 22nd until November 30.

You’ll also be able to watch Ed Sheeran play several songs from his new album by tapping the link in the News section of the Pokemon GO game UX. Until then, we’ll see a set of bonus gift balloons floating around (tap them for free stuff), and some special hoodies in the in-game shop.

Raid Bosses

Niantic / The Pokemon Company

Back in mid-November we started seeing Mega Lopunny in Mega Raids across the planet! This Thanksgiving Weekend will be the perfect opportunity for you and yours to find a spot where you can all gang up and have a fighting chance at actually defeating this big-time monster. Mega Lopunny will leave the raid circuit again starting on December 1, 2021.

You’ll also see Cresselia in raid battles until December 1. Both Cresselia and Mega Lopunny have the potential to be Shiny Pokemon. Cresselia caught during this period of battle will know the move Grass Knot! On Wednesday, November 24, 2021 at 6:00 PM Local Time there’ll be a Cresselia Raid Hour.

Starting November 26, there’ll be a Raid Hour event every evening starting at 6PM local time. November 26 will feature Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres. November 27 will feature Heatran. November 28 will have a Raid Hour with Regirock, Regice, and Registeel. The November 29 Raid Hour event will include Virizion, Terrakion, and Cobalion.

Spotlight Hours and Bonuses

On the same days as the special Raid Hour events listed above, Pokemon GO will feature one Spotlight Hour per day, at an odd time. Generally we see a Spotlight Hour at 6PM, but because we’re having Raid Hour events then, we’re getting Spotlight Hours at noon until 1PM, local time.

The Spotlight Hour events will include potentially Shiny Pokemon each day, and each event will feature a Pokemon you’ll probably already have captured 10-billion of before now, save the last. On November 26 we’ll see a Spotlight Hour for Rattata, November 27 will have an event for Sableye. There’ll be a Pikachu Raid Hour on November 28, and November 29 will feature a Raid Hour with Bedlum!

From November 26 at 10AM local time until November 29 at 8PM local time, we’ll see two all-encompassing bonuses. One bonus delivers 2x Transfer Candy, the other gives you 2x Catch XP. As such, you’ll want to go ahead and catch and release Pokemon like you’ve never done before!

Hoopa Unbound

Back when we ran through the release of Furfrou, we saw the dawn of functionality for a new mechanic in Pokemon GO. That mechanic was the form change, or just “Forms” if you wish. Changing forms in Pokemon GO is similar to evolution – but a form change can be changed back, while an evolution is forever.

After you complete the season-long Misunderstood Mischief Special Research story, you’ll have access to the new Mischief Unbound Special Research. You will have until Wednesday, December 1, 2021 at 9:59 AM local time to complete the research you’ve been working on for weeks – Misunderstood Mischief. If you do, you gain access to Mischief Unbound for free.

If you do not complete Misunderstood Mischief by December 1, you will need to purchase access to Mischief Unbound in the in-game shop for $4.99 USD. But here’s the catch – if that wasn’t enough of a catch already – you’ll need to purchase that ticket by December 1.

So if you’re at a point where you’re progressing through Misunderstood Mischief, but you know there’s no way you’ll get through the whole thing by December 1, you’ll be able to purchase access to Mischief Unbound. But you’ll still need to complete Misunderstood Mischief in order to complete Mischief Unbound.

In other words – Misunderstood Mischief will sill be accessible after the cut-off date of December 1. It’s just that if you want to have access to Mischief Unbound, you’ll either need to complete Misunderstood Mischief OR purchase access to Mischief Unbound before December 1, 2021.

Once you complete both Misunderstood Mischief and Mischief Unbound, you’ll be able to allow Hoopa (Confined) to change form to Hoopa (Unbound)! This form change requires 50 Hoopa Candy and 10,000 Stardust (Bound to Unbound), or 10 Hoopa Candy and 2,000 Stardust (Unbound to Bound).

Completing Mischief Unbound also gives you a special fancy Hoopa T-Shirt. You could also just buy said shirt from the shop after the event ends – up to you!

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Shiny Pokemon GO Articuno, Zapdos, Moltres: back in the game, soon

A series of raid hour events will appear in Pokemon GO over the next several days. During this series of events, you’ll find some of the most rare and awesome Pokemon in the game, starting with no less than the three original legendary bird Pokemon: Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres! These Pokemon will appear in Raid Hour events on Friday, then we’ll see Heatran, Regirock, Regice, Registeel, Cobalion, Terrakion, Virizion, and more!

A selection of Raid Hour events are part of the season-long mega event called Season of Mischief! According to Niantic, from November 26, 2021, to November 29, 2021, users will find a Special Research story – so long as they’ve completed the Misunderstood Mischief Special Research Story. So many stories!

During this event series you’ll find 2x Transfer Candy and 2x Catch XP – so catch and release! The most important bit about this season – aside from Hoopa – is the collection of spectacular Pokemon that appear in Raid Events and Spotlight Hours.

Spotlight Hours will appear each night starting on November 26 at noon local time (until 1PM local time). At that time you’ll see a spotlight on Rattata. On the 27th is a Spotlight Hour on Sableye, on the 28th is a Pikachu Spotlight Hour, and the KEY Spotlight Hour takes place on November 29, 2021, where we’ll get a Spotlight Hour for Bedlum. All of these Pokemon can appear Shiny.

Niantic / The Pokemon Company

On November 26, we’ll see a Raid Hour from 6PM to 7PM local time with Moltres, Articuno, and Zapdos. Each of these birds has the potential to be a Shiny Pokemon.

A Raid Hour event on November 27 will feature just one Pokemon: Heatran. Heatran can also be Shiny. Actually, all of the Pokemon appearing during Raid Hour on November 26, 27, 28, and 29 have the potential to be Shiny Pokemon.

On November 28, we’ll see Regirock, Regice, and Registeel. On November 29, we’ll see Cobalion, Terrakion, and Virizion. So get your battle-ready Pokemon out and prepare to fight!

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Pokemon GO is down with Spotify, Discord, Snapchat via Google Cloud issue

Today Pokemon GO went down and fans around the world began to see the notification “Unable to authenticate. Please try again.” Similar situations appeared when users attempted to sign in or continue using services like Snapchat, Spotify, and Discord. It would appear – at first glance – that the problem rests squarely in the lap of Google Cloud.

Niantic relies on Google Cloud and, as such, it’ll be unlikely that we’ll see log-in available for Pokemon GO until Google Cloud’s own services are fixed. We’ll be keeping an eye on the server statuses as such, and will keep you informed! Cross your fingers Niantic takes account of the down time and extends their special event this week beyond its original stop time!

Google Cloud had issues starting at around noon, Central Time, on November 16, 2021. Google Cloud works with and/or serves a wide variety of brands that then had issues as a result. Not all services that currently or have ever used Google Cloud had issues at once, but one peek at the “Leading companies around the world” that use Google Cloud cross-referenced with complaints on DownDetector show what appears to be a tie between the two.

Home Depot, Etsy, Nest, Apex Legends (yes, the game), Target, and other Google-related services saw trouble today. Two primary services hit hardest by this down time were Fitbit and Nest.

Etsy’s public status disclosed the following: “Our cloud hosting provider is experiencing an outage that is affecting many of their sites. We are working with them to resolve this as quickly as possible.” This sort of thing doesn’t happen often with Google Cloud, but it is not entirely unprecedented.

UPDATE: A Google Cloud representative said “CPU and memory utilization metrics are intermittently missing for Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE). This issue does not affect auto-scaling capabilities. Short term mitigation is available.” This matches with the current red-light exclamation mark on the “Google Cloud Networking” bit of the Google Cloud server status today, too.

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Pokemon GO December Community Day is a real monster

This week we’re taking a peek at the December Community Day for Pokemon GO well in advance of said day. As it’s been in the past, so too shall it be with this year’s year-end event, featuring Pokemon released throughout the year on Community Day events from the entirety of the year 2021. This Community Day mega-event will include a total of 11 individual Community Day special Pokemon.

The December 2021 Community Day event will actually be two days, total – both of which will have special sessions from 11AM to 5PM local time. The first of these events will feature Machop, Roselia, Swablu, Gible, Snivy, and Fletchling. The second event will include Eevee, Duskull, Shinx, Tepig, and Oshawott.

A whole bunch of 2km Pokemon Eggs will be hatched and dropped, with some excellent contents. Eggs that’ll fall during this event include Charmander, Weedle, Abra, Gastly, Rhyhorn, Electabuzz/Elekid, Magmar/Magby, Magikarp, Porygon, Seedot, and Piplup.

There’ll be special trade bonuses during this event series, including a 25% reduced stardust cost for trades, and a single extra special trade per day. This event will benefit from the brand new Pokemon Storage Expansion Cap (from 4,500 to 5,000 Pokemon), as well as the Item Bag Expansion Cap (from 3,500 to 4,500).

The first part of this Community Day event will take place on Saturday, December 18, 2021. This event will start at 11AM and last until 5PM local time. The second part of this event will take place on Sunday, December 19, 2021. Certain Pokemon evolved from Friday, December 17 at 10AM until December 20, 2021 at 10AM will learn exclusive moves – we’ll have that list soon!

You can experience this event for free, as is your right. You can also purchase a December Community Day-exclusive Special Research story in the very near future. That’ll likely cost anywhere from a dollar to a few dollars – we shall see!

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