Whenever I walk my dog, I take out my smartphone and turn on Pokemon GO. There’s no better time to catch a Pokemon when your dog is sniffing a fire hydrant, but that’s beside the point. Earlier today, when I gave my dog her first walk, I was disappointed the new Hoenn region Pokemon hadn’t landed yet. But, one hour ago, when I took my dog out for her second walk, to my surprise, I caught a Zigzagoon. Niantic unleashed the Hoenn update during the middle of my dog walk, and I got to witness the effects firsthand.
Regrettably, I didn’t see much in the way of new Pokemon; just a few Zigzagoons, two Seedots, a Wurmple, and a Skitty. You know, the kinds of Pokemon trainers run into during their first hours playing the Gen III Pokemon games. But, judging by the new holiday splash screen, trainers will also be able to catch Wingull, Plusle, Minun, Spheal, Kirlia, and all their post and pre-evolutions (the screen also features a Mudkip, but starters are always a given). Quite frankly, I can’t wait to catch a Torchic.
You might remember Niantic announced a dynamic weather system would be introduced alongside the new Pokemon, and that system is up and running as well. Not only does it affect the spawn rates of certain Pokemon and the strength of different moves, but thanks to the weather, Pokemon who spawn more often are more likely to have better stats and award more Stardust when caught. It’s currently cloudy where I live (at least according to Pokemon GO), which makes Fairy, Fighting, and Poison-type Pokemon spawn in droves. I found more Qwilfish (they’re Water/Poison) today than I have the rest of the year, so it’s safe to assume the weather system works as intended.
At first I thought that was the end of the update, that Niantic had only introduced Gen III Pokemon and the weather system to Pokemon GO. But, to my surprise, I was greeted with a new UI during a gym battle. Yes, gyms have received yet another facelift, and it’s a good one. Previously, trainers had to tap furiously on their screens to attack and hold down on the screen to unleash a more powerful attack, but now these strong attacks have a dedicated button. Players have been begging Niantic to implement this feature since the first days of Pokemon GO, and I can see why: it’s so much easier and intuitive. Sure, players still need to swipe their screens to make their Pokemon dodge attacks, but one small step at a time. Also, the retreat button is now at the top left corner, so players are less likely to accidentally press it when they only want to switch out Pokemon.
If you want a full list of the updates, visit the official Pokemon GO site.