A Plea to Fix the Raid System
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Regarding Pokémon GO, as a loyal player since launch, I feel that there are some serious concerns with the raid system as it currently stands in the game. The lack of in-game social tools is a significant weakness for a system that requires coordination of at least six other people traveling for often non-consequential distances within relatively strict time limits. Children without access to a vehicle and adults with work schedules both find it difficult to join in what are supposed to be the largest and most exciting events in the game.
Raids, especially legendary raids, are both too infrequent and too scattered for spontaneous groups of the necessary size to form naturally. The player base has taken to third-party software such as Discord to organize larger group outings, but even this is not particularly effective, as there is no way to ensure that a raid of the desired type is available when all of the interested parties are free to play; such an outing will often involve at least an hour of dedicated time, including travel, waiting for members to arrive, and so on. Those of us who do not live in a large metropolitan area and who play while doing our daily exercise or on our lunch breaks must be extraordinarily lucky to find a raid that is close enough, timely enough, and that also has a large, interested, and available group of players who care enough to also be on Discord or whatever social app we prefer. I am concerned that these issues will further be exacerbated by the “exclusive” raid system once it is released and will contribute to an increase in player apathy and frustration.
The "raid" term is reminiscent of MMOs, but recall that successful MMOs all have in-game tools (guilds, game chat, emotes, the ability to even see other players without potentially appearing to be a stalker by peeping at their phone screens) to organize and manage play time, and additionally raids tend to be available in those games for longer periods of time (or even indefinitely) such that once the guild has organized its membership, they can engage in the raid at the time of their choosing and from wherever their computer happens to be. Pokémon GO has none of these advantages, and further has restricted raids to very limited times and places.
My suggestion is a reworking of the raid system. Instead of requiring players to meet in large groups, at specific times, in specific locations to take down a high value Pokémon, allow players to attack a raid and make their contribution anytime during the window that one is open. If the collective damage of all attempts on a raid during the given window are able to beat the Pokémon in question, then the players who participated will be presented with the bonus challenge the next time they open the game. If not, nothing happens. This would allow anyone to participate in any raid in a time and manner that is suitable for them. I'd imagine it would also serve to increase overall raid participation because people would be less likely to just walk away if no one is nearby.
I understand that there is a certain degree of inflexibility in the systems as they are built, and that full reworking may not be possible, but I nonetheless urge Niantic to consider revisions that support both the casual but dedicated player as well as the more hardcore fans.
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