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Pokemon Go Fest 2020 – Was it Worth Paying For?

It's complicated.


Every year Pokemon Go hosts a convention in a major city somewhere around the world for its players starting in 2017. Go Fest 2020 was the fourth convention, this time being available worldwide due to the Covid-19 virus. These conventions have always had a price of admission somewhere around $20. So the question is, how well did Go Fest 2020 do, and was it worth the investment?


Compared to the other Go Festivals, Go Fest 2020 actually had the cheapest ticket cost at USD $14.99, and it had the most event time: 10AM – 8PM on both Saturday and Sunday, that is 20 hours of event time! Go Fest 2019 was the most expensive at $25 and only went from 11am – 7pm, unless you spent $10 more for an Early Access Ticket which extended the event to 9am – 7pm. Go Fest 2018 and 2017 each had $20 tickets and were one day events.

Already, Go Fest 2020 is ahead of the bunch as the cheapest and most accessible of all previous events. The event being held worldwide means that many players who can not travel easily have access to this event, and the event can be enjoyed while social distancing or self isolating.


Go Fest 2020 featured similar attractions as the previous festivals: lots of Pokemon spawning, more shiny Pokemon available, and a research task giving access to a new mythical Pokemon. This time, Victini was the spotlight, with a surprise input from Team Go Rocket. Players who did not purchase the event still benefited from the increased rare spawns, but did not get access to the event incense which attracted more shiny Pokemon, nor do they get the event’s research task, at least, not yet. Those who did not purchase the ticket will still get Victini, only it will take a while for a new event to be added to the game. Those who did participate will not get a second Victini, but will receive more candy for theirs.

Shiny rates for the event seemed to provide one shiny per hour if you got lucky. Rates seemed somewhere around 1/100 for ticket holders, so if you could go someplace where lots of Pokemon spawned it ended up being easier to find shiny Pokemon. This was made more difficult under Covid regulations.

Special raids were offered throughout the event, and ticket holders were given 3 free remote raid passes, along with a couple premium passes from the research event. However non-ticket holders could access these raids as well.

Therefore the only thing that those who participated in the event actually gain more than any other player is early access to Victini, and a few extra rare Pokemon spawns. Except…


The Best Part of Go Fest 2020

Sure, Shiny Pokemon are a big highlight of every Go Fest, but Go Fest 2020 had something hidden up its sleeve. Shadow Mewtwo swooped in and upstaged poor Victini as the talk of the town around Go Fest. Victini is a Mythical Pokemon; so it can’t be traded, is hard to get candy for, and might have poor stats, thus leaving it lost as nothing but a spot on the Pokedex. Shadow Mewtwo, on the other hand, is quite possibly the strongest Pokemon currently in the game.

Because Mewtwo has been in the game already, many players have candy at the ready to power up this new catch. Shadow Pokemon, just like Mythical Pokemon, can not be traded, but that does not mean you are stuck with a Mewtwo that might not do any good. In Pokemon Go, Shadow Pokemon receive an increase to their attack and a decrease to their defence, but in many cases these stat changes make that Pokemon more powerful. The only other downside to Shadow Pokemon is their Charged Move “Frustration”. It is a good thing that on Sunday of Go Fest 2020 you could use a Charged TM to get rid of “Frustration” and replace it with one of Mewtwo’s versatile roster of attacks.


Some Issues:

With the Covid virus around it is difficult to go to places where Pokemon spawn in great number, so many were left with less shiny Pokemon than what they should have gotten. This could be resolved with the event incense having much higher shiny rates, or guaranteed shiny Pokemon being offered in the research rewards.

Near the beginning of Go Fest 2020 day one for the Western Hemisphere, Pokemon Go experienced technical difficulties resulting in the game being unplayable. Thankfully this only lasted a short time, but I witnessed a shiny become lost to the dreaded ‘Network Error’. This glitch is nothing compared to the disastrous network errors during Go Fest 2017, but it was still worth mentioning.

Finally, some players found participating in the featured raids quite difficult. On Saturday, ticket holders were given 3 free remote raid passes, but no such passes were given on Sunday when even more Pokemon were featured in raids. This along with Pokeball and storage shortages experienced by some less prepared players resulted in more money being spent on coins.

At the end of the day

Do not worry if you missed out on using a Charged TM on Sunday. This was not the first time Niantic has allowed “Frustration” to be forgotten, and it will likely not be the last. Additionally, even if you Purified your Shadow Mewtwo because you did not know how good Shadow Pokemon were, or because your Shadow version had poor stats, you will still end up with a high CP, Mewtwo that you can trade with your friends.

You can see by now why Shadow Mewtwo stole the show from Victini, and that is not even to mention the Shadow Zapdos, Moltres, and Articuno from the same Research Quest! Paying for the Go Fest gets you a quest that is worth your time, but the real value comes from your enjoyment. Niantic displayed live events in their virtual lounges for a reason. When it comes down to it, you are spending money to dedicate some (or all) of your time for a weekend to have fun with friends and family in your shared enjoyment for the game. If you had a some fun this weekend then you should know the answer to this $15 dollar question:

Was it Worth it?

In my opinion, definitely. Even if you could not make it out to catch as many Shiny Pokemon as you could, this event’s quests will still be available to you so long as you purchased your ticket and logged in at least once on each day. The influx of Team Rocket on Sunday made up for the lack of free raid passes a little. I hope you had a positive experience with the event, it was the cheapest it has ever been and accessible to everyone for the first time ever. I was entertained and exercising for less than the cost of a movie over the course of two whole days!

If you missed out on Go Fest 2020, there is still lots to look forward to in Pokemon Go! The next three weeks are lined up with in-game events, and Victini’s quest should become available to all players eventually; we do not know yet if that means everyone will get to encounter Shadow Mewtwo and the legendary bird trio. Whether or not Shadow Mewtwo remains exclusive to those who participated in the event, Pokemon Go remains an excellent way to have some fun, get some exercise, and socialize with your friends.

Pokemon Go Fest 2021

It is hard to tell what next year’s Go Fest is going to look like. I have a couple speculations:

Everyone is included again: I hope that some part of Go Fest remains accessible to people worldwide. We might see some sort of special offer for players who can not make the trip out (assuming a convention is at all possible in a year due to Covid)
Increased cost of admission: this year was cheap and widely accessible. Previous years were $5-$20 more expensive. I really hope Niantic keeps the price low so that it is easier for everyone to access, but a $5 jump would not surprise me. I think a low cost means more people playing, but who knows.

Kalos Pokemon: by next year we should start to see Pokemon featured in the sixth generation of the main series games, Pokemon X and Y. Even if we do not see the likes of Greninja and Sylveon, we can be sure to expect more (if not all) of Unova’s Pokemon by then.

Only time will tell what the future will look like, but I hope that the next Go Fest looks something like this one, and only gets better!

- This article was updated on:August 3rd, 2020

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