Like millions of other players all around the world, I’ve spent the last couple of weeks frantically trying to complete Pokemon Go’s Legendary Raids. These ultra tough challenges require players to band together to take down a powerful and rare Pokemon, in this case one of the Legendary Birds. Articuno came first, with Moltres to follow, and now Zapdos, with Lugia available throughout. With so many players having to work together to coordinate these Raids, some drama was bound to come up, but the amount that I’ve experienced has been a bit surprising.
In the last two and a half weeks I’ve seen players yell, argue, curse, and just get generally angry at their fellow Pokemon Go players and the world around them. So far I’ve been lucky enough to not witness or be a part of a physical altercation, but one player at a recent Pokemon Go Legendary Raid did claim that another player had harassed them and threatened them with their car (honking, yelling, and driving close to them).
There have been tons of tense moments in just the few dozen raids that I’ve went to. The most common issue is timing, with each Legendary Raid only appearing for two hours. Players have just that amount of time to coordinate, find enough players, get to the location, and battle the Pokemon. With Raids ending some time around 8-9pm, many players are choosing to do them during their lunch break, so time is of the essence.
At almost every Raid I’ve been to there was some player, or multiple players, who were just five minutes away. I’ve been that player myself, of course, and I always appreciate the group waiting. I’ve had some that went ahead without me, and while it was disappointing, I understood. Others aren’t as understanding though, and there have been many times where a player shows up late, the group decides not to back out of the Raid, and they get very upset with everyone.
The worst of these happened recently. I wasn’t actually at the Raid, but I was able to track the event via our Pokemon Go group’s Discord room. Apparently a large group had formed to take on Zapdos, they waited for some stragglers, then decided to go in. What apparently no one had noticed was that one player had wandered off while everyone was waiting. When they returned everyone had already started the Raid. The latecomer, who actually had been waiting there for 30+ minutes, started shouting obscenities at everyone else. They did this in front of their children, and the scene definitely caused some drama later on.
Sides were taken, with the spurned Pokemon Go player accusing everyone of rushing in behind their back. The organizer argued that the Raid was not rushed, as they’d waited 30 minutes and coordinated with everyone who was present. Still, others took the side of the player who had been left out, saying that the group had robbed them of their time, and a chance to catch the Legendary Pokemon.
A close second happened when someone was running late and told us to go ahead. They still kept heading our way though, and they showed up about 10 seconds into the battle. A few people start saying we should back out, but another group says to keep going. No one took charge, but eventually about half the group got out, while the other half stayed and finished. Afterward there was yelling and accusations of rudeness being thrown at the person advocating that no one back out.
Niantic has set these Legendary Raids up in a very odd way, and the glitches don’t help
Another incident happened earlier today, with a large group forming over an hour of coordination. We were going after Lugia, and it had taken a lot of work to get everyone there before the timer ran out. With only a few minutes left on the clock we jumped in, but someone had started a lobby already, leaving us only 30 seconds to pick our team. This is essentially impossible due to the laggy and buggy team pick screen, so we backed out and formed a private group, assuming that we’d had a GPS spoofer show up.
Later, after the Raid was finished and I’d caught another Lugia for my collection, a player jumped onto Discord screaming at everyone who was at the Raid. He’d been there for 30 minutes waiting for everyone to show up, but he’d stayed in his car while everyone else was out and communicating in person. This left him out of the private group, wasting his Raid pass and leaving him without a Lugia.
The drama in each of these scenarios is understandable in some ways. Pokemon Go isn’t like other games, you don’t just hop on and play from home. It requires time, money, and dedication to play properly, especially these Legendary Raids. Players get a free Raid Pass every day, but most are using more than that, so they have spent up to a dollar just to try to catch one of these Pokemon. Robbing them of the chance is sure to cause anger, but the other side has a point as well. Players set a time to go in, and if someone isn’t there then they’re holding up the whole group, wasting their time.
What’s the solution here? Honestly, with the current Raid setup in Pokemon Go there isn’t one. Players just have to form their own rules about how long to wait and what to do if someone errors out. Niantic has set these Legendary Raids up in a very odd way, and the glitches don’t help. If there was some sort of check in system, or in-game communication then it’d be much better, but that surely won’t arrive by the time Zapdos leaves the game, possibly forever.
Hopefully when Niantic gets ready to launch some more Legendary Raids in Pokemon Go they fix the glitches and add in the essential features that players are currently having to use third-party apps for.