What Are the Question Marks on the Map in Pokémon Scarlet and Violet? Mass Outbreaks, Explained

For XP farmers and shiny hunters alike

by Kara Phillips

As you travel through Pokemon Scarlet and Violet, you may notice several icons on the map to signify different events. For example, icons showcasing different Pokemon Types represent Tera Raid locations, and small wings in blue circles represent locations you can fast travel to, but for a new player then, you may notice a mass of glowing question marks across various locations. Unfortunately, the game doesn’t explain what exactly these question marks are, and until you visit the location, it’s not explained either. So read on to find out what these question marks signify and whether or not they are worth visiting.

What Are the Question Marks on The Map in Pokemon Scarlet and Violet?

The question marks scattered across the entire map of Paldea signify a mass outbreak of a species you haven’t registered to your Pokedex yet. The location of the question mark usually represents what sort of species the outbreak will be, such as Rufflet in the Desert or Haunter on the edges of Glasaedo Mountain, but you never know until you reach the location. Therefore, if you spy an outbreak of a species you haven’t registered, this is one of the most reliable ways to guarantee a catch. In addition, mass outbreaks can be an excellent way to farm some extra XP by either battling each Pokemon individually or sending your partner Pokemon out via let’s go to wreak some havoc.

There’s no way to count how many Pokemon will spawn during a Mass Outbreak, but the average usually turns around 30+ of the same species of Pokemon, which is an excellent figure for Shiny Hunters. Due to the amount of Pokemon spawning, the odds of finding a shiny Pokemon are increased without needing any sandwiches or a Shiny Charm. If you’re hunting for a shiny, it’s best to continue to K.O every Pokemon you encounter in an outbreak and hope that, eventually, a shiny will spawn. These outbreaks are one of the best chances for new players at shiny hunting since they consistently appear on the map and occur for various Pokemon.

Pokemon Scarlet and Violet are available on Nintendo Switch.

- This article was updated on November 21st, 2022

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