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Team Rocket has invaded Pokémon Go, but they are hard to find



Pokémon Go Players today launched the mobile game to discover the world that the franchise's original villains, Team Rocket, invaded. The treacherous villains have not only overtook Pokéstops and challenged coaches to fight, but also disrupted the local ecology and changed the Pokémon species that players are likely to find. The theme is great because those who do not love Team Rocket can not stand it long.

After a brief preview earlier this week, Pokémon Go 's Team Rocket event started this afternoon with great success. The biggest change is the appearance of Team Rocket grunts claiming the ubiquitous pokéstops of the game. Because of this, these landmarks provide little resources to coaches looking for more items, and the only way to get them back to normal is to have a good, old-fashioned Pokémon fight.

These fights are played out like in a gym or against another trainer, the real-time aspect, which requires a wild tap and the use of a smart shield to ward off superattacks. You can be pretty tough if, like me, you have not trained a Pokémon in the last few months. After the defeat, Team Rocket coaches drop back one of their Shadow Pokémon and give players the chance to catch it. With a simple cleanup that costs Stardust and Candy, these Pokémon become exorcised and become much stronger, a trait that translates to future training and development. My brief hunt for Team Rocket did not produce any special Pokémon, just the usual collection of starters like Squirtle and Charmander, but it is possible that this will change over time.

Image: Niantic

That is, invaded Pokéstops are currently quite sparse. There are at least 30 stops in my small town near the city center, but only one or two stops at one time showed the tell-tale twitching and discoloration that suggests a takeover by Team Rocket. In addition, Team Rocket will leave the Pokéstop once you've defeated them. This means that you have to travel a bit to manage their rewards. I drove on in my air-conditioned car (sorry Maddy) to avoid the heat of California, but only managed to crack three poke stops within an hour of playing time. I'm sure this process will be accelerated by a stronger team and a better understanding of your city's Pokéstop layout, but developers are definitely getting you to work for these new badges.

Another side effect of the presence of Team Rocket is a disruption of the local Pokémon habitats. The arrival of the organization means that Pokémon, typically associated with their crimes – Koffing, Ekans, Meowth and the like – are now appearing in greater numbers. This also applies to Pokémon hatched from eggs, and Pokémon, which also occur in raids. Finally, a series of new research by Professor Willow encourages players to try out the new mechanics for some basic rewards.

Pokémon Go is a strange psyduck. His start was promising and the excitement of traveling through the real world for Pokémon makes me return again and again after all that time. The incremental updates that Niantic has made over time have only enhanced and expanded what you can do in the game, but for some reason, I no longer feel the same longing or time to kill before a movie. Team Rocket is cool and the developers have come up with future surprises, but it's just not enough to make Pokémon Go an integral part of my daily routine.


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