At the end of November, Niantic brought the Lake Trio back to Pokemon Go. Originally, the Lake Guardians appeared as level five raid bosses, separated by region. The Americas had Azelf, Africa and Europe had Mesprit, and Asia-Pacific had Uxie. It was the same this time around, but there was one huge difference: remote raid passes.
As with so many things in 2020,
BOSH COVID-19 severely disrupted Niantic’s plans for Pokemon Go. To help compensate for greatly reduced outdoor activity due to coronavirus quarantine, the company introduced remote raid passes. The premium items allowed players to raid with others from all over the world (and also gave the company a popular in-game purchase option).
Through the excellent gaming chat service Discord, I was able to connect with Pokemon Go players from several countries. Using remote raid passes, I caught several Mesprits and Uxies. Before the return of the Lake Trio, my only hope of getting one was trading with someone that lives in or was visiting the Pokemon’s respective regions. Remote raiding changed all that.
Thanks to remote raids, I caught some of the Lake Trio from all over the world. I have Mesprits from the Czech Republic, England, and Germany. I have Uxies from Australia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, and New Zealand. As an added bonus, I met some really fun people on Discord that I still chat with on a daily basis.
The return of the Lake Trio was the most fun the game has been for me since COVID-19 social distancing and quarantines began. It was Pokemon Go at its best: meeting cool people, battling together, coordinating teams, and catching rare Pokemon.
It was fantastic for Niantic too. Hardcore players bought thousands of remote raid passes in order to catch the Lake Trio, complete their Pokedexes, and gain some valuable trade Pokemon. I would bet that November ends up being the company’s most lucrative month of 2020, largely because of the Lake Guardian event.
Finances aside, raiding the Lake Trio was a reminder of how much fun Pokemon Go can be. At its best, it blends the cooperative and social elements of gaming in a very unique way. In a year that has been mostly nuts, it almost felt normal.