Pokémon GO has been making the news since it was released last summer. But throughout the past year, the core gameplay has remained mostly the same. We're learning today that is about to change, as Niantic is gearing up to release a major update for the popular AR game.
In a press release on Monday, Niantic announced some interesting changes coming to Pokémon GO. Firstly, the gym system is getting overhauled. Gyms now act as Pokéstops, which can give players extra items on a daily basis. Gyms will also now give out badges after completion, a nod to the main series of games.
But that just scratches the surface for changes to Pokémon GO's gyms.
Gyms will now feature six permanent slots that can be filled by the controlling team's Pokémon, and opposing teams will battle Pokémon in the order they were assigned to the Gym. The new motivation system introduces an interactive factor for Pokémon assigned to a Gym that will impact their potential Combat Power (CP). Pokémon defending a Gym will lose motivation over time and as they are defeated, lowering their effective CP and making it easier for opposing teams to defeat them. However, Trainers from the same team can give defending Pokémon Berries to keep them motivated.
Aside from the gyms, the other big update coming to Pokémon GO is in a new game mode called Raid Battles. These new battles allow groups of people to work together to fight unusually strong Pokémon, dubbed the Raid Boss:
Raid Battles are timed in-game events that will temporarily take over a Gym, providing Trainers from all teams the chance to visit the Gym and group up together to challenge the Raid Boss and potentially earn special new items along with an opportunity to catch these Pokémon. Friends can also create Private Raid groups via a customizable code system that allows Trainers to invite their friends to a specific Raid group.
It isn't totally clear when these updates will be rolled out — Niantic only says this summer — but the company will be holding an official Pokémon GO event in Chicago on July 22. It would seem safe to assume that these updates will be released by that time, so that the event can show off all of Niantic's new features.