Pokemon Go is about to receive the biggest update since the launched last year. The update will temporarily shut down the in-game Gyms, and bring new features such as Raid Battles and Gym Badges.
Update: The Gyms were disabled on Tuesday, 20 June while the major update was being rolled out. The update is now in effect and all the changes I talk about in the article below have now been put into action. All but one, of course. "Raid Battles will roll out slowly over the course of the next few weeks, first starting as a beta version, that will be available to a select group of trainers in select Gyms".
Pokemon Go was released into the wild on 06 July 2016. This summer will mark its first year, and Niantic has a big update planned for the important anniversary. I say big, they say biggest. The players will soon be able to experience the update first hand.
What will change exactly? Gym gameplay is getting a makeover and there will be a Raid Battle feature available to the eager Trainers. Let's start with the Gyms:
Well, the Gyms have felt the pressures of the western standards of beauty and are "undergoing a major facelift". Additionally, you'll soon be able to spin the Photo Disc at Gyms to acquire items just as you do at PokeStops.
Plus, "Gyms are no longer based on Prestige and training. Instead, they now feature six permanent slots that can be filled by the controlling team’s Pokemon". The assigned Pokemon must be unique and the opposing teams will fight these Pokemon in order they were "assigned to the Gym".
There will also be a new motivation system: when you assign a Pokemon to a Gym, a motivation meter will become visible. The Pokemon will loose their motivation when they are defeated in a battle, and as the time goes by. To keep their spirits high, Trainers can give the Pokemon some Berries.
Gym badges will also be a thing from now on. Essentially, they act as postcards. The badges can be collected from Gyms all over the world and they will record your "contribution to a Gym’s success".
Raid battles will soon be available in all Gyms. They are, in a word, co-op missions to defeat a Raid Boss. You'll, of course, need a Raid Pass for this, and you'll get one of those for free each day. All you need to do is visit a Gym. You can only hold one at a time, and there will be some Premium Raid Passes available at the in-game store.
"If you successfully defeat the Raid Boss within the five-minute time limit, you’ll have the chance to catch an extra powerful Pokemon of your own."
Your success in a Raid Battle will also be rewarded with "a collection of rewards, including some new items obtained only by defeating a Raid Boss: Rare Candies, Golden Razz Berries, and two types of Technical Machines—Fast and Charged".
For this update to take effect, all Gyms must be temporarily disabled. When the update is applied, the Gyms will become available again. Raid Battles will roll out slowly over the course of the next few weeks, first starting as a beta version, that will be available to a select group of trainers in select Gyms.