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Eight Rumors and Myths From The Pokemon Go Community

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Rumors and Myths

If you black out on the S.S. Anne after getting the HM for Cut but before it sets sail and then return to it after getting the HMs for Surf and Strength, you can surf around on the water around the ship, find a truck hidden off-screen, use Strength to move it, and there will be a Pokeball underneath. Grab the Pokeball, and that’s how you get Mew!

….or at least that’s what the rumors were back in the first generation of the Main Series. And believe me; Pokemon as a series is no stranger to rumors. But how about Pokemon Go? From the very beginning, the community has propagated, spread, and eventually killed rumors about virtually every part of the game, for better or for worse. For some they were the unwritten rules of the game, for others just annoying little caveats that other players told while waiting for a raid lobby timer to count down. But regardless of what they “were”, what they “are” now is a little window into the culture of a game that we love, and in some cases an entertaining time-capsule of misinformation. And the best part was how spread out they could be; every community could have its own rumor set, and other rumors may have been globally known! That said; these rumors are the ones that we have encountered ourselves. They may not be the most common versions of the rumors, but that doesn't make them any less wrong (or more wrong?) than any other version. So let’s take a look at a few of these rumors and remember how far we’ve come as a community while enjoying the steps that we took to get here.

Special Note

This article is not calling out players who believed these rumors or making fun of anyone in our community. Basically all of these rumors were somewhat reasonable at the time of their inception due to a lack of in-game transparency combined with a less connected global community. If you were one of the many players that believed any of these rumors when they were still active, there is no shame in that fact.

Special Note 2

These are all rumors to the best of our knowledge. While some can be easily disproved in different ways, some may be impossible to disprove 100% without going over Niantic’s proprietary software and figuring out exactly how the game works; which they are not likely to let us do. That said, all of these rumors have been deemed unlikely enough to warrant a place on this list.

Special Note 3

Yes, this one needs 3 special notes. Our “The Truth” sections are the answers to these rumors to the best of our knowledge. Some people may use other explanations, but these are the main answers that we are aware of.

The Rumors

After completing a raid, it was almost a given at one point that someone would shout out “If you’ve already caught this Pokemon, don’t press ‘Go To Bonus Challenge ’ until everyone who doesn’t have it has had their chance!” This was because of a rumor that raid catches were connected between players, and those who attempted to catch the boss first had higher odds of success. I for one never understood this, but always just went along with it to make the raid group happy.

The Truth

Raid bosses are like normal catches; if you can access them, they’re almost strictly client-side, with the exception of your game talking to the server to say “hey, did this ball work?” It doesn’t matter if you’re the first or the last to throw a ball, your odds are basically the same minus odds-influencing factors such as berries and Type-medal levels.

The way that this rumor went was that raiders were supposed to open with a Nanab Berry, then toss a Golden Razzberry if that didn’t work, then another Nanab Berry, rinse and repeat. This was supposed to actually increase the catch rate of a Pokemon more than just Golden Razzberries alone. The exact order varied depending on where the rumor was circulated, but that was the basic gist of it.

The Truth

Berries have no known interaction with each other. When one is given to a Pokemon, a set effect is put in place that ends if the Pokemon is caught or breaks out of the ball. At this point, most players agree that a Nanab Berry is the least useful of all of the berries outside of select scenarios. That said, we actually have an article on berry usage and the way to statistically maximize your candy rewards from raids:

Unless you use a resource like Gamepress or figure out the calculations yourself, it’s borderline impossible to know the stats for a given Pokemon beyond its HP, because that’s the only stat actually shown in-game. Add to this a somewhat confusing Type Matchup chart for the uninitiated and the fact that Blissey has an insanely high HP stat  and you’ve got one of the most infuriating rumors of the early raid days. It wasn’t uncommon to have multiple players show up with a team of Blissey only to get asked not to use them. And the response to this was pretty much always the same "it lasts so much longer than other Pokemon”. 

The Truth:

This one brought down quite a bit of outcry from the more well connected members of the community. By this point we’d long since figured out how stats work and how Pokemon were translated from their Main Series incarnations, so most raid communities began sharing the absolute truth of the matter: please never use Blissey in a raid. This rumor can also be switched out for Aggron, or virtually any other low-attack Pokemon that people thought was good.

If you have enough people to break up a raid group into multiple smaller groups and the raid boss can be shiny, then you should always do so. Having smaller groups means that each group is more likely to catch at least one shiny Pokemon, which means that more groups increases those odds.

The Truth:

Much like the first rumor on this list, the odds of an individual finding a shiny are entirely independent from any other player, regardless of if they’re with another player or not. This stems from the concept that the game looked at the group as a whole and rolled the dice to see if the group as a whole would be able to get shinies, which just isn’t how the game works.

These two fall into the same entry because they’re basically identical. At the release of Mewtwo into EX raids, it was a well known fact that its strongest Charged Move at the time was Shadow Ball; a Ghost Type move. This fact spread and was compounded by Mewtwo's weaknesses to Dark and Ghost types, both of which Ghost types were also weak to, and eventually turned into the rumor that Mewtwo was, in fact, a Ghost Type itself. The same basic story applies to Darkrai as well, though it is a bit more understandable given the Pitch-Black Pokemon’s overall ghostly appearance.

The Truth:

Mewtwo is Psychic Type, and Darkrai is Dark Type. This one was a self-defeating rumor, as any player could actually see the truth for themselves as soon as they managed to catch the Pokemon in question. That said, it did lead to a few interesting raids as select players tried using Ghost or Dark Types against Darkrai.

Some people believe that Suicune is an underrated and very good Pokemon that falls just under Kyogre in terms of performance as a Water-Type Pokemon. They state that Suicune is strictly superior to virtually all non-legendary Water Types, and is actually a fantastic choice for virtually any raid that it can deal Super Effective damage in.

The Truth:

This one falls under the same basic category as the previously mentioned Blissey rumor; it’s due to a lack of transparency in Pokemon stats combined with the (somewhat true) thought that Legendary Pokemon are just better than non-Legendary Pokemon. Suicune is, in fact, bad in raids. We’ve even written an entire article on what it would take to make it usable:

Have you ever met a newer player who had a string of luck when it comes to catching Shiny Pokemon/IVs? Some people have reported the belief that new players have a higher chance of encountering more powerful Pokemon and shiny Pikemon alike.

The Truth:

Have you ever played a mobile game that gives a bunch of valuable resources up-front, or returned to a game after a prolonged absence only to get something rare out of the blue? This is a concept in game-design and web-design called “Dark Patterns”. Basically, the system looks at your use patterns and tries to work out the best way to dangle a hypothetical  carrot in front of you. This is a very real thing, and some players believe that Niantic has used algorithms that use dark patterns such as these to entice more gameplay, thus encouraging more money spent. The community has not identified any dark patterns built into the gameplay itself. However, while this is unlikely, it’s impossible to be 100% certain without going over Niantic’s servers and coding. But, again, no founded research has been released that points to dark patterns in gameplay for Pokemon Go; different advantages on Pokemon seem to have the same basic odds based on species/event/encounter method regardless of who encounters them.

This one is pretty self-explanatory; changing our Avatar’s gender increases your shiny rate. By that same token, if you go into the shop and purchase items such as Incubators, Lucky Eggs, etc, this also raises your shiny odds.

The Truth:

These both lead back to the Dark Patterns that we talked about on the last point. The concept of changing your gender seems to have stemmed from the concept that the game will think that you’re a new character, thus boosting your shiny rate. Buying items would be another Dark Pattern, as it would be rewarding you for spending actual money. Basically, the same is true here; no research into rates in Pokemon Go have turned up any evidence that this could be true.

More to Come

Sadly, while the Truck is indeed there, Mew was not under it (I literally restarted my nearly dex-complete Pokemon Blue save just to check back in 1999), and these rumors are no more true. Probably. They are entertaining tidbits nowadays, but during their time of prominence, many of them constituted a set of gameplay rules for some players. As time goes on, we’re likely to encounter more and more rumors such as these that sprout up from misinformation or misinterpretation of different events in-game, but this is actually a good thing because it means that players are still playing and trying to figure out how Pokemon Go works. Every established theory  started with a hypothesis! However, the most important fact to always remember is that we shouldn’t just blindly follow these rumors, but rather test them and find the truth. And testing is something that the Pokemon Go community as a whole has proven itself exceptional at, especially in recent years!


So what did you think of these rumors? Do you remember any of them for yourself? We actually have a number of other rumors that we remember encountering, and may just do a follow-up to share even more of them. Let us know in the comments what you think, and drop by our Community Forums and share any other rumors that you remember. We might just add them to our next list and give you credit for the entry!

About the Author(s)

Gamepress writer with a focus on theorycrafting and gameplay optimization. A Pokemon player since its inception, and a Pokemon Go player since day 1.

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