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How Not to Wait in a Raid Lobby and 20 Things You Can Do Instead

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Introduction

As spotted by Reddit user u/MetalCollector in the Samsung Galaxy Store and reported on TheSilphRoad, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite players will soon be seeing a nice quality of life update:

A new chamber experience has been added! When you join a room with other players, you can now tap “Ready” to let your teammates know that you’re ready to join the fight! Likewise, you can now see when other players are ready to start the challenge. As a single player, you can now skip the start timer by tapping “Start” and being sent straight to the board!

While the update containing this teaser was ultimately pulled by Niantic, many Pokemon GO players are asking why, years after raids were introduced in Niantic’s more popular game, there is no similar option for skipping raid lobbies. It seems easy enough to implement, and would be a great time-saving improvement, even if only for private lobbies. There’s often just no need to wait an entire 120 seconds for the timer to count down.

Fortunately, there’s an incredibly simple way to recover some of this wasted time. While this isn’t a new or totally unknown exploit, we feel it’s underused and underappreciated by the Pokemon GO community. In this article, we’ll outline the technique and list a few things you could be doing instead of idly waiting for two minutes in your raid lobby.

The Method

Normally, once you enter a raid lobby, it becomes impossible to interact with other facets of the game without leaving the lobby and taking yourself out of the raid. But there’s a workaround -- if you restart the Pokemon GO app, you’ll remain in the lobby, and until you tap on the gym where your raid is taking place, you can catch Pokemon, interact with your inventory, and generally play the game as if you’re not waiting for a raid to start! When the two-minute timer gets close to expiry, tap on the gym, and you’ll immediately rejoin the lobby, even if it was a private lobby!

Step-by-step, here’s how it works:

  1. Enter the lobby. It can be private or public; doesn’t matter! If you follow the rest of these steps correctly, you’ll re-enter whichever lobby you entered.

  2. Crash the app and restart it. If you want, you can use Google or Siri to set a timer so you know exactly when you need to go back in. I usually just wing it, since there’s no real consequence of not making it back in time (except missing the first few seconds).

  3. Enjoy your free time in the game. We’ll get to this in a bit.

  4. Click on the gym to re-enter your lobby. Swipe to your battle party and you’re ready to raid.

There are a couple of advantages to doing this. The first is that you may find that your app will run more smoothly after a restart, and you may experience less latency during the raid. This can help shave a couple of seconds off your time and might be the difference between a success and a failure in some cases. It won’t, however, protect you from phantoms or other desync issues that have been part of raids since day one.

The second and more important benefit of an app crash-and-restart while waiting in the raid lobby is that you recover a bunch of time during which you could normally do very little but sit and wait. Sure, you can heal Pokemon and tinker with your battle parties from inside the lobby, but there’s so much more you can do if you’re not limited to sitting in the lobby and twiddling your thumbs. You don’t recover the full two minutes, since you have to restart the app and may want to leave a few extra seconds just to be safe. A restart takes about 25 seconds on my year-old Pixel 3 (YMMV), and if we give another 15 seconds for the lobby to load and to swipe to your battle party, this still gives you about 80 seconds of “free time” to do whatever you want. Here’s a list of things we recommend doing with this newfound time.

The List

  1. Catch Pokemon
    That’s the point of the game, isn’t it? When you re-open the game, you should have some time to fast-catch a few things before re-entering the lobby.

  2. Re-configure your Go+ or Gotcha
    Restarting the game will automatically turn off your helper-device of choice. You can reconnect it if you wanna catch stuff during the raid, or leave it off or set it to spin-only if you don’t wanna risk missing anything. Be careful with using one of these devices near the end of the raid if your storage is near full (see #7).

  3. Mess with your battle parties
    You can do this to some extent from inside the lobby, but there are a few advantages to doing it from outside. If you’re maxed on battle parties and want to make a new one, you can delete one you no longer need. You can also create an empty party to use the empty lobby trick and start the raid with the full timer.

  4. Check your moves and TM Pokemon
    Ever use Pokemon that are effective with two different move sets? Does this Tyranitar have Dark or Rock moves? That Foul Play Weavile isn’t going to be great in a Rayquaza raid.

  5. Power up a Pokemon
    Okay, so this takes awhile and you certainly won’t have time to bring something from 20 to 40, but you can top something off. Another QoL fix needed here!

  6. Evolve Pokemon
    If you’re trying to squeeze as much XP as possible out of your Lucky Egg, you’ll have time to evolve 2-3 Pokemon before re-entering.

  7. Clear out your inventory or Pokemon storage
    Inventory management is an enormous and time-consuming part of the game. You now have eighty seconds to delete potions you don’t need or IV check and delete Pokemon in your box. Also, if you know your box is almost full and don't want to risk losing the raid boss (if the raid is almost over, say), this is a good opportunity to make sure you have an open spot.

  8. Send/open gifts
    Another extremely time-consuming and annoying process that you can do while your party is waiting for the timer to tick down.

  9. Check the weather
    Your choice of counters might depend on the weather. Also, it’s possible for the weather to change while you’re in the raid lobby, if this occurs at the top of the hour. (You can do this from in the lobby as well by searching @weather while filling a battle party.)

  10. Plan out your next move
    When you restart the game, you’ll have access to the list of nearby raids and timers. You can also check your nearby Pokemon to see if there’s anything interesting around.

Not everything requires a restart! Here are some more things you should consider doing while that timer is counting down that you can do without crashing the app and re-entering:

  1. Heal your attackers
    As mentioned earlier, you can do this from inside the lobby or from the overworld. Especially important if you’re doing multiple raids in succession.

  2. Check raid counters
    If you’re unsure, pull up PokeBattler or GamePress to find out what counters you should be using in the upcoming battle. You can also check out breakpoints to decide which counters to bring.

  3. Check Discord/Telegram/Facebook
    Maybe some rare spawn was reported across town. Imagine missing it because you were waiting for a raid to start.

  4. Make sure everyone is in the lobby and using the right counters
    If you’re raiding with a group, sometimes it pays for someone to make sure everyone is ready.

  5. Heat/cool your phone
    The app doesn’t run well if your phone is too hot or too cold. Taking a second to hold your phone up to a nearby heater/air conditioner, put it in your pocket, or bring it into the shade can help a bit.

  6. Run Lucky Eggs/Star Pieces
    This can be done in the lobby and outside the lobby. From outside you can see how much time is left.

  7. Watch videos of previous runs
    This is mostly for people who are interested in doing raid challenges or anything that involves dodging, but sometimes it’s helpful to review the tapes and see what things can be improved.

  8. Stretch! Your raiding fingers, your hamstring, your delts -- it’s important to stay loose if you’re just standing around at a raid.

  9. Check your email, make a call, chat with your friends, pick your nose, etc.
    You don’t have to be playing Pokemon all the time, after all.

  10. Send Niantic an email or Tweet about how dumb it is that we have to wait two minutes for the raid to start
    If enough people do it, maybe we won’t need find ways to fill this time anymore.

About the Author(s)

Chris is a contributing writer for GamePress and administrator of the pogoraids Discord/Reddit community, focusing primarily on speed raiding and PokeDraft content. Some day he'll be an actual professor.