An Open Letter to Niantic About TMs for Thunder Shock Zapdos

I usually write technical or strategic pieces, but this is different. I thank GamePress for giving me a forum to post this, but to be clear this is my opinion and not the opinion of GP’s staff or ownership.

Dear Niantic,

My name is Kev. I go by DownWithTTP in game and most Internet forums. I write and make strategy videos about Pokémon Go, play constantly, and have been running large scale community events long before Community Day was a thing. There is so much about this game I love, and I just returned home from Go Fest... one of my favorite weekends in my life. I’m not shy about rationally criticizing the game and/or Niantic, but I am also quick to give praise when things are done right.

The Problem

I think this is a huge mistake. This isn’t about Zapdos. We all knew when we invested in Zap that it would be outclassed in a future gen, and the reality is Thunder Shock is only marginally better. The community’s reaction comes from the precedent... we now know that all of our Kyogre, Groudon, Rayquaza, and Mewtwo will eventually be outclassed by an exclusive move version that is available on a 3 hour window.

This is a huge problem. We accepted that moves could be rebalanced and fully understand that a game mechanic change will eventually shift everything. We accept that some Pokémon are outclassed in future generations. But we never expected that legendary Pokémon would be outclassed by a limited release version of themselves, nor should we tolerate it.

Why is This Different from Community Day?

While some players have expressed frustration of exclusive moves in limited windows on CD, a majority have accepted it. Both involve a limited window and an exclusive move, but outside of that, they are apples and oranges. Here’s why:

  • Players can farm a Community Day Pokémon before its day. Tasks have been very helpful in getting high iv versions. You can’t do this with Legendaries, and now we are deterred from using resources on non-exclusive versions.
  • Candy is cheaper and time-consuming to obtain for non-Legendary Pokémon. Maxing a Legendary is a significant investment
  • Even if you can’t actively play during the CD periods, you can find time to sneak a few evolves of Pokémon you already have. Or trade with a friend for 100 stardust. On the other hand, 3-hour legendary windows require you to be in a spot with gyms as well as players who also want to raid and/or a significant stardust investment from you and your trade partner.
  • CD Pokémon can be caught for free. After free passes are used, Legendary raids have a cost.

Some Implications

Two weeks ago I was willing to raid 20 Regice a week in spite of it being a boring battle for a useless Pokémon. Yesterday I caught a Registeel in my first raid, and it will be the last one I do.

We raided Latias, Ho-oh, Lugia, and Regice almost entirely for rewards. Today you devalued those rewards. TMs aren’t worth much if we can’t get the moves we want. In addition, I don’t feel like I need Rare Candy. Why would I invest in additional Groudon or Kyogre now when I know a new/better version is coming.

Since March I’ve spent $100 or $200 a month. That doesn’t make me a massive whale, but it’s a fair amount of money. Primary that money was spent to get rare candy from raids so I could power up Legendaries and chase raid records. In addition, I’ve been one of the more vocal people in the PoGo community when it comes to Powering up Pokémon. I’ve been a huge proponent of community created raid competitions, and I’ve consistently told my readers and viewers to power up Pokémon to maximize rewards.

And now today rewards are worthless. So now I don’t care about maximizing rewards, which means I don’t need to power up Pokémon to get rewards, which means I need the rewards even less. What an awful spiral you have created.

I’m not quitting, nor am I going to be free to play. But I just bought $200 in gift cards on Prime Day, and it will be a while before I have a need to throw any of that into PoGo.

And it goes beyond me. As community leaders like me raid less, there are fewer raids being done in total. I’m not implying that my locals can’t beat Registeel without me, but raids happen with much fewer people and much more easily when I am around. In addition, leaders like me are the ones actively searching for raids and calling them out on social media. I’m looking forward to the gas I will save from no longer raid scouting trash Tier 5s.

This is a problem. You took a community leader & moderate whale and destroyed his motivation to raid for reward. That’s not a good business practice.

The irony is this FOMO isn’t even needed. My car raided 39 Articuno (I personally did 37 of them). I couldn’t care less about most shinies, there was no special move, and Articuno is borderline useless in the game currently. But we did it for rewards and fun. You didn’t need to set this precedent. Thank you for reading. I hope that you will reconsider your decision.

DownWithTTP (Kev)

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