Mega Evolutions are coming to Pokemon Go with the introduction of four new Mega Evolved Pokemon.
After gathering Pokemon-specific Mega Energy in Mega Raids, trainers can trigger a limited-time Mega Evolution to beef up the power of their Pokemon.
These Mega Evolved Pokemon can then be used to battle other raids, defeat gyms and Team Go Rocket, play with friends, and flex as your buddy. They cannot, however, be used to defend gyms, or in Go League battles.
Pokemon Go Mega Evolution – Which Pokemon can Mega Evolve?
Currently, there are four new Mega Evolution Pokemon being added to Pokemon Go. These focus on classic Kanto Pokemon, with three of the four being starters:
- Mega Venusaur
- Mega Blastoise
- Mega Charizard X
- Mega Beedrill
The first three starters will be available from Mega Raids, while Mega Beedrill comes from a new Special Research assignment.
“Beedrill is the Pokemon we’re using to help introduce the feature through Professor Willow,” Laura Warner, senior game designer at Niantic, told VG247.
“There’s going to be a Research that’ll help players understand a few of the steps for Megas, and along that path you’ll get enough Mega Energy to Mega Evolve Beedrill a few times.”
While there are 48 Mega Pokemon in total if you count the X and Y versions, Niantic is focussing on these four initially to avoid flooding the world map with a deluge of new raids. However, more Mega Evolutions are set to be released periodically.
“We don’t think it’s a good experience if there’s like 10 different Raids that you want to do all at once – we’ve seen that in the past with Legendaries,” Matthew Slemon, senior product manager at Niantic, said.
“There are a ton of amazing Mega Pokemon,” Warner added. “We just really wanted to make sure that each one of the Megas gets their time to shine and trainers have time to battle them, earn the Mega Energy, Mega Evolve them and spend some time with them.
“So we figured the best way to do that was start with a smaller batch and continue rotating in different Mega Pokemon.”
“We’re already looking at our plans for the coming months and next year,” Warner went on to say.
“We’ve got some really exciting things planned out, but right now we’re focusing on these four Pokemon – we’ve got some really great plans for all the Mega Pokemon.”
And while these current Mega Pokemon will be powerful additions to any trainer’s team, they’re not going to completely bulldoze all other Pokemon in the meta. The CP values of Mega Pokemon will still vary depending on existing factors like trainer level, with Niantic instead choosing to concentrate on the multiplayer possibilities.
“I think the community has done a lot of speculation on what the CP values might be, and those are pretty close to what they can expect,” Slemon explained.
“If you look at the wider Pokemon series, we base a lot of our lore on their lore, and the strongest stat Pokemon I think is Mega Raquaza – clocking in with the highest base stats in the Pokemon world.
“So you’ll see – especially when Mega Legendaries start coming out – CP values that are astronomical. For now we wanted to put more of an emphasis on the team aspects of Mega.
“That leadership part is what we think is more fun. Rather than just giving you math, we thought it would be more interesting to say your team is more powerful if you coordinate with them correctly.”
When you’re Raiding or attacking a Gym, only one Mega Pokemon can be sent in at a time, but all attacks of that Mega Pokemon’s type will be boosted, giving synergetic teams an edge in battle.
So for example, Mega Charizard X can boost Dragon type attacks, and so on.
Mega Raids and Mega Energy
Trainers enter the new high-tier Mega Raids using standard Raid and Remote Raid Passes. To get enough Mega Energy to Mega Evolve a Pokemon, players will have to complete multiple Mega Raids featuring that specific Pokemon.
“High level, the way it’s going to work is trainers are going to go do Mega Raids and if they win they’ll get some amount of Mega Energy for the Pokemon they battled,” Warner said.
“So if they battle Mega Blastoise, they’ll get Mega Blastoise Energy, and then they’ll have the chance to catch a regular Blastoise from the raid.”
However, once you’ve ground out enough Mega Energy for one Mega Pokemon, Mega Evolving that same Pokemon again will cost significantly less.
“We have a Mega Pokedex now, so we want the achievement of unlocking the slot on the Mega Pokedex to be a big moment, but we understand that there’s utility to having Mega Evolutions, so we wanted it to be easier to repeat,” Slemon explained.
“We’re still going through a lot of tuning stuff, but I think the philosophy behind it is that your first Mega Evolution should be a big achievement. So that will take several rounds of Raids.
“After you unlock it though, the cost reduces significantly. So the idea is that after you’ve Mega Evolved a Pokemon it’ll still need Mega Energy, but a much reduced amount.
“We treat it as more of an unlock. So once you’ve Mega Evolved once you’ve unlocked the ability of that Pokemon to respond better to Mega Energy. It’s not a small discount that gets bigger over time, just a huge, immediate discount.”
Another function of Mega Pokemon for Niantic was to take some of the pressure off of Legendary Pokemon being the only top-tier option for high-level players.
Like in the main series games, Mega Pokemon revert to their original form after a short period of time, with the intention of making them a more interactive part of the game than just another box to tick.
“When we looked at Mega Evolution, we used it as an opportunity to Mega Evolve the Raid feature,” Slemon said.
“We know players love doing the Legendary Pokemon Raids, but there are a fixed number of Legendary Pokemon, so we didn’t want to put so much focus on Legendary Pokemon being the only thing keeping players doing Raids.
“Thematically, we didn’t want Mega Evolution to be ‘you do the Raid, you catch the Mega Pokemon, and that’s it’ – I think that would’ve been a miss for the series.
“We’ve taken the opportunity to use Mega Evolution as the next step in Raids. We’re hoping the way that people Raid will be a bit different – there’s a new coordination aspect where you can go for the fastest Raid times.”
On top of the introduction of Mega Pokemon, Niantic is trying to fine-tune the cooperative elements of Raiding in Pokemon Go.
First up, the old Team Damage Bonus is being removed and replaced with a completion speed bonus that dishes out more rewards based on how quickly your party clears a Raid.
This means that the only team-based modifier will be which team owned the Gym before it turned into a Raid.
In the case of Mega Raids, this means that if you clear them with a lightning-fast time, you’ll get more Mega Energy towards your Pokemon.
“We actually weren’t super happy with the way [the Team Damage Bonus] worked,” Slemon said. “In most cooperative cases you’d have people splitting their groups into smaller groups and not playing together.
“That’s not great. Then in some cases where some people can’t do that if you’re on a minority team then you just don’t get rewarded. It wasn’t a very interactive part of the feature and we think it’s a lot more interesting now players are incentivised to work together as fast as possible.
“We’re totally happy with the ownership of the gym before the Raid – that’s supposed to be the competitive aspect. When it’s a gym it’s made for competition, but the instant it turns into a Pokemon it’s supposed to be cooperative.”
Outside of that, Level 2 and Level 4 Raids are being combined with Level 1 Raids. Similar Pokemon will appear, with a similar reward table to the higher level Raid, but at a reduced difficulty.
Apparently players tended to gravitate towards the odd-level raids where the perceived time investment versus reward was more appealing.
For more on the upcoming changes to Pokemon Go, you can check out the official Niantic blog, here.