On September 20th, 2020, I was playing Pokemon GO with my son, my daughter, and my father. It was the 32nd Community Day for the still popular mobile game, and this was a particularly special one for us. Not only was the featured Pokemon Porygon, but this is my son’s favorite Pokemon and a Community Day we have been anticipating for a very long time.
I have not felt this much excitement to play the game in quite some time, and seeing my son squirm in bed the night before was like watching an antsy child struggle to sleep because of the anticipation for Christmas morning or a birthday. This Community Day was truly special.
Well, if that is the case, then why did it feel like it was missing something? Why did my son stop caring after one hour of playing? What was it about this Community Day that lacked the zeal of the original Pikachu, Dratini, and Bulbasaur events?
After some long thought, I have broken it down to three things: Frequency, the Pokedex, and the Community.
Frequency: Too Much Community Day
Like I said, the Porygon Community Day was the 32nd one, which is a whole lot if you really think about it. Since the game’s inception on July 6th, 2016, no major special event has been repeated that many times, and that is really saying something, since Community Day actually began on January 20th, 2018. In less than three years, we have seen a repeat of this event thirty-two times already, and that is a hard thing to celebrate.
How can something feel special when it is highlighted so often? Community Day is a monthly event that has been happening nonstop since it started, and because it is only a month apart from one another, it never feels like we get a break from it. As soon as the previous one is done, fans are already clambering for the next and Niantic is constantly sharing news and highlighting it.
To be honest, it is a bit exhausting to participate in so many events, and they are always on Saturday or Sunday, which excludes many people who have work or family. Maybe transitioning Community Day to a quarterly event could help, but as it stands now, it is simply happening too often.
The Pokedex: Limited Options
You would think that with a list of 896 Pokemon as of 2020, Niantic would have plenty of options for the Community Day event. Well, sadly, that is not the case.
Niantic has unfortunately cornered themselves with options, because they initially created a rhythm of exciting Pokemon, starter Pokemon, exciting Pokemon, starter Pokemon, etc. However, they are currently running very low on starter Pokemon that are currently available in Pokemon GO, and these “exciting” Pokemon that served in the alternate position are becoming scarce.
In the first year, Niantic gave out Dratini, Larvitar, Eevee, and Beldum on their own days, and that created a system of expectation from fans. If it is not a starter, then it must be a useful and exciting Pokemon, right? Well, we have learned this year, especially, that this is not the case, and since April of 2020, we have seen Abra, Seedot, Weedle, Ghastly, and Magikarp. Let’s be honest, that is not an exciting list of Pokemon, even if it is for Mega Evolve reasons, and I do not need 20+ shiny Seedot hanging out in my box.
When compared to what Niantic initially handed out, 2020 has been mostly questionable releases, which leads to my last point.
The Community: Never Fully Satisfied
Fans will always complain, even if the Pokemon being offered is stellar, so during the first year, complaints against Pikachu and Mareep were pretty rampant, especially against Mareep. In 2019, fans were pretty aggressive about the selection of Slakoth and Trapinch. In 2020 so far, Rhyhorn has been the only widely accepted selection this year, and that should really say something.
Pokemon like Axew, Gibble, Timburr, Deino, Goomy, and Honedge, for example, have either received no Community Day, have not even been released into the game, or had their shiny poorly thrown into the game for no good reason. How can fans not be upset when Pokemon of this caliber are still available? Instead, 2020 has been chock full of mediocre-at-best Pokemon (Or a repeated starter Pokemon), and it has left a sour taste in fans’ mouths.
Not only that, but 2020 has officially destroyed the early rhythm of the event. Piplup was the last starter to have their own Community Day back in January, and after Rhyhorn in February, the quality of selection has gone down tremendously.
If Niantic did not raise the bar so tremendously back in 2018, during the event’s first year, maybe fans would not be so displeased with the current lineup. If a rhythm of starter, so-so, and exciting was established, the top tier Pokemon could be spread out more, and the starter Pokemon would not be burned out as quickly.
But hindsight is 20/20.
As it stands, Community Day could use some work in Pokemon GO. It clearly is not a bad event, but I do think the frequency of it, the limited options in the Pokedex, and the rarely satisfied fans are bringing the value of the event downward.
2020 does not seem like it has a lot of room to repair itself, since November is the only open month left, but let’s hope for a strong 2021 and some Community Days that will truly make the community happy once again.
Thank you for stopping by Nintendo Link for all of your Pokemon GO news and opinions. What have been your thoughts lately about this particular event? Are you satisfied, or do you think it is lacking something? Let us know what you think in the comments below! Happy gaming, everyone.
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My name is Jason Capp. I am a husband, father, son, and brother, and I am a gamer, a writer, and a wannabe pro wrestler. It is hard to erase the smile on this simple man.