Details on Pokémon GO's Gym overhaul revealed

To introduce raids, new items, Gym Badges, and more
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  • Monday, June 19, 2017

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Details on the upcoming changes to Gyms in Pokémon GO have been revealed. Additional changes to other parts of the games have also been revealed. Until these features are implemented, Gyms are closed and all Pokémon that were placed in them will be returned to their Trainers shortly.

Pokémon GO Raid Battle artwork

It will be possible to spin the Photo Disc at Gyms to obtain items, just like at PokéStops. This is more likely to yield items that are useful for battles, such as Potions and Revives. Players will obtain bonus items and more XP from Gyms of the same team.

Additionally, to encourage exploration, PokéStops the player has not previously visited will appear surrounded by rings, which disappear once the player spins their Photo Disc.

The old Prestige and training system for Gyms has been removed. Instead, Gyms now have six permanent slots that can be filled by the controlling team's Pokémon. Only one Pokémon of each species can be assigned to a Gym at a time, and each player can only place one of their Pokémon in each Gym at a time. Additionally, opposing teams battle the Pokémon in the order they were assigned to the Gym.

Due to the removal of training, players will no longer be able to earn or progress on their Ace Medal, but those who already have it will retain it.

When a Pokémon is assigned to a Gym, it is assigned a motivation value. Pokémon assigned to defend a Gym lose motivation over time and when they are defeated in battle. As a Pokémon's motivation decreases, so does its CP temporarily, making it easier for opposing teams to defeat. Players can feed Pokémon from their team Berries to restore their motivation; all Berries (except the newly introduced Golden Razz Berries) restore the same amount of motivation. Feeding Berries to Pokémon defending a Gym also earns the player Stardust and XP. If a Pokémon loses all motivation, it will leave the Gym and return to its Trainer the next time it loses a battle.

The update will also introduce Gym Badges, which track how the player has interacted with each Gym. Badges have four tiers (Basic, Bronze, Silver, and Gold), with player unlocking tiers as they interact with more Gyms. Players can increase the tier of their Badge by battling at the Gym, feeding Berries to the Pokémon in the Gym, and spinning the Gym's Photo Disc. Players will obtain bonus items from Gyms which they have a Badge for; increasing the Gym's Badge's tier allows the player to obtain more bonus items when spinning the Gym's Photo Disc.

The Defender bonus system has also been overhauled. Players earn free PokéCoins for keeping their Pokémon in Gyms. The longer the Pokémon stays in the Gym, the more PokéCoins it earns. The player receives these PokéCoins when their defending Pokémon leaves the Gym and returns to the player, at which point the player will receive a push notification telling them this and the amount of PokéCoins received. However, a player still cannot receive more than 100 PokéCoins per day, even if multiple of their Pokémon return from Gyms in a single day.

Pokémon GO will also introduce a new Raid Battle feature. A Raid Battle is a cooperative game event that occurs at Gyms in which players work together to defeat an extremely powerful Pokémon known as the Raid Boss. When a Raid Battle occurs, a large Egg and countdown appear atop the Gym; the Raid Boss is revealed when the countdown reaches zero. All Pokémon assigned to the Gym return to their Trainers before a Raid Battle begins. After the Raid Battle is completed, the Gym is restored to its state, with any Pokémon previously assigned to it returning to defend it. Raids have five tiers of difficulty, ranging from one to five.

Players require a Raid Pass to participate in Raid Battles. Players can obtain one Raid Pass per day by visiting a Gym, but Premium Raid Passes will also be available for purchase from the in-game shop. A player can only hold one Raid Pass at a time. Once a Raid Pass has been used, the player can continue to access that Raid Battle as long as it is available, even if they fail. Once a player has successfully defeated a Raid Boss, they cannot interact with the Gym until the Raid Battle is over and the Gym returns to normal.

Up to 20 players can work together to defeat the Raid Boss, and they have a five-minute time limit to do so. Players can either be matched with other players automatically, or create private groups to challenge Raid Bosses. During the battle, players can flee to heal and revive their Pokémon then rejoin.

After defeating a Raid Boss, players have a chance to catch the Raid Boss and receive a collection of rewards. Players receive a set of Premier Balls to catch the Boss, with players who contributed more to the Raid Battle receiving more. The player cannot use other kinds of Poké Balls to catch the Raid Boss (although they can use Berries), and the Boss flees as soon as they run out of Premier Balls.

The item rewards received include some new items obtained only by defeating a Raid Boss: Rare Candies, Golden Razz Berries, and two types of Technical Machines (Fast and Charged). A Rare Candy can be used on a Pokémon, which turns it into one of that Pokémon's Candy. Golden Razz Berries can be used to either greatly increase the chances of catching a wild Pokémon or fed to a Pokémon assigned to a Gym to fully restore its motivation. Technical Machines can be used to permanently teach a Pokémon a new Fast Attack or Charged Attack (which were previously referred to as Special Attacks) and forget its previous attack in this category.

Raid Battles will slowly be rolled out over the next few weeks, starting as a beta, with raids visible only to a subset of players at certain Gym locations. Over a few days, more players will be invited to participate and raids will be enabled at more Gyms around the world.

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