This week saw the arrival of a new mechanic to Pokémon Go; the introduction of Team Rocket. Well, more specifically, Team GO Rocket. These criminals have been capturing Shadow Pokémon, using them for their nefarious schemes and are attacking players. Now you can go and fight some Rocket Grunts yourself, becoming the hero you had always wanted to be. Well, sort of… I think we need to have a chat, Niantic.
Team GO Rocket Prepares Us For Trouble (And Makes It Triple?)
Let’s start off by applauding Niantic for introducing a new mechanic to Pokémon go; it was much needed. Technically two new mechanics have been added recently – One of which is a chance to how the charge moves work and personally, I really dislike it. I get why they did it, but on an older phone like mine, it does struggle with an already jittery game. Nevertheless, it’s nice to see them try something different with the charge moves. It does look pretty.
Back to the main mechanic we came here for, Team GO Rocket have made their presence felt. When you go out into the world of Pokémon Go, you have a chance to find Team GO Rocket controlled PokéStop. These are easy to pinpoint; they flicker between the usual blue and a black colour. When you get closer to one of these stops, the black stop then gets a large R above it, indicating a Rocket Grunt is here!
When you press the PokéStop, you get your usual items and Research Task. Once you’ve claimed these, your team leader – in my case Spark – will appear. They will warn you about the challenge you’re about to face before you are treated to some smack talk from the Team GO Rocket Grunt. They tell you about how much they love to be a criminal and how they’re going to beat you up, or something. Then you get a button to battle them. Select your three Pokémon and in you go…
… Oh my god, they need a nerf.
When people say this, normally it’s a fairly situational comment I’d think. For instance, in an MMO, you may hear people complaining that one class is too powerful, when there are ways to combat them (Poor World of Warcraft Enhancement Shaman’s never really recovered from The Great Windfury Nerf of Vanilla). In this case though, let me tell you something; I am all for a hard encounter. I want to work for my victory…
… I don’t expect a Squirtle to thrash a Mewtwo.
The premise behind Team GO Rocket is fantastic and a much needed spin, but for their Pokémon to be so hard and they are only a solo encounter, it’s too much. A nearby stop revealed a Grunt who specialised in water types; Squirtle, Marshtomp and Blastoise. Pretty cool. I saw the game recommended three Pokémon for me, all of which were fairly strong; Slaking, Tyranitar and Groudon. Nope, this trio couldn’t defeat the Rocket Grunt.
In my third attempt, I took in an Alolan Exeggutor and Two Mewtwos. My Mewtwos, even with them having Electric moves (For who knows what reason), was only just able to get through it… And it was a last hit scenario. These aren’t underpowered either; with the Exeggutor being approximately 2600CP and one of my Mewtwos being 3250CP and IVs are 14 Attack, 14 Defense and 13 HP. It’s pretty decent. Sure, it could be better, but there’s only so far I can go with a game so heavily set in RNG.
Once the Grunt was defeated, they ran away and left a Shadow Pokémon behind – A Squirtle. It was 108CP only, but it is possible to Purify the Squirtle, to increase its stats significantly. Because it’s the first one I saw, it only seemed right to try the Purify process and it worked really quite well, increasing it from 108CP to 590CP. The IVs barely changed, but I guess you can’t have it all. It’s strange that there are so few balls given, but presumably Shadow Pokémon will be easy to catch because of it (if not guaranteed). We both caught ours on the first ball.
Once you get it, you can then purify it for a massive boost to CP. There’s not much else to them, except they get an exclusive move; Return. Overall, this was a fun idea which they implemented okay, but I would hope they would do more with this. They really should revisit how tricky they made the Grunts, because my partner Jake, he’s vastly more into Pokémon Go than me. He’s got counters for everything, well trained Pokémon – and he struggled. Our legendaries were worthless. That doesn’t seem well balanced, if you ask me.
But I digress, what do you all think of Team GO Rocket Grunts and the whole idea? Personally, I love the concept, but the execution leaves a lot to be desired. Leave your thoughts below, or on Facebook and Twitter.