It's been a good summer for Pokémon Go. Niantic's worked hard to keep their Pokémon game / collection app interesting and fun, and all that work's paid off. Fans swarm the streets again and again for Pokémon Community Days (next up: Chikorita!), and the new Friend feature has brought some lapsed players back into the fold.
Despite Pokémon Go's continued success, however, three clouds have been raining on its parade for the entirety of the season. Niantic's latest Legendary Raids, the three Titans of Hoenn (Generation 3's Registeel, Regirock, and Regice), are seemingly going over with fans like a Golem with weights tied to its ankles. Hardcore Go players find the Raids uninteresting, plus there are complaints about the Titans being useless post-Raid.
You don't have to go far to find discontent over the Titans' continued presence. Any time Niantic switches one Titan out for another (at the time of this writing, Regirock is the active Legendary Raid until September 20), Twitter rumbles.
Community: we don’t like the Regis PGO: pic.twitter.com/tEdxhUtEYh— MYSTIC7 (@MYSTIC7) August 16, 2018
Players just want them gone.
everyone collectively waiting for the 3 regis to go away pic.twitter.com/6E8kLRyfE7— Protostar (@Protostar_UK) August 10, 2018
Some of the callouts are a little … savage.
I'm a regular Pokémon Go player, but I don't go on Raids very often. I haven't tried battling any of Gen 3's big fellows myself, so I asked Twitter and Reddit's Pokémon Go communities why the Titans' Raids seem so unpopular. The biggest complaint appears to be the Titans' low combat power (CP) and high defense make them useless post-Raid.
"The Regis are a disappointment to raid because they have no usefulness in the Pokémon Go meta [game]," player "RareBirdAlert" told me. "They’re defensive walls with meager attack, but Legendries can't defend Gyms, so their primary strength is useless in Go."
I also spoke with "Liehon," one of the mods from the Pokémon Go subreddit. /r/pokemongo works closely with another Pokémon Go subreddit, The Silph Road, and both communities have well over a million subscribers between them. The Silph Road is also responsible for the Pokémon Go nest atlas and community map. Needless to say, both subreddits are full of hardcore players with opinions about the Titans' Raids, and there's plenty of negativity to go around. However, Liehon points out this dedication might make Pokémon Go redditors a little more judgemental than casual players.
"Our sub is only a fraction of the total player base, and I tend to believe the trainers active on Reddit are a tad more hardcore than the overall playerbase," Liehon says. "So while there have been users voicing their disappointment with the Titan Registeel, it is hard to say whether this is the general opinion or merely that of our hardcore trainers."
Liehon also notes Niantic might have a specific plan for the Titan Raids, even if players generally don't appreciate that plan. "It is hard to say if 'something went wrong' [with the Raids] as we don’t know Niantic's intention. Maybe with summer holidays they wanted to provide a boss people out camping for weeks wouldn’t lament missing out, or maybe they calculated that having the Titans out in any other season but (northern hemisphere) summer would result in even lower player engagement."
That said, Liehon admits the Titans' low CP makes them ineffective for post-Raid combat—but also suggests the rocky warriors' true potential might shine through in a future update for the Raids' meta game. Anything is possible.
"Niantic’s past tweaks to their formula have known to change the meta somewhat. With PvP [possibly] coming end of this year who knows what the meta in the future may look like," Liehon says. "This game has changed a lot over the past few years, and it is bound to change more."
For fun, let's say Niantic hoped the Titan Raids would be better-received. What could Niantic do to make the Raids more popular? What can it do to make future Legendary Raids more palatable?
"If a future change allowed Legendries to defend [Gyms] under specific circumstances, they could be useful or even desirable," suggests RareBirdAlert. "In previous Raid cycles, Niantic occasionally had two-tier five [star] legend Raids available, and that should be happening now. [T]hough multiple potential tier fives can be annoying to plan, if some people would prefer to raid one but not the other, in the case of one very undesired Raid boss, I think most raiders would like to have the option to raid something else."
"It'd be cool if later Raid Pokémon offered new mechanics," says Rocky H. "Maybe something along the lines of changing the types the Pokémon that spawn at a chosen stop temporarily? Or even changing the weather at a Raid where they fight?"
"Ultimately I think the lesson to take away from so-called 'worthless Raid bosses' is a need for features that make any Pokémon useful in one way or another," says Liehorn. "The main games feature a meta in which many more Pokémon are viable thanks to the held items, abilities and status moves that allow for creative tactics." As an example, Liehorn cited the now-legendary Pachirisu that won the Pokémon 2014 World Championship using a clever combination of items and passive moves.
It's impossible for Niantic to please everyone, but the Legendary Titans' low CP hasn't won them many fans as Raid monsters. We'll see what else is in store for Pokémon Go players once the weather cools down. Until then, endure the Titans' onslaught and check out our myriad guides, tips, and tricks for Pokémon Go—including great Raid strategies.