An update to Pokémon Go has brought back countdown timers for Raid Battles, a feature quietly removed after the multiplayer mode launched earlier this summer. The return of the “Raid Eggs” may be seen as a small tweak, even an improvement, on cooperative Pokémon Raids, but to many hardcore players, it’s a huge misstep.
Eggs once again appear on top of gyms that are preparing for Raid Battles, with a timer counting down until the Battle begins. Each egg timer is set for two hours, with the subsequent Raids available for one hour. An in-game notification reminds players that the Raid Battle is going to happen nearby, intended to give them ample time to prepare for a multiplayer fight. Players can then plan to assemble nearby the gym.
This feature is useful in some regard: Many Pokémon Go players who are big into multiplayer use services like Discord to rally friends for Raids. Now that these Battles aren’t spontaneous anymore, teams have a better chance of making their way out to gyms that are set for Raids.
“So many times I missed a raid because people show up as soon as it spawns and because I can only walk to raids (no car), I could never reach them in time,” wrote an appreciative user on The Silph Road, a major Pokémon Go forum. “At least with this early warning I have time to post on discord or just walk to where the raid is and wait to see if others show up.”
But to players who have grown accustomed to participating in Raid Battles without any warning, bringing back the timers is a misstep. The biggest problem? Timed eggs make it impossible for players to know which Pokémon they’ll take on until the Battle actually begins.
“If raids were much more rare then there may be a desire for people to organize before the raid boss was known,” said another Silph Road user in the same thread. “Otherwise people in populated areas generally pick and choose what they want to battle. The only benefit of the eggs is then trying to get gym control before it starts.”
Raid Battles have become commonplace since their June launch, which further diminishes the need for extra planning time, according to some players. Without the eggs, Raid Bosses appeared immediately — and players had a full two hours to decide if they really wanted to take them on, and then prep if so.
Now, there’s a much shorter window to actually fight a desirable Boss, and players have to spend more time waiting around to find out if they even want to participate in the Raid.
“‘Eggs’ are theoretically a really good thing to automatically fulfill the organization part in-game,” wrote another Silph Road user. “But since you don't see what's in them, they fail as soon as the pool is bigger than one. If you could see what was inside the egg, I'd be all for 2 hours of eggs and 15 minutes of raiding.”
Some speculate that the removal of eggs in the first place was the result of the glitch. But as the Pokémon Go community’s appreciation for and relationship to Raids has changed over the summer, rolling back to a launch feature could shake up co-op in frustrating ways. (It doesn’t help that the feature is already riddled with bugs.)
But Niantic is clearly open to continuously updating and refreshing the game’s features, so it’s possible that Raid Battles could change drastically again. The developer is currently workshopping an exclusive version of the feature, called EX Raid Battles, which may change the metagame once more. Those will roll out more widely sometime in the near future, according to Niantic.