Raid battles, where up to four players go up against a powerful monster, are supposed to be one of Pokémon Sword and Shield’s biggest new draws — you get to battle a strong monster, and then have a chance to capture it after you’re done. But a surprisingly easy exploit is souring the experience for players everywhere.
Normally, when you approach a den in the wild area, the spawn is specific and set, at least for a while. But clever players have figured out that if you change the date on your Nintendo Switch, the game will update the raid monster in question. The game will also award you more watts when you check the den again, so there’s huge farming potential. You can just keep rerolling until you find the monster that you want to capture. It’s something that you can enact within seconds, both offline and and online. (The method below has the user going offline.)
The problem — beyond not knowing if Game Freak will eventually take action against cheaters — is that in order to pull this off, you have to actually open up a lobby. And if you don’t like what the lobby is offering and go on to open another one, other players may be stuck trying to join matches that don’t actually exist. Polygon spoke to several players who tried raiding over the weekend, it seems that many fans are having trouble actually getting raids to work. The raid exploit may very well be the culprit at times, though it’s worth noting that the game already exhibited wonky connectivity issues before this as well.
“One of my friends keeps doing the raid reset exploit, so I’m getting spammed with raids I can’t even join,” one Twitter user wrote.
“Side effect of the exploit being used — one step involves opening a bunch of raid lobbies that then go abandoned,” another Twitter user said. “If anyone else tries to join that empty lobby, they get hit with the error.”
“You’re lucky if you enter a raid that the host doesn’t just back out of,” a Pokemon fan said on Twitter.
“This exploit has completely ruined Raids tbh,” another Twitter user mused. “Nothing about them is special anymore, if you want the rare thing you can have the rare thing. Literally you have a 100% chance of getting the rarest Pokemon from a raid if you just use the exploit for a few minutes.”
Pokémon Sword and Shield are scheduled to go down for maintenance for a few hours on Tuesday, so it’s possible that Game Freak will address this widespread issue, along with more general performance problems encountered in the Wild Area. For now, though, if you’re having trouble merely finding a raid to join, this exploit might be why. Best to stick to local matches with friends, if possible.
Update: Added mention that the exploit can be done both offline and online, as well as mention that Sword and Shield already exhibited some connectivity issues prior to this phenomenon. However, social media reports of raid issues specifically have increased within the community since the discovery of this exploit.