Pokémon Go’s getting more social with the addition of Raid Battles. The new feature is the biggest change to the game since it launched, and while they’re still not the classic multiplayer experience of the handheld games, Raid Battles are easy for the seasoned Pokémon Go trainer to jump into.
In case you’re intimidated by those big eggs — and bigger Pokémon — towering above the gyms in your area, we’ve got the basics on how to take on your first Raid Battle.
WHAT ARE RAID BATTLES?
Pokémon Go’s Raid Battles are like gyms on hard mode. They’re a multiplayer-based, extra-difficult fight against a single strong Pokémon. A group of players work together to take down this Boss Pokémon in the hopes of earning some special items and maybe even catch the Pokémon. The tier-based system ranges in difficulty from level one to level five, with five being the toughest. Try to gather as many people as possible to take these on.
Note: All trainers must be at least level five in order to participate in raids.
HOW DO I FIND A RAID BATTLE?
The game will notify you of any that are in your vicinity; Raid Battles are also tracked on the Nearby Pokémon screen in a separate tab. You’ll see a gigantic Pokémon Egg above the gyms that will house the Raid Battle once the timer attached it goes off. Basically, you and your pals will want to hover around there to hop in once it’s time.
OK, I FOUND ONE — HOW CAN MY FRIENDS AND I START BATTLING TOGETHER?
The main appeal of Raid Battles is that you can participate in them with your friends — up to 20 of them! Even if you don’t have that many people hanging out with you on the regular, you can still join a Raid Battle, however.
You’ll be able to play with others through lobbies. To gain access into a lobby, you’ll first need to find a gym with a Raid Battle ready to go. Once you’ve entered the gym and exchanged your Raid Pass (more on those in a bit), you can choose to enter either a public lobby to fight with trainers automatically or a private one with a special password for you and your friends.
COOL! SO HOW DO RAID BATTLES ACTUALLY WORK?
There’s no difference to how Raid Battles work mechanically than typical gym battles. You choose a team of six Pokémon to fight for you, and then you’ll enter the fight with a bunch of other trainers’ Pokémon.
As for fighting, you’ll still be tapping on the screen to do different kinds of attacks and dodge. But keep in mind one thing: There’s a timer ticking down for how long this Raid Battle will last. Try to defeat the Boss Pokémon — who will be super high-leveled with a lot of health, mind you — in the time allotted.
DO I GET ANYTHING SPECIAL FOR WINNING A RAID BATTLE?
You do! If you and your party manage to wipe the floor with that Boss Pokémon, you’ll get some goods. These include TMs, Rare Candy items and Golden Razz Berries, which will come in handy for the real prize.
“THE REAL PRIZE?” DOES THAT MEAN I CAN CATCH THE BOSS?
You can definitely try. After the battle’s done, everyone will get a number of Premier Balls. Anyone who did an especially impressive job during the fight will get some extra Premier Balls for their trouble. These are used for the specific purpose of catching the Pokémon you just creamed in a Raid Battle, so you’ll have as many chances as you have Premier Balls.
The Golden Razz Berries make the Pokémon much more amenable to being caught, which is a great help. You may catch it. You may not. Either way, you’ll have the memories of your Raid Battle.
NEAT. SO, HOW MANY RAID BATTLES CAN I PLAY PER DAY?
Every player gets a single Raid Pass for free daily. That gives them entry into, well, a single Raid Battle. You can go buy a Premium Raid Pass from the in-game shop to play more than once a day, if you’re really into it.
Note that if you fail to knock out the boss before time’s up, you can still replay the same Raid Battle until you win ... or until the timer runs out.
There's much more to learn about Pokémon Go, and we've got details on a bunch of that stuff. Our big FAQ will help you out with the basics, but if you want to branch off into catching Pokémon, finding PokéStops and more, we've got that covered too.