It has been a year since Pokemon Go first took the world by storm. The question...who is still playing? Well at level 34 and counting, I'm still all in. I need over 1 million XP to get to level 35. It will take me MONTHS. I was pretty excited to see what the anniversary had in store. I was hoping for trading as I have promised many kids to come in. I was going to do raffles to unload some my Gyaradoses onto them. It takes 400 Magikarp candies to make one Gyarados so they are highly coveted. They are taking up my inventory but I worked so hard on them I don't want to just grind them up for candies!
Niantic focused on revamping the gym system, which are now Pokestops to spin as well. Gone are the days where I would find a few out of the way gyms, stay in it for WEEKS, and just collect poke coins. It actually isn't worth being in multiple gyms anymore. As long as your Pokemon stays in a gym for one hour per day, you earn a max of 50 Pokecoins (10 coins per minute) and even if any of the other Pokemon in different gyms are returned in the same day or stays in a gym all day, you won't collect any more coins. Pokemon in gyms will lose their CP (hit points) the longer they are left in the gym unfed and battled. Anyone from your color team can feed your Pokemon berries, pineapples or bananas, so it doesn't have to be you in person hanging out near the gym. They do get sick of eating just one thing so keep all varieties. You could be in the middle of battle and someone starts to feed them berries therby erasing all YOUR work. Not to mention, if you put something 3000 CP or above, they lose their health quicker if not give raspberries. So there are pros and cons. I feel like they were trying to get the players that haven't been as die hard as I am a chance to come back to the game without penalty.
Everyday you are entitled to one RAID pass as long as you are level 5 or above, which allows you to fight alone or in a team (any team), a rare Pokemon. The raids occur randomly throughout the gyms and you have an hour to battle once the Pokemon is revealed. It looks like an egg with a countdown timer until it runs out. Once you log into an area with a raid battle, it will notify you in the top of your screen.
This means that people who have been waiting for their chance to get a Snorlax or Tyranitar are in luck especially if you can go somewhere like the Boston Common where there are multiple gyms within eyesight. The Pokemon that are available during raids will change but right now I've seen Muk, Flareon, Typhlosion, Electrabuzz, Magikarp (yes they might be a rare gold one), Tyranitar, Snorlax, and Magmar. I battled one Snorlax over by Simmons College with 8 other people. It was a 4 rated monster battle, which you can see between the egg and the timer. There was no way I could have done it alone. Once you decide to battle, you have 120 seconds to see if anyone else wants to join you. At level 35, I can fight a 2 rated monster by myself with 6 Pokemon around 2500 CP each but you also have to consider the time limit. Your Pokemon might have high CP but you can't defeat a monster like that in 180 seconds. Once you have defeated the Pokemon, you have a certain number of special Poke balls to catch it. The higher the monster rating, the harder it will be to catch so practice your EXCELLENT catches with the small red ring centers. One Snorlax was caught easily, one disappeared and I lost my one opportunity so far at a Tyranitar. All the Pokemon caught are either strong or amazing Pokemon so they are well worth the effort with high CP and good move sets. In addition to getting a chance to catch the Pokemon, victorious battles give out rare candies (which can be exchanged to ANY regular candies for one Pokemon you have but never find like Chanseys), a TM or trainer's manual which allows you to change the move sets of your Pokemon, revives, and the coveted XP/Stardust so you can level your favorite battle Pokemon. If you lose a raid, you have the option of going back in without another raid pass. If you fail to catch the Pokemon after battle however, you do not get another chance until you find another raid.
I really haven't seen too many people playing lately but once you hit a raid spot, it is hard to miss. I love that all the teams can come together to battle. It isn't just a "Oh are you team red?" The gyms themselves still can only be taken by one color but it is a nice touch to cooperate on these big battles.
For librarians who have gyms in their local area, it might be nice to post on Facebook or other social media when a raid is happening and what Pokemon it is. You have to have an account to log in periodically to check for a raid. You only have an hour to notify anyone so it couldn't be something to set up well in advance. There are also huge events going on in major cities. The first Pokefest is going on in Chicago. Rumor has it that they might reveal Legendary Pokemon which have not been released yet. Each team color has a special legendary Pokemon. They have only been glimpsed on their team insignia thus far. It would be amazing for the library to have a presence there. Tickets sold out in hours of the posting of the event but even if a library had a booth near the park you would see hundreds of new faces!
If you have an account and have off desk flexibility, advertise yourself as being able to help with raids. For example, since I'm such a high level I could REALLY help out another player and I can reach the gym from our picture book area. And who wouldn't want to play Pokemon during work hours?It's creative customer service and a raid can be under 5 minutes long with battle wait time.