'Pokémon Go' Raids Will Undergo Massive Changes with Mega Evolutions

Mega Evolution is about to change Pokémon Go forever and not just by adding new powerful forms, but by changing Raid Battles and how players interact with them moving forward.

When the Mega Evolution update arrives in Pokémon Go on Thursday, Raid Battles will change in two ways. The first is that a new type of Raid called "Mega Raids," which will allow players to battle against Mega-Evolved Pokémon to earn Mega Energy. You won't be able to catch Mega Pokémon from Mega Raids, but depending on how quickly you defeat them, you'll earn an amount of Mega Energy that can be used to Mega Evolve your own Pokémon.

"We wanted Mega Evolutions to be what moves Raiding in Pokémon Go to the next level," Matthew Slemon, Pokémon Go product manager, told Newsweek."You can call it Season 2 or V2 or however you want to think about it, but we do think that Megas are going to change what motivates people to do Raids and how they do Raids together."

Slemon tells Newsweek that a lot of the decisions and changes the Pokémon Go team will make to Raids were based on one simple philosophy, how to bring a more coordinated and team-centric experience to Raids.

pokemon go mega raid update venusaur blastoise
Mega Raids are coming to 'Pokemon Go' The Pokemon Company/NewsGeek

He tells us that during play testing they observed that players would use one Mega Evolution at a time during a Raid. Mega Evolutions boost the overall attack power of every Pokémon that fights alongside it, but also the attacks based on the typing of the Mega-Evolved Pokémon. For example, with Water-type Mega Pokémon, Water-type attacks get a boost.

"To optimize your damage is to have one Mega Evolution at a time," Slemon explained. "When one faints someone else brings one out to keep up the level boost. It's fairly simple, but there's now a level of coordination that didn't really exist before that with Raids."

Communicating with friends and family, creating a strategy to take down Raid Pokémon is what the Pokémon Go team wants trainers to focus on with the revamped Raid system.

To help with the team-building strategy, Pokémon Go will introduce a feature that will give players in your Raid a hint that someone has a Mega Evolution. While this isn't a full-blown team preview, players in a Raid will know when someone is planning to bring a Mega Pokémon into battle.

While this may not benefit those who are pairing up with strangers, this will give players who normally team up for Raids to devise new strategies. If you're going up against a Mega Blastoise and you have a Mega Venusaur, you can tell your friends and family to bring Grass-type Pokémon with Grass-type attacks to take advantage of the bonus your Mega Pokémon will give.

pokemon go mega raid blastoise screenshot
How facing off against Mega Blastoise will look in 'Pokemon Go' Niantic

Another change to Raid Battles is to what the Pokémon Go team calls the "Raid Table." The Raid Table are the types of Raids that we see currently in the game, so the one to five-star Raids.

In this upcoming update, the Pokémon Go team will be removing two-star and four-star Raids.

While that may seem shocking, Slemon explains that many of the Raids currently occupy the same niche in-game. One and two-star Raids are easy enough for one player to complete on their own, while four-star Raids were in this spot between the desirable five-star Raids, which hold the rare Legendary Pokémon, and three-star Raids that are challenges for seasoned players without needing the help of other people.

Eliminating certain Raids made sense to the Pokémon Go team.

"The philosophy behind [those changes] was that we wanted it to make it easier to find the most desirable Raids especially for those who don't have Raids near them," Slemon said.

Don't worry, while the difficulty of the new "compressed" one-star Raid will make it easier to take down two-star Raid Pokémon, the rewards for completing them will remain at the two-star level. The same goes for the compressed three-star Raids, as the rewards will be from the four-star level.

Also, Mega Raids are separate from the five-star Raids—and have their own Egg appear in the overworld—so there will be plenty of new challenges and battles to take on at almost any given time.

What do you think of these upcoming changes to the Raid system? Let us know in the comments section.