A guide to Pokemon Go’s newly (un)balanced PvP

I know I said I was going to stop playing this. I lied. In fact, I’ve spent the last six months mentally preparing another essay on how maybe Pokemon Go could have been remembered for dominating as the world’s first esports mobile app MMOARG, rather than being remembered for short-lived it was. But I’ll talk about that later.

So hey, do you remember how trying to get into and take down high level gyms was a tremendous pain in the ass? Well recent updates to Pokemon Go‘s prestige system was supposed to address that and kinda made the problem worse (or better, depending on how you look at it). You’ve probably figured this out for yourself, but for those of you who aren’t actively harming your quality of life by obsessing over a mobile app, here’s the rub:

  1. As of October 12th, you can now train at friendly gyms with a full roster, ostensibly making it easier to level them up and add your own
  2. As of November 7th, the prestige reduction for every rival pokemon taken down has been doubled to 1,000
  3. Bugger all has changed with regards to the levelling and rostering arrangements, so if you’re surrounded by occupied friendly level 10 gyms, you’re still shit out of luck.

The problem with the first point is that the amount of prestige was originally determined by your challenging pokemon’s CP. Seeing as you’re now taking an entire team in, it’s determined by the HIGHEST CP of the entire party. This means that it doesn’t matter if you’re going in with five level one Caterpie – if you have a single CP3000 Dragonite, the game will treat every victory as though you have six. This means that you should always take a swing at a friendly gym with pokemon as close to each other in terms of CP as possible.

 

 

The good news on that point is that it makes levelling up friendly gyms laughably easy. You get penalised for having pokemon with higher CP than each defender, and a bonus for using lower CP pokemon (this is determined per defender, so gyms where numbers are all over the place are subject to high variances). Using a team whose CP is equal to a single defender gets you 500 prestige per victory, going as low as 20 if you’re way over the top and as high as 1,000 if your CP is half that of the defenders. The thing about that is you’re using SIX pokemon, so even if you’re only knocking over the first defender and running away, you can still use an entire party at half the CP and still get 1,000 prestige per knockout. I had a friendly gym whose first three defenders were all Rhydon around the CP 2,800 mark and was getting 3000 prestige per challenge using six water types lower than CP 1,400. This makes getting a friendly gym up to level ten easy as hell.

 

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Now granted, increasing your effectiveness against rival gyms is all well and good but it doesn’t address the fact that taking a level ten gym down completely is an exhausting, time-consuming and expensive endeavour – and that’s ASSUMING the game doesn’t bug out or disconnect, which is still happening for some reason. Even if I could go 1 for 1 against a gym full of 2000CP+, that’s still 50,000 worth of prestige I need to kill, so call it 40 pokemon and 10 full clear bonuses, so 10 max revives, 30 revives, 20 hyper/max potions (so few pokemon have more than 200 HP why even bother) and 40 super potions. For one gym. WHY WOULD I BOTHER.

 

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And that’s basically the root of the problem: Level 10 gyms stay level 10 because people can’t be assed taking a swing at them. You could argue that a number of people chipping away at it would eventually take it down, but that’s basically expecting me to burn good supplies so that someone else can claim it later. I’m far better off finding the few gyms that already match my colour and feeding a bunch of low-CP throwaways into the furnace so that I don’t have to worry about coming back later. I’ve managed to hold the same five gyms for two weeks because people cannot be assed taking a swing at a level 10 gym filled with 3,000CP+ Dragonite.

 

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In fact, here’s a top tip: Use your evol slaves in combat. You can just throw them at friendly gyms for easy prestige, evolve them, throw them at another gym and mince them after they’ve fainted. It’s totally evil and fifty shades of fudged in the head, but that’s the game Niantic have created.

99% of the pokemon you’re catching are just meat-shields, hamburgers, or both.

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