Pokémon Go getting badges, raid battles, reworked gyms, new items, and sad pokémon in next update

Today, for the first time in two months, I fired up my Pokémon Go app. And not just because today’s a pretty slow news day and I have to kill time somehow. See, yesterday Niantic announced that the game would be getting another update “very soon”, and unlike the 80% of the game’s updates thus far, this one is legitimately exciting. No, seriously.

“The biggest update to Pokémon GO is nearly here,” explains Niantic on the game’s official blog. “Very soon, Trainers around the world will be able to participate in a revamped Gym gameplay experience, including the opportunity to join together with others to battle against powerful Pokémon in the new Raid Battle feature!”

Here’s what all of that actually means for players:

  • New gym features: After a bit of downtime, gyms will come back online with much-improved functionality. You’ll be able to get special items from gyms by spinning their photo discs just like with pokéstops, and battles have been revamped. “Gyms are no longer based on Prestige and training,” reads the blurb. “Instead, they now feature six permanent slots that can be filled by the controlling team’s pokémon.” Also, no more duplicate pokémon in gyms, and other teams will battle each pokémon in whatever order they were added.
  • You’ll need to drug your pokémon to keep them “motivated”: After adding your pokémon to a gym’s lineup, it’ll be given a “motivation meter”. Every time your ‘mon is defeated in battle, that meter will drop, resulting in reduced CP. If the meter depletes completely, your ‘mon will leave the gym and be returned to you. To help keep your team’s ‘mons motivated, you’ll be able to give them “berries”. It’s actually pretty messed up if you think about it.
  • Gym badges: Badges have always been a staple in the Pokémon universe, and now they’re finally coming to Pokémon Go. Badges can be levelled up “by battling, giving Berries to the Pokémon in the Gym and spinning the Gym’s Photo Disc”. Higher level gym badges up your odds of getting “bonus items and increased rewards from Gyms”.
  • Raid battles: Still looking for those pesky legendaries? Well, you didn’t hear this from me, but they’re probably coming in the upcoming raid battle feature. “A Raid Battle is a cooperative gameplay experience that encourages you to work with other Trainers to defeat an extremely powerful Pokémon known as the Raid Boss,” says Niantic. “Before a Raid Battle begins, a large Egg will appear atop the Gym. When the countdown above the Egg reaches zero, the Raid Boss will be revealed.” Further information about the feature can be found here.
  • MOAR ITEMS: New items will be added to the game, and can only be obtained by participating in a raid and defeating the raid boss. There will be some really sweet items up for grabs, all of which are detailed here.