A Student Publication of Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA


A Student Publication of Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA


A Student Publication of Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA


Pokémon GO Has Become More Than Just a Game

Hernandez Coke
Pokenmon Go. Graphic Credit: Hernandez Coke/SAC.Media

While Pokémon GO may not be all over the mainstream news anymore, the augmented-reality mobile game is still a big hit. Analytics firm SuperData said that more people played Pokémon GO in May 2018 than at any point since the game’s launch in July 2016. The game boasted 147 million monthly active users and has made $104 million in May, which is a 174 percent jump from the previous year.

The world of Pokémon GO is evolving, and players are finding new ways to engage with Pokémon. The game now includes Pokémon through generation four, which are originally from the mainline games Pokémon Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum. New items have been added that allow you to significantly increase the catch rate of a wild Pokémon or change the moves of your own Pokémon. Local weather affects how Pokémon spawn in particular weather conditions. Adding friends in the game is now possible so players can trade Pokémon with each other.

The biggest change to the game happened in the summer of 2017 when developer Niantic added raid battles. Raids offer the ability to battle against powerful Pokémon with others. If you are able to defeat the raid boss, you will be rewarded with the chance to catch the boss. Even legendary Pokémon such as Mewtwo and Rayquaza have appeared as prior raid bosses. Many useful Pokémon have been obtainable this way, so raids have been essential for building a team. Additionally, raids offer exclusive rewards and have helped to build local communities.

Joining up with local Discord or Facebook groups and coordinating with other players is key to taking down raids. The Rowland & Hacienda Raiders is one such local community, bringing together local Pokémon GO players as they catch, trade, and battle Pokémon together.

Mt. SAC German Professor Jennifer Tsai organizes the RH Raiders’ events as their publicity moderator. She is a level 40 Valor player with over 1,000 legendary raids completed.

“I lead the morning raiders, and we raid between 6 and 8 in the morning,” Tsai said. “There’s a good handful of 20 or 30 people that I see almost every single day. I see them more often than I see my family or my colleagues.”

The RH Raiders started as a small raiding group to defeat and catch these powerful Pokémon.

“We started the summer of last year, and we started with Line,” RH Raiders founding member John Kamiyama said. “There was only a few of us, five actually. Maybe fewer. Then we gathered more and more people who just wanna play Pokémon. After we hit the limit, which is about 200 people, we had to expand more, so we moved over to Discord.”

Discord gave the RH Raiders more tools to work with to accommodate its growing member base. Currently, there are over 1,000 members in their Discord server. It is much easier for members to coordinate raids thanks to the “RaidAlert 2.0” bot created by RH Raiders moderator Jason Fu.

“With the commands, you are able to report the location, report the map, have it in a nice structure,” Tsai said. “We’re able to keep track of where the different Pokémon spawn, what kind of raid boss it is.”

Discord has also allowed the RH Raiders to become part of a larger network of Pokémon GO communities, the Silph League.

The Silph League is a global outreach initiative from the Silph Road, a grassroots network of Pokémon GO players. It is a literal map of Discord servers connecting the world’s many Pokémon GO communities.

“[Silph League] is a really good opportunity for people to find us even though they don’t live in our area,” Tsai said. “Some people pass by, some just work here, some people wanna come here on the weekends for food, but they’re able to find us and then are able to make friends.”

Making friends is even easier for players now that Niantic introduced monthly community days this year. For three hours on a specific day in the weekend, a featured Pokémon will spawn with high frequency. The odds of increasing a shiny form of that Pokémon are significantly increased. Shiny Pokémon are incredibly rare Pokémon that feature alternate coloring. The evolved version of that species will have a special limited edition move. Some of the most coveted Pokémon have been featured in previous community days, such as Dratini and Larvitar.

Every community day, the RH Raiders comes together at Schabarum Regional Park in Rowland Heights. They host potlucks as well as give exciting prizes for their catching contests for the featured Pokémon. Their community day is completely free to attend.

“We are, I think, the only community that has to raise money for the community day. We have to pay Schabarum Park $234.72 for that particular spot,” Tsai said. “The first couple community days, it was just the admins paying it.”

The community came together and started donating money to support events such as community day. The admins decided to give them commemorative buttons to celebrate each community day in return.

“We have people that have entire backpacks or hats full of buttons,” Tsai said. “It’s a collectible item at this point.”

Pokémon GO has led the RH Raiders to discover their own city more. Players find shortcuts and explore new places all while catching Pokémon.

“The community has really become our eyes and ears in our area and has made this entire city our backyard to play in,” Tsai said.

For more information about the Rowland & Hacienda Raiders, go to https://rhraiders.com.

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