[PoGo] Legendary Raid

I play Pokémon Go partly as a filler game while playing Ingress. I find the fun to be mostly in the collecting, because the gameplay isn’t all that sophisticated: throw balls, catch Pokémon, repeat.Fighting comes down to: tap the screen, long press when your special attack is charged. I’m not even sure dodging helps that much relative to the time you lose fighting (i.e. there is a strict time limit on a fight, so losing say 25% of your available time trying to dodge attacks might mean you time out instead of exhausting the 6 Pokémon you take into battle – at least against raid fights).

One variant that I do since I am also a runner is: leave game up on phone while running, in order to “walk” buddy Pokémon and collect candy. This is handy since evolving a Pokémon  requires candy, some Pokémon I don’t see much of, so if I need more I’ll make one my buddy and “walk” it for extra candy. I just did this with a Dragonair and evolved it into a Dragonite, who now is the highest combat power out of my collection.

The game introduced raids in a general revamp of how gyms work, and I think they did a pretty good job. It used to be gyms would stay up until defeated, while made it pretty tough for a team that is outnumbered in an area. Now, Pokémon slowly lose health unless fed berries, which helps make sure there is turnover, or at least provides an item sink. Fighting changed as well: before you’d fight a gym from weakest to strongest, and Pokémon would heal completely in between; now you can select specific Pokémon to fight, and they don’t heal up in between. So those 3000+ CP Blesseys and Snorlaxes aren’t the barriers they used to be.

Anyway, I was with a friend after work, relaxing before dinner playing Ingress and Pokémon Go for a bit. As we were walking around hacking Ingress portals and looking at the Legendary 42K combat power Lugia on a nearby gym (impossible for 2 players so we ignored it), a car drove up and 3 people piled out, asking if we were doing the raid. After a bit of organizing, 5 of us entered battle… and got soundly trounced. We were all decently leveled (my friend and I are level 28, the others ranged from 28 to 31) but we got crushed. My friend and I learned you can heal up and re-enter the fight; all of us had our 6 Pokémon knocked out and all of us healed and re-entered since there was time left… and we still only fought the Lugia down to 60%.

In the time we were there, others saw us clustered at a raid and showed up: a couple walking their dogs, and then another carload of players. I took this picture before 3 more players came up – eventually we had 15 players for the raid!


My friend and I learned more as well: raid passes are good for the entire time – we thought you had to spend a pass every time you entered. We also found out players use a website to find raids (GymHuntr) – after all, there is no in-game chat for organizing.

Anyway, this time 15 of us took down the Lugia. I received 8 premier silver balls for my attempt to catch the scaled-down post-raid Lugia. Unfortunately I didn’t catch it, but my friend did!

Right after the fight my friend’s game glitched and kicked her out, she thought she lost her chance at the Lugia. But another player helpfully mentioned that pulling up the gym and spinning the sign lets you re-enter… my friend did that and went on to beat the odds and catch a Lugia. So chalk that up as another thing we learned about the game.

At this time one player started walking around, checking on how others were doing as far as catching the Lugia. He started rattling off percentages: 4% for a straight throw, 8% for a curve ball, 1.5 multiplier for a regular razz berry, 2.5 multiplier for a golden razz berry, further modifiers for hit quality… by the time I heard this I was out of premier balls so it didn’t matter – to be fair all I would have done different was use golden razz berries; I’m not good at throwing curve balls and actually hitting the target!

I found a chart showing catch percentage as a function of ball type, throw type, hit type, etc. Mind boggling, I had no idea people charted this stuff out to such detail.

I’m not sure how premier balls figure in, but I think I was operating at a roughly 4% chance per throw, equivalent to a normal hit using a razz berry. Thus over my 8 throws I had a 1-(96/100)^8 chance = 27% chance of success. Had I used a golden razz berry each time I would have had a roughly 1-(94/100)^8 chance = 39%. Curve balls as well as golden razz berries would have improved that to about 1-(9/10)^8 = 57%. Perhaps I should practice throwing curve balls on the numerous trash mobs Pokémon around.

It was fun, and kind of surreal to think that this raid ended up roughly as large as raids I’ve done in WoW and LoTRO. Except PoGo has no chat functionality, no LFG/LFR system, and requires people to travel to specific areas in the real world?! Mind boggling. 😉

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