Last weekend we finally got to catch Legendary Pokémon in Pokémon GO. No, it didn’t happen it quite the way the developer had planned, coming as they did on the heels of the technical disaster that was Pokémon GO Fest, where trainers from around the world found themselves totally unable to play the game some had travelled thousands of miles for. But Lugia and Articuno arrived just the same, and players around the world got to catching them. Zapdos and Moltres, mascots from Team Instinct and Team Valor, respectively, will be arriving shortly thereafter.
Apparently while Lugia seems to be be in the game for a while, Articuno is a limited time event, and will only spawn until Monday, July 31. At that point, it will be replaced by Moltres, which will spawn from July 31 – August 7. After that, we get Zapdos from August 7 – August 14. There’s no word about what comes after that, but there are plenty of Legendaries left in the current Pokédex. You’ll still need to team up with other trainers if you expect to take them down, and even then you’ll need some luck during the catch phase.
Niantic CEO John Hanke revealed the new Legendaries in a lengthy blog post on NianticLabs.com apologizing for technical disaster at Pokémon GO Fest, where he offered some explanation about exactly what happened behind the scenes. The blog post acknowledged that a big part of the problem had to do with problems in the Pokémon GO Software, but he also laid some of the blame at the feet of the cell carriers, with a strong hint of shade at a few unnamed providers:
On the pure network access issue, we provided detailed estimates on attendance and required data throughput per user to our event partner who worked with the major carriers to allow them to plan for adequate coverage. Some carriers deployed Cellular on Wheels (COWs) to extend their capacity. In other cases the providers deemed them unnecessary based on other infrastructure already in place at the site. Users reported different levels of success with these providers. Wifi was enabled by one provider as a solution which helped some users but not all. Sprint was onsite as an official partner, deployed a COW, and their network was busy but held up well.
Hanke also talked about the unofficial after-fest, where players were able to spill out into the city and start catching the newly-released Legendary Pokémon. I’ve written some about that part here, and for the most part Hanke’s rosy assessment holds up: it was somewhat remarkable how well the beleaguered fanbase rallied and got out to catch Pokémon and have a good time.
The company has promised that there will be more legendary events and promised to do better next time. Pokémon GO Fest was a real black eye on a game that’s already seen its share of connectivity problems, to be sure. But we’ll see if Niantic can repair part of its reputation if it can pull off some successful events.