2017 was one the craziest year for Pokémon GO and Augmented Reality gaming in general, with tons of good stuff and a lot of bad stuff. This is our top 5 list of things we absolutely loved in Pokémon GO this year, sorted by our subjective rating. We’re looking forward to reading your Top 5 lists in the comment section below. Our “Top 5 things we hated” list is also in the works, but let’s start off 2018 on a positive note.
#5: The 0.57.2 datamine and the release of Generation II
February 15 – 17 2017
After months of teasing, data mining and speculation, the 0.57.2 version update was released, wrapping up the requirements for Generation release. The update was released on February 15th and it was the first time we used our automated data mining tool.
Results were “interesting” and we ended up data mining the update by hand, however, it was the beginning of the automated data mining era at the Hub. The update itself was very exciting, bringing a ton of new features. Our favourite included the Unown badge and the new evolution items:
Generation II was released on February 17th, following a great video trailer and a massive return to form for many players.
Related reading: Pokémon GO 0.57.2 APK Datamine: the Generation II APK!
#4: Shiny Magikarp
When Niantic announced the Water Festival event, many were quick to assume that a Shiny Magikarp could become available during the event. In the original anime, a Red Gyarados was the iconic embodiment of shiny Pokémon and Niantic successfully used the first ever Water event to release it.
The hunt for the world first shiny Magikarp was on and a player named Fabian Parent was the first one to catch, record and share his shiny Karp with the world.
In addition, the “shiny Magikarp situation” set the stage for all future shiny releases: event based, special thematic Pokémon.
Related reading: First Shiny Pokémon recorded in Pokémon GO!
#3: Gym rework and the new raid system
When Niantic announced the gym rework, we were stunned by how bold and widespread the new system was. Aimed at improving gym engagement and offering a new way to do gym battles, it was quite interesting to see the new dynamic in play.
Although it’s questionable how successful the gym rework was on its own, the raid system proved to be a smash hit among casual and hardcore players alike. At the time of release, GO Hub was the main go-to place for bleeding edge information on the new features, changes and raid bosses.
Related reading: Gym Rework and Raid Battles
#2: Legendary (no-EX) raids
Love them or hate them, legendary raids have shaped this summer in such a special way that we can’t help ourselves but congratulate Niantic on their efforts. Starting with the legendary bird trio, continuing onwards with a mixed bag of Generation I and II legendaries, it seems like there is a never ending stream of challenging bosses excitement coming with these special entries.
Many have reported serious cases of “legendary burnouts”, but all in all, we commend Niantic on a successful launch of the Legendary raid system. Maybe a less frantic schedule next year? Also we’re purposefully excluding EX Raids from this section, they have a special place on our other Top 5 list.
#1: The weather system and Generation III
Hands down, the new weather system and the release of Generation III takes the #1 spot on our Top 5 list. Developed in complete secrecy, with no leaks, no APK hints and no accidental slip ups from Niantic’s officials, the weather system took the world of Pokémon GO by storm, changing the meta, offering a new challenge and a new way to play the game.
It’s this blend of real and AR world that makes Pokémon GO so special and the weather system was an amazing way to introduce a new gameplay mechanic which is easy to understand, but so overwhelmingly influential.
On the other hand, the whole Generation III release is wonderful, well planned and well executed. Week by week, we’re greeted with new content, fresh Pokémon and fresh Shinies to catch. Can it be better? Maybe, but this released is so much better than Generation II release that it looks and feels like a completely new game studio is behind it.