On the 7th of May 2021, Pokémon GO had the ultimate mic drop moment. They announced on Twitter that the June Community Day would be none other than the loveable little land shark, Gible. Praise Arceus! Players have been crying out for Gible Community Day since the launch of Generation 4, maybe even before that. Everyone and their grandmother were excited about the announcement, right?
Somehow, news of the most desirable Community Day has made it become the most divisive. It has caused friction between some content creators and the community. It has also raised questions about the longevity of Community Days going forward. If Gible can’t get us all excited about Community Day, what can?
Let’s break it down.
GIBLE: DEVALUATION & DIVISION
A number of content creators and high-level trainers have criticized Gible Community Day on social media. Their main concern is that June’s Community Day will devalue their Gible collection, especially their shinies. They argue that they have spent considerable time and money on acquiring shinies and hundos, and that a Gible Community Day will make their efforts worthless as everyone will be able to get one. Their shiny Gible will no longer be rare or hold trade value.
Eeek. There is a lot to unpack here.
The online criticism feeds into many different hot topics that deserve discussions in their own right; for example, the role of content creators, whether grinding is healthy, and how much we spend in Pokémon GO. It also highlights the division between new players and seasoned players, and all the different play styles in between. Discussing the value of shiny Pokémon is itself a controversial topic; Pokémon in Pokémon GO are virtual, with no objective or real-world significance. You can’t buy a sandwich with a shiny.
Does that mean your Pokémon are valueless? No.
Now, it is true that the trade value of a shiny Gible will decrease after Community Day. Trade value is based on opinions within the Pokémon GO community and Niantic’s decisions and algorithms. But trade value isn’t the only way of determining if your Pokémon have worth.
We could probably discuss the meanings and psychology of placing value on things all week if we wanted to. Unfortunately, I don’t have the word count for that. Ultimately, the only value assessment that matters is your own.
Gible Community Day does not erase the time, money, and effort that you have placed into getting your shiny Gible. It does not erase the memories of running down the street to check that wild spawn before it disappeared or that feeling when you saw the sparkles and the yellow belly.
Niantic has also made it easier than ever to identify and appreciate your pre-Community Day Gible collection. We have the ability to name and tag our Pokémon, as well as detailed timestamps and catch information. Your shiny Gible can still be special, if you want it to be.
The divisive feelings around the Gible announcement are sad because it’s supposed to be Community Day, with emphasis on ‘community.’ The announcement should have resulted in a celebration, not a shouting match. Arguably, the mixed response to the announcement of Gible Community Day highlights a bigger problem surrounding Community Days and their longevity.
A BIGGER PROBLEM?
For well over a year now, Community Days have felt a little lackluster with below par and recycled Pokémon. Gible was supposed to change that. It was supposed to be a return to the glory days of Dratini, Larvitar, and Beldum. The response suggests that the glory days are long gone. Community Days just don’t feel as exciting anymore.
The pandemic is partly to blame. Community Day is not the same without the community. Many trainers haven’t experienced a ‘real’ Community Day in over a year, with many countries facing lockdowns or social restrictions. It also seems to be why Niantic has chosen C-tier Community Day Pokémon for the last few months. They didn’t want to encourage us to run around for top-tier shinies in the middle of a global health crisis.
The pandemic has also increased the feelings of indifference towards Community Day Pokémon. Niantic extended the length of Community Days to 6 hours to help stay-at-home players. The extended length, coupled with the increase in spawn points and boosted incense, means that some trainers catch 50-100 shiny Pokémon on Community Days. This leads to burnout. Some players will no longer even click on a Chimchar for fear of ‘using their shiny luck’ on an ex-Community Day Pokémon. Sorry, Chimchar. It’s not just you.
It’s also fair to say that this is not the first time there has been division within the community about a Community Day. Some players have criticized recent Community Days as being too PvP focused. The repeat Charmander Community Day was also seen by many to be catering to new players over seasoned players.
But can any future Community Day truly cater to everyone in the community?
Probably not. So, does this mean the end of Community Days? No, not necessarily. But it seems that Niantic does need to change up the formula a little bit to make them exciting again. Maybe Community Days can focus more on types rather than one species. Maybe the length of the event or the shiny rates need adjusting. Or maybe the Community Day Pokémon should just be a new shiny. There are lots of possibilities, but we can talk about that more later.