The much-heralded PokemonGO gym revamp has been live for about 48 hours now, and it has already completely changed the nature of gym assault & defense, and the coin/stardust economies. Let’s go over the major changes.
1) Six Unique Pokemon Fill a Gym Now – The days of filling a gym with six Blisseys, two Snorlax, and a two Dragonites are over. A gym only holds six Pokemon now, and each must be a different type. This will immediately increase the range of Pokemon used for defense. Previously discarded secondary defenders like Lapras, Vaporeon and Ursaring may be seen more often.
2) Goodbye Reputation, Hello Fatigue – The fatigue system changes the game completely. Instead of having to face the same 3500 CP Dragonite until a gym’s prestige is deflated, the Dragonite now wears down after losing a few matches. She wears down over time, regardless. So it is now not unusual at all for a gym to have a few 1700 CPs a few low 2,000 CPs as it’s Pokemon get tired and beat up. This will vastly increase access to gyms by below-elite level players who wouldn’t have considered taking on an upper level gym before.
3) Perfect Matchups – When attacking a gym, the battle now pauses after defeating each defender to ask you whether you want to keep going with your current ‘mon, or whether you want to switch. This allows for maximal customization of matchups, giving attackers a convenient tool to tweak fights to their advantage. And they’ll need it, given how easy it is for defenders to feed lagging pokemon to resuscitate them.
4) Gym Assistance is Easy – Gone are the marathon training sessions against your own team’s Pokemon to build up your gym. There is no building up of gyms beyond simply adding Pokemon when they’re below capacity. Any team member from a teams’ gym can feed defenders berries to restore their CP. There is an immediate XP reward for feeding berries to gym Pokemon (perhaps the easiest XP get in the game) which provides a massive incentive for teams to defend their gyms, even those without any of their personal Pokemon.
5) New Gyms are Everywhere – Probably to compensate for the reduction of Pokemon per gym from 10 to 6, Niantic has added more gyms and seemingly converted many prominent Pokestops into gyms.
6) Gyms are now Pokestops – All gyms now have the Pokestop ability to spin the center of it to receive items. In fact, there are special items that can only be retrieved from gyms, including gym badges and raid passes.
7) Gym Badges Track Your Gym Progress – Each gym badge gives you the heartbeat and vital stats of that gym. If you have a Pokemon defending that gym, it tells you how long the Pokemon has been defending, how many battles it’s won, it’s current HP status, and how much it’s been fed. There also seems to be an xp bar unique to each gym that, if filled, may further unlock badges, or xp bonuses.
8) Raids – Raids provide a completely new dynamic to the game. Periodically, throughout the day, various gyms will broadcast (via the menu placed next to the ‘nearby’ pokemon menu) that a raid will be taking place 2 hours from that time. Players who have acquired a raid pass (or bought one from the PokemonGO Store) can then team up (regardless of team) to defeat a super high-level Pokemon. If the Monster Pokemon is defeated, each raid member is allocated special pokeballs depending on the relative contribution of that raid-member’s team in defeating the Monster. The trainer can then use those finite number of balls to try to catch a pokemon of the same type as the monster with a lower CP. The CP of the award pokemon may vary depending on how large the given raid was. The player will also receive item rewards include items that cannot be found anywhere else in game.
9) Coin Rewards are Greater – Previously, your coin income was capped at 10 coins per 21 hours/ per gym you had a pokemon defending, with a maximum of 10 gyms, or 100 coins per cycle. Now that gyms require more activity to defend, since its pokemon require constant vigilance and maintenance by its defending team. So coin is now rewarded is a much less rigid fashion, seemingly dependent on a number of factors, including the defense’s time duration, the number of battles won by the defender and the number of times he was fed berries. Leaving a Blissey in a busy gym, defending actively for about 7 hours, netted me 45 coins. That typically is a day’s work of four pokemon!
10) Berries = Stardust – The stardust economy is, arguably, more important that the coin economy, since while a trainer can go without fancy lures and incubators, they cannot progress in the gym game without a hefty supply of stardust. Previously, stardust came along with a coin reward for holding gyms. No longer. However, you do get small stardust bonuses for feeding berries to pokemon. Finally, something to do with those useless Nanab berries, other than throwing them in the garbage.
For a first hand view of these new changes, check out Mystic7‘s encounter with the new gym system in a very busy environment — Downtown Disney.