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If you’re reading this article, Pokémon Go developer Niantic managed to disastrously mess up yet another in-person event. We’re talking about last weekend’s Regidrago Elite Raids, which brought the Dragon-type Legendary into the mobile game for the first time.

Advertised to feature Elite Raids on March 11, 2023, at 11am, 2pm, and 5pm local time globally, things already started on a bad note in New Zealand. Used to being completely forgotten or used as experimental guinea pigs, players in the country don’t have high expectations for Pokémon Go anymore, but managed to be disappointed anyways.

The game repeatedly went down when Elite Raids were supposed to start, hindering users from logging in entirely. Many other players had issues with joining Elite Raid lobbies or entering Elite Raid battles once the timer ended. There were also cases where trainers received the item rewards for completing the raid, but didn’t get a chance to actually catch Regidrago, which is the main appeal of taking part in these events in the first place. Freezes and crashes of the game were widespread.

These issues repeated themselves all over the world as the Elite Raids started in additional regions, with reports from the US, the UK, and continental Europe describing the very same problems.

Niantic then had the audacity to flag the issues as “resolved” on its official help page in a real “Mission Accomplished” moment – the problems hadn’t been solved in any way, it’s just that most of the Elite Raids had ended at that point.

Another big issue was that the Elite Raids were not evenly spread among the three time slots. A large majority of Elite Raids began at 11am local time, fewer at 2pm, and almost none at 5pm. That meant that many players were unable to complete the Timed Research Tasks centered around completing Elite Raids.

One user on a subreddit related to Pokémon Go reported their experience in London:

“Went to one of London's big parks for the 11am raids, there were over 10 hatching at that time in every EX gym. Because they all hatched at 11am, despite there being enough players in the area, everyone was spread out across all the gyms. I'd scout a gym with a lobby of 1-2 players, but by time you'd get there, people moved to try another gym.

I think everyone spent the full 30 mins trying to find a gym with enough other players, but since there's no way to coordinate in the app nobody was able to do a raid. Then despite so many EX gyms in the area, there are 0 raids at 2 or 5.”

“I live in NYC and hoped to catch another raid later in the day. I only saw a single 2pm raid and no 5pm raids. Keep in mind I’ve been moving throughout Manhattan throughout the day, keeping an eye open for potential eggs to raid. If it’s this bad in the biggest metropolitan city, my heart goes out to the rural players out there,” added another user in the same thread.

All of this is even more frustrating, because Niantic once again posted a vague statement “to share our renewed commitment to bolstering Pokémon Go’s in-person experience” before the Elite Raids began, calling these battles “one of the first steps in that commitment.”

It’s a well known fact that Niantic has a certain vision for how it wants the game to be played and is trying to steer players into that direction – the problem is that the implementation of that way of playing is simply terrible. The Hoenn Tour in Las Vegas was already a disaster full of technical problems, which was now repeated by the Regidrago Elite Raids.

It might be fine if Niantic thinks that Pokémon Go players are playing the game wrong, but if the company wants people to change their minds, it must at least make sure that the "right way" of playing actually works – statements of commitment mean nothing and don't instill any confidence in Niantic’s ability to make playing outside functional or fun.