Niantic has just made a big announcement about changes to their gyms: raid battles and raid bosses. This may be one of the more exciting changes that Niantic has made to Pokemon Go in quite a while. The raid battles are going to completely change how gyms work, allowing people to work in teams to defeat a Raid Boss, get a chance to earn special items, and even get a chance to catch tougher Pokemon. But when will you be able to join a Raid Battle?
Unfortunately, it looks like you will still have to wait a while before Raid Battles are available for everyone.
Niantic made the announcement just prior to shutting down all of its gyms while it works on a big facelift for them. They have not announced exactly when the gyms will reopen. And when they do open, you’ll likely see other features before you see Raid Battles: such as PokeStops existing at gyms, and gym positions no longer based on prestige but based on unique Pokemon assigned to each slot, along with keeping the Pokemon “motivated” by feeding them berries.
Niantic has said that the Raid Battle feature is going to be rolled out over the next few weeks.
However, unlike most Pokemon Go changes, this rollout is not going to happen all at once. Instead, it’s going to happen slowly, similar to how the newest tracking system was first introduced in one region and then slowly rolled out everywhere else.
At first, the Raid Battles are going to start out as a beta, only visible to a subset of players at specific gym locations. Players will get invitations to participate and raids will be enabled around the world. It’s unclear at this time if the players who get invites will already be using gyms in areas where the Raid Battles are being tested, and the “egg” will just appear over their gym while they’re playing, or if they’ll get a special email inviting them to take part in the beta. We’ll update this post as soon as we know exactly how this beta invitation is going to look.
So where will the first Raid Battle betas begin? At this point, Niantic hasn’t shared that information. But we do know that Niantic has started out testing Pokemon Go features in California before, so it seems likely that this may be one of the regions where the Raid Battle feature is tested first.
However, a German version of the announcement seems to indicate that at least some of these Raid Battles will start out at sponsored gyms for higher-level players.
We will update this story as soon as we have more information about Raid Battles and where players are reporting them. If you get a Beta invitation to a Raid Battle, let us know in the comments below.