In Pokemon Go, there are some Pokemon you will never, ever find in the wild. Because some Pokemon only appear in specific regions. Not regions in normal Pokemon games, where you can only get Sinnoh Pokemon in the Sinnoh region. Regions as in genuine geographical regions.
The idea is that Pokemon on earth actually live in different locations. Which makes sense, because Pokemon would live in various environments based on their dietary needs and all that. It’s cool and all, but Pokemon being unavailable in different countries is quite a pain in the ass when it comes to actual gameplay.
For example, if you want a Mr Mime for your Pokedex, you have two ways to obtain one. You either trade for one or you go to Europe and find one. There was a brief period where you could obtain Mr Mime from 7km eggs, alongside other regional Kanto Pokemon, but now your best bet is to hope you make a friend who has a Mr Mime they are willing to trade.
There are quite a few Pokemon like this. Tauros is restricted to the USA, Kangaskhan is obviously from Australia and if you want a Farfetch’d, you need to pop to Asia. That’s just the Kanto Pokedex, there are regional Pokemon in every Pokedex. In fact, some regional Pokemon are only available in very specific areas, like Corsola. Some Pokemon though are split between hemispheres – east and west – and are stuck like that. For example, Illumise and Volbeat are two very similar Pokemon but you can only get Illumise in the Americas and Volbeat is only available in Europe and Asia. Then there’s Lunatone and Solrock, the moon and sun shaped pebble Pokemon that recently switched places. Solrock was available in Europe and Asia and Lunatone was available in the Americas until they recently swapped places. The sad thing is, when they DID swap places last, they also had shiny versions released, meaning Europe and Asia have to wait until the next swap (if there IS one) until they can get their hands on a shiny Solrock and the same for the Americas and shiny Lunatone.
Okay, to be fair, most regional Pokemon are… Somewhat gimmicky. Where I live though, the regional Pokemon is Tropius, who only spawns in the Mediterranean and has a place in the PvP meta. Every Pokemon Go-playing tourist I have seen always grabs as many Tropiuses as they can, because they can’t get them at home.
But now we have Legendary Pokemon locked away behind geographic walls as well. Azelf is locked away in the Americas, Uxie is hidden away in Asia and Europe and Africa get Mesprit. And that’s messed up in a bunch of ways, firstly because Mesprit and Azelf can be done with just 2 people while Uxie requires 3 people minimum, and Azelf is superior to both Mesprit and Uxie when it comes to stats.
It’s also messed up because Legendaries are hard to obtain. Sure, there’s a chance that they will spawn in the wild, but it’s a very rare chance, and currently Raids are the only way to obtain your local Lake Spirit in a viable way. If you want the other ones, you HAVE to travel to other countries or trade for them. And trading Legendaries is expensive. If you don’t own a Legendary you are trading for, at the Good Friend level of friendship, it costs 1 million stardust. If you wait 3 months, sending gifts to each other every day to become Best Friends, that cost goes down to… 40,000 stardust. Which is still a lot. A normal, undiscovered Pokemon (for example Tropius) would cost 10,000 stardust if you literally just became friends, and that price drops down to 800 stardust for best friends. Oh, and you can only do one special trade a day. So you can’t even reliably look towards other players for help in filling your Pokedex.
The only other option is to spoof, to trick your phone’s GPS to say that you’re somewhere you’re not.
Otherwise, these regional Pokemon are forever out of your reach.
But why? Having to travel isn’t really going to make more people spend more money on Pokemon Go. If anything, regional Pokemon just make it a better idea to cheat and use spoofing tools to fake your location, simply because it’s unreasonable to expect the average person to travel. Heck, most people in the United States barely leave the country they were born in.
You know what though? I would take all these criticisms back if regional Pokemon rotated on a regular basis. Like, maybe this month you get Mesprit in Europe but maybe next month the Lake Spirits all migrate to different locations? Not only does that reward veteran players, but the longer you keep people around and the more achievable a game’s goals are, (hopefully) the more likely they are to spend money.