Pokemon Go was my third real look into Pokemon, outside of the old trading card game when I was very young and the anime with Ash and his omnipotent Pikachu, which I have watched both in English and in really badly dubbed Greek in which all the characters shared two voices. Technically, it’s the first proper Pokemon game I ever played, mainly because I just had all the wrong consoles, namely being a Playstation and PC person. This though has conditioned me to see super rare aspects in normal Pokemon games, like Shinies, Mythicals and Legendaries, in a completely different way. People I have played Pokemon Go with who also play the normal games have always said that Shinies are almost too easy to come by, especially compared to the shiny chances in the older base games, which were along the lines of 1 in 5000. And many of these people seem to think that it’s a bad thing, that shinies aren’t as special in Pokemon Go as they are in the base games.
But I strongly disagree with that statement, because Pokemon Go’s base gameplay goals are far, far different than the main series games.
In the main games, you have a multitude of goals. Ideally, you want to do two things: complete the story and the elite 4 and catch them all. A large chunk of the main games involves wandering around and fighting Pokemon. Sure, you’ll catch one of each Pokemon but unless you are breeding them or looking for specific Pokemon, you’re not going to, for example, catch 200 Pidgeys. Heck, you probably won’t catch more than one or two, unless you see a shiny one, which you’ll definitely want to catch. But the whole “catch them all” theme is to fill a Pokedex, and you only need to catch one Pidgey and evolve that into a Pidgeot.
In Pokemon Go on the other hand, you will be catching Pokemon by the hundreds, and almost none of these Pokemon fight back and hurt your own team of Pokemon aside from the occasional raid boss. But the main goal of Pokemon Go IS to collect Pokemon in the hundreds in an attempt to fill out your Pokedex and evolve every Pokemon. Really, the “catch them all” part of normal Pokemon games is just that: a part of the main games, alongside things like the main stories, beating the gyms and getting badges and defeating the elite four, but “catch them all” is what you literally do most of the time in Pokemon Go.
My point is, catching everything you see is the core gameplay of Pokemon Go while it’s just part of the gameplay (and generally reserved for new Pokemon) in a normal Pokemon game.
But because Pokemon Go doesn’t have a main story or anything like that, it needs something to keep people wanting to catch them all, even after they have their evolved Pokemon, and that’s where Shiny Pokemon come in. Sure, shinies are more common – apparently the chances of catching or hatching a shiny Pokemon are 1/450, way lower than the normal games – but you are also going to catch way more Pokemon anyway. Searching for shinies in Pokemon Go is the equivalent of a side quest, or a task like breeding or contests or whatever in a main series game, so they NEED to be more common for people to actually want to spend time doing these things. If anything, one of the end goals, aside from catching, powering up and using Pokemon in Raids and Battles, or filling the Pokedex, IS to catch as many shiny Pokemon as possible.
If anything, shinies are actually one of the main draws of Pokemon Go, to the point that we have entire events surrounding certain Pokemon and their shiny forms.
So yes, players in Pokemon Go DO get a lot of shinies. But that’s not a bad thing. And clearly the main games are also doing something similar with shinies, because the chances of finding a shiny have steadily gotten better over the years…