In the past, we have discussed a lot of Team Go Rocket stuff, from how to beat them to the rather weird, outlandish theories I have about all of them being clones. But I haven’t really discussed the actual difficulty level of these monthly research quests. Sure, I mentioned how the “purify Pokemon” step is easier to do. And I was glad when Arlo stopped having Scyther as his starting Pokemon. But in general, is this special research too difficult?
I’m going to say yes.
Before I go on though, I feel I should point out that I can be overly… motherly towards newer players. I tend to underestimate other players’ skill levels. Just the other night, I found myself helping a MR9 player get a FASS Requiem mod in Warframe. I didn’t have to, but I did. I do the same thing in most games, and Pokemon Go is no exception. People like me just want to spread the love and help others.
That being said, I still think that the Team Rocket Go special research tasks are to difficult. For a multitude of reasons.
Not Everyone Has Time to Play a Time-Gated Task
The tasks in the Team Rocket quests require time and patience and regularly doing things. The first few stages require waiting for Team Rocket Grunts, spinning Pokestops over the course of three days and doing 5 raids. All of these tasks are best done at the beginning of the month, so you have time to look for the three Team Leaders and Giovanni.
However this implies that you can regularly find raids and Team Go Rocket Grunts in the first place. Grunts spawn essentially at random. I’ve spent several hours at my suddenly-rather-well-populated normal paths having seen a grand total of only one Grunt. And Grunts can’t spawn on Pokestops that have Leaders at them, whether you have a Rocket Radar or not, minimizing spawns further.
Raids are a similar issue. Not everyone is part of a community that does raids, and solo-able tier 1-3 raids are not always available.
The Tasks are Resource-Heavy Too
But it’s not just time that you need for these quests. You need stardust to purify Pokemon. At minimum, 5000 stardust. Or 15,000 stardust if you are still on the original two special research tasks that came out in 2019. You also need candy to purify Pokemon, which often costs the amount of candy you got from catching it. More even, if you want to purify a Larvitar or Ralts.
It’s also a guarantee that you’ll go through revives and potions as well, particularly when you fight the Leaders and Giovanni. After all, you don’t know what Pokemon you will need for each fight and the Leaders may take a few attempts. No matter what, you’re going to need a lot of potions and quite a few revives as well.
This can be counteracted by doing a lot of raids, but even then, you need a larger community to do so, as the best rewards are in tier 4-5 raids. Those ALSO require a lot of potions and revives as well if you don’t have many players.
And that’s not counting just how much stardust is required to power up and evolve Pokemon for fights. It’s all well and good me saying that these tasks are resource-heavy, I have over 500K stardust because I horde it, as well as Pokemon chosen to be good at both raids and PvP. After all, not everyone has a 3000+ CP Melmetal with the right moves ready to go. And Stone Edge Tyranitar is a very limited Pokemon in availability.
And that’s assuming you can even BEAT Team Rocket!
While the Grunts somewhat scale to your level, the Leaders… well, I don’t know what the hell is going on with them. They scale up almost randomly, but they have a variety of moves. Even between fights, the same Leader can be wildly different. A Mawile with Fire or Ice Fang is a different fight compared to one with Astonish or Bite.
People also don’t have the required knowledge to reliably beat the leaders. I didn’t know about the 3-second delay when switching Pokemon until December. I was only somewhat aware that the bulk of your not-taking-damage comes from spamming charged attacks. You basically do most of your damage in the gaps where the shadow Pokemon can’t fight back!
But how do you find this information out? People discuss this on places like the Silph Road, but these communities are small and not everyone can access them. Not everyone knows where to find this vital information.
Going back to my “being prepared” example, there are times where even I just can’t win. I once spent an hour and a half trying to fight Giovanni, only to be beaten down by a Fire Fang Hippowdon that did HUGE damage to even Pokemon that were doubly resistant to it. The same Hippowdon had Body Slam as well, a fast-charging move. This meant I wasted a shield on it, only to get Shadow-Balled to death by the Raikou at the end. I gave up after wasting two Star Pieces, then had to wait 3 days to even FIND another Giovanni to fight.
The Tasks are Impossible in Rural Areas
Most of Pokemon Go is very hard if you live in an area with few Pokestops. But the Team Rocket quests are even harder in rural areas, simply because you have to HOPE that some of them will be grunts or leaders. Heck, even in a pretty well populated area like I live, I’ve struggled to find Giovanni or the leaders I need to fight.
Overall, these tasks would be doable if they were one-off tasks like other special researches. The tasks are restricted to one month, which makes them hard to do. But as it stands, the Team Rocket special research is nothing more than a massive pain in the ass, regardless of player.
And all you get is a shitty shadow Pokemon that costs 20,000 stardust to purify.