I mentioned a while back that there was now a ranked battle league in Pokemon Go. I thought it was cool back then. But now? It sucks. To the point that I have given up on it completely. It’s just not worth your time or your Premium Passes. Why? There’s loads of reasons why!
Weirdly Small Metas
Despite there being so many Pokemon, there’s already a massive, established meta. If you don’t have the meta-relevant Pokemon, you’re going to struggle. Or you’re going to spend a lot of stardust powering Pokemon up.
It’s not too awful in the Great League, since there’s a lot of Pokemon available under 1500CP. No Legendary Pokemon either. But the costs to power things up and give Pokemon second charge moves always increases. In the Master League, you’re almost expected to have Legendaries with multiple moves. That cost 100,000 stardust and 100 candy each. That’s not always feasible for the average player.
This isn’t too bad now that you can play in any league you want, but the problem is still there. Especially if you want to play Master League. Rewards are currently the same but that might change in the future…
Good Rewards are Almost Impossible to Obtain
You need 4 wins out of 5 to be able to get a decent reward in the form of a Pokemon encounter. Two out of 5 wins if you gamble with a Premium Raid Pass. If you’re playing with the free pass though, an 80% win rate is a HUGE ask for the average player. And that’s out of 5 games, meaning that losing 2 games means you have to finish any remaining games and then start from zero again.
Sure, you can currently get Legendary Pokemon from the 4-win Pokemon encounter, but you’re not… guaranteed one. Your first encounter is a guaranteed Snorlax, your second is a Scraggy. After that, it’s anyone’s guess what you can get. So even if you push through and win those matches, you could be rewarded with anything from a Tornadus to a shiny Giratina (or whatever the weekend raid boss is)… to a Tepig.
The stardust reward is pretty good, but the real meat of the rewards comes from the encounters, but good luck getting them… especially since…
… IT’S SO FUCKING BUGGY!
I’ve heard nothing but complaints about bugs. The most notorious is the Weak Connection bug, which can do… literally anything. The words Weak Connection will appear and just interrupt whatever you are doing. Here’s a list of just some of the things I’ve seen posted on r/theSilphRoad, one of the main research hubs for Pokemon Go:
- Being unable to attack
- Being unable to use charge attacks
- Having massive delays between attacks
- Charge moves not charging up properly
- The inability to switch Pokemon
- Enemy Pokemon taking no damage
- Enemy Pokemon somehow getting a third shield when you’re only supposed to have two
That’s also on top of general instability and bugs with the game. There are times where you can’t switch Pokemon at all. Sometimes the Switch Pokemon menu pops up at random. Occasionally your game just crashes. Crashes seem pretty common in the Go Battle League, as is being unable to connect entirely.
But for me, the last straw was losing a 7 game win streak, through no fault of my own. I was doing a battle, I was doing great and then… Nothing. I’d killed two of their Pokemon. They had no shields left. Yet I was suddenly doing no damage at all. I was furiously tapping, begging my Gligar to do literally anything. But nope. My Gligar slowly died, followed by my other two Pokemon, all of them unable to do anything.
A guaranteed victory turned into an unearned loss. If I’d been beaten fair and square, I would have shrugged and tried again, but it’s clear as day that skill is only part of the equation if you want to win.
This is not fun at all!
The problem with the Go Battle League is that it’s mostly luck. Not just luck in hoping you picked and started with the right Pokemon, but luck in hoping that the game actually works. And luck is no way to determine ranks and rewards!
Editor’s note: In season 2, the encounter was shifted to the 3rd win instead of the 4th, and the guaranteed Pokemon have changed. But all the legendaries and good rewards have also been removed from the pool, so you’ll mostly just get Skarmory or Gen5 Starters. And the Metagross is useless because it can’t learn Meteor Mash, and you’d have to spend 75,000 Stardust or an Elite TM to allow it to do so in the future.