Just now, I managed to catch a wild 100% Beldum. The only reason I saw it was because of GPS drift. Due to brief inaccuracies, my character in Pokemon GO wandered slightly to the south, revealing a handful of Pokemon I can’t normally see. Among these was the 100% Beldum in question, which I immediately caught because, hey, wild Beldum. Unfortunately, in the 60 seconds it took for me to 1. tell my brother it was there, 2. grab my facemask and 3. head outside to grab it for him and his baby account… Well, it despawned.
I basically saved that Beldum’s life. Unluckily for my brother, the 100% Beldum was gone before he could get to it.
But I very nearly missed that Beldum myself, thanks to the uselessness of the Pokemon Radar.
The Beldum in question was pretty close to a Pokestop. Yet, on my Pokemon Radar, it wasn’t visible at all. Instead, my Pokemon Radar showed only 4 Pokemon at the end of the road: a Mudkip, a Torchic, a Bunnelby and a Phanpy. The rest of my Pokemon Radar only showed a couple of Pokemon, like the Aron I had already checked by another Pokestop, and a couple of Jigglypuffs at two Pokestops 200m away.
Rather than help me find cool Pokemon, my Radar showed me Pokemon that I’ve already caught hundreds of. And it definitely did not show me a genuinely useful Pokemon with high stats. From what I can tell, the radar only shows the Pokemon closest to the Pokestop, but if there’s more than a handful, then it’ll just pick 1-4 at random. Regardless of rarity.
The only thing the radar is good for is Pokemon you lack a Pokedex entry for.
Any Pokemon you haven’t caught yet appears as black on the Pokemon Radar. But this applies to all Pokemon, including variants. Whenever a new event comes out with a costume Pokemon, the radar becomes flooded with said costume Pokemon until you catch one.
Once you’ve obtained one though? The radar is useless for catching another one. For example, I have NO IDEA if an Axew has ever spawned nearby, because I got one early on in a trade. It’s now also useless for tracking down rare second stage Pokemon like Gabite and Shellgon, simply because I’ve caught and evolved those too. While some evolved Pokemon do appear on the radar, most likely it’ll be something like a Kakuna or a Wigglytuff.
If you or it are not close enough, no one knows.
The biggest issue though is location. If you are not close enough to a Pokestop that has a Gible nearby, you won’t see the Gible on the radar until you get close to that Pokestop. But at the same time, if the same Gible isn’t quite close enough to a Pokestop, it STILL might not appear on the radar.
Heck, most Pokemon are like that. There are only so many Pokestops, but there are PLENTY of spawn points. The majority of these will never show up on the radar. Even Pokemon that spawn near Gyms don’t appear. Most Pokemon spawn and despawn without ever being seen.
You also have no idea how long a Pokemon will be around for.
If I had hesitated even a little on that Beldum, I probably would have watched it disappear into the void. The problem is, it had been sitting there for about an hour, and I had no idea it existed. The ONLY way you can be 100% certain how long a Pokemon will be around for is to see it spawn in. If you didn’t see the Pokemon spawn in, then who knows? The Pokemon could be ready to despawn at any moment, it might only be present for another 5 minutes or it could just sit there for an hour! It’s a mystery!
This isn’t just annoying for individuals, it sucks for communities as well. For example, a 100% Torchic spawned somewhere in town, but the majority of us couldn’t get to it. Mostly because of lockdowns. But even putting pandemics to one side, it’s most likely most of us had missed it anyway, because it despawned fifteen minutes later. Only two players managed to grab it. The Beldum caught at the beginning of this article falls under the same problem. Had there been more time on it and I’d known better, I would have posted its location to our local group. That way, we could have had lots of people grabbing a 100% Beldum, not just one person.
Sucks, really. Because a big part of Pokemon GO is the community. And being able to share Pokemon locations seems like it should be an integral part of the game. Yet Pokemon can be so, so difficult to find, especially with something as shit as the current radar.