While Niantic will put something as small as “minor text fixes” in a Pokémon GO patch notes update, sometimes they can totally change something fundamental about the game and not say a word.
We are now in the middle of Pokémon GO’s Valentine’s event, where a bunch of pink Pokémon are spawning everywhere, candy generation is doubled, and lures last six hours. But something else has happened that’s a pretty major rebalancing of the entire egg economy, the primary way of hunting down missing Pokémon for many players or getting candy for upgrades.
Essentially, the entire tier system has changed. Many Pokémon have moved out of the 5km egg category, and into the 2km category. And a few 10kms have moved to the 5km tier.
Here’s the complete migration info of who has moved:
From 5km to 2km:
Abra, Bellsprout, Cubone, Diglett, Ekans, Exeggecute, Ghastly, Goldeen, Krabby, Machop, Nidoran (both), Oddish, Seel, Slowpoke, Venonat, Voltorb
From 10km to 5km:
Pinsir, Scyther, Onix
This may seem like a pretty minor change, but it isn’t. There’s some confusion about if this is a bug, or if this is a temporary switch just because of the Valentine’s event. I don’t think either is the case, and though I have not heard back from Niantic about it yet, I have to believe this is a permanent, much-needed reshuffling of the egg hatching system, one that ultimately benefits players.
How is that the case?
Well, previously, the 5km tier was way overloaded with too many Pokémon. That led to you not getting certain Pokémon for eons, and your chances being very low of not getting what you were looking for. By moving many Pokémon out of the 5km tier, that makes that pool more manageable, and more Pokémon in the 2km tier, provided more 2km eggs start dropping in the game, means that more eggs will be able to be hatched more quickly, and those will provided a wider range of Pokémon. Previously, 2km eggs were mostly bugs and birds, with you hoping that you could get a starter or a Clefairy or something like that. Now there’s a lot more in that pool, albeit without drop rate tweaks, it might now be even harder to get a starter, admittedly.
In the 10km tier, even removing just three frequently-hatched Pokémon, Onix, Pinsir and Scyther, gives players a better chance at getting the truly “good” hatches in 10km, Snorlax, Lapras, Dratini, Aerodactyl. Even just by removing those three, your chances of getting one of those from a 10km egg should go up by about a third.
I can see how this may end up being a slight nerf to say, starter hatch rates, but maybe not if distribution percentages are realigned, and elsewhere, this is definitely going to help players more than it hurts. This kind of restructuring has been a long time coming. The only weird thing about it right now is that the buddy distance required for candy does not seem to have been changed to reflect this new tier system, ie. new 2kms requiring only 1km per candy, not 3km, but it’s possible that will be altered in time.
The other theory about all this is that it’s part of setting up for Gen 2. An entirely new ecosystem of Pokémon are going to be introduced into the game when that happens (hopefully the next month or two), and that would indeed require a reshuffling of the egg system. Dumping even more Pokémon into the already overloaded 5km tier would have been a nightmare, so it’s possible this is another reason they’re spreading things around.
I cannot guarantee this is permanent and not some secret bug or feature of the Valentine’s event, but it does not feel that way, and it would be wrong of the game to change it back. We’ll know more soon enough, hopefully.