Later today (June 19), all of the gyms in Pokemon Go will be disabled as Niantic prepares to unveil their biggest update to the popular mobile game yet, which will include sweeping changes to core game mechanics. One of the biggest complaints about the game was the gym system, which was ripe with people exploiting it for Pokecoins, either by spoofing their GPS locations to defeat gyms from their couch or by using an alternate account to “shave” out the bottom Pokemon and add their own to the top of the pile.
Starting soon (although the exact date and time hasn’t been revealed), gyms will function much differently. For starters, they will now also act as Pokestops, meaning you can spin them to get random items like every other Pokestop. The biggest change, however, is that gyms will no longer be filled by prestige or ranked by CP.
In a lengthy blog post, Niantic detailed the changes. Gyms will now feature six permanent slots that can be filled by which team controls the gym. The six Pokemon assigned must all be different, so no team can stack six Blisseys in a gym and call it a day.
Instead of prestige points, gyms are now managed by a motivation meter. As gym Pokemon are defeated, they will lose motivation, temporarily drop CP, and eventually drop out. Trainers can counter that by giving their gym-assigned Pokemon some Berries, which will restore the motivation.
Niantic is introducing gym badges as well, which are a nice touch with very little actual benefit (although the post mentions that trainers who have higher level gym badges have an increased chance of receiving bonus items).
This is where things get tricky. There is a brand new feature called Gym Raids. Basically, at random times gyms will empty, returning all the Pokemon to their respective trainers, and the gym will display a giant egg on top, which contains a Raid Boss, including a countdown. When the timer hits zero, up to 20 trainers can work together to battle the raid boss (if you have a Raid Pass, which you get one free per day and can use in-app purchases to buy more).
If you defeat the Raid Boss within five minutes, you’ll have a chance to catch an extra powerful Pokemon of your own. The Raids in your area will display in a new section of your tracker.
Some of these features will be rolled out slowly in the coming days/weeks, so try to be patient if you’re one of the people still playing Pokemon Go and anxious for something to break up the monotony of the current gym system.