Raids are coming to Pokémon Go, here's what you need to know!

Niantic is killing the Gym system in Pokémon Go, and replacing it with a more complex and interactive system. The actual Gym locations aren't going anywhere, but it's clear you're going to be spending a lot more time to stay at the top of the increasingly complicated (and cooperative) system in place.

Here's what we know so far about the new Gyms, and the more interesting Raids system coming to live on top of them.

Meet the new Pokémon Go Gym

First things first — Pokémon Go Gyms will now also have PokeStop discs on them, meaning every five minutes you can spin them for more items to use in the game. This is especially good news for rural areas, where Pokémon Go content is more spread out and less easy to walk to.

The days of stacking five Blissey on a Gym to ensure your team maintains control are over. Niantic has removed that system from the game entirely, and a new system will take its place shortly. In this new system, only one version of any Pokémon can live at a Gym simultaneously. If you put a Tyranitar on a Gym, no one else will be able to as long as it is there.

Gym battles are changing as well. Instead of fighting Pokémon from lowest CP to highest, you'll be fighting in the order they were placed at the Gym. In theory, this means you might fight the strongest Pokémon placed at a Gym first, which would make taking down a Gym by yourself a bit more challenging.

Perhaps most important, Gyms will now give you badges for continued participation.

Every time you defeat any one Pokémon, however, that creature loses something called Motivation. As Motivation decreases, the CP of that Pokémon temporarily decreases as well. Trainers can keep Pokémon motivated by feeding berries, which means trainers can interact with a Gym remotely instead of needing to be right there. When Motivation is completely lost, that Pokémon returns to its trainer.

Finally, and perhaps most important, Gyms will now give you badges for continued participation. These badges can be leveled up based on your continued participation, and the badges will offer rewards based on the current level.

Raids are coming

The whole reason Niantic is retooling Gyms is to prepare for Raids. If you watched the initial launch trailer for Pokémon Go, you saw a section where multiple Pokémon Trainers were working together to fight a MewTwo. That obviously doesn't exist in the game right now, and Raids are how this is being addressed. Here's what we know so far!

  • Raid Bosses clear a Gym: When a Raid Boss shows up, all of the Pokémon at that Gym will be sent back to Trainers. After the Raid Boss leaves, the fight to control that Gym restarts anew.
  • You need a Raid Pass: If you want to participate in a Raid, you need a Raid Pass. The PokeStop at the Gym will give you one for free each day, but you can only hold one Raid Pass at a time. The Shop will have Premium Raid Passes, which will let you battle at any Raid.
  • Raids support up to 20 trainers: It doesn't matter what team you are on, you will all be able to work together to take down a Raid Boss.
  • Victory means unique rewards: If you successfully take down a Raid Boss, unique rewards like exclusive candies and berries will be available to your whole Raid team.
  • You can catch a Raid Boss: If your Raid Team successfully defeats the boss within the five minute limit, you'll have a one-time chance to catch a less powerful variant of this unique Pokémon. This is undoubtedly how Niantic will introduce Legendary and Shiny Pokémon into the game.

Raid Rewards will be important

Catching a Legendary Pokémon will be pretty sweet, but the other rewards promised will make your day-to-day gameplay a lot more interesting. Niantic is promising Rare Candies and Golden Razz Berries to help lure and power up these Legendary Pokémon, but there will also be Technical Machines added to the game.

Technical Machines teach your Pokémon new attacks, which means you can improve your Pokémon by teaching them new Fast or Charged attacks with these machines. This takes the random element from evolving a Pokémon and gives you a little more control, which makes a big difference with the new Gym system.

Get ready for a whole new Pokémon Go

These changes radically change how the combat aspect of this game is handled right now, and sets the ground floor for a lot of important new features. Being able to change the attack capabilities with Technical Machines sets up ideal environments for the often-rumored breeding and trading systems, and being able to help your Pokémon stay motivated at a Gym means it will be more important than ever for teams to work together to take down hotly contested Gyms in most areas.

If you've stopped playing Pokémon Go, now is the time to get back into it. If you never stopped, now is the time to make sure all of your Pokémon are prepared for the new Raids system. Are you excited?

Russell Holly

Russell is a Contributing Editor at Android Central. He's a former server admin who has been using Android since the HTC G1, and quite literally wrote the book on Android tablets. You can usually find him chasing the next tech trend, much to the pain of his wallet. Find him on Facebook and Twitter