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Serendipitous learning on #PokémonGoCommunityDay

Posted on: February 25, 2018

Yesterday I started Niantic’s second Pokémon Go Community Day (PGCD) on a high, experienced a low, but ended on another high.

PGCD is a monthly event that encourages players to explore the outdoors to find special Pokémon and rewards. February’s Pokémon was Dratini that could “evolve” to Dragonites with the draco meteor charge move.

There were other bonuses: Every catch was rewarded with three times as much stardust, and if you struck the lottery, you might catch the shiny variant of Dratini.

In Singapore, the event was scheduled to start at 11am and end at 2pm yesterday. I made my way to a park and activated a Lucky Egg and Star Piece to boost the XP and stardust gains.

First of five shiny Dratini caught on Community Day (24 Feb 2018).

My day started with a high when my second catch — and first Dratini — was a shiny. Things were looking up, but things started going downhill from that point.

At first, I noticed that the multiplier effect of the star piece I activated was not working. Each first stage Pokémon normally nets 100 stardust once captured. This was boosted to 300 stardust for the event.

As star pieces have a 1.5 multiplier effect, each catch should have been worth 450 stardust. However, the amount of stardust remained at 300 even with the star piece.

I provided video evidence to Niantic that this was happening. BTW, star pieces are items that I had to purchase, and this game error meant that I was wasting my money and effort.

Soon other players and I noticed more trouble within an hour of play. The game lagged, we kept getting error messages, and we could not catch or manage our Pokémon. Eventually the game logged me out and I could not get back in despite trying several times.

Just as well. I had to stop for lunch.

After lunch, the performance of the game improved. Other players and I could log in and we could play normally. Niantic extended the event by another three hours to compensate.

I moved from the park to a nearby mall that had a row of Poké stops. The density of stops meant that Dratini sometimes spawned faster than I could catch them.

This increased my chances of catching a shiny Dratini so much so that I eventually caught a total of five. One of the five was a strong Dratini that I evolved to a Dragonite.

I thought that I had already hit mini lotteries.

Then about 15 minutes before the event was to end, I heard someone say that there was a perfect IV Dratini nearby. A small group of us rushed over to where it was.

Along the way, I did a quick search to confirm the rumour and I realised that I knew that area well. When the group peeled off in the wrong direction, I told them to follow me.

I found the perfect IV Dratini first and beckoned the group over. I had to do this as some from the group opted to follow someone else in the wrong direction.

We caught the perfect IV Dratini just five minutes before the event ended. I hope everyone there remembered to “evolve” their catches immediately to get a perfect IV Dragonite with the draco meteor charge move.

What was the serendipitous learning?

First, seeing for myself that the rumoured shiny Dratini was true by encountering it in the wild.

Second, I had to quickly create videos to send to Niantic to clearly describe a problem and provide indisputable evidence of a problem.

Three, bumping into other players open enough to share critical information, sharing new information on the run, and getting rewarded for cooperating.

The last was a good example of serendipitous cooperation. The group had information about the Dratini that I did not. I knew where exactly to go to catch it, but they did not. If we did not share what we knew, we would not have caught and evolved it on time.

Ah, serendipity.

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