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Posts Tagged ‘mewtwo

I did not realise that it was Father’s Day yesterday. I returned home from an errand and found some chocolate and this hastily-made card on my table.

Sweet! Not just the chocolates, but the message in the card. Given what I know about how my son makes cards at the last minute, I appreciate the sentiment with a golden berry and ultra ball.

I also appreciate the “dad” joke on Father’s Day. It’s like a bow that adds some flourish to a present.

I participated in my seventh exclusive invitation raid of Mewtwo (Ex-Raid) in Pokémon Go (PoGo). I am still learning something about myself and the game.

Since my last invitation, I hit Level 40 (the current maximum limit) of the game. I took on the challenge of reviving my son’s languishing account and managed to score Ex-Raids for both our accounts.

As might be apparent from my previous reflections or from actual participation in Ex Raids, these special 45-minute events are social ones. Prior to the raid, I found out who else around me was invited. One person who was also invited suggested that I break my pattern and try a four or five-person Ex-Raid instead of the usual eight to ten person groupings. I was tempted because this would have been a new challenge.

However, I rejected that idea because I take the lead in organising groups. I like meeting new people and subtly imparting values to those I meet.

For example, I remind those with me that we battle together, and should someone’s game hang or device malfunction, all of us agree to step out of the gym into the lobby to wait for that person.

It does not occur to some people that this needs to be said and done. I make a value system concrete by articulating it and enforcing it.

While this might seem unnecessary — and we do not often have to do this — I find that the people in my group appreciate the gesture as well as the encouragement we give to one another. I know because of the thanks I receive after we are done battling and catching Mewtwo.

I rejected the idea of trying a new challenge that might benefit me without all this going through my mind before I said no. I relied on instinct then and have the benefit of hindsight now. This is the importance of being reflective, be it game-play or teaching.

Comparing first Mewtwo CPs: Mine on the left, my son's on the right.
A side note: My seventh Ex-Raid was also the first on my son’s account. Coincidentally, the CP of my son’s first Mewtwo was almost the same as my first one in January.

The CPs of the Mewtwos I have caught seem to drop over time after the initial high. I wonder if this will happen with my son’s account. Here is hoping that the trend bucks and that we get higher CP Mewtwos on both accounts!

I am following up my reflection last week on how games create personal opportunities for learning with how they reveal character. I use the game I play, Pokémon Go (PoGo), to illustrate.

I attended my third and fourth Exclusive Raids of Mewtwo last month. This could be like saying I struck the lottery a third and fourth time only if players did not crowdsource strategies on increasing the chances of hitting this lottery.
Third and fourth Ex Raids in PoGo.

I saw several familiar faces at the raid venue and made it a point to find nice people to raid with and to be welcoming to first-timers.

Doing these are important to me because there are groups who refuse entry to stragglers if they think they have an optimum number of people. Such unpleasant groups base such belief on unproven theory and make a social game anti-social.

PoGo does not make players social or anti-social. It is an extension and an amplification of who they already are. If they choose to perpetuate ignorance and turn newbies away, the game will do little to change those behaviours.

I was shocked by another phenomenon I experienced in my last foray. As I have developed a good strategy to catch Mewtwo, people handed me their phones after they lost or completely lacked confidence in their own abilities to snag it.

I was given six devices in quick succession and did one-ball catches in all but one device. With the exception of the first person who asked politely and clearly tried on her own, the others were just shoved under my nose.

The last three devices were from another woman with son in tow. These three and the other two devices had owners who shared these traits: They

  • outsourced the Mewtwo catches
  • seemed to think that they were entitled to do this
  • did not say “thank you” after I caught Mewtwo for them

At the time, I thought little of this. It was flattering to suddenly be relied upon for help. But as soon as my ego got out of the way, I realised that I was enabling selfish behaviour.

If I have the privilege of attending a fifth Ex Raid, I am going to repeat what I did for the first person who asked politely. I had met that auntie at my first raid and I showed her my strategy.

I met her again at what turned out the fourth Ex Raid for the both of us and she actually tried to catch Mewtwo on her own this time. This was better than handing the task immediately to someone else. I attribute this to her willingness to learn and my opportunity to teach her about two months prior.

I am not going to miss the opportunity to teach a few more strangers in the hope that they will learn to help themselves instead of relying selfishly on others. Then perhaps they can pass this strategy along…

I participated in a Pokémon Go exclusive raid of the Mewtwo boss yesterday. I did not plan on leading the charge, but that is what happened.

It was my first exclusive raid, but after reading in forums, chatting with a few Mewtwo veterans, and watching YouTube videos of the social gatherings from such raids, I was looking forward to it.

My ExRaid Pass to the Mewtwo battle.

I arrived early at the raid venue and it was already crowded. I asked people if they were already grouped by team colours — this maximises the number of Poké balls you receive to catch Mewtwo — but most people milled about.

I was not about to leave such an important catch to chance, so I asked teams to form and people started self-organising. As I busied myself with making sure that there were enough people per group, I also took the advice of two veterans.

One player told me that we did not need to form teams of 20; about 10 players per team would do. So we divided large groups into smaller ones and checked the numbers. Another veteran reminded me that the quality of the player mattered — level 20+ players needed to be put in groups with high level (35+) players for maximum effect. So we checked again.

My battle party for Mewtwo.

I took the precaution of reminding everyone in my group to bring the optimal Pokémon to the fight (Dark types like Tyranitar) and not engage in selfish behaviours like using a Blissey (very tanky but offers little damage). I told everyone how we would use the private group function to exclude spoofers and cheaters.

I had to do some people management when one member of my team walked away for a smoke, another was distracted with multiple accounts, and yet another panicked with his choice of battlers. Then I offered words of encouragement before we started.

Thankfully, my group’s battle went smoothly and we beat our Mewtwo with about half the time to spare. Only my first three Tyranitars were spent from the battle.

Everyone in our group managed to catch their own Mewtwo after that. I managed to catch a 91% IV Mewtwo with ideal move sets. Now I have to decide whether or not to use Rare Candy and stardust to power it up for other battles.

Screenshot of my Pokémon Go app's journal showing evidence of the Mewtwo raid and capture.

My 91%IV Mewtwo with ideal move sets.

Our partner group of 10 players had more high level players and they completed the battle about 20 seconds before we did. Unfortunately, two members of that group could not catch their Mewtwos despite the team and damage bonus of Poké balls.

As a result of the extra work, I forgot to activate a Lucky Egg (to double the XP from the catch and get the New Catch bonus) and a Star Piece (to get 50% more Pokémon stardust). I also forgot to activate the video recording function on my iPhone.

If I get the opportunity to do this again, I would:

  • Try to get a team of solo account players (they are more focused)
  • Ensure an even mix of low and high level players in each group
  • Remind players to set up battle parties in their phones prior to fighting Mewtwo
  • Remind everyone to activate Lucky Eggs and Star Pieces if they wished
  • Screen capture the process

I am glad that I did my homework on battling and catching Mewtwo from game sites, forums, and online videos. The emergent social leadership was something that just had to be done, but I was inspired by stories in social media.

Emergent leadership is not just about one person and the start of a journey. After I started the fire, the groups were self-sustaining because at least one member was experienced or had done their homework. After the group-based battle and individual attempts at catching, there was also the need to congratulate those that got their Mewtwo and console those whose quarry fled.

A few strangers thanked me for organising the group. One person even shook my hand and said he hoped to see me again at another battle. I am just thankful the group listened and offered timely advice.

There are some nasty or selfish people in Pokémon Go, but this experience showed me that there are nice ones too. And even the not-so-nice ones put their unpleasantness aside in pursuit of a shared goal.

Yesterday I mentioned how the edtech vendor DRIP — data rich, information poor — approach was like torture. Today I elaborate on one aspect of data-richness and link that to an under-utilised aspect of game-based learning.

The data-richness that some edtech providers tout revolves around a form of data analytics — learning analytics. If they do their homework, they might address different levels of learning analytics: Descriptive, diagnostic, predictive, prescriptive.

A few years of following trends in learning analytics allows me to distill some problems with vendor-touted data or learning analytics:

  • Having data is not the same as having timely and actionable information
  • While the data is used to improve the technological system, it does not guarantee meaningful learning (a smarter system does not necessarily lead to a smarter student)
  • Such data is collected without users’ knowledge or consent
  • Users do not have a choice but to participate, e.g., they need to access resources and submit assignments to institutional LMS
  • The technological system sometimes ignores the existing human system, e.g., coaches and tutors

I define learning analytics and highlight a feature in Pokémon Go to illustrate how data needs to become information to be meaningful to the learner.

First, a seminal definition from Long and Siemens (2011):

… learning analytics is the measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of data about learners and their contexts, for purposes of understanding and optimizing learning and the environments in which it occurs

ERIC source

The processes of measurement, collection, analysis, and reporting are key to analytics. I use a recent but frustrating feature of Pokémon Go to illustrate each.

My PoGo EX Raid Pass.

The Pokémon Go feature is the “EX Raid Pass” invite system (I shorten this to ERP). Players need to be invited to periodic raids to battle, defeat, and catch the rare and legendary, Mewtwo. The ERP seemed to be random like a lottery and rewarded few like a lottery as well.

Even though Niantic (Pokémon Go’s parent company) provided vague tips on how to get ERPs, players all over the world became frustrated as they did not know why they were not selected despite playing by the rules and putting in much effort.

To make matters worse, a few players seemed to strike the lottery more than once. At the time of writing, I know of one player who claimed on Facebook that he has eight ERPs for the next invite on 9 Jan 2018.

Eight Ex Raid Passes!

Players have swarmed Reddit, game forums, and Facebook groups to crack this nut. Some offered their own beliefs and tips. Much of this was hearsay and pseudoscience, but it was data nonetheless — unverifiable and misleading data.

A few Facebookers then decided to poll ERP recipients about where their EX Raids were. This was the start of measurement as they looked for discrete data points. As the data points grew, the Facebookers compiled lists (data collection).

Such data measurement and collection was not enough to help non-ERP players take action. The collected data was messy and there was no pattern to it.

I know of at least one local Pokémon Go player who organised the data as visualisations. He created a tool that placed pinned locations in a Singapore map as potential EX Raid venues. With this tool, it became obvious that locations were reused for EX Raids.

Potential EX Raids hotspots.

Pattern of reuse of venues for EX Raids.

However, such a visualisation was still not information. While the data pointed to specific spots where EX Raids were likely to happen, they still did not provide actionable information on what players might actually do to get an ERP.

To do this, Facebooker-players asked recipients when their ERPs were valid and when they raided those spots previously. One of the patterns to emerge was normal raids of any levels (1 to 5) at hotspot gyms a few days before Ex Raids. So if an Ex Raid was likely to happen on Saturday at Gym X, the advice was to hit that gym on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday to increase the likelihood of receiving an ERP.

Collectively, these actions were a form of analysis because of the attempts to reduce, generalise, and ultimately suggest a pattern of results. This actionable information was reported and communicated online (social media networks) and in-person (auntie and uncle network).

The advice to players seeking ERPs is a reduction of much data, effort, and distilled knowledge from a crowd. It illustrates how data becomes information. I have benefitted from the data-to-information meta process because I followed the advice and received an ERP (see image embedded earlier).

The advice does not constitute a guarantee. With more players using this strategy, more will enter the pool eligible for selection. There is still a lottery, but you increase your chances with the scientific approach. You do not just rely on lucky red underwear; you create your own “luck”.

Now back to edtech DRIP. Edtech solutions that claim to leverage on analytics are only good if they not only help the technical system get better at analysis, but also help the teacher and learner take powerful and meaningful action. Edtech solutions that are data rich but information poor only help themselves. Edtech solutions that turn rich data into meaningful information help us.

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