Berlin Recap by guest writer Adellion
2 weeks ago
Berlin GO Fest
A return to in-person events
It has been far too long. After two painful years of lockdowns and social distancing, it is a delight to be able to jet off and re-discover the magic for in-person GOFest events. The first on Niantic’s calendar was Berlin, the capital of Germany; a city rich in history, culture, famous landmarks, and the sweet cherry on top was being with thousands of Pokémon GO fans who had gathered to play the game they cherish, meet with friends and make new ones. Berlin’s park of choice was Britzer Gartens, which had been augmented with physical props to represent the various habitats in-game. For those completing specific research tasks or hunting specific elusive shinies, there were many moments of bumping into fellow players to take directions on where to find specific Pokémon (such as a perfect IV cowboy hat Snorlax!) – all adding to the Pokémon GO community feel.
In addition to the habitats, there were other locations for further interactions; a trading post for the well-travelled to offer coveted regionals and shinies from elsewhere in the world! But that’s not all… It wouldn’t be a GOStadium article without a nod to the battling aspects of GOFest – a unique area called the BattleGround was offered up, and co-hosted by noteworthy battlers like Alfindeol and ThoTechtical. In the tournament, battles were played in the Open Great League format, as best-of-one battles. Whoever beat 3 separate trainers, would then be awarded with a reward code from Niantic offering some fantastic in-game items, as well as a special t-shirt made to commemorate the in-person GOFest events.
Speaking of tournaments, it didn’t end with just the BattleGround!
GOStadium hosted two tournaments in the evenings after the Friday and Saturday of GOFest!
The first was a Master League Classic format hosted by rPoGORaids under GOStadium’s Statis Rules.
This is a GOStadium constructed format; where you are limited in the number of top-meta selections you can choose in your team of three Pokémon (in a Show 6, Bring 3 format).
This allows for a lot more novel teambuilding and expands the number of Pokemon that can have play (some spicy selections included Genesect, Victini and even Zamazenta!)
The social included some of the well-known content creators for Pokémon GO PvP including the team from MyPvPAcademia, Alfindeol and ZyoniK, the latter of the two competing for glory!
The tournament was eventually won by Worlds Invitee Statastan, who had to work through some tough opponents, including StefanEjig, the mastermind behind the Statis format, in the finals! Congratulations to the Berlin GOFest MLC Champion! A shoutout to rPoGORaids for collaborating with GOStadium to support this tournament, and all those who challenged themselves in this Master League format!
Saturday saw the dawn of a new day, and the scene was set for GOStadium’s Open Great League (OGL) tournament!
Over 60 competitors and spectators took part in one of the biggest in-person tournaments to date in the post-pandemic era.
With the Road to Worlds at London now in full swing, this was a fun opportunity for competitors to get another taste of the OGL meta, to find out what core combinations work and further sharpen their battling skills in a large in-person environment.
Aside from the red-hot battles, this was another opportunity to meet up and socialise, and in some cases, meet players for the first time who until then, had been restricted to messages within their PvP communities!
As mentioned by one of the members of the #GirlsThatPvP server (group picture attached) – tournaments have been used to keep people together and get players acquainted so that the friendship is already built to some extent, ready for those in-person meetups of the future.
After six rounds, the tournament was swept by Worlds Invitee FR43KA who once again had out-manoeuvre some seriously tough adversaries to secure his position as Berlin’s GOFest OGL Champion!
The future of in-person tournaments
At the end of July, the Silph Regionals will have wrapped up and the Silph circuit will be over for the majority of battlers. The Silph Arena has already used their Regionals as an opportunity to test the waters for in-persons, with Chicago, London and Lima setting a positive precedent for the Arena’s considerations for Silph Season 5. Pre-Covid, in-persons were far more commonplace than currently; with a significant factor being the requirement to be ultra friends with your opponent to remotely battle them. This meant that more tournaments had to be conducted in-person for players to have variety in who they battled, and benefit from the Arena’s rank weighting system that gives a small bonus for facing more unique opponents in a player’s seasonal career.
The ultra friend restriction was removed by Niantic early on into the start of the pandemic, allowing players to compensate for the understandable halt of in-persons, with more remote tournaments. Remote tournaments were then limited to seven rounds to prevent rank inflation from implausibly large remote tournaments. GBL’s walking requirements were also removed. This greater accessibility for remote tournaments has been a boon during the pandemic, but now as we persist into the post-pandemic era; in-persons are struggling to reassert themselves to be on-par with remotes.
The now relative lack of accessibility of in-persons compared to remotes is a challenge that must be addressed for the future of PoGO PvP. Many have turned off from remote tournaments due to the lack of social interaction, and in-persons require larger local turnouts to get off the ground, compared to remotes which do not have this restriction.
To allow the balance between in-persons and remotes to recover to parity, a few ideas could be considered, either in isolation, or combined:
The current cap on remote tournaments is 7 rounds, or 128 players maximum. To put remotes more on-par with in-persons, this could be reduced to a maximum of 5 rounds (32 players) – which is still larger than the majority of in-person tournaments globally. This would also prevent rank-grinding burnout.
A ranking boost gain could be provided for attending an in-person tournament. This could be by increasing the weighting of such tournaments.
Allow in-person tournaments to contribute to rank beyond the maximum six ranked Silph tournaments per month.
Allow the majority of Regionals next season to be in-person (perhaps with one hosted remotely by the Arena for America, EMEA and Asia/Australasia to cover those who cannot access a regional in-person, if they are clinically vulnerable or disabled).
Allow host communities more flexibility with canvassing funds for prizes for in-person tournaments.
As battlers, our community should view supporting our nearest in-person tournament in a similar vein to supporting one’s local sports team. Remotes should still remain a part of the PvP scene; there are still a small section of players who may be clinically vulnerable or those who are disabled and struggle to travel. But for the recovery of our battling scene and to see a resurgence in dedicated players competing month in and month out in at least one in-person tournament a month… then we must do more to support the in-persons. As players, tournament hosts, and ranking bodies.
Admin for London’s Finest