A major new update is coming to Pokemon Go this summer, completely redesigning gyms and adding raid battles along with new items.
Later this summer, gyms will no longer be based on Prestige. Instead, gyms will now only allow a maximum of six Pokemon, and only one of each type (so you’ll no longer see gyms filled with nothing but Gyarados and Dragonite, as only one of each is allowed per gym).
Instead of starting with the weakest Pokemon first, players will now battle Pokemon in the order they were placed in the gym. Gyms will also become places where you can get items, allowing you to spin a photo disc like you do at PokeStops and receive items in return.
The first major change comes in the form of a new motivation system. Pokemon placed in gyms will have heart meters that grow and deplete, representing their motivation. Pokemon will now lose CP over time as they’re defeated and their motivation lowers. Players on the same team as the Pokemon in gyms will be able to feed them berries in order to raise their motivation and keep them powerful. Once a Pokemon’s motivation is completely drained, it will leave the gym and return to its trainer.
Players will also earn new gym badges for battling, giving berries to Pokemon in gyms, and spinning a gym’s photo disc. As you earn badges at higher levels, you’ll receive more rewards and items at gyms.
The next major new addition to Pokemon Go is raid battles, fulfilling the promise seen way back in the game’s original trailer. Now, certain gyms will have an egg and a timer above them, indicating that a raid battle is about to begin. Once the raid begins, either in a private lobby or with random nearby trainers, you’ll be able to team up (even with members of a different team) to take down a massively powerful raid boss Pokemon as a group. A Raid Pass will be needed to participate in a raid. You’ll earn one free one per day by spinning a disc at a gym, or can buy additional Premium Raid Passes from the shop.
If you succeed at beating a raid battle within five minutes, you’ll have a chance to catch the raid boss Pokemon (but will only be able to use Premiere Balls given to you at the end of the battle). Along with Premiere Balls, you’ll receive new unique items at the end of a raid including Golden Razz Berries (which make it even easier to catch Pokemon, or can fully restore a Pokemon’s motivation in gyms) and Rare Candy (which becomes an extra candy for any Pokemon you use it on). New Charged TM and Fast TM items will also be added, which allow you to permanently teach one of your Pokemon a random new move.
Pokemon Go will be disabling all gyms leading up to the update, but Niantic promises they’ll return shortly. According to Niantic, raid battles will begin in beta soon and only high-level players will see raids at sponsored gyms, with the update rolling out to additional players in the weeks that follow.
Stay tuned to IGN for more on Pokemon Go, and look for the latest updates in our Pokemon Go wiki guide as new features are revealed and released.