To get the Donphan out of the room, Mega Evolutions have never been permanent. That much is clear and was to be expected when they came to Pokemon GO, but somehow it feels like it could have been done better. As it is, Mega Evolutions are only catering to the very top tier of the player base – and for the average player, completing the new Mega Pokedex will be a bit of a reach.
THE ARGUMENT AGAINST
Mega Energy is currently being gained at a rate of 35-55 Energy PER RAID. That means, in order to gain the 200 Energy needed to Mega Evolve the starters currently available, a trainer would need to raid 4 to 6 times in order to get the Energy required. With 4 Starter Forms available, this is a bare minimum of 16 raids, or, for smaller groups of players, up to 24.
This is in addition to any other raids a person might need to do – Legendaries, Raid Exclusive, and/or Meta Relevant Pokemon,
Once Mega Evolved, Mega Gameplay will last for 4 hours. The cruel irony of that is, to really make use of the 4 hours of Mega Gameplay, trainers would then need to invest even more in Raid Passes. As right now, Mega Evolutions only truly shine as Pokemon to be used in a Raid.
The average Trainer will not be able to keep up this pace of raiding – both in terms of farming Mega Energy, or in raiding during that 4-hour window. It may happen once or twice, but it does feel like the only people who will be actively using Mega Evolutions will be the very top echelon of players. Those who have both the time and money to invest into the game.
Arguably, the reduced cost for subsequent Mega Evolutions definitely will help players who want to keep using Mega Evolutions. However, will the average trainer consistently use Megas to justify completing additional Raids, or will they limit their raiding to completing the Mega Pokedex?
THE ARGUMENT FOR
The thing is, Niantic’s idea was not a bad one. There needed to be a way to implement a timer for Mega Evolutions, and having it done this way does make sense to a certain extent. As already pointed out, Mega Evolutions in the main series games have always been time-limited.
To expect a permanent form change in Pokemon GO runs contrary to everything a Pokemon Trainer would and should enjoy. Mega Evolutions are a HUGE boost, and Niantic has even gone one step further and made it a situation where other players benefit from the Mega Evolution as well. Arguably, this team boost is even more valuable than the actual Megas themselves – even more so, with more people in the raiding party. Planned well, a raid party could just need one person to run a Mega Evolution, and that would benefit the greater whole enough to justify the costs.
One thing to note, though – Mega Energy is currently species-specific. What happens to someone who wants to Mega Evolve a Charizard X, later down the line, after they leave the raid pool? Are Trainers expected to pay upfront to stock up on Energy they may need to use later down the line?
The worst-case scenario calculated earlier assumes a full 24 raids just to get enough Energy to Mega Evolve the current starters available. Given a few raids a month to raid the featured legendary, this would mean that it is entirely feasible for people to run out of raids at month-end. Not having enough Energy even to complete the base evolutions – let alone save up for a second evolution later on.
Again, for those with the time and money, this will not be an issue – but what happens to the average trainer?
Instead of having the 200 Energy Cost for 4 Hours, would it have been better to implement it as a 50 Energy Cost, with the Mega lasting for 1 Hour instead? The overall cost would have been the same, but with a lower entry cost, as well as a more manageable timeline for use. It could be argued that more Trainers would be able to make use of the feature regularly – as opposed to a one-off Pokedex entry.
There are also other, very strong arguments being made for the INITIAL cost of unlocking a Mega to be high – then allowing all subsequent Mega Evolutions to be limited by time, instead of energy. A once a day Mega Evolution limit – perhaps even while a buddy – will definitely help with increasing Community Engagement on the feature.
As it stands – we are currently just seeing the implementation of 4 Starter Forms in raids and one in research. There are over 40 more to go. If this is to go the distance; hopefully, something can be done to encourage people to participate.