Saturday 24 March 2018

Pokémon GO community day: real life pugging for dratini

Tomorrow Pokémon GO celebrates Bulbasaur Community Day. For the first time I'm actually planning to participate, and that has a lot to do with how much fun I had the last time around, catching dratini.

Community day is a monthly Pokémon GO event that features massive amounts of a specific pokémon that can be caught in the wild for a couple of hours. The first community day that I was aware of featured pikachu with surf. It was on a rainy Saturday and I was completely exhausted. So when I looked at the nearby tracker in Pokémon GO and saw there was a pikachu nearby, I thought "I'll catch it later today, when I'm rested". I didn't realize that community day only lasts for three hours. I totally missed out on the pikachu with surf, but didn't mind very much. I have tons of pikachu and I never use them in battle (they're cute but not very strong).

Fast forward a month, to February's Dratini Community Day. It was sunny weather, but cold and windy. I was visiting a neighbouring town to hand in the gaming laptop for repairs (in vain, as it turned out later). Walking through a park on my way back to the bus stop, I took down a pokémon gym and placed my blissey in it. I was just about to go out of the park when someone greeted me. "Hey!" he said, and walked towards me. "How's it going? You're here for the event, right?" A young man in his late 20s, maybe begin 30s stood before me. I recognized his face from a pokémon raid in my home town. He and his gaming friends had come to the park in the hope to catch some dratini.

It was a few minutes before the start of the event, and the earlier deserted park was gradually filling with groups of people with mobile phones. A year and a half after release the game doesn't attract huge mobs anymore, but I was still positively surprised at how many people turned up. The town centre was quiet when I arrived, but now there were groups of people walking about everywhere.

We counted down aloud to the event start time and then they were there: dratini were popping up everywhere! We walked through the park and talked about pokémon, cheered for each other when we caught a good one or playfully cursed the other when they found a rare shiny dratini (a pink version rather than the normal blue version) first. After we had seen the whole park, we walked to the local castle garden. This is where it was my turn to catch a shiny dratini, a really powerful one boosted by the windy weather (level 35, 8000 stardust to power up).

With 6% left on my phone battery, I caught this shiny level 35 dratini (middle), which I evolved to the shiny green dragonite (right). Finally, my first dragonite! Back at home, I was super lucky and caught two subsequent shiny dratini (left), allowing me to get all its forms shiny: dratini, dragonair and dragonite.

After catching dratini for an hour, my phone battery was almost empty and I was getting pretty frozen by the cold. I said goodbye and caught the bus home. Comparing my experience to MMO gaming, it was like one of those rare events that you stumble upon a random pickup group (pug) and end up having an amazing time. I wasn't planning on strolling through parks with random strangers, but it happened and it was the best thing that could have. I don't generally think of catching the same pokémon over and over as fun, but the company is what makes community day the success it is. There's something special about meeting random people who are just as enthusiastic about pokémon as you.

Tomorrow, I'm heading to that same park with my brother to hunt for a shiny bulbasaur. Wish me luck!


  1. Best of luck! Did you find the bulbasaur?

  2. Hope you found your bulbasaur!

  3. Thanks, Cfcallier and Redbeard; I did find the bulbasaur. Actually, I found a crazy amount of them! Perhaps I'll write more about it in another blog post. But I'm hopelessly lagging behind, as this weekend it's time for the mareep community day already!

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  5. Hey there, fellow Barsen'thor here. Just stumbled across your blog a while ago. Loved the article about your favourite SWTOR aliens. I like the way you write these pieces and relate to the enthusiasm. I explored a bit and realized that your last post was a while ago. I was a bit sad to see that. I wonder, is this blog still live, or have you moved on to other projects? Anyways good job on this. I did a bunch of stupid blogs when I was younger, and you've inspired me a bit to continue blogging. Great blog, hope its not dead :))


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