Update: The Pokémon for today’s Spotlight Hour was set to Teddiursa rather than Hoothoot for 20 minutes. This is the 90th bug.
The beta testers. The guinea pigs. The unpaid interns. There’s been a few names jokingly used for Pokémon GO players in New Zealand and countries within similar time zones. The reason for these nicknames is because these players have been affected by bugs related to events that first started in these parts of the world.
Often events in Pokémon GO start based on a set local time (e.g. 10 a.m. local time), so as the first country to the west of the International Date Line with a significant enough playerbase, players around the world wait to hear on reports from others living in New Zealand (ignoring spoofers, of course). However, being the first to experience the event doesn’t always work out – because if Niantic forgets to set up an event properly in time, they are left waiting for a fix. Sometimes it is due to server strain, such as for Community “Day” events (initially three hour, then six hour, and once again three hour long events) in the first year or two of their debut. This would be due to too many players overloading the servers, who want a rare and useful Pokémon suddenly available en masse, and with their Shiny form to boot. And sometimes, it seems it was just a matter of an event bonus being forgotten about until players complain.
The consequence, then, is that New Zealand players experience an issue, have it fixed (usually with no compensation, such as extra time for their event), and the rest of the world’s players benefit with a fully working event. Sadly, by our count – and it could be higher, given an imperfect search function – there’s been at least fifty instances of New Zealand GO players being affected by bugs.
We have listed these cases below, with links to each report made on The Silph Road subreddit. A couple are arguably beneficial, and others, such as an incorrect time or date displayed, are fairly mundane. The majority however are significant bugs or issues that hamper gameplay, result in late starts for time-limited events, or outright crash the game. We also note that these do not include many issues that have affected players worldwide, such as the week-long removal of the Shiny chance for Galarian Ponyta shortly after its release.
- Instead of Hoothoot, Teddiursa was the Spotlight Hour Pokémon for the first 20 minutes, possibly as Teddiursa had been the Community “Day” Pokémon that same month (29th November 2022)
- Shadow Machop and Sableye from two Team Rocket Admins could not be Shiny for several hours for the new Rocket event (14th November 2022)
- Battle “Day” rewards for Miltank encounters were inaccessible for several timezones (6th November 2022)
- The Día de Muertos event spawns started 22 minutes late in New Zealand (1st November 2022)
- Zorua were advertised to spawn between 6:00 to 6:05 p..m. and 6:55 to 7:00 p.m. (the first and last five minutes of Shuppet Spotlight Hour). However, New Zealand players never got the last set of spawns, and players in later timezones had no Zorua spawns at all (25th October 2022)
- Elite Raids appeared without warning, and for some areas due to their long 24 hour hatch time either prevented other Raids (including the Community “Day” Lampent Raids), or had to be removed temporarily due to blocking Raids, or otherwise not spawn until presumably after the Community “Day” events (15th October 22)
- Meanwhile, multiple reports of no Litwick spawns, and other difficulties, with the Lampent Raids. Fixed a few hours later.
- Mega Gyarados Raid “Day” event started at 11 a.m. rather than 2 p.m. in New Zealand (8th October 2022)
- The Mega Raid Energy rewards were also bugged.
- Mega Alakazam became the Mega Raid boss instead of Mega Aggron as advertised after the conclusion of the Test your Mettle event (22nd September 2022)
- Mega Alakazam Raids did not appear in New Zealand, an hour after the Psychic Spectacular event started as expected (6th September 2022; fixed over 2 more hours later)
- It was then raised that no Shiny Alakazam had been sighted, with this only fixed a further 4 hours later.
- A delay was also seen with the replacement of the regular boxes in the in-game store. The replacement boxes went live a few hours after the event started.
- No Galarian Zigzagoon spawns occurred after players defeated a Galarian Linoone Raid as advertised for some New Zealand and Australian players (13th August 2022)
- On top of this, the Stardust bonus ended early for some players.
- Starly Community “Day” spawns extended beyond the advertised three hours (17th July 2022, fixed a few hours later)
- Zweilous did not spawn during the make-up Deino Community “Day” in New Zealand (16th July 2022)
- Mega Blastoise Raids return without their difficulty correctly adjusted to an easier version (T5 rather than T4) for over two hours (10th May 2022)
- Shadow Venonat (and Omanyte) from Team Rocket Grunt battles could be Shiny, but this was reportedly reverted 5-6 hours afterward (3rd May 2022; report of change in lineup)
- On the same day, Togekiss which debuted in Raids initially had a 1% catch rate (half that of Legendaries), fixed afterward to a much nicer 20% (3rd May 2022; adjusted rates report)
- The Kangaskhan Mega Raid event went poorly with four bugs for all players in time zones before GMT+8 (1st May 2022). The raid difficulty was set to a Tier 5 level, as opposed to T4. This was only fixed for players in time zones of GMT+8 or later.
- These more difficult raids lasted from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., rather than the advertised 2 p.m. This was not the case for Raids with the correct difficulty, so players stuck with the harder Raids couldn’t do any others.
- The free Raid Passes in bugged time zones were not available past 2 p.m., despite advertising stating they could be earned up to two hours after the event.
- Finally, once those Raids did end, no other Raid Eggs spawned until 6:45 p.m. (2.5 hours without any Raids).
- Niantic issues 5 Premium Passes and a Lucky Egg to players in the affected time zones a few days later.
- Exeggcute was the featured Pokémon of a 3 hour long Field Research event, yet for Oceania and east Asia (including Japan), its Shiny rate was seemingly unboosted, while later time zones had it adjusted (16th April 2022; follow-up thread; note something similar happened for a Feebas Field Research event for European players years earlier)
- Niantic later acknowledged the issue and reran the event during another Mega Energy themed event.
- A reward during stage 3 of a new Team Rocket themed Special Research starting at midnight contained 15 Rocket Radars! It was adjusted to one Rocket Rader a few hours later (3rd April 2022)
- Advertised increase of Cottonee spawns during the weekend of the Lush Jungle event is delayed by over an hour (26th March 2022)
- Despite the increase many players reporting the spawn count is still fairly low even in parks.
- Mega Aerodactyl remains the Mega Raid Boss instead of Houndoom when the Lunar New Year event started (1st February 2022)
- Cubchoo Spotlight Hour starts without the costume it has outside of event hours – a benefit for many, until it got “fixed” halfway through (28th December 2021)
- Dragonspiral Descent event starts an hour late, meaning no new spawns or Raid bosses until later (7th December 2021; Raid boss delay)
- Following this, it is announced by Niantic Support that the Shiny form for Druddigon was unavailable for the first four hours (7th December 2021)
- Advertised Double Catch Candy bonus for Spotlight hour not applied (30th November 2021)
- The Community “Day” box for Duskull, and the typical 30 free Ultra Balls, took several hours to be available to players (9th October 2021)
- A rare Monday Legendary Raid Hour became a Mega Raid hour instead, featuring Pidgeot (30th August 2021)
- Regi trio set as Great Battle League reward instead of new Raid Boss Zacian (20th August 2021)
- Double Catch Candy bonus during Spotlight Hour instead gives quadruple Candy – a rare beneficial bug for players (fixed within the hour; 18th August 2021)
- Lures only last for 30 minutes instead of 3 hours during the first part of Tepig Community “Day” (3rd July 2021)
- 3 p.m. Rocket Balloon crashes game (18th May 2021)
- Heatran incorrectly set as Great Battle League (GBL) reward (17th May 2021)
- Finneon, XP bonus Spotlight Hour starts 20 minutes late (27th April 2021)
- Lack of stops, spawns appearing at start of Snivy Community “Day” for New Zealand (10th April 2021)
- Caused by removal of Mega Lopunny from event
- Shellos, Basculin dominating spawns after previous event ends (13th March 2021)
- Thundurus raids start late (10th March 2021)
- Legends event spawns disappear early on (8th March 2021)
- Rocket Balloons not spawning as expected during event (27th February 2021)
- Catch rate for Roselia during its Community “Day” not increased when the event starts (6th February 2021)
- Rayquaza caught during event without advertised move Hurricane (19th January 2021)
- Unova event starts late (4th January 2021)
- Incorrect dates displayed (1st January 2021)
- Snover Spotlight Hour never happens with Snover spawns (29th December 2020)
- Less XP given out during Raid event than advertised (21st December 2020)
- Incense time limited, no event spawns as originally advertised (17th December 2020)
- Pikachu Spotlight Hour continues beyond end time [a positive bug for some] (17th December 2020)
- Overlap of two events (11th December 2020)
- XL Candy disabled during Spotlight Hour [one of the few times XL Candy can be viably farmed] (8th December 2020)
- Double transfer Candy disabled midway through Barboach Spotlight Hour (24th November 2020)
- Barboach also did not spawn from Incense (see this thread)
- Catch rate of Charmander not increased for Community “Day” until later, unlike other events (16th October 2020)
- Birthday event starts 47 minutes late (3rd October 2020)
- Daylight Savings time not updated in-game on time (26th September 2020)
- Make-up event for GoFest does not spawn any Shiny Unown as advertised (16th August 2020)
- As documented here, it took days to get official acknowledgement of the issue after players were informed they were in the wrong. The initial acknowledgement only came via a subreddit thread comment, for an event intended to make up for a previous event error.)
- Kyogre Raids start an hour early [another beneficial bug] (24th July 2020)
- No Double Catch Candy bonus for Kricketot Spotlight Hour (30th June 2020)
- Clefairy spawns poor for first half of its Spotlight Hour (23rd June 2020)
- Many other spawns than the focus Patrat for Spotlight Hour (9th June 2020)
- Late start to Buddy benefits for Community “Day” (23rd May 2020)
- Carvanha Shiny rates lower than for rest of world for vast majority of event (17th May 2020)
- Australia also affected for over half of the six hour event
- Only one post-event hour granted to NZ players for Abra Community “Day” evolution (24th April 2020)
- The Special Research for Abra appeared late for NZ players too (thread)
- Wobbuffet Spotlight Hour starts 15 minutes late (21st April 2020)
- Bad spawns for Magnemite Spotlight Hour (14th April 2020)
- Shiny Broken-heart Spinda not activated (13th February 2020)
- No Piplup Raids as advertised for Piplup Community “Day” (19th January 2020)
- Lag and server issues for Chimchar Community “Day” for Asia-Pacific (16th November 2019)
- Rocket Leaders absent during morning hours (8th November 2019)
- Originally an issue the day before as well (7th November 2019)
- Late start to Raid Hour (25th September 2019)
- Trapinch dominates spawns (18th September 2019)
- Mewtwo Raid event doesn’t start (18th September 2019, second thread)
- Lag and server issues for Mudkip Community “Day” for Asia-Pacific (8th July 2019)
- No free Raid Passes given out (29th June 2019)
- Blaze Kick for Blaziken unavailable following Torchic’s Community “Day” (19th May 2019)
- Compensation given in the form of Charge TMs to some players – intended to be only 10, but sometimes 50 given instead.
- Major downtime and server issues for Bagon Community “Day” for Asia-Pacific, event extended (16th April 2019)
- Major downtime and server issues for Cyndaquil Community “Day” for Asia-Pacific, event extended (10th November 2018)
- Major downtime and server issues for Beldum Community “Day” for Asia-Pacific, event rescheduled (21st October 2018)
- Moltres day results in server issues for Asia-Pacific (8th September 2018)
- Some issues for Squirtle Community “Day” for Asia-Pacific (8th July 2018)
- Major downtime and server issues for Larvitar Community “Day” for Asia-Pacific, event extended (16th June 2018)
- Major downtime and server issues for Dratini Community “Day” for Asia-Pacific (25th February 2018)
It’s a staggering number, and to see it continue this year is disappointing. Some of these had as detailed affected players in other countries – this writer counted amongst those in Australia. Surely it is past time to see a better track record implemented for players in these parts of the world. But right now, the only special attention Niantic are planning to give New Zealand players is the opportunity to trial the removal of gameplay bonuses before most other countries, in a widely unpopular announcement prompting petitions to keep said bonuses in.
As pointed out by u/Froggo14, New Zealand players do not have any time to react to, and prepare for, new events. If there’s an event with details not clearly explained beforehand, or an unexpected Shiny rate to discover, it is up to the players in earlier time zones to discover,. Those in Europe or America have half to nearly a full day to adjust and prepare.
Such issues could be helped by having Niantic employ more beta testers, rather than use the playerbase for this job – it would at least reflect better on the game and the company itself if this was adopted. Some of these issues caused by server issues could also be helped if Pokémon GO had less spoofers, which would often go to New Zealand to get the perks of events first.
Do you know of any other Pokémon GO issues that have affected New Zealand players? Let us know so we can update the list.
Edited by Rabinov, ranko and Sheep.
Thanks to u/littleheaven70 for pointing out a few of these incidents.