Pokemon Go’s Bug Out event has now been upgraded to an Ultra Unlock Bug Out event because we collectively managed to complete enough Field Research tasks during Go Fest: Sapporo, whether you attended in person or not. However, the Bug Out event may impact Spotlight Hour more than Go Fest impacted it. Confused? I don’t blame you. Luckily, I’m here to explain.
I completed seven whole Field Research tasks during the Go Fest: Sapporo event (from England), so you can thank me now for your extra bonuses. If you saw anyone on your friends list do more than that, even racking them up into the triple figures, no you didn’t. Pokemon Go players collectively hitting Niantic’s arbitrary milestone has given us a bunch of extra special bonuses for the Bug Out event, which begins on August 10. These bonuses include Unown T appearing (very Bug-y), Pansage releasing globally (like it did in the last event), and bonuses to Candy and XL Candy, which are nice. But it’s the regular spawns that will provide the biggest rewards of the week-long bugfest.
The particular creepy crawlies to watch out for are Karrablast and Shelmet. And newcomer Grubbin of course, but that won’t help you get free XP. You see, trading Karrablast or Shelmet means you can evolve them for free, like Machoke or Boldore. “This is all well and good, Ben Sledge, features editor at The Gamer [sic],” I hear you say, “but I already have Accelgor and Escavalier!” We’re not here to complete the PokeDex, dear reader. Well, we are, but we’re also here to claim some free XP.
You see, during the Pidove Spotlight Hour on August 30, two weeks after the Bug Out event finishes, the lovely little bonus is 2x Evolve XP. You can see where this is going. If you hoard enough Karrablasts and Shelmets and trade them with friends, you can spend this whole hour ignoring the Pidoves and evolving Pokemon with no Candy cost at all. You’ll be rolling in XP by the end of the hour, and you won’t have even missed out on a good Pokemon spawning in your vicinity. It’s a pigeon, and a pigeon that most of us already have shiny by now.
This method relies on you having enough storage space to keep a bunch of useless Pokemon hanging around for a couple of weeks, and a free hour to click ‘Evolve’ like 60 to 100 times, but the rewards could be great. While the evolution animation takes a while – about 25 seconds to be precise – you’ll easily be able to evolve a Pokemon a minute, and maybe more if you’re well prepared and are paying attention. I’m going to aim for 100.
Is it worth it though? Let’s do some maths. Evolving a Pokemon grants you 1,000 XP, which is doubled due to the Spotlight bonus. Evolving a Pokemon a minute would give you a delicious 120,000 XP, more than ranking up to Best Friends, and equivalent to 12 Tier 5 Raids. Seeing as Raid Passes cost about £1 each, you’re saving a tenner or four months of grinding friendship off the bat. Add two Lucky Eggs into the mix – oh yes, they stack – and that XP is doubled. A quarter of a million XP suddenly looks like an achievable goal.
Technically, you can watch 144 Pokemon Go evolutions in an hour, but this doesn’t account for the clicking in between. But if you organise 120 traded Shelmets and Karrablasts into a box before you start, I think you can evolve them all during Spotlight Hour. At that point, you’re looking at 480,000 XP. For free.
There’s one cost to this: the Stardust fee for trading. But if both you and your friend have Karrablast and Shelmet in your PokeDexes and you’re not trading shinies, it’ll only set you back 100 dust per trade. After the first, they’ll both be in your ‘dexes anyway, so the initial cost doesn’t impact further trades. For most people trying to maximise the Spotlight Hour, this means the trading will cost you 12,000 Stardust. That’s a little more than levelling up one Pokemon from 39.5 to 40. And if you’re reading this article about maximising XP gains, it’s highly likely that you’re a fairly serious grinder and you’ve done that a few times in your Pokemon Go career.
For anyone who is opposed to the idea of min-maxing a Pokemon Go event, you don’t have to do it. You can catch whatever you want during the Bug Out event and then catch a thousand Pidoves in Spotlight Hour. But if you want to get some levels, then this is the easiest Pokemon Go has made it in quite some time.
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