Pokémon GO’s Regionals Problem Is Getting Worse, Not Better

Pokémon GO has unleashed the vast majority of Gen 3 Pokémon at this point with a new batch a few days ago. And with it came even more regional Pokémon, two that are now split across two halves of the world, and one that finally gave Africa its first regional, Tropius.

I know some folks in Africa are happy to get their own regional after a year and a half of being left out, but I think Pokémon GO’s regional problem is only getting worse when it’s been time for a long time for Niantic to make it better.

Quite simply, there are way, way too many regionals now, creating yawning holes in players’ increasingly large Pokedexes. These Pokémon are now more rare than Legendaries because of their regional availability, requiring players to literally travel to a ton of different locations around the world to get them, or to pray for some sort of global event that briefly unlocks them.

Here’s the full list of currently available regionals, which has grown massive:

  • North America – Tauros
  • Japan – Farfetch’d
  • Europe – Mr. Mime
  • South America – Heracross
  • Australia – Kangaskhan
  • New Zealand – Relicanth
  • Africa – Tropius
  • India/Central Asia – Torkoal
  • Equator band (between 30 degrees north and south) – Corosola
  • Eastern Hemisphere – Seviper, Solrock, Illumise
  • Western Hemisphere – Zangoose, Lunatone, Volbeat

And just recently Plusle and Minun lost their hemispheric exclusivity, and are now everywhere.
Niantic

Pokemon GO

But that’s 15 regional exclusive Pokémon, where most players will only be able to catch 3-4 at any given time, depending on where they live.

I understand the fundamental argument for regionals. In a game about moving around the real world to catch Pokémon, I do get how it was kind of cool to travel to a new place and have specific Pokémon there. With that said, Pokémon GO is a collection-based game where one of really the only goals is to build out a full Pokedex. But because of regionals, no matter how many eggs you hatch or wild Pokémon you find or raids you complete, you will be short a solid 10 or so Pokémon unless you have the ability to travel around the world to collect the rest.

I think that’s kind of…terrible? I’ve seen a lot of GO YouTubers take region-specific trips to catch these new Pokémon, and while I agree that travel is cool and should be encouraged, this system would seem to discriminate against those who do not have the time or money to go on global adventures (ie. most people). The end result is a game that feels incomplete for the vast majority of the playerbase because it is simply impossible for most to finish. The craziest I’ve seen the Pokémon GO community go in recent memory was when the Global Catch Challenge unleashed Farfetch’d worldwide for a brief window at the very end, because that thing was more of a Legendary bird than Zapdos, Moltres or Articuno at that point, with only the Japanese having access to it. There’s something fundamentally wrong with that.
Niantic

Pokemon GO

As part of my hopes for Pokémon GO in 2018, I wished that regional exclusivity would go away. It was fine for a while, but its time had come and gone as people wanted to complete full generations in their Pokedexes. Instead, it’s only getting worse, with the first few months of the year introducing even more regional Pokémon. Granted the game has covered almost every region now short of the Arctic, but the more regionals introduced, the more holes in most people’s Pokedexes.

I know a lot of people like regionals, so I may be alone in this, but I think it runs contrary to the only goal of Pokémon GO, catching them all, as it restricts that ability to only a select subset of players.