Pokemon Go Introduces New Way To Battle Team Rocket

Ahead of Pokemon Go Fest 2020, Niantic has begun rolling out another new feature in Pokemon Go. In another effort to make the game easier to play amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the studio is introducing a new way to encounter and battle Team Rocket grunts: Rocket balloons.

As you play, you’ll periodically spot a Team Rocket hot air balloon floating in the sky above the overworld map. Tap on the balloon and you’ll initiate a battle with the Team Rocket grunt who is piloting it (or even Jessie and James). As before, you’ll earn rewards and get a chance to capture one of Team Rocket’s Shadow Pokemon if you can defeat them in battle.


According to the official Pokemon Go website, Team Rocket balloons will appear in the game “once every few hours,” and they’ll only be available for a limited time. However, you may spot more Rocket balloons during takeover events. If you have a Rocket Radar, you’ll also be able to encounter one of the three Team Go Rocket leaders–Cliff, Arlo, or Sierra–in a balloon.

Before the addition of Team Rocket balloons, the primary way to encounter a Team Rocket grunt was at an invaded PokeStop, which entailed being in that physical location–something that is much more difficult to do now due to the coronavirus pandemic. Thanks to this feature, however, it should be much easier to catch new Shadow Pokemon even from home.

July is a busy month for Pokemon Go. Ahead of the aforementioned Pokemon Go Fest event, Niantic is offering a series of weekly challenges in the game. If enough players on each team complete these, Niantic will unlock additional Pokemon to catch during Go Fest weekend. The studio has also teased that the Mythical Pokemon Victini will make its debut during day two of Pokemon Go Fest.

Before then, July’s Gastly Community Day will take place on July 19. The Legendary Kyurem is also appearing in Raid Battles right now, and there are new Field Research tasks for July to complete.

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