Pokemon Go trainers have started to encounter members of Team Go Rocket without spinning Poke Stops. It seems that the villainous team has taken to the skies in a manner that would make Jessie and James quite proud. Hot air balloons have started to appear in the skies above the map, and the occupants can be challenged by trainers. These encounters include both standard Grunts as well as Leaders, depending on whether or not the player has Rocket Radar enabled. Upon spotting the balloon in the skies, players can challenge Team Go Rocket by clicking on it as it hovers by. Like the Poke Stop battles, players can still decline these battles.
While Niantic has not said so officially, it would appear that the balloons are a clever way of allowing players to engage in battles with Team Go Rocket without having to search out Poke Stops. Obviously, spinning Poke Stops has been a bit difficult for some players over the last few months, which has led to some changes in the game. The hot air balloons had been teased just last week on the Pokemon Go Twitter account, with a pair of blueprint images.
While Team Rocket's hot air balloons were made famous thanks to the Pokemon anime, those hoping to see Jessie and James appear alongside Grunts and Leaders in Pokemon Go seem to be out of luck. It's entirely possible that the duo might still show up at some point, however, as Niantic has remained fairly quiet about the balloons. The developer has only released a single cryptic Tweet showcasing a balloon encounter with Sierra, which can be found below.
The coronavirus pandemic has provided a unique challenge for Pokemon Go, particularly since the game has always encouraged players to explore the real-world to discover Pokemon. Over the last few months, however, Niantic has managed to come up with a number of unique ways to keep the Pokemon Go community invested in the game. Team Go Rocket balloons seem like an excellent way of continuing that trend, and allowing players to engage in battles with the group while quarantining at home.
What do you think of the Team Go Rocket balloons in Pokemon Go? Are you happy with the game's latest addition? Let us know in the comments or share directly on Twitter at @Marcdachamp to talk all things gaming!