Why Pokemon Go needs to put Legendaries in Research Breakthroughs again

Daniel Megarry
Legendary Pokemon Dialga and Palkia as Research Breakthrough rewardsNiantic

Research Breakthroughs used to be one of the most exciting features of Pokemon Go, but they’ve now become useless for many Trainers. Niantic, it’s time to bring back Legendaries.

There are many monthly features that get the Pokemon Go community excited, from new Spotlight Hour schedules to rotating Legendaries in Raid Battles and even the speculation surrounding Community Days.

One thing you probably won’t find on that list of exciting events, though, is Research Breakthroughs. So what went wrong?

When Research Breakthroughs were introduced back in 2018, they were the best way to get Legendaries like Moltres, Suicune, and Entei. They rewarded loyalty, as players needed to log in for at least seven days to earn a Research Breakthrough encounter, but also made Legendaries accessible for all Trainers.

Pokemon Go Research Breakthrough screenshotNiantic / The Pokemon Company
Players unlock Research Breakthrough after collecting seven stamps.

Even on the odd month that a Legendary wasn’t featured as a Research Breakthrough encounter, there would be something interesting like a costume Pokemon or a strong fighter like Snorlax. Then, at the beginning of 2020, Niantic removed Legendaries from Research Breakthroughs entirely.

Research Breakthrough encounters have been a mixed bag ever since, with some semi-decent stars like Gible and Larvitar, and others such as Raichu and Clamperl that have no use in PvE or the Go Battle League meta. Most of these don’t even benefit from being particularly rare finds, either.

Not only have Trainers lost interest in Research Breakthroughs as a result, but it’s also made the prospect of catching Legendaries quite intimidating for newcomers or casual players, as the only major way to get them now is by defeating Raid Bosses.

These battles require a team of high-level Pokemon to have any chance at success, with the best way to win often being to already have a range of Legendaries in your collection. This requires far more investment and planning than logging in and completing a Field Research task each day, something not all players have time for.

Pokemon Go promotional image showing numerous gymsNiantic
Pokemon Go Gym Raids aren’t accessible for those in remote areas.

Getting Legendaries is even harder for Trainers who live in rural areas, as they often need to travel far and wide to find a Gym that has a Legendary 5-Star Raid Battle going on. Even when they do find one, the chances of there being enough people taking part to win a Raid Battle are incredibly slim.

The only real choice for rural Trainers looking for Legendaries is to shell out on Remote Raid Passes, which are still considered to be premium items despite being the only way for lots of people to take part in Raids. It makes Legendaries feel inaccessible to players who just want to complete their Pokedex.

Even now, almost two years after Legendaries were removed from Research Breakthrough encounters, Trainers are still calling on Niantic to reverse their decision. They’ve proven they’re willing to listen to the community following the recent PokeStop distance controversy, so there’s no reason they can’t do it again.

It’s not too late to bring Legendaries back to Research Breakthroughs and make them as exciting as they used to be.