[Story] Today, I soloed Mewtwo
About me as a player: I started playing in September of last year and reached level 40 in August (about 11.5 months). For most of that time I was F2P. I bought GO+ earlier this year, and only in the last few months spent money to buy Poke coins (~$11 of my own money and ~$14 of Google Play credit). I play every day and do 10-12 raids per week (using daily free passes and buying premium passes with gym coins). Before this month, I did Legendary raids almost exclusively, but now that our Beast is Suicune, I've shifted my focus to raiding at gyms where EX raids are more likely to occur (so ignoring raids at gyms that are on a street corner, for example). I had done a raid at a Starbucks after the 2nd wave of invites, and then a raid at a Sprint store after the 3rd wave, but never got an EX invite for those gyms (both gyms are outside of my normal area of play so I didn't do more raids there).
My city has received EX raid invites every week since the first week, with the exception of the third week (I think that adds up to 8 but I've lost count). I didn't receive an EX pass for the first several weeks and was starting to get salty, and then I finally received my first pass last Friday afternoon, for a gym that I had only ever done one raid at (a tier 3 by myself) the weekend before (the gym is not where I normally play, about a 15-min drive from where I live). I got pretty excited and restless and started looking up videos to prepare myself to battle and catch Mewtwo. Then I saw a bunch of posts on this sub and The Sliph Road about last week's EX raid groups being smaller – some too small to even complete the raid. I got a bit worried, but I didn't hear of that being a problem in my city (I went to a friend's EX raid last Saturday and though they only had 10 people, they still beat it easily), so I thought I'd be okay.
I had posted a pic of my EX pass on my local Discord group, but didn't see anyone else post the same one or mention they got the same one, which worried me. But I also noticed some people last week got their pass only 2 days before the raid, so I thought maybe some would get it late, and I also figured some people who don't use Discord may have gotten an invite.
So today I arrived at the EX raid location ~20 min before it started. The gym was at low motivation and just had Eevee and its evolutions so I took it over and put a Blissey. No one else added and no one else attacked. The raid started and I didn't see anyone else playing Pokemon GO. I waited and waited, watching the lobby count to see if there might've been spoofers. As time ticked by, I started to lose hope. I was hoping maybe a group had organized through other means and was planning to come towards the end. I thought maybe the other invitees were an organized spoofer group that did their own private group, but that didn't seem likely, especially not at that gym (there's a Sprint store less than 10 min away).
With less than 10 minutes left on the raid timer, I accepted that I still would not be getting my first Mewtwo. So I futilely battled it, just for fun, and was at least a bit pleased to see I could take about one-third of its HP.
I'm left wondering what the heck happened. I'm wondering if I just got trolled by Niantic. I honestly have no idea if anyone else even received an invite. I don't normally play in that area so I don't know how many raids pop up at that gym and how many players raid there. The gym (located at a park) is in a pocket of a mostly residential area, just around the corner from a city college. I figure it's not a high-traffic area, but I think it makes a perfect EX raid location: it had a pretty big parking lot, there was even street parking, and it wasn't crowded. It could've easily accommodated 40+ people.
During the first round of EX raids, I heard that at least one location near my area (a Sprint store) had over 50 people. Bringing together so many people over a shared interest/hobby is one of the things that makes the game fun and exciting to me. And doing that at a park would make so much more sense in my opinion (I mean, I think at a Sprint store it would annoy customers and employees more than it would promote their business).
I don't even know what Niantic is testing at this point. It seems like they are just reducing the invites week by week until eventually there are EX raids but no invites. I don't know who at Niantic thought this EX system was a good idea: limiting players to a specific time and location, and if you can't make it or don't have enough people to beat it, you don't even get to use the pass at a different EX raid. Mewtwo is the only reason why I'm still raiding now. If I can't get one, then I don't even know what the point is anymore.
The one silver lining is that it was a nice day today, and I did enjoy walking around the park after the failed EX raid. It's a shame that Niantic didn't invite more people out to enjoy the nice weather at the park. I think they could have realistically invited every single player that completed a raid at that gym in the week before the invite
s was sent out, and it wouldn't have been too many.