What I Learnt From… Mewtwo As A Forced Metaphor

Sometimes I write posts that even I know will cause people to question whether I’m 14 or 34 years old.  I am, just to confirm, the latter.  However, I have no problems admitting that I quite enjoy Pokemon Go, the AR game where you walk round catching little monsters on your phone.

In the game, you can leave your Pokemon in something called gyms.  While in the gym, other teams can battle against your Pokemon to kick it out the gym.  The longer your Pokemon stays in gym, the more coins you earn as a reward.

The other purpose of gyms is that they host something called raids, which is something that was added to the game last year and causes groups of Pokemon Trainers to use their monsters to battle against a strong raid boss.  Beat the boss and you get a chance to catch it.

The latest addition to the raid line up is something called an EX Raid.  This is an invitation only raid to battle the legendary Mewtwo, and is the only way to catch Mewtwo in the game currently.

Ex Raids were first announced as a thing in September 2017 where they would undergo three months of testing.  During the testing phase, very few people got invitations and they were mainly limited to America before a few were tested worldwide.

At the start of December 2017, Niantic (the game’s maker) took EX Raids out of testing with a blog post saying the best way to get invited to one.

My local group started work and a lot of them really did work to a level you would not believe.  As time went by, though, even our best laid plans were proving fruitless.

Now, I’m one of these people who loves to know how things work.  One of my favourite parts of the game is understanding the mechanics of how good a Pokemon is in certain situations.  I’d seen some reports of how a gym might be selected for an EX Raid.  Niantic already said that the gyms would be in parks, and we knew that the game uses Open Street Map to build its virtual world, so I set about finding local gyms in areas tagged as “park” on OSM.

The other bit of evidence we had was that only one EX Raid per week was held in each Level 12 S2 Cell.  S2 is something Google came up to place a spherical earth in to a hierarchical structure of points.  It looks like a map grid, but the cells can have different levels from 1 (huge) to 20 (tiny).  We put the level 12 S2 cells over my local area and found two gyms to target.

However, by the time we worked all that out, a large group of us had got passes for two local gyms, and neither were the ones we’d identified!

So, what did I learn from it?

The first and most obvious thing is how the best laid plans fall to (seemingly) complete fluke.  I got my pass for a “playground” rather than a park.  You work and you plan and then something, anything, good or bad, can just happen.

The second thing struck me when I was talking to someone about it before I got my invitation.  I was saying how I was more interested in actually getting the pass than the reward at the end.  It was the thrill of the chase that was the appealing bit.  Now I have it, though, I really want to catch a Mewtwo at the end.  I’m expecting that (if I do), I’ll then want a good Mewtwo.

Goals are shifting.  Some similar examples would be getting a job.  First you want a job because you want to get paid.  Then you want a job that pays a lot and then you want one that you enjoy and pays a lot.  I was actually thinking about in the way of other things too, where first you just want the thing and then, when you’ve had it, you want a good quality of it.

I wondered what it would be like to start the end.  I don’t like bucket lists because I think they place emphasis on disappointment as a motivator.  By aiming for smaller, achievable targets as a stairway to the ultimate target you’re having a constant stream of success, but some will look at it as a cop out against an all or nothing approach.

My raid is next week.  I’m sure when I join it I will be acting like a 14 year old.

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