What is High-Density?
High-density areas are typically major cities with thousands of active Pokemon GO players. Some examples are Hong Kong, Singapore, and New York. Almost everyone who lives in these areas knows what a Pokemon GO mob looks like even if they have never actually played the game. Pokestops, gyms, and spawns are plentiful, so players are often cleaning their bags to make room for more Pokemon and items. In these areas, the game is very much pay to win although there isn’t anything of value to win except the right to brag about how many legendaries and XP you have.
One of the best things about playing in high-density areas is easy raids. It’s usually easy to walk up to any legendary raid and just start raiding. Most good raids will have a few dozen to over a hundred people raiding on it at any given time. An example of a mid-afternoon raid on a weekday in Hong Kong is pictured below:
You probably won’t be in the same raid group as the person standing next to you because raid groups can hit 20 players within seconds during busy times. In fact, players will complain if their group didn’t get enough people in 2 minutes because they wasted all that time watching the countdown and now have to quit and join another raid group. Players who only want to use free passes may be selective about what raids they go to, often choosing to only raid at gyms owned by their team or EX eligible gyms. Most players aren't part of any Pokemon related groups on social networking services because it isn’t necessary.
Players who are willing to spend money on Premium Raid Passes can catch multiple legendaries per hour as a solo player in these areas. Of course, if you are interested in raiding an unpopular Tier 4 boss, your chances of forming a raid group may not be as high. Another thing to expect if you raid in these areas is never getting an EX Raid Pass. With so many people and a relatively small number of gyms and players being selected, even players who raid dozens of times each day may never get that elusive pass. Hardcore raiders will often start traveling to their next gym before they’ve finished their current raid to maximize time use.
In addition to chances for an EX Raid Pass, another cost of easy raids in high-density areas is gym defense. Gym turnover in high-density areas means that time defended can often be measured better in minutes than hours. Getting gym coins consistently is an impossible task, so items in the shop are basically off limits to anyone who doesn’t want to spend money. At busy times such as weekend afternoons, getting a Pokemon onto a gym and feeding it the maximum number of berries is no guarantee of any gym coins:
Even when the Pokemon lasts longer than 10 minutes, it’s far more likely to return with a single digit rather than double digit coins. Many trainers who play the game daily in these areas have never gotten the maximum 50 coins in a day. That’s why an awesome feeling when playing in these areas is having a Pokemon on a gym when a raid egg hatches, because the raid guarantees some gym defense time.
In addition to the challenges of keeping Pokemon on gyms, getting them onto gyms in the first place is also difficult. Trainers are constantly feeding berries, so there’s no guessing how long an attack will take until you’re done. Once a Pokemon is knocked out, trainers of all teams flock to the gym. Those sporting the same color as the gym compete to snipe the spot when the 10-minute lock expires while propping up the Blissey with berries. Players on the other two teams are trying to take the gym down before that countdown ends and hopefully snag a spot of their own. Being in the group that takes down a gym is no guarantee of a gym slot because other players who battled with you are also competing for those spots. The other team could get the gym first, or the game may stop you because you are trying to put in the same Pokemon as another player.
Two challenges if you are from these areas are obtaining EX Raid Passes and gym defense. The best thing you can do is to go out of the main city area for these. Other than that, try to keep as many Blissey as possible, because she’s loads ahead of the pack in a place where every minute counts. Additionally, Blissey is often the only Pokemon being kept alive with berries when trainers are waiting for 10 minutes to grab a gym slot. For EX Raid Passes, keep track of which gyms have had EX raids and keep raiding at as many of them as possible. If you are not from a high-density area but visiting one for a short time, be prepared with all the coins you will want to spend since getting coins from gyms will not be worth your time. Also, save up on some Premium Raid Passes, because raiding will be a lot of fun. Just remember that when your raid group is huge, DPS is king so don’t dodge and don’t pick tanks if you want a chance at an extra Premier Ball.