What is Medium-Density?
Medium-density areas are probably the most common areas where English speaking trainers play the game. It is also the type of place that Niantic seems to understand best. They use such areas as their reference point for game mechanics because most of the San Francisco Bay area where Niantic is headquartered would be considered medium-density. Many cities and suburbs are medium-density although the exact spot on the “medium” range will vary. In these areas, players can usually achieve all their daily goals with some effort and have to decide on their end game goals.
For most casual players, raiding with other people is something that rarely happens. They’ll typically settle for tier 1 and 2 raids when they want to use their free raid pass. More dedicated players will typically be part of a group on a feature-rich chat app such as Discord or Telegram. Smaller groups may also coordinate using chat apps such as Facebook or WhatsApp. With these apps, players will organize groups when higher level raids spawn to make sure players arrive together and there are enough people to raid. Of course, not every attempt to form a raid group is successful.
Most raid groups have more success outside of working hours such as weekends or the evenings. Raid groups near universities tend to have greater success during weekdays because students who aren’t in class will show up.
Players who are trying to catch legendaries in a medium density area should be prepared to wait and travel out of their way to a gym where other players are gathering. You’ll probably see some of these players again, so be nice and be prepared to talk to them if it’s part of the local culture. When there aren’t any raid groups for higher tier raids, hardcore players may try to solo raids that are tier 3 and below.
Gyms in Medium-Density Areas
In most medium-density areas, there are certain times during the day when gyms are attacked. In most places, this is evenings and mornings with some minor activity during lunchtime. On weekends or near universities, there may be some additional times when gyms are commonly attacked. This means that most people will find a gym with Pokemon that are at low motivation at the beginning of these windows and take it down or add their own Pokemon to a gym that recently got taken over by a teammate. Anyone who makes the effort to get on a gym or two each day can pretty much guarantee the maximum of 50 coins. This makes such areas nice for casuals because most players have little trouble taking out gyms with low motivation and often have the opportunity to simply add a Pokemon to a gym for free coins.
The lack of challenge in reaching the daily coin maximum means that more hardcore players like to make their own personal gym goals to keep things interesting. For most of these trainers, the main goal is to have gold gym badges on all the gyms in the area. Some may also have a “territory” of some gyms that they want to constantly be on top of and will actively kick people out of these gyms even after getting their daily coins. Others may go around filling gyms with “interesting” Pokemon to show off their collection.
The experience for majority team and minority team players in medium density areas can be very different when the team distributions are not balanced. When you are in the majority, your rewards from raids tend to be higher simply because there are more players on your team doing a raid. It is easier to split off into a separate raid group and when raiding with players from multiple teams, you are more likely to get the extra team contribution balls. Additionally, majority team players are also more likely to gain the team control bonus for raids. On the other hand, minority team players may have a slightly better experience capturing gyms. When seeking gyms to add their Pokemon into, majority team players may see many full gyms of their own color and need to travel to find a gym to take down or add to. Minority team player are likely to have much more selection in the gyms they want to put their Pokemon in.
Medium density areas are the sweet spot in terms of gym coins, but players who want to do high tier raids may find themselves spending money on transportation to raids, making the game not entirely free to play. An active player would be able to recognize a good number of other players in their area and know when gyms tend to change colors. I personally like to take a couple of gyms around dinnertime and wake up to 50 coins, but players who capture gyms on their way to work have just as much success with daily coins. The extra gyms are just in case one doesn’t fall at the right time.
Organizing raids is worth an article in itself but here’s some tips that can be helpful:
- Post all the information that people may care about: raid boss, despawn time, gym color, gym location, etc.
- Have a system to RSVP to raids. Here is an example using emotes in Discord:
- Make it easy for people to find your group. Consider maintaining a facebook or other public front end that links to your group. If you use Discord, add your group to the Silph Road’s community map.
- If your group gets a lot of new members, have some type of map so people know what places you are talking about. Also have some easy to reference way to look up other people’s teams such as roles with colors.
- If your geographic coverage is large, split up your group into separate groups or channels so that members can mute notifications for areas they are not interested in.
- Make sure everyone is on the same page about what is socially acceptable. Are people expected to wait for people who show up late? Is it OK to attack gyms to change their color before raid eggs hatch? And so on.
If you are visiting a medium density area, try to get plugged in to a local raid group before arriving if you plan to do higher tier raids. Players coming from high density areas may want to try their hand at soloing some lower level raid bosses that they’ve likely ignored in the past and raid at some EX eligible gyms if their stay is longer than a week. Players from low density areas may want to put extra effort into getting connected to other players. Sometimes, players in middle density areas like to organize “raid days” where players get a bunch of Premium Raid Passes and hit up multiple raids in sequence as a group. It is often great to participate in these, especially if you are on the minority team and struggling to catch the newest raid boss.