Pokémon Go Research quests are a major addition for the game in 2018, introducing new activities for players to accomplish.
Multiple challenges can be completed per day as part of undergoing Field Research quests, providing unique rewards as part of Research Breakthroughs, while Special Research quests chance to uncover never before seen Pokémon, including the elusive Mythical Pokémon Mew.
Research quests and rewards change every month. For example, the first three months were based on the original Legendary Birds, which were the Research Breakthrough reward for that month, with quests to match - so with Moltres as the reward, we saw Fire-themed quests and rewards, for example.
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Pokémon Go January Field Research quests and rewards
The January Field Research has the reward of various Legendary Pokémon from Field Research throughout the year - Articuno, Zapdos, Moltres, Entei, Raikou, Suicune, Ho-Oh and Lugia - for the seventh day. Usually, the rewards from PokéStops are based on the reward Pokémon's Type, but with so many available, there's no fixed Type this month.
Pokémon Go Field Research quests explained
Field research are daily missions collected one at a time by spinning a PokéStop, and will involve finding certain creatures, engaging in battles and more.
Every day PokéStops will give you a new quest, and each type of quest can have one of many different rewards, from previously Raid-exclusive consumables such as TMs and Rare Candy and common items such as Poké Balls.
Examples of quest types include:
- Catch one or two specific Pokemon (such as 3x Pidgey or Murkrow)
- Catch specific Types (such as catch 10x Normal Type Pokemon)
- Catch Weather-boosted Types
- Hatch a certain number of Eggs
- Battle in a Gym a certain number of times
- Battle in a Raid a certain number of times
- Evolve a certain number of Pokemon
- Make a certain number of specific throws (such as Nice, Great or Excellent)
- Spin a certain number of PokeStops
Some of these quest rewards even give you the chance to catch a mystery Pokémon. There's nothing exclusive here, but there does include uncommon and rare Pokémon, such as Tangela and Chansey, depending on the quest in particular.
It's also worth knowing that the quests and associated rewards on offer rotate in a monthly basis. Additionally, some quests can have different rewards, so 'Make 5 Nice Throws' could offer you Balls or the chance to catch a mystery creature. So if you are after a particular Pokémon, make sure you get the variant that has the creature catch as a reward.
Finally, it's also worth knowing that if you pick up a quest, you are free to delete it and catch another by spinning another Pokéstop. You can also complete as many as you like in a day - so when you have space in your inventory, return to a PokéStop to start quest. Spin the same Pokéstop and you'll just get the same quest again though - Pokéstops give out set rewards, that are generally tailored to their location, which refresh every day at midnight. So if you want a new quest you'll need to spin another stop.
Research Breakthroughs explained
Completing one Field Research quest per day will give you a stamp. Get seven stamps - which will take seven days - completes something known as a Research Breakthrough.
These have even greater rewards - including Stardust and Mystery Items - as well as an encounter with a very rare or Legendary Pokémon.
You'll also receive plenty of other items too - including a chance at Rare Candy, Pokéballs, Berries, 2,000 Stardust, 3,000 XP, and a Sinnoh Stone.
The best news about these Research Breakthrough catches is they cannot run away - it has a flee chance of 0 per cent - so the pressure is off. However, it has the same catch rate as normal, so be prepared for it to break out of your balls.
This means you can use Pinap Berries, or even use it as a chance to rack up some of the harder throwing-based Special Research streaks, without any risk of it running away.
It also comes with strong IVs, too, as if the Pokémon was appearing in a Raid encounter or Egg. It always appears at level 15, which is the same for all mystery Pokémon caught from Field Research rewards.
If you're curious, here is all the Research Breakthrough rewards so far:
Research Breakthrough rewards in 2018:
- April 2018: Moltres reward and Fire-themed Field Research
- May 2018: Zapdos reward and Electric-themed Field Research
- June 2018: Articuno reward and Ice / Water-themed Field Research
- July 2018: Snorlax reward and Kanto-themed Field Research
- August 2018: Raikou reward and Electric-themed Field Research
- September 2018: Entei reward and Fire-themed Field Research
- October 2018: Suicune reward and Water-themed Field Research
- November 2018: Shedinja reward and Bug-themed Field Research
- December 2018: Articuno, Zapdos, Moltres, Entei, Raikou and Suicune reward
- January 2019: Articuno, Zapdos, Moltres, Entei, Raikou, Suicune, Ho-Oh and Lugia reward
Finally, the question is - when do the special reward Pokémon change in your Research Breakthrough progress? It's when you claim the reward for your final Field Research task.
So, you can complete the task, but just don't claim the reward for that task before 1pm PST / 9pm UK time of the first of the month, as doing so will activate the arrival of the Special Research reward at the top of the screen.
If it's before then, it'll be the reward for the month before (so in October, this was Suicune). Wait until after, it'll be the next month's (so in November, this is Shedinja).
To clarify further, this is when you complete the task, not open it. Even if you then open it after the change, it'll be the prior month's Pokémon. To be safe, wait until it's the new month if you want to get the latest creature.
Pokémon Go Battles have arrived! Now's a good time to refresh yourself with our Best Pokémon lists and pick up some Sinnoh Stones. Elsewhere this month, the big Pokémon Go Christmas Holiday event 2018 is here, introducing new Baby Pokémon, as well as the usual new January Field Research and additional Shinies. Meanwhile, new Pokémon Go Gen 4 Pokémon continue to be slowly released, along with the return of Legendary Kyogre and Groudon and their counters, and the latest EX Raid Deoxys form, and there's been an update to the Type Chart and type effectiveness multipliers, details of the latest Community Day Pokémon Totodile, and finally what we know about the new Limited Research and Feebas Day and Hoenn event, too.
What are Special Research quests?
Special Research quests, meanwhile, are story-based questlines with unique rewards. Unlike Field Research quests, these are fixed objectives that every player will face, and appear in the game infrequently.
Our A Mythical Discovery explains the eight steps required to unlock Mew, which includes finding specific Pokémon, participating in Raid and Gym battles, and reaching a certain Trainer level.
The arrival of Gen 2's Celebi suggests this is how other Mythicals - such as, we assume, Gen 3's Jirachi - will be released in the game, but as we've now seen with Spiritomb they won't always be restricted to Mythical Pokémon only.
Everything else you need to know about Research quests in Pokémon Go
Though the quest features are well explained in the game, there's some nuance that will help you get the most out of each objective you undertake.
- Completing one of the Special Research objectives will not add a daily stamp to your Research Breakthrough progress - it must be from a Field Research quest instead.
- You can cancel and complete as many Field Research quests as you want per day.
- It's possible to have multiple of the same Field Quest at once, and complete them all at the same time.
- Pokémon encounters from Research quests always feature Level 15 Pokémon, with the 66 per cent to 100 per cent IV spreads you also find in Raid or Egg encounters, and are unaffected by the weather.
- Certain Special Research quests (also known as Mew steps) will be automatically completed if you complete their requirements since they are impossible to 'repeat', such as reaching a certain Trainer or medal level.
- You can spin the same PokéStop for Stop-spinning quests, and there is no difference between Gym Discs and PokéStop Discs when completing spin quests - though Gym Discs don't count towards "new Pokéstop" quests.
- You don't have to 'view' a quest in the quest screen to complete it, so if you don't have time to check what it is (if you're on a bus and there are PokéStops and Pokémon to catch quickly, for example) then it can wait - and if it's the right type of quest, you might have started work on it by the time you check it.
- Pokémon Go Plus can be used to collect quests from PokéStops and complete objectives.
- The mystery Pokémon you can catch after completing certain Field Research quests have the same high-end IV range as Egg and Gym Pokémon.
- You have to catch the mystery Pokémon in order to clear the research from your quest log - you can run away and come back, but you need to catch it to clear the quest, even if it's a rubbish Pokémon. Fleeing and trying again won't reset the Pokémon's stats, either - once it spawns, they're fixed.
- You can "cheese" the "Battle in X number of Raids" quests, by deliberately dodging your way through them until the timer runs out and retrying repeatedly. This is a great way to save on Raid Passes and complete the quest quickly, if you don't mind killing some time. Note that EX Raids do also count towards Raid quests, too.
- Catching evolved forms of Pokémon does count towards "Catch X number of Y Pokémon" quests. So I could catch a Gloom for a "Catch 2 Oddish" quest and it would count.
- Similarly, throwing better-tierd throws than required in ball-throwing quests counts too. So throwing a Great or Excellent Throw will count towards "Make 5 Nice Throws".
- You can miss days and not lose your streak of Stamps - it's just a cap of one Stamp that can be earned per day, not a "streak" that can be lost by missing a day, like the ones for spinning a Pokéstop or catching a Pokémon every day.
- Dittos count towards the types they're disguised as too - so a Ditto disguised as a Pidge will count towards "Catch 3 Pidgey" quests.
- Hatching and evolving Pokémon doesn't count towards catching tasks, you have to physically catch them in the wild or from Raid or mystery Pokémon encounters.
- You can indeed work towards two quests at once - so landing a Great Throw on a Pidgey will both count towards "Catch 3 Pidgey" and "Make 3 Great Throws" quests.
- You can delay claiming rewards for both Field and Special Research, although they'll need to be cleared before you get new ones. Delaying the rewards for you Special Research in particular is a good idea, as some of the later requests reward thousands of XP - it might be worth popping a Lucky Egg before claiming them all togetehr.
Thanks to the Silph Road subreddit for filling in the gaps on some of the above.