Pokémon Go's latest event has come under fire from fans trying to collect a rare, costumed creature - Flower Happiny - which has only a tiny chance of hatching from one of the game's loot box-style eggs.
This creature was advertised as one of several new additions to Pokémon Go in its Spring into Spring 2021 event, and was listed as being available only from eggs with 10 other species.
But the reality is a huge number of creatures are available in the game's event egg pool - and Flower Happiny has a very low chance of actually appearing.
Pokémon Go does not publish the specific odds of hatching particular creatures from its eggs but does, as of last month, now list potential hatches and separate them into rarity tiers.
Upon acquiring an event egg, players can peer within its possible contents and see Flower Happiny is of "five-egg" rarity - denoting the game's lowest chances, and a tier usually reserved for ultra-rare creatures like Axew. You can see this in the image below.
This does not seem to fit with the wording of developer Niantic's earlier blog post, which stated:
"The following Pokémon will be hatching more often from 2km eggs: Exeggcute, Eevee wearing a flower crown, Pichu wearing a flower crown, Togepi, Azurill, Buneary, Happiny wearing a flower crown, Munchlax, Rufflet, and Bunnelby."
Is Flower Happiny hatching more often than normal? Well, technically yes, since it is not available normally at all. But this obscures the fact that it (and Munchlax) are in reality much rarer than everything else on this list.
But even with this indicator of rarity, there are several other points of criticism fans have raised.
First off, there's the length of the event. Having an ultra-rare creature available via eggs is not intrinsically terrible (though long-time Axew and Riolu hunters may beg to differ) if players are given a fair enough window to find one. Some creatures should be rarer than others, while also feeling fair. But Flower Happiny is not a permanent addition - it is slated to disappear at the end of the Spring into Spring event later this week. In total, the event lasts four and a half days, from Sunday 4th April at 10am local time, to Thursday 8th April at 8pm local time.
Next, there are the expectations set by previous events that fans assumed this would also follow. Typically, a new costumed baby Pokémon variant is not hard to find in event eggs, with most players able to hatch at least one during the duration of the event, and whales left to chase its even rarer Shiny version. (And yes, Flower Happiny is also available Shiny, too.)
Then there are the general issues of eggs in the game, which persist here. We've covered Pokémon Go's problematic egg and incubator mechanics in detail in the past as they've long been a huge concern for the game's dedicated community. The recent addition of egg rarity tiers appeared to be a small step towards acknowledging their loot box-like nature, and was broadly welcomed by fans. But this event seems to have undermined that trust.
The majority of eggs you find in the game's current event are the 2km-distance ones with Happiny potentially inside. But not all are, so you'll have to also have to clear those, and you'll of course have to make room in your egg backlog to start picking event eggs up.
Finally, the event has a half distance modifier for egg hatching - meaning those 2km eggs are actually 1km. On the surface, this means you'll be able to hatch more eggs over the course of the event, which means more chances of a Flower Happiny. But it also means that anyone spending money on additional incubators will use those up faster. Couple that with the fact there was no prior indication of Flower Happiny's rarity beforehand, and the expectations of its rarity from other events, and this may simply increase player spending.
As a reminder, Pokémon Go uses a typical lootbox and key gameplay mechanic where you can hatch one egg at a time for free, or pay to hatch more with paid-for additional incubators. You can hatch up to nine eggs at a time if you buy enough incubators, and you can purchase premium incubators to speed up hatching even further - making 2km eggs in the event hatch in just 670 metres.
So, just how hard to find is Flower Happiny? Fans have been totalling up their catches and trying to calculate the odds of each egg tier. Final research from fan reddit The Silph Road is still in the works, but early indications from one fan who hatched 113 eggs in one day is that Happiny - and everything else in its five-star tier - has around a 1-2 per cent chance of appearing.
Just this weekend, Eurogamer reported on new research from UK universities that "robustly verified" a link between loot boxes and problem gambling - and highlighted FOMO (fear of missing out) as a particular problem.
We've contacted developer Niantic for more.