Pokémon Go still has a huge fan base, many of which turned out yesterday to catch shiny Bulbasaur during the game’s third community event. These one-a-month events have been a success, but are not enough to keep the most ardent fans engaged. Those players who have reached level 40 and caught every Pokémon will have something else to explore later this week.
Niantic is adding NPC quests to the game, starting with Professor Willow asking you to help him locate Mew, the only remaining Gen 1 Pokémon. Assisting Willow sounds like an elaborate process that is broken up into two tasks: field research and special research. Field research is conducted by spinning PokéStops, which now give players objectives, such as discovering and catching certain Pokémon, or engaging in battles. Special research comes directly from Willow. Niantic isn’t giving specifics on what Willow wants, but does say he will take you on a journey to make discoveries.
Completing the research assignments brings rewards for the players. A screenshot below shows a player earning stardust, a mystery item, and a Pokémon encounter. The player also earns a stamp, but can only collect one a day. The screen shows that the player needs six more to earn a breakthrough with Willow.
All of the research likely adds up to the player being able to locate, battle, and catch Mew.
The addition of NPCs and quests is a huge addition to the game, but we’ll have to wait until the content drops to see just how deep this well is. Right now it appears Niantic is only rolling out one NPC. I don’t think this is Niantic just testing the waters. The company has never delivered a ton of content at once, and I’m guessing we’ll see new NPCs appear and disappear as time passes. It would be great to see NPCs everywhere in the world, each asking different things, but it looks like Niantic intends to keep the focus on one thing at a time. It isn’t a bad roadmap, as it appears we’re getting events every couple of weeks now.