Pokemon GO APK NEWS: Halloween event and Community Day features revealed in latest update

NIANTIC has rolled out a new update, but the company may have revealed more information than intended in the patch if new dataleaks are to be believed…

Pokemon GO APK NEWS: Halloween event and Community Day features revealed in latest updateNIANTIC

Pokemon GO APK NEWS: Halloween event and Community Day features revealed in latest update
(Pic: NIANTIC)

Another Pokemon Go update been rolled out, and almost instantly the tenacious sleuths of the internet have dugout all its juicy information.

A big new update has started being issued to Android users today, and dataminers have found a lot of information hidden in the game’s files.

From updates to the way suspended/banned accounts are being handled to what potentially looks like a PvP update, many features are set to be introduced to the game soon.

One of the most interesting bytes of information found in the files for us is the existence of files referencing ‘Fitness Goals’. These look like goals that will reward you with either Candy or Coins or Items for clearing certain distances in-game.

You can read everything we know about the v0.119.3 patch below.

Thanks to the subreddit r/thesilphroad, we know everything we need to know about the new patch and its contents. You can read see the original post here.

1. Tweaks to Suspended/Banned Accounts UI

A small update was included in this APK continuing past momentum on Niantic’s part to flesh out their new anti-cheat systems and policies. Recent updates brought warning and ban messages to accounts flagged for cheating, along with the ability to ‘acknowledge’ the disciplinary action.

This APK includes a small addition of the IsSuspended and IsWarn[sic] attribute of an AcknowledgePunishment metadata for user accounts.

2. A ‘Dark Launch Test’ of a New Websocket Protocol

This is actually a very interesting development to the Silph Road team, and may have broad implications for Pokemon GO and additional Niantic games.

A large portion of the changes in this APK revolve around the “networking” functions of the app. Mobile app networking is hard. Making real-time, multiplayer experiences work reliably on networks as unreliable and laggy as cell networks is very difficult. And we’ve seen Niantic continue to make changes, additions, removals, and tweaks to this part of the client application for almost as long as the app has been live. But the pace of these changes has certainly picked up in recent months.

This new APK brought what appears to be a small test of a completely new approach to network requests in the app. Websockets!

Websockets operate differently than other network protocols. Without getting too deep in the weeds, they’re used when you want to keep a persistent connection, transfer small amounts of data, and listen for events/state-changes in real time. We’ve used them for several real-time projects at TSR.

Websockets will not be the answer to all the networking hurdles an app like Pokemon GO faces, but they can provide some unique advantages in situations like real-time combat or peer-to-peer interactions, and could potentially provide a better ‘sync’ between players and the server when eliminating lag is important.

All sorts of telemetry (reporting) checks have been added to monitor this new protocol’s performance, and it is still unclear if it is even being tested on production devices or only in ‘debug mode’ internally. What we see so far is a few unclear entities’ names. Taking our best stab at putting them together, we see:

• What’s being referred to as a Probe or AdHocProbe – likely the name of the new connection attempts via sockets, either to Niantic’s server or to other players. SEND_PROBE and PROBE_DATA appear as new actions. Interestingly, “ad hoc” could refer here to connections between devices, rather than a device’s connection to the server.

Probes appear to have the following attributes:

• ProbeSideChannel – could either refer to a separate network channel in Unity for listening to events via websockets, or a hook for these new websocket events into the in-app notification ‘inbox’ (e.g. when friends send a gift) which is also referred to as a SideChannel
• ProbeAdHoc / EnableAdhoc – could possibly refer to enabling peer-to-peer connections over websockets.
• AdhocFrequencySec – potentially a telemetry measure of packets per second. This could be being recorded to measure, for example, the reliability and speed of peer-to-peer connections in the field.
• New monitoring via RpcSocketResponseTimeTracker and many other telemetry tools

In the end, we doubt any observable outcome will be visible from these explorations for a while, but this change has the potential to steeply improve some interactions in Pokemon GO, and even provide potential peer-to-peer, real-time connectivity solutions. We’ll be watching this one with great interest!

Quality of Life Updates

3. Battle Party Multi-Select

A reference to a new app configuration setting has been added which appears to indicate an upcoming tweak to Battle Parties:

  • MultiPokemonBattlePartySelect

This setting appears next to others like EnableLocalDiskCaching and maxNumberLocalBattleParties, which leads us to believe it may be a setting that would allow multi-selecting Pokemon (similar to when mass-transferring Pokemon) in the Battle Party creation/edit screen. This has not been reported possible with this APK thus far, so at the very least this feature is disabled – or might refer to something else entirely!

Hints, Leaks, & Upcoming Features

Alright, you made it through the dense stuff – now for the really exciting discoveries!

4. Fall 2018 Event

A new event has been definitively added to the APK’s event dictionary called FALL_2018!

Notably, last year around this time an event called HALLOWEEN_2017 was added, explicitly identified as a “Halloween” event. Does this mean a Halloween event is not happening this year, replaced instead by a wider ‘Fall’ event? Or could we possibly see both? Not every in-game event receives an enumeration like this in the APK. (For example, the Kanto event did not.)

We’ll have to wait and see what’s in store! But we at least know something is planned for ‘Fall’!

5. Meteor Mash: Ready to Rock!

Several new moves have had assets added in recent updates, including Meteor Mash, Power-Up Punch, and Crabhammer. In this update, Meteor Mash was officially added to the APK’s move dictionary – signaling that a server-side switch is now all that’s needed for it to go live!

6. “Fitness” Goals & Rewards!

Now for the most exciting update in this APK… a new incentive structure for Fitness! Here’s what we can glean about this upcoming feature:

  1. Each week, players will have 3 Weekly Fitness Goals to walk increasing amounts of kilometers in-game.
  2. A FitnessReport may show a screen of your progress somewhere in the app, and we believe NumBuddyCandyEarned during the week’s goal will be reflected therein.
  3. It appears that a MinPlayerLevelFitness setting may come into play. This seems very likely to indicate an increased KM goal for higher player levels…
  4. Reaching your Fitness goals will earn Fitness Rewards
  5. It appears that a FitnessRewardsLogEntry will be added to your journal in what we assume will look similar to Raid Rewards journal entries. This entry will indicate the DistanceWalkedKm and (assumedly) the items received.
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