Pokemon Go | Big Heritage event | Chester Review

So we've just got back from attending the Big Heritage event in Chester that has been endorsed by Niantic, creators of Pokémon Go. We had a great time exploring the city and I thought I'd write a quick post about our experience of the event.

Firstly the positives:
  • A day of good weather - This may seem like a weak point to start on but the weather was gorgeous, and this made the day very enjoyable for us. It also meant there were thousands of people wandering round Chester playing Pokémon Go, which was a great sight to see. I can't help but think if the weather hadn't been as nice i may have caught some more Pokémon (see negatives).
  • A well run event - The Big Heritage team deserves a big congratulations for their efforts in running the event. The Pokémon PassPort and Trail were a nice touch, and the staff were very friendly when I was getting stamps in the PassPort.
  • So many PokéStops with lures - I read that Niantic introduced 120 additional stops to the city centre for the event, this meant there were plenty of places generating Pokémon and get replacement Pokéballs.
  • The trainers - It was great to see people dressed up either as their favourite Pokémon (pikachu was hugely popular) or wearing Pokémon clothes and bags. There was also great camaraderie between players that hadn't met before.
  • Seeing the city - It has been years since I last went into the centre of Chester, so it was nice to see how it's changed and also see some of the historic landmarks again.
However it wasn't all great, there were some negatives:
  • Chester isn't a huge city - This meant that there were a lot of people in a fairly small space and with everyone looking at their phones, it was difficult to walk at our own pace.
  • Game lag / Network Provider problems - We may not know who was to blame for this, but it was a massive issue for us. From the minute we got in to the city the game started to freeze and crash with regular occurrence. It really interrupted our experience as I had planned to do a lot of walking to earn candies but despite walking over 5 miles according to my Fitbit, I only managed to register about 2 kilometres with my buddy. It also meant I couldn't access the PokéGyms nor take part in any Raids (I had hoped to join in and catch something from a level 4 Raid). If it weren't for the nice weather less people may have been out and there may not have been as much strain on networks.

Some people on social media seemed discontent that a free event wasn't perfect (with the lag) and that spawns were producing standard Pokémon, but I thought it was a decent showing for the first event of its kind. Big Heritage weren't to blame for either of these issues, and if you read the posts from them you'd have known that what the event was - an attempt to use Pokémon Go to encourage people to walk around the city and embrace its history and learn about its heritage.

I would encourage people to go tomorrow and enjoy the event, but make sure you understand what you're going to, especially if you planning to travel a long way to avoid disappointment.

As a side note, I thought I'd also comment on Pokémon Go Fest as I've watched it unravelling on YouTube and Twitter. It would appear that they have been beset with issues and that trainers attending the event are having huge problems connecting to the game. In hindsight I'm sure that they could have learnt front the Big Heritage event in terms of dealing with large numbers of people coming together in a small area wanting to make the most of a cellular network - but hey hindsight's a wonderful thing. I feel for those attending and I hope Niantic can sort the problems out to appease those remaining at the event.

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