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Silph Study: #038

Published:
12.28.2020

Daily Spawn Encounter Basics

As a part of the efforts to enhance the play-at-home experience in Pokémon GO during the COVID-19 pandemic, a personal “Daily Spawn” or “Daily Encounter” will appear from “special incense” the first time that travelers open the game each day. Reports on the Road shortly after the feature’s release suggested these spawns were different from normal spawns, with some Pokémon like Archen and Tirtouga appearing with surprising frequency. Silph Researchers were intrigued by these reports and began collecting data soon after. In late November, just before the new Seasons update, Researchers recorded their 10,000th Daily Spawn. Let’s take a look back at what we’ve learned about Daily Spawns from these data!

What Pokémon Occur as Daily Spawns?

For each day that Researchers recorded data, they were asked to open their app in the same location while also taking note of the weather and time. The data discussed in this article comprises Daily Spawns recorded from August to November 2020, prior to the introduction of the Seasons feature.

In that time span, our Researchers observed a total of 252 different Pokémon species. The one rule appears to be that Daily Spawns are limited to species that can currently spawn in the wild. This is corroborated by early reports following the Seasons updates, with a significantly smaller set of Pokémon available in the wild and a correspondingly reduced Daily Spawn pool.

Regional and Event Pokémon

Regional Pokémon can appear as Daily Spawns within their usual regions: out of 30 regional species that spawn in the wild, our Researchers have so far received 23 as their Daily Spawns. Pokémon making a temporary appearance in the wild during an event can occur as Daily Spawns: for example, one of our Researchers received an Alolan Grimer as their Daily Spawn during the Halloween 2020 event. However, Daily Spawns do not seem to be influenced in any other significant way by in-game events. That is, Pokémon spawning in greater frequency for an event do not appear to occur in greater frequency as Daily Spawns.

Wild Evolutions

Nearly all Daily Spawns have been basic (non-evolved) species. Evolved forms can occur too, but are relatively rare: only 32 of our first 10,020 observed Daily Spawns were evolved forms. Nearly all of these were a mix of various first-level evolutions; only two second-level evolutions — one Aggron and one Beedrill — were reported. An additional 65 of our Daily Spawn reports were basic Pokémon having an associated baby species, with Jigglypuff (20) and Roselia (31) accounting for a large majority of these. It will be interesting to see whether the rarity of evolved species changes in the new Seasons format, where anecdotal reports suggest that evolved species are now spawning more frequently in the wild.

Most Common Pokémon

If Daily Spawns are always species that occur in the wild and nearly always non-evolved Pokémon, which of them actually turned up in practice? There’s a surprise at #1 on the list!

Top 10 most common Daily Spawns (Aug-Nov 2020)
Rank Species Number Seen
1 Audino 245
2 Eevee 236
3 Weedle 185
4 Alolan Rattata 180
5 Murkrow 166
6 Sentret 161
7 Patrat 158
8 Seedot 135
9 Meowth 134
10 Koffing, Lillipup, Pidove 130

Other notable species recorded more than 40 times included Tirtouga (75), Sawk (61), Golett (59), Throh (55), Gothita (54), Sewaddle (54), Trubbish (46), and Emolga (44). Cranidos (24) and Archen (21) spawned significantly more often than some other ultra-rare species such as Gible and Darumaka (3 each).

As we discuss in later parts of this article, we believe that Daily Spawns are influenced by weather and perhaps by location, so a different mix of Researchers in different climates and locations might have produced a different Top 10 list. Indeed, the chart-topper Audino itself appears more likely to occur as the Daily Spawn for some Researchers than for others. 

Factors Influencing Daily Spawns: Weather

We can say with confidence that Daily Spawns are affected by Pokémon GO’s in-game weather system. Of the Daily Spawns for which our Researchers recorded the weather, nearly half (4,562 out of 9,998, or roughly 46%) were weather-boosted.

The effects of weather can be seen numerically by examining the prevalence of each Pokémon type. In the following table, we only consider Pokémon boosted by a single weather condition. For example, the term “Rainy Type” refers to all single-type Water-, Electric-, and Bug-type Pokémon, as well as any dual Water/Electric, Water/Bug, and Electric/Bug types. This avoids the complications of dual-type Pokémon that are boosted in two different weather conditions.

Type In-weather All other weathers
Sunny/Clear Types 26.5% 7.6%
Partly Cloudy Types 37.3% 15.2%
Cloudy Types 19.8% 5.3%
Windy Types 7.5% 3.1%
Rainy Types 39.2% 14.2%
Foggy Types 21.7% 2.8%
Snowy Types 8.6% 0.2%

For instance, the “Partly Cloudy Types” row in this table means that Partly Cloudy Types make up 37.3% of all spawns in Partly Cloudy weather, but only 15.2% of spawns in all other weather conditions. Because Pokémon spawned significantly more often in boosted weather than in other weather, we conclude that weather does have a significant effect on Daily Spawns.1

Given that weather influences the Daily Spawn, it is not surprising that some specific Pokémon species are affected more by weather than others (just as they are for normal spawns). For example, our Researchers have received Lotad as a Daily Spawn 14 times in Rainy weather, Cacnea 44 times in Sunny/Clear weather, Roggenrola 10 times in Partly Cloudy weather, and Snorunt 3 times in Snowy weather, and none of these has been received in any other weather. Along the same lines, Drifloon was received 13 times in Windy weather and just once in a different weather.

Factors Influencing Daily Spawns: Time of Day

As with weather, we found that the Daily Spawn can be influenced by the in-game daytime and nighttime cycle. In order to avoid misclassifying spawns, we define a “Night Spawn” as one taking place after midnight and up to 2 hours before local sunrise, and a “Day Spawn” as one taking place at least 2 hours after local sunrise and before noon.2 To evaluate the effect that night and day have on the Daily Spawn, we grouped Pokémon known to have different wild nighttime and daytime spawn rates.

Nighttime Pokemon Night Spawns
Day Spawns
Baltoy 58 2
Drowzee 22 4
Electrike 53 10
Hoothoot 47 6
Lunatone 16 1
Sableye 13 3
Shuppet 58 0

The Pokémon in the table above typically spawn in the wild at night, a trend which is reflected in the Daily Spawns as well. Notably, Shuppet was observed 58 times at night whereas it was completely absent during the day. Likewise, several Pokémon that are associated with the day also occur as Daily Spawns disproportionately in the daytime, as shown in the table below.

Daytime Pokemon Night Spawns Day Spawns
Cacnea 4 23
Solrock 0 5
Zigzagoon 8 30

Using a Fisher exact test, we find that night/day spawn differences between these two groups of Pokémon are statistically significant (p-value < 2.2 x 10-16). The tendency for Daily Spawns to follow the same weather and night/day patterns as wild spawns leads us to believe that the time when a trainer first opens the app each day plays a part in which species is chosen to be their Daily Spawn.

Factors Influencing Daily Spawns: Trainer-specific Variation

Some Researchers received the same species of Pokémon more times than statistically expected, leading us to conclude that the likelihood of receiving certain Daily Spawns varied significantly between Researchers. We suspect that this variation may be the result of local biome rather than trainer account as Researchers were specifically instructed to always collect data in a single location; but at this point, we still do not have enough evidence to prove or disprove this suspicion.

Audino provides an excellent example of this variance. Audino was observed 174 times as a non-weather-boosted Daily Spawn, or approximately 3.2% of the 5,436 non-boosted Daily Spawns observed by our Researchers.

In this discussion, we’re restricting our focus to non-weather-boosted Daily Spawns. This is because we want to eliminate variation arising from some trainers having Partly Cloudy weather more often than others, and receiving the Normal-type Audino more often for that reason. Assuming that every non-boosted Daily Spawn has a 3.2% chance of being Audino, we can calculate how many total Researchers we would have expected to have cumulatively received no Audino, one Audino, two Audino, etc.3

The following table compares this calculation to the actual number of Researchers receiving each quantity of Audino.

Quantity Actual Expected
0 208 159
1 26 68.1
2 9 28.5
3 10 10.4
4 5 3.13
5 3 0.79
6 5 0.17
7 0 0.03
8 1 0.005
9 3 0.0007

Having even one Researcher observe nine Audino was a less than 1-in-1000 likelihood; yet we had three. Notice also that many more trainers than expected received no Audino at all, and fewer than expected received one or two. These patterns are characteristic of what one would expect if some trainers had a lower than average chance of receiving an Audino, and others a greater than average chance.

As a contrast, here’s the same calculation done with Eevee instead of Audino.

Quantity Actual Expected
0 173 171
1 61 65.5
2 29 23.8
3 4 7.35
4 1 1.86
5 2 0.39

Here the match between actual and expected is quite close, suggesting that Eevee spawns may be more uniformly distributed, unlike those of Audino.

Other species that appeared to show the same clear variation as Audino include Emolga, Golett, Karrablast, Tirtouga, and Trubbish; whereas Buneary, Caterpie, Electrike, Misdreavus, Murkrow, Natu, Patrat, Purrloin, Rattata, Sentret, Tympole, Weedle, and Wurmple exhibited the same uniformity as Eevee. It may be the case, of course, that every species exhibits some amount of variation, and that it’s simply a matter of degree.

What Pokémon Don’t Occur as Daily Spawns?

A white ring around the base of Aron indicates a daily spawn.
An Aron with the characteristic thick white circle of a Daily Encounter Spawn.

While it is impossible to say with certainty that a wild-spawning Pokémon can’t occur as a Daily Spawn — rather than simply being so rare that we haven’t observed it yet — the data so far suggest a few rules of thumb.

Lack of “Conditional” Forms

We were surprised to note that none of our Researchers has recorded any Pokémon having a “conditional” form as their Daily Spawn: we have no observations of Castform or Cherrim (whose form depends on weather), Burmy (whose form depends on biome), or Basculin or Shellos (whose form depends on region). We would be delighted to see evidence, in the form of a screenshot showing the white “Daily Spawn” ring, of any of these species occurring as a Daily Spawn. Until proven otherwise, we suspect that these may be the only wild species that cannot occur as Daily Spawns.

Pokémon with Baby Pre-Evolutions

From our Researchers’ data, it appears that Pokémon that have baby pre-evolutions are typically treated as evolved forms for Daily Spawn purposes, and thus are rarer than one might have expected. Besides Jigglypuff and Roselia, the only Pokémon with baby pre-evolutions that our Researchers observed were Pikachu (4), Clefairy (3), Magmar (1), and Marill (6). Of the remaining Pokémon with baby pre-evolutions, no Chansey, Mr. Mime, Jynx, Electabuzz, Snorlax, Togetic, Sudowoodo, Wobbuffet, Mantine, Chimecho, or any of the Hitmons was observed as a Daily Spawn in our first 10,020 data points.

Rare Pokémon – Likely to Occur but not Observed

Other than the above, just 11 basic (non-evolved) wild Pokémon species have not yet been observed by our Researchers: Farfetch’d, Lapras, Porygon, Aerodactyl, Torkoal, Relicanth, Pachirisu, Elgyem, Axew, Cryogonal, and Deino.4 Most of these are either exceptionally rare to begin with, or else are regionals (and thus only observable in theory by a fraction of our Researchers). We suspect that given enough time — or enough snowy weather, in the case of Cryogonal — each of these will eventually be observed.

Parting Words

All of the data presented in this article were collected before the release of the new Seasons feature. We expect many of the principles discussed here, such as the influence of weather, variation between trainers, day-night cycles, the prevalence of some rare species, and the bias away from evolved forms, to remain after the Seasons update. How Seasons will affect spawn tables in general is still an open question. In future work, we’ll also dig deeper into the variation between trainers and biome dependency of Daily Spawns.

Until then, stay safe on the Road, travelers.


Acknowledgements

Article authors: Lead Researchers paleshadow and CaroKann
Analysis: Lead Researchers paleshadow and CaroKann and Scientist Titleist
Editing: Scientist Titleist, Cham1nade, skyeofthetyger and WoodWoseWulf
Graphic: Scientist WoodWoseWulf

Project Leaders: Scientist PhoenixCrystal7 and Lead Researchers Jennwebb09, Pancake, and Gustavobc
238 researchers diligently collected data for this project. These 11 researchers were phenomenally consistent in their effort:

  • jennwebb09
  • gluglumaster
  • archer
  • jimmy7063
  • Mihryazd
  • Cham1nade
  • SpelingChanp
  • azurite440(noLegendariesPVP)
  • Azzergal
  • Brush are Best
  • irisdapraia

1 Some of the numbers in the third column of this table reflect the fact that some Pokémon types have fewer species exclusively boosted by one type of weather. For example, nearly every wild-spawning Ice-type or Steel-type Pokémon has a second type that is boosted in another weather condition. In fact, the only exclusively Snowy Type species that have been observed as Daily Spawns are Cubchoo (24, none in Snowy weather) and Snorunt (3, all in Snowy weather).

2 Most Daily Spawns were observed before noon, as this is when most Researchers typically logged in to Pokémon GO for the first time each day. We don’t have enough data to compare afternoon Daily Spawns to those after sunset.

3 For example, a Researcher who had observed twenty non-boosted spawns would have had a probability of 20 x 3.2% x (96.8%)19 of recording exactly one Audino; sum these numbers across all Researchers and we find the expected number of researchers recording exactly one Audino,

4 For this count, we have categorized Cherubi, Stunfisk, and Unown as not currently spawning in the wild.