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Silph Study: #044

Published:
04.07.2021

The Effect of Seasons on Daily Spawns

Niantic introduced the Daily Spawn feature in June, 2020, as part of their efforts to enhance the play-at-home experience during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Each day, travelers will find a personal Pokémon the first time they open the game. Our previous article examined the differences between Daily Spawns and wild Pokémon. The Season of Celebration (December 1, 2020 to February 28, 2021) dramatically changed the Pokémon that could be found in the wild. It introduced themes inspired by the real-world seasons in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. In this article, we’re going to take a look at what did and didn’t change for Daily Spawns after this update. Let’s dive in!

Key Findings

  1. Fewer unique species appeared as Daily Spawns during the Season of Celebration, compared to before Seasons.
  2. Kalos Pokémon were overrepresented in the Daily Spawn Pool compared to wild Pokémon in the same period.
  3. There were minimal changes to the proportion of evolved Pokémon forms in Daily Spawns, despite a large increase of evolved forms in wild spawns.
  4. Hemisphere-exclusive species were not found in any Daily Spawns.

Seasonal Daily Spawn Changes

Despite the Seasonal change at 8:00 am on December 1 (local time) and the introduction of Kalos species in the wild on December 2, there were no immediate changes to the Daily Spawn pool. For the purpose of this study, we only consider Daily Spawns from December 6 to February 28 as part of the Season of Celebration.¹

Decrease in Available Species

We observed fewer unique Daily Spawn species during the Season of Celebration than in the three months prior to the release of Seasons. Researchers observed 251 unique species (10,760 total observations) prior to December 1. After the Seasonal Daily Spawn pool shift on December 5, only 100 unique species were observed (9,541 total observations). The reduced diversity of Daily Spawns mirrored the decrease in available wild Pokémon species.²

Because the spawn pool was smaller, eligible species appeared more frequently during the Season of Celebration. The top ten most commonly observed species are shown in the table below.

Species Observations % Total
Bunnelby 623 6.5%
Weedle 556 5.8%
Eevee 462 4.8%
Hoothoot 390 4.1%
Froakie 379 4.0%
Cubchoo 357 3.7%
Misdreavus 339 3.6%
Fennekin 322 3.4%
Chespin 319 3.3%
Fletchling 303 3.2%

In our previous article, we noted that certain rare species occurred at a much higher frequency in Daily Spawns than in the wild. During the Season of Celebration, many of these rare species were never seen. These included Tirtouga (seen 81 times pre-season), Golett (64), Emolga (47), and Archen (26). Audino, the most commonly observed Daily Spawn before Seasons (264 observations), was only recorded once. There were no extremely rare species that spawned at an unexpectedly high rate during the Season of Celebration.

The Rise of Kalos

Another notable feature is that five of the top ten species were Kalos Pokémon. In particular, the often sought-after Froakie appeared commonly in the Daily Spawns, even for researchers outside of a water biome. Froakie accounted for 4.0% of Daily Spawns but only 0.22% of recorded wild spawns. In total, the seven unique Kalos species observed — the above plus Litleo and Klefki — accounted for 22.7% of all Daily Spawns, despite consisting of around 2% of all released base-form Pokémon.

The Kalos Invasion: As part of the Daily Spawn pool shift on Dec 5, Kalos Pokémon accounted for roughly 23% of the Daily Spawn pool, a trend that would continue for the majority of the Season of Celebration.

Evolved Forms

We previously found that evolved Pokémon were underrepresented in Daily Spawns compared to wild spawns. Reports on the Road at the start of the Season of Celebration indicated that evolved forms were spawning in the wild in larger numbers. This was corroborated by our observations of wild Pokémon. Evolved forms accounted for 0.82% of wild spawns before Seasons and 4.71% during the Season of Celebration. We did not observe this drastic increase for Daily Spawns, however; evolved Pokémon in Daily Spawns only increased from 0.33% to 0.48%.

Differences Between Hemispheres

The Seasons feature also introduced seasonal hemisphere-exclusive Pokémon species in the wild. Species such as Growlithe, Darumaka, and Summer Form Deerling spawned exclusively in the Southern Hemisphere, whereas others like Lapras, Seel, and Winter Form Deerling were limited to the Northern Hemisphere.

Of the twelve announced hemisphere-exclusive species, none were seen in Daily Spawns in either hemisphere during the Season of Celebration.³ This likely indicates that hemisphere-exclusive Pokémon are universally ineligible to be a Daily Spawn. Of the 74 unique species observed in Daily Spawns during the Season of Legends (thus far), none are hemisphere-exclusive in the wild.

Nonetheless, there was one noticeable difference between the hemispheres: several species were only observed in the Northern Hemisphere (notably, most of our researchers are in the Northern Hemisphere, so this observation is heavily biased). The most commonly observed Pokémon that were only seen in the Northern Hemisphere are listed in the table below.

Species only seen in the Northern Hemisphere
Species Seen
Cubchoo 342
Swinub 36
Poliwag 31
Snover 28
Clefairy 17
Snorunt 17

Of the species exclusive to the Northern Hemisphere, Cubchoo was the most common. It was observed so often that, despite the limited data from the Southern Hemisphere, we’re confident that the spawn rate differed between hemispheres. Taking into consideration only Daily Spawns without a weather boost, 216 out of 5,527 spawns in the Northern Hemisphere were Cubchoo, compared to zero out of 423 spawns in the Southern Hemisphere (Fisher-exact test, Bonferroni-corrected p-value = 2.00×10-5). No other Daily Spawn species were observed often enough to conclude that their rates were significantly different.

The Kanto Tour Singularity

Before the introduction of Seasons, we noted that Pokémon spawning in the wild more often because of an event did not appear as Daily Spawns at a higher frequency (although some species that are not normally available in the wild can make a surprise appearance as a Daily Spawn during events that feature them in the wild). This was true for most events in the Season of Celebration with one major exception.

On February 20, the day of the Pokémon GO Tour: Kanto event, every recorded Daily Spawn was from the Kanto region. Even Daily Spawns observed before the event start time (9:00 am local time) belonged to the Kanto region. We suspect that all non-Kanto species were simply removed from the Daily Spawn pool, without modifying the existing Kanto Daily Spawns. This hypothesis is supported by researchers’ observations of Tauros and Kangaskhan Daily Spawns, both of which were otherwise raid-exclusive during the event. Furthermore, all species recorded on February 20 were also seen at other times throughout the Season.

The chart below shows the relative frequencies of Daily Spawns from each region in the days surrounding the Kanto Tour event on February 20.

The Kanto Bump: The regional distribution was interrupted for the Kanto Event. On Feb 20 all Daily Spawns were from the Kanto region.

This marks the first time an event completely changed the Daily Spawn species pool. All researchers observed Kanto Daily Spawns, whether or not they purchased an event ticket. We suspect this could happen again for other events exclusively featuring a subset of Pokémon.

Parting words

The Daily Spawn was a useful source of the Kalos starter Pokémon during the Season of Celebration and continues to be a beneficial feature for rural players in particular. On the other hand, the number of species available as Daily Spawns was reduced during the Season of Celebration. Preliminary data from the Season of Legends shows that it may have even lower diversity than the Season of Celebration. This change, along with the removal of rare species like Audino, Archen, Tirtouga, and Golett from Daily Spawns, have made this feature less exciting for many travelers. We hope to see the return of these and other rare species to Daily Spawns in future Seasons.

Until then, travelers, thanks for being with us! Stay safe at home and on the Road!


Acknowledgements

Article authors: Lead Researchers Pancake and Gustavobc
Analysis: Lead Researcher Pancake and Scientists CaroKann and Titleist
Graphics: Scientists WoodWoseWulf and CaroKann
Project Leaders: Scientist PhoenixCrystal7 and Lead Researchers Gustavobc, jennwebb09, and Pancake
Editing: Scientists Cham1nade, skyeofthetyger, and Titleist, and Lead Researcher archer

243 assiduous researchers reported their Daily Spawns during the Season of Celebration. The following nine researchers were steadfast in their observation:

  • alohanico
  • amazingaileen
  • Azzergal
  • bs4u
  • Fine_Nightmare
  • gluglumaster
  • skyeofthetyger
  • SpelingChanp
  • Zrickxy

Footnotes

¹ The period of December 1–5 included several “mistakes” in the Daily Spawn population. Heatmor and Durant swapped regions in the wild at the start of the season, but continued to be encountered as Daily Spawns in their previous regions. They first appeared as Daily Spawns in their correct regions on December 5, the same day that the first Kalos Daily Spawns were recorded. A further 28 species that were recorded in the first four days of the season were not seen after December 5.

² Wild spawn data collected by our researchers during non-event periods contained 282 unique species in 8,659 wild spawns from September to December, and 155 unique species in 3,706 spawns from December to March. If the spawn pool and rates had remained unchanged during the Season of Celebration, we would expect 231 unique species (simulated expected number of unique species, 10,000 iterations).

³ Hemisphere-exclusive Pokémon, such as Winter Form Deerling, were observed during the season transition period of December 1–5. Due to the other oddities occurring during that period, observations from those dates are excluded from the analysis of hemisphere data.