Niantic, the developer of Pokémon GO, just recently announced the coming of the next Pokéball: the Master Ball, which can help catch any wild Pokémon... "without fail".
The announcement was made on Tuesday (16 May) via the official Pokémon GO Twitter.
The Master Ball: The best Poké Ball with the ultimate level of performance. With it, you will catch any wild Pokémon without fail.
Available through June 1, 2023, via free Special Research.
Play now to earn yours!https://t.co/GCkKFRP1Bb pic.twitter.com/L8wnvwGoS3
— Pokémon GO (@PokemonGoApp) May 16, 2023
The Master Ball is set to arrive on 1 June and will be the reward for completing the Seasonal Special Research: Let’s GO.
In the mainline Pokémon games, the Master Ball is a type of Poké Ball that debuted in Generation I and can be used to catch any wild Pokémon without fail, even Legendary Pokémon.
While this seems to be an exciting idea, fans are sceptical about how they could get a Master Ball in the future, outside of the special research.
And with the extremely low catch rates of certain Pokémon, especially the Galarian birds — Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres — many are afraid that the devs might make the Master Ball almost the only way to catch these birds, and all other Legendaries with similar catch rates.
Some are worried the company may hope to make a profit or increase engagement from the rare balls in the future by creating a market for powerful Pokémon that are difficult to catch.
That dampened the excitement for the majority of the community, especially with the many issues and concerns that have arisen with the game in 2023.
Trainers are concerned about the Master Ball
Niantic has been neck-deep in controversy since the beginning of the year, with face-to-face Elite Raids riddled with issues, a buggy and overcrowded Hoenn Tour in Las Vegas, doubled down by their announcement to nerf Remote Raids and increase Remote Raid pass prices, which caused player outrage, with many quitting and boycotting the game, or even make death threats against Pokémon GO community managers.
And while Niantic denied the downward trend of the company’s revenue in 2023 so far, many believe the company is trying to draw the players back or make more money through other ways in the future.
When Niantic first teased the arrival of the Master Ball on Twitter nearly 24 hours before the announcement, the response was mostly negative.
Some, like HumbleDad Φ Art, joked about how expensive the Master Ball or perhaps a GS ball would be in the future, with price estimates ranging from US$50 to around US$100.
A year ago this would have been exciting but you shot your game in the head. We’re bleeding out here and you’re just trying to get engagement from anyone. Develop a response to your community and #HearUsNiantic
— TheGreatGoobah (1.4 Billion XP) (@TheGreatGoobah) May 15, 2023
Content creator TheGreatGoobah said that it “would have been exciting” a year ago. “We’re bleeding out here, and you’re just trying to get engagement from anyone.”
The closest guess would probably be from LonkFromATL, who was concerned that it would only be available through an event only for now.
“Yay, another ball we can only use during an event but can’t use any other time,” they said.
With the announcement of the release, the sentiment and guesses remain the same, with many, like content creator Mongoose saying on Twitter that Niantic "could have given [this] from day 1 launch," and there's "no hype" because of the issues that continue to exist in the game.
Others on Reddit, like thread owner y0l0tr0n, theorised that the “ridiculous catch rate” of the Galarian birds was “the preparation to introduce Master Balls”.
They even suggested that Niantic might give the first one for free “so you can start your 1/3 Galarian bird collection and get hooked.”
For now, the Master Ball is only available as a reward for participating in the Special Research in Season 10, but will "soon be available to all trainers", according to the announcement.
Redditor orlouge82 said they couldn’t care less about catching the Galarian birds but that they were more worried that “the introduction of the Master Ball into the game will allow Niantic to lock more Pokémon behind the daily incense mechanic with a ridiculously low catch rate”.
Many others agreed, foreseeing the potential of the Pokémon GO devs gatekeeping some rare Pokémon behind the Master Ball.
Despite all the negative feedback, a few were excited about the update, with a few from Twitter, like Jaytheunderdog, who were eager to "finally catch a bloody Galarian bird".
"Finally, a good update; it's been like a year," said Cursedsshadows, who changed their display name on Twitter to "Turn passes into remote raid passes".
How do I get the Master Ball?
For now, it's only available as a reward for participating in Season 10's Rising Heroes, free Special Research, with the final leg coming on 22 May at 10am local time.
"The final story will begin on May 22, 2023, at 10am local time. Willow’s back with some news on Team GO Rocket’s latest plans…and a gift," the announcement read.
However, the announcement also said that receiving the Master Ball "is a special occasion" and to "keep a lookout for future opportunities," meaning Master Balls will probably be limited to events until it's finally "available to all trainers".
Until then, players will only find out how the Master Ball works once it’s been released by the Pokémon GO devs So it might be too soon to tell if the said Poké Ball would be a great addition to the game or not.
What would you catch with your first-ever Master Poke Ball?
Anna is a freelance writer and photographer. She is a gamer who loves RPGs and platformers, and is a League of Legends geek. She's also a food enthusiast who loves a good cup of black coffee.