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Get your Pidgeys ready, the Pokémon Go summer update is out today — and its all about gyms

Time to take back your neighborhood with the Pokémon Go summer update! Coming out June 19 for both iOS and Android, the update includes a number of new — long-awaited — features, with even more rolling out in the coming weeks.

All right, so what can trainers expect from the first installation of the Pokémon Go summer update? First up, Niantic has completely revamped the way that Pokémon gyms work.

Now, instead of just being locked down forever by a Gyarados and his over-powered pals, Pokemon who are stationed at gyms will weaken over time. As their motivation goes down, they’ll be a little easier to take on. If you want to keep a gym locked down, make sure you can swing by now and then to feed your Pokémon and keep their motivation up. Otherwise, they’ll eventually fall — even to weaker Pokémon.

Other trainers of the same team can also feed your Pokémon, improving the game’s collaborative features. That’s a big part of this summer update — making you really feel like you’re part of a team. And to help out, there’s another big feature rolling out a little later this summer: Raid Battles.

No, you won’t be taking your Pokemon to Molten Core or the Vault of Glass. Instead, you’ll be teaming up with friends in a Raid lobby, before taking on particularly challenging Pokémon which appear at certain times throughout your region.

“Before a Raid Battle begins, all Pokémon assigned to the Gym will return to their Trainers, and a large Egg will appear atop the Gym. When the countdown above the Egg reaches zero, the Raid Boss will be revealed,” reads the Niantic press release.

Once you topple the Raid Boss you and all participants will get a chance to score some rare loot like golden razz-berries, which can make it much easier to catch rare and elusive Pokémon. But perhaps most importantly, once you beat a Raid Boss, you’ll get a chance to capture it for yourself — that’s where the golden razz-berries come in handy.

There are a number of smaller improvements in the summer update, like the inclusion of gym badges which let you show off how long you’ve kept your gyms locked down — and prove to your friends that you are, truly, the very best.

“You’ll be able to level up your Badges by battling, giving Berries to the Pokémon in the Gym, and spinning the Gym’s Photo Disc. Raising the level of a Gym Badge will earn you unique opportunities to receive bonus items by spinning the Photo Disc and to get increased rewards when you interact with Gyms,” Niantic continued.

Finally, you’ll be able to use Technical Machines — a new item — to re-train your Pokemon, assigning them new fast and charged attacks. Beware though, these new items will reset your attacks at random, so you might not always get what you want — but if you try sometimes, maybe you’ll get what you need.

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Jayce Wagner
Former Digital Trends Contributor
A staff writer for the Computing section, Jayce covers a little bit of everything -- hardware, gaming, and occasionally VR.
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