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Pokémon Go anniversary events start this week: Are legendary creatures on the way?

A weeklong solstice celebration featuring fire and ice type Pokémon starts at 3 p.m. Tuesday.
A weeklong solstice celebration featuring fire and ice type Pokémon starts at 3 p.m. Tuesday. Niantic

The first anniversary of Pokémon Go is approaching, and the celebration begins this week with the first of a series of big events that are sparking speculation that legendary Pokémon, trading and player vs. player battles could be on the way.

A weeklong solstice celebration featuring fire and ice type Pokémon starts at 3 p.m. Tuesday, game maker Niantic announced Monday:

“With summer quickly approaching in the Northern Hemisphere and winter approaching in the Southern Hemisphere, we couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate the upcoming solstices than with a Fire-type and Ice-type Pokémon GO event. ...

“Trainers around the world will discover more Charmander, Cyndaquil, Growlithe, Houndour, Ponyta, Swinub, Vulpix, and their Evolutions. You’ll also want to keep an eye out for Sneasel, Magmar, Cloyster, and other Fire types and Ice types!”

Also, trainers will receive XP bonuses for successfully catching Pokémon with nice, great and excellent throws, as well as curveballs and first throws. They will also earn more XP for hatching eggs, and lucky eggs will be 50 percent off in the shop.

Niantic, which announced that the game has surpassed 750 million downloads, also teased some other big changes tied to the anniversary, possibly including much-anticipated player vs. player battles:

“You can look forward to a new update focused on collaborative group gameplay features that will get you playing Pokémon GO in fun new ways,” Niantic said in a blog post and email announcement last week. “In preparation for these exciting features, we’ll be temporarily disabling Gyms for a short period of time.”

Players have been eagerly awaiting the introduction of legendary Pokémon such as Articuno, Zapdos and Moltres, and many are speculating that this Chicago event might be the time:

“We’re also excited to announce our first ever real-world Pokémon GO event coming your way: Pokémon GO Fest Chicago! This event will take place in downtown Chicago, Illinois, USA at the beautiful Grant Park on July 22, 2017.”

Stay tuned ...

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