Pokémon Go Where Now?

pokeball-backgroundThis Summer something incredible happened.

Pokémon broke the world! (…gradually).

It was the phenomenon that no-one could predict being as popular as it was.  Unfortunately, that popularity caused a whole host of problems for the augmented reality app which experienced weeks of glitches and overloaded servers.  Who knew so many people love Pokémon?

Nostalgia did.

The game developers worked through those problems in time and now the game functions pretty smoothly almost all of the time.  Thing is people have gotten bored of that pretty quickly.  Whilst the app may work fine, what’s available isn’t enticing enough to many gamers.  They want more!

It’s completely understandable, given many of the features available when the game was first released were either flawed or extremely basic.  As the game grows older, the developers are sure to improve on and add new features to the app, with many updates having already surfaced in the few months that the game has been out.

Below I’ve come up with a few ideas for ways in which the developers could significantly improve the game-play of Pokémon Go…

Better Gym Battles

IMG_4739.PNGIf you want to earn PokéCoins, the in-game currency used for purchasing items like additional incubators and lucky eggs, then you gotta go to the gym.  Unless of course you want to spend your real money buying it, but I highly doubt most of you would want to do that.

The process of fighting at gyms is relatively simple, and provided no member of the opposing team is sat waiting for you to defeat the gym so they can infiltrate it, adding your own Pokémon to it requires very little hassle.  However, whilst it may be easy enough to do, the gym battles leave many people feeling as though the process is somewhat lacking.  Some of the issues are that:

  • The battles do not reflect their original format in the console games
  • It is practically impossible to stay in possession of a gym for 21 hours
  • There is no incentive to hold onto a gym

So what do the developers need to do?

That’s a good question!

I’ve been racking my brains about how to improve the battling system at the gyms, but I’m not sure of the best way to go about it.  One thing I have considered, though, is lowering the amount of Pokémon available to you when battling a rival team.  It doesn’t matter whether there’s 1 or 10 Pokémon currently holding the gym, you still get 6 of your own to fight them with.  The imbalance can make it incredibly easy to win without needing to use any tactics.

As for the incentive, that is a lot more simple.  All they need to do is set the rewards to increase for every day that the player remains in possession of a gym.  So the 10 PokéCoins and 300 Stardust that someone gets for taking over a gym is then doubled after 21 hours.  The rewards then continue to increase at a consistent rate, with 10 PokéCoins and 300 Stardust being added to the prize for every day that a player is still in control of the gym.

Player Interaction

It would make sense for an app based in the real world where the same data appears on everyone’s phone that you could interact with other players around you, right?

Well so far the developers of Pokémon Go have failed to do that, something which hasn’t gone down greatly with fans of the game.

The closest you have to this feature on the app is when a member of your or another team helps you to take down a gym by battling the Pokémon alongside you.  That’s not enough though.  I remember when one of my friends told me that she’d hatched one of my favourite Pokémon and there was nothing we could do to benefit me in that situation.  Were this one of the many video games in the franchise I would have been able to trade something she wanted that I had for the Pokémon that I wanted.

Now, admittedly that could hinder the ‘go outside and exercise’ element of the game if you were simply able to trade Pokémon that you hadn’t seen yet, although if it was set to only trading with someone beside you then that wouldn’t make it so bad.  Also, if the trade were only one way (i.e. you couldn’t send someone a Pokémon and then have them send it straight back afterwards) then it would discourage some improper gameplay, although it wouldn’t fix the problem completely.

There are many ways that the app could effectively utilise this form of player interaction and if they want to draw people back to the game then it’s something they ought to consider introducing fairly soon.  It’s strange that you can be so isolated from everyone else playing the game, especially when a few months ago every other person you passed was catching Pokémon just like you.  Niantic have managed to get people to exercise, now they just need to get them to be social.

Tracking

IMG_4741.PNGIt’s the part of the game that has pretty much never worked.

The initial set-up for the tracking was the 3 footprint system which would inform you if you were getting closer to a Pokémon by decreasing the number of prints beneath it’s picture.  Soon enough this system glitched and all Pokémon were permanently displayed as 3 footprints away, even if you were right on top of them.  Eventually tracking was taken away completely and players were left scratching their heads at exactly how they were meant to go about find Pokémon.

There’s not much that really needs to be said here, apart from that an effective tracking method needs to be reintroduced to the game to make it easier when hunting.  No-one cares if they can’t find the Pidgey or Weedle at the top of their list, but the same cannot be said for a rare Pokémon that they’ve never seen before.  There’s nothing worse than having a Dragonite despawn because you couldn’t find it in time.

More Pokémon, More Quickly!

IMG_4742.PNG150 Pokémon is a lot.  But it’s not enough.

It took a matter of days for someone to capture one of every available Pokémon on the app, and although most people have yet to repeat that achievement, it’s quite easy to reach a point where you feel you’re running out of new species to catch.  Provided you live in a well-populated area that is (see point below).

As most people know, there have been several generations of Pokémon, each one spawning around 100+ new species for an aspiring trainer to catch.  With many people no longer playing the game because there’s not much new out there to catch, now would be a good time for the developers to introduce the second generation of Pokémon into the game.

Being a player who didn’t really get into the franchise until the Diamond and Pearl era, some of my favourite Pokémon won’t be available for a long while, so I’m eager for the developers to keep rolling out new generations.  Especially with the upcoming release of Sun and Moon, the seventh generation of Pokémon video games for Nintendo consoles.  With many fans likely to develop favourites in the new games that they’ll want to catch on Pokémon Go, it would make sense to start rolling out these updates sooner rather than later.

I understand that the developers don’t want to release everything too quickly because they’ll run out of new Pokémon soon enough, but the dwindling player numbers should make it obvious that an introduction to generation two is desperately needed.

Take From The Rich To Give To The Poor

IMG_4740.PNGRattata.  Pidgey.  Weedle.

We see them all the time.  For some Go players, that’s all you see.

I remember the first day I downloaded the app.  Within minutes I was out the door and on the hunt for Pokémon, and I was in it for the long haul.

I’d decided to follow the route I normally use for running because it’s more scenic and there’s less chance of being one of those people that manages to do ridiculously stupid things because they were distracted.  Within minutes of walking down that trail my tracker was empty.

It stayed that way for an hour.

What that meant was that I had a small area around me to search for Pokémon and if I wanted to be out for a while then that meant walking down the same paths again and again and again.  That gets pretty boring in a matter of days (and I’m not paying close to £5 every day just to travel to the nearest city).

Many of us cannot help where we live and unfortunately that means that we draw the short straw with our Pokémon Go experience.  The recent halloween update meant that unfamiliar Pokémon suddenly became common in less populated areas and it made going out around the local area more interesting again.  If I felt that I had a chance of getting more interesting Pokémon every time that I went for a walk then I’d be a lot more inclined to play it regularly.

So what am I asking for here?  Just for the developers to increase the spawn rates in quieter areas.  It can’t be that hard, can it?

 

3 thoughts on “Pokémon Go Where Now?

    1. Since I’ve been back home again it’s been quite depressing not having anything exciting to catch. Also, given the new daily/weekly streak update, I’m surprised that they didn’t add that into the gym rewards. That’s exactly what they need to make holding down a gym more meaningful!

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s