With the promise of Gen 2 Pokémon being released later this month or early next year (depending on if you believe the hype trains), I thought I’d revisit Pokémon Go in the hope that Niantic had improved the game in the time I’d been away and fixed some of the game-breaking issues that were present when I quit (around September time).
Originally, Pokémon Go had awoken my inner child – the premise of catching Pokémon again. But this time, the Pokémon were in the real world, which had always been something that I had only dreamt of as a child. When Pokémon Go was released, I instantly downloaded it and got to work on catching them all.
“Everywhere I went, people were playing Go, talking about Go, living in the world of Pokémon again”
The first couple of months of Pokémon Go were the highlight of this year for me. Everywhere I went, people were playing Go, talking about Go, living in the world of Pokémon again. I would even plan my days in order to do the most walking possible in order that I hatch my 10km egg, or take large diversions to visit Pokéstops. The actual finding Pokémon was frustrating but at least there was some logic to it – 3 footsteps for far away, 1 footstep for close meant that you could walk in a certain direction and work out where the Pokémon was located.
I’d even been to a few parties where someone had (drunkenly) announced he was going on a Pokémon walk at 2am, only to have the entire party follow and end up going on a small adventure together.
“Have all these problems been fixed now?”
The game quickly grew stale, however, when through a series of updates Niantic decided to remove the ‘tracking system’. The online community got to work, decompiling some of the coding from the app to produce Pokémon spawn maps – but to the communities dismay, instead of fixing the problem of no tracking, Niantic simply ordered all the maps to be taken down.
You don't invent Marco Polo, get 80M players to join, then remove the Polo part and expect people to keep playing.
— Yang (@YangCLiu) July 31, 2016
The constant wait for that fundamental part of the game to be fixed, coupled with the frustrating bugs and constant crashing, led me and many others to begrudgingly uninstall the game. After all, if things aren’t getting better, it’s just a waste of time investment.
It might help if I analyse what all my problems were when I uninstalled it: apart from crashing and the tracking system, I hated that you had to individually go through Pokémon and transfer them, and I didn’t like the diversity of the Gym battling. Everything got quickly put into a tier list, and anything else was just not ideal for battling. Have all these problems been fixed now?
“The app still drains enough power to fuel a whole city, but at least the battery saver mode was re-implemented.”
The new tracking system is perfect, if not a tiny bit too easy. If you click a Pokémon in the ‘nearby’ list, you can hone in on its exact location, travel to that location, and then find and catch it.
My only qualm would be that it’s too exact: If I were given a 100m radius rather than an exact location, it would seem like I was actually doing work in finding the Pokémon and make the catch so much more rewarding. It would also make it more reminiscent of the games – they gave a route that the Pokémon could be found on rather than an exact patch of grass.
Since re-downloading, I haven’t experienced any crashes or game-breaking bugs. The app still drains enough power to fuel a whole city, but at least the battery saver mode was re-implemented. It’s actually a very playable game now.
And finally, with the promise of the introduction of new Pokémon very soon, and the feature of multiple-transfer coming with it, I am actually pretty excited to continue playing. I just wish that the game had been released this way.
Anthony ‘Conscience’ Osmaston
Image courtesy of www.pokemongo.com.