By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)
I have been playing Pokémon GO for more than two weeks now, and I really have to curb my appetite to catch them all. After filling the Pokedex with a little more than half of the known original 150 pocket monsters, the effort to find and catalogue the rest can fall into any of three options:
a) Simply evolving the set I have now by farming the locally known hotspots of specific Pokémon.
b) Wait for a working minimalist radar to at least point me in the right direction when I’m nearby and the game is running.
c) Travelling off island or venturing into territory to find the elusive types.
The latter is not likely to happen because I do not travel that much. For me, do I really want to be the next Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter or great Detective Holmes? Receiving a clue is needed to at least point me in the right direction. I like to know what I’m encountering and if its close or nearby by 15 feet or 30. Yes, I miss the feature that worked for beta testers and like everyone else, do not like how the feature works now. I feel like I’ve been bitten by an Arbok. Not everyone was enthused at the various changes in the latest update. The only good thing I thought was a change of Pokémon spawning pits.
The company would earn props to create an official message board divided by countries, states and cities where people can visit (or create a subforum) to report their sightings to the masses. Social media and Reddit has plenty of that, but if it was all consolidated, that might earn a few thumbs up from players. Based on the posts, the player can opt head to a location or not to find the creature. Not everyone plays at the same time of day, so finding the ultra rares can be a challenge.
The in-game tracker is dead. All it does is report up to nine pocket monsters in the area and does not even say where they are. A proper radar (to which this feature is not) can at least orient the hunter in the right direction. The thrill of the hunt is to find where it is, but in a city where there are motorcycles, street buses, subway trains and car drivers, everyone has to be careful. The warnings the game offers in the latest update is not enough. If an ultra-rare type pops up, EVERYONE is going to race across the field and attempt to leap over bushes like racing track hurdles, trying to grab it once someone shouts, “It’s here!” Not everyone are going to be athletes!
I like to propose to Niantic to develop a semi-decent radar, where the nearby Pokémon, since they are arranged on a 3×3 grid, position themselves relative to the player. When they are close to being on top, that’s position 2, 2 on the grid (which can be a 30′ radius around the player, which still requires moving). Any other space has to be the best guess so players know it’s nearby. That is not hard to code.
In the real world, if players want to keep on playing, there will be a point in the day where each individual will have to recharge. Taking a break is required so folks can eat some food, drink some water and change their worn out shoes. I have no problems with the disabling of the battery-saving feature. It forces the die-hards to stop for a bit, recharge their phones (which can take from 20 minutes to an hour) before they can resume.
As for the last item of my list, there’s a handful of Pokémon that are continent exclusives. The only way to catch them is to travel or even trade. This feature is coming in a future update, but there’s no word when it will happen. To offer trading online will only create an eCommerce that nobody will like. My hope is that it only works through either Near Field Communication or Bluetooth. That is, the people have to meet in person to swap Pokémon.
While I’m still playing the game, I’m finding my interest is slowly waning. The product needs to be faithful enough to the television series or manga to show how Ash found his wild Pokémon. Some are by chance, others by navigating into quiet places (to which I had no luck finding anything) and word of mouth. An official chat program or message board (as previously mentioned) will make a lot of difference.
Another detail that’s been a Beedrill to my side is where some of these Pokémon are spawned. What’s a Magikarp doing on top of a mountain? Why am I not finding ghost type Pokémon not at cemeteries? I have been to three in my hometown at different hours and none of them even have ghost type Pokémon on the grounds.
I would love to see Niantic hire people on a contract-basis to finesse the data so that the augmented reality experience of where some of these creatures are is at least a touch more realistic, like the game trailers and marketing spiel advertises. The last time I spotted a Machop on my tracker was by the mouth of a salmon spawning stream. Go figure that one out. Clover Point, in Victoria, BC is a hotbed of many of these critters spawning (anything can show up and my best find as a Persian, to which I’m ready to make a rug out of), and that’s only because it’s a popular place to go kiting. Now why can’t I find that Aerodactyl here? The location and weather conditions are right to make this the ideal place to locate this elusive flyer!