By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)
A new gameplay element is coming sometime soon to Pokémon GO and the question of whether or not it will be enough to win me back is in question. I have slowed down in playing, and find no excitement over catching the same pocket monster again and again. Unless it’s a particular creature, I’m not catching them all. In those that I do, the pocket monster needs to be raised to combat potential.
The upcoming “Buddy” system sounds good and the features allow building that Pokémon up, but it is still not Bandai’s Tamagotchi. When I look at the concept in writing, I see the potential to severely unbalance the game.
In the official statement by Niantic Labs:
“You will be able to pick your favorite Pokémon from your collection to become your buddy, opening up unique in-game rewards and experiences. Buddy Pokémon will appear alongside your Trainer avatar on your profile screen, adding helpful bonuses such as awarding Candy for walking together. You’ll also have the ability to change your Buddy Pokémon at any time.”
If any Pokémon can be walked, then that means the best Poké Gym defenders can easily be buffed up to impossible to take down levels. I am aware that lots of sweets are required to even strengthen the select buddy, but where there is a will, some players will take advantage of the system by hopping in a car and driving at 15kmph until enough distance is covered to get the awards even faster. These power-ups are more valuable currency than the coins used to buy incense, lure and the like.
Until this feature gets fully documented in how it works, I’m sceptical if this addition will make the game any better. The best solution is to limit how many candies can be awarded in total.
Fortunately, the developers mentioned that limits to how many candies are earned per day will be put into place. I feel a fixed cap needs to be part of this game’s back-end rules.