Ed’s Pokémon Go Journals – Is The Buddy System Enough to Sate the Sweet Tooth?

Pokémon GO Card

By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

Despite the fact Pokémon GO still has bugs to fix, including getting a working tracker available to everyone and fixing a bug whenever gyms are challenged, and a new feature is being offered in this week’s update — I like to see more options for players to obtain candy and coins.

The latest version is said to be rolling out this week, but as for when — that’s anybody’s guess. I do not like the idea of downloading from an unofficial source, and already “those cheaters” have a heads up. The good thing out of the new version is that rooted phones (hacked for whatever reason) will not let gamers play. I understand the reason for this security check, but it will not stop the committed. Usually the roll out starts with West Coast of North America, starting with the United States, before other countries see it in their respective Google Play or Apple Store. Some are impatient and others just want it now, since the Buddy System solves one great problem: to get enough power-ups (candies) to evolve a particular Pokémon when they are hard to find. But adding a new feature will not fix a broken and unbalanced game.

The amount of stardust to go along with the candy is dependent on whether or not the player wants to catch them all, but what about coins? The only two ways to obtain coins is either to fight at gyms so they can be occupied by one of the player’s pocket monster or to spend real world money. Right now, the medals earned in the game is nothing but window dressing. I like to see ten coins earned per medal gained. Stars within each accomplishment are earned and they mean nothing. I feel coins should be earned as players move from bronze to gold. Catching 500 flying Pokémon is not easy. This bonus will be great for those players who struggle with taking on Poké Gyms. Not everyone will have powerful enough Pokémon to fight in them and those who do are the power gamers. Low-level players have no chance in hell to even win or make a dent. Other ways to earn coin and/or stardust must be offered.

As this game evolves, so must the company’s mindset. Instead of milking players of all their precious money, they should consider making their game similar to Nintendo’s own in small ways. In Pokémon Shuffle, I’m enjoying using the power-ups dropped there. They come in small, medium or large experience bumps to up an ability or change a stat. If Niantic is smart, they should offer this in the next update so those weak Pokémon can be made a little stronger.


A player’s progress in levelling up slows after 25, and on 30 on up, the increase is exponential. I’m guessing there are power gamers or folks with no lives who play this game religiously just to be the best of the best. When they occupy gyms to make them nearly impossible to take down, to see them go unchallenged will bring out the competitive spirit. Unless the player has friends in the same team, playing this game solo against a level 6 or higher gym is neigh impossible. Balancing this product is very much-needed now that Pokémon GO is more than two months old. As newcomers enter this field, they will find there’s very little to enjoy from this product and they have to work hard to catch up.

Much of the game’s most valuable currency comes from the Egg Incubators, Lures, Lucky Eggs and Incense. They are gained through levelling up, but I’m finding other options must begin to exist to help new players to gain some ground when there are mostly level 24 or higher gamers fighting for power (at all hours of the day) to take possession of a gym.

For those players who do not want to fight there, I’m wondering if Niantic Inc. will consider introducing team missions much like how The Hobbit: Kingdom of Middle Earth does it. Players should be able to form virtual teams so they can coördinate collecting a particular type of Pokémon within a certain set of time. If done, anything can be won instead of always purchasing (with real money).

Fresh blood is needed to make this game more like a Dungeons and Dragons adventure where there are various ways to gain experience and booty to find in a treasure chest at the end of the day.

Author: Ed Sum

I'm a freelance videographer and entertainment journalist (Absolute Underground Magazine, Two Hungry Blokes, and Otaku no Culture) with a wide range of interests. From archaeology to popular culture to paranormal studies, there's no stone unturned. Digging for the past and embracing "The Future" is my mantra.

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