By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)
The latest two updates for Pokémon GO has been lacklustre. Either Niantic is simply releasing simple tweaks of the game in hopes players will remain interested or they are struggling to think of creative ways to maintain its user base.
The October 10th release made the life of a trainer a touch easier with catch bonuses — which is much needed — and a better method to train up a gym from the same team as the player, but that hardly felt like enough to maintain my interest. I still play, but not as much. I’m nearly completing my Pokédex in terms of pocket monsters fought or caught in North America, and I’m still pining for a proper tracker.
The latest fix released this week is merely cosmetic and adds functionality for Pokémon GO Plus users (to which I do not have). I see no reason to upgrade the game because I assume the bonuses offered are being handled server side than local. Beginning Oct 26th and lasting for a week players can continue catching, grinding and walking any Pokémon to net extra candy. More ghostly Pokemon will appear (and Cubones). When there’s only three in the generation one set, why? There’s no Mega Gengar I can evolve. This game is not Pokémon Shuffle — where this spirit’s special ability is useful. Generation two does not add to this category save for one: a Misdreavus. Certain Psychic types will appear more, which means swarms of Drowzees (the city I live in is overpopulated with them and they deserve to be washed away with the torrential rains my hometown often gets). Based on the lists I’ve been seeing, other creatures from this category, namely Abras, are not included. Shame! I do not mind the Zubats. They make sense for the season of the witch. Their evolved forms are said to make appearances too.
All this news still does not solve the problem of gym battles against rival teams. Some players might find new ones occupied by the unholy trinity (or quad) of tough-as-nails Pokémon. As I have previously opined, stagnation is occurring with not every player willing to challenge rival gyms. I try to peck away at these high-level gyms, but they (in a matter of hours) bounce back to impenetrable numbers. I know the counter-argument but sadly, this game has problems with encouraging team play. There are players who very badly desire their free coins and they work hard at trying to stay take over a lot of gyms to gain it. It would be cool to see an option to pull their pocket monster out when they feel sated.
I doubt the extra candies offered will do much. When thinking about the dynamics of why this bonus is being made, perhaps those players with weaker Pokémon might get motivated again to find the lil’ gladiators to sacrifice for a greater glory. At the same time, those power players will be hoping their Pokémon will get knocked out so they can level up their defenders even more. The logic is not sound; nobody is winning in the race to be the strongest (instead of very best).
If Niantic Inc is listening, a new mechanic is needed. I suggest a new solution: lower level players, if they can successfully plough their way to the last strong Pokémon in the gym, should be able to put their own fighter in instead of raising prestige. However weak a pocket monster is in comparison to the 2800 CP unholiness, they deserve a place too by knocking out another who has been sitting there for too long.
I’m sure the die-hards will not like this idea I propose. I feel this alteration can allow players of all levels to have a chance to occupy a gym. Gaining experience and prestige is not as important as letting all players be able to sit their Pokémon in for a few minutes to gain that all too precious coin.