By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)
Yes, I admit it: I’ve returned to playing Pokémon GO. All the various arguments on how monotonous this game is are heard before and I do not need to repeat. The fact the Legendary Bird Pokémons are here is enough to get me back and look for groups of people who are there for that Luiga or Articuno (at present) appearing at the gyms. The real life game is to hunt for people to play with than to continue on my own. Otherwise, I could not be bothered to turn the game on.
A report from Cnet makes a compelling argument to turn on any casual game for at least 10 to 15 minutes a day. The way my life has been lately could do with less stress.
I have tried the new gym system, and I have kept up with the rumblings about this game. I do not see Niantic as being the blame for the Pokémon GO Fest “disaster” at Chicago. Not all of the mobile companies listened, and they are more at fault for not installing the necessary equipment to make the connectivity issues go away. My guess for why the events in Europe is not happening is because Niantic can not reach the appropriate folks from the service providers to develop the infrastructure needed to make make the party work.
As for what I hope going forward with the game is to see Niantic sponsor local events so people do not have to travel far for these festivals. Much like how Wizards of the Coast have tournament packages for local operations to use for hosting Magic the Gathering games, I feel Niantic should consider this approach to keep players world wide engaged. That way, there’s less congestion on the cellular networks. I almost skipped going to an officially recognized MtG: Hour of Devastation league night when I saw a legendary nearby and I hopped across the street to see who’s there and if I can engage. The camaraderie this game company wants to promote can grow in a home-grown level, and new friendships can develop. As for whether the game servers can handle the load, any hiccups will no doubt rest on the game developer’s hands.
This game is still not perfect (hint: bring back a blend of the old nearby and new tracker system). I want to see new game features so I can interact with my virtual pets. I feel this game has become less about augmented reality since there’s nothing new to offer other than snapshots of these critters sitting on a valued Beatles vinyl album and have players amusingly freak out about it. Niantic is doing very little to bring back people who stopped playing, and I offer a list of my ideas that should get considered first that may persuade them to return.
One is to have a recall ability on a Pokémon still standing at a gym. When players opt to put in their best warriors and find its needed at another gym to take down a Raid boss, an option to forfeit the rewards just to get him back can change how often gyms regularly cycle.
Another is to have a built-in chat system to locate nearby players to handle these boss fights. Checking on Facebook to look for a call to arms (or making one) generally works, and when last I tried Discord, it wanted my cell phone’s number to which I refuse to enter. The web-based version offers some help, but that means flipping between apps than having it all centralized within the game.
The “fresh” new content is enough to get me through the remaining dog days of summer with searching for Legendaries. I only have one of the two. I suspect Gen 3 might be coming after all the birds have flown the coup. Bad joke, but I feel no need to catch multiples of these hard to catch critters for the candy rewards just to pump their combat potential up.
When looking at the crazy amount of sweets I have for other pocket monsters after nearly a year of playing, I wish the game offered another way to up their CP. I would have to walk a hundred miles and walk 500 more in the buddy system to get enough to pump up that Tyranitar. An idea I have is to convert the unwanted bon bons from one specific Pokémon to rare. Perhaps a ratio of 100 to 1 is best so this idea can not get exploited. To waste them on mass amounts of evolves to gain experience points for the level I am at with the lucky egg trick is fruitless. These tweaks will compel me to catch every single beast out there than to be selective.
At least for the rest of the summer, I think I will get back to regularly playing as long as the birds keep flapping around to make “trying to catch ’em all” like a game of hide and seek. You spot ’em, and now you’ll have to chase them down. Beyond that, I’m guessing Gen 3 may come sometime in the Autumn to keep these dedicated Pokégamers invested.