Pokémon Go has finally become the game that it should have been when it first released. The latest update includes an improved player versus player experience where opponents can fight each other on the net in league play. It’s tennis at its core, where you send out your best Pokemon to trade blows until one is down (of the three matches). The combat interface is the same. The rewards are slightly better. Sadly, the experience is very buggy. Rewards don’t show up unless you restart this module of the game. To enter this mode, players must walk 5km per entry to play five rounds for a max of 15 per day. The official wording is ambiguous to say if distance gained through adventure sync will allow joining too.
As roll outs of ‘new’ features are put in, the new buddy system is as close as we’re going to get for making that Pokémon a virtual pet and the final payoff (a stat boost) is quite good. The update before that was with putting in team rocket and meeting Giovanni for shadow pocket monster captures.
A better radar system better be the next item to fix. The current system sucks. It does not tell you about Pokemon far away from the stops and a filtering system is needed. I get that Niantic does not want to have the game to tell you that a Dragonite is nearby, but it should offer binoculars and a compass to make the search for specific types (or particular beasts) a touch easier. Forcing players to huff it up the hill for that dragon can make for gruelling exercise. I’m okay with that. There’s no thrill anymore with a game that’s basically about grinding and bragging about that shiny nobody else has.
When considering Niantic acknowledged using 5G technology to improve the AR experience, they’re certainly not above forcing players to upgrade their phones to keep playing. They should be working on fixing the weaker elements of their games before forging ahead.
I’m also still waiting for an option to trade in unwanted candies for coins. I don’t need another Pidgeot. I see them more as cannon fodder for random gym slotting in hopes it will stay long enough for daily coins.
As this game continues to be played by the devout, I wonder if Niantic is losing the demographic they should have make this game for: the kids. I’ve overheard a few say it’s boring after a two months. They don’t bother playing and give up their accounts to parents or siblings addicted in holding every single gym in town.
I’ve also noticed long time players giving those level 40 accounts a rest in favour for making new ones to level up, but isn’t that a can of worms Niantic is not monitoring? They can take a player’s word for granted about all these accounts on a single phone, but I see a future where only three accounts can be registered per device to guarantee fair play.
Four years later, I see very few new players coming into this fold. In my area, it’s only as good as those international students going to study at university. They have a long way to go to catch them all, especially when regional Pokemon are concerned. Newcomers to the game have a much more difficult task to catch up. Otherwise for the long time enthusiast, the game play is still the same ol’ same ol’, until something totally new is added to the game to reinvigorate interest.