If you live in an American urban area, you have to be incredibly and probably willfully unobservant to not know that Pokemon GO is here.
Never before have I seen so many people in my local parks, wandering about on lunch breaks or after work in the pursuit of a childhood dream. Kids are on board, but in my experience, adults have overwhelmingly been the most prevalent players. We need to capture that nostalgia; we need to catch them all.
That said- the game is not perfect. There are issues with cyber security, with database crashes, with bugs and balance and boorishness.
After a week with PGO (is that the approved acronym?) here is what I’d like to see in the future :
There is nothing more frustrating than toggling a Lucky Egg or a Lure and then having the game crash and not let you back in. Those items, which are rare to find without spending real-life currency, run in real time, not in logged-in time. I lost 20 minutes on a lure this weekend because my game crashed and refused to restart. It’s frustrating and disheartening.
Tier and Tweak the Gyms
Gyms also have some bugs, both intended and unintended. For one, I’ve run into several instances of fights canceling out for no reason, or fights where both combatants are stuck at 1HP and are unable to progress. It wastes time, leads the frustration, and makes it really difficult to ninja in and capture gyms for #TeamInstinct.
Additionally, the current gym system is going to be rough as hell for new players to break in to. After a week of game play the gyms in my area are bolstered by players with Pokemon well over 1,200CP and that number will just continue to go up. If you are just picking the game up for the first time today, or next week, or whenever, it will undoubtedly be even more difficult to capture those locations (and capturing is currently the only way to get coins without spending money. Coins give items, which give more perks, etc.)
My proposal is this : Tiered Gyms.
In the Gameboy games, you don’t jump from a newbie to fighting final bosses, which is what Pokemon GO will essentially be asking of new players as the earliest adopters race farther and farther ahead. No, you have lower level gyms to test your skills on first. My suggestion is that gyms be given a tier ranking with a CP limit per defender. The lowest level cannot have defenders over 500CP, a mid-level over 1500CP, and the highest level 1500+. I’m just throwing numbers out there, those aren’t concrete or anything. Make the rewards greater for the higher tiered gyms, but allow rewards to be achievable for newer players, or for more casual players.
An awesome thing about this game is that so many people are playing it, and there are so many opportunities to make new friends in your community. That said, there are no social features inside the game itself. If I run into more members of #TeamInstinct in the park we don’t have a good way of keeping in touch unless we swap phone numbers or social media accounts or something. But of course, not everyone is on the same service, and not everyone is comfortable giving out their phone number.
But what does everyone have? Pokemon GO. Give us a friends list! Give us a way to see when buddies are heading to a gym! As a member of the statistically smallest team, it’s rough taking and holding gyms. Knowing when things are happening would be a great addition, and would promote more social interaction both in-game and out.
Also- trades. Man I would love to be able to make trades. And duels. Duels and trades and being social. Let’s make this happen!
Achievements and Coins
Currently there are achievements in-game, but only you can see them. How are people supposed to brag about their fake internet points if they can only be shared via screen shot? Along with social connectivity, make achievements viewable.
And while you’re at it Nintendo/Niantic, give coins for achievements. Gyms and cold hard cash are the only ways to acquire them at this point, and with gyms being either unplayable due to bugs, or unplayable due to 3 2000CP Snorlaxes making them impenetrable bricks, real money is the only option for a lot of new players.
Set it up like other mobile games- achievements get you small amounts of the otherwise pay-to-win currency. Maybe you don’t get much, but at least it’s something.
Sure, you don’t need to use items from the store to play and have a good time. I’ve spent exactly $0 so far, even though I have $25 in free credit from Google Surveys. Come to think of it… I’m not sure what’s holding me back? The store gives Lucky Eggs and Lures, which double EXP and increase spawns (which gives EXP). Buying extra items can help someone to level up faster, so while you don’t need the items, they can certainly help (and probably are responsible for that Snorlax army and their level 25 trainers).
GPS and Sound Improvements
I run. I run a lot. You’d think I’d be hatching eggs left and right, right? Nope. Wrong. Even if I keep the app open with my screen unlocked I get credit for nowhere near the distance I should. And that doesn’t even consider all of the app crashes and restarts. With all of the Google and Apple connectivity you’d think the game could tap into those respective company’s fitness apps, right? If Google Fit can estimate my distance with decent accuracy, why can’t Pokemon GO?
And on the topic of app improvements, what is the deal with the sound? If I get a phone alert my sound completely cuts out. Additionally, I cannot listen to any music or podcasts and still be able to hear sounds in game. While running (AKA egg hatching) I have to choose between music or game, which means I never get an alert during a hatching or when I’m near a surprise gym. Small quality of life choices, right?
All that said, Pokemon GO is still a wonderfully fun game. The potential is there to make it even better, and I’m eager to see what changes and improvements we get down the line. And if they don’t make any changes? Well… then I’m not sure. It’ll lose its luster pretty quickly I’d imagine. Don’t lose your luster! Give us what we want!
How’s GO been going for you? Are you #TeamInstinct? Let’s be friends.