As of this writing, Pokemon Go is still very much an incomplete game, at least gameplay-wise. There are a lot of features missing from the main Pokemon games, leading to some people calling it as not a “real” Pokemon game. The most reasonably answer that Pokemon Go fans can throw at said people is that the game was not developed by the same people at Game Freak. That’s actually a valid point because if The Pokemon Company – the game’s publisher – wanted a Pokemon game that’s in line with the other main games they should have brought Game Freak on-board instead of Niantic. Of course, they were looking at a different angle, one that incorporates the real world, and Niantic has experience with that in their similarly location-based game Ingress.
Niantic is sure to add more features in the game in the coming months, unless they’re forced to abandon the game or something. Although it’s probably safe to assume that they’re looking to add features from the main games, no one really knows what they’re cooking at headquarters. So, to potentially make things easier for them, let’s make a list of suggestions and hope that they find their way to this article.
1. A world map that marks PokeStops and Gyms
One of the most frustrating things about the game is that you can’t view PokeStops and Gyms other than the ones in your immediate area. This makes it hard to think of which direction to take to efficiently collect items (in the case of PokeStops). Nothing is more rage-inducing than walking 20 kilometers and only being able to access one damned PokeStop. Of course, knowing places of interest in your area helps in identifying PokeStops and Gyms, but it would still be a lot helpful to give players the chance to view the game in a bird’s eye perspective. Thankfully, though, there’s Ingress to turn to while Niantic mulls on including said feature.
2. Other methods for evolving Pokemon
Grinding has never been a fun thing to go through, no matter game it is. Apparently, Niantic thought it would be fun because how else would you explain their decision to force players to repeatedly grind for Candies just to evolve a single Pokemon? Said grinding requires you to endlessly catch Pokemon of the same kind. It can be argued that the method is even more time-consuming than breeding in the main Pokemon games. Aside from using Candies, Niantic should add other ways to evolve certain Pokemon, like perhaps walking specific distances at certain times of the day or simply bringing Pokemon to very, very specific places.
3. A more useful Pokemon tracking system
In the beginning, Pokemon Go had a rather crude tracking system that involves “footsteps” to show how far you are to a certain Pokemon, but it doesn’t show which specific direction you should take. The game’s first update completely removed the tracking system and, after some backlash, Niantic installed a new system that shows nearby Pokemon only. But, again, it doesn’t show the specific direction, which naturally results to players wandering aimlessly. And that can be very tiring, not to mention dangerous. What Niantic should do is at least upgrade their current system to something that shows a general direction, even with the simple North, South, East, and West designations – like a compass. Of course, they don’t have to spoon-feed players by telling them the exact location, but a more descriptive tracking system would really do wonders
4. More options to conserve battery
Pokemon Go needs to be constantly connected to the internet. It’s one of the requirements for its location-based gameplay. And that easily translates to a very quick battery lifespan. Even if you pre-load the Google Map of your area, the game is still quite the battery-eater. The game does have a battery saver option and you can turn off the augmented reality mode, but their effects are only minimal. To help conserve battery, Niantic can tweak things gameplay-wise, like allowing Pokemon Go to be a background app when players are simply wandering around, especially when hatching those damned Pokemon eggs. They can also add the option to turn off battle animations, like in the main games – that also makes battles much quicker. And they can further advance on that by simply giving the option to speed up battles with a sort of fast-forward button.
5. Bring back wild Pokemon battles for more EXP
In contrast to the main games, Pokemon Go shook things up in regard to wild Pokemon encounters. Players are no longer required to battle Pokemon to lower their HP and boost the catch rate. To some, it’s a welcome change because one of the more annoying instances in the main games when catching Pokemon is knocking them out accidentally, stripping players the chance to start throwing Pokeballs – it’s even more annoying if the Pokemon is a very rare one. On the flip side, the omission of wild Pokemon battles deprive players the chance to earn EXP simply by feasting on weaker Pokemon. Yes, there are a number of ways to gain EXP in Pokemon Go, but the most efficient ones involve repeatedly catching weak and common Pokemon and evolving them, perhaps with the aid of a Lucky Egg. Honestly, battling wild Pokemon for EXP is a lot more fun than catching Pidgey or Rattata all day.
6. Occasionally hand out in-game bonuses
No, Niantic shouldn’t just simply hand out rare items to players, because PokeStops already do that. Remember the trend in MMORPG titles in which players receive boosted experience points and/or in-game currency for a limited time-frame? It’s during those times that servers are really pushed to the limits due to the amount of players looking to rack up levels quickly. Well, Niantic can also do the same. They can announce days – holidays perhaps? – when Pokemon Go would have certain bonuses in effect, like 2x EXP or eggs hatch at half the required distance or PokeStops yield more items. Niantic can be creative with the effects, although they should brace their servers for overload.
…And that’s about it, in the meantime at least. Let’s just hope by the time Niantic adds all the remaining Pokemon – all 600+ of them – the game will be a much better place to spend countless hours in.