Pokemon Go is far from a perfect game at the moment. Actually, it may never be a perfect game. Ever. This isn’t exactly shocking news; there are only a few games in history that can boldly take that claim with little resistance from the general public (Chrono Trigger comes to mind). However, ever since Pokemon Go’s initial release back in July, Niantic has been very busy continually tweaking the game to make the experience better, despite all the criticisms and backlash coming from every direction. Give them credit; they’re not exactly veterans in the video games industry, too, with only one other notable game (Ingress) under their belt.
Let’s check out what Niantic has done so far to turn Pokemon Go into a better game, as well as upcoming features to potentially make it even better.
Worldwide phenomenon? Technically, not yet
As of this writing, Pokemon Go is available in 113 countries. However, the two most populous countries in the world, China and India, have yet to join the party. Pokemon Go may never be released in India, though, if this ban petition is any indication. Niantic has been steadily adding countries, so it’s not like they’re slacking off or something. The main reason why they can’t immediately make the game available in every country at the same time is because of server issues. Pokemon Go may never really achieve worldwide availability, though, unless all countries cooperate.
Hidden stats now uncovered
Turns out, there’s more to Combat Power in Pokemon Go than everyone realized. Dedicated fans have uncovered that each Pokemon in the game possesses hidden stats, quite similar to the main Pokemon games. These come in the form of Attack, Defense, and Stamina, which directly affects a Pokemon’s performance in battle. Initially, the only way to determine these stats is by using online calculators. But Niantic has made things official with the Pokemon Appraisal system, which provides you cryptic clues on the potential of your Pokemon. To have your Pokemon appraised, all you need to do is to approach your Team Leader – Candela, Blanche, or Spark. While the information they provide is not exactly definitive, it’s more than enough to help you decide whether to keep the Magikarp you just caught or not.
Walk side by side with your favorite Pokemon
Niantic has introduced the Buddy Pokemon system which allows you to pick one Pokemon from your roster and have it appear alongside your avatar. Walking with your Pokemon in tow will help you earn Candies specific to that Pokemon. This feature lessens your time spent on farming Candies by repeatedly catching the same Pokemon over and over again. And it’s most especially useful for rarer Pokemon or those that are difficult to catch. You can switch Pokemon anytime, so you can spread out the fun amongst your favorite ones. This feature is actually similar to the main games, which had its roots all the way back to Pokemon Yellow. It’s a bit of a long shot for a six-Pokemon traveling party, though; it will most likely cause loading issues, not to mention fill up your profile in a messy way.
Have an easier time beefing up in Gyms
One of the disadvantages for new Pokemon Go players is that all Gyms are now occupied with high-powered defenders. This presents two problems: The first is that new players will have a hard time gaining EXP from friendly Gyms because they can’t consistently defeat the defenders – winning yields more EXP. And the second is that new players will feel left out from the team, no thanks to their inability to help out in boosting the Gym’s Prestige – which is done by similarly winning battles. Word must have reached Niantic’s ears, because they released an update that caters exactly to that. Aside from the ability to now carry six Pokemon into battle in a friendly Gym – previously, only one is allowed – Niantic has allowed players to temporarily lower their opponent’s CP. This gives their low-powered Pokemon a fighting chance in taking the opposition down, which, of course, results in more EXP. In theory, this significantly makes grinding for EXP faster and easier. If League of Legends had the same feature, new players will deal with less headaches, too.
Receive a medal for your efforts
UPDATE: This update is now underway.
In a recent announcement, Niantic has revealed that an upcoming update will include the ability for players to earn medals for catching a specific number of Pokemon of the same type. The designs are a bit similar to Gym Badges in the main Pokemon games and the TV show, in that they’re designed according to the type they represent. These medals will come in three levels: Bronze, Silver, and Gold, which correspond to 10, 50, and 200 same-type Pokemon caught, respectively. The benefit of having these medals is the increased chances of catching Pokemon that each medal represents, which will be advantageous when hunting for rarer Pokemon. For Pokemon with dual types, the bonus will be the average of the two medals.
Where are the other Pokemon?
Aside from Ditto and the legendary Pokemon, other Pokemon from the second-generation games onwards are still not available. There’s no official announcement yet on when Niantic will add the other batches of Pokemon, but it will most likely be sooner rather than later. The reason is that the game’s popularity is now declining, which is probably the result of bandwagon players finally getting bored of the game. Admittedly, though, Pokemon Go doesn’t hold much replay value, so Niantic should either supplement the game with much more interesting features to keep players hooked or simply drop the other hundreds of Pokemon for players to get busy again.
Those are all for now. Niantic will most likely add more gameplay features in the future – especially the much-awaited PVP battling and trading. These two mechanics alone will undoubtedly make players go crazy because it will truly make Pokemon Go the game they have been dreaming of, one that involves competing with other players anywhere and anytime. If you want to prepare yourself for real competitive battling without blemishing your save file, you can buy another Pokemon Go account instead.