Earvin was a 90s kid that never quite grew up. He has his GED and a pretty sweet girlfriend.
Since its release in the summer of 2016, Pokémon Go has seen its fair share of users come and go for various reasons. Older players left after a good dose of nostalgia, and younger players got tired of seeing first-generation Pokémon steal the spotlight on Community Day and during events. While Niantic maneuvered through the global pandemic quite well, their decision to roll back the in-game pandemic perks has failed miserably, causing chaos and frustration within the PoGo community. Growth is key. It's vital to keep your core fanbase satisfied while expanding and reaching out to new users. New isn't always better. Building on what's already worked, or in some cases taking away something, can be just as lucrative. Here's a shortlist of much-needed updates from an active PoGo player that should entice you to keep opening the app.
Team Go Rocket Is an Army
As of mid-2021, Team Go Rocket straddles the line of annoying and necessary. It's fun to catch particular shadow Pokémon. It's not fun to face the same Pokémon and trainers time and time again. In the video games series, you may stumble upon a scientist or electrician who happens to be a part of the evil organization. We need this in the mobile game too. I'm tired of battling the same grunts. Also, if Giovanni has shadow legendaries, why aren't more Pokémon available for his grunts in general? We need access to the entire shadow Pokédex.
Badge of Honor
In Pokémon Go, having a gym badge means you get more from spinning that particular Pokéstop. It's a nice touch, especially if you are at gold level or running low on certain items. I'm sure this is fun for up and comers and new users. For someone that has played since its inception, it's neither functional nor does it mean much. As it currently stands, you can gain up to 50 coins per day by leaving your Pokémon in a gym. That's the rule regardless of trainer level, experience, or badge type. Why not increase the coin limit for those with higher-level badges, or decrease the amount of time it takes to gain these coins? Giving badges more meaning would incentivize trainers of all levels to go for gold at all gyms in the area.
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Ball Is Life
On a typical encounter in Pokémon Go, you have the option of using one of three different balls to catch a Pokémon. It's been the norm since the game was released. When raiding or encountering a shadow Pokémon, a fourth option (the Premier Ball) does appear. Catching a Pokémon in a Premier Ball feels special. You understand the set of circumstances and skills required to do so. You defeated a Rocket or raid and caught this Pokémon that probably has solid IVs. The Premier Ball is not my gripe. The problem here is that we're missing balls. There are 20+ balls from the main series that are being forgotten and ignored. There are balls specifically for catching bugs, fish, heavy Pokémon, and more. With the amount of room for items allowed in our bags, we should have access to at least 10 types of Pokéballs by now. I want my shiny Gyarados to live in a Dive Ball. As of this writing, that's not possible.
A Scrambled Mess
Hatching eggs has always been important to me. It gives me a reason to check the app when out on a walk. I don't mind much what comes from the egg. I like that my walking hatched a critter. It bothers me when Niantic uses eggs as part of an event. Now I'm hatching the same Pokémon I already had too many of before the event. I need variety in my eggs. Seasoning, if you will. I want my buddy Pokémon to find or lay eggs, I want to trade and transfer eggs, and I want to know what region my egg is from. Is that too much to ask?
Oh Happy Day
Community Day is supposed to be an opportunity to get to know fellow trainers within your neighborhood. I don't think I've ever made a friend because of Community Day. I've met a lot more people raiding at bus stops. Community Day has become Shiny Day/Special Move Day and we all know it. Let's take a Pokémon, Growlithe. On Growlithe Community Day, the shiny and move are fine, but let's get some outfits and Pokéstop tasks. Sure, you can buy the special research for $1, but it's never worth it. The technology needed to better Community Day is already in-game. We can use Team Go Rocket and spotlight hour features. We should also see more than just Growlithe. We should see Growlithe's natural predators and prey. I'd also like a bonus for catching 100 in one day. Make my time in this app matter. Make me care about Community Day because, at this point, it's forgettable.
Pokémon Go makes walking fun. It used to be an app I looked forward to opening. It's become a chore. Nobody likes chores. This is when most people dump the app and move on. When the natural action goes from "I get to" to "I have to," you've lost your fanbase. Niantic is good at bringing players back after a long period away. That's not a talent one should aspire to attain. Niantic needs to care about its users and give the trainers space to personalize their journeys or risk losing them all.
© 2021 Earvin Allen