Pokémon GO Just Keeps Getting Worse – Screen Rant

Pokémon GO was once one of the biggest games in the world, but six years after its release, Niantic’s big hit has become a shell of what it once was.
Pokémon GO has been on the decline for the last few years, and it just seems to keep getting worse. When Niantic’s app was released in 2016, it was a global phenomenon that hooked audiences of all ages, and it continues to maintain an active player base six years later. But while Pokémon GO‘s fans’ will to play has stood the test of time, the app’s quality has not fared as well.
Pokémon GO was at its best in 2018: Legendaries were awarded weekly through Field Research, Lucky Pokémon joined the game, and pseudo-legendaries made up the bulk of Community Day events next to starters. 2020 arguably saw another high point for Pokémon GO when Niantic addressed the COVID-19 pandemic by increasing spawn rates and incense effects for sedentary players. These changes rewarded all trainers for playing more and even addressed the issue the app has had for those who live in remote locations since launch.
Related: How Pokémon GO Still Ignores Small Towns & Rural Areas
But since the beginning of the pandemic and into recovery, Pokémon GO has been in quite a tailspin. New modes like Battle League have been underwhelming, and the selections for Community Days and Field Research awards have become more and more questionable. But worst of all, additions such as stickers and Mega Evolutions are slowly turning what is one the best free-to-play games out there into a microtransaction hub.
When it comes to Pokémon GO‘s new modes and events, the problem is that they are not made to be unique. Battle League could work if the fighting mechanic for it was designed for PvP, but it’s not. If there were more diversity for moves or inputs when fighting against trainers instead of tapping, Pokémon GO‘s Battle League would invite more strategy into the game and expand its meta. Similarly, Community Days and Field Research rewards need to be made unique again. Getting an Alolan Geodude for Community Day or an Eevee after completing tasks each day of the week feels boring because these pocket monsters can be caught easily at any other time. Pokémon GO should thus revert back to 2018 when starters and pseudo-legendaries were chosen for such occasions. Niantic can at the very least choose rare, strong Pokémon such as Togepi or Chansey.
Addressing Pokémon GO‘s rising microtransaction problem is both more simple and complex. On one hand, Niantic is already handling this issue: there are a lot more small events and game modes that award players items that would otherwise have to be bought. On the other hand, Mega Evolutions – along with the overwhelming amount of cosmetic items in Pokémon GO at this point – continue to make microtransactions a big issue. To fix this problem, Niantic could do two things. The first is double the max amount of coins players can earn from gyms from 50 to 100 per day. Doing this would incentivize players to battle gyms more in the first place and enable trainers to hoard items necessary for Mega Raids and buy cosmetics. The second is to make Mega Evolution points more available. Niantic recently did this with the Mega Moment tasks in Pokémon GO, but making more Mega Evolutions accessible in this way would really help the state of the game.
People are still playing Pokémon GO because it has a lot to offer, but it has fallen from the grace it was in back in 2018 and early 2020. If anything, Niantic could at least keep the changes it made to the game during the pandemic while also making it easier for trainers in remote areas to play. With so many small-scale options to make the app better, Pokémon GO surely holds a promising future despite its current state.
Next: Pokémon GO Still Doesn’t Value Players Who Don’t Live In Cities
Fletcher Varnson is a writer for Screen Rant, where he covers video games. He also writes for the Georgia Voice, where he covers LGBTQ+ literature, cinema, and news, has contributed poetry to the film journal Day For Night, and has written the podcast for the Five Points Literary Journal. Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia with 5 brothers and sisters, Fletcher developed a passion for books, movies, and games and their ability to connect people with disparate dispositions from disparate backgrounds. He has a special affinity for the Super Smash Brothers series; despite this, his Yoshi is still quite terrible.


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