When Niantic’s big *Pokémon GO update for the holidays went live yesterday, players were excited about the contents included within … until they actually started playing the game. Sure, the patch did deliver on the promise of additional Pokémon with the first set of Generation 2 Pokémon and a festive Pikachu, but instead of introducing a few dozen into the wild for players to venture out and catch, it placed all the Generation 2 baby Pokémon in tedious, annoying Pokémon Eggs.
After the initial release, which helped players find real-life friends, Pokemon GO has become something of a disappointment for many players, including myself, because it feels like Niantic is holding back so many aspects that the community is clambering for. Regardless of how you look at it though, there’s a few things the popular mobile game should consider doing if it wants to keep its community alive.
Update the Wilderness
There’s nothing wrong with adding Pokémon to the eggs players can find at PokéStops, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed when I read the news that no new Pokémon from Generation 2 could be found in the wild. While I completely understand the fact that Pokémon GO is a free mobile game that thrives of off mistranslations, keeping 500+ Pokémon from showing up in the wild is something that Niantic can’t do forever if Pokémon GO is going to survive.
When the game launched in July, the entire game was about the thrill of finding new Pokémon in the world and then sharing your knowledge with other trainers. It was exciting to head into unfamiliar territory and find a brand new type of Pokémon with your friends, hoping to catch a few to add to your collection. This thrill of seeing, searching, and catching kept me coming back every few days — but with a large collection and nothing but the same types of Pokémon around me it’s been hard to stay interested for the past few months. By adding new Pokémon into the wilderness, that sense of thrill could easily be re-invigorated in the Pokémon community — but it certainly needs to be done with brand new Pokémon, not just a Pikachu in a Santa hat.
Open Battles with Other Trainers
I’ve been playing Pokémon GO since the game released, but I’ve slowed down significantly in the past few months. Regardless of how much time I put in at the end of each day though, one of the biggest selling points of Pokémon GO was the potential it had to bring people together through their mutual love of Pokémon. When the application first launched in July, I had tons of adventures with friends and complete strangers while trying to build my initial collection and conquer the local gyms, but as time went on those experiences have started to become few and far in-between.
Now, I’ve found myself stuck in a Pokémon GO rut where I’ve got a great collection of Pokémon and absolutely no way for me to interact with them or my friends who have done the exact same thing. To keep an active player base, Pokémon GO needs to implement ways for us to interact as trainers now that the original lure of building a collection is gone. The Pokémon battles I had once hoped to have in Pokémon GO are now taking place in Pokémon Sun and Moon while my team on the app will sit around until Niantic adds a way for me to trade and battle with friends directly, not just through tapping my screen at the local gym filled with overpowered competition.
To this day, when I rewatch the initial reveal trailer for Pokémon GO, I can’t help but get a little emotional when I see a gigantic crowd of Pokémon trainers taking on Mewtwo in Times Square. Moments like these are at the very core of the entire Pokémon brand, which consistently encouraged me to get out into the world and meet other human beings while going through life. With Pokémon GO, I want to get out into the world and participate in crazy battles with other trainers against some of the strongest Pokémon we’re familiar with from our childhood like the legendary birds Articuno, Moltres, and Zapdos.
Now that many trainers in the Pokémon GO community have their base collection of Pokémon built up, theyre simply looking for something to do with them outside of the usual gym battles. The addition of a legendary Pokémon to the game would give us exactly that, allowing us to hunt for a new Pokémon and put our teams to the test together as a community to take down one of the most respected creatures in the franchise to date.
Photos via Nicholas Bashore, Getty Images / Paula Bronstein