I know what you’re thinking “But Reedicus, you always blame Niantic for poor execution!” And that, lovely readers and gamers alike is absolutely right.
I blame the real world/AR game company for so many of the woes and fails within the Pokemon Go game space, and honestly it isn’t without reason. Poor execution, early release without proper thought or testing of mechanics, over promising the players things and delivering on them, what, 2 years later? I lose track of time, especially in regards to Niantic and Pokemon Go.
Well, if you haven’t noticed already, I once again go into a rant and dissect the newest feature(s) to be added to the mobile game within the past week. Giving it a bit of time to sink in, enough time to see and hear all the complaints that come not just from me but from others, as well as testing the features myself.
Let me tell you, Niantic introduced a blessing and a curse.
Trading, a staple found in every Pokemon game since Red and Blue, has finally been given to the masses. We were promised this from the get go, we were teased for so long, we did our time waiting for it, and now it is dropped in our hands like a overdue birthday present. I can safely say most people were genuinely excited for this prospect of getting our hands on the Pokemon we haven’t collected, be it because we don’t get to travel out of region to get certain exclusives, or we just work too damn much that playing is few and far between.
Then we see the price tag of each trade…
Oh yeah, we have to pay Stardust in order to trade with anyone. In the history of ever, you hear me yell, have we ever had to pay for trade?! I never once handed over anything in game other than the Poke in question to get the one the other trainer was offered. As you can expect, seeing this made so many people livid. I was frustrated, upset, bamboozled. Pick a word and I was it. Still am after doing my first trade the other day. Picked up a Heracross from a coworker and was absolutely proud of myself. Then the messages popped up, stating you have to be close to the player your trading with, you also had to pay 20,000 Stardust to initiate the trade. It was ridiculous, regardless of how excited I am to finally have one of my favorite Pokemon in my Pokedex.
I’ve seen the max trade distance be 100 meters, which I seriously have to wonder how people from say, New York would be able to trade with folks like me down in Texas. What if one of my good friends has, say a Corsala, and I have something he wants? I can’t trade because I’m not close enough. It’s about a city block, maybe a few more depending on the map. I looked at a map and tried to work it out, it sure as hell doesn’t cover Texas to NY.
Didn’t Pokemon introduce wireless trading from across the world a gen or so ago? Is this idea not feasible for Niantic at this time? I’d say no, but I’ve played on many games where the data of one person’s character, who lived in Japan, transferred to my account temporarily without any issue. I truly don’t know game engines well enough but have to wonder if it really is a stretch to extend distance in game trading or if Niantic is just scared to try it right now till, and I would be shocked if they did, they could test the idea.
Now I present…
Get the word play… Present/present… two meanings…
So along with trading we add the friend system so we could trade with friends, as well as send gifts. This too, is not without its flaws.
The biggest problems I have are the same many people are having, as well as a bait and switch from the devs.
First and foremost, the amount of gifts you can hold is 5. Read that again, think about it, and if you’re still confused on why I’d be upset, read on. This is a great starting point, 5, because honestly you don’t know how many friends you’ll have in the first week, so starting with five till you have over 5 is a great thing. However it stays at a constant 5 gifts in your inventory for, what I assume is the complete run of the game from now. I have 25 friends right now, was contemplating adding more, but I already have a tough time deciding who gets the few gifts I do manage to collect daily from Pokestops. And what’s even worse, I hear that the gifts didn’t actually take up inventory space, like they sit in your inventory, but they don’t take up the space. So Again… what’s the issue with limiting the amount collected?
Now I have to pick and choose, and when I hit five I have to send them out and hope I get at least 5 more so I can increase my friendship with more than 5 people a day. This system, is flawed.
It was great though, getting those gifts and you could get 5 Ultra balls, 2 Great balls, and if you were lucky 1 or 2 of another item, or the Friend egg sitting at 7km.
But in pure Niantic fashion, they either held the wool over eyes and made it the first gift from each friend you ever receive have this plethora of goodies, or they nerfed it the day after. I would guess in attempt to stop bags from becoming too full too quickly. I mean I was at the double digits for Poke and Great balls, and the single digits for Ultra and now they’ve increased to the next digit each because of it. The space issue is a blessing for them, gives them reason to have people spend Poke Coins for storage space, or real world money.
And before you say anything, yes I probably would have called them out on a blatant cash grab if they kept it BUUUUUT this isn’t that story. In fact, I see it as a benefit, people have to make money, the development takes money to push past current standards, and if they want to do more with PG then they could probably use the resources, but I digress.
So the limit collection of Gifts, the amount given being nerfed, and one last irritating note that could have easily been just avoided.
Do Not Open After 20
Yeah, you are allowed to open gifts up till the 20th one per day, then you are unable to touch the rest. Meaning, as one of the groups I’m in has mentioned, when they have more than 50-60 friends, receive a gift from each of them a day, even if they all stopped till he caught up, it would take him 20 days to claim all gifts.
Do you know how ridiculous that is? I have other games that let me claim as many gifts that are sent to me at a time. So I have to once again ask, Why Niantic?
Is it, again, a matter of storage space for the player. Even nerfed, the amount collected could send them over. Then they’d have to spend Coins on Storage instead of the… bundles.. Oh wait, I think I figured out why. I mean maybe, just maybe, they make more money off the bundles or other items than they do storage space. Maybe they want to limit how much the player has access to in order to keep them buying the big items in bulk. I’d have to do the math on that, which I’m horrible at, but with storage being 200 and the lowest end bundle is 480, none of which current offer storage for either items or Pokemon, it easy to see from that what costs more.
Ok so… math was never my strong suit. So bare with me, as I figure this out. A stack of 100 coins is .99 cents. Rounding up, it’s basically .01 per coin. Then you go to 550 for, rounding up, 5.00 which is a 1.00 per a hundred with essentially 50 extra. Kinda like spend 100 get a 10 dollar gift card type deal. In order to afford the lowest end bundle, if you don’t do gyms and the like enough, you’d have to get the 550 coins deal, so you’d spend 5.00. Or buy 5 100 coin packs, which still means your spending 5.00 minus 5 cents, because I don’t think tax factors in too much. I haven’t bought any in a while from a mobile game so I can’t say for sure. Either way, they’d get 5 bucks out of you for the bundle, where as if you on needed storage, you can spend $2.00 every once in a while, maybe one every two weeks, and you’d be spending a dollar less if you just made on purchase for a bundle.
See! I told you I could get onto them for cash grabs, while at the same time saying they could probably use the money.
The long and veiny of it is this, once again good ol Niantic had a good concept on their hands, and just like before tripped over thin air and broke it, just like our hearts. I mean, I still will tolerate the system till I get all the ‘Mons I need, then I don’t truly care. I can’t write a new system for the guys, but I can still point out short comings. Maybe they should take the time and test these things with people, not just 40 level users for maybe a day before they roll it out. Maybe get feedback. Like an EX Raid pass, but for beta testing. Just saying Niantic. I could totally sign up for that and give feedback. I don’t always hold back, as you can see.
So what are your thoughts? Do you like the new features in the game? Where could they improve? Or have you not touched the game in a year and aren’t even suaded to come back to the dork side? Let me know your thoughts.