Okay, I know this may seem as though I’m just complaining for the sake of it, and I know that Niantic are releasing updates and trying to fix the app, but I’m still having problems with it. I doubt that I’m the only player suffering but here is why I felt the need to have a small rant.
The new “sightings” feature is terrible. The three-step mechanism that they had before wasn’t perfect by any means (and didn’t even work for most people), but the idea of it was to allow players to know if they were getting closer or further away from a Pokémon that they were trying to capture. Now, the sightings feature does not let players know whereabouts Pokémon are located, but that they are simply within the area. I know that a handful of players received the update in which Niantic are testing out the full breadth of this feature, but the one I have is even less useful than the original broken tracking system.
The above are three screen shots that I took while playing Pokémon Go in the last couple of weeks, and which actually prompted me to write this post. In the first image (left), I was left confused because the closest Pokémon to me were a Psyduck, Horsea and Pidgey, and yet a Rattata was the one to annoy me with its presence. Not only is it irritating that common Pokémon such as Rattatas like to pop up at every chance that they can, but even when they’re not supposed to be nearby they still spawn. I would have very much liked another Psyduck instead of a purple rat. Similarly, in the centre picture, a Spearow appeared even though it was third in line after a Zubat and an Eevee. Yet again, in the third screen shot it is clear that a Drowzee was not supposed to be nearby, and yet it appeared anyhow. There was no lure at that PokéStop before or after I passed by, and so I did not understand why a Drowzee suddenly showed up. Now, I’m not sure if the sightings feature lists the Pokémon in the order in which they are closest to the player, but I can only assume so. Which begs the question, why is it so inaccurate?
Now, admittedly, I used to do a lot of my Pokémon hunting in the comforts of a vehicle. I was able to catch the majority of my first Pokémon while my brother drove us to see our cousin, and I was perfectly happy to give up any mileage to hatch eggs that would not be counted by the game because I was travelling too fast. A few updates later and now it is virtually impossible to catch Pokémon while playing in a car (as a passenger, of course. I have to confirm that about a million times before actually playing). It seems as though the game can’t refresh fast enough to load Pokémon when the player is going faster than 20mph. While I will admit that this does encourage players to walk instead of ‘cheating’, it does not mean that the ability to catch Pokémon in a car should be completely nerfed.
As you can see in the above images, I was very close to being robbed of a Gloom. My phone vibrated to indicate a Pokémon appearing nearby and I was confused when I could not see it at first, until I noticed the white rings near my character. I tried tapping them but nothing happened, and I was worried that I would miss out on catching it. I was in a car at the time, and it is not often that Pokémon spawn while I am in a vehicle now. I panicked, but thankfully my mum and I were in a fair amount of traffic at the time and so we were travelling slowly if at all for around 5 minutes. I managed to restart the game and the Gloom reappeared, allowing me to finally catch it. I have not had this issue before the updates and so I can only assume that it’s because of Niantic’s frantic attempt to ‘fix’ the game that more problems have been caused as a result.
I have to say, I’m getting very tired of the mentality of releasing an unfinished game and then fixing it later. This is why I try to avoid pre-ordering games, as I want to know if it’s even worth my money before committing any payments. It makes me wonder when this trend began to surface. I remember when once a game was released, developers had no control over potential glitches or the like. Now, a games developer can release a game any time they feel like it, charge players for the full game and then release updates and patches at a later date. It’s the same issue as what a lot of people are finding after the release of No Man’s Sky, as many features were promised but have not yet made an appearance. Yet because of these promises, people parted with their hard earned cash to pay for a full game but were given barely half of what they were anticipating. It is for this reason that I tend not to pre-order games, because developers will only continue doing this if they receive sufficient funds. Companies are more likely to induce change if you start being smart with where you put your money, not your complaints.
I can definitely see that the popularity of this game is dying down already. Kids will be going back to school as the summer is coming to an end, so there will be a decrease in players actively playing during the day. Even I have begun to play it less, and as you can see I’m only on level 15 at the moment, despite having the app since it released in the UK. I do find it enjoyable, but I still have moments where the game infuriates me. I’m happy to see the low battery mode making a reappearance and the game does seem to be eating up less of my battery, though it is still quite steep at times. I can appreciate that Niantic are working on fixes, but I feel as though they just need to do it better.