After months of next to no new features or updates, just a handful of events, Pokemon Go has received a pretty hefty update with notable changes to catching (including new items), new ways of evolving, new moves, a second annoying rebalance and a whopping 80+ new Pokemon.
So far since the launch, under 72 hours ago, I’ve caught probably around 300 of the Generation 2 Pokemon, with around a third of those being Swinub. The spawn rate of the new Pokemon is exceptionally high, although the diversity in my experience has been really low. They’ve made some of the new Pokemon much more common than Pidgey, Rattata and co.
It is a curious approach to take. The reason why I was looking forward to Gen 2 was that nearly every time I played the game I wound up catching the same Pokemon over and over, yet today on a 2 hour walk through parks, residential areas and a shopping centre I caught only one new Pokemon. Already I’m feeling a bit of that same “fatigue”. With the launch of Gen 2 I was hoping that I’d be opening the game and seeing new Pokemon to go catch but instead it is another reminder that the Nearby tracker just isn’t up to the job.
The release of Gen II should have been a constant buzz of excitement when opening the game, seeing new Pokemon to go catch. Instead I’m looking at the tracker and thinking “meh, same old, same old”. Despite about 15-20km of walking, only on four or five occasions have I seen a shadow to go hunting for. The majority of my catches have been stumbled upon or more often, sat in my flat. The tracker really ought to be the feature driving me to go out and guiding me to find new Pokemon but instead it seems like just the luck of the random spawn. There is very little difference in what I catch from my flat to out and about in town.
I’m pretty sure that the app knows about more Pokemon than those on screen and listed in the tracker. Heck I sometimes have some spawn as I was walking that were never on the tracker. It makes me wish that I had the option to filter what gets displayed. Showing that common Pokemon are near by in a city is completely redundant. I *know* they are near by. Even without looking I know Swinub is in walking distance. I could pick any direction, walk 100m and I’ll catch one. What I want to know is are there any new ones? Or any that I’ve only caught once like Chikorita?
Strangely I don’t feel like this update has made a huge improvement. Aside from the rebalancing of battling, everything they’ve added is definitely a positive but my experience just 3 days on, well it is pretty much the same. Whether it is playing at home or going out for a walk, I can catch the same handful of Pokemon over and over again. There’s also the gym gameplay, which is now just slower than before and has potentially undone all my hard work to power up good Pokemon.
I worry that in a few weeks time I won’t even be getting a new Pokemon every day or so. I really hope that the spawning gets balanced very quickly and we see new functionality soon, particularly battling to give me reason to use my ever growing collection of Pokemon.
My taking from this and what I would want to ensure if I was ever to release a successful game (ha!) is don’t absolutely swamp players with new content. Make it rare and exciting. Have the player work a little rather than saying “you wanted more content? here it is on a silver platter.”
Note: I started writing this Sunday afternoon but forgot to post…