Two years ago, everybody who had access to a phone was playing Pokémon GO. It was a massive hype on a scale which was unprecedented for any other mobile game before it. Not just the kids went out to catch them all. Adults were also eager to relive their childhood. Parks and streets were flooded with people who stared at their phones. Whenever a rare Pokémon appeared, the madness was real.
However, after a few months, the hype died down. While there is still a dedicated community which is quite large, Pokémon GO has not managed to reach the levels of hype of the initial few months. That was partly to blame on people losing interest, but also because Niantic couldn’t handle the sudden popularity. Over time, they have improved the game a lot. Here are some new features that might interest you in playing again:
One of the things that made the original game so much fun is the trading aspect. Every game had version exclusives, so if you wanted to complete the Pokédex, you had to find a friend with the other version. It kept the game a challenge. A lot of people complained that trading was not available in the early days of Pokémon GO. Well, now it is.
To trade with another person, you have to be in a range of at least 100m. Trading costs you stardust, how much depends on the friend level. Special trades (legendaries, shinies) can only be done once a day and cost considerably more stardust than any other trades. Also, don’t think you can just send all your perfect IV monsters to help another account get stronger. The IVs change when traded. When I received a Dragonite which previously had a 93% IV, it was lowered to just 49% IV. Ah well. It’s good to put in gyms.
Another feature added to the game is that you can befriend other players. This can have plenty of advantages. You can become Good Friends, Great Friends, Ultra Friends and Best Friends. When you reach that last level, you get a significant stardust discount when trading, attack bonuses in gym battles and four extra balls in raids. You can increase your friend level by sending gifts which you get from Pokéstops and gyms, trading or battling in raids together. It makes the game a whole lot more interactive, which is fun.
In order to make sure the game wasn’t just catching them all, Niantic added special quests to Pokémon Go. There are two different kinds of quests. The field research tasks are those you spin from Pokéstops. You can get a variety of rewards ranging from Pokéballs to encounters with Pokémon. After receiving 7 stamps, you will get to encounter a special Pokémon. This changes every month, but usually it is a legendary Pokémon.
The Special Research tasks take a lot longer. The task consists of different parts, after which you can encounter a mythical Pokémon. So far the Special Research tasks included Mew and Celebi. You only get once chance to catch these Pokémon. That does make it feel more special than being able to catch as many legendaries as you want in raids.
The EX-raid system used to be very frustrating. Only certain gyms could be triggered and only if enough activity had been recorded at those gyms. This meant that some smaller towns never received an EX-Raid, or someone participated in a raid miles away and received an invitation without them being able to go. As far as I know, there are more gyms now that can trigger an EX-raid. Another bonus is that with the friend system, you can share an EX-Raid pass with an Ultra Friend.
The previous EX-Raid boss was Mewtwo, but Mewtwo is now temporarily available in regular legendary raids. The current EX-Raid boss is Deoxys in its attack form.
What is coming up?
Hopefully soon players will be able to battle other players. That was another aspect which made the original games so much fun.
Data mining has shown that soon Pokémon GO will implement Fitness Levels. While not much is known about it, it is a fun idea. When you reach certain fitness levels, you will receive rewards. It’s an excellent way to get players outside and on the move once again.
Niantic also ensure there are plenty of events to keep the game going and to keep interest high. It’s exciting to see what they will come up with next!
Do you still play Pokémon GO?