This post is a bit late going up because a depressive episode hit this week. I do apologise.
This has been a fun few years playing Pokemon Go, and I was actually in a predicament a few days ago. Recently I’ve felt very burned out with a lot of the issues I’ve faced while playing Pokemon Go of late. As much as I enjoy getting out and exploring and meeting friends, there is a limit. But I am still playing, I was just feeling ready to stop for a week.
It’s not the first time that I wanted to quit Pokemon Go, and that first time was down to a certain Road, of which the founder of said Road apologised for the actions of other members of said Road.
I was shown this video by my good friend Sam, and I pretty much agree with everything that was said. I’ve already discussed quality of life updates, as well as massive changes and new features that are needed in the game.
So what are the reasons for my almost-quit? Here we go…
Emphasis on Microtransactions
I mentioned this before in a different post, about the reliance on microtransactions in the game. However, the Adventure Sync Hatchathon has emphasised it all the more, with the only way you could tell an event was happening was when a party-hat Pikachu spawned. What made the event worse was that Niantic encouraged people to buy incubators to complete several ‘Hatch 7 Eggs’ to reward a shiny-locked Alolan Vulpix, only to take the task away when the ‘bug’ was found, but no compensation was given to those who were, basically, ripped off.
We also have an emphasis on pushing fan-favourite Pokemon such as Shinx and Absol in raids and eggs only – this only serves to push microtransactions for Raid Passes and incubators to have a shot at getting enough candy to evolve one. The fact that the shinies were released straight away doesn’t help either.
More events like the Adventure Sync Hatchathon rely heavily on microtransactions to make an impact. The Ultra Bonus weeks, as good as they were, relied on hatching eggs to get Unown, shiny regionals and new Unovan Pokemon. Afterwards, the World Tourism event emphasised this more, almost exclusively relying on eggs to make it work.
Lack of Communication/Not Listening to Player Base
Niantic has a long history of not communicating with or listening to their player base. In contrast, their communications team for Wizard’s Unite is far superior. In general, it’s a blessing when the Niantic Support Twitter actually responds to you (it’s not happened to me yet, though).
- Not releasing evolution shinies in the wild despite it being in the best interests of the players.
- The removal of Research Days because people complained about them. People are complaining about Community Days but they haven’t been removed.
- I’ll get onto this soon, but bugs and issues that players have are not addressed immediately by Niantic.
- Niantic Support have now taken to DM-ing answers to queries when they could make the information public.
- The issue with loot-boxing eggs, especially when they don’t disclose what Pokemon hatch from eggs and what odds that they will hatch at.
This has been a theme for a long time, and I’ve seen it countless times. I can understand that RNG plays a huge part in some games, but the RNG featured in Pokemon Go is more than just a little ridiculous. Here are some of the instances where selective RNG is in place within the game:
- Smeargle (sorry for opening old wounds, Tim!). I feel that Tim’s post about his troubles with Smeargle perfectly encapsulates what I wanted to put across, so go read his post and give him some love.
- Clamperl’s evolution – some get mostly Huntail, others get mostly Gorebyss. Rarely an even split. I addressed this before, but it’s almost like there is a block on accounts from getting certain ones. I went through four Gorebyss evolutions before I got a shiny Huntail.
- Shinies – this is the most infuriating for some. I’m sure you’re familiar with FleeceKing, that seems to have a few shinies per day. And then you get people that have nearly finished their shiny collection (barring regionals), and then there are people like me, who haven’t had a new shiny since December 7th (and that was Sunkern) – obviously, I’m not counting dupes, like Murkrow and Sneasel. ZoëTwoDots mentioned in her video recently that she did minimal play to trick the game into thinking she was a casual/returning player in order to gain shinies.
- Rare Pokemon distributions – when Gible and Deino first came out, it basically revealed who the spoofers are because they are that rare from both wild spawns and eggs. To put it into perspective, since Gible first released, I have seen one in the wild. If it wasn’t for the kindness of my friend Sam, I wouldn’t even have a Deino in my Pokedex.
- Raids are also a huge RNG issue – every time I see a Shinx raid, for example, I’m always unavailable to do it – the last time I saw a Shinx raid, it was at an inaccessible Gym that is on private property.
- Research tasks, especially those consisting of Spinda. Spinda tasks have gone from relatively common to super-rare, and I usually only see one per month. This is made worse with its shiny release.
Think of this: new Pokemon drop and you drop everything to try and find them. Let’s say 15 new base forms are released. You go hunting for an evening and only find two. Oh, you have to find three of them exclusively in raids? Three more are regional? Two more are in eggs? Four more are the rarer Pokemon? This is what it’s been like for all release waves since the beginning of 2019.
Events are also a culprit of this – you’re so focused on trying to hunt all of the shinies and/or the newly-released Pokemon that it just wastes time when you don’t accomplish the shiny hunt.
Especially with Team GO Rocket battles, you are expected to stay in one spot until you defeat the Grunt/Leader/Decoy/Giovanni, and that in itself is time-consuming.
Favouritism for Spoofers
Spoofers, regardless of how you feel about them, are treated very well in-game, by Niantic. A lot of events are catered to spoofing (the World Tourism event was one of those), as well as events which rely on walking a lot to hatch eggs or raid.
It doesn’t help in the UK that events for us start at 9pm, so we have to wait until next day for the next raid rotation, as well as for it to be safe for us to be out – to put it into perspective, side-streets in Lisbon are much safer than main streets in Scunthorpe. I was almost mugged last Halloween, and that was before 6pm.
A new, sort-of unrealistic goal that has been set is walking 100km within a week to earn bonus rewards. This is perfectly fine if you’re unemployed with a lot of time, or if your job consists of a lot of walking. But for Average Joe in an office job, that is unrealistic.
It doesn’t help that Niantic turns a blind eye to spoofing in general, so any reports of people spoofing go unnoticed by them.
Bugs and Issues/Fixing Beneficial Features
Remember when all you had to do to fast-catch was to press the back button when you threw a ball? Those were good times until Niantic patched that out.
Remember the dodge glitch in raids that was never patched for the longest time? Yeah…
Most recently, my friend Sam encountered a bug that prevented him from being able to catch a Raid Pokemon, despite having finished the Raid. He had to wait 2 minutes to go into the battle itself, only to tell him he’d done the Raid. He wasn’t the only one, but this goes back to microtransactions, where Niantic care about the money coming into the game more than appeasing the player base that is giving them the money.
The ‘error 26’ bug was hugely prevalent from when Sentosa Safari Zone was happening and happened right through the Detective Pikachu event too. My mum had to reset her game to be able to select an Aipom that ended up being shiny.
When we had Slakoth Community Day, Europe experienced no weather feature in the game. Because the event spawns are tied to the same code as weather, it meant that there were barely any Slakoth spawns. Trades aside, I only got one shiny that day, and that’s partly because I went home super-early, and it was pouring with rain. Niantic decided to do a make-up weekend for Slakoth, on the same weekend as Go Fest Dortmund, therefore overwriting most of the Nidoran spawns with Slakoth spawns. This is why my 100% IV Nidoking is called ‘No Fest’.
Niantic has a habit of seeing things that unintentionally benefits the players, and removes it while keeping potentially game-breaking bugs in.
Preference to Push New Features and Leave Old Ones Stagnant
When was the last time the raid system had an overhaul? Apart from making Raid Bosses a bit harder to take down recently, the system has stayed the same since its inception, with the exception of the introduction of new Raid Bosses and EX Raids. As I mentioned earlier, we still don’t have a ‘Battle Ready’ button for raids, despite Wizard’s Unite getting one for their Fortresses.
Recently, there has been a hard-sell on PvP and Team GO Rocket, the former of which not everyone is interested in. Even Community Day has lost its edge with Niantic, having only revealed (to nobody’s surprise) Piplup as January’s Pokemon with a week left to go until the event, as well as its terrible choices for 2019 Pokemon – for example, Swinub, Trapinch and Slakoth. Even Gible, a Pokemon that would have been guaranteed for a Community Day, has had its shiny released, meaning that it’s no longer Community Day eligible.
Also, the healing mechanic has not been touched since the game’s release – it is still slow and clunky, and you are not able to mass-heal your entire ‘dead box’, as it were.
Of late, I’ve been seeing people ducking out of the game for a while, and in a way, I can’t blame them. This is probably down to the lack of variety of spawns, as well as the hard-sell on features that don’t appeal to these people.
The waves of Pokemon releases have been minuscule since the release of Gen 4 Pokemon, and have had no structure or theme. I mentioned this earlier, but it’s frustrating enough for everyone.
After all of that, you may be wondering “Lola, why are you still playing?”. And my answer is simply because it’s habitual now. I’ve been playing for so long now that it’s one of those things that I just…do.
I think if I did quit, it’d either be relatively short-term or never come back. There’s no in-between for me.