11 updates Pokémon Go needed yesterday

Pokémon Go has taken the world by storm but, despite its popularity it still has a lot of issues. Aside from crashing all the time, it has shallow gameplay, no endgame, a lousy XP curve, and gives the player no information about how to play it effectively. For now we may be enamored with it, but for the game to survive it needs to make some updates and fast.

Here are 11 updates Pokémon Go needed yesterday.

A Tutorial

There is seemingly endless Pokémon Go misinformation flying around the Internet about where pokemon spawn and how to catch them. This is partially because the game has no tutorial, or any explanation of its deeper mechanics for that matter. While it feels kind of cool to hear people making outlandish claims that they know to be true because their “uncle works at Nintendo,” it’s frustrating for more serious gamers to plan a strategy off of commonly accepted knowledge that turns out to be just a rumor.

An improved tutorial would help this process immensely. It doesn’t even have to be frontloaded, it could be slowly rolled out as the player levels up, or perhaps leaked as tips during the loading screen. Imagine booting up Pokémon Go and seeing, “Did you know evolving Pokémon gets you XP? You should use Lucky Eggs before you evolve!”

A Different Way to Train Pokémon

Currently, the only way to make a pokemon stronger is by using stardust, but you get stardust by catching pokemon. This is a self-defeating system. pokemon become stronger in the wild as you level up, so if you are catching pokemon to grind for stardust you are also invalidating the pokemon you want to use the stardust on by catching better ones. This loop continues until you hit level 30, when wild pokemon stop getting stronger. To fix this, pokemon strength needs to be decoupled from pokemon capture rate.

Allowing us to earn stardust through gym battles would be a start. Alternatively, pokemon could just increase their CP every time they survive a gym battle. Right now, the only alternative way to earn stardust is through a “defender bonus” for keeping your pokemon in a gym, but gyms are turning over hands so frequently it’s difficult to claim this bonus even once, so it’s still far more effective to wander around catching trash Weedles all day.

A Better XP, Candy, and Stardust Curve

The current XP curve is entirely broken. No matter what pokemon you catch, you get the same amount of XP, stardust, and candy (outside of an XP bonus for registering pokemon to your Pokedex for the first time). Catch an ultra-rare Lapras? You’ll get the same reward as if you caught a Pidgey. This makes it almost pointless to seek out rare pokemon at low levels since your main goal at that point is to level up. Catching four Weedles will give you 100XP for each and 12 candies, which will allow you to evolve one for an extra 500XP bonus. You’ll also use very few Pokeballs since they are so easy to catch. Catching an Exeggutor, on the other hand, will cost multiple Pokeballs and Razz Berries, especially if its CP is high, yet you’ll still only get 100XP for it while spending far more resources. This means that playing the game optimally means pushing yourself to level 20 by catching the same low CP bug-trash over and over again, and that’s not very fun.

For that matter, transferring a CP 10 Pidgey gets you the same amount of candy as transferring a CP 1500 Vaporeon, and that just doesn’t seem right. If you invest time in training a pokemon, you should be able to get some of that back in candy or stardust when the pokemon is transferred.

A Different Way to Catch Pokemon

The catch pokemon mini-game is currently very shallow. You can use Razz Berries and great/ultra-balls to increase your capture rate, but after that it’s just “try to throw the ball in the circle.” Even if you throw an ultra-ball perfectly through the smallest targeting reticle, there’s still a chance that your target pokemon will break free. This makes catching pokemon at high levels an exercise in brute force tedium. Just a little bit of innovation could shake things up. Adding more Pokeballs, using items to put pokemon to sleep, or implementing wild pokemon battles are just a few ways to make the pokemon catching process more interesting.

Mass Actions

Anyone who has hit their pokemon cap knows how incredibly boring it is to scroll through your pokemon menu, highlight each pokemon individually, scroll through their stats, hit transfer, click OK, and then get one candy for it. No, Professor Willow, I don’t want to keep my 25 Rattatas. If you can throw out multiple items at a time, you should be able to transfer multiple pokemon as well. For that matter, there should be an easy button to collect items from all Pokestops nearby so you don’t have to click each individual one, and similarly a button that lets you attempt to catch each pokemon nearby in sequence, rather than clicking on each individual one.

An Endgame

Pokemon trainers who have quickly leveled themselves up soon realized that there isn’t much of a game left at high levels. New levels don’t get you any good rewards, and pokemon stop getting stronger in the wild. You can participate in gym battles, but even your CP 2000 pokemon will just get killed by another high-level trainer by the end of the day or, even worse, six low level trainers who just throw trash at you all day. Other than attempting to “catch em’ all,” which can’t even be done unless you have the money to travel around the world to catch pokemon native to certain countries, the game just stops unceremoniously shortly after level 30 or so.

A Friend System

It’s very strange that Pokémon Go doesn’t have a friend system, because it was a major part of Niantic’s last Augmented Reality game, Ingress. In Ingress you could chat with members of your team, highlight important places to attack, tell when other team members were nearby, and even keep a buddy list of encountered players. It not only made the game easier to play, it also made it easy to make and keep in contact with the new friends you made while playing. Niantic could literally port the exact Ingress system over to Pokémon Go with no changes whatsoever and it would vastly increase the game’s quality.

Trainer to Trainer Interactions

We already know that pokemon trading is coming, but there should be more ways to interact with other trainers than just that. Seeing other trainers on your map would be a nice start. Challenging them to pokemon battles would also be nice. Trading items would be a great way to help out players who don’t have Pokestops nearby.

It’s also worth noting that trading should probably be handled through NFC communication and not the Internet, meaning your phones should be able to touch in order to trade. Otherwise, pokemon could be sold for real money in online auctions. This would be questionably legal and would completely destroy the power curve, allowing anyone to get stronger simply by expending real world cash.

TMs, HMs, and Other Ways to Manipulate Pokemon Moves

Right now, pokemon moves are almost completely random. Your pokemon gets a random two-move loadout when you capture it, and evolving it gives it a chance to randomly replace moves. Since it is so random, it’s largely ignored. It’s not worth it to keep a high CP pokemon unevolved, stats-wise, so you basically have to grit your teeth and hope that evolution doesn’t give it a move that is totally worthless in battle.

Just a few mechanics would make this system so much better. TMs and HMS could be added so you can force your pokemon to learn moves. Pokemon could be given the option to learn a new move once they hit a certain CP level. You could even make certain Pokestops house a move tutor that can teach your pokemon moves it forgot. We need some control over our Pokémon’s movesets or else battle will always be reduced to “highest CP wins.”

More Pokemon

It’s only been a couple of weeks since Pokémon Go first released and several players have already “caught them all,” or at least all that are currently available/feasible to catch without traveling around the world. While limiting the original set of pokemon to the first 151 was probably a good idea, it’s not enough. The generation one pokemon weren’t balanced in typing, rarity, species, or in any way really. While using generation one pokemon was a great way to push the nostalgia button for older pokemon fans, it’s about time we saw more recent gens get added to the app. Heck, adding more pokemon to find would effectively extend the end-game of “gotta catch ‘em all.” It’s killing two Pidgeys with one stone.

Stability (Obviously)

Finally, we have the 11th update Pokémon Go badly needs: stability. I almost didn’t include this on the list because it was so obvious. Pokémon Go crashes more than a 90 year old blind man in a racecar. It freezes more than an Oddish fighting Articuno. Trainers have lost captured or hatched pokemon, gotten stuck in menus, and even locked up their phones simply because they tapped the screen too fast. Fixing this is going to be a massive undertaking that includes pushing out constant app updates and increasing server size, but if ANYTHING needs to be done to make Pokémon Go a better game, it’s this.

What updates do you think Pokémon Go needs to get ASAP? Let us know in the comments.