Pokemon Go's Season of Alola should have revived the game, but Niantic failed - Dexerto
Opinion

Pokemon Go’s Season of Alola should have revived the game, but Niantic failed

Published: 24/May/2022 22:53

by Dylan Horetski

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Pokemon Go developers, Niantic, had the opportunity to revive interest in the mobile game with the release of Season of Alola. But instead, decided to implement changes that are killing the game. 

Niantic released the long-awaited mobile title in June 2016, and trainers all over the world took to the streets to see if they could challenge Ash Ketchum at being the very best.

This feeling stayed true for nearly four years after launch, but since 2020, Niantic has been slowly sucking the excitement out of the game, turning it into more and more of a cash-grab.

In March 2022, they began the Season of Alola, bringing an entirely new generation of Pokemon to the mobile catch-em-all experience. This was a chance to implement a reset. A chance for Niantic to shake things up and have players return in droves.

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Instead, trainers have been greeted with nothing but nerfs to popular accessibility features — pushing thousands of players to quit.

Season of Alola could have sparked a revival

Pokemon Go Season of Alola: New Gen 7 Pokemon, Tapu Koko, Special Research, more
Niantic / The Pokemon Company
Pokemon Go Season of Alola began on March 1, 2022.

Back in February, Niantic revealed the next quarterly season of Pokemon Go: The Season of Alola. The announcement left fans all over the world excited, as it was set to bring fresh, new content to the nearly six-year-old mobile game. This could have been a roadmap to revival.

It also included four highly sought-after legendary Pokemon from Gen 7, including the Island Deities, Tapu Bulu, Fini, Lele, and Koko.

Unfortunately, the positivity around the game sharply declined after the developers rolled out a series of reworks for sought-after features.

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Niantic dropped the ball with Pokemon Go Season of Alola

Niantic
The Season of Alola provided players with the four Island Deities.

What first appeared to be a positive change for the game was quickly met with disgust from trainers — myself included — when it was clear that Niantic had nerfed the effectiveness of the spawn boosting item: Incense.

As someone who is a part of the vast majority of rural, stay-at-home group of players, this tweak to incense spawns made the season’s Special Research tasks nearly impossible to play. Not because I didn’t want to, but because hardly anything spawned in the game, even when leaving the house.

Not only did Niantic make it extremely hard for those in rural areas to enjoy, but The Season of Alola was also set to bring the three Gen 7 starters into the game. One of which, however, had spawn rates so low that trainers weren’t even sure it had been added.

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To make matters even worse, the event was mass-spawning Starly, a bird-like ‘mon that had been released into Pokemon Go nearly four years before the beginning of Season of Alola.

They eventually adjusted the spawn issue, but just as trainers thought the game was back on track, it was two steps back again. They must control the spawns, so there can’t be any excuses.

Niantic’s Community Day nerf was the worst of all

Pokemon Go Community Day Players Furious
Niantic/Unsplash: @melanconor
Pokemon Go cut Community Day time in half with the April 2022 event.

During the global health crisis, which really worsened in 2020, Niantic expanded the monthly Community Day events from the existing three-hour timeslot to six hours. This allowed more time for trainers to catch the monthly showcase Pokemon.

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However, much to the chagrin of trainers all over the world, the event was nerfed back to its original three-hour length with the announcement of the 2022 April Community Day.

In the post, Niantic revealed that they found that only 5% of players play the event for more than three hours. However, they did not consider which three of those six hours are played the most.

While the doubled length provided more players ample time to participate, Niantic cutting the time back to its original hours pushes those players back away from the game.

Remote Raid Passes in the Pokemon Go Shop
Niantic
Remote Raid Passes have been raised from 250 coins, to 300.

It was this change that pushed me the furthest away from this game than I ever have been in the past. Perhaps it was the straw that broke the camel’s back with the recent issues, but between the changes to incense and revert to three-hour Community Day events — there is no incentive for those like myself, parents with full-time jobs, to even bother opening the app up anymore.

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The extremely negative changes don’t even stop at the Community Day nerf. Niantic has begun pulling back on Remote Raid Pass distribution, taking them out of weekly boxes and raising the price for a stack of three.

Another global health crisis feature, Remote Raids, offered players the ability to participate in Raid events from the comfort of their own homes. Whether it’s because they are unable to leave for whatever reason or to play with a friend from across the world, they had the option.

Taking accessibility away is not something developers should be doing. Ever. I’m not the only one disgusted by Niantic’s recent decisions either, as trainers have stirred up talks about yet another #BoycottNiantic protest at the end of May.

When Season of Alola was announced in March, I thought the game I fell in love with back in 2016 was going to be back in full force. But yet again, Niantic let us all down.