Are we being forced to play Pokemon Go more than we'd like to? - Dexerto
Pokemon

Are we being forced to play Pokemon Go more than we’d like to?

Published: 29/Feb/2020 20:38

by Paul Cot

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Pokemon Go remains a popular past-time for the millions of trainers who play it all around the world, but are we playing it more than we’d like to?

Catching Pokemon is part of many trainers’ routine whether they be on the way to school, on the work commute or even just walking their dog. Getting your daily bonuses, taking over a gym and exchanging gifts with friends are all part of the daily routine in Pokemon Go.

It’s a formula that gets trainers logging in at least once a day and it’s likely Niantic designed it to be this way. This is all well and good as trainers are happy to spend their time completing their own daily objectives in the mobile game.

Pokemon Go Daily LoginThere are reasons to login in to Pokemon Go everyday…

How frequently a trainer logs into the game is one metric Niantic will be very interested in. On top of that, though, will be how long trainers remain logged in.

Making the game take longer

So, it’s reasonable to assume that Niantic and the other powers that be would prefer us to play Pokemon Go for as long as possible. Therefore, it’s not exactly surprising to see the ability to skip the gift sending animation stopped.

Niantic did respond to this, however, assuring players that it would be reverted in the future: “This change wasn’t intentional and was a side effect of another fix. We’re looking into reverting this in a future release.” Only time will tell if this is true.

This may well be a mistake but there are other QoL changes that the community have been continually asking for which, so far, Niantic have ignored. One of these is short-cutting the two minute wait period in Raid Battles.

The 120-second wait allows other trainers in the area to join you. However, for the easier Raid Bosses many trainers want to be able to join a raid and start it straight away. To date this change hasn’t been added or even alluded to.

Monetization

What’s really going on here then? Well, it’s likely pretty simple – monetization.

Pokemon Go MonetizationPokemon Go, like all huge apps, wants to make money…

It will come as no surprise that it is Niantic’s job to make Pokemon Go as profitable as possible. Part of this monetization isn’t just adding mechanics to the game to get players to part with their money, though.

Tracking users’ data and sharing that data as information is another way to make money. This is why it’s so important to have trainers login day after day and ideally spend a fair bit of time on the app when they do so.

These thoughts have been echoed by Reddit user uscmissinglink who has made some fascinating points of their own. They believe that the game is designed to require a big investment of time.

“So much of this game seems so needlessly obtuse. The time it takes to open a gym. The animations after a gym battle. A raid. Catching a Pokemon (even with quick-catch). Gift exchanges,” uscmissinglink says.

Pushing it too far?

However, they foresee a problem if Niantic continue on this trend. “As Niantic adds more and more features – buddy systems, battle leagues, raid hours, spotlight hours, etc, – these little time-sucks can actually start to become counterproductive.”

If trainers are forced to spend too much time on the game then it can become a frustration. This would theoretically result in many players playing less which would be counterproductive to what Niantic are trying to achieve.

uscmisslink also makes another intriguing point. They say there are two ways to make trainers play Pokemon Go for longer – engaging content or by purposely making the app less intuitive by either slowing it down or adding needless animations. “Both will look like success on the ledger, but one will increase long-term playability and the other will have the exact opposite impact.”

It will be interesting to see if Niantic will indeed implement the many QoL changes trainers have been asking for. Elsewhere, it does look like Pokemon Go is increasingly veering towards a pay-to-play model, but that doesn’t mean the overall experience of the app can’t become more refined.

After all, engaged and happy trainers are seemingly more likely to be willing to spend real money anyway.

Pokemon

Pokemon Sword & Shield players furious after ranked battle Legendary ban lifted

Published: 22/Jan/2021 18:59

by Brent Koepp

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The Pokemon Sword & Shield community was left divided over Game Freak’s decision to allow powerful restricted Legendaries such as Mewtwo and Kyogre into ranked online battles. 

For years, most Legendary Pokemon have been restricted from ranked battles each generation. Their immense power not only breaks the game’s meta, but risks every Trainer using the same lineup due to their dominating stats.

On January 22, Game Freak shocked Sword & Shield players when they announced traditionally-banned Legendaries would now be allowed into the Gen 8 title’s competitive mode, breaking years of precedent. 

Screenshot of Pokemon Sword & Shield Legendary Zacian attacking.
Game Freak / The Pokemon Company
Sword & Shield Legendary Zacian can now be used in ranked online battles.

Legendary Pokemon in Sword & Shield ranked mode

Legendary Pokemon are tricky as their powers and gimmick-y movesets are often designed around a story element. The ‘mon are insanely powerful due to the game’s narrative, and that doesn’t exactly translate into competitive battles.

Despite banning certain ‘mon, Sword & Shield’s Series 8 Rules seems to reverse that – with a twist. According to the new ruleset, each Trainer will be allowed to use ONE previously restricted Legendary in their team.

Compete in Ranked Battles Series 8 with a powerful Legendary Pokemon at your side,” the developer announced in the Home app. Below we will list the banned Legendaries now allowed into the competitive mode.

Screenshot of Pokemon Sword & Shield series 8 rules.
Game Freak / The Pokemon Company
The new rule lets previously-restricted Legendaries in Sword & Shield ranked battles.

Banned Pokemon Legendaries now allowed:

  • Mewtwo
  • Lugia
  • Ho-Oh
  • Kyogre
  • Groudon
  • Rayquaza
  • Dialga
  • Palkia
  • Giratina
  • Reshiram
  • Zekrom
  • Kyurem
  • Xerneas
  • Yveltal
  • Cosmog
  • Cosmoem
  • Solgaleo
  • Lunala
  • Necrozma
  • Zacian
  • Zamazenta
  • Eternatus
  • Calyrex

The decision quickly angered some Sword & Shield players who felt the decision would change ranked meta substantially. “What the hell is this. This is actually going to ruin ranked,” one person wrote on Twitter. “Oof…This’ll be a disaster,” someone else said. Another player said, “Every team will have a Zacian now, gotcha. Pass.”

Screenshot of Pokemon fans angry over Legendary Pokemon allowed in ranked Sword & Shield.

While the Gen 8 community was divided when Game Freak issued massive bans to powerful ‘mon in 2020, some players now wish it would return after the latest VGC rules. “So they didn’t learn from their mistakes last time they allowed those. Series 5 or 6 where they banned top Pokemon was the best thing ever,” another Trainer replied.

Screenshot of Pokemon player reacting to Sword & Shield Series 8 rules.

While this isn’t the first time Game Freak has lifted restrictions, the Series 8 rules mark a major change in allowing certain Legendaries who have been banned from the mode for years. It also gets complicated, as some Legendaries have been allowed in Sword & Shield in the past.

However, perhaps the “you can only choose one” rule will balance things out. Things have already become interesting as it’s forcing hardcore Trainers to have to pick their ‘mon wisely due to counters.