Pokemon

Niantic outline spawn changes in Pokemon Go

by Paul Cotton

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Spawn changes in Pokemon Go were reported all the way back on September 25 and now, it appears Niantic have finally confirmed as much.

Nearly three months after significant changes were noticed, Niantic have outlined changes to spawns although a lot of specifics remain omitted. "Trainers may now encounter Pokemon in more places than before," the official Pokemon Go blog states.

Trainers will be well aware that some places were more densely populated with Pokemon than others. "In these places, Pokemon should now be more spread out. This migration of Pokemon has nearly doubled the number of locations where Pokemon can be found in the wild around the world."

The result of this is trainers may see more Pokemon spawn in locations where few did beforehand. There may also be new spawn points.

A win for rural players

These changes have produced mixed results for trainers. With the addition of new spawn points and alterations to spawns which saw lots of Pokemon pop up at once, it seems rural players have had the better of the changes. Meanwhile, urban players, who are used to large pockets of spawns in specific locations, have been left a little disappointed.

Rural players are used to having to travel miles out of their way to be able to play Pokemon Go and this issue was even raised on our "Top 5 ways Niantic can improve Pokemon Go" article.

Spawns more spread around towns

Elsewhere, experienced trainers will have learnt where Pokemon spawn in their local area and often plan their Pokemon Go playing time around them. However, with these changes appearing to have been in place for some time, a lot of trainers will have already rethought their routes to compensate for this.

The reports were initially confirmed by Niantic in a tweet on their NianticHelp account. "We're always looking for new ways to optimize the Pokemon GO experience for Trainers. To this end, we've recently updated where Pokemon can be encountered. We strive to improve with every change and thank you for your feedback. Stay tuned for more details."

What has changed?

While Niantic are still rather vague on the details, Pokemon Go Hub have been able to confirm the following:

  • Spawns have changed globally. We haven’t seen any confirmed reports that a specific area was skipped or ignored. It’s a sweeping change throughout the whole system.
  • Spawn points were added to places with higher in-game and cellular activity than previously recorded, especially in parks and non-residential areas (many reports)
  • Spawns were removed or reduced from areas where Pokemon were overpopulated in respect to the player count (multiple reports)
  • Some spawn clusters were reduced, while others were doubled. We are not sure why this happened, but most new cluster spawns come in the shape of 4 (or multiples of 4) Pokémon
  • It seems like S2 cell activity (a mathematical mechanism that helps computers translate Earth’s spherical 3D shape into 2D geometry) is still very much influential to the process of creating spawn points, but it’s hard to estimate how exactly that activity is calculated.
  • We’ve observed a peculiar phenomena where new PokeStops “draw” spawns from neighboring residential areas closer to the PokeStop location. It’s far too early to confirm it, but we’ve heard anecdotal reports from other players as well
  • Correlating spawns with Ingress Prime XM still works and proves to be the only “exact” visualization of potential spawn zones.

@SparkieJoy/@RizingPhoenix38
@SparkieJoy/@RizingPhoenix38
Rural players are loving Pokemon Go's spawn changes...

Niantic can't please all trainers

A lot of rural players will have little sympathy for urban players and the fact they may see less species as a result of the changes. One Pokemon Go player was particuarly thrilled and even shared a Reddit post about it: "Ok, so it doesn't mean anything to anyone but me, but after over two YEARS!! I finally got wild spawns at my house in BFE within the last hour. Maybe I missed some big news about an event or something, but it was a nice surprise when insomnia is keeping me awake. I went to clean out my pokemon storage and do a bit of organizing, and imagine my surprise when three moms were waiting for me!"

Unsurprisingly though, this was met with negativity from urban players. "New spawn system is unacceptable and must be reworked. They should not be removing large amounts of spawn points," j1mb0 said in another Reddit post. Thankfully in the months since the update that this latest posts seems to refer to, any outrage about the changes has somewhat subsided.

Niantic have the unenviable task of pleasing a massive fan-base in their Pokemon Go players, and while this is an almost impossible task, they appear to have taken a big step in at least appeasing their rural community.

If you were to read feedback online regarding the changes, you'd think the spawns are a lot worse now. Some will argue the changes weren't an improvement but it will always appear worse than it is as players are more likely to go to a forum or social media to post criticism than applaud the changes. Regardless, Niantic's latest update may be an indication that those changes are here to stay.