Throughout the last week, millions of people have snatched up up their phones and spare Pokéballs to adventure outside on a quest to pursue fantastical creatures known as Pokémon. While we’ve all enjoyed catching numerous Pidgey’s, battling for control of nearby gyms, and walking endless disappointing kilometers, players have begun to realize that the game still suffers from its early release. It experiences frequent glitches such as the three-step Pokémon indicator, the random “out-of-nowhere” Curveballs, and of course the server crashes. But we, as Pokémon Trainers, must excersice patience, as these bugs cannot be far from the developers’ minds. Instead of playing that all too familiar “their servers are down again” broken record we seem to love blurting out, we should be offering feedback and suggestions to enhance the game that we hold so dearly. Hello, fellow geeks, I’m DecreeB, and this is my personal list of suggestions for enriching the Pokemon GO experience.
Balance Pokémon Escape Rates with Trainer Level
I was walking to my car, ready to go home after a long day of Pokémon Hunting when I happened across another cute little Rattata sitting all smug in a plot of grass. “Oh, well, I guess I can catch one more.” I quickly engaged it in battle, eager to gain some easy Candy and Experience Points. “CP 10?” I think to myself, “This is going to be easy!” I ready my finger, steady my gaze, gauge the distance, and swipe! ‘Nice!’ pops onto the screen in bold letters as the Rattata is inhaled by my Pokéball. “He’s mine!”… Or, so I thought. The ball shook once before the purple rat burst out of his momentary prison, stared directly into my soul, then evaporated in a puff of Ash. An occurrence like this is embarrassing, even for new trainers, but I was Level 18, and the weakest possible Pokémon in the game had just humiliated the Shellder out of me! While it may seem worse that a high level trainer was shown up by a measly Rattata, you’d be surprised to learn that this is actually a common issue among experienced trainers, especially those over Level 15. The current system in GO makes every Pokémon harder to catch as trainers grow in level, even weak Pokémon like the evil buck-toothed demon that defamed me. This results in Level 1 trainers catching Rattata’s infinitely easier than the seasoned professionals. What I suggest is redesigning the system to lower the escape rate of Pokémon every time a trainer gains a level. This should make stronger Pokémon have lower escape rates for veterans. After all, if we’re getting more experienced at catching Pokémon, why is it getting easier for weaker Pokémon to escape?
Set Minimum CP’s for Evolved Pokémon
This seems like a no-brainer, right? Well, apparently, it’s not, because it isn’t used in the game, or at least, not very well. I currently have two Pidgeotto’s in my inventory that both have a CP of 15, whom I have appropriately deemed “Dumb” and “Dumber” (pictured left). So here’s a question: why are evolved Pokémon in this game so weak? You’d imagine that a newly caught Raichu would be stronger than your old Pikachu, but most of the time that’s not the case! Imagine spending 10 painstaking hours of hunting down something really good, like a Machamp, finally finding it, then realizing it’s got a CP of 10. You’d probably throw your phone at that Muscular Magikarp; I know I would! This is unacceptable, we need to have a minimum CP for Pokémon that are at Stage 2 and 3 of evolution, ones that aren’t ridiculously low like mine! Personally, I believe that Stage 2 Pokémon should have a minimum CP of 100, while Stage 3 Pokémon should be set somewhere closer to 250. It would ease the trainer’s mind to know that the worst Nidoking will probably be stronger than the Nidoran♂ they just caught.
Increase The Candy Gained by Catching and Transferring Evolved Pokémon
Have you ever noticed that when you catch a 1, 2, or 3 Stage Pokémon, you get three Candies no matter which Stage it is? I have, and I don’t think that’s fair! Higher evolution Pokémon are much more difficult to catch than Basics (Stage 1); they require stronger and rarer items and Pokéballs to catch, so we should only naturally get more Candies for catching them. I suggest we receive three Candies for catching a Basic Pokémon, four for a Stage 2, and five for a Stage 3. This should help ease the pain of using all of your good items on catching that Alakazam, but there’s still one more problem: when you transfer that Stage 3 spoon-wielding genius to Professor Willow, he will only give you ONE Candy, the exact same as transferring an everyday Pidgey! Why is the Professor holding out on you?! You just gave him an EPIC Stage 3 Alakazam that costs 125 Candies to evolve, and he’s only giving you one pitiful Candy?! When we evolve our Pokémon to the next generation, the value of those Pokémon goes up, so it’s only logical that we receive more Candy for our efforts! That’s why Stage 1 Pokémon should get us one Candy; Stage 2 should get us three, and Stage 3 should get us five.
Increase Experience For Evolving Different Pokémon
This one is fairly straight-forward, and surprisingly not in the game yet. As it stands, whenever you evolve a Pokémon, no matter what that Pokémon is, you’ll get 500 Experience (Exp) for doing so, which, obviously, isn’t very fair as there are multiple stages of evolution. This time, though, I don’t want to suggest giving more Exp for different stages of evolution. No, that system would be terrible (albeit better than what is currently in the game), and I’ll explain why: If you use 12 Candies to evolve a Caterpie into a Metapod (a Stage 2 evolution), you’ll get 500 Exp; likewise, if you use 400 Candies to evolve a Magikarp into a Gyrados (also Stage 2), can you guess what you get? Yep: 500 Exp! While they both evolved into the same stage, one requires over 33 times the number of Candies as the other, yet you get the same amount of Exp! The most logical system that we can use would grant you Experience Points based on how many Candies were used to evolve that Pokémon. Right now, you can grind the Muk out of Pidgey’s to gain some quick Exp, but when you finally gather 100 Candies to get your kick-Grass Venusaur, you get no special rewards! Experience Points gained through evolution should be tied directly to the amount of Candies used in the evolution. For example, let’s say we gain 20 Exp for every Candy used to evolve a Pokémon. This would make cheap, easy Pokémon like Pidgey and Weedle give you 240 Exp for evolving, while a powerful, demanding Gyrados will net you 8,000 Exp! There we go, much better!
Complete Overhaul for Gyms
Battling at gyms, as everyone knows, is probably the glitchiest mechanic in the game. Not only is it slow and clunky, but it also doesn’t work the way it’s intended to. I can’t even begin to count how many times I’ve swiped to the right to dodge the enemy’s attack, only to take damage even though the screen just informed me that I had made a successful dodge! In fact, everyone I have spoken with regarding this phenomenon has had the same experience I have. All of us have ultimately resorted to simply tapping on the screen as quickly as possible, praying our Pokémon will be just a little bit stronger than our rival’s. Another issue with gyms is how difficult they can be for casual or new trainers. Battling gyms is one of the few things to do in Pokémon GO, and not everyone has enough time or patience to train their Pokémon heavily enough to really take on a gym. Consequently, they get left in the dust by all the dedicated trainers that have plenty of time to kill. However, while these current mechanics have a few issues, I admire the concept and I think they have a lot of potential. Sans fixing the current systems in place, here are a few gym mechanics that I think should be changed or introduced to make gyms a bit more interesting and enjoyable.
- Pause the battle when switching Pokémon. I can’t express just how irritating it is having one of your Pokémon pass out because they’re sitting around taking a pounding while you’re busy scrambling to switch them out with your next fighter.
- Pause the battle when a Pokémon faints. Self-explanatory, and also a trademark of past games. If your opponent gets a new Pokémon, you should, too; if your Pokémon passes out, you should be able to pick your next gladiator.
- Items should be usable in battles. Not all items, of course, as some of us have hundreds. No, only a set number should be allowed, such as 5, so that you can either buff-up, heal, or revive your Pokémon in the middle of a heated battle. Especially useful to new or casual trainers.
- Make Special Attacks quicker to use. The current mechanic dictates that you hold your screen for upwards of three seconds to initiate a Special Attack, making your Pokémon a sitting duck for your rival to wail on while you wait for your attack to activate. And another thing: when using these stronger attacks, the opponent should not be able to attack. I mean, we can’t dodge or do anything else, why should our opponent be able to keep smashing us while our Pokémon prepares to use its attack?
- Strengthen Pokémon after winning a battle. When your 600 CP Flareon defeats a 1,000 CP Snorlax, it’s a magical feeling – until you realize your Flareon gets nothing in return. When your Pokémon defeats an opponent’s Pokémon, especially one that’s stronger than they are, they should gain some strength. It’s only logical.
- Automatically Take Gyms When Conquered. Do you know how many times someone has stolen a gym from me after I just barely defeated it? Too many times. When a player conquers a gym, it should automatically grant that player control, not the next person to walk up and toss their Pokémon at it while you’re waiting for menus to go away. I understand they do this so the player can heal their Pokémon before deciding which one they want to place in the gym, but that creates scenarios that are very aggravating and time-consuming for trainers! Instead, Pokémon should automatically heal or revive when placed in a gym, after all you deserve something for your courageous efforts.
- Grant Gold for Conquering Gyms. With the current system, each trainer can only claim gold once every 24 hours. The amount of gold you’re given varies depending on how many of your Pokémon are stationed at gyms, 10 gold each. However, when you conquer a new gym, or buff up a friendly one for that matter, you’re not given anything if 24 hours haven’t past since the last time you claimed your gold. While this seems fair on the surface, as it prevents players from taking advantage of the system, it’s not fair for those who are legitimately putting effort into conquering multiple enemy gyms a day, since they’re not getting their fair share of gold. This “click-to-claim” system just doesn’t cut it in my book, it’s time to switch over to a new, automatic, system. This system should grant trainers gold whenever they place a new Pokémon in a gym, more if they conquered it themselves. And if your Pokémon has been there for a certain amount of time, we’ll say 24 hours, it will automatically grant you more for building a great defense.
Pokémon GO is a unique technological feat that has been an absolute pleasure to play so far, however the current mechanics of the game are a bit lacking, and they get frustrating quickly. If Pokémon GO is to be a lasting success, they need to add more interesting features before their players get sick and tired of these broken ones. Hopefully my suggestions for this game will give you a solid understanding of how Pokémon GO can become a more well-rounded and entertaining game for all of us, and that it may prompt you to create your own ideas on how the game can be improved. Together, we can help the developers craft a better gameplay experience through our mutual ideas and constructive feedback. Finally, if you found this article informative and entertaining, make sure to check out some more awesome articles from everyone here at the Geekwave!