Pokemon Go is far from a perfect game, that much everyone can agree on. Although the end product is far different from the extravagant launch trailer Niantic showed off initially, we’d be lying if we said we haven’t had a blast playing these past few weeks. That’s not to say we had low expectations going into the game, but we knew things would be much different from the Pokemon experience we’ve grown up with (for better or worse).
That being said, we’ve been playing the game long enough that we have a handful of ideas on how Niantic can make Pokemon Go better and, keep both casual and hardcore players, coming back for more. These are the 18 biggest changes that need to happen in Pokemon Go. Like
soon now yesterday.
A smooth Material Design UI
Let’s face it. Pokemon Go runs like absolute crap, no matter which quadruple penta-core device it’s been installed on. While it could have something to do with battery savings, we think it’s simply just lazy coding. If you’ve been playing on a recent Snapdragon 820 powered Android device, trust me when I say you don’t even want to see this thing running on 2015 hardware. It’s just plain sad.
As it stands, the UI is clunky, it’s slow to scroll, with a max frame rate hitting about 15fps, making doing just about anything in the game feel sluggish and like a chore. Not exactly the kind of feeling you want to give people who are already running around their neighborhoods looking for virtual monsters.
All Niantic has to do is get the game running at 60fps — with the battery saving option toning it down to where it’s at currently — add a native Material Design, increase the resolution of the low-res UI elements, and we’ll be happy as a Shelder.
Harder penalties for people who cheat
Let’s face it, cheat codes and mods can be pretty damn fun. There’s nothing like flying around the city of Grand Theft Auto like Superman, but that’s a single player game. Since Pokemon Go is technically played online with others via the Gym system, cheaters running hacked versions of the game or using other cheats are finding themselves at a major advantage when it comes to taking over local Gyms. This isn’t in good fun. It’s actually discouraging for people playing legit who run into nothing but fully max’d out Dragonites occupying every Gym.
Niantic should understand that it’s these cheaters who are killing enjoyment of the game for honest players, those of us spending real money to play the game legit. As it stands, most infractions are met with a simple soft ban, keeping cheaters from playing the game for a few minutes at a time (although people are already finding clever workarounds for this). Niantic recently updated their FAQ with info on appealing hard bans, which means they could soon start cracking down on repeat offenders.
Our hope is that they’re working night and day — or at least have an advanced algorithm doing all the grunt work — to keep cheaters offline. What would even be better is if cheaters didn’t know they’ve been banned at all, placing them in a sort of purgatory version of the game where they can only play with other cheaters (this would keep them from simply making new accounts).
There are arguments that can be made for people with physical disabilities not being able to play the game since it’s much harder for them to leave the house and chase down Pokemon. I get that. A simple solution to this would be allowing them to catch all the Pokemon they want, just not allowing them to participate in Gym battles to help keep things fair for everyone. Or you know, making a separate version of the game where people can use a D-pad to walk around. Let’s just call it easy mode.
Top 3 Pokemon next to avatar along with profile export options
This is a small change we’ve seen proposed, one that simply gives users the ability to spice up their profile screen by adding their favorite Pokemon to accompany their avatars.
We know, only you can see your profile screen, but if Niantic were to add the ability to export your profile — with your 3 favorite Pokemon right behind you — it could be great for displaying on social media or one-on-one fighting should that ever come about. But why stop there?
While sharing your profile would be a great first step, adding various poses/emotes — with your top 3 behind you — would be incredibly cool. Like, seriously. Niantic. Do it.
Skipable evolution animations
If I’m evolving a Pidgey for the millionth time, sitting through an entire 30 second animation feels like eternity. I’ll admit, they’re fun to look at — at first — but forcing someone to sit through a cinematic this long when the clock is ticking down on my Lucky Egg, I could definitely be spending my time doing more worthwhile stuff. You know, like evolving my next Pidgey.
Multi-select for mass transfers
Image credit: 9GAG
This is by far one of the most user-requested features since the game launched: the ability to select multiple Pokemon for mass transfers. Right now, you have to open the stats screen for each individual Pokemon, then press the menu button, followed by the transfer button, and then confirm.
That’s an insane amount of steps for transferring out Pokemon, especially considering your Pokemon Storage is already pretty limited. Niantic shouldn’t even be considering this option — it needs to happen.
With the recent introduction of Sightings and the ability to see exactly where specific Pokemon are in your city, we think it’s finally time to introduce a notification system. Nothing too crazy, just the ability to tell the app which Pokemon you’d like to be alerted of when they appear in Sightings, aka nearby PokeStop.
This probably wouldn’t have worked in the past when Niantic was being really difficult about telling you where Pokemon are located, but things have changed. A notification system would also be a great reminder to check in on the app when you don’t have it running 24/7 throughout the day. How this isn’t a thing already, is beyond us.
Change your team in-app
The latest Pokemon Go update gave users the ability for quickly change their usernames inside the game’s settings. Although welcomed — and somewhat unexpected — this one-time name change wasn’t exactly what we were looking for.
When you first start playing Pokemon Go, the game makes you to choose between 3 teams to join up with — Valor (red), Mystic (blue), and Instinct (yellow) before you can start taking over gyms. With a flurry of people rushing to play, many users didn’t bother consulting friends/family on their choices, picking whichever color was their favorite on a whim.
As you know, gyms are much funner (and easier) when you have a little help, so if you’re wanting to kill some time taking over or reinforcing gyms, this is going to be extremely difficult if they’re on the opposing team.
We know, Niantic actually has form on their site to request a team change, but it would be so much more handy if this could be done immediately and straight from inside the app, even if only a 1-time thing.
No more Gym sniping
Image credit: 9GAG
Gym sniping has got to be one of the most infuriating parts of playing Pokemon Go with others. Although technically not “cheating,” gym sniping happens when you’re busy taking over a gym and before you get a change to even place your favorite Pokemon inside, someone else nearby beats you to it.
In fact, there are people are literally wait around like sharks for the opportunity, letting others do all the hard work while they reap all the benefits like the Gym Defender Bonus. Why even bother taking over busy gyms where snipers are sure to be waiting? Our thoughts exactly.
This could be easily remedied by Niantic making it so that only the person (or persons) who took down the gym has the ability to place a Pokemon. Even if it’s like a 30 second delay before it becomes available to others, it would be the perfect way to keep everything fair, and keep the game fun for everyone.
No more kidnapping Pokemon
Whether it’s battling gyms, or activating PokeStops, most of the gameplay mechanics in Pokemon Go work around distance, that is, how far away you are from what you’re trying to interact with. Move too far away, and you’ll find yourself kicked out of the gym, or unable to activate that PokeStop. In other words: you’re SOL.
While spawning Pokemon works much the same way (you need to be physically near Pokemon for them to appear), catching them is where the whole distance thing goes out the door. For instance, you can tap a Pokemon on the map to begin catching it. Then, instead of throwing Poke Balls at it, travel down the street, across the city, into the next state, wherever the heck you want to finish catching it. No matter how far you travel, you wont get an error and the Pokemon wont flee on you. That’s kidnapping.
What should happen is when you move outside that Pokemon’s normal spawn proximity, it should immediately flee on you. In fact, I honestly can’t think of a good reason why this isn’t the case already. Sure it makes the game harder, but it’s also more consistent.
Transferring evolved Pokemon should give more candy
Another pet peeve of ours is how the game doesn’t reward you with bonus candy for transferring higher evolution Pokemon. That’s just crazy. For instance, no matter which evolution of Machop you transfer back to The Professor (Machop, Machoke, Machamp), you always get only 1 single candy for it. Really?
So the next time you run into a high CP level Machoke, Golem, or whatever else for the X time, there’s very little incentive to catch them over their lower evolution counterparts. In fact, whenever we come across higher evolved Pokemon like this, we just run away and save our Poke Balls for another day.
Easily one of the most user-requested features since the game has launched, player-vs-player battles would add a competitive edge to Pokemon Go by giving users the ability to fight with each other when a Gym isn’t close by. The question is, how would it work, what purpose would PvP battles serve, and more importantly — how would Niantic cash in on it?
First, we could see it working by players choosing 3 Pokemon to go into battle with, with the winner gaining valuable Stardust afterward. Not so much candies, as those would remain apart of the catching process, and not PokeCoins, as those would stay with holding Gyms (Defender Bonus). The only problem is by giving players any in-game item as a reward, it could easily be gamed by friends constantly battling each other day in/day out.
I Niantic could perhaps limit PvP battles somehow, or make it a part of the trading process (along with “Trading Lures”), they could cash in on people looking to do battle with others. Then again, a simple leaderboard showing top players at specific PokeStop could be the only reward, something that would drive even more traffic to PokeStops (and make them more enticing to businesses looking to cash-in).
In either case, this could be a fun and easy way to keep users playing, especially in more rural areas where they don’t see much action.
PokeStops that heal your Pokemon
Right now, PokeStops are little more than items depots, places you can quickly visit to pick up Poke Balls, potions, revives, or other items. We don’t mind this so much, but it would be cool that — like in the actual game — some PokeStops served an additional purpose as well: Pokemon Centers.
We’re not sure how Niantic would execute this in a way that wouldn’t be cheesy, but perhaps they could give users the ability to choose between grabbing items, or healing a Pokemon of their choosing — but it’d have to be one or the other.
Quests (timed events)
Quests or timed events are something we’d love to see added, nothing too crazy, just a sort of added bonus you get when visiting PokeStops. For instance, when visiting a PokeStop, you could have the option to accept a quest that would see you walking to another nearby PokeStop for guaranteed bonus items (Ultra Ball, Lucky Egg, etc.).
This would spice things up for players and provide a great opportunity for Niantic who can drive further foot traffic to businesses who’ve purchased PokeStops.
Okay, so trading Pokemon is one feature we know will be added in the future (Niantic has confirmed this in interviews), but we still don’t have any idea how it will actually work. We definitely have our concerns as allowing trades with anyone online could definitely cheapen the experience.
Like everything else in Pokemon Go, we have a feeling trading will only be done when someone is physically near you. This face-to-face meeting with someone will increase the social aspect of the game, and keep things mostly fair for everyone.
Or, to further drive the incentive of visiting PokeStops (another big source of Niantic’s revenue), trading could also be handled exclusively at these locations, as to keep everything mostly anonymous. If, by placing a Pokemon at a PokeStop for trading (similar to a gym), this could also play into the new Nearby menu, showing players what’s being offered up at a specific PokeStop before they actually get there.
To keep people from trading all the time, a “Trade Module” could also be something used to make the whole process feel like something earned and once again, could help Niantic by selling them in the Shop for PokeCoins.
Another fun way to handle this — but highly unlikely — would be a way for users to “play for keeps” in player vs player battles. If opted in, the winner of the battle would get their pick of one of the three Pokemon used in battle. Just a thought and something that could spice the game up in a competitive way.
Perks for powering up low evolution Pokemon
Evolutions in Pokemon games are nothing new, but the way they’re handled in Pokemon Go are a little different from what we were expecting. In previous games, sometimes evolving your Pokemon as quickly as possible wasn’t always the best strategy. Certain moves weren’t learned until a Pokemon reached higher levels, only then would you evolve it into its next form.
In Pokemon Go, there’s absolutely zero benefit in keeping lower evolutions of your Pokemon, they don’t learn anything new and often times they’re so weak, they’re not viable option for battle with such a low CP cap. We would be ecstatic to see lower evolution Pokemon learn new moves after gaining a certain amount of CP, maybe even with the option to keep one of those moves over once it comes time to finally evolve.
More balanced Pokemon and higher type advantages
The most frustrating part about Pokemon Go — at least for long-time fans of the series — is seeing how Niantic gimped many of their favorite Pokemon. It’s clear that not all Pokemon are created equal, but each one deserves a fighting chance. It’s downright heartbreaking to see Pokemon like Hitmonchan and Hitmonlee capped at around CP 1,500, or even worse Onix at 857. Meanwhile, other Pokemon like Vaporeon reach CP 2,816. It. Just. Ain’t. Right.
Also, while they’re at it, type advantages could use an overhaul as well. This is where the strategy in Pokemon has always been and right now, it’s possible for an Arcanine — a fire type that’s supposed to be weak against rock types — to take on an equal level Golem with no trouble. I’ve also seen the same situation with Jolteon going up against an equal level Vaporeon, only to crash and burn. This is crazy and not the way type advantages are supposed to work.
Hidden Pokemon that can only be found in AR mode
Pokemon Go has been widely publicized as the world’s first successful augmented reality (AR) game. At first, everyone was excited to see their Pokemon popping up in the real world, but they were little more than 3D stickers floating on top of camera viewfinder — hardly ground breaking. In fact, most people turn off the AR mode after their first few catches after the novelty wears off (ironically, the game is actually much easier to play when it’s not enabled).
The problem is, aside from being played (i.e., walking around) in the real world, it doesn’t really offer the traditional AR experience we’ve seen in the past. We’d love to see Pokemon that are actually anchored in the real world and can only be found or revealed by entering AR mode. This can be done using special stickers placed on buildings, tables with a specific pattern inside restaurants, or whatever — the possibilities really are endless.
We actually came up with this idea after watching the initial teaser trailer which showed the game working this same way. We know, it was a dramatization, but still very cool.
An improved version of the old Nearby system that actually worked
We don’t have to spend much time with the new Nearby system to know we still miss the old version. Still in testing, the new Nearby system allows users to see exactly which Pokemon have spawned at nearby PokeStops, allowing them to decide whether or not it’s worth making the trip on over. It’s sort of a mix between those “illegal” Pokemon tracking websites everyone loved (that Niantic recently shut down) and the old 3-footprint Nearby system that was awesome when it was actually working.
Seeing a Pokemon show up in Nearby and having to hunt for it — using the 3 footprints as a guide — was one of the more fun aspects of the game. Hanging Pokemon in front our face with the new Nearby system is just plain lazy and only there to incentive traveling to PokeStops (where Niantic is hoping to hit it big by selling them to businesses). We see what you’re doing, Niantic.
Having the old — fully functional — Nearby system with the 3 footprints is all we really want, or even slightly improved upon. In the original teaser trailer, they actually showed a system that had an arrow pointing you in the right direction. If they could make it work that way, it would still be challenging (you still have to physically move there), but not so much we no longer want to keep playing.
And that’s about it. This is pretty our mega wish list for Niantic, we only hope someone out there is listening. You’ll noticed that much of this stuff was shown off in their early teaser trailer, so we’re sure they’re busy working on it. If there’s anything we missed, be sure to let us know what you’d like to see added in future updates. In the meantime, get out there and keep catching those Pokiemans.