10 Ways for Niantic to Improve Pokemon Go (Part I)
When searching for Pokemon circles radiate around your avatar, showing your Search Radius. But what if there were ways to temporarily increase your search radius?
This topic came up when I was outside a hospital looking for Pokemon and there was a young patient in a wheelchair outside looking for Pokemon. His usual method was to find a Pokestop and drop a Lure Module, as the game is not "wheel chair friendly" in any way or form.
Seeing the Lure I decided to hang out with him and we got to talking about ways to improve the game.
For him the Search Radius was a major hindrance because of his lack of mobility. He could go places in his wheelchair, but the woods, any place with lots of stairs, and other locations where it is difficult to maneuver in his wheel chair were super tricky.
At times he would see Pokemon in his Sightings box, and move to get closer to them, but often would be just out of range to get near them in his wheelchair. We speculated that it would be an improvement to the game if there was an option to boost the search radius (by 50% or even double it) so that people can search for Pokemon for a boosted radius. Even a temporary boost that lasts 30 minutes might be worth it to players.
#12. The Inequality of the Prices in the Pokemon Shop.
Each Pokecoin is basically worth 1 penny. Buying Pokecoins have varying prices, but 1 penny per coin is roughly accurate. Any extra cost of buying Pokecoins I basically consider to be a transaction fee.
The problem however is what items are actually worth. Let me elaborate:
1 Egg Incubator will hatch 3 eggs and costs 150 Pokecoins. That means it costs 50 cents per Pokemon hatched. It also requires you to walk 6, 15 or 30 km to hatch the eggs, depending on the size of eggs you are hatching. Thus egg incubators are really expensive and not worth buying presently.
But in contrast if you buy Incense it costs 80 cents and will garner you 6 Pokemon, assuming you catch them, which you likely will. That is 13.33 cents per Pokemon caught. It will also cause you to lose 6 or more Pokeballs to catch them all. However, considering the price difference between Egg Incubators and Incense, then Incense is definitely a cost savings.
Lure Modules cost $1 (100 Pokecoins). They will also get you 6 Pokemon the same way Incense does, but the difference is that other people nearby also benefit. Thus Lure modules are even better as a cost savings if you make a habit of playing the game with friends all the time. But if you are a Lone Wolf style player then Lure Modules are not worth it when you consider Incense is cheaper.
Pokeballs cost 5 cents each. 20 balls for 100 Pokecoins. Or 4 cents each if you buy 200 balls for 800 Pokecoins. But at 4 or 5 cents per ball it would make more logical sense to just go for a walk and hit a few Pokestops instead. 10 Pokestops should garner 33+ items, which will be about 60% balls. Paying for Pokeballs is for lazy suckers.
The only things really worth paying for are the following:
- Bag Upgrades - Because it is the gift that keeps on giving. Cap out your storage too often and later run out of balls, and you realize more storage is the key to having more balls and catching more Pokemon.
- Pokemon Storage Upgrades - Because extra storage for more Pokemon is also handy.
- Lucky Eggs - Used for Powerleveling by evolving 65+ Pokemon all at once.
#13. The Evolution of Pokemon Sightings and Distance.
In the graphic below it shows how Pokemon Sightings originally worked, showing the approximate distance using footsteps. Then it was changed so people couldn't tell how far away they were. And then changed again so that it made it look like they were hiding in the tall grass.
In the previous 10 Ways for Niantic to Improve Pokemon Go I mentioned how they should add directional arrows for North, South, East and West. In this one I would also recommend bringing back the footprints.
Bringing back the footprints plus adding the directional arrows would suffice to make 3rd party radar apps obsolete. People would have a rough idea of the direction and possible distance to the Pokemon they are looking for, but they would still need to search for them and make the effort of walking / searching. The vagueness of the distance / direction ensures that players still have to wander around to attempt to find Pokemon.
You find a Pokemon, you begin the process of tossing balls at it to catch it and... Poof! It disappears. Really annoying. In my opinion you should always get at least 3 tosses at a Pokemon BEFORE it disappears.
Getting only 1 or 2 balls at it and both failing and then the Pokemon goes Poof makes the game really annoying and frustrating.
Having a 3 throw minimum would allow people to have a better chance of actually catch a Pokemon before it pulls its disappearing act. Unfortunately this means the disappearing act would still happen, but having the 3 throw minimum at least gives players a better chance of success with less annoyances.
One of the downfalls of this game is that eventually it is going to start snowing. Here in Toronto, Canada, we can expect the first snowfall sometime in November. So how will Canadians play Pokemon Go during the winter?
Well, for me, I have snowshoes and I happen to like snowshoeing, skiing and various winter activities. But not everyone is into those activities and will likely end up hibernating during the winter... Which means they might stop playing Pokemon Go during the winter. And people who stop playing might never play again when Spring comes.
Unless they can be coaxed outside by some form of Winter Pokemon Go Event...
Releasing new Ice Pokemon, or having a horde of Ice based Pokemon across the landscape might encourage people to go outside and play more. Or both. A virtual ice-storm of Ice Pokemon might be enough to coax players outside and keep playing. Plus a storm of them implies that people might be able to just sit at home and collect Ice Pokemon regardless of where they are, but would need to go outside if they want to get more items (or end up having to buy balls, which is wasteful for them, but really profitable for Niantic).
Similar to the Camera in the game, this is effectively a telescope that would allow players to search for Pokegyms and Pokestops that are much further away. It does not show the locations of Pokemon at all, all it does is allow players to search nearby regions to see how many Pokestops and Pokegyms are in that direction. This way players can look, see what is there, and then decide whether they want to go for a 1 or 2 hour walk and explore a new region they have never explored before.
This would be both useful and encourage people to go for longer walks and explore.
Take Collector for example. Once you capture 2000 Pokemon you have got the 30, 500 and 2000 Rewards. There is nothing beyond that. Nothing for capture 10,000 Pokemon.
Kanto at least makes some sense currently, as there are only 142 Pokemon available in a geographic region. You would have to explore around the world or hatch eggs to get more than that. But eventually when they release more types of Pokemon, 200 Kanto should be a reward.
Scientist stops at 200 Evolves. Backpacker at 2000 Pokestops. Jogger 1000 km. Breeder 500 eggs hatched. Etc.
But what if they changed the Upper Limits on these so people could catch 10,000, 50,000, 100,000 if they so wanted to? And keep getting the rewards and medals for each stage?
#18. Exploration Bonuses?
If you go to a new place and get Pokestops that you've never been to before, perhaps there should be a bonus for that?
Yes, you could just find a park that has 10 or more Pokestops and then walk around in circles, getting all of them. And then go to the same park all the time whenever you need more items. That is convenient.
But maybe there should be bonuses and rewards for how many UNIQUE Pokestops you visit. Wherein each individual one counts. This would encourage people to travel more, visit places they have never been to before (or revisit places they have never played Pokemon Go before).
So for example if you go on a trip to Montreal or Boston or San Diego, maybe there should be bonuses for visiting new places. And maybe an extra bonus for visiting other continents.
#19. Raising the Level Limit of 40 to 50.
Currently there is a level limit of 40. But at some point in the games future they should raise the cap to 50... or... allow people to "Reincarnate" and start over at level 1. At present I have met a few people who have reached the cap and have simply started a 2nd account, working on getting the 2nd account up to 40 as well. So clearly some people are ready for a higher level cap.
#20. Other Things You Can Do In the Game...
This is a blank option really. There are many other things that could be added this game. Here are a few ideas.
- Pokemon Quests - Specific quests people can do, gaining new types of unusual items.
- Pokemon Home - Build a home for your Pokemon to live in and customize it, by collecting items during quests.
- Pokemon Marathons - Rewards for how many km you walk in a single day. Most people would probably accomplish this on a bicycle, but hey, more power to them. Nobody is going to bother trying to do this in a car however, at 10.5 kmph, that would be pretty slow and boring.
- Pokemon Stadiums - Where players can compete in Battle Royales against other players. (For logistical reasons it would make sense to only have 1 or 2 stadiums in a whole city, and have them located in parks which can accommodate large numbers of players.)
Still to come... Part III of 10 Ways for Niantic to Improve Pokemon Go. Subscribe to Nerdovore to find out what other ways the game could be improved.
Got ideas on how to improve Pokemon Go? Post your comments below.
Did you know that Pokemon Go is actually boosting the economy? It is getting people outside exercising and the increased foot traffic is putting them next to mom n pop style businesses and the increase in random customers boosts the local economy for restaurants, stores, etc. It isn't very good for personal trainers or books about fad diets, as it basically proves that people don't need a personal trainer or a fad diet to lose weight, but it is certainly benefiting everyone else.