The dwindling popularity of Pokémon Go can be attributed to many things. Lack of communication on Niantic’s part, the tweaks to the catch rate of even the weakest and most common Pokémon, the removal of tracking both in game and via third party outlets, the busted egg hatching system, the lack of an “end game,” the list is long. Niantic have given fans little reason to boot up the augmented reality game, and true Poké-heads have gravitated to patiently awaiting the latest entry in the series proper, Pokémon Sun and Moon.
That Snorlax attack is all kinds of win! And how about that ‘stache on the Alola version of Rattata?
Anyway, diligent data miners have uncovered a feature in the code of the most recent version of Pokémon Go that lets prospective trainers assign one of the elusive pocket monster as a “buddy.” Labeling one of your Pokémon as a “buddy” will presumably cause that particular critter to follow you around as you walk around your neighborhood park, it will even show up on the map next to you.
As you and your new best friend trudge from Pokéstops to gyms and beyond, he/she/it will gain small bits of experience and candies for you. It does appear however that the amount one can earn via this method does have a daily cap. Despite the daily cap this is still good news for those of us needing just a few more pieces of candy to evolve that Charmander that just doesn’t show up anywhere near us. Seriously, I have yet to see one in the wilds in a ten mile radius of my house.
I named him “Alpha” because he was my starter, he was the beginning.
The buddy feature does add a sort of “end game” as it stands. Until Niantic adds second generation Pokémon and beyond, or trainer on trainer duels, there isn’t much to do for the prospective trainer except hatch eggs or try and take over that gym with a 3000cp Snorlax. Now at least we will have a way to potentially evolve a rarer pocket monster without having to hatch a dozen 10k eggs in the hopes of getting more candy.
Niantic is trying real hard to make Pokémon Go remain viable, and giving us a way to attach ourselves to our favorite monsters is a good start. There is no concrete news on exactly when this update will hit, but it has to be soon.
If any of you geeks can read code and glean more from the info, the mined data can be found here. Or you can read Niantic’s blog post about the system here. Are any of you still playing this game? Or, have you hung up your trainer’s hat and given up on being the very best?