Niantic released an update for Pokémon GO! earlier this week that left a sour taste in a lot of trainers’ mouths. The update included a few small fixes, some Pokémon buffs/nerfs, and more customization options for your trainer. Here is a full list of the update features.
- Avatars can now be re-customized from the Trainer profile screen
- Adjusted battle move damage values for some Pokémon
- Refined certain Gym animations
- Improved memory issues
- Removed footprints of nearby Pokémon
- Modified battle damage calculation
- Various bug fixes during wild Pokémon encounter
- Updated Pokémon details screen
- Updated achievement medal images
- Fixed issues with displaying certain map features
- Minor text fixes
One significant detail that really popped out, and frustrated a lot of trainers, was the removal of the nearby Pokémon footprints. The footprints were the only way to track Pokémon through the game, but the system has been broken for weeks. The broken system showed only three footprints no matter how near or far a critter was. It was known as the “3-step glitch.” At first their removal wasn’t too bad, as people still had sites like Pokevisoin to track the pocket monsters in real time. As you probably already know, Pokévision is now down.
Hey guys. We wish we had some news for you
At this moment, we are respecting Niantic and Nintendo's wishes.
Will keep you guys posted
— Pokevision (@PokeVisionGo) July 31, 2016
Niantic allegedly cut off third party apps and sites like Pokevision because they scanned the games already taxed servers and negatively affected performance for players. Whatever the reason was, many weren’t happy about the removal of any way to track a Pikachu or Bulbasaur when it appeared on the nearby list. Trainers were left to wander aimlessly in the wilds of public parks and shopping centers. Even Niantic’s former community manager, Brian Rose, spoke out about the now infamous “3-step glitch.”
Well, just a second there, Professor Willow. We, uh, we fixed the glitch. pic.twitter.com/y9DTHyxliv
— brian rose (@brianrose) July 31, 2016
If you're there with the community, they'll be there for you when things go south. Bugs can be fixed, but regaining people's faith is hard.
— brian rose (@brianrose) July 31, 2016
Wise words indeed. Words that stress the fact that a developer can release a game that may be buggy, or may become bug riddled after updates and still maintain its fan base. Niantic would do well to remember this about future Pokémon GO! updates and communicate the reasoning faster. As the way they handled this most recent one caused a lot of die-hard players to demand refunds or just quit the game all together.
In a move that almost seems too little too late, Niantic have finally explained the update:
As many of you know, we recently made some changes to Pokémon GO.
– We have removed the ‘3-step’ display in order to improve upon the underlying design. The original feature, although enjoyed by many, was also confusing and did not meet our underlying product goals. We will keep you posted as we strive to improve this feature.
– We have limited access by third-party services which were interfering with our ability to maintain quality of service for our users and to bring Pokémon GO to users around the world. The large number of users has made the roll-out of Pokémon GO around the world an… interesting… challenge. And we aren’t done yet! Yes, Brazil, we want to bring the game to you (and many other countries where it is not yet available).
We have read your posts and emails and we hear the frustration from folks in places where we haven’t launched yet, and from those of you who miss these features. We want you to know that we have been working crazy hours to keep the game running as we continue to launch globally. If you haven’t heard us Tweeting much it’s because we’ve been heads down working on the game. But we’ll do our best going forward to keep you posted on what’s going on.
Be safe, be nice to your fellow trainers, and keep on exploring.
The Pokémon GO team
Hopefully Niantic will be this transparent sooner instead of waiting for the pot to boil over. It would really save them from hemorrhaging players.
Despite all the drama, this geek is still playing Pokémon GO! on the daily. How about you? Have you given up, or are you still striving to be the very best like no one ever was?