This summer for Pokémon GO Trainers has been a battle of another kind. Following Niantic’s “test” for US and New Zealand players where pandemic features were removed, players began to boycott the game as well as push for Niantic to listen to the community. Following August 5th’s Pokémon NO GO Day, Niantic announced that it would create a task force (composed of members of the Pokémon GO community from around the world) and meet with them to discuss concerns. The task force met with Niantic on Wednesday, August 25th, and once the meetings concluded, Niantic reverted PokéStop and Gym interaction distance to its pandemic 80 meter (about 262.5 feet) radius permanently.
Now, a week later, Niantic is delivering on its promise of discussing its findings from these meetings and how to proceed with features in Pokémon GO as well as communicating with the community. In an update signed by Steve Wang (Executive Producer) and “the Pokémon GO team”, the topics of PokéStop and Gym interaction distance, Seasonal Global bonuses, and Communication were covered.
Based on comments concerning PokéStop and Gym interaction distance and that 80 meters is the new, permanent radius, the Pokémon GO team has “ideas to explore and we look forward to sharing more in the coming months” in order to meet its exploring and exercise goals. As for communication, Niantic has made the following commitments:
- Starting in October, we will begin publishing a developer diary every other month to share the latest priorities, events, and features for the game.
- We are going to set up regular conversations with community leaders to continue the dialogue we began this month.
- We will continue our work on updating the Known Issues page and in those efforts, will prioritize bringing greater visibility into the status of existing bugs for Trainers.
As for Seasonal Global bonuses (which affected US and New Zealand with the “test”), Niantic learned that they “are not going to be able to effectively adjust the experience on a country-by-country basis in real-time.” This was due in part to New Zealand’s test being canceled on Tuesday, August 17th because the country changed their COVID-19 status to Alert Level 4. Going forward, “Season of Mischief all bonuses will be set at a global level and be tied directly to the seasons in Pokémon GO.” These bonuses were shared ahead of this update on the official Pokémon GO Twitter account. The bonuses are as follows:
- 3× bonus XP for spinning PokéStops for the first time
- 2× Lure duration
- Increased Incense effectiveness
- Additional/Increased Incense effectiveness while walking (Additional specified for US and New Zealand, Increased for outside of the two countries)
- Boosted damage for Trainers battling remotely in raids
- Guaranteed Gifts from PokéStop spins
- Buddy Pokémon will bring you Gifts more often
And with that, the three major pandemic features that were removed for US and New Zealand players have returned. To close out the update, Niantic acknowledges that this whole situation could have been approached better:
The lack of communication regarding the PokéStop and Gym interaction radius was not handled well on our part, and it was a great learning experience on how to better engage with our players moving forward. Our top priority is and always has been to get people outside into the real world and creating human connections with each other. Thank you for being a part of this journey with us — you’ll hear from us again soon.
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