We need OPR for Pokémon GO and we need it fast…

...and by we I mean Niantic gamers, not only Pokémon GO players. Here's why.

Players find a way to get new Pokéstops
Players find a way to get new Pokéstops

Before reading this, please read our PokéStop Submission Guide for detailed information on how PokéStop nominations actually work under the hood.

There’s an ongoing boycott you’re not aware of. Recently, Niantic has started charging tickets for attending Ingress Anomaly events. As a result, Ingress players have started boycotting Operation Portal Recon, Niantic’s only tool for mapping the real world into Ingress portals and PokéStops.

Here’s what’s going on right now:

  • Some Ingress players are boycotting OPR. The boycott information was silently distributed through private groups and back channels, but it has finally started leaking online. It’s not a massive organized boycott by any means, but rather a common feeling of not willingness to participate in OPR in some areas and groups
  • As a result, PokéStop submissions and Portal nominations are getting reviewed at a much slower pace than before. Anywhere from 50 to 60% slower, which is terrible considering the process was already slow in the first place.
  • With some players feeling burned out from OPR and hurt by NIA’s decision to charge for Anomalies, they’ve decided not to participate in OPR anymore. Whether or not their decision is permanent or not is hard to tell, but for many we’ve talked with it’s not looking good.

I don’t want to dwell too deep on the issue from the perspective of Ingress players, I’m primarily focused on the overarching effects of this on the whole Niantic game ecosystem.

If you want to learn more, read Vanguard Claudija’s excellent post on Ingress Community titled “An open letter to Niantic”. Niantic has reacted swiftly, reverting / softening the blow a bit with the Update on Umbra Anomaly Ticketing post, but there are some long term consequences.

How does this affect Pokémon GO? Ingress players are the only ones with the power to review, accept or decline Portal candidates and PokéStop nominations (these two are the same thing in all honesty). If they say no to OPR, it’s not just Ingress that’s being affected – it’s the whole ecosystem of Niantic’s games. Places that are rural will stay rural and the game map will never get better if this process stops. You can submit PokéStops all you want, but if no one is reviewing them, they will be stuck forever.

What needs to be done?

We need Pokémon GO’s version of OPR and we need it fast. The wealth of Portals and PokéStops and Inns are now a shared resource among three games. Players reaction and retribution in one game should not affect other games, although it does sound really cool when you think about it – Matrixy even.

How can this be done? Well, it could be trivial honesty. Just allow Pokémon GO players with Level 40 accounts to take the OPR test and use the same system if they pass the test. The test is a solid indicator of one’s ability to be a normal human being and review somewhat according to guidelines. We don’t need a different UI in alpha / beta stage. We just need more manpower clicking and reviewing portals. That’s all.

When do we need this? If possible, now, especially with the OPR boycott going on. The situation is not great and portals are not coming through. If this lasts long enough, people will eventually stop submitting. We’ve been here before.

Parting words

If you want this to become a thing, let Niantic know. Their Social team and Community managers are excellent at picking up the community sentiment, maybe we can push the priority on this one if we all shout together? Maybe. Tweet this article with the #PokemonGOReviewers hashtag to promote the idea.

Rant over. Thanks for reading.

Antonio started the Hub in July 2016 and hasn't had much sleep since. Software developer. Discord username: Zeroghan. 29 years old.