time flies fast! We’ve already almost at the end of the first quarter of 2017, and with John Hanke (Niantic CEO) confirming that Niantic is sticking to the “one major update per quarter” strategy, it’s a very exciting time in Pokémon GO.

We already know that the next big major update is going to be the rework of current Gym mechanics, with “deeper focus on teamplay and coordination”, more in line with what Ingress players have had for years already.

But what does that mean? How will the new Gym system work? Let’s discuss the potential effects and ways how this rework could unfold.

Combat Power / Type advantages rebalance

The current Combat Power mechanism is largely inaccurate in describing the relative power of Pokémon when compared to main series game. Some incredible Pokémon like Kingdra and Donphan have been sidelined on terms of the current CP formula and the lacking Type system in Pokémon GO.

A Combat Power rebalance goes hand in hand with a Gym rework, as we are currently lacking a number of Pokémon in the “viable department”. Niantic can solve this problem with one of the two approaches:

  • a change to the CP formula which introduces more Pokémon in the “viable department”
  • modifying Type advantage / disadvantage damage modifiers to be more in line with the main series games (2x and 4x) which again introduces more Pokémon in the “viable department”

Both of these approaches are not mutually exclusive and can result in a lot more engaging platform for future PvP and Gym scenarios. And speaking about that, Hanke did admit that they didn’t get the Gym system right:

“There are some building blocks in place. One of them refers to the team game and the Gym system. We delivered that in a form that was incomplete. We know from Ingress that cooperation and planning are a lot of fun. When people have a common goal, it is a strong incentive to meet with friends or to get together with people you do not know.”

A common goal. Team based common goals. This smells a lot like Team Territories to us!

Team Territory and Team Objectives

We recently learned that Niantic doesn’t yet have the technology to connect long distance points on the map like in Ingress. This was accidentally leaked by Niantic’s CTO (Chief Technical Officer) Phil Keslin on the recent O’Reilly cloud scaling conference.

With that in mind, Niantic can’t create team based objectives as they do in Ingress – there is no “Gym links” or “Gym connections”. Initially, we strongly believe that they will introduce something in line with “Team Territories” or “Team Objectives”.

  • Team Territory is a rather simple concept of an area of map being influenced by one team, resulting in increased rewards from PokéStops for members of that team.
  • Team Objectives on the other hand are an open ended daily / weekly quest concept for all members of a Team in an area.

Both of these concepts encourage team play, player coordination and are not one time features that perish after a month. These concepts also tie in neatly with future PvP.

Imagine trying to raid an enemy Territory and facing enemy players who challenge you to a Duel! This contest is not new in MMOs, as many other MMOs have servers/areas that are free-for-all in PvP and where players can be freely attacked by enemies while traveling.

And that’s it.

  • Zanic1

    I don’t think they’ll introduce x2 and x4 type disadvantage because in PoGo you’re spaming moves unlike the main series in which you use less quantity of moves.
    I would love to see the team territories and objectives in the future.
    Nice article ^^

    • Rillan

      In original game its all about pokemon speed. U dont have to spam there to win. And if they are going to rework gym system, i would like to see fight slowing down or go order like. In original Butterfly can beat Vaporeon or someone even stronger by making it asleep (forgive me my english) and dont has to spam just keep it sleepy. For example Muk has 300hp Alakazam has 100 hp they are same level who would win ? Without any spamming Alakazam needs 2 shots or 1 crit to beat Muk and no way muk can beat Alakazam unless last one miss or fails cause Alakazam is faster. If Niantic makes it in pokemon go it would be realy great cause u can play ANY pokemon u like, and dont bother about CP. Sure Butterfly overall will be weaker but in some situations i would pick Butterfly instead of Vaporeon. But in todays PoGo its all about CP and noone needs pokemons lower than 2500

      • Zanic1

        Don’t worry, my English is not the best either.
        I understand your point but take into account that in any pokemon game the competitive meta is always dominated by the same pokemon, just like in PoGo. Also, I don’t think PoGo would be fixed by adding speed or making it turn based, because there are pokemon that use other strategies that are not implemented in order to have a chance to win a battle such as stat changes or inducing status condition, and it will add complexity to the game that may scare away casual players (To be honest I would love to see it because wobbuffet it is really bad in this game because there are no Destiny Bond or Encore).
        Since it’s a spin-off game I’m not sure if it is the best idea to make it so similar to the main series, at least gameplaywise.

        • Rillan

          Well we are in 2017 compared to 2000 games are so easy and come even more easier cause people always complain that they are pushed to think and its not interesting. (for exmpl WOW history shows it perfectly) If we keep going this way, soon there will come *one button games and i dont think its good idea to be aware from casual players scared or not. What i want to say is i dont see adding conditions or making people realize there are 18 species and not just 8 top tier pokemon isnt that hard since there all over guides and other tools that help u if u need advice. Keeping Pogo simple as hell wont help game evolve and become even more entertaining.

  • Nascar Joe

    Oh great. Took time to power up pokémon only to have them knocked down by rebalance. Sounds great to me.
    Team play. Sounds fair since the field isn’t level. Has nothing to do with strength. It’s all about numbers.

    • Tim Jeanes

      Shoulda saved your candies! 😛

  • Jdc Amane

    PvP seems exciting, but if you know the case in D3, PvP was also raising a lot of excitement that time, but in the end most players don’t even border it now, so boring and too difficult to play. Let’s see how niantic is going to make it great.
    D3 = Diablo 3

  • waraw1968

    There is a simple solution to the gym system: Introduce the Gym Power (GP) – combining CP and HP, in a new formula with the new GP as result. Assuming that HP counts more than CP for the gym defence, for example

    GP = (HP×20 + (CP×IV%/100))/5

    Or something like that – more complex I guess.
    Anyway, from that formula, simplified, a 100% CP 3000 and HP 400 Blissey would have GP 2200. A 100% Dragonite with CP 3300 and HP 150 would get GP 1260 and a 100% Hypno with CP 1850 and HP 140 would get GP 930. As shown this would make the difference between gym defending Pokemon significantly less than in the existing gym system, i.e. between Hypno and Dragonite (from CP 1450 to GP 330), AND the high HP Pokemon get it’s rightful and deserved place in the gym. This formula, including IV (perfection) would make a good Hypno more worthy than a 50% Dragonite. In the existing gym system, only CP counts.

    I suppose there can be made limits to the gym too; maximum 3 of the same Pokemon and minimum 4 different Pokemon (types) on the same gym – to make it “more balanced”.

    Finally, as someone already commented: Rebalance is a disaster from Niantic. How can they have so little respect for the players, spending a lot of time, using energy and stardust to improve their future fighting team of Pokemon, just to see the team reduced to a joke? Rebalance really sucks, Niantic. Use your brain to find better and more respectful solutions!

  • waraw1968

    Introduce Gym Power: GP = (HP×20 + (CP×IV%/100))/5

    1. High HP Pokemon get it’s rightful and deserved place in the gym.
    2. Weak IV (perfection), i.e. a bad Dragonite would be less worthy than a good Hypno
    3. The difference between Dragonite and Hypno, as an example, will be significantly less than in the existing CP gym system.

    • Rillan

      Based on your logic low Hp pokemon will be useless. For example all psychic and ghost type pokemons lots of bug and so on will be completely garbage since theyr Hp is much lower than basic types (fire, water, etc). And Blissey with Snorlax would become kings while they dont put stronger pokemon in game.

      • waraw1968

        Well, the formula was just a suggestion. Anyway, these Pokemon-types you mention are already “garbage” – when it comes to defending the gym, which of course is also based on their normally low CP. Obviously Blissey, Snorlax and Chansey should dominate the gyms. As kings. And Vaporeon, Lapras and Wigglytuff too. As princes. Due to their HP.
        If the players understood how to “compose” a gym, we could and should see a lot of good HP defenders, even those with low(er) CP. In stead of all those Dragonites etc. Ask yourself why put Alakazam on a gym? Because it is a good defender? Of course not – it’s just about CP. So why power Alakazam up? You would if it had CP 1400 instead of CP 2400? The only reason to do so, must be that it might become Mewtwo some day. Nothing else.
        And finally, those low CP (and HP) exist for prestige; Parasect, Pidgeot, Beedrill, Venomoth, Azumarill, Ariados, Tangela, Dewgong etc. Not to defend gyms (even though a good Azumarill, Dewgong or Pidgeot could)…

        • Rillan

          Well, as i know (mb im wrong here) Niantic wants us play as pokemon trainers not just players that has any other game. So there shouldn’t be that huge difference between high base HP pokemon and others. Otherwise they soon will be in problems since Slaking (exmp there a lots of strong as he is) has attack power like Mewtwo and Hp little bit lower than Blissey and he appears in season 3 and he is basic pokemon, not even close to rare or legendary. Based on today’s formula he would be something like 4000 CP+ pokemon that will have every trainer since he will be OP, and then comes a question why should i gather others if i can play like 6-8 slakings ?
          I highly want Niantic change CP system and make pokemons more equal, otherwise game will die.

          • waraw1968

            I don’t disagree with you, Rillan –
            I want Niantic to make changes too. However, all Pokemon cannot be equal – logically Cleffa (and many others) ARE weaker; in the game, in battle as watched in the TV-series etc.
            Refering to an episode where Pidgey took on Charizard in a suicide attack – if I remember correctly. On the other hand, my level 30 Beedrill CP 1491 with Sludge Bomb can defeat a 2500 Snorlax on a gym. So, Niantic should really improve by making it more balanced with more equal Pokemons taking all CP, HP and IV into consideration – and NOT ruining

      • Jon

        We simply need to be able to coordinate gym battles. That’s all.

  • ikato kiyazaki

    Pvp will be dead in a matter of weeks.

  • Bigaju

    Hopefully Pokémon will have extra move set (Non-damaging moves like Toxic, Will-o-Wisp, or Double Team) and Abilities.

  • Tim Jeanes

    The simplest change would be: you can’t add a Pokémon to a gym if there’s already one of that species in there. It’d make gyms so much more varied than the current Vaporeon / Snorlax / Blissey / Gyarados / Dragonite combos we get at the moment.

    • Anderson F. Octer

      Agree. What annoy me is that all gym meta is based on the top 5 pokemons. We have 250 but 90% is trash. Useless.
      If we introduce:
      1 – gyms cant have duplicated pokemons (2 or more blissey, snorlax, dragonite, etc)


      2 – Players cant let same pokemons on stadiums.

      So, if you have 10 gyms, you cannot put a snorlax in all of them, even there is no snorlax on current Gym.

      That would change people from evolving dozen of dragonite only and make them train a lot of different species.

      It would be nice to see a variety of pokemons on gyms

    • Ben Kan

      screw that idea if blissey stacking leads to permenant control then so be it tired of weak people complaining about not being able to take down gyms

  • Edward G. Lim

    Hey Tim you forgot to include Rhydon in your list

  • Tom Ato

    Does anyone speculate whether Niantic will bring back the special Pikachus with hats? I missed them and really want them lol. Or is it more of a once in history type of thing haha?