Full credits for this article go to mak484, a Silph Road Traveler that was kind enough to allow us to share his writing on the Hub. The original reddit post is available here.


Greetings trainers!

Like most of you, I had a blast with the new update over the weekend. Part of the fun for me was coming over to this community once an hour to see what new ideas and suggestions had been generated in that time. I was rarely disappointed. After a while, I started to see the same sorts of posts gaining traction over and over again. However, I’ve yet to see a fully populated list of these suggestions, so while I have some time I figured I’d take a stab at it.

Virtually none of the suggestions below are my own, but for the sake of expedience I won’t try to link each suggestion to its original post. I’ll try to keep my personal opinions to a minimum in this post, and I’ll try to only include suggestions that gained broad acceptance in the community already. My purpose here is to concisely summarize all of the constructive criticisms the community has put out over the past few days, not to make a list of complaints without providing possible solutions. Hopefully my fellow trainers, and perhaps some Niantic employees, will find this convenient.

Part 1 – Gym Battles

Misc Suggestions

  • Trainers should be able to change the default berry they feed to pokemon at gyms. The default should be nanab, not razz.
  • The motivation decay rate needs to be adjusted. Pokemon with CP over 3000 lose motivation 10x faster than those below 3000, which is too much.
  • Trainers should be able to switch attackers between battles
  • There should be a streak bonus for attacking, defending, and motivating each day, just like there are streak bonuses for capturing and spinning stops.
  • The world map is very underwhelming, to the point where it is almost comical. It will be nice to see the world map in its final form, which will hopefully incorporate stop locations and will be an actual map.
  • Gym battles are sometimes quite buggy and do not work the way they are intended. This isn’t a surprise and we are well aware that Niantic is working on fixing these issues as a matter of course.

Attacking

  • Problem: There isn’t a good reason to try to take down gyms on your own. Trainers spend many potions and revives knocking out an enemy gym, and they are rewarded with maybe a couple of coins until they are kicked back out of the gym. Meanwhile, all of the defenders are rewarded by receiving coins.
  • Solution: Trainers should be rewarded with coins for knocking out defenders, and possibly additional coins for placing their own pokemon as a defender. There should be a cap on how many coins can be earned this way, and it should be separate from the cap on coins earned by defending. This will help encourage both attacking and defending.

Defending

  • Problem: There isn’t enough incentive to increase motivation for teammates’ defenders, and in some cases not even for increasing your own defenders’ motivation. Motivating a teammates’ defender makes it less likely you’ll be able to deposit your own defender, and it makes the teammate wait longer to earn their coins. Same goes for motivating your own defender, if the gym’s turnover rate is low.
  • Solution 1: Feeding berries should yield far more stardust, and/or have a higher chance to yield candies. This will only work in conjunction with solution 2.
  • Solution 2: Trainers should have access to a poke flute that allows them to recall a defender at any time. This item should have a 24 hour cooldown to prevent abuse, and should only be used once the trainer’s daily coin cap has been reached. With these two solutions, trainers shouldn’t feel guilty about motivating their own or other trainers’ defenders.
  • Solution 3: (not optimal) There may need to be a hard limit on how long a trainer can leave their defenders at a gym. Perhaps all defenders are automatically returned once the trainer’s daily coin limit is reached. This solution is very restrictive and nanny-state, and would probably not be popular, but if stagnation becomes horrible then there may not be much choice.

Team Balance

  • Problem: In areas with fewer gyms and little turnover, even with the above solutions, it will be hard for every trainer to have a fair chance to place a defender in a gym. If their team constantly dominates all of the gyms, they will never be able to take over a gym or place their own defenders unless they are lucky or travel a long disance.
  • Solution: This hasn’t been specifically addressed to my knowledge. Trainers have been asking for the option to change teams since the game was released, which could be an option to increase diversity and solve this issue.

Coin Distribution

  • Problem: An issue that has been around forever is that daily coin caps are inherently unfair to trainers who play irregularly throughout the week.
  • Solution 1: Daily coin caps should be replaced with weekly coin caps. For example, rather than being able to earn 50 coins per day, trainers should be limited to 350 coins per week. This works especially well with the next suggestion.
  • Solution 2: All excess coins that could be earned are converted to stardust and/ or candies. This would include coins rewarded by defenders, and coins awarded by knocking out other teams (as suggested above).

Part 2 – Raids

Locating Raids

  • Problem: For rural trainers, most of us cannot see many or any gyms from where we live. Right now, there is no passive way to learn when raids are starting if we cannot see any gyms.
  • Solution: Gym badges are the perfect way to solve this issue. The gym badge pane should include all raid timers, both starting times and time remaining on active raids. In addition, players should be able to favorite gyms via their badges; favorited gyms will send push notifications when they have a raid starting soon.

Tier 1 Raids

  • Problem: The only trainers who will spend their daily pass on a tier 1 raid are likely rural and won’t be running into very many viable raids per day anyway. Trainers paying for premium passes won’t waste them on tier 1 raids either.
  • Solution: Tier 1 raids should simply be free. If that means the rewards are lowered, that would be worth having more to do while out and about.

Raid Pass Consumption

  • Problem: Because raid passes are consumed to enter the lobby, trainers are forced to gamble to see whether or not there will be enough support to take on the raid they selected.
  • Solution: Raid passes should function as loot keys. Trainers should be allowed to enter the lobby for free, and only spend their raid pass once the boss has been defeated.

Assisting Late Trainers

  • Problem: Once a trainer defeats a raid boss, they cannot help other trainers who show up late.
  • Solution: Once a trainer has spent a pass on a raid boss, they should have unlimited access to defeating that boss in order to help other trainers. The only reward they should get for completing multiple wins is additional experience, if anything.

Daily Passes

  • It has been suggested that daily passes should stack, to allow trainers who play irregularly to not miss out on raids because of the strict limit on free passes. Personally I don’t think Niantic is going to change this mechanic anytime soon, but I agree it would be a welcome change.

Premium Passes

  • Problem: It has been suggested that premium passes are not ‘premium’ enough, offering access to only one raid each. Various suggestions have been made, which would likely be mutually exclusive (or turned into different types of premium passes).
  • Solution 1: Passes should have charges, like incubators. The price may be raised as a result, but it shouldn’t be 1:1. 150 coins for a 3 raid pass is reasonable.
  • Solution 2: Passes should act like lures, and give other players free access to a raid. This would go a long way to community building, and would encourage trainers to take a shot at high level raids since they’d have nothing to lose.
  • Solution 3: Create special passes that grant unlimited access to all raids for a 24 hour period once used. These would clearly be expensive, but would be very popular with tourists and on weekends.

Raid Curfews

  • Problem: Trainers who play at night are severely disadvantaged by not having access to raids past 9 pm. It has been suggested that this may be temporary, since originally the beta testing was only meant for sponsored gyms that largely wouldn’t be open past 9 anyway. In case this isn’t true, a solution follows.
  • Solution: Create a parental control option that turns raid notifications off past a certain point. This is assuming the main point of the curfew is to disincentivise young trainers from venturing out late at night.

Part 3 – Social Features

This section summarizes the requests made recently, specifically to aid in gym battles and raids.

  • In-Game Chat: Trainers should be able to send chat requests to their teammates by selecting their profiles in gyms. This feature should be opt-in, and trainers should not under any circumstances be allowed to send unsolicited or unapproved messages to other players. It would simply be far too easy for trolls to grief other trainers otherwise, and the last thing this game needs is incentive for trolling.
  • RSVP: Trainers should be able to RSVP to an active raid, and see how many other trainers have done so as well. This will be a fast way to see if attempting a tier 4 raid is worth it, for example.

Cheating

  • As anyone in a populated area is aware, the gym system as it currently stands is extremely prone to cheating. It strongly encourages spoofers to remotely increase motivation on their pokemon, while multi-accounters can quickly take down gyms and fill them with their own teams.
  • Some of the suggestions posted above may help, but most will only increase the incentive to cheat.
  • I’ve not seen any concrete suggestions for solutions to this problem, but as a community I think it’s safe to say we do not want these solutions to come at the cost of the freedoms of legit trainers. It would be unacceptable to see rewards lowered or removed as an attempt to discourage cheating. This should be obvious, but this game has already seen these types of punishments happen in the past.

A point about increasing rewards like stardust and coins. Reading all of these suggestions at once, I’m left with the impression that quite a few could be interpreted as “Niantic give me more stuff please.” Personally, I disagree with this interpretation. We all know that the amount of stardust we can receive has taken a hit and ought to go back up to original levels. As far as coins are concerned, we now have two coin dumps – incubators and raid passes – so access to free coins should at least reflect that change. If trainers can do more for free, they’ll play more, and those who are willing to pay will be happier doing so.

Final Words

Niantic, you’ve done a great freaking job with this update. It’s still very raw, and needs a lot of tweaking, but for the first time it feels like you’ve hit your stride with community responsiveness. The turnaround time on addressing the coin payout scheme was beyond impressive. It wasn’t perfect, but it was several steps in the right direction.

I personally haven’t had this much fun playing since the game first came out, although admittedly I stopped playing back in October for a number of reasons. I’d like to thank Niantic for listening to this community, and to encourage them to keep listening so we can continue to build a fun and viable game together.

On that note, I’d like to remind everyone on the Silph Road of something. This game is far from complete. This may seem obvious, but hear me out. Many of the reasons people stopped playing last year (save for those who only tried it out because everyone else was talking about it) have not been addressed at all. Rural spawn rates are still abysmal, the tracker is likely never coming back as it was originally presented, battling is still clumsy compared to the turn-based strategy style of the core series, there is no trading or proper pvp yet, and even the in-game display is still lackluster. These are not my personal complaints- these are the complaints I’ve heard from everyone I’ve tried to convince to come back following this most recent patch.

I only mean for this message to be a reality check. There is a long road ahead of us before this game is ready for prime time again, and I sincerely hope and believe Niantic won’t rest on their laurels and coast through the fall on this update alone. Let’s all keep that in mind next time we find ourselves staring longingly at a tier 4 raid, knowing we can’t participate because we’re the only ones in our town playing anymore. If you can’t relate to that sentiment, you’re lucky.

Stay safe, and happy hunting.