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.