Categories: Story

Improving the in-game experience: A Wayfarer success story

Some weeks ago Niantic announced that they were expanding Wayfarer access to more Pokémon trainers and Ingress agents by lowering the level requirements for reviewing even further. Now, all you need to do if you want to review wayspots in Wayfarer is to be at least Level 38 in Pokémon GO or Level 10 in Ingress and pass a simple test.

Although the level requirements to submit wayspots (Pokéstops/gyms in Pokémon GO, portals in Ingress) were not lowered, there’s no need to worry about it, as you will be able to help your local community (& others!) grow by reviewing portals in Wayfarer.

In this article, I will explain how I did it. When Wayfarer launched, my hometown had ~30 gyms. 30 gyms should be more than enough for a small city with a population of 25-30k people, but most of them were placed downtown and not exactly evenly distributed. So I convinced some locals to create a Wayfarer account and now we have close to 50 gyms and plenty of new Pokéstops too! Let’s go step by step.

The basics

Alright, let’s start with the basics. For the sake of clarity, as most of our readers are Pokémon GO Players, I will only mention PoGO level requirements and terminology.

  • If you want to submit new Pokéstops/gyms, you need to be Level 40 (as of now). But does that mean you won’t be able to help your local community grow if you aren’t? NO!
  • If you want to review new potential wayspots (Pokéstops/gyms), all you need to do is to be at least Level 38. And even if you aren’t, don’t worry, as Niantic seems to be interested in making this feature accessible to more trainers.

Niantic Wayfarer

Niantic Wayfarer

Ready to begin your Wayfarer journey? Before you begin, there are two things you must read:

  1. Niantic’s official guide: “What makes a high-quality Pokéstop?”
  2. Pokémon GO Hub’s Pokéstop Submission Guide, written by Zeroghan

The first link is the official guide published by Niantic. You will find all the info needed to pass your initial Wayfarer test. In the second one, you will find relevant info and tricks regarding Pokéstop submissions (such as proximity requirements due to the placement of S2 Cells and much more). Don’t worry, even though most screenshots are from OPR, that’s Niantic’s old platform. Wayfarer is almost a carbon copy so you’ll be able to follow the guide without any problem.

Good. Now, you’re ready to pass the initial test. The test is VERY easy, don’t worry about it. You’ll be given some simple questions like the one below:

Wayfarer initial test

If you read the info written in the links we shared above, you’ll be able to pass the test very easily. If you want more info, we also have a Wayfarer Review Test preparation guide ready for you! 😉

A success story

Well, now you know the basics and how YOU can do the same as I did in my hometown.

First of all, I went for a walk and wrote down potential wayspot candidates (I also took some pictures of them, to make things easier). Don’t forget, they must be good candidates according to Niantic’s official guidelines. Now that I think about it, I might need to clean up some storage in my phone, it’s still full of the pictures I took in the process…

Whether it’s a location with a cool story, a place in history or educational value, a piece of art or even a hyper-local spot, these things would all be valid! Try not to think that your hometown does not have anything relevant, you’d be surprised by how many hidden gems you might find if you look carefully. Think of it this way: where would you bring a friend that came to visit your hometown for the first time? What would you show him/her and why?

Valid wayspot example. Source: Niantic Wayfarer’s official guidelines

In fact, I learned so much about the history of my hometown just by submitting wayspots that later became Pokéstops and gyms, because I had to do some small research to be able to provide enough relevant info when I was submitting. That’s what Wayfarer is about.

When I gathered all the info I needed, I decided to inform my locals about my plan: I wanted to populate the area with more gyms and Pokéstops to improve the Pokémon GO experience for all of us. We all have our goals in this game, whether it’s raiding a lot to get powerful Pokémon, getting as many gym gold badges as possible, collecting coins to max out the storage and have a shiny living dex… whatever. But one thing unites us all, we need Pokéstops and gyms to enjoy this game.

To be honest, not many were interested, but that’s okay. The four of us that decided to contribute (yes, only 4 people) were determined to make this happen, and we succeeded. I created a Telegram group and a Google Docs spreadsheet where we would each pick our target Wayspot(s) and whenever we had time, we just went for a walk, submitted the wayspot (yes, we were all L40, but you can now at least review if you’re L38+) and waited.

In the meantime, every time a wayspot submitted went from the “In Queue” to the “In Voting” state, I would let my locals know so that they could help if they found the wayspot while reviewing. And that’s very important, you should review too. If you just submit wayspots but you don’t review at all, the queue could be massive and your wayspot might get stuck for months. We all want our Pokéstops and gyms to be approved, but helping others achieve it is part of the process too. Give, and you shall receive.

And that’s how we did it! In less than 6 months, our hometown became a much better place to play, with plenty of new Pokéstops and gyms. And I’m so glad I decided to do it, because this has also helped during the current pandemic, as now more trainers can reach a gym from home or can use a remote raid pass to join a nearby raid. If only four people were able to increase the number of gyms from 30 to 50 while also increasing the number of Pokéstops, you can do it too. All you need is determination, some time and organisation. And most importantly, you will be able to help other people in the process who might need it more than you!

Advanced tips and tricks

Here are some relevant tips I can give you after reviewing plenty of wayspots and getting my gold Wayfarer badge in the game. I suggest to read them through before you start to submit wayspots:

  • If your wayspot keeps getting denied, don’t give up. Try to understand why and if you’re still sure it’s valid, try to submit it again until it gets approved
  • If your in-game language is English and your wayspot gets rejected, check the email they will send you. You will usually find the reason why it got rejected there
  • There are plenty of reasons why your wayspot might be getting denied every time (assuming it’s valid and eligible). Whether it’s a bad picture, a poor description or any other reason, try to provide as much info as possible
  • I received an email saying that my wayspot was eligible but it never appeared in Pokémon GO!! Why? The most common reason is that your wayspot was too close to an already existing visible/non-visible wayspot. What? Non-visible? Details in the next bulletpoint
  • But what’s too close? Even though (for some reason) it’s not officially stated anywhere, there are two rules:
    • 1. There can only be 1 Pokéstop for every L17 S2 Cell. Similarly, there can only be up to 3 gyms for every L14 S2 Cell. Sponsored gyms/stops and gyms/stops that were moved after they appeared in the game bypass these limitations. If your wayspot gets approved, it’s not within a 20m radius from another visible/non-visible portal and still does not show up, it probably shares a L17 S2 Cell with an existing wayspot already. Your portal will be added to the system but you will NOT be able to use it in Pokémon GO. Submitting it again will be useless, as it will get rejected because it will be flagged as duplicate. BE CAREFUL when submitting or this will happen! Let your locals know! Here are the Pokéstop requirements to get your next gym:
      • 2 Pokéstops = 1 gym
      • 6 Pokéstops = 2 gyms
      • 20+ Pokéstops = 3 gyms
    • 2. Your wayspot should not be within a 20m radius from an already existing wayspot, visible or not. If your wayspot gets approved but lies within this radius, it will not show up in ANY game. You may try to submit it again only if moving it slightly would place it outside of this radius. Don’t fake its location!

Now that’s VERY important. Please try to follow the rules above if you want to succeed. Wayspot is not always the same as Pokéstop/gym. Ingress has different requirements and some existing portals in Ingress will not show in Pokémon GO. That’s why they are not visible (in PoGO). If there are three portals in a L17 S2 Cell, probably all three will show in Ingress, but only ONE will show in Pokémon GO, due to the rule stated above. If your submission keeps getting flagged as duplicate, that’s the reason why. It already exists, but you can’t see it in Pokémon GO. For more info on S2 Cells, we got you covered as well.

Niantic, please, we need a way to see both existing portals before submitting and also S2 Cells to avoid wasting our submissions…

If that’s too complicated for you, just try to submit wayspots that are far enough from existing ones that you can see and you should be good 😉 . However, if you want to know the details and see how your hometown looks like, there are plenty of guides you can follow. However, 3rd party browser or app extensions that run scripts are needed in order to overlay S2 Cells over Niantic’s official Intel Map (you’ll need an Ingress account, btw). Use them only if you know what you’re doing, no 3rd party sources are usually recommended as they technically go against the ToS.

  • Try to take pictures during daytime, this helps a lot during the reviewing process. Provide a good title and description too! Your reviewer might not be local and they need to know what you’re submitting. Don’t take things for granted
  • Don’t be lazy and explain in detail why the wayspot you’re submitting is relevant. “A statue” or “A war memorial plaque” is not good enough!

And that’s it! If you have any doubts, do not hesitate to comment down below or tag me on Twitter, I will try to answer them as fast as I can. Until next time! 😉

Gold Wayfarer Agreements badge
Kratos

Pokémon fan since 2000. Played every single game without exception. I'm an engineer, a tech lover and also a big sports fan. Science is my religion :)

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Kratos

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