From widespread server errors to Dragon Week’s missing Deino, Pokemon Go has faced a lot of criticism over the years; what is the response from Niantic? Pokemon Go and its developers, Niantic, typically make amends with the community very quickly after a mistake has been made. Is there hope yet for poor shiny Deino, Enigma Week’s elusive shiny Unown, or the upcoming Unova Week? We don’t know with certainty.
To make as accurate a prediction as possible about any possible amendments from Pokemon Go, it will first be useful to observe some of the other times Pokemon Go has made a mistake. Here are the top 5 worst moments in Pokemon Go history + how Niantic made up for it.
5 – Pokemon Tracker
When Pokemon Go was first being advertised it included a feature where you could see which Pokemon were nearby, select one of them, then have a kind of distance tracker which would lead you to that Pokemon. Anyone playing Pokemon Go today knows that there is a similar feature which shows you the Pokemon that are near the closest Pokestops that you can see, and you can only track down where said Pokestops are.
Before the tracker became what it is today, it simply did not work. When the game was first being played, people had no way to actually know which Pokemon were close to them and how to find them. The tracker’s unreliability and constant errors caused Niantic to disable the feature early into the life of the game. This led to many people wandering around in search of Pokemon that just were not there, especially for players in less populated areas.
The faulty Pokemon tracker led to the rise of third party websites that could produce an accurate map of where Pokemon were anywhere in the world. This may seem like a cool feature, but it caused people to simply get in their cars and drive to the nearest rare Pokemon. Playing Pokemon Go while driving is extremely dangerous, and that is why a notification appears when you exceed a certain speed.
Ultimately, the third party sites were shut down, and the Pokemon Go tracker was turned into what we see today around the same time that gyms were entirely reworked, and the game has been all the better since. In the early days, getting coins from gyms worked by receiving 10 coins per 24 hours a Pokemon spent in a gym for every Pokemon in a gym. This caused immense competition and conflict both inside the game and in real life over controlling gyms. By fixing these problems with the fundamental mechanics of the game, Niantic has proven themselves to be able to recognise and rework aspects of the game that are broken for the player’s enjoyment.
4 – Pokemon Go Fest 2017
In the summer of 2016, Pokemon Go was released to an overwhelming amount of players which caused untold havoc behind the scenes as the newly released app tried to account for its enormous player base. The first ever Pokemon Go Fest back in 2017 attracted attention from around the world, which turned out to be a bad thing when network servers overloaded leaving countless people unable to play the game at all. People were shocked that a year after release the game was still experiencing server errors and bugs. These problems were compounded by the fact that many people had traveled internationally to participate in the event.
It is hard to make up for such a let down, but Niantic definitely tried. They started by giving all who were at the event $100 worth of in game currency. Then they refunded the $20 admission wristband. Next, they gave away legendary Pokemon to attendees. Finally, they extended the bonuses of the Pokemon Go Fest event by an additional two days for everyone. This was at a time when legendary Pokemon were first being introduced into the game, and what was learned then has helped shape the Pokemon Go we see today.
3 – Pokemon Go Fest 2020
You would think that the events of 2017 would make Pokemon Go and Niantic learn their lesson, but early into the two day event this summer server errors shut the game down again. Fortunately, these errors only lasted a handful of minutes and was nowhere near the downtime during Pokemon Go Fest 2017.
Despite how short the downtime was, Pokemon Go has announced a make up day where players who purchased a ticket will be able to benefit from the Pokemon Go Fest 2020 bonuses for three hours on August 16th. That is like a bonus Community Day to make up for a comparatively small hiccup during Pokemon Go Fest 2020. Players will also be able to obtain 2 free Incense and Remote Raid Passes, and will receive Rare Candies from Gifts during the event.
2 – Covid-19
The outbreak of a global pandemic sure does cause problems for an app based around going outside. Suddenly, playing Pokemon Go could end up being a life threatening endeavor. However, the need for social distancing and self isolation was a challenge that Pokemon Go ended up being prepared to face.
To help players continue to enjoy Pokemon Go, the following bonuses have been active since March:
- 2x Incense duration
- Incense has increased effectiveness, spawning pokemon about every 30 seconds without the need for walking.
- Players can open 1.5x the normal amount of gifts each day (from 20 to 30).
- Players can hold 2x the normal amount of gifts in their inventory (from 10 to 20). Buddy Pokemon also restock your supply of gifts to give
- Entry into the Pokemon Go Battle League has had the 3km walking distance requirement has been removed.
- Eggs hatch distances are halved.
- Remote Raid Passes have been introduced and are currently receiving a damage boost.
- Invitations to raids have been introduced and can be done remotely.
- Double the normal amount of trainers can participate in a raid remotely (from 5 to 10).
- Free gifts available every day containing Pokeballs, Potions, and Berrys. During the initial outbreak there were also free gifts available which contained a large stock of incense and various Pokeballs.
- Pokemon Go has also started a program that helps support local businesses by promoting them as Pokestops within the game.
These bonuses are set to last the rest of August and will extend for additional months should Covid-19 continue to cause problems.
1 – Current Event Problems
After Pokemon Go Fest 2020, the Ultra Week bonuses have caused many players grief as it seems impossible to accomplish what the events are advertising. One feature of Pokemon GO that keeps people playing is the chance to find coveted shiny Pokemon, which have a unique colour difference that makes them stand out. The Ultra Week events showcase rare Pokemon with newly released shinies, but then require absurd luck or money to be spent in order to find them. Players trying to find these shiny Pokemon without breaking the bank can only hope to get lucky, but the odds are stacked against them.
Will Anything be Done?
When it comes to these Ultra Week events, it is unlikely anything will be done to compensate for people’s frustration. These events are not large scale events that had to be paid for like the Pokemon Go Festivals. The Ultra Week events were unlocked as additional content from challenges completed during Pokemon Go Fest 2020.
Ultimately, these events are free to experience. The only money that people could lose out on is if they bought incubators or raid passes, and that is where all the frustration comes from. Pokemon Go does not release the rates or odds of obtaining desired Pokemon or shiny Pokemon from raid battles or eggs. These rates were set by them intentionally, and therefore they were not making any mistake by design.
Even though the problems with these Ultra Week events were intentionally put there, Pokemon Go does not need to compensate for individual trainers who have experienced bad luck. Luck is an integral part of the game and business model of Pokemon Go. If anything is going to be changed for the benefit of the players from these events, it will be that future events might have their odds tweaked to be more in favor of players.
At the end of the day there are unsavory aspects to these Ultra Week events, but Pokemon Go can be played and enjoyed completely for free. Niantic and Pokemon Go in general have had some great responses to problems and mistakes, and are generally responsive to customer complaints. Pokemon Go does listen to its community, so visit their customer service if you have a problem with the game.