What PokemonGo Must Update to Stay Relevant

 Photo Credit: Forbes.com
Photo Credit: Forbes.com

     It is crazy to think that this game/application has only been on the market for less than a week and already received the response that it has. Between bumping Nintendo’s net value in the stock game more than 9 Billion dollars since its launch, to surpassing Twitters daily active user count, there is no denying the impact that PokemonGO has had across the globe. As I was sitting at a local park yesterday, among at least a hundred other Pokemon enthusiasts, I realized that this was not just a new game but a craze that was sinking its teeth into everyone that played it. Regardless of the age group, it has brought people together in a way that I have never seen before, and I don’t want this to change. However the hype right this moment, it is an entirely different feat to move from the “New Fad” category to the “Essential Staple”. While I know a few of these have been discussed high level for the future scope of the app, here is a list of the updates they need to make sooner rather than later to ensure the game’s longevity.

1.) Pokemon Trading (Obviously)

The ability to trade your Pokemon with friends and other Trainers alike are a necessity within the Pokemon space. If the entire intent of the app is meant to get you outside and work with others (hence the move to dividing players into teams), what better way to push people to go out and talk with each other at the Pokestops than to allow them to swap? This also allows for those that are having a difficult time getting invested into the game(although this is obviously not an issue right now) the ability to work with friends on gaining a backlog of creatures that allow them to level up and evolve them as well. Of all the things I want to see added, this is the feature they need to put out quickly as this will give it a shot of adrenaline it will need in the coming weeks. 

2.) PvP Battles

I think the most common question that I usually get from those inquiring of the games purpose (outside of “Can I catch a Pikachu!?) is “So can I battle other people once I have strong enough Pokemon?” While I usually go into the Pokemon Gym description at this point, I would love to be able to give people the resounding Yes! that they are looking for. I literally can’t think of a better feature that is going to drive people to great lengths of going out and finding their Pokemon, than the promise of being the strongest among your friends, as well as in the area. With the Pokestops already packed with players looking for wild creatures, imagine individuals hanging around waiting to defend their nearby gym? Make this happen.

3.) (Enhanced) Filtering System for Pokemon

While we already have the ability to filter our collection in various ways, down the road as they add more Pokemon and libraries become more vast, we are going to need a better filtering system than the one at present. Yesterday was becoming burdensome having to go through droves of Pidgeys individually just to transfer them for candy. Imagine the ability to pick and select all at once, then engage a transfer with a ‘Candy Summary’ at the end. This is just one of the many modifications they can add to clear up the clutter that will become of these backlogs, and promote a cleaner user experience.

4.) Fix Those Servers!

The promise has been made from those at Niantic, that they are working around the clocks trying to figure out a way for better server support. Although I really can’t blame them, there is no way they could have anticipated the app destroying record traffic held by Twitter and Instagram in only a few short days on the market. However, if you want to turn away potential customers, then give them a buggy product (Insert Weedle joke here). We have gotten the promise for the developers that they are refraining from opening more markets till they have this under control, so hopefully this will come sooner rather than later. In the mean time, luck be with you on spotty connections and I hope you don’t have it crash on you during the final gym battle like it did to me…. Not that I am bitter or anything…

5.) As You Enhance the Product, Provide Tutorials

While it’s been fun to walk newbies through the fundamentals of the game, I can’t help but wonder why a more fleshed out tutorial wasn’t given. It may not be a huge deal at the moment since the product is still Vanilla, but give it 6 months after some larger updates, a newcomer will need a deeper explanation of how it actually works- rather than 5 sentences and a map. The way to sell this game to your friends is by telling them “just try it out, it’s free”, but if they get in there later down the road to a more complex system- it could prove too overwhelming for those just wanting to try it out. You need new customers for a business to thrive, make sure you set them up for success. 

Enough of my recommendations- what do you think? Am I missing something more crucial, or am I on to something here? Let me know in the comments below!

5 Tips to Become a ‘PokeMaster’ in PokemonGO

     In case you have some how managed to avoid all media sites today and as well as the usual chatter at work, PokemonGO has now taken the US by storm. For the first time in more than a decade, I found myself walking to meetings at work humming the tune we all love, and pondering where I will head to first after work to look for a Pikachu. And with what started out as a normal day at the office, turned to pandemonium by the end as people all over were walking around the floor looking at each others “tiny companions” and comparing stats. Basically, this game is catching on quick, and you DO NOT want to be left behind. Even those in the office that would normally scoff at this sort of thing, were bragging of an Abra catch by lunch time. So to make sure that you start off on the right foot, here are a few tips in starting out to ensure you are the local Gym Leader and Pokemon expert.

Preface: This is NOT the typical Pokemon game:

While they don’t stray to far away from the essential formula that made the game a staple for handheld consoles, such as the thrill of the catch, leveling up, and of course gym battles- developer Niantic Labs managed to mix it up enough to keep you on your toes from the beginning. Yes, you are thrown into the mix with your 3 normal options: Bulbasaur, Charmander, and Squirtle in the beginning, but from there on you are kind of left to figure it out as you go. This is a game that is going to challenge you to get off the couch and go out into the world, search for Pokestops, and level up your Pokemon in a completely different way.

1.) Leveling up your Pokemon comes from Candy:

Anyone that played an entry of the Pokemon franchise knows allllllll about the grind of leveling up your tiny friends, however this time around it will not come from 1v1 battles- instead it comes from the tasty treats known as (insert PokeName)Candy. With each Pokemon you capture, you will find they come with a certain number of candy, and listed underneath the name info you will find two options: Power Up & Evolve. Both require certain number of candies specific to that Pokemon and the generic Stardust that is used for all Pokemon. Earn candy of that type by capturing more of that specific creature and “Transferring” them in to claim one piece of candy. 

Pro Tip: Never pass up a potential Pokemon capture, even if you already have one- you can trade it in for Candy.

2.) Use your Incense & use them wisely:

If you go to your backpack you will see the items section that you can dive into, take time to go through each item that you could potentially receive one day and become familiar with them. One of the most important is of course the “Incense”, which when activated lures Pokemon to find you for a period of 30 minutes (a clock literally displays in the top right of the screen to keep you posted). During this time, it is wise to make sure you have Pokeballs as well as moving around while in use, instead of sitting stationary. This only increases your odds finding more Pokemon, as well as the different types that could potentially come your way. 

Pro Tip: Not only does this get you more Pokemon, but it gets you XP quickly. Try combining with a “Lucky Egg”!

3.) Diversify the areas you go:

While this one seems like a “no-brainer”, being that this game is literally called PokemonGO, but the game really does want you to get up and make your way to different areas and places. By doing this, you will only increase your odds of finding different types of Pokemon, rather than the same 4 or 5 that live around your neighborhood. Keep in mind the environments you are in as well, meaning if you find yourself by a lake for the weekend- now would be a good time to look for that Psyduck you’ve always wanted. If you find yourself with only replicas of the same Pokemon after a few hours of playing, this means it’s time to get up and MOVE!

Pro Tip: Some of the best ways to get Pokemon at a higher level, rather than the “Candy Method” is by catching them. The more you travel and search, the more likely you are to find that Alakazam!

4.) Pokestops are not “One-time-deals”:

One of the many markers that you will come across early in the game as you investigate your surroundings in the map, will be a blue indicator for Pokestops. The fact the game forgets to tell you, is that these refresh every 5-10 minutes on avg, meaning that if you need to stock up on supplies or just want that extra XP bump of 50 points, make sure to check back often. 

Pro Tip: You are going to go through A LOT of Pokeballs off the get-go while you grow accustomed to the physics in throwing- it is important to stock up on these at the Pokestops often (unless you plan to buy them with cash of course).

5.) Power up Multiple Pokemon Early for the Gym Battles:

While you have to wait until level 5 to gain access to the Pokemon Gyms and claim your team (GO TEAM VALOR *wink*), it is important to start planning for it now if you want to be competitive. It may be easier right now since this game is still getting off the ground, so you will find a lot of the premeditated placements are easier in some cases. However, as the game ages and gets more fleshed out it will be a different story. Since the battles are not turn based, you are going to be trading a lot of blows with the opposite fighter and quick. It is wise to have at least 3 decently leveled Pokemon as you attempt these gyms, but remember that you can always click on the gym icon to get a preview of the CP that is in store for you.

Pro Tip: Share the wealth when it comes to your Stardust in leveling up Pokemon, and remember sometimes it’s easier to catch stronger Pokemon than it is to raise them.

This only begins to scratch the surface of the tips and tricks that can help you be successful in this game. As you come across useful hints, let us know in the comments below. Now please excuse me, there is a Wild Eevee staring at me from my closet…

Thumbnail Picture Credit: Nintendo