Fresh from major launches abroad, video game developer Niantic Labs has returned to improving and enhancing its hit game, Pokémon GO. The first major new Pokémon GO update we’ve seen since launch, Update 0.31.0, enhances features and is intended to make the game a bit more stable. Ninatic didn’t just settle for improvements though. Some members of the game’s millions strong fan base say that the new Pokémon GO update wrecks the game.
Niantic launched Pokémon GO in early July. The game was developed in partnership with Nintendo and The Pokémon Company for iPhone and Android. It diverges from the classic games in the franchise in lots of ways that make it more approachable to smartphone owners than any Nintendo mobile console version would be. Players traverse the real-world around them to catch creatures; the game is able to track them using GPS technology.
Second, different types of Pokémon hide out in places that make sense. For example, water Pokémon can only be found near a source of water. Gyms and PokeStops provide users with incentives to visit landmarks in their neighborhood frequently.
What Features Are in the New Pokémon GO Update
One of the features we hoped for when Pokémon GO hadn’t launched yet was the ability to create and customize an avatar. Niantic added the feature, but didn’t give players a way to make changes to their Trainer after they’d begun the game. The new Pokémon GO update adds a way to do that.
Niantic has also tweaked Pokémon GO so that battle damages are more consistent, according to the release notes left on the Google Play Store. The developer doesn’t discuss why changes were necessary or what values have shifted, unfortunately. There are tweaks to damage calculation too.
As Trainers progress in Pokémon GO they get opportunities to catch more powerful creatures and unlock medals for their profile. Niantic has improved the images for those metals with the new Pokémon GO update.
What Fixes Are in the New Pokémon GO Update
New features are slim, but the new Pokémon GO update has the bug fixes that users have hoped for since launch.
For starters, Niantic has worked hard to improve the memory issues that plagued the game at launch. Theoretically, Pokémon GO should run a bit better on phones and tablets with less ram. Equally important are the fixes for what some have described as Pokémon GO’s most egregious issue. The game sometimes locks up when trying to capture a wild Pokémon. Niantic says that the new Pokémon Go update has “various bug fixes during wild Pokémon encounters.”
Animations when visiting Pokémon GO Gyms has been “refined” too.
Why Some Are Upset of the New Pokémon GO Update
And now the reason that some are ready to abandon the game. With the new Pokémon GO update, Niantic quietly removed an essential part of the game: Footprints.
It used to be that Pokémon GO players could use footprints to determine how close they were to nearby creatures. The game requires that players explore the world around them. Sometimes a creature could be a block away. Sometimes they could be blocks away, with Footprints being the only way to decide how close or far they were. In effect, Footprints made Pokémon GO’s must forward thinking feature – real-world Pokémon catching – more bearable.
I'm not really mad about #PokemonGO , I'm more disappointed….which happens to feel a lot worse 😔
— MimiLegend (@MIMI_LEGEND) July 31, 2016
Now, it’s gone. Niantic removed Footprints in the new Pokémon GO update entirely.
Without the Footprints, figuring out how much distance you have to travel until you capture the Pokémon that you’re looking for just got more difficult. Already, some community members are calling for Niantic to restore the feature. Besides announcing its removal, the developer hasn’t shared any information about why the change was made. It’s possible that it could be gone for good, or come back sometime in the not too distant future.
That’s it for this new Pokémon GO update. Niantic doesn’t reveal when it adds new features ahead of schedule. As such, it’s unclear when we’ll see another. We do know that the company is considering adding Trainer trading to Pokémon GO. The feature would, theoretically, allow two players to exchange creatures, in the hopes of filling out their Pokedex and getting creatures that aren’t native to their area.
Pokémon GO doesn’t have a cover charge. As such, anyone can download the game to their iPhone, iPad or Android device right now. That being said, Niantic does charge users for in-game items that they’d have to earn through capturing creatures and battling them at local Gyms. We also know that Niantic plans to finally add support for the Pokémon GO Plus accessory sometime before its launch date in September.