With Pokémon Go‘s first update dropping on iOS this morning, we began to consider the sort of things we’d like to see in future updates. From interface changes to multiplayer functionality, we’ve aiming our Pokéballs high.
Friendship has always been core to the Pokémon experience. The games encourage you to treat everyone, from your Pokémon to your fellow trainers as allies and friendly rivals. The ability to add your friends to the game could dramatically alter the way it is played for the better. People are already heading out to hunt together, so co-operative play should be a no-brainer. Team up to hunt new Pokémon, tackle gyms and locate Pokéstops. You could even nominate someone as your rival and continually race to be the best. So many possibilities!
One of the things many veteran Pokémon players were disappointed by was Pokémon Go‘s lack of ability to really battle anyone. Battling other trainers is a big part of the Pokémon games and the inability to do so in Pokémon Go is conspicuous. The traditional turn-based formula could be retained with each trainer pre-selecting a team of Pokémon to battle for them. Items and XP would be awarded based on a win or a loss.
Another element from the original games that is missing from Pokémon Go are battles against wild Pokémon. As it stands, a Pokémon will appear on the map next to you, you tap it to enter the AR mode and fling a Pokéball to capture it. While this makes sense for lower-level or more defenseless Pokémon, for higher-level or more predatory monsters, it would make more sense for you to throw your well-trained, powerful Pokémon at them as well. Not only would you get to keep the wild Pokémon on a successful catch but your existing Pokémon would gain XP.
The functionality everyone has been howling for since release. Pokémon trading would allow people to catch ’em all in a way that remains social and fun. It also creates an economy that is separate from the game’s more obvious microtransaction-based economy and has nothing to do with actual currency. Some monsters will be harder to find in certain areas than others — its why some players have been GPS spoofing for variety — and being able to trade with friends and fellow trainers will go a long way to alleviating that problem.
- Gym badges
Right now, claiming a gym doesn’t really convey much more than bragging rights. Further, you only get to hold onto it for a few minutes before being toppled by some hyperactive eight-year-old whose every waking minute is dedicated to leveling up their Pokémon. Gym badges would provide an incentive to train hard and then get out there and find new gyms. Randomly generate the badges so that no two gym’s badges are alike — you could literally collect them forever and after dominating a gym, you’d have something to show for it.
- Enhanced map rendering
A point many players are bringing up is that while Pokémon Go‘s very minimalist map presentation is quite stylish, it can sometimes be hard to read. Parks look like long dark puddles and some buildings don’t show up correctly despite all the map data on offer. A different set of colours, or maybe some clearer delineation between footpaths, roads and parks might be helpful.
If there’s one thing mobile games are known for, it’s Limited Time Events (ask anyone still grinding away at Avengers Academy, the events never stop, we need to sleep). Pokémon Go has a ready-made event built in. Teams Valor, Instinct and Mystic must put aside their differences and come together to defeat the evil Team Rocket who are kidnapping Pokémon from all over the world! Find a Team Rocket operative in the world the way you would a wild Pokémon. Battle them with your rad Pokésquad on your own or with friends. Come to the aid of other trainers who are battling Team Rocket! Beat the goons, collect sweet loot and rewards, see which team globally smashed Team Rocket the most. Doesn’t that sound like fun? We just made that up in about ten seconds. Get on it, Niantic.
- Clearer Pokémon tracking
Real talk — the Pokémon Near You tracker sucks. The only way to figure out where they are is to wander about aimlessly attempting to triangulate their position, and then they’re usually in someone’s backyard and you can’t go in there. Redesign the tracker, even if it’s just allowing us to select one of the Pokémon overlaying a little arrow on the screen to tell us which direction it’s in. We know you want us to exercise, Niantic, but there’s a lot of hills in our area and there’s only so much cardio we can do. You understand.
- Expanded team functionality (mystic, valor, instinct)
At the time of writing, the only real functionality of choosing which of Pokémon Go‘s three teams (Instinct, Mystic or Valor) is to know which team has claimed your nearest gym and, it seems, starting fights about team superiority on the internet. Give the teams something else to do — common areas for trading and meet ups, inter-team battlegrounds in shopping centres and parks, if one team controls three gyms in an area then that’s their territory. Wait. Are we turning this into a gang war? Maybe. But still, food for thought.
- Global zubat/doduo ban
Seriously, enough with the zubats and doduos. We’ve all got one. Our phones have become horrible zubat meat grinders. The professor is begging us not to send any more doduos. We don’t really have a good solution for this one, just stop giving us doduos and zubats.