GameFace Monday: Pokémon Go Addition

By: Ubersnaps

Hey Geeks, time to get your game face on as we dive in to another week. However, it seems like Pokémon Go developers Niantic are making that hard for some players. Over the weekend they released an update for the app that fixed a lot of minor GUI issues and did a re-haul of the battle skills in an attempt to balance the scales between heavy hitters and quick attacks. However the most controversial change was to that of the tracker, and by change I mean removed.

Prior to this update the in game tracker would provide foot prints under nearby Pokémon to give you an idea of how far away that Pokémon was. You could even select a Pokémon from the tracker which would assist in tracking that specific Pokémon, creating a radar ping that would indicate if you were getting hotter or colder towards it. This added a layer of immersion and a sense of adventure as you hunted for Pokémon. It also created another social aspect of banding together with fellow trainers and work as a team to narrow down the location of rare Pokémon.

It was well known that a few weeks after Pokémon Go’s unstable release that the tracker system’s footprints for nearby Pokémon were stuck at maximum distance of three footprints. No matter what direction or how far you traveled it remained the same. This created a lot of frustration in a game that was about catching them all. The tracker its self was creating a lot of strain on the servers, some players were unable to even launch the game. The tracking feature was hence removed, but the three footprints remained.

Here is where it gets fuzzy, no one is quite sure if the chicken or the egg came first. As with most games, other users in the community started to create helpful tools to predict evolved CP levels, Lucky Egg XP calculators and finally the biggy, Pokémon tracking maps. These maps would use google maps and literally pin point the exact location of nearby Pokémon. In some of these apps you were able to set up and receive notifications on your phone when specific Pokémon chosen by the player were nearby. This removed the mystery and thrill of the hunt.

Such a feature would require these third party apps to ping Niantic’s server for information. Imagine millions of players with these Pokémon tracking maps hitting the servers to play the game and use these third party trackers. That creates a lot of stress on the already seemingly potato powered servers. So what happened first? Did the third party trackers create too much stress on Niantic’s servers causing the in game tracker to go kapuuts? Or was it the third party trackers being created in lieu of a broken in game tracking system causing a fit? The world may never know, and for now what’s done is done. PokeVision and many other third party tracking apps have been told to cease and desist while having their IPs blocked. Hopefully this is a temporary problem and the in game tracker will rise once again and be redeemed in the eyes of many Pokémon trainers.

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