Pokémon Go has swept the world way faster and harder than I ever expected. Judging by the server down time, it’s more than Niantic ever imagined as well. And why shouldn’t it have? Pokémon Go has fulfilled one of my childhood dreams more faithfully than I thought possible. It took the real world and filled it with Pokémon. Now I can actually go out and catch and sort of battle Pokémon. It’s nerdy as hell, but it’s also really freaking cool.
That said, Pokémon Go in its current state is not a perfect game. Not by a long shot. Its best selling point is merely the fantasy of catching Pokémon in the real world. The actual software itself is filled with crashes and freezes and lacks a ton of features that would otherwise make the Pokémon Go experience amazing.
So I decided to make a quick list of some features that would make Pokémon Go Awesome.
1. Server and crash fixes
So let’s start with the obvious. Niantic’s servers have been in critical condition since launch, and periodic releases to different regions have kept it there. To Niantic’s credit, the servers have been getting much better over the past few weeks, even if it has come at the cost of certain features. I certainly didn’t expect Pokémon Go to get as huge as it did, and I doubt Niantic did either. But it’s an alternate reality Pokémon game. You gotta expect some level of popularity.
Pokémon Go has also had more than its fair share of crashes and freezes. I’m guessing this is related to the server population, but it has been bad.
Fortunately, fixing the server issues has been Niantic’s number one priority, so I think we can assume it will get better in the not-too-distant future. Also, Pokémon Go’s popularity will soon probably decline a little bit.
2. A better battling system
The Pokémon battle system is the stapliest of staples when it comes to Pokémon, so the furious tapsturbation and constant swiping comes as a bit of a surprise. It feels more like a night of Tinder than a Pokémon battle. The presentation in the gyms are pretty cool, especially when you see two or more players taking it on at once. Pokémon has always been a strategic kind of game, at least when we’re talking competitively.
So I think it would make Pokémon Go a little more awesome if we could battle in the more traditional turn-based style. The current battling system feels so mindless and lacking interactivity. Maybe even allow Pokémon to have more than two attacks.
A more traditional battling system would also be awesome, because it would better allow:
3. Trainer Battles and Trading
Currently, Pokémon Go lacks any real interactivity between players. Running into other people who are also playing the game is a ton of fun. We look up from our phones to see dozens of other people walking with their phones out, and something happens that has been a rarity for gamers. We stop and talk to each other. We mostly just ask what team we’re on or if we’ve caught any rare Pokémon, but that interaction is awesome. It’s what makes Pokémon Go feel more like a cultural phenomenon than a simple video game.
Unfortunately, our interaction in game is limited to talking about the game. We say hello, exchange Pokémon location information, maybe share a lure module, then continue on our way to catch more Pokémon. Occasionally, we might fight over a gym, and that’s cool, but that’s all there is.
Having the option to battle each other on the spot would probably be the best addition to the game. You have no idea how tempted I get to stop a stranger on the street, tell them about how much I love shorts, then commence with an intense Pokémon battle.
Along the same vein is trading. Nothing makes a collect-a-thon type of activity feel complete like the ability to trade. This is a feature that we will be getting inevitably, so it feels like cheating to even mention it. Still, it would be nice to trade an extra Squirtle for that Charmander I’ve been looking for. It would even be cool if trading would instantly evolve some Pokémon like Kadabra, Graveler, and Haunter. We might be getting Pokémon Centers eventually, so that would be the perfect place to conduct trades.
4. Friends lists and guilds
On the topic of player-to-player interaction, the ability to add other players to a friends list would be an awesome way to keep in touch with the players you meet along your journey to become a Pokémon master. A way to track who is currently walking and a quick way to communicate with them would make Pokémon Go get-togethers easy and convenient. Most of all, it would help build a community of Pokémon Go-ers.
Guilds would also be a fun addition. Pokémon Go acts as a sort of MMO that takes place in the real world. Having an established group of likeminded individuals would make that experience all the more enjoyable. Sure, we already have the three “Teams,” but there is really no interaction between team members outside of gym control.
Pokémon Go fosters an ability to make human connections just by its nature. It would be great if there was a way to keep those connection through the game.
5. Mass Transfer
If you’ve been paying any attention to Eff’s Pokemon Go tips and tricks, you would know that one of the best ways for grinding those precious experience points is to catch as many Pidgeys, Weedles, and Caterpie as you can. You then use the candy you get from them to evolve them for boosts of 500 xp each (500 more if it’s your first time getting the evolution and twice that with a lucky egg). It’s a great way to quickly gain access to those ultra-balls and extra lure modules.
Unfortunately, that means loading your Pokémon inventory with tons of Pidgeys. Transferring those Pidgeys nets you even more candies, but you have to tediously do so one by one.
That’s why I think the ability to transfer multiple Pokémon at once would be one of the most time-saving features Niantic could possibly add. It would definitely save my sanity, since I have a habit of catching anything in my wake.
6. Music Variety
At first, I was a little embarrassed to have the Pokémon Go music paying out loud while walking around in public. After a while, I’ve started to keep the volume up a bit. It wasn’t until then that I realized the only music that plays while you walk around is that battle theme sounding song. The Pokémon series has had a good amount of catchy tunes, so it comes across as a waste to hear none of that make an appearance in this game.
Walking has long been a great time for listening to music, well before we’ve been doing it with a game in our hands. The fact that we only get that one song for the few hours our batteries last is a damn shame. Sure, we can play our own music in the background using a media player, but Pokémon Go already uses up so much battery life. Adding more background apps will cut my walks too short to even hatch an egg.
Even a way to play our own music through the Pokémon Go app would be cool. That way we’d at least be able to play music without taxing our phones more than we already are.
I’d still like to see more of a variety of Pokémon-original music make an appearance in this game, though.
What’s a Pokémon game without shiny Pokémon? A black-and-white (or green) one, of course. Shiny Pokémon have been around since color has been a thing. Nothing would make a real-world Pokémon adventure more exciting that finding that elusive pink Rhyhorn. As it stands, the current game focuses almost entirely on the collecting aspect of Pokémon, so adding shinies would do nothing if not add to the game’s longevity.
I’m sure most of these features will see the light of day as soon as Niantic is able to get to work on them. Obviously, the server issues are priority number one, but there are still many features to be added that would make Pokémon Go a truly awesome game. Right now, the game is sorely lacking in actual content, so I sincerely hope we get these features and more. Get to it, Niantic!