Pokemon Go Creator Niantic Labs announced on Wednesday that the mobile game’s Community Days will return to their pre-pandemic length of just three hours starting in April. After the recent massive nerfing of the in-game item incense, Players are not pleased at all at Niantic’s seeming refusal to listen to what have been widely acknowledged as previous positive changes to the game.
In the last month, Niantic has made more movements in an attempt to bring Pokemon Go back to what it was before making changes in response to Covid-19. Earlier this month, the developer announced that it was changing Incense, an in-game item that attracts Pokémon. back to its pre-2020 design, which reduces its effectiveness. It now attracts a Pokemon every five minutes instead of one per minute. Then yesterday it was announced that April’s Stuffful Community Day would only last three hours, less than the six that everyone had grown accustomed to.
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To Niantic’s great credit, The studio changed quickly its billion dollars Pokemon Go Project in response to planet Earth being locked down in 2020. With so many people around the world reacting to the terror of a global pandemic by staying at home, a game based on the idea of going outside took some intelligent changes that allowed him to maintain his momentum and audience. Among other things, the radii for interacting with PokéStops and Gyms have been increased, remote raiding has been added, incense has been buffed to allow for challenges without having to leave home, and running paths for participating in the PvP GO Battle League have been eliminated.
Since then, Niantic has tried to turn things back, always claiming that the main motivation of its games is to get people outside, moving, and moving. Of course, the real main motivation is to make money, and a number of the necessary changes clearly meant that players could get more out of the game while spending less.
As early as June 2021, as Covid-19 continued to wreak havoc around the world, Niantic made it clear that it intended to roll back the changes, requiring players to gather in public again. In August 2021, despite the outcry, it surprisingly got away with it. The incredibly obvious uproar over this as the pandemic continued to kill millions, opined Niantic pulled out after three long weeks. Come September there was an impressive display of regret about how abominably everything had been handled.
Since then, it’s been promised that the adjusted spacing requirements will stay in place forever, which just makes sense since the game is so much more amenable to it. Unfortunately, it seems like we have to keep going around in circles for every other positive adjustment the game has undergone.
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It’s pretty important to point out that these “temporary changes” have been in the game for two years this month. That’s more than a third of the game’s lifespan, and for the vast majority of current players, they’re permanent fixtures. Or more importantly like it always was.
Personally speaking, I started playing Pokemon Go with my son in August 2020. This is how we spent our government mandated one hour of daily outside time for months. (What the heck have we all been through?) In July 2020, I couldn’t have named you any other Pokemon other than Pikachu. Now I could write you a travel guide. From my perspective and that of countless millions of other players, the changes to the game being introduced this month are huge step backwards that actively spoil the experience.
When we recently had to stay home for a weekend, my son found that he could no longer use incense sticks to help close Sandshrew Community Day in March and as such was unable to complete the tasks set . This April we are now unable to attend Stuffful Day in the morning as usual as it now starts at 2pm. Sure, personal issues, no big deal to you. But examples of how seemingly unnecessary changes make the game far less appealing.
the given reason for the Community Day Halving is that Niantic’s research shows that only five percent of players played for more than three hours anyway, according to a company post. I mean, sure, that sounds like you’re excluding your whales on purpose right there, which is an odd business decision — but wait a second. Sure, most people might not play longer than three hours (not least because the Community Day quests have been so thin and awful for so long that it would be difficult to stretch them any further), but certainly not all the same three hours. It will be over the available six every three hours! It’s such weirdly wrong logic.
igamesnews have of course reached out to Niantic to ask if they are considering this, along with other questions about the decisions and will update if they respond.
Niantic wants people to see that sense of community re-establishing itself, and believes that limiting activities to a smaller window of time will make such encounters more likely. But that ignores how many are unable to participate at all given the changes, and dismisses the views of those who don’t like to gather in groups of strangers in public given Omicron’s continued proliferation!
Niantic claims it will continue to listen to feedback and has proven that it will relent if the community is loud enough, so maybe we’ll see a reverse ferret by May’s Community Day.