Pokemon Go players are not happy about Niantic’s recent activities.
Pokemon Go was updated over the weekend, and the patch has not gone down well.
One of the issues players had been hoping to see fixed in this update was the Pokemon Go three steps bug. Pokemon Go is supposed to show varying numbers of footprints to indicate a player’s distance from Pokemon on the nearby screen, but never reduced beyond three steps, making it essentially useless. It’s a little like playing Warmer Colder, except the person who is supposed to be saying warmer or colder just keeps saying “no change”.
But instead of fixing this system in the patch, Pokemon Go developer Niantic just removed it all together.
No big deal, right? It’s probably gone away temporarily while Niantic sorts out a fix, right? Well, sure, but in an unfortunate bit of timing, Niantic and Nintendo also shut down multiple third-party Pokemon Go tracking sites this weekend, too.
As Kotaku reports, popular tools like Pokevision have gone down at the two companies’ request – shortly after Niantic said such tools relied on “hacking” and that Pokemon Go players who used them were cheating. (You can still draw on tools like Pokemapper which rely on user reports, though.)
Again, no big deal – it’s Niantic’s call to make, and there’s a big difference between the three-steps system guiding you to nearby Pokemon Go hotspots and a map that shows you precisely where whatever you want is.
But in combination? Pokemon Go players are now left with no way to find Pokemon near them besides wandering aimlessly and hoping they’ll get lucky … or attaching a Lure Module on a Pokestop.
This is the real sticking point: Lure Modules are probably the most popular microtransaction item in Pokemon Go, and cost 100 Pokecoins. You can buy Pokecoins starting at $1 for 100, right up to $100 for 14,500. It’s easy to see why many players would be angry about this, because they feel like they have no choice but to spend money if they want to catch Pokemon.
What makes all this more frustrating is that until now Pokemon Go had won nothing but praise for the way it incorporated paid items into the app, encouraging lots of users to make small purchases rather than treating free players as fodder for whales. That reputation has evaporated overnight.
So everyone’s pretty angry about Pokemon Go this weekend. Let’s hope Niantic gets a fix for the footprints system in place ASAP; in the meantime, maybe someone could start an app for organising lure parties, so the cost can be shared among groups of users.
Update: I forgot to mention the update also removed battery-saving mode, which is less than ideal.