Today, and for the next week, Pokémon GO will be holding a Valentine's Day event. This event adds changes in the same vein as previous events, but unfortunately, not much else.
I thought it would be a good time to go over some of the things I would have rather seen added to the game than another holiday event.
Let's get to it!
1. Generation 2 — All Of It
It had been rumored since almost the game's release that we'd be getting Generation 2 in December. And, lo and behold, we did... well, sort of. We got a small handful of baby Pokémon. That could only be hatched from Eggs.
You know why people don't care so much to go out hunting Pokémon like they used to? Because — outside of short-lived events like this one — the Pokémon around people are all the same. Yeah, there's a chance at a rare one every now and again, but that felt a lot better as a side effect of regular Pokémon hunting than it does as a goal all by itself.
I don't think I need to explain this one. Trading Pokémon was, and still is, a staple of the franchise. It's something that was shown off in the original promotional trailer. But more importantly, it would help bring back a bit of the social aspect that made the first few weeks of release so surreal.
Trading would give people a reason to communicate with other Pokémon GO players. It would give an alternative way to, as the franchise is so famously known for advocating, catch 'em all. The handheld games have a global trade system which works quite well — now, whether or not Pokémon GO should use a worldwide system over just a local one is debatable. But the point is more that it's possible, and it needs to happen.
3. Solo Battling
Quick, tell me what Pokémon GO has to offer for someone who wants to play the game all by their lonesome. Really, it's not hard to be quick here. These are what solo players can do:
- Walk to hatch Eggs or catch Pokémon.
- Catch Pokémon from the comfort of their home.
- Find a Gym and try to solo in a system exclusive to Gyms.
The first item on that list can't be done if you want to pop open the game and play quickly on your own for a little (a la #FireEmblemHeroes), the second largely results in catching the same few Pokémon over and over, and the third takes the negative part of the first one and combines it with an unknown system.
How much different would the game be if, during solo content, you could choose to battle other Pokémon to make catching them easier? Not only would this bring a major facet of the franchise to the mobile game, it would also help better prepare players for the moment they decide to take on a Gym.
It's hard not to have a contest that doesn't attract people to a particular topic. People like winning things. People (a lot of them) like to compete. Whoa, hey, those two can go hand-in-hand with a contest! Funny, that!
But seriously, limited events are cool, but when they all end up revolving around bonus experience or an increased appearance of (previously attainable) Pokémon, it does get a little stale. Contests wouldn't be a panacea for Pokémon GO's attention-keeping woes, but it might help.
5. Group Events
Here's another feature that the premiere trailer showed off but has yet to actually make it into the game. Outside of gathering around a Lure with other players, there's not a whole lot the game has in the way of getting us to work together.
It's hard to say how this would work, exactly — and that's probably why it hasn't been implemented yet. All the same, if not something that revolved around a specific physical location, it could be something like the (admittedly not-so-great) Global Missions from Pokémon Sun and Moon. Really, anything to live up to even half the excitement we saw in that first trailer will do.
6. Some Friggin Legendary Pokémon. Geez.
Speaking of events, remember that time Pokémon didn't have a select few of the most valuable and sought-after Pokémon? And we all expected that to change eventually? Well, eventually still isn't here, and it's becoming less about building anticipation and more about testing patience now.
I'm not saying Niantic needs to release every legendary Pokémon. Even just a Mew or Mewtwo would attract insane amounts of attention. Imagine if every few months, we got a new legendary to go after. No, it's not something that would keep us entertained for all of those intermediary months, but it would allow for regular surges in participation.
7. Rural Support
Finally, this one will either affect you or it won't, but if it does, it's something you want changed. Rural support has allegedly improved a little bit since launch, but there should be a deeper look into rural spawns on the part of Niantic.
Granted, changing spawns and the like only will go so far. The game would need some of the other features on this list to help boost that rural support. All the same, it sucks being a rural player and feeling like you can't do a whole lot, even if you want to.
Again, no single one of these things is going to fix the game or bring it back to its July heights — but even a couple of them together would help. I still enjoy events like the Valentine's Day one, I just wish we'd get more in the interim between week-long holiday events.
What addition to Pokémon GO would you like to see most?