Somebody get me a plate of cheese and some crackers because I’m drowning in whine and covered in salt.
Okay, so two things happened tonight. Firstly, I saw nine level 10 gyms (3R2B4Y), all of them fully rostered with nothing below 2,000CP. That’s ridiculous.
Assuming I could go 1 for 1 with each of them (I couldn’t – most were S ranks around 2,500), I’d be able to reduce their prestige by – at most – 3,000 per go, taking 12 successful attempts to get the roster size down to 6, and burning through God knows how many potions before I could start earning the gym clear bonus. So that can fuck right off.
The second thing is that I actually met a pair of the people who held these gyms – level 33 and 35 respectively. They weren’t cheaters (any more so than anyone else) – they didn’t spoof or hack or whatever. They just lived on the Quay. They caught more pokemon sitting at home in a day than regular players caught in a week, or rural players have caught since the game went live.
This one guy showed me his nine Dragonites, three Charizards and twelve Snorlaxes, complaining that Niantic must have nerfed the spawn rates back because he only caught three Lapras in the past two hours. ONLY. I’ve caught three Lapras since I started playing seven weeks ago and THIS guy’s complaining.
I can’t tell if Niantic weren’t aware they were fucking over people who lived outside major cities when designing their spawn mechanics or just didn’t care. The balance in power is broken as shit and there’s nothing to mitigate it. Casuals and obsessives, newbies and cheaters, everyone plays in the same ball pit. Don’t live near a pit? TOO BAD.
Speaking of, I finally caught a Lapras worth keeping. IV 44/45, which is a big deal. That’s almost as good as they come. Only problem is, it was level ONE. That means it would take the full 290,000 stardust and 334 candies to bring up to strength.
In an ACTUAL Pokemon game, I’d raise it with care and dedication, maxing its EVs by carefully choosing opponents to train against, and monitoring its growth before going hard into combat training to make it strong. In THIS sick parody, I need to force-feed it the pixie shit from 2,899 other pokemon and the processed remains of 83 other Lapras.
Except I don’t. I really don’t. Because I’m out.
I don’t know why Niantic decided to cheap the fuck out and reskin Ingress instead of making a proper Pokemon game. Actually I do;they totally knew people would fork out cash for a game that already existed but wearing Pikachu’s severed head as a hat. But that’s not the point, Pokemon is literally the only franchise that had the swinging power to really rock the industry – the fact that this game made so much money so fast despite being trash proves that – and watching this century’s most powerful cultural icon being wrung out for cash shits me to death.
Pokemon Go is going straight onto my list of Things That Could Have Been Good But Weren’t, along with Age of Empires Online and a bunch of other cynical bullshit designed to screw money out of people using nostalgia. Except Pokemon couldn’t only have been Good – it could have been AWESOME.
League of Legends. Dota. Overwatch. WoW. Starcraft. Counterstrike. Farmville. The Pioneer Trail. Mafia Wars. Dragon City. Candy Crush Saga. Bejewelled. Every other fucking esport whose market was limited by the skill it demanded of players. Every other Facebook game people shell out cash for just so they can keep playing. Every other mobile app that people dick around on to pass the time. Pokemon Go had the influence, the appeal and opportunity to fuck every one of them in the same night, in any combination of positions using any number of accessories, but chose instead to beat off in the corner and go to bed.
And Niantic have the gall to say that this – THIS sick joke – is the new paradigm for Pokemon games.
I’ve had fun watching muggles panic when a horde of nerds suddenly starts screaming and running around in a mob. It’s super cute to see parents teaching their kids and kids teaching their parents. And literally nothing else would get me walking hundreds of kilometres after midnight in the dead of winter. THAT’S THE POWER OF POKEMON. And it’s been WASTED.
Fuck playing this game casually – you know what happens to casuals? They LOSE. There’s no kiddie pool in this game; If you can’t keep pace, you get left behind. Whether by intent or by accident, that’s the game they’ve made, and more than a few of my own friends from out of town recognised this from the get-go and knew it would be worthless to try. When PokeAdvisor’s leaderboards were still a thing (so simple, so forward thinking, yet another obvious feature Niantic still haven’t been assed implementing), level 33 was the leading edge and God only knows how much further they’ve gotten since then. I don’t live far from the city, but it’s still galling to know that seven weeks of taking the time to travel to good spawn locations (Circular Quay is still solid btw) and running my ass off (picture a bean bag falling down some stairs), I’m still left in the dust by people who play from their bed.
You can bet your ass the level cap will be raised when the next gen is released, and even if it isn’t, check this out: G/S/C is going add another 100 Pokemon to the spawn pool. Given that the game doesn’t really differentiate locations with any accuracy (oh hey, Tentacool. How the hell did you get 20km inland on a hilltop with no pokestops), you’re basically going to see the new ones muscling into the same space as the old ones. Unless Niantic have plans to seriously nerf the candy required to evolve AND power up, or the spawn rates of redundant generations (they won’t), playing is going to become twice as much of a pain in the ass because 60% of the pokemon you find will be from a generation you already maxed. I’d consider coming back to catch and evolve a Blaziken, but not only will Torchic be as rare as Charmander, it will be more than twice as hard to find because it’s competing in a spawn pool more than twice the size.
I lasted longer than I thought would. You might remember me predicting this thing would wind down in only a few weeks. It HAS wound down. Brisbane Southbank is dull, Darling Harbour is dead and Circular Quay is nothing like the madhouse of excitement it was last month. There are so many ways – big and small – that Niantic could have buffed the game’s staying power that I’d have to make an entirely new post, but it doesn’t matter because they don’t care. They’ve made their money and they’ll leave it hanging up until it stops bleeding. Hopefully the next game will be more like a golden goose than a stuck pig.
In the meantime, I’m out. Time to go bash my head obsessively against a wall over something else.