Peak Pokémon Go has already passed

Gotta do something about all these Team Valor trainers around… ugh…

Go, Team Mystic!


I understand your frustration about the IVs, but it makes for a nicer game experience if you just let it go and curate your pokemon as if the IVs really are obfuscated. You end up with (say) two top-level Hypnos and one is a little stronger than the other. So you keep the stronger one and turn in the weaker for candy. Repeat and you end up with pokemon with pretty good IVs and no tedious spreadsheets or IV calculator interfaces involved.

And lo did the hipsters gaze out upon a desolate wasteland of their own apathy, with only the barren verdure as far as the smartphone could see.


It was obvious that this game was doomed to die, it set up a substandard micro-transaction store that didn’t let people cheat enough to milk cash from them. You still had to put the hours and miles in to pay the game.

At the same time, being a “free” player and putting the time in you still had to have a very specific set of circumstances that let you continue to play the game. This game had an “energy meter” that is well known in mobile games in the form of pokeballs. You got more pokeballs when you leveld up or randomly dropped at pokestops, but you only got enough to make it 5-6 levels in before you had to rely on random drops. The problem is GPS specific random drops? They make it so people in the suburbs, rural areas, and that work in the large wastelands without pokestops will eventually not take the extra time to track down those random drops just to keep playing for a little longer.

Egg incubators are another issue. Make the item that you need to hatch the egg automatically hatch the egg. Make some random drops located randomly. Let me walk around my neighborhood and play the fucking game.

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Most pokemon you get can be average, but there’s nothing stopping someone from mistakenly grabbing the most garbage pokemon and wasting loads of candies and dust (and time) on them. It’s bad design to hide features that players find useful. There would be no need to use spreadsheets if the game just told you what the stats are, and the only reason it’s not shown in the game is… just because? Seriously, i’d love to know because it’s not like showing a mere 3 stats can be confusing.


It’s obfuscated so you can play it as a game of exploration and discovery instead of micromanagement.

Yes, you can mistakenly spend a lot of resources on a garbage pokemon. That’s part of the “exploration and discovery” thing – learning from mistakes. If you do it, you can just learn from your mistake and move on. It’s not as though there isn’t more candy and stardust for the taking.

Also, this scenario is a little silly. Why would you use stardust on any pokemon you aren’t actively using? And why would you actively use a garbage pokemon? By definition, a garbage pokemon is not going to win many battles! And if it does win a lot of battles for you, then it’s clearly not a garbage pokemon even if its IV values aren’t great. So use it when it’s useful and trade for candy when (not if!) you get a better one.

As I already mentioned, its not shown in the UI because (and this is an assumption/conjecture on my part) Niantic wants to reward exploration and discovery instead of obsessive micromanagement. Assuming it’s “bad design” implicitly assumes that you know what their design goals are. But since you don’t have an inside line on that, you’re making assumptions about that, and this means you’re making the least charitable possible assumptions about design goals and implementation.

I empathize with you. I am predisposed towards obsessive micromanagement in video games. I am telling you based on my own experiences that this game is more fun when you drop the obsessiveness and the spreadsheets and just play. Who cares if a pokemon is “garbage” in some abstract sense if you can actually use it to win battles? And even if you find out later that it’s “garbage” in a less abstract sense, there’s probably another one waiting for you to catch it around the corner! (Unless it’s rare, in which case, it’s probably worth keeping the “garbage” one anyway…I sure wouldn’t mind having a “garbage” Snorlax or Lapras for example.)


I get your frustration, but the changes you seek make a different game than the one that was created. I think I live in the suburbs, but I am lucky enough to have four pokéstops and two gyms on the walk I take in my neighborhood anyway, while at my work there is nothing. We also have some local parks with dense stops I can take a 5 minute drive (I know, or 30min walk) to grind stops. I guess I am not having the desert of stops experience that I see many folks complaining about.

You mention a “vague hey this Pokemon does/doesn’t suck” that was added on update. I play very casually, and haven’t noticed any update that gives me even that - nothing beyond the CP. What am I missing?

I still disagree, but that’s ok we don’t have to see eye to eye on it. I’m more than happy to play the game and explore, and i don’t foresee myself not playing the game in the near future. If i really wanted to be a grump about the game’s deficiencies i wouldn’t be playing.

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I haven’t gotten this update either but i’ve seen screenshots of it so it’s either a rolling update or a beta. I’d post a link to it but i’m at work. Either way it’s upcoming

It’s not clear what you disagree about, but here’s a point of comparison for your “bad design” assertion:

In Skyrim, different NPCs have different levels, skillsets, and HP/MP/SP totals. From the player’s point of view, these stats are all obfuscated. You can only find out what they are (and how they change in response to in-game actions) by looking at the game’s source code.

Is that “bad design”? Would the game be more fun if NPCs all had dialog options that listed their obfuscated stats?

I think it would not be more fun – unless you’re the type of person who prefers data entry to hack 'n slash. It’s a good design because it incentivizes player behaviors that the designers were trying to promote.

As far as wasting stardust and candy on “garbage” pokemon, it’s simply a fact that your strategy is poor if this is even a concern. Which is fine – no one is required to play Pokemon Go optimally. But put the blame where it belongs (not on the designers of the game).

I haven’t played the game, can’t comment on the developer specifically or anything like that…

But this is how it works with basically every popular game there is: an initial burst of interest, calming down to a sustained following. Possible phases of growth and decline depending on the nature of the game, updates, expansions, external trends. Eventual decline into a long tail.

Every online game has “the sky is falling!” posts on their message boards within a couple of weeks of release, when the initial burst fades. And then those posts continue as long as the game does.

People get bored with games and move on to other things. That’s normal and independent of whether the developer screwed something up, the design is bad, or whatever thing the naysayers like to claim. It’s just how the cycle goes.


That’s not a good correlation with Skyrim because you can’t control what an NPC’s stats are in any game. Same as you can;t control what your opponents can do in real life. But hey, in Skyrim guess what… you have control over your own stats, and you can tweak your armor rating, boots your resistances, stamina. So your example there does not translate. In a similar vein, imagine playing a Final Fantasy game but the game doesn’t tell you what your characters stats are beyond health, and you can recruit new characters that you control, but you have no way of telling if an existing one is better than one you can recruit. Unless you take the time to analyze their DPS, and damage that they take, etc. And at this point the game designer might as well just show you their stats… which they do because this is helpful information.
But as i said in my previous post. We’re probably not going to agree on this. Personally i’m fine with that, i can enjoy Pokemon Go and seems like you are too. Let’s leave it at that.


That isn’t relevant to the comparison, and it’s also untrue. (There’s a lot of ways to affect NPC stats in Skyrim.)

The comparison is simply: “both these games obfuscate the statistics underlying some game entities”. I’m pointing out that it’s being done for design reasons in Skyrim, and it makes perfect sense. The analogy is to show that it’s also being done for design reasons in Pokemon Go and it makes perfect sense.

There does not have to be 100% correlation between the comparison for it to be a worthwhile comparison in the respects that it does make sense.

Right, and that’s a good game design decision, because the designers are emphasizing combat and storyline, not a puzzle about which characters you should use in your party. If it was primarily a puzzle about who to put in your party, it would make sense to obfuscate those stats instead.

In the case of pokemon Go, it is a puzzle about which pokemon you should use to battle. So it makes sense to obfuscate those stats to force you to do some experimentation and exploration to figure it out.

Look, I don’t have a problem with the fact that you don’t like certain aspects of the game design. I’m just saying that “bad design” implies that you know what the designers’ goals were, and that they were implemented poorly. But I don’t think that’s the case.

Its possible to say that Niantic executed flawlessly on every aspect of their design and implementation. You can call that success. If you wish.
A bad plan can still be flawlessly executed.

A user commenting on the usability of a thing as bad design need not take into account the intended purpose of said thing. It can more easily be said the user is commenting on how his interaction with the object satisfies his own needs.

Took my son into town no fewer than four times the last week before school started. He’s been running with both his Mom and me, too, which is great. If he wants to hatch eggs and get exercise, I’m good with that.

I enjoy the game for its own sake, but I really enjoy that it gives me and my 12 year old something to do together and talk about. He was a little disappointed, though, that I caught a Snorlax this morning on my run – he doesn’t have one yet! I switched to his account to try to catch it for him, too, but missed.


I don’t want to insert myself in your debate, I’m just curious about your assertion you “wouldn’t use garbage Pokemon” prior to buffing them. Most of the Pokemon I catch are no where near what I’d need to fight in a gym (catching ~300cp, I’m looking at guns with ~2k cp monsters). Since I only get mon up to that 2K Mark, or more realistically, 1K-1.2K by buffing them, why would I be using them at a lower level for anything? I’m genuinely curious about how you’re playing for that to work.

Somebody finally caught them all?

I knew articles like this were going to start popping up as soon as the initial rush died down; can’t we just all look back at those two weeks with a twinkle in our eyes as we fondly recall bumping into strangers happily nerding out in public?

I, for one, was happy to be able to share in that cultural moment.

I never realised AR and VR were directly competing