Dear Pokémon Go – sorry, I won’t be around that much anymore

Pokémon Go LogoI’ve played Pokémon Go for quite a while now, but gameplay has become more and more boring and even frustrating. So as much as I like walking around, tinkering with this state-of-the-art (software) technology, read on about why I’ll be taking a hiatus for the time being. (… Again, no German language version, sorry! Wieder mal, keine deutschsprachige Fassung …)

So I’ve sunken another 10 bucks into “PoGo” just recently, a/k/a purchasing 1000+ coins, worth slightly more than 10×20 Pokéballs. Believe me, having reached level 23 at the time I am typing this, I am burning through Pokéballs like candy, mind you: while still visiting my regular set of Pokéstops for looting free items multiple times per day.

PoGo has become pretty much unbearable these days. No, I am not talking about server disconnects or other inexplainable error messages. Those  lags have become much better over time – no, that’s definitely not it: It simply ain’t fun anymore.

You see, I do definitely understand that up-leveling needs to lead to a more difficult gameplay – this is true for about any game out there. Which, however, is only partly true for PoGo: Higher levels lead to increasingly hard-to-catch Pokémon, with even low-level by-catch common monsters being able to jump out of perfectly thrown Pokéballs multiple times. Believe me: This doesn’t make the game substantially more difficult, this simply makes it just more frustrating – while at the same trying to squeeze real-world money out of us players.

… The latter is certainly understandable from a business perspective, but I wish it was at least slightly more subtle.

More powerful Pokéballs that came with certain level-ups slightly shifted this scale, but you usually run out of those quicker than you can loot them from Pokéstops – as, inexplicably, you can’t even buy them in the shop. … And boy would I love to buy a couple of those now and then, whatever the price. (Within reason, don’t get me wrong.)

This being said: The only time when up-leveling made PoGo more interesting was shortly after the beginning when reaching level 5, which unlocked entering gyms. … Which, however, I rarely do – as it simply eats up too much time for a casual game nowadays. To explain: As of now (Oct 3, 2016), being a level 23 “minion” leads me to gyms of either color that are inhabited by level 30+ players and their Pokémon. So there’s simply no point in partaking: Even trying to take down a higher level enemy gym with six of my “hotshot” Pokémon takes rounds and rounds, and thus much more time than I am willing to invest now that the weather is getting worse at this time of year. BTW, so does training in one of “our” gyms with just one of my Pokémon – simply to increase its XP to be able to drop of one of my unworthy monsters, which will probably the smallest one in the gym, and thus being kicked out by enemy gym action in literally no time.

Consequently, even if I’d deleted my PoGo account and started over fresh from level 1, gyms would become even less playable, as I could even less get a foot in the door. … Bottom line is: Gyms are burnt for me.

Please don’t get me wrong: Don’t misunderstand this rant as being just whiny, like “Waaah! Pokémon has become sooooo difficult!” While this increased level of difficulty is understandable and also welcome up to a certain point, I’d rather denounce the fact that it has not led to an increased level of game options and neither to an increased level of gaming fun – quite the opposite.

Instead, the existing game options are being spread out thinner and thinner from level to level. What I’d need Pokémon Go to keep me would be additional game features that come with higher levels. Which they don’t, according to this very helpful article over at

I don’t need better Pokéballs (for Pokémon that still evade them), I don’t need stronger potions (for gyms that I don’t enter anymore) – I need new game options. … And no, I’m not talking about stuff like the buddy system to take one Pokékmon on the walk with me, which will give me 1 candy every 3 or even 5 km, to help evolve a Pokémon that requires perhaps 50+ candy. This isn’t a new game option, this is just additional peanut pocket money for the identical gameplay – a gameplay, as much as I hate to repeat myself, has not changed in any way since reaching level 5. Mind you what I wrote about gyms a few lines above, so even this additional gameplay doesn’t lure me anymore.

… And no, the Pokémon Go Plus wireless gadget that finally became available would sort of be nice for the upcoming (excuse my French) “shitty weather season” (assuming that it worked better than it currently does, according to the reviews). But it effectively takes away the one thing that makes PoGo fun: The immersive, Augmented Reality style gameplay with wild Pokémon to be caught, and Pokéstop discs to be spun on your mobile’s screen.

So, Niantic and The Pokémon Company: If you are looking at a massive loss of players, think long and hard what you can do about it.

The gamers (including yours, truly) need additional game elements as an incentive to stay. We need community building elements, like trading Pokémon with fellow players that you meet on the street, and/or real-life friends that you’ve added in an in-game friend list. We need more game challenges beyond catching Pokémon, spinning Pokéstop discs, and rhythmically tapping the screen in gym fights (in case one hasn’t yet given up on that already). And it better be compatible for quick game fixes that work during the upcoming bad weather conditions.

I’ll be following your press releases. In case something exciting will happen, I’ll gladly look into it. Thank you very much in advance.

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