"Don't waste your time, they've ruined it!"
"The world will resent the game."
"FIX YOUR GAME."
You don't invent Marco Polo, get 80M players to join, then remove the Polo part and expect people to keep playing.— Yang (@YangCLiu) July 31, 2016
The Pokémon Masters are none too pleased with Niantic Labs.
The creators of Pokémon GO have stoked the ire of their own fan base with a recent update that's removed a key aspect of the game.
See those little footprints under each of the Pokémon in this picture? This was supposed to be a mechanic that allowed players to identify which Pokémon were nearby: one footprint? That Pokémon was nearby. If a Pokémon you wanted had three footprints under it, it was further away, requiring you to cover more ground if you were going to catch it.
Shortly after launch, the app experienced an issue that caused all Pokémon to appear with three footprints - so you had no idea how far away anything was. The game was still playable, but this crucial tool was broken. It was hoped an update might fix the issue, however...
Rather than fixing the issue, Niantic Labs just removed the feature altogether. On opening up the 'Nearby' feature, players are now presented with pictures of Pokémon that are in the area without any indication of their proximity.
It's not so much a fix, as a 'shrug and delete'.
Other users are reporting that wild Pokémon are now more aggressive, and thus harder to catch, and a battery-saver mode has been removed from the iOS version of the app.
This removal, coupled with Niantic and Nintendo requesting many Pokémon location apps to cease their activity, has seen the app's rating plummet on iTunes and the Android Play Store since the update.
Pokémon GO was never going to be able to sustain its incredible level of user activity: casual players don't encounter enough variation of Pokémon, while dedicated players are already hitting the game's maximum levels.
Rather than implementing new, exciting features previously discussed, Niantic has made a confusing move in reducing the scope of the game. We'd say it's only a matter of time before large numbers of players start ditching the app out of frustration.