Pokémon Go just got a lot more tedious for power users

Niantic made their usual announcement regarding the most recent update to Pokémon Go, but it looks like they left a few things out. Most of these new things are really great for users, especially casual users, but you'll want to take note if you're a power player looking for the next best strategy.

Let's break this down.

No more gym sniping

I know, right?! Gym sniping is a thing of the past, which is either really good news or really bad news depending on how you play. From now on, when you take a gym there's a brief period of time where you are the only one who can claim a gym.

This means you're going to need to communicate a little better if you're taking a gym as part of a group if you want to avoid some arguments, but for the most part all this does is stop people from slipping their creature into your hard-fought gym while the animations finish out on the screen. While hilarious, it was kind of a jerky thing to do.

Daily bonuses!

Niantic will now reward you with some extra XP for logging into the game every day and doing things. The biggest place you'll see this matter is the First Catch of the Day. If you're up and catching Pokemon every day, you'll get a small bonus with your first catch. Do that for a week straight and you'll see even more bonus XP show up.

This is a small, fairly standard gesture to keep people from forgetting they have the game installed on their phone, but so few people only open the app to catch a single creature so this is a good way for Niantic to keep people playing for extended periods of time.

No playing while driving

When this game first launched, people playing while driving was a real problem. This hasn't been as big an issue since Niantic started popping up a warning in-game when you were going too fast to be running, but that clearly wasn't enough for someone.

Now when you exceed that magical 8mph threshold you'll notice everything disappears from your Nearby menu and it'll be much more difficult to check in to PokéStops while cruising. If you were still playing the game in some small way while driving before, it just got a lot harder. That's a good thing: you shouldn't be playing in your car anyway. On the other hand, winter is coming and people generally play outdoor games less when the weather is bad.

Ditto and Generation 2 Pokemon

The Silph Road found references to 100 new Pokémon that are not part of the game right now, and one of them is Ditto. That means a couple of things, all of which are fairly exciting.

For starters, we're getting second generation Pokémon sooner than expected. Right now that means more things to catch, but the inclusion of Ditto and its Transform ability in this batch means either Pokémon breeding is about to be a thing in the game or individual battles are about to be a thing in the game. There's not enough to speculate too far yet, but either will be very interesting.

What do you think?

Will these changes affect the way you play Pokémon Go? Do you even still play?

Russell Holly

Russell is a Contributing Editor at Android Central. He's a former server admin who has been using Android since the HTC G1, and quite literally wrote the book on Android tablets. You can usually find him chasing the next tech trend, much to the pain of his wallet. Find him on Facebook and Twitter

46 Comments
  • The no driving thing sucks for people who play while running. That basically kills the majority of play for me. Yes, I run faster than 8MPH.
  • Also sucks for passengers. I play around town when my wife is driving. I guess I will just have to uninstall it.
  • My son liked to look at the Pokemoen while we drove around also. To be clear...I don't actually play the game. I either push the stroller with him in it or sometime I'll promise him I will hatch and egg when I go run.
  • That's how it starts my friend.
  • It also sucks for people who seem to get this message while walking or sitting completely stationary on a sofa. Quite irritating.
  • Nailed it.
  • Totally sucks because I just got a Go Plus. I am thinking about quitting the game now. No balls gotten while driving or being driven means no balls to play the game. Not everyone has a pokestop near where they live/work
  • You do realize the point of the game is to get people off their asses, right? Lazy bugger.
  • Walking to the one pokestop near my home (half a mile away) or the one pokestop near my office (close to a km away) won't give me enough balls to play the rest of the day will it? This leaves me hours and hours a day when i can catch pokemon but no balls to do so. No matter how many miles I walk otherwise, I will not gain any balls to play the game. bugger yourself
  • acrewdog, my brother also plays the game and also has this accessory. Talking to him today, he said the accessory continues to work at speed, but not the game directly by the phone. Maybe this is to "incentivize" people to buy Pokemon Go Plus??
  • Except that you can't find any Pokemon GO Pluses for sale except by 3rd party sellers for 3 times the retail price.
  • There were a lot on sale at Toys R Us two weeks ago.
  • Yesterday my go plus seemed to catch pokemon at speed but wasn't hitting pokestops. Perhaps it was just bad luch because pokestops on the go plus are flaky when driving anyway.
  • I've heard from my local player community that part of the point of the 8 mph restriction is likely also to stop people and bots using GPS spoofing to rack up a lot of illicit experience and captures. If so, it would make sense for the Go Plus to be exempt, as that's a physical hardware item that probably can't be so easily spoofed.
  • Majority of my play is while on the bus. The 8 mph thing will kill my play.
  • Being a passenger or riding a bus/train gets knocked out here too. I'm not sure I like this. I also dislike the person who came through and downvoted everyone taking these reasonable stances, but without bothering to explain why.
  • The point of the game is pretty clearly to get off your butt and walk around. Driving around or playing on the bus is pretty much the opposite of that. There's nothing 'reasonable' about complaining about not being able to play a game intended for people walking around when you are driving or riding a bus. Get off your butt and quit crying.
  • I'm handicapped, so getting off my butt and walking around isn't much of an option. Also, when your pokestops are few and far between, walking, even for young and healthy players, still isn't much of an option.
  • Wow. Ableist much? Also, ignoring that, I'm not driving or taking the bus or train INSTEAD of walking. You understand that trains and buses and cars generally travel FAR greater distances than people can walk, right? That's their primary purpose. But if I'm a passenger in a commuter vehicle, there's no reason I shouldn't be able to make use of that time. It's not me being lazy, it's just making good use of time. But please, continue to make snap judgments about things you don't understand.
  • I have to wonder whether this is a phone issue. I ride my bike at least 15 mph and it works the entire time. Perhaps your motion of moving your arms is causing the GPS to skip around. My phone is mounted on my handlebars and has a steady view of the sky.
  • The daily bonuses will be nice... If I can get them with the new restrictions when it *thinks* you're driving. And on the plus side for the apparent reduction in Pidgey for XP farming they won't be getting much cash from me for lucky eggs :p
  • Tomorrow, we'll get an entire article dedicated to the fact that they changed the font in the menu of this game.
  • I don't know about that. I'm scrolling through the app widget and don't see one Pokemon article.
  • I'm not much of a font expert, but I'll do my best if that's what you really want.
  • Andrew is a font expert. Two articles tomorrow?
  • Lame... I enjoyed gym sniping because I like to be a jerk when I play mobile or video games. It'll also make it harder for people who just started playing to take gyms. Most of all, that 8mph limit is a deal breaker. That rules not only driving, but running and biking out as well. It should be at least 15mph, I enjoyed playing while biking. If you can ride a bike in the real Pokémon games, went shouldn't you be able to here?! Niantic sucks, glad I stopped playing when I filled up MTT Pokedex.
  • I really enjoyed sniping and leaving a magicarp.
  • Niantic will not reward you.......? Typo?
  • My son loves to play on his tablet while we drive around. This really sucks for him.
  • 1. I just hope they fix geohacking.
    I live near a gym in the SF Bay Area and I still watch players dogpile on a gym when there is nobody physically around. 2. Gym turnover has basically stopped. All gyms have 10x Dragonites on them and never change.
  • My brother plays it and had just bought a Pokemon Go Plus (about a week a go). I think this will lost a lot of its appeal now.
  • Talking to him today, he said the accessory continues to work at speed, but not the game directly by the phone. Maybe this is to "incentivize" people to buy Pokemon Go Plus??
  • I'm still waiting for my first catch of the day bonus even though I've caught 10+ Pokemon today already
  • Have you tried RNM :) ? it should be a thing, VR or no.
  • I don't have many high powered pokemon to be able to take down fuller gyms. Being able to gym snipe was a handy way to actually get into a gym. Sad that that won't be possible anymore.
  • Why does Ninantic hate its players?
  • Why are so many of Niantic's players such lazy whiners?
  • This is terrible for suburban players. If we can't get balls while driving, I won't have any balls to play the game. I have one pokestop about a km from my office and one about half a mile from my home. It's not like I can rack up the balls in my daily life. I guess they want us to either buy balls or not play. Must be nice to live in a city.
  • Go for a walk.
  • Walking does not gain balls! I can walk for miles and only hit a couple of pokestops. Also during that walk i would have caught pokemon, using up all the balls I got from said pokestops.
  • Some of us don't have that luxury, outside of my commute, I'm either working or it's family time, guess it's over for me.
  • It will be helpful if people can suggest new pokestops. People in village areas have a lot less pokestops than those in big cities.
  • So I actually tried this out yesterday, and there seem to be a couple inaccuracies with the patch notes.
    1. They seemed to have dropped the limit to around 27mph, not 8mph.
    2. Pokestops seem to now be dropping 2x the items. So normal ones give 6-8 items, bonus stops give 9-12.
    3. Spawn points seem to be MUCH more profilic now. Every one I passed last night had 2 or 3 'mons sitting on it, as opposed to the 1 or none, even when i just drove past them (at 20+ mph). So yeah, drive-by pokestopping still works for me! Just gotta do it during rush hour!
  • It's so weird. Usually companies get greedy and add in things that entice people to play more and spend more money. This is the exact opposite. This company is actively taking away features and making the game HARDER to play and less appealing. They are making people spend LESS money. 2016 is a hell of a year, man.
  • Meh... Honestly, to me this game is like Vine. The novelty was gone in 6 seconds. I don't see these changes making me return to the world of Pidgey's and Rattatta's that is Pokémon Go.
  • I love the change. All those Cargressers (Ingress players who never left their cars) will quit and those of us who actually get out and walk to play the game the way it's meant to be played will be left. Go ahead and rant and rave and complain and quit. I can't wait!