In many countries, the COVID-19 vaccine rollout has been so successful that a significant proportion of the population is now considered safe. While many of us are using this opportunity to plan all sorts of travel and return to our pre-pandemic hobby of licking strangers, there's one more thing that can now return to how it was: playing Pokémon GO how it was meant to be played.
The Pokémon GO developers, Niantic, made quite a few changes to the mobile AR game in order to promote a "stay-at-home" way to play. This included bonuses for players that didn't require going to a PokéStop, a Remote Raid Pass, and various changes to items that made them work with less walking.
However, those changes are about to be rolled back, according to Niantic's latest blog post. "As some parts of the world are moving toward recovery," Niantic will be incentivising going outside again with new exploration bonuses that reward players for interacting with PokéStops and getting their step counts up. These new bonuses will be available from the end of July to the 1st of September, first in the United States and New Zealand, and then other countries "as it's safe to do so."
The full list of new bonuses is as follows:
- Players will receive up to two free Raid Passes per day from spinning Gym Photo Discs
- Increased Incense effectiveness while moving
- Guaranteed gifts when spinning PokéStops so long as they have not reached their maximum gift inventory
- Players will receive 10x bonus XP from spinning a PokéStop for the first time
You can check the Today View to see which bonuses apply to you at any given time.
Some bonuses that were added to encourage the stay-at-home way to play Pokémon GO will be removed, changed, or kept, depending on their popularity and relevance.
The bonuses that will be removed or changed are:
- Incense effectiveness will be reset to the standard level while stationary
- Buddy Pokémon will bring you fewer gifts
- PokéStop and gym interaction distance will be reduced back to the standard distance, though it may be increased again
- The balance of remote raids to in-person raids will be worked on to "find the right balance"
These bonuses will be changed in the US and New Zealand first, after the Pokémon GO Fest ends on the 18th July.
The bonuses that will remain in the game "for the foreseeable future" are:
- Incense duration will remain at 60 minutes
- No walking requirement for GO Battle League
- You can challenge any Trainer remotely with a QR Code, and the requirement to battle with friends remotely has been lowered to Good Friends
- The maximum number of Gifts you can carry in your Item Bag at a time will remain at 20
- Trainers will be able to open up to 30 Gifts per day, up from the previous 20
- You will continue to receive three times the Stardust and XP for your first Pokémon catch of the day
The Pokémon Company recorded its highest-ever profit in 2020, with Pokémon GO being a huge part of the success, so it's safe to say that the stay-at-home policies didn't end up hurting the game's popularity.
However, much like how the increased rate of remote work benefitted many employees with disabilities and accessibility issues, Pokémon GO's pandemic changes made the game more playable for rural and disabled players who were previously excluded by the game's requirements. Removing these accessibility options — even if they weren't intended to be accessibility options — will once again inconvenience those players, or potentially even force them out of the game.
Are you excited to get back into the physical exploration part of Pokémon GO, or do you wish they would keep the options for accessibility reasons? Did you only start playing the game during the pandemic, and you're nervous about the changes? Let us know in the comments!
Cool, glad to go back to normal.
So in other words "Pokemon go is losing some of its post-covid features"
The distance increase was the most beneficial thing for me. There's a Pokestop near my apartment that's been within reach since the change. I'll miss it.
Just in time for a third wave! God, I’m so glad I’m getting vaccinated next week 😂
Still no word on if EX Raids are returning huh?
Some of these changes (or reversions) I'm fine with, although the extra stop/gym distance will be missed. Believe me, this is beneficial when one is in a more rural area. And they do need to work on remote vs. normal raid balance. Due to my schedule, remote passes have been an Arceus-send sometimes.
So in other words they are making it worse again... All those features were only positive.
Just so long as they don't remove Remote Raid Passes im fine
Nice, I always base my life decisions on the Pokemon Company, thats why I've been indoors for the last year and a disappointment for the last decade
Glad to see Niantic showing how much they hate their player base. There is never a good reason to remove features that benefit your players. Ever.
I don't mind the changes so long as they don't remove remote raid passes. COVID issues aside, I literally have friends on two continents at this point, so being able to play together is wonderful! Even just within the US I have friends in 5 different states, so I really want them to keep this feature in the game.
It's cool my local funeral parlor is a gym
@Northwind I sure hope they reconsider the pricing increase on the remote passes, because I'm almost 100% sure most of the revenue they've made in the last year has been from people buying coins to get remote passes. Increasing the price will probably hurt that.
No reason to actually remove the increased distance on stops it was basically oh I can reach it from otherside of the road.
Niantic is very tone deaf
They're making the game worse, and this says a lot, given that the game is awful already
@Northwind I disagree. Why would Niantic remove a huge income source? The game has made more money during quarantine than it ever did without remote raiding.
@Roibeard64 This x100!!! There is no reason for them to decrease the distance from where it is at now. Where it is at now should be the new standard.
I hope they never go back to requiring steps for Battle League. For a few weeks now, my movement isn’t registering well. I’m not doing anything differently but my eggs have been stagnant with very little distance change. Those numbers are barely going up. I’d never get to battle again.
Looks like I’m not gonna play Pokémon go again, Mainline Pokemon games for the win beybe..
@Northwind Many thanks for the link. That at least confirms they haven't forgotten about EX Raids. Those are some of the funnest raids I've been to.
I am glad remote raiding appears to be here to stay. Though I was under the impression the remote raid pass nerfs were already in place. If that's the case, I'd rather they increase the damage a smidge. XD
There was no real reason to remove the extended Gym/Pokestop radius. It was still close enough to feel like you were "there," but it also made it so much easier to just run up to it, spin for items, and walk off.
@Northwind That's certainly good news. At least aside from the price increase.
This is exactly why I cheat and spoof my gps these days. I work from home and I still barely get out, and on saturdays when I work I can’t do things like community days or spotlight hrs anymore since incense will go back to not working anymore while stationary. There’s no stops or gyms within a ten block radius of my house so I have to be going somewhere to even play the game normally.
The covid changes were better for the game as a whole.
@Roibeard64 @PeterPanana @IceClimbersMain Well, they want you to go back to walking outside more now that it's at least safer to do so. One of the things "Pokémon Go" was praised for in the first place was convincing people to exercise more.
i just got back into it like a month ago because all of a sudden it didn't suck for rural players, and now they're going to remind me of exactly why i stopped playing for four years. if it's gonna go back to how it was before where i can walk around my house for a mile and find absolutely nothing, then i'm just gonna transfer everything i can over and finally delete it.
@Northwind Ha! I missed the "don't" part of your comment.
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