Pokémon GO Updates: Niantic, the developers of Pokémon GO, has announced that the game’s COVID-19 boosts will be removed, making gyms and pokéstops more difficult to access.
Starting at the end of July, Pokémon GO will make it more difficult to access gyms and PokéStops. Niantic made various improvements to gyms and PokéStops last summer, while COVID-19 was still in its early stages and several governments around the world issued stay-at-home orders (as well as changes to the buddy system).
Despite the fact that several countries lifted the limitations, the adjustments remained in place, and many fans cheered. Some of the game’s gyms and PokéStops are already in difficult-to-reach locations (such as private property).
Niantic extended the distance (enabling players to engage with them from a greater distance), making the game more accessible to Pokémon GO trainers who previously struggled with mobility. Other adjustments included friend pokémon giving more gifts to their trainers and incense attracting more pokémon while immobile.
In a blog post published on June 21, Niantic discussed in detail a slew of new Pokémon GO adjustments, the most of which are positive. However, near the bottom of the same page, Niantic discloses that it is “going to delete or amend some of the bonuses provided last year.”
Niantic states about gyms and PokéStops, “the distance will revert back to the regular distance when it makes sense in different locales, however, it may be extended during future events and as part of certain features.”
Pokémon GO: Gyms & PokéStops
The blog post also states that “the frequency of these presents from Buddy Pokémon will be reduced,” implying that there will be fewer chances to obtain additional things such as Pokéballs and potions.
Finally, incense effectiveness will be modified to revert to pre-COVID levels “while you’re stationary, and greater effectiveness will kick in when you’re moving.” Beginning at the end of July, these improvements will be tested in the United States and New Zealand.
While the Pokémon GO fanbase has already begun to express its displeasure with these changes, the most contentious issue is the removal of gyms and PokéStops. As previously stated, the adjustment made the game more accessible to impaired trainers and, in general, safer for everyone.
Trainers used to have to cross busy streets or put themselves in awkward positions to get to PokéStops, but the distance change made that unnecessary. Removing this feature would be another disappointment for Pokémon GO trainers.
The same can be stated for the buddy pokémon and incense adjustments, as trainers can still play Pokémon GO while inside, which is a reality for some. On top of that, GPS drift is a common problem for all trainers, regardless of phone or provider: trainers may be standing right next to a gym, but their avatar will travel across the street, rendering them unable to engage with the gym.
Niantic says that these adjustments may be reinstated in exceptional instances, but any Pokémon GO trainer would tell you that they should not be deleted at all.
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