Pokémon GO: Developers tell us why village players’ problems are not so easy to solve

Pokémon GO: Developers tell us why village players' problems are not so easy to solve

In Pokémon GO, there has been constant criticism from players in rural areas that they cannot play the game in the same way as players in cities. We at MeinMMO spoke to Philip Marz from Niantic about this and he explained to us how this topic should be dealt with.

What is the problem? Trainers in Pokémon GO not only have the opportunity to catch Pokémon, but also compete in raids, secure tasks at PokéStops, occupy gyms and fight against other trainers and Team GO Rocket.

But especially the village players feel disadvantaged in some of these functions compared to players in (large) cities. This is mainly because there are often only a few PokéStops and Gyms in rural areas.

In order to do a raid or earn coins in the arena, such players often have to travel to larger cities first. For this reason, those affected have been demanding solutions for a long time.

That’s what Niantic says about the problem of village players

Recently, the discussion about the discrimination against village players in Pokémon GO boiled up again on social networks, because the research day held in June was only successful for the trainers who live in the right place.

Due to the lack of PokéStops, players in rural areas were only able to secure a few event tasks, which is why they had less chance of a shiny overall.

At the GO Fest in Berlin, we met Philip Marz, Head of Regional Marketing Pokémon GO (EMEA), and asked him how Niantic is dealing with this problem.

“You would deviate from the core of the game ambition”

What solutions could coaches imagine? One community idea to help solve the problem is to build additional PokéStops in areas that previously had few of these points. At least something like this would be conceivable for certain events on the part of some players.

The reddit user 000666777888 also suggested such an approach after the research day (via reddit.com): “You could add additional temporary stops, so that every cell, no matter how big you want it to be, suddenly has at least x stops. They add these temporary stops at GO Fest events and things like that.”

What does Niantic say about this proposal? However, according to Philip Marz, that’s not an option for Niantic. As he explains to us in the interview, it’s an important part of Niantic’s ambition that PokéStops and Gyms have a solid connection to an object of interest in the real world. As a result, simply widening the playing field and placing additional stops is counter to their ideas.

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Specifically, he expresses himself as follows:

Of course, we are aware of the challenge of the gaming experience in places that are not in a metropolitan area and are also actively working on solutions to address this very issue. For us it is fundamentally important that these waypoints in the game always have a link to the real world. That is, if there are those waypoints, whether it’s PokéStop or Gym [Arena]then it is also very, very important that they are linked to an element that is interesting to the public, something that actually exists.

That’s basically the ambition now and that makes it so difficult, even with this claim, to simply say that we’re making a broader game board here, because that would in principle deviate from the core of the game’s ambition.

However, we are actively working on it and you can look forward to an opportunity very soon. Even for these fans who live or play in remote areas, that there is a way to make your own gaming experience more diverse and appealing. I can’t say anything about that yet, but we are aware of the challenge and of course we are actively working on it.

says Philip Marz of Pokémon GO about it

Accordingly, the criticism of the village players at Niantic was heard and, according to Marz, a solution is actively being worked on. So these coaches should soon be able to benefit from a better gaming experience. However, he has not yet been able to tell us exactly what the solution will look like. Those affected must therefore be patient.

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What does Niantic say about Ex-Raids, Kecleon and Giovanni?

In addition to criticism from village players, we also confronted Philip Marz with other topics from the community in an interview. So we wanted to know from him whether the coaches can still expect the ex-raids to return in 2022, when Kecleon will finally come into play and whether Giovanni will be found more often in the future.

Return of Ex-Raids: Ex-raids were held regularly in Pokémon GO until the start of the corona pandemic. These were special raids that you had to receive an invitation to participate in.

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So you could compete against an exclusive raid boss at a time set by Niantic in an ex-raid arena. Due to the contact restrictions, however, the ex-raids were put on hold for the time being. But now many coaches want to return, which is why we asked Philip Marz if 2022 will still be the case.

Of course we know that it was a very special experience. Not only the experience of gathering in the real world on these occasions in the appropriate places, but of course also the Pokemon that were featured there. Of course we are very aware of that. As far as the exact planning and implementation is concerned, I can’t say today.

says Philip Marz

Kecleon: And Kecleon, a Normal-type Pokémon from the 3rd generation of games, is sorely missed by many players in the game. The reason for this is the completion of the PokéDex of the Hoenn region and the associated platinum medal. In order to achieve this, all Pokémon in this region must be caught.

Kecleon

While Kecleon isn’t in the game yet, it has a placeholder in the PokéDex. So for the 135 monsters needed to reach Hoenn’s Platinum Medal, only 134 can currently be caught. That’s why we asked Philip Marz when Kecleon will come into play.

We can’t say anything about that at the moment either. But there it is again the topic of content. We want to make sure that we bring highly exclusive content at the right time, which is of course also very popular in the community and causes very special euphoria and emotions. And when this right time is, we will find out together.

explains Philip Marz

Just like with the ex-raids, the players have to keep hoping that this “right moment” won’t be too long in coming.

Meet Giovanni more often

As some trainers keep stating on social networks, encounters with Giovanni have become increasingly rare in recent months. While you could initially meet the Rocket Boss monthly, it’s now more like quarterly.

For this reason we asked Philip Marz if we could meet Giovanni more often in the future:

Some time ago we introduced the so-called seasons in Pokemon Go, where we of course try to strictly enforce this narrative, both in marketing and in the live OPs that go with it or vice versa. And of course that also determines a bit of the content that we see in the game. And there are now correspondingly different contents initially defined.

That means we are currently on the topic of Season of GO. […] it’s all about the GO Fest, Summer of GO, it’s the 166th Anniversary. But of course there will always be content that is available, and we will of course always give it the space it needs to be the focus.

When that will be the case in this particular case, I can’t really say, to be honest. Nevertheless, it is also important for us to find the right balance and to address the different interests of the community. Of course, some like to challenge the leaders or the bosses, others like to do other things and we always have to try to say a little bit okay, when do we bring which content, at what time, for which target group?

And you know how diverse the game has become. Happily. And of course it is always a challenge for us to meet precisely this requirement. But that is definitely something that we like or that we have on the agenda anyway and which you can look forward to again in the near future.

is Philip Marz’s detailed answer

Accordingly, Pokémon GO is currently more focused on the respective content of the corresponding seasons. So for fans of Giovanni, it’s only to be hoped that he will soon be a stronger part of the seasons again.

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You can definitely look forward to an encounter with Giovanni and Crypto-Latios during the fight weekend during the anniversary event.

Do you play primarily in the village? And are you also affected by such problems with too few stops and arenas? What solutions would you wish for from Niantic? And do you think we can still hope for Ex-Raids or Kecleon in 2022? Write us your opinion here on MeinMMO in the comments.

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