This week brought a relatively minor Pokemon GO update with the usual “minor text fixes” and such, but as is the case with patches, what’s going on behind the scenes is the real story.
Fans have had a chance to dissect the data they’ve found in the new Pokemon GO patch, and they’ve found a few interesting things of note. The Pogodev discord (via The Silph Road) pulled out a bunch of code with some interesting new phrases, all of which seem to be tied to gyms.
“(Pokemon name) has fought hard and returned!”
“(Pokemon name) lost a battle!”
“(Pokemon name) defended the Gym!”
These one seem to indicate a more prominent notification system than what the gyms have at present. Right now, you simply put your Pokemon in a gym, and leave it there. That’s it. If it remains there with the gym icon, no one has beaten it, if the icon is gone, it will show up injured in your collection. The end. These notifications seem like they will actively let you know what’s going on at the gyms you hold, which is nice given that currently players have barely any idea.
But more interesting phrases are still to come:
“(Pokemon name) is hungry!”
“(Pokemon name) needs a pick-me-up!”
“(Pokemon name) wants a berry!”
Pokemon GO seems to be introducing a new hunger mechanics for Pokemon in gyms, where they will have to be “maintained” by players if they want to keep their spot. I am guessing this is to prevent gym stagnation, as players dump high level monsters in gyms and just forget about them. I also would imagine this might be a move to prevent spoofers, with perhaps the new system requiring players to physically travel back to the gym they conquered to “feed” their Pokemon so they stay there.
Will this work? It’s hard to say. I would imagine that spoofers will figure out a way around this while regular players can’t. But it should result in more gym turnover as many players, however dedicated, may not have it in them to return to all their owned gyms every X days for a feeding. I think this could be a good change, but I’ll want to see how it works in practice.
And the most interesting phrases are these:
“There’s a raid about to start near you!”
“A raid’s going to start nearby!”
So, Pokemon GO is getting “raids,” but what exactly does that mean? While the first thing that comes to mind are Destiny and WoW type raids with puzzles and bosses, I definitely don’t think that’s what we’re talking about here in relation to the gym system
Rather, if I had to guess, I would say that because of the dual phrasing of the same statement that these are notifications that your Team Leader will pop up and say to you as part of a new system meant to encourage coordinated raids. Niantic may be developing a way to signal to all nearby Team Instinct/Valor/Mystic members that you’re about to attack a nearby gym. Maybe your Leader shows up and you’re “guided” to the gym the way we see with the new nearby tracking system. This would all be in line with Niantic hinting recently that more “co-operative” aspects were coming to the game.
Of course, I think a cooler interpretation of this would be some sort of Team Rocket clean sweep of gyms where you’re called to battle to defend your turf, but I am guessing it’s something a lot less involved than that, and I think my original prediction may be closer to the truth.
I don’t know, all of these mechanics sound like baby steps forward, when I have said for ages I believe that both the gym and battling system need some pretty major overhauls in order to be a more engaging activity for players. Perhaps there are more larger changes coming, but I’m not sure notifications and mildly better gym turnover are really getting root at the core problems here.
Again, this is all just preliminary and there’s no telling when any of this will be implemented. These are nice quality of life changes perhaps, but I really do hope that a much larger announcement about gyms and battling is still to come. Stay tuned.