Late last night, Pokemon Go updated its GAME_MASTER file, a secret set of code that tells the actual app how it’s supposed to work. The GAME_MASTER provides crucial stats for Pokemon Go, such as how powerful an attack is, or how likely a Pokemon is to run away.
While the most obvious changes to the GAME_MASTER file were related to the effectiveness of certain moves in Pokemon Go, players also noticed something…odd about game’s targeting circles on certain Pokemon. These targeting circles have two purposes: it tells you where to throw your PokeBall and it also gives players an idea about how hard a Pokemon is to catch. If a player lands their PokeBall within the shrinking circle, their odds of catching the Pokemon goes up AND they also get an extra XP bonus if the throw is successful.
There’s always been some variation in the sizes of targeting circles, as they’re tied to the size of the Pokemon models used within the game. But the recent GAME_MASTER update seems to have really messed up targeting circles, to the point where some are hilariously small or large.
A Weedle’s targeting circle is now smaller than a dime, while a naturally large Pokemon like Lapras has a targeting circle that stretches almost the entire length of a phone screen.
The good news is that most of the now miniscule targeting circles are tied to pretty common Pokemon, while the massive circles are tied to rare Pokemon. We’ve noticed small targeting circles on Weedle, Natu, and Caterpie, and seen huge circles on Pokemon like Onix, Gyarados, and Lapras.
One other note: this isn’t a glitch. The GAME_MASTER file were deliberately updated with new target sizes, so this is very much a conscious change on Niantic’s end.
These changes were likely made with the new Pokemon Go update in mind, so we’re expecting this to go away in the next couple of days. But in the meantime, enjoy the hilariously large (or small) targeting circles while you can!