Next 'Pokémon Go' Event: Here are the big problems Niantic should fix for summer 2017

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opinion
Mic invites contributors and staff to offer commentary and context about news and timely issues.

So... Pokémon Go events. We've had a lot of them in 2017 alone, with the promise of an updated gym structure, Legendary Birds and proximity trading coming at some point in the future.

The issue with the structure of Pokémon Go is that for every weeklong event, the more wheel-spinning there is online about what the next event will be. This speaks to what I consider to be a pretty large issue with the way Pokémon Go does updates currently, and what needs to change about it for there to be more longevity in the game.

Next Pokémon Go event: Weeklong events can't continue to stand in for longterm gameplay improvements and innovations

Weeklong events work for two reasons — they're easy to implement, and they're exciting in the moment. All you need is a vague concept like "water types" and "pink Pokémon" and players will rush to get back out into the world because chances are there's some incentive like double XP or more candy that everyone can take advantage of, even if they're not hurting for a Porygon or a shiny Magikarp.

Eventually, however, this just becomes a constant treadmill of content — you continue to collect Pokémon and increase their CP values because that's... really all there is to do, and people get bored of that. Heck, until Gen 2 dropped, I was bored of it and had stopped playing the game because I realized how much of a time investment it was going to be even to get six gym-worthy Pokémon, and that all I'd be able to do with that is make incremental progress toward free PokéCoins depending on how many gyms I could hold with them.

The weeklong events are fun, but they lack substance. It's like binging on candy while neglecting your main course — it won't stick with you, and it's not going to make you excited about continuing to play once the event ends.

Next Pokémon Go event: we need more extreme migration change ups

Migrations happen every two weeks in Pokémon Go, but I'm often hard-pressed to notice any changes in my area, and I live in a pretty major metropolitan city. As a case in point, there's a park near my house that has stayed a Kabuto nest for the past two migrations, and yet certain Pokémon (like my beloved Houndour) refuse to spawn, or else spawn out in the middle of nowhere near an expressway onramp where I have no incentive to go.

While I understand the ideal setup is for this to encourage people to explore more and travel, I think that sorely misinterprets why people play Pokémon Go in the first place. Sure, people have done some crazy things to get Pokémon in-game, but it's unreasonable to expect your average person to be traveling super far afield when most players really only tend to hit the nests nearby where they live and work.

Migrations should be an easy way to drum up excitement for the game every two weeks, but until Niantic really makes a push to vary what spawns at what nests, it's likely that I, and certainly many other players, will limit our Pokémon catching to one or two a day in order to take advantage of the Daily XP bonuses.

Next Pokémon Go event: There has to be purpose behind bigger events to keep people interested

Although Niantic didn't do an official April Fools' event, the moderators of the Silph Road created one for their community in the form of a fake Team Rocket takeover where Silph Road posters could help solve a mystery and eventually fight a Mewtwo at Silph Co. "headquarters" in Times Square using the Silph Road's nest atlas.

In my opinion, Niantic could take some notes from the Silph Road. This was an event that managed to make people feel like they were a part of a community and like they'd done something that had affected the game they were playing. That's the big issue I foresee hindering bigger "official" Pokémon Go events: They'll be chances for players to get rare Pokémon (though some will inevitably miss out) and won't make players feel any more connected to the community they're a part of when they play the game.

If all the Legendary Bird update or the new Gym battling system does is continue to offer incremental PokéCoin rewards, they're not likely to stick in a tangible way. I'm not saying every event needs to be this enormous to-do that changes the very fabric of the Pokémon Go universe, but until I get a little more incentive to dive deeper in, my engagement is probably going to continue to be limited to the slight dopamine rush I get every time an egg is about to hatch. And while easily repeatable, that's not really what got me excited about Pokémon Go in the first place.

More Pokémon Go guides, tips and tricks

If you're booting up the game for the first time in a while to get ready for Gen 2, be sure to check out Mic's guides on how to get stardust, how to determine how long it will take you to reach level 40, the kind of Pokémon you get from 10km eggs, how to create new PokéStops, how to maximize your chances of catching Pokémon and how PokéStops distribute Pokémon eggs. Also check out how to catch Gen 2 baby Pokémon, our analysis of post-balance update Chansey and Rhydon and everything you need to know about finding the long-awaited Pokémon Ditto.