Pokémon Go’s April Community Day featuring Stufful will include a new Pokémon and its Shiny, but it’s also set to include a reduction in the hours that players can encounter the new pocket monster back to its old timeframe of just three hours.
The community has been outspoken about a similar change to one of the biggest items in the game, Incense. It recently received a change back to how it worked pre-pandemic, which means that players will only encounter a Pokémon every five minutes instead of every 30 seconds when they are stationary. With this change, the devs also expanded the time the Incense stays active. But players were not pleased with the significant nerf to one of the most integral parts of the game.
Now, Community Day is going back to its original three-hour timeframe, and Niantic told Dot Esports that the players asked for this.
“Actually, one of the things that prompted us to re-evaluate the Community Day format was calls from Trainers to revert it back to three hours,” said Michael Steranka, live game director for Pokémon Go. “After seeing that feedback, we took a look at our data and saw that less than five percent of players played longer than three hours on Community Day.”
Steranka is hoping that players will suspend judgment on the changes until they can experience them and that this brings more players together during the shorter event time, rather than playing the game without seeing another trainer during the event.
“For those Trainers who haven’t yet attended a Pokémon Go event in person, or experienced a Community Day in their neighborhood with other Trainers, I hope they’re able to suspend judgment on these changes and wait until April 23 to experience what it’s like for themselves,” Steranka said. “I bet they’ll find that having a real community around them during Community Day will make the entire event a helluva lot more fun.”
Niantic seems to be standing its ground when it comes to the core parts of the game that were intended when the title was first made, which are exploration, exercise, and real-world social interaction.
“If it becomes clear that a gameplay change significantly impacts those core tenants in a negative way, we review it with a cross-functional team and carefully put together a plan to course-correct,” Steranka said. “The vast majority of changes added to Pokémon Go over the past two years are here to stay: daily encounters, daily research tasks, Team GO Rocket balloons, the removal of the walking requirement in GBL, and PokéStop/Gym interaction radius, to name a few.”
Steranka also said that the devs plan to introduce more features to improve players’ experiences in the game, but they aren’t ready to reveal the details of what those improvements are. They’ll stress the community aspect of Community Day, though.
“Long time Trainers will recall that the best part about Community Day used to be about going out and actually meeting your local community—not just the shinies you caught throughout the event,” Steranka said. “Our goal here is to bring communities back together.”
Among the complaints about reverting some of the core gameplay mechanics is that the COVID-19 pandemic is still not over. Many trainers feel like Niantic is considering the pandemic over while it still continues to be a global concern to public health, especially when people are being encouraged to gather in large groups.
April’s Community Day is set to take place on April 23 from 2pm to 5pm local time and will bring in Stufful and its Shiny variant for the first time. There will also be bonuses for playing together that players have never seen before, such as a Group Play Bonus which awards players with a bonus if enough Pokémon are caught near a single PokéStop.
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