At the beginning of the pandemic, Niantic made some changes to Pokémon GO to ensure that players could continue to get their streaks while in quarantine or working from home. These changes included the ability to interact with Pokéstops, Gyms, and Pokémon from a greater distance, Buddy Pokémon giving the player more gifts per day, eggs to hatch after a shorter distance, and incense being more effective when standing still (such as use one at home).
Niantic recently announced in a blog post that they will revert these changes to a pre-pandemic state in the United States and New Zealand after Pokémon GO Fest 2021. Niantic has assured that they are “committed to doing this in a phased manner, when it makes sense for each place in the world”, since more countries have been handling the global pandemic better than a year ago. However, they did not mention whether they planned to re-implement the changes should the pandemic start to worsen again, given that the situation has been worsening in some countries.
Some fans have been less euphoric with the announced changes, especially since the world is not exactly out of the water yet. However, Niantic has ensured that some of the new changes will stick, including:
- No walking required for GO Battle League
- Incense pots that last one hour.
- Be able to put 20 gifts in your item bag
- Be able to open 30 gifts a day
- Receive Stardust and XP bonuses for your first daily catch
- Be able to challenge coaches remotely
- Be able to fight remotely against friends with the status of good friend or higher
If you could give Niantic a recommendation on how to handle Pokémon GO as the pandemic waxes and wanes around the world, what would it be? Let us know in the comments!