Pokemon GO Pisses Players Off Yet Again By Making Pokemon Harder To Catch

Over the last week, Pokemon GO underwent a couple of mechanical changes that players really, really don't like. The first, as has been widely reported by now, was a tweak in capture rates for Pokemon GO. If you've noticed that monsters are moving around more, and in general are harder to catch, you are not alone. Players around the web everywhere are reporting that they are using more Pokeballs in even low-CP encounters, and that monsters now run away with more ease. Apparently, it is worse the higher level you are, though I've noted at least a third of my encounters lately have ended with Pokemon bolting away. Additionally, you may have noticed that the capture rings on even weak monsters is smaller now.

On the one hand, the tweak makes any captures you do make more meaningful, which I like. On the other hand, Pokeballs are a resource for which Niantic can charge money — hence why some players feel so cynical about the whole thing.

The second, more recent change, is a report from Reddit that states that Niantic changed how often the game scans for new monsters, from five seconds to 10 seconds. It may sound like a small alteration, but it has big ramifications for players who like to play on anything with wheels, such as cars, bikes or public transportation. "10 second refreshes have the potential to entirely miss Pokemon located towards the outer half of your 'detection circle'," explained TheTruckThunders.

I rode in a car for an hour today and immediately noticed the change: For the most part, monsters didn't spawn while I was in motion. Instead, Pokemon mostly appeared when the car was standing still at a light, or when it slowed down to about walking speed. Beforehand, Pokemon GO would spawn creatures almost constantly while in motion.

This change may or may not affect you depending on how you like to play, but anecdotally, I've found that playing Pokemon GO while biking or in a car is particularly popular, especially for people who live in rural areas where monsters are scarce to begin with. Personally, it always felt a bit like cheating to me to play while in a car, especially given that the whole point of the game is to walk — hence your walking avatar — but I also understand that other players might have different needs and priorities. Going around with a bike is still pretty damn active, if not more so than walking, after all.

What makes these tweaks so grating is that they join a longer list of busted features. By now, you've probably heard all about how angry people are about the lack of in-game tracking, and how that alteration forces players to wander around to find anything. But in addition, there's the faulty egg hatching counter that's plagued the game since launch, and also, more recently, the bizarre removal of the battery saving option, among other things.

Earlier this week, Niantic assured players that they were "working crazy hours to keep the game running" and that they have been "working on the game" pretty much non-stop. Even so, they can't catch a break:

It seems that the Pokemon GO honeymoon stage is over... but hey, at least Niantic seems to be communicating more now. It's a start.


Comments

    Gotta rage 'em all?

      Saltier than a slowbro on shore leave.

      Pokemon go now harder to play while driving. Much rage.

    Anyone else think that Pokemon GO is just a trial run for Nintendo introducing a 'real' mobile Pokemon game on the NX?

      If it is a trial, it's not going well. It's almost as if they are trying to find everything to *not* do via Go.

        That's what I was thinking. Imagine if the NX came out with Pokemon GO and this kind of crap was going on? Niantic takes all the shit for the current problems, but when the 'real' game comes out on NX, it'll take all the lessons learned by Niantic and implement them. As an aside, I'd expect to see at least half a dozen 'quality' (i.e. not shovelware) first party titles on NX at launch. If anything, Nintendo fell down when it came to Wii U titles at launch.

          If it were not for Splatoon, I'd personally pretend the Wii U never happened.

          It is basically up there with the Virtual Boy and I can't help but thinking Nintendo were dragged kicking and screaming into HD with that console.

            Yeah, the Virtual Boy is pretty awesome ^^

              Yeah, for cheap laser eye surgery, :-P

                Hardly cheap these days, especially with the exchange rate the way it is. Plus all that time and effort to mod the lasers in. Better off just staring into the sun for a while, maybe through a magnifying glass.

                Although you aren't wrong, they're both cool pieces of hardware that went underutilised with undersized libraries, abandoned way too early in the piece :p Though at least the Wii U had a decent amount of support from Nintendo.

      well the rumours are that the NX will support smart phone games too so likely pokemon go will already be on it at launch. They also have fire emblem and i think animal crossing coming on mobile too, not to mention the layton games.

      Last edited 04/08/16 9:44 am

        NX will not support smart phone games. What, is it going to run an Android and iOS emulator as well?

          I've read numerous articles claiming it does, i took it to mean it will support Nintendo's smart phone games like pokemon go, animal crossing, that mii one they did etc.

            Highly doubt it. There may be some integration, like your Mii on the NX might get clothes you unlock in the game, but that will be the most of it.

            All the articles are bullshit as nothing has been announced yet or even credibly leaked.

            The latest ones I saw said that it specifically doesn't run on Android, but that it does run on a Tegra chip.

        There are no rumours that say that, stop making shit up.

          google it, there are. i believe ubisoft started them when talking about their upcoming games for it. I'm taking it to mean nintendos smart phone games, which likely won't be any android emulation like people are saying above but that nintendo will support their own releases on the console.

          Last edited 04/08/16 7:27 pm

      No. Niantic has no direct relationship with Nintendo... Nintendos mobile ambitions are sepearte to thr Pokemon compsny deal and really only happened cause Pokemon Company director was an Ingress fan and put up the starting capotal himself.

        That's bullcrap, Nintendo is a major owner of the Pokemon IP so Niantic need permission directly from Nintendo to use Pokemon, Nintendo are also making the Pokemon Go Plus accessory so that's a pretty direct relationship and Iwata before he died was helping work on Pokemon Go.

      Seeing as Nintendo has almost nothing to do with it, I highly doubt it. I also highly doubt the NX will have a mobile component.

    I'm still catching pokemon just as well as I used to

      I've found it a little bit harder with them bursting balls more often but not overly so.

      What gets annoying is when you encounter a pokemon that spams attacks and you was 3-4 balls in a row that get deflected. Had an omanyte this morning that was starting the attack after I'd released the ball so I had no way to tell if it was going to deflect or not.

      Luckily I've only had 2 or 3 spammy pokemon and the rest are relatively straight forward.

        My first mankey LITERALLY hit away 14 in a row, was so mad

    Personally, it always felt a bit like cheating to me to play while in a car,

    Or you know... something you shouldn't be doing if you're driving as we've seen these last few weeks.

      What if you're a passenger though as was common for many of those people playing in cars?

      I regularly catch the bus to work and can't even catch pokemon that I see anymore. As soon as the bus gets up to speed they burst the ball and run.

      The game is getting harder and harder to play and fit it in around my lifestyle. They're adding anti-cheat measures but killing the game in the meantime. It isn't even affecting the cheaters either, it's all minor stuff for them to overcome.

        Before jumping the gun there, I did infact say if you're driving :)

          Wasn't implying that you did, just that it's unfair on those who are passengers. Normally apps don't have to implement measures for people to not use them whilst driving, touching a phone at all whilst driving is illegal, doesn't matter what you're doing with it.

          What they've done is punishing more people who are doing the right thing.

            When it comes to safety though, I think this is one where common sense dictates if you're intent on driving around, the driver shouldn't really mind slowing down and stopping somewhere if they come to a pokestop. I mean take into consideration you're quite literally sitting down, driving around. Could be worse, you could be walking around.

            You're not being punished, you're being inconvenienced a little at worst. But I'd say it's a fair inconvenience if it takes away the risk of traffic accidents personally.

              The driver slowing down for pokestops? I don't think the bus driver would do that and the others on the bus would be pretty annoyed if he did.

              This applies to more than just cars.

              There's also some other stuff Niantic has done that makes it so anyone riding a bike can't get progress on hatching eggs and also won't encounter many pokemon. At this stage is pretty much walk or you miss out.

                Now you're being pedantic. Fact of the matter is, it's going to stop accidents, it's not even an exaggeration as these have already happened due to peoples stupid natures. People who drive around can cop that one on the chin. If it disadvantages people in cars who don't want to get out and walk around, it's hard luck. But if it stops someone dying in an accident because of someones stupidity? The person who has a problem with that has a majorly entitled attitude.

                Your disadvantaged situation over someones potential injury or death from an accident (and we've already seen examples)?

                Is that even a question that needs to be asked or weighed up?

                Last edited 05/08/16 7:50 am

                  You've missed my point. I'm saying it's not up to Niantic to implement measures in their game to prevent it from working whilst people are driving. The measures that they've already put in do affect that but it's unclear whether they've done it to target drivers or hackers.

                  Regardless of what they've done it isn't up to an app developer to implement measure to prevent people from using it whilst driving. Just using your phone while driving is illegal, regardless of what you do with it. People were doing that and causing crashes well before Pokemon Go and they'll still be doing it well after. The media just publicized the PoGo stuff more because it was making headlines at the time, without actual hard numbers you can't say whether or not Pokemon made it worse.

                  We're passed the Pokemon "craze" phase now anyway and it's losing popularity. Less people are likely to try and use it whilst driving so this is already becoming a non-issue.

      but you're taking the chance that this individual is driving. my friends and i learnt from Friday nights out; ALWAYS have a designated driver.

      for now this is me as my mobile isn't compatible :(

        But thats the thing. I said if you're driving. It sucks passengers have to cop it but the car can always stop for them if needed.

        Last edited 04/08/16 11:48 am

      I wondered if this was actually the reason behind the change. Maybe they're actively trying to remove that aspect from the game to head off the car crash while playing pokemon type incidents.

      But yeah, it sucks if you're a passenger not a driver.

        Ta for thinking it through. I'd say that's the intent. If it is it quite frankly is a sacrifice we can live with. I have driven my son around the suburbs for this safely but I have seen PLENTY of morons driving and playing at the same time. If a hundred people are inconvenienced to stop one persons accident that could potentially kill someone so be it.

    I find it amusing that Niantic said they figured out what to do/not to do from Ingress and what works well.

    Obviously they didn't learn enough....or listen to the Ingress community either.

      Things I learnt today... there's actually an Ingress community???

        Yeah, something like a million active users still. Pretty successful if you compare it to most mobile games.

        Last edited 04/08/16 4:31 pm

    The catch rate was something i posted about here right after the update. I now find even CP50 pokemon break out and run away which never used to happen.

    Has anyone figured out why some throws curve ball off the screen yet either? Also some curve balls go dead straight, some don't register as curve balls either. All this added in to a harder catch rate becomes frustrating. I also seem to have pokeballs go through pokemon now and just land behind their sprite.

    I also used to play as a passenger in the car on weekends, haven't tried since the update but that's going to be annoying now if nothing spawns.

    I thought at this point they'd be adding features to what is already a very popular system, not tweaking it's core mechanics once people are used to them.

      Curve balls go straight? Are you spinning the ball before you throw it? I've never had a curve ball go straight.

        yeah it even has the different animation in the air. mines only doing this since the latest update but it just goes dead straight sometimes now.

        When I curve the ball I don't get the bonus most of the time, but throwing the ball straight sometimes gives me the bonus anyway. The whole system is busted

      I don't know what caused the curveball glitch but I did figure out if you spin the ball you can force it into a "curveball" state then when you flick it off to the side it will curve back in. You get a bonus 10xp if you catch a Pokémon with a curveball (though it only appears to register curveballs about 50% of the time, along with times when it doesn't give you bonus "great" or "excellend" xp, or gives you the bonus when it didn't register as a "great" or "excellent" throw, or you thought you were catching a poliwag but it turns into a pidgey, or....)

      Shouldn't be too bad. I caught 20 on my way into work this morning but that was on a tram so frequent stopping which might make a difference.
      Haven't had much trouble with running away today (a bit more yesterday) but it is taking more balls and the deflect can be annoying

      I used to get the curve ball glitch all the time where like literally 30% of my throws would become curve balls for no apparent reason but that hasn't happened to me in a week or so. I was thinking it was patched out.

    Am I the only one who suspects all these changes and fixes are just to ensure the store generates more revenue?

    No tracker = incense/lure sales

    Harder to catch pokemon = pokeball/berry sales

    It's a PR disaster, but there will still be people playing it.

      My local Grilld has a pokestop outside amd they keep it moduled all day its opened. I have caught more rare and high level pokemon there than wandering the streets for my 1000th pidgey and zubats.

      Niantic have already aaid people didnt like the 3 step guide as it was confusing - and since it was broken have removed it and working on a friendlier system.

      The no tracker is until they figure out a way to implement it properly without it killing their servers. It would have worked if they had a user base like Ingress, but with tens of millions of people playing it's too much.

      They've already stated they're working on a fix, just don't expect it to take 1 week.

    According to author:

    Playing in a car? Cheating. Using third party services to gain more 10 times more information than the developers intended for you to have and completely circumventing the main mechanic of the game by knowing exactly where Pokemon are? A-OK.

      well this is the same author who once wrote an article about people cheating in other pokemon versions through duplication then a few weeks later wrote another outlining how to do it and supporting it.

      Circumventing the main mechanic of the game by knowing where Pokemon are?

      So you don't actually play Pokemon GO?
      I just ask since the main mechanic is supposed to show you where Pokemon are....but doesn't.

      It's a fun game, when it's not actively sucking the enjoyment out of itself, you should give it a go.

    I did notice a couple of days ago nearly every Pokemon I encountered ran after one attempt, and I was a little surprised when I failed to catch a 48 CP Goldeen even after feeding it a razz berry. I'm not overly fussed by it. I should probably just start using my great balls now that they outnumber my pokeballs and my backpack is perpetually full.

      The ones running after one attempt to catch means you're likely soft banned. Were you in a car at the time?

        Nope, just walking down Pitt Street, admittedly moving faster than some of the traffic. Where'd you get the idea fleeing Pokémon = soft ban?

          It's being floated by many people who have been soft banned.

          Many say they were on long car trips that went interstate or were on high/freeways while playing.
          It's hard to find any evidence of this happening though, so I do wonder if it is just spoofers hiding their wrong doing.
          (Like how everyone banned for cheating on steam is innocent)

          Apparently the soft ban itself would also stop you from battling at gyms or getting Pokestops for the duration, so if you can still do those things then you're not soft banned.

            Nah, I can use Pokestops just fine, even when a passenger in a train or car. It just doesn't count for distance travelled when hatching eggs if you travel in excess of 24km/h.

              I've noticed when travelling on the bus at speed, most pokemon do run away after the first throw - I think it has to do with distance more than soft banning. If it registers you are now 1km away from where the pokemon was sighted, you surely cant just keep trying to catch it no?

              Now, though, the wohle catch rate has become ridiculous. Im level 22 and I have 125 CP rattattas bursting my pokeballs - i use a razz berry and a great ball just to get the bastard and sometimes they run away.

              I've noticed a HUGE difference in the past few days at level 22 - Charmander is even more of an elusive bastard now!!! Couldnt get a 350 CP charmander with multiple razz berrys and ultra balls!!! Thats not on

              I used to rate it as normal pokeball up to 300 CP, 300 - 600 CP pokemon i would use great balls on and anything higher if i really wanted it, i wouldnt hesitate to use an ultra ball

              Now it seems to be all over the place!

                Unhuh

                Last night a found a Bulbasaur on my usual hunting track, rarely see many here.
                I can't remember how many Pokeballs I used, but I threw all my berries and great balls at it while it shook them off with ease before running off.
                (Even a few excellent curve balls)

                Unfortunately the rest of my night went the same way, every uncommon I found was aggressive, bouncing on a trampoline and covered in grease.
                Usually when I get home I have 4-5 uncommon and a bunch of commons.
                Now I get home with no uncommons, a few commons and bugger all items.

                Whoo

                  Yeah i feel your pain. I dont know if its psychological or I'm taking more care on my aim at the smaller circle again but i felt like my bus ride this morning wasn't as bad as the past couple of days!

                  I had a GREAT curveball hit a fairly low level Growlithe yesterday and it ran off... How does a GREAT lovely spun ball in the centre of the circle, right on the nose, NOT get him?!

                  Ill test more today hopefully theyve been making some tweaks server side

            Hard to find evidence? I thought it was just common knowledge at this point...maybe I spend too much time reading reddit.

            It happens to me personally every time I'm on the bus to work and it hits 100hm/hr. At that speed if I find a pokemon or am already trying to catch one when the bus hits 100 the first pokeball will break after one shake and the pokemon will be gone.

            I've noticed it more since the latest patch, last week it wasn't so bad. As soon as the bus gets back down to 60km/hr or less I can catch them again.

              No I mean evidence of softbans from driving fast.
              it supposedly lasts an hour and locks you from catching, fighting and defending gyms.

              I think your right about there being an auto escape if you cover a certain distance past the spawn.
              Throw in the 5 to 10 second scan and I think catching while driving (as a passenger) is near impossible.

                After the bus ride home today I'm more confused...

                On the way to work pokemon were breaking the ball and fleeing when the bus was at 100km/hr. Each time we came to a bus terminal and it slowed down I could catch one pokemon before it sped off. Any that I then found at 100km/hr would flee.

                On the way home I had the first one flee at 100km/hr and then after that I caught 2 at 100km/hr and didn't have any others flee.

                Leaves me with no real idea how their system works because it makes them flee sometimes but not others when the conditions are the same.

    Whats the issue? Ive been using pokeballs to catch basically everything in sight and had a large hoard of great and ultra balls. Now it feels like I have to use those balls on pokemon I desperately want and wasting more pokeballs on randoms.

    Feels like it is the way it should have been from the start.

    As for the difference in updating - just sounds like they found another quick fix to offload some presure from the servers. Game has been way more stable now - so thats fine by me.

    TLDR - game is running better and getting tweaked. Still a hell load of fun and look forward to when they start adding more.

    It is a game that has already given people hundreds of hours of fun, entertainment and exercise for the terribly expensive price of free.

    I can't believe how much people complain. If it isn't floating your boat, stop playing for a while. The game is updated regularly, and like many MMO games, it has issues with server loads, and some updates make bits better and bits worse whilst they work out the balance.

    Seriously, it is a free mobile game, take a break from it if you don't like it and come back to it later if you want. I don't understand the levels of rage and people needing to post like crazy about how they are going to uninstall the game. Just uninstall it and play something else, your life and happiness isn't on the line here.

      You were obviously gifted with common sense by mistake.. God wants it back so you can rage more.

        I was about to make a similar comment to your post above

      That is obviously a rational way of looking at it.
      But I find it hard to believe that you don't understand how people can complain, this is far from the first instance of a developer struggling to stay on side of its own community.

      The issue is when the negative problems overtake positive coverage as we have seen over the past few weeks.

        I can understand complaints, but not the rage of the complaints, people rating a game they have played for hundreds of hours with 'one star', saying that Niantic are a massive fail, saying it is the death of Nintendo and other crazy stuff, and the media deciding to negative-headline issues that are mostly just small changes to the game. It is a game, give feedback to the publisher etc. but the game is still fun, it is being updated, is more stable and if anyone finds they are no longer enjoying it, play one of the other millions of games out there.

        Last edited 04/08/16 1:34 pm

          It's simple, some people suck and make things far too dramatic.
          This is nothing new on the Internet.

          The interesting thing is I've come realise that they serve a very real and effective purpose.
          This isn't the usual vocal minority, bitching about everything, it's a shift where annoyed players end up outnumbering the happy.
          These toxic and loud doomsdayers, take on the anger that many of us don't need to show, but might like the developer to know.

          If the kerfuffle causes Niantic to sit up, take notice and engage it's player base, then I would call it a success.

    Bizarre. They are sitting on a gold mine and they are absolutely destroying it. How do the people who make these decisions find themselves in these sorts of jobs in the first place?

      Same way us humans did and are still doing to this earth...

    Stocks fell, no in-game ads. It is the most downloaded app ever and no one was making a cent.

    The game is busted, I'm not worried about the 'nerfs' as there is so much already broke. However I want to know where it is heading because in another month's time no-one but the core will be playing this game and they'll loose 80% of their audience. Its a race against time, I do hope they are listening to the positive feedback and keep what made the game great in the first place.

    On another note.
    My partner was getting so many revives, potions, razzberries that there wasn't any room for pokébals and she was limited to 10 before the backpack filled up. While this doesn't address the 'nerfing' it does point to Gym battles, in that there is no point leveling up a Gym as everyone can revive and potion up their mon's 100 times over when my Gym is taken I can take it back without any penalty, and vise versa. The idea of holding and keeping a gym is void as every player is stocked up with so many useless items anyway.

    On one hand I do feel sorry for the new players who will have a harder time getting to the same levels as the initial countries. On the other hand is they finalized the system and re-set everyone's stats I don't think I'd keep playing let alone the millions of other casual players.

    At the end of the day communication is key, give us a road map. I fine to stop playing for a bit if I know tracking is going to come back in a months time. The players aren't the enemy, the fact that they figured out the API and have dedicated themselves to being the best by pulling apart every game mechanic isn't a bad thing. In this augmented reality you've mimicked the world of the cartoon, and as it would happen not everyone can become Ash Catchem.

    I don't have the time to hunt every day or even every week, I live in a rural area where not much spawns, I have to plan trips to the city to get more pokemon than pidgy and zubat. There are roads, lakes, parks, and more all missing from the map of my town, and the game crashes frustratingly every time I'm about to catch something new. With such a huge success there is so much more the games needs fixed to make it work globally before worring about the pokéball cash grab. I'm happy to keep playing if I knew these were being worked on and fixes are planned.

    Welp, time to get on my writing cap. Check out next year my next best-seller "Catastrophic Incompetence: How to lose an 80 million consumer-base in a month."

    TL;DR - My map still works (with tweaks), and the spawn areas i've noticed are relatively consistent and active. Also, its only been a few days with the new system... the app is far less buggy.

    It seems fairly simple to work out at this point.

    - Half the polling rate for new Pokemon (reduced server impact).
    - Slower animations (reduced server impact due to increased time to catch).
    - Hard to catch (more time trying to catch, reduced server impact).
    - Removal of 3-step (reduced server impact).

    It seems to be a case of they launched with an idea that they thought would work but the popularity basically wrecked them. To maximise profits and ensure they could expand into countries without impacting servers I believe they are trying to reduce the impact to servers as much as possible until they get it under control and at least have a stable game. It's quite possible that 3-step will return but they need to do it to ensure it's intuitive and it works this time.

    But why the f**k would you play in a car when you shouldnt be using your phone

    Last edited 04/08/16 4:59 pm

    i know they want to waste your poke ball, and you will need to to buy more from them

    Dude people will do it irregardless, Ninatic doesn't care about people, they do it so A) they don't get sued they can say they warned people B) they make it harder to earn more money and if they can use the excuse oh it stops people from driving and getting injured it just makes their imagine better.

    Don't ever trust a business's supposed good will, there is always a benefit to them not the good will out of their heart.

    I am only on lvl 16 and I can no longer catch anything over 300 CP. They run away. I use the berries and the great balls and nothing. They waste 20+ balls and then run off anyway.
    Today I wasted 23 balls (some great balls) catching a 120 CP weedle. Right now I am in a busy library with a lure on and I have only caught 2 ratatas with 5 minutes remaining only. Nothing else has appeared.
    These updates have ruined the fun of the game. I've already said that once I run out of pokeballs, bye bye app. There's nothing fun in constantly getting frustrated. 13 balls to go.

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