Recently, Niantic Labs held a Pokémon GO event called Pokémon GO Fest in Chicago. This event was supposed to bring players together, as well as allow them to take part in special raid battles for legendary Pokémon in the title. It was meant to be a celebration of the community. Of Pokémon GO’s successes and influence.
Unfortunately, it seems things haven’t gone according to plan. Indeed, according to various people who went there, Pokémon GO Fest has become a complete disaster.
Because the exact same bugs that caused players to lose interest in the game in general have affected the event. Except even worse than usual.
For instance, the sheer number of players in the park actually brought down many of the mobile networks. This is a problem given the game needs a mobile connection to run, and so the result meant a whole park full of players who couldn’t actually play Pokémon GO.
That’s pretty bad for an event dedicated specifically to playing Pokémon GO. It’s like if every games console crashed at E3 and couldn’t be fixed until the event ended. Or if your average tech conference had the Wi-Fi go down for the entire duration.
But it could have mitigated with some alternatives. After all, events aren’t usually just one thing. There are often shows and other goings on to keep people occupied.
However, Niantic didn’t do this. They didn’t plan for the system going down at all.
So not only was the game unplayable, but there was a complete lack of alternative things to do there as well. This in turn left a huge park worth of players standing around unable to do nothing while Niantic’s technicians desperately tried to salvage the situation.
Obviously, the players weren’t happy about this. And they took it out on Niantic CEO John Hanke as he walked on stage to introduce the event:
Yep, he got booed to all hell and back. In fact, later in the event people went further and started chanting “fix your game” at the poor guy in response to the disaster unfolding in front of that.
Add the insane lines (made worse by only one park entrance being opened), violence breaking out (yes really) and embarrassment as spoofers got better Pokémon by pretending to be at the event, and you had a trainwreck of epic proportions. Indeed, some may compare it to Dashcon in its sheer failure.
Still, at least Niantic did try and make it up for fans. They gave everyone who attended the event a free Lugia for the game, released legendaries for people to catch worldwide and offered refunds to other attendees. So it’s not like fans were ignored.
But it’s still a terrible showing none the less. I mean, you had a whole year to plan this out. It was advertised to hell and back as ‘the’ Pokémon GO event. There was zero excuse for all this poor organisation here.
Yet somehow Niantic screwed it all up. Kind of reminiscent of the game’s own situation isn’t it?
A brilliant idea wrecked by technical difficulties and incompetent management. But hey, what do you think?
Did you go to Pokémon GO Fest? If so, post your thoughts here or on social media today!
Refunds offered as Pokemon GO Fest is Beset by Glitches (BBC)
When it comes to video game ripoffs, I’ve seen some pretty bad examples in past years. There was Mole Kart, that Mario Kart Wii ripoff that took whole tracks from inspiration. There was 3D Land Safari, a Super Mario 3D Land ripoff so blatant Nintendo probably could have sued the developer. And well, when it comes app stores like Google Play… it’s a huge mess all round.
But today’s con artists were a bit more cocky. Why? Because they literally ripped off an entire trailer from The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild.
No, I’m not making that up. They stole an entire trailer from Nintendo, edited it out the Breath of the Wild logo, then slapped their own one on the end. It’s as ridiculous as it sounds:
Seriously, you can’t even pretend this is anything but plagiarism. The trailer still has Link running around fighting Guardians, Stole Talus, Hinox and the Yiga Clan, and comes complete with the exact same trademark music from the original trailer. The only change they made at all was to stick their cheap logo on the end.
And you can see this pretty clearly if you ‘compare’ the video to the original Breath of the Wild trailer:
They’re literally 100% identical.
It’s like a job seeker taking Mark Zuckerberg’s CV and pretending they created Facebook. No one’s ever going to believe them, and the chances of their CV getting past the application stage are exactly nil.
But hey, what does Final Clash look like anyway? Well according to their trailer, this:
Yep. It’s another one of those typical ‘online strategy’ games advertised by dodgy websites and videos. So them trying to use Breath of the Wild footage to advertise it is literally like someone pretending StarCraft 2 is a Call of Duty game. Absolutely and utterly ridiculous.
Either way, it’ll all be sorted soon. Presumably when Nintendo’s legal team realises some rip off artists are trying to falsely advertise their game with footage from Breath of the Wild and orders the video removed from Facebook.
Congrats guys, you are officially the most pathetic copycats on the planet. Enjoy your minute of fame while it lasts!
Mobile App ‘Final Clash’ Uses Zelda Breath of the Wild Footage in Trailer
In the last few weeks, I’ve seen an interesting trend occur online. Put simply, a lot of people have started to treat video game glitches like they’re a bad thing, and decided that their existence in a game is somehow proof the developer got lazy.
And this can be seen on my videos for games like Breath of the Wild. I’ve seen people call out the QA team for every instance where I managed to get Link to clip through a wall. I’ve seen others say that Nintendo is lazy due to allowing these bugs to get into the game. Heck, in some cases I’ve even seen joke comparisons to Sonic 06. As if the presence of these glitches in Breath of the Wild means its an obvious beta that was rushed out the door as quickly as possible.
People assume this stuff is possible only because Nintendo is competent:
However, this isn’t necessarily the case.
Yes, it’s possible a game could be rushed out early. Or simply wasn’t tested properly for whatever reason. Something like Action 52 might be an example of that.
But a game isn’t necessarily bad (or broken) just because it has a lot of glitches.
There are a few key reasons for this. Reason 1 being that ambitious games will almost always have more glitches than unambitious ones.
Obviously there are a few exceptions here. Mario & Luigi Paper Jam is glitchier than Dream Team for instance. Despite being built on the same engine with a lot of recycled content.
But for the most part, an ambitious game will have more glitches than an unambitious one. Take Pokémon for example. The original games were ridiculously ambitious, and had to really struggle to fit all the content in a single Game Boy cart.
As a result, they’re packed with glitches. That’s because the way they were coded was optimised for size rather than error checking. They had to fit a lot of code onto small cartridges.
So to get it to fit, things were skipped. Checks were removed. Etc.
And the resulting games are perhaps some of the most glitch filled games in history, with everything from glitch Pokémon like Missingno to being able to wrong warp to the Elite Four or even rewrite the game’s programming on the fly.
However, that doesn’t make them bad. They’re amazingly fun games which set off a huge fad back in the 90s and maintain a steady fanbase even today. It’s just that due to how hard they tried and how many technical boundaries were pushed, glitches crept in.
What’s more, the same goes for all manner of other great games throughout history. Super Mario 64 (and its DS port) are littered with glitches, but that’s in part because of all the ground breaking ideas and tech they put into practice. No one had ever made a 3D platformer quite like Mario 64 before, and Nintendo themselves were learning as they went along. So again, glitches crept in.
The same goes for almost every Zelda game. It goes for Smash Bros Melee and Mario Kart. GoldenEye, Crash Bandicoot, the classic Sonic games, the classic Mega Man games… the list of great games filled with bugs goes on and on.
Yet it’s not just ambition you have to consider here.
It’s also plain old game testing limitations.
Put simply, no company can ever find all the bugs in a game. It’s impossible. Every piece of software in existence has more potential flaws and security problems than can ever be truly fixed.
And this is magnified up to eleven when the games are released to the public. Remember, Nintendo’s testing team is both limited in size and strapped for time. They don’t have months or years to test every minor wall and character interaction in the game. Nor do they have the unlimited time and resources to fix every little thing that might be found.
So while they do the best job possible, things will slip through the radar. Or they’ll be marked as ‘won’t fix’.
Then when you add however many million players into the mix (Breath of the Wild has sold about 3 million copies so far), those things will get found. There are simply more players looking for glitches (or just playing in ways unforeseen by the development team) than there were doing QA testing.
Let’s not forget how much free time gamers can have either. Again, remember that for Nintendo’s in house teams, quality assurance is a job. They have to move between one game and another every few weeks or so to make sure all of said games work well. They can’t test Breath of the Wild forever.
Players on the other hand… they can. They could spend eight hours a day looking for bugs in the game and do so for years. They could test every wall and object in the game. See how every character interaction goes.
Hence they’ll find more glitches. Look at Stryder 7x and Pannenkoek2012 for instance. They play almost nothing but Paper Mario and Super Mario 64 respectively.
So guess what? They find numerous bugs in these games.
And when speedrunning communities and glitch focused sites and YouTube channels (who like the ad revenue these glitch demonstration brings) are factored into the equation… well, a game is likely to be broken to all hell within weeks or months. It’s the same sort of situation as with computer cybersecurity. Microsoft might try to patch all the issues in Windows, but they can’t really compete with the hordes of security researchers, bored users and hackers trying to find said issues for their own personal gain.
So don’t worry too much about glitches in games. They’re bad if they cause problems, but for the most part they’re simply a fact of life that you cannot ever avoid. Every game has them, and every ambitious game will have them by the thousand.
They do not necessarily mean a game was poorly coded, not tested properly or tossed out the door by the development team.
As many Pokémon GO fans likely know, gyms have always been one of the weakest aspects of the game. Lacking in features found in the key titles and mostly overtaken by bots in many parts of the world, the system is seen as a bit lacking compared to the rest of the game.
But now it seems Niantic have been listening to complaints here! Why?
Because as the title suggests, gyms are receiving a massive overhaul in the next Pokémon GO update!
Starting with a major change to the whole structure of the system. Prestige is gone. For good.
Instead, they now feature six permanent slots that can be filled by the controlling team. Each of these slots must be unique (so no two identical Pokémon can be in one gym), and challengers will now battle them in the order they were assigned to the system.
And that’s not the only change here either. Oh no, motivation has been added too. How does it work?
Well, basically, each Pokémon starts out with a maxed motivation bar. Then, as they get defeated in battle, this goes down. Once it does, the Pokémon then gets weaker and easier to defeat, until either its fed berries (restoring motivation) or the gym falls to the other team. It’s an interesting little system, and stops teams from getting too entrenched (since challengers will be able to eventually knock out unmaintained gyms very easily).
Gym badges are another addition here. These act like mementos from the gyms you defeat, and mark which ones you’ve completed in the game. So if you want your gym to act like those in the main RPG… now they do.
However, the badges aren’t just for show.
Nope. Instead, they kind of replace the prestige system. By spinning the gym disc, feeding Pokémon berries or training at the gym, the gym badge’s level is hence increased and the rewards trainers gain for beating it go up respectively.
It’s an interesting little setup if you ask me, and acts like a way to give gyms a series of progression while simultaneously keeping the metagame fresh by having them stay easy to take down.
And that reminds me. Do you notice anything weird about that last paragraph? Like, the whole ‘spinning the gym disc’ thing?
Yeah, I thought so. But that’s because the discs on top of gyms are not just decoration any more. Instead, they now act like Pokestops. In other words, you can spin the disc on a gym to receive items like eggs and Poke Balls.
That’s quite useful really. Doubles the amount of Pokestops while not needing to add find additional locations for them.
However, it’s not the most interesting addition. I mean sure, the gym overhaul is nice and all. But at the end of the day, it’s not a new feature. It’s a few much needed tweaks to existing ones.
What is a new feature however, is Raid Battles.
Yep, Pokémon now has raids like those in a MMORPG. And this is where things get a little more… intriguing.
Basically, how it works is like this. At random, a Raid Battle can begin at a gym. When this happens, all Pokémon in said gym are returned to their owners, and a large egg appears on top of their gym in this place. Said egg then has a countdown. And when it reaches zero? That’s when the raid boss is revealed.
So what’s a raid boss? Well in a nutshell, it’s a super powerful Pokémon you have to take down in a team. Think of it a bit like World of Warcraft’s major boss fights in its raid instances. Or a very large, even tougher version of the Totems from Pokémon Sun and Moon.
Either way, once it appears, you and 20 others have the chance to take it down with your teams. Succeed… and you apparently get the chance to catch an extra powerful Pokémon of your own. Like maybe a legendary or something.
However, you can’t just go to every raid you come across! Oh no, you now need Raid Passes to do so. These are special free items that let you take part in a raid, and can be gotten one of two ways:
- From a gym as a free item.
- Via the in game shop
Unfortunately, there is a catch here. That catch is that the free ones are limited to one in your inventory at a time, and the paid ones… well they’re implied not to be. So if you want to take on more than one raid at a time, you’ll have to pay out for premium raid passes.
So that’s the raid feature for you. But the new additions still don’t end there.
Nope. In addition to the gym overhaul and raid bosses, the game now has extra items too. There’s the Rare Candy, which turns into that Pokémon’s candy when used. There’s the Golden Razz Berries that greatly increase the chance of a wild Pokémon capture (or refill motivation if used on a gym Pokémon).
And then there are TMs. Yep, Technical Machines are now part of Pokémon GO too. These come in (surprise) two types, and can be used to teach your Pokémon a new fast or charged attack. So yeah, if you don’t like a good Pokémon’s moves… you’re not out of luck any more. You can now change it to something more of your liking.
It’s another pleasant set of additions to the game, and one that makes gym battles actually somewhat important for people wanting the best Pokémon.
However, because of technical work needing to be done, it won’t all go live straight away.
Instead, Niantic is disabling gym battles while they implement the changes, and will bring them back when it’s done. So if you’re a current Pokémon GO player… well, no gyms for you for a while.
Still, it’s worth it in the end. Better to have a bit of downtime and a massive overhaul at a later point that a stagnant, dying game. And hey, the chances are a positive for pretty much everyone involved with the title.
So thanks Niantic. Your changes to Pokémon GO look great to me!
But what about you? Are you interested in Pokémon GO now gyms are being so thoroughly reworked?
Or have you lost all interest in the title already? Post your thoughts on this (and more) in the comments or on the Gaming Latest forums today!
Raid Battles and New Gym Features are Coming (Pokémon GO official Blog)
As well as this TechCrunch Video on the update.
Ever since Pokemon GO was released, there has been some speculation about when legendary Pokemon would be available for the game. They’re in the data, they’ve been spotted in alpha testing and they’ve actually ended up in people’s possession once or twice, but up until now, there’s never been an official way to get them in game.
But that’s all about to change! Why? Because according to a recent interview, legendaries and PvP functionality are coming this summer!
Here’s the quote confirming it by Niantic’s Mathieu de Fayet in Brazilian newspaper O Globo:
Right now we are working on some [features] that are due to hit this summer (in the northern hemisphere), such as giving more value to the choice of the teams, releasing Legendary Pokémon and introducing PvP.
There’s no denying that. He’s saying legendary Pokemon and PvP battles are coming soon, along with other changes to team building.
So yeah, good news for anyone playing Pokemon GO right now. You’ll be able to get legendary Pokemon soon, and player vs player battles are likely going to follow soon after.
As for the rest of us… well, it’s possible these additions may actually breathe some life into the game. Sure it won’t become as popular as it was in June last year, but hey, at least there’ll be a bit more to it than catching Pokemon and taking on gyms soon. That’s something good for the game at least.
But what do you think about it? Are you excited about the possibility of Pokemon GO getting legendary Pokemon and PvP battles soon? And how likely do you think it’ll be that said features will bring back interest in the game?
Post your thoughts on this (and more) here and on the Gaming Latest forums today!
Legendaries and PvP Coming This Summer (The Silph Road)