Pokémon GO Update Adds a New Feature, but Not the One You Were Hoping For

It's not very effective ...

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There’s still a lot of Pokémon news out there after over a month and a half of Pokémon GO—like the loss of 10 million users that everyone will undoubtedly make too much of, or a flood of people in Taipei rushing to catch a Snorlax—but things have been relatively quiet from the developers themselves after the app’s last update. Now, they’re rolling out a new patch and adding a feature, but it’s not the tracking system you’ve been waiting for.

Instead, they’re adding an additional way to gauge a Pokémon’s strength for battle beyond the “combat power” overview normally provided by the app. Pokémon GO actually does have hidden stats that work like the main series games, as opposed to the single-number combat power, but they’re not accessible by the user—through normal means, anyway. Some Internet-based services have popped up to provide more insight into any Pokémon’s potential, but Niantic is taking that feature in-house with the “appraisal” feature.

The announcement came yesterday, and the patch is supposedly rolling out right now, though it’s not available for me in the U.S. just yet. Niantic describes the new feature like this: “Trainers will now be able to learn about a Pokémon’s attack and defense capabilities from their Team Leader (Candela, Blanche or Spark) to determine which of their Pokémon have the most potential for battle.”

That added depth is great, but with the battle system as simplified as it is compared to the original games (not to mention the limited movesets), I doubt this new feature will cause much of a difference in which Pokémon are dominant at nearly every gym or make the gameplay all that much deeper. On the bright side, the announcement also mentions that Niantic is still hard at work on “several new and exciting features,” so we’ll have more new toys to play with soon—hopefully including that tracking system they’ve apparently been testing in San Francisco.

(image via Niantic)

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Dan Van Winkle
Dan Van Winkle (he) is an editor and manager who has been working in digital media since 2013, first at now-defunct <em>Geekosystem</em> (RIP), and then at <em>The Mary Sue</em> starting in 2014, specializing in gaming, science, and technology. Outside of his professional experience, he has been active in video game modding and development as a hobby for many years. He lives in North Carolina with Lisa Brown (his wife) and Liz Lemon (their dog), both of whom are the best, and you will regret challenging him at <em>Smash Bros.</em>