Pokémon Go developer Niantic caught a lot of heat last month when it released an update that had only minor text fixes as users battled more bugs in the code than bug-type Pokémon. The most recent update is much more substantial — it’s the biggest update to the game yet, in fact. However, most of the changes aren’t positive. Niantic seems to have given up on fixing the nearby Pokémon tracker, power-saving mode is gone, and that’s not all.
When it launched, Pokémon Go had a neat nearby tracking feature. The Pokémon in your nearby panel were organized by how close they were to you, and a series of 1-3 footprints told you how far away they were. It was like a game of hotter or colder to track them down. This feature stopped working a little over a week after launch, at which time the tracker just showed three footprints for all Pokémon.
This “three-step bug” irked the community and really made the game less fun to play, but it looks like the tracker isn’t coming back. In the new update, Niantic just removed the footprints altogether. The tracker is still broken, but it doesn’t look broken. To add insult to injury, Niantic is also going after apps and websites that have been using the Pokémon Go API to map nearby Pokémon. Yes, that’s kind of cheating, but it’s really the only alternative to the non-functional tracker.
Also in this update, iOS gamers were saddened to see that the battery saving mode was removed from the game. This feature would dim your phone’s display when the device was at your side, allowing you to wander around to hatch eggs or look for Pokémon spawns without having the screen on full blast. Now you’ll have to manage the brightness manually.
The last big change will really only be a bummer for people who relied on the massively overpowered Vaporeon water-type Pokémon. This Pokémon (and others that had similarly overpowered attacks) have been nerfed by lowering the damage dealt by regular attacks, balancing the overall game. There are also refined animations, avatar customizations, and some new warnings about not trespassing or driving while playing. Maybe people wouldn’t be trespassing or driving around aimlessly if they knew where the Pokémon were?