The latest big update to Pokemon Go was the release of the first Pokemon from the Unova region into the game. That was the region that served as the setting for Pokemon Black & White and was the first setting for the game not based on a Japanese locale. But location doesn’t mean the same thing in Pokemon Go, at least not in the sense it does in the core RPG series.
What it does mean is that players get new Pokemon to catch.
If you have caught them all, then having more to catch can be enough motivation to get out in the world again. But what if you haven’t caught them all yet?
It has been about a year since Niantic started putting the fourth generation Pokemon, from the Sinnoh region, into the game. Doubtless with an eye towards slowing down their release, lest they run out of official Pokemon to put in the game, staggered the release of those Pokemon. They also put in a bottleneck in the form of the Sinnoh Stone mechanic, which I mentioned previously.
That has left me with a backlog of Pokemon waiting to be evolved. But at least I have those Pokemon and it is only a matter of time before the weekly task lottery finally delivers the required item enough times to wrap that up. But I am still quite a ways from the gold medal for the Sinnoh region, much less catching them all. After a year that seems a bit odd.
Meanwhile, the new Unova Pokemon are not exactly easy finds. In seeing that, the problem seems to be how Pokemon Go is structured.
The core RPG Pokemon titles all have a base number of Pokemon in each game, usually around 150. That gets you the regional Pokedex completion. After that there is the National Pokedex, where you have to catch all known Pokemon, but that is really an end-game task. There are usually special mechanics and the ability to trade in the online Pokemon auction house to get what you are looking for.
Pokemon Go, on the other hand, is a single game. It now has to contain five generations of Pokemon within a single game. After all, if you’re a new player who just downloaded the game, you want to be able to catch up. And so if you look around you’ll still find Bulbasaur and Charmander and Squirtle roaming about with their first generation companions. You will also see second and third generation Pokemon out as well. And then the Sinnoh region Pokemon. And finally, somewhere in the mix, the new Unova Pokemon.
In my experience seeing half a dozen wild Pokemon on you phone screen at the same time constitutes a “crowd” as far as Pokemon Go is concerned. In that situation, where the new Pokemon represent less than one in five of the total Pokemon population, seeing something from Unova can be a bit of a challenge.
Which, I guess can be good from some angles. It does make you pay more attention to the hunt. But it also makes catching them all somewhat less likely. If I am still behind on Sinnoh Pokemon a year later, the prospect for Unova doesn’t seem all that great.
And don’t get me started on the egg situation. The 7km eggs you get from friends as gifts still seem oriented on the Alola Pokemon, which are just graphical variations of first generation Pokemon that don’t even have their own spots in the Pokedex.
Anyway, so it goes. Pokemon Go remains popular and profitable and a lot of the changes made to the game over the first three years have been pretty good. But there are three more generations of Pokemon still out there, so the crowding looks like it will only get worse as time goes on.