It must be absolute mayhem over at Niantic HQ right about now. Here’s a quick timeline of recent events: On Thursday, they released the new tracker to most of the United States and Europe. Less than 24 hours later, players began leaving the game 1-star ratings on the app store. And then a few hours ago, Niantic rushed out a quick update. But the Pokemon GO tracker is STILL broken!
As of yesterday, the main issue with the tracker (and the reason players weren’t happy) was that 1) The majority of the Pokemon on the nearby tracker are common trash, and 2) You can only see Pokemon that are right next to Poke Stops. The update did two things; it enabled the old “sightings” tracker to be switched on automatically if there are no Poke Stops nearby, and it increased the range of the “sightings” tracker from 50m back to 200m.
And while this update might help super-rural players with absolutely no Poke Stops nearby, it does nothing for the millions and millions of players who live in Suburbia and have maybe one or two Poke Stops nearby. The new Pokemon GO tracker is still broken; and I’ll explain why this is the case.
A few weeks ago, back when we all had the old “sightings” tracker, you might have seen that there were 9 Pokemon in your area. You wouldn’t have known exactly where they were, but you knew that they were close by and that with a little bit of effort you could (probably) find them. Life was simpler back then.
Now that (nearly) all of us have access to the new “nearby” tracker, the game has become more chore than fun. Imagine you live near a single Poke Stop, and on that Poke Stop, a single Pokemon has spawned. You open the game, you take a look at the mini-tracker (in the bottom right corner of the screen), and you see a Jigglypuff!
“Awesome,” you think to yourself, as you expand the tracker hoping to see the location of the Jigglypuff. Except, when you expand the tracker, there is no Jigglypuff. The Paras is also missing. There is only one Pokemon listed on the tracker, and it’s not the one you were excited for.
It’s an Eevee… But where did the Jigglypuff and Paras go? What’s going on? Well, since you’re close enough to a Poke Stop, you’ve got the new “nearby” tracker enabled. Sure, there might be hundreds of other Pokemon in your area that you wanted to catch, but you will never see them in your tracker unless you catch the Eevee first (or whatever else has spawned at the Poke Stop).
And that’s the real reason the Pokemon GO tracker is still broken. For some of us, our nearest Poke Stop is a solid 5 minutes’ walk away. This means that if we want to be able to revert to the old “sightings” tab of the tracker, we need to go to the Poke Stop, catch all of the Pokemon that are there, and then (and only then) will we be given access to the old tracker.
Thankfully, some of the good folks over at Reddit have come up with a solution. User Malkuno made a post to the Pokemon GO subreddit where they suggested a simple change to the current tracker: enable users to manually change from the “sightings” to the “nearby” tracker. Here’s the picture that was uploaded to Reddit:
This is such a simple fix, and I’m honestly not sure why Niantic didn’t go down this route to begin with. It solves the issue of having a (nearly) empty list of Pokemon when you’ve only got 1 Poke Stop nearby, it fixes the naming issue, and it puts a limit on the number of times a unique Poke Stop can appear in your list (once).
I especially like how every Pokemon at a certain Poke Stop can be seen when you click on the corresponding Poke Stop in the tracker list. This is a great way to cut down on duplicate Pokemon/Poke Stops and makes the overall design feel much cleaner. Kudos, /u/Malkuno.
At this point, it’s painfully obvious that the “new” Pokemon GO tracker is still broken for a lot of semi-rural players. Niantic are going to have to work fast to fix this, because players are not happy. All over the Internet, players are leaving scathing reviews, boycotting in-game transactions, and even uninstalling the game.
It seems like it should be an easy fix, and Niantic have said that they are looking to user feedback for future updates, so I’m going to stay positive that a good update is in the works for the (currently) dysfunctional tracker. Until then, though, we’re all just going to have to wait and see what happens next.
What do you think about the new tracker? Do you think that, despite today’s ninja-update, the Pokemon GO tracker is still broken? Or do you think we’re all over-reacting? As always, let me know your thoughts in the comment section below!