If there's one thing Richard Garriott knows, it's how to give a game legs. It's super appropriate, then, that the man behind Ultima would have a few words to say about the current state of Pokemon Go, a mobile title that was meant to keep players coming back for more.
Richard Garriott took to Twitter over the weekend to answer a pretty simple question. One of his followers inquired why he decided to quit playing Pokemon Go and his response was direct and to the point.
It seems like Garriott has the same issues many players have had with Pokemon Go, the breakout hit of the summer that people traveling in droves across the world to gather virtual monsters. I said it when the game launched and I'll say it again, Pokemon Go is a great skeleton for a game, a solid foundation on which to build something truly special. Unfortunately, months and months later, none of that building has actually occurred.
In the months following the launch of Pokemon Go, the developers at Niantic have done a good job of stabilizing the game, tweaking a handful of features and offering a solid initial lineup of Pokemon to catch in the wild. But even with the gym improvements and the recently launched Halloween event, the fact of the matter is that Pokemon Go has not made like its titular critters and actually evolved. Maybe there's something huge coming, but we're thinking individual additions and improvements released on a regular basis would have helped keep the community invested.
Much of the gaming world seems to be of a similar opinion when it comes to Pokemon Go, including Garriott. Grinding in games is a tricky needle to thread. Two years into Destiny and Bungie is still fine-tuning that process. Heck, even Blizzard tweaks the leveling in World of Warcraft to this day. The golden rule of the process, though, seems to be that it has to be engaging and rewarding. As Garriott points out, grinding levels in Pokemon Go takes far too long and, more importantly, there's not much benefit to putting in that effort in the first place.
Add to that his noted lack of new and varied content, as well as a lack of much in the way of "end game" activities and it's not hard to understand why he and many others have stepped away from the mobile giant.
Still, it looks like something as simple as an extremely basic Halloween-themed event has provided a nice uptick for the game, so fans clearly want to get back into Pokemon Go so long as they've been given a reason to do so. Hopefully, Niantic has some juicy stuff cooking, because we'd certainly like to see the game become something special; something that I think a lot of us were hoping for from the get-go.