New ‘Pokemon GO’ Update Fixes XP Bug, Changes In-Game Tracker, And Nags You When Driving

Pokémon GO received an update Monday which fixes a lingering experience bug when catching Pokémon. The first changes to the in-game “Nearby” tracker were made as well, showing some of the changes Niantic has planned for the popular Android and iOS mobile title.

As previously covered, a previous update broke the bonus experience point gain for catching Pokémon with a “Nice,” “Great,” “or “Excellent” throw. This has been fixed with the Android 0.33.0 and iOS 1.3.0 updates released today. There’s no mention if the reported increased rate of failed captures has been fixed, however, and that change does not appear to be corrected yet.

Pokémon GO will also allow players to change their nickname now. This is only allowed once, however, so players will want to be really sure about any name changes.

Niantic continues to add reminders for players to avoid certain activities while playing Pokémon GO. The latest is the following nag screen that appears when traveling above a certain speed. The player must click on a button to indicate they are a passenger in the vehicle and not the driver. This appears to be more of Niantic covering themselves against any potential liability that comes from people playing the game on their smartphone while driving their car down the road.

Pokemon Go Driving Nag Pop Up
[Image via 'Pokemon Go']

The little mentioned big change with this update is to the “Nearby” tracker. This has been the most controversial feature of Pokémon GO over the last few weeks as Niantic first changed all Pokémon to display with three footsteps indicating distance. The developer then completely removed footsteps, which made it even more difficult to figure out where players needed to go to catch them all.

Today’s update renames the in-game tracker to “Sightings,” which has a few changes beyond a new name. The most obvious change is the icons for Pokémon have been updated to include a grassy backdrop. Interestingly, multiple sightings of the same Pokémon are now condensed to a single icon. So, three nearby Pidgies will be displayed as only one in the “Sightings” box.

Pokemon Go Sightings
[Image via 'Pokemon Go]

The actual scanning functionality searches the surrounding area for Pokémon approximately every 10 seconds. Any new Pokémon that have spawned will, in that timeframe, appear and any that despawned will be removed. The range of the new tracker appears to be around 200 meters, based on testing and confirmation from the community on Reddit.

Expect Niantic Labs to iterate on the new tracker and add more changes based on performance and feedback to it in future updates to Pokémon GO. CEO John Henke previously explained the studio thought the original feature was “confusion and did not meet our underlying product goals.”

Here are the Android patch notes posted to Google Play.

  • Added a dialog to remind Trainers that they should not play while traveling above a certain speed; Trainers will have to indicate they aren’t the driver
  • Fixed a bug that prevented “Nice,” “Great,” and “Excellent” Poké Ball throws from awarding the appropriate XP bonuses
  • Enabled the ability for Trainers to change their nickname one time, so please choose your new nickname wisely
  • Resolved issues with the battery saver mode on iOS and re-enabled the feature
  • Other fixes

And here are the iOS changes as shared on the Apple iTunes store.

  • Added a dialog to remind Trainers that they should not play while traveling above a certain speed. Trainers must confirm they are not driving in order to continue playing
  • Made improvements to the accuracy of a curveball throw
  • Fixed a bug that prevented “Nice,” “Great,” and “Excellent” Poké Ball throws from awarding the appropriate experience bonuses
  • Fixed achievements showing incorrect Medal icons
  • Enabled the ability for Trainers to change their nickname one time, so please choose your new nickname wisely
  • Resolved issues with the battery saver mode and re-enabled this feature
  • Added visuals of Team leaders – Candela, Blanche and Spark
  • We’re currently testing a variation of the “Nearby Pokémon” feature with a subset of users. During this period you may see some variation in the nearby Pokémon UI.
  • Minor text fixes

What do you think about the latest Pokémon GO update? Sound off in the comments below.

[Photo by Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images]