‘Pokemon GO’: Niantic Hints They Are Considering Move-Changing Feature

Pokemon GO has two sorts of players: the casual market that developers Niantic Labs originally targeted, and a dedicated group of “hardcore gamer” players determined to be the best that they can possibly be.

That’s actually caused a lot of problems for Niantic. While these hardcore players likely represent a small minority of Pokemon GO players, they’re vocal, and they’re one of the most dedicated groups of players as Pokemon GO struggles to maintain its user base. Numbers vary wildly, and Niantic claims far more daily Pokemon GO players than many mobile data aggregators, but either way, the game is clearly losing popularity, and frustrations are mounting. And as hardcore players tend to make the experience of the game more frustrating for casual players while providing less income, as the Inquisitr has previously reported, Niantic seems to be shifting their focus to make the competitive Pokemon GO game more interesting.

One of those changes that the hardcore players are desperate for? Being able to change a Pokemon’s moves. And according to a report from The Express, Niantic may be considering it.

One of the biggest frustrations for hardcore players to date has been Pokemon move sets. If you’re familiar with Pokemon GO at all, you know that each Pokemon in the game has a set of two moves: one quick and weak, one slow and powerful — known as “fast moves” and “charge moves” respectively. Those moves are selected randomly from a pool of potentials each time a Pokemon is captured, or each time it is evolved. And you’ve probably figured out by this point that some are better than others.

The competitive game in 'Pokemon GO' is frustrating enough as it is.
The competitive game in 'Pokemon GO' is frustrating enough as it is. [Image by Don Crothers]

There are tools online for figuring out just how much better. To pick an example, Gyarados is a very popular gym Pokemon. It has three different potential fast moves, and five different charge moves as of the time of this writing. And yes, sometimes an update will change that. Using the Pokemon Triple Dex tool, we can see that results in 15 different move “sets” — and that some only do 68 percent as much damage as the top combination, Dragon Tail and Hydro Pump.

On top of that, it requires 400 Magikarp candies to evolve a Gyarados. That requires catching around a hundred of them, no simple task. And so the frustration is understandable when players put in a significant amount of effort to evolve something with a randomly-chosen, sub-optimal move set.

Nobody wants to spend time and energy on a Gengar with perfect stats, Sucker Punch and Dark Pulse.
Nobody wants to spend time and energy on a Gengar with perfect stats, Sucker Punch and Dark Pulse. [Image by Niantic Labs/The Pokemon Company]

According to the Express, a fan of the game poked Niantic about this on their official support page, asking Niantic to change one of their Pokemon’s moves for them.

“Please can you change the move to Earthquake instead of Heavy Slam? Getting bad movesets demotivates me.”

Niantic support responded that the feature didn’t currently exist — but the wording suggests that they’re definitely considering it.

“Thanks for reaching out,” Niantic responded in a tweet. “This is not currently available, unfortunately, but we are aware of the community’s interest in this feature.”

As Niantic has, several times, teased a “major update” coming for gyms and gym battles – the game’s main competitive features — many are now speculating that the vague wording might indicate that a move-changing feature is on the way.

Ultimately, for most Pokemon GO players, this is hardly a game-breaker. Pokemon GO‘s competitive game is lackluster enough, and the battles simplistic enough, that it just doesn’t make a huge difference for most.

But for players who analyze the strength of every Pokemon they catch and who work specifically to create the best possible Pokemon, it’s a pretty big deal – and if Pokemon GO keeps losing players, Niantic may have to start relying on these hardcore Pokemon trainers to maintain their revenue stream. Appeasing them could ultimately prove significant to Pokemon GO‘s bottom line, and continued survival.

[Featured Image by Niantic Labs/The Pokemon Company]