Pokemon Go, more than anything, is a game that really improves or gets worse depending on where you live. The bigger the city, the closer to the USA you are, the better your experiences are while playing the game. Okay, that is a bit of a generalisation, but it’s basically true. If you play Pokemon Go in even a remotely rural area, then you have a massive disadvantage than someone living in a city.
I didn’t realise how bad this was until someone I do local raids with showed me some screenshots and described his attempts at spoofing. Spoofing, for those who don’t know, involves faking your GPS location, so you can be literally anywhere on the planet. But most people who spoof just transport themselves to large cities where the Pokestops and gyms are aplenty.
This guy hadn’t really been spoofing for long, but he noticed something amazing. Firstly, in big cities, there are gyms and Pokestops every-bloody-where. You’re basically tripping over the fuckers with, in some places, one or two on every street corner. In comparison with the cities in Cyprus, it’s… well, it’s Pokemon heaven.
The other thing he noticed was just how fast raids filled up. Here in Cyprus, I’ve only ever seen completely full raids on a handful of occasions. The first one I saw was on Moltres Day, where the first gym we started at was completely full, until we decided to split off into groups. The same thing happened on Gengar Day, where we all met at the least favourite Ex Raid Gym and everyone did the raid there. The last time I saw a raid with 20 accounts (and a total of 14 players) was during the Rayquaza event. The very first raid I did saw a full raid party, with 5 accounts having to sit out until next time. Yes, there are a LOT of players here with multiple accounts. If you live in a big city though, almost every level 50 raid will fill up and fast.
Of course, a lot of those accounts could be spoofers as well, but you’ll get at least a handful of real players there. In fact, players in big cities get way more advantages because of spoofers, because there’s always someone around to actually do Legendary raids with. That doesn’t happen in a smaller city or town because there’s not enough players most of the time and no spoofers to back them up. You’ll also get plenty of choice, since there’s so many gyms and so many raids to do anyway.
But really, it’s the ability to actually WALK to and from Pokestops that’s the greatest thing. A while back, I lived in a small village 20km away from the nearest city. The closest Pokestop that wasn’t on private land or locked up behind a paywall of sorts was 14km away. Sure, there’s a Pokestop at the nearby airport (which was about 5km away) but I’d have to risk paying to get in, the Pokestop’s in a weird location away from the road and it’s at a fucking airport, which is almost always busy. Even the nearest Pokemon spawn point (which was a bumpy road on the edge of the village next door) was still 2km away on a road with no safe way of walking on it.
I couldn’t walk to it anyway, even if I wanted to. Because that would take hours. For one Pokestop. So if I wanted to play, I’d HAVE to drive into town to be able to catch Pokemon, grab research and do raids.
That’s the thing though. There are LOADS of players like that. People who have to drive around just to find Pokestops and gyms. And that ruins the whole damn point of playing Pokemon Go. You’re supposed to walk around catching things but you can’t really do that unless you live in a big city.
And when I say big city, the city I live in barely counts. Heck, the capital city of Cyprus, Nicosia, still requires players to drive around. And rather uniquely, some people HAVE TO CROSS A BORDER into the pseudostate that is Northern Cyprus because a third of the city’s Pokestops are cut off from the rest of the country. I got a glimpse of the local Nicosia raid chats on Discord when I went to Cyprus Comic Con this year and there was STILL a ton of driving around between gyms. In a capital city.
At least things are changing though. In the last few months, I’ve seen a good 10 or so new Pokestops added, particularly at the local town hall and city hub. There are still many, many places that should have Pokestops (especially since there are churches and monuments all over the cities of Cyprus) but I think things are slowly, slowly improving.
Unfortunately though, Pokemon Go in rural areas and smaller countries and cities will never be as amazing as playing in a large city.