When I saw a news announcement pop up as I opened Pokemon Go, saying Poke Coins would be easier to get, I was happy. For about ten seconds. Frankly, Poke Coins are very hit or miss on how you obtain them. On the one hand, someone with lots of nearby gyms can get a small trickle of coins every day. Someone in the middle of nowhere might wait days to get their Pokemon to come back at all.
The announcement seemed great at first. The idea that we can get Poke Coins by doing normal tasks sounds great, until you dig deeper. And, you know, actually see what the changes are.
With the proposed changes, you can get 5 coins a day from doing tasks.
Specifically the following tasks:
- Make an Excellent Throw
- Evolve a Pokémon
- Make a Great Throw
- Use a Berry to help catch a Pokémon
- Take a snapshot of your buddy
- Catch a Pokémon
- Power up a Pokémon
- Make a Nice Throw
- Transfer a Pokémon
- Win a raid
Now, that list doesn’t seem too bad at first glance. After all, one Excellent Throw generally also counts as a Nice Throw and a Great throw. But keep in mind that you need to do all of these tasks once a day. Not everyone has the candy or need to evolve a Pokemon. More importantly, not everyone can win a raid every day.
That’s also a lot of work for 5 coins.
But according to Niantic, you need to do all 10 tasks every day.
Trainers, for the duration of this test period in Australia, you can earn 5 PokéCoins total after completing all the featured activities for the day! We'll be listening for your feedback during this testing period, and may make more tweaks before the feature is released globally. https://t.co/h6IuiTw6e7
— Niantic Support (@NianticHelp) May 6, 2020
It’s not 5 coins per task. Or even 5 coins for some of the tasks. To put it in perspective, you need to make 20 Excellent Throws, evolve 20 Pokemon and win 20 raids, 20 days in a row… to get enough coins to buy a single Raid Pass. Which costs 100 coins. Alright, I accept that it’s a guaranteed steady income of coins, but it’s so slow compared to sticking a Pokemon in a gym and is actually more expensive.
With Pokemon in Gyms, you spend a revive and maybe a potion and some berries to put a Pokemon in a gym, and potions to kick other Pokemon out of gyms. The daily tasks require a minimum of 12 candies (or a traded Pokemon), some stardust and a raid pass to get your coins. You get a free raid pass every day, but there’s no guarantee you can do any of the raids that spawn nearby.
Weirdly though, earning coins from Gyms is being nerfed too.
Normally, if you have a Pokemon in a gym for about 8 hours, you get your 50 coins. However, under the new system, to get your 50 coins, you need Pokemon to be in a gym for 25 hours. This equates to about 1 coin every half an hour, compared to the 1 coin every minute you get now.
Now, this is definitely doable if you live in a fairly remote area with a good mixture of players and gyms. But in busy areas, some players are guaranteed to be shafted simply because gyms tend to change hands very quickly. It’s much harder to keep a gym for half an hour than it is for 1 minute. Currently if you hold a gym for 29 minutes, you get 29 coins. Under the new system, a player would not be rewarded at all for holding a gym for 29 minutes!
The Poke Coins earned by not buying them for money will suck with these changes.
Sure, you may be able to guarantee 5 coins every day, but with gyms taking that much longer to pay out, you kinda end up with less in the long run.
I get it, Niantic needs to make money (although apparently they made a fuckton of money in 2019)(citation needed). They need people to spend real life money on Poke Coins. However normally doing so is a convenience, supplemented with the free to play income from gyms. You can play for free, you can just use your free raid pass and free incubator. Buying more is a convenience and can be done for free if you play strategically.
But making it harder to get coins will probably turn people off. I’m sure a lot of players are like me – they won’t ever consider spending €15 on an Ultra Box. But if I have, say, 800 coins already, buying some coins before an event starts seems worthwhile. If that steady income of free coins disappears however, people won’t be willing to spend money to make up the difference.
This also completely screws over genuine F2Players, and all-round makes life more difficult for everyone.
However this all very much feels like a Team Rocket scheme.
Call me a conspiracy theorist, but I think this is part of something bigger. Niantic are probably testing the waters right now. The current system has been working somewhat alright so far and looks good compared to the proposed changes.
But what’s stopping them with releasing a tweaked system that looks slightly better? Right now, it is VERY easy for Niantic to make changes and say “LOOK, we listened to the community!” And a lot of people would accept that, even if you get less coins now than you used to. After all, this is a way for everyone to earn coins, right? And they’ve made lots of other positive changes too, right? Surely Niantic cares for us, right?
And we’ll accept it and move on. Only for Niantic to nerf coin gains later on again in the future.
Don’t buy coins. Stock up on gym-earned coins while you can. Because this update will probably be forced on all players sooner than we all expect.