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Pokémon GO Will Make Gyms & PokéStops Harder To Access Again

Starting at the end of July, Pokémon GO will make gyms and PokéStops harder to access again. Last summer, when COVID-19 was still in its early stages and many countries around the world issued stay-at-home orders, Niantic added several changes to gyms and PokéStops (as well as changes to the buddy system).

Even as many nations lifted the restrictions, the changes remained in place, and many fans rejoiced. Some of the gyms and PokéStops in the game are already not located in easy to reach places (such as private property). When Niantic increased the distance (allowing players to interact with them from further away), it made the game more accessible to Pokémon GO trainers who previously faced mobility challenges. Other changes included buddy pokémon bringing their trainers more gifts, and incense attracted more pokémon while stationary.

Related: Pokémon GO Adding Shiny Corsola & Okinawan Shirt Pikachu

In a blog post from June 21, Niantic talked at length about a bunch of new changes coming to Pokémon GO which for the most part are optimistic. However, buried near the bottom of the same post is a section where Niantic reveals it is, "planning to remove or change some of the bonuses introduced last year." Regarding gyms and PokéStops, Niantic writes, "the distance will revert back to the standard distance, when it makes sense in different places, though may be increased during future events and as part of certain features."

The blog post also says that "the frequency of these gifts from Buddy Pokémon will be reduced," meaning fewer chances of getting more items such as Pokéballs and potions. Lastly, incense effectiveness will be tweaked in a way that reverts them to their pre-COVID effectiveness, "when you’re stationary and increased effectiveness will kick in when you are moving." These changes will begin a trial period in the U.S. and New Zealand starting at the end of July.

While the Pokémon GO fanbase has already begun voicing its opposition to these changes, the biggest point of contention is the change to gyms and PokéStops. As mentioned above, the change made the game more playable to disabled trainers, and just generally safer for everyone. There are situations where trainers would have to cross busy streets or put themselves in awkward positions to reach PokéStops, and the distance change alleviated those situations. Removing this feature would be yet another letdown to Pokémon GO trainers.

The same can be said for the buddy pokémon and incense changes, as trainers could still engage with Pokémon GO while being inside, which is a reality for some. And, on top of all of this, GPS drift is a widespread issue for all trainers, across different phones and providers: trainers could be standing right next to a gym, but their avatar will wander across the street, rendering them unable to interact with the gym. Niantic writes that these changes could come back in special circumstances, but ask any Pokémon GO trainer, and they will tell you they should not be removed at all.

Next: Pokémon GO's Testing New Real-Time Skies & Improved Pokédex

Source: Niantic

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