Pokémon GO has certainly been in turmoil lately – the shutdown of third-party Pokémon tracking sites that filled the gap caused by the “three-step” glitch sent fans into a rage. Even though the shutdown was justified, as these third-party sites consumed a significant amount of server resources, causing delays in launches and server troubles, Niantic still hadn’t fixed their own end of the problem.
The latest update, however – version 1.3.0 – leaked on r/pokemongodev before its release today, and it features a hefty slate of needed changes. The biggest standout in the release notes and comments is the new ability for Trainers to change their nickname. This can only be changed once, so “please choose your new nickname wisely.”
Whenever you open the app, it either reminds you to pay attention to your surroundings or keep from trespassing. A new reminder has been added, reminding Trainers not to play while traveling above a certain speed. Trainers must confirm they are not driving in order to dismiss the reminder and keep playing. A paltry solution in the wake of several Pokémon Go-related accidents, but a decent one on Niantic’s part that absolves them of any liability.
Incorrect Medal icons were fixed, and visuals for Team leaders were added. Battery saver mode, a favorite that was widely missed, was also re-enabled.
Several changes were made to Pokémon hunting – the accuracy of curveball throws were improved, and experience bonuses for Poké Ball throws (“Nice!” or “Great!”) were fixed. The biggest standouts, though, are related to tracking in particular. One, within the update’s code itself, involved notifications for the Pokémon GO Plus device, a wearable that Nintendo will release in September. The other involves a variation of the “Nearby Pokémon” feature, now called “Sightings.”
As Forbes explains, the new system “pulses” every ten seconds and changes the list due to spawns and despawns. While it’s no one-two-three step tracking system, it’s much better than the blind guessing of before. A new tracking system is also apparently running alongside the Sightings system in San Francisco which seems to attach Pokémon to nearby Pokéstops.
Overall, this update brings some vastly needed functionality back to the game, and the Redditor who posted the leak has been accurate on Pokémon GO insider knowledge in the past. We’ll see how things improve as Niantic gets their bearings and gets through some growing pains.