If you play Pokemon Go you might have noticed that on Monday all the gyms closed down, replaced by pathetic little gray tables. Yesterday they came back up, refurbished and (more or less) ready to play the new gym system that Niantic has been hinting about for months. As usual, info from Niantic is deliberately sparse and cryptic, leaving the details to the Silph Road
scientists to figure out. Like millions of other rabid players I spent yesterday afternoon and evening out there trying out the new system.
There are some glitches and a few dubious design decisions, but on the whole I think I like it (aesthetically, if nothing else). Instead of flipping through successive panels of gym defenders, you are now confronted with a big glass dome with all the defending Pokemon just kind of hanging out inside.They all have little hearts over their heads representing their current level of "motivation," the new game mechanism that replaces the hopelessly confusing old "prestige" system. They lose motivation when they lose battles, but also just from boredom. You can feed them berries to perk them up.
Things I like about the new system:
- Gym badges, including the ability to track what's going on with your pokemon defenders in distant gyms
- The demise of the "Gym Prestige" system, which I hated
- Finally, something to do with all those useless nanab berries!
- Defending Pokemon are no longer ordered by CP (so I don't have to be at the bottom of the gym all the time, getting whaled on)
- New diversity rules are already making gyms more interesting to fight
- Gyms now have built-in Pokestops. It's like when your health club opens a shop in the lobby for workout gear, but it's all free!
- There are more gyms now - a lot of Pokestops were converted
Things I don't like
- The algorithm for motivation decay is way too harsh, esp. if Reddit is right about Pokemon >3000 CP
- Gym defenders are ordered first come first served - but backwards! First guy in is at the bottom, must fight every attacker first. And last guy in gets his picture displayed on top of the gym, even though he probably just waltzed in and took the last empty slot without fighting. There should be a reward for taking down a gym, not a punishment!
- A depleted Pokemon cannot be retrieved from a gym until it is defeated by a rival team. It should just come home when it hits zero.
- The 100-coin daily limit on rewards for gym defense - especially awful combined with previous bullet
- Players no longer earn stardust for defending gyms. So sad.
- It's really hard to keep track of how many coins have been earned by gym defenders. The journal needs a major overhaul. Stop logging every stupid Pokestop and put some real information in there.
I got into more than a dozen gyms yesterday, mostly by just zooming around the neighborhood dropping into empty slots. I was lucky enough to be fiddling around with my Pokemon menagerie when the gyms came up, and got out there before all the gyms filled up. I'm still not sure exactly how many gyms I'm still in, because for the first hour the gym badge/tracking system wasn't operational. I think it's 6, but I cannot figure out where that 6th gym could possibly be. I've had about 6 mons come home to me bearing coins earned in battle. They've earned 63 coins since yesterday, and potentially could earn as much as 80 more if they all came home right now. Except that if they did all come home now, that would exceed the stupid 100-coin daily limit, so I would lose a bunch of coins. I guess the ideal outcome would be if a couple more came home this evening and the other 2 or 3 (where IS that Exeggecutor??) came home tomorrow. But it's mostly out of my control, which is why the daily limit is so unfair.