If you've been playing Pokemon Go in preparation for the gym update we previewed at E3 2017, good news: it's now live! Bad news: its reception could be better. Twitter, Reddit, and other forums where players can voice their opinions are flooded with negative critiques of the system, to the point that it appears Niantic is already adjusting rewards less than a day in.
If you're not familiar, the new gym system does a few things: it reduces the overall spots available on a gym and gives pokemon defending a gym a "motivation" stat. The update also makes it so that players have to wait for their pokemon to be defeated in order for it to return with PokeCoins. (Previously, a trainer would earn 10 PokeCoins instantly after putting one of their pokemon on a gym.)
When the update launched, players could earn 1 PokeCoin per hour that their pokemon successfully defended a gym. That's pretty rough for players near gyms with high turnover rates, and players were, frankly, pissed.
@PokemonGoApp Thank you for ruining your game with this gym update. I have a lot more free time now! #PokemonGoJune 23, 2017
Held down a total of 8 gyms today.. and got 2 Pokecoins for it. pic.twitter.com/DOa5LGPfFnJune 23, 2017
Pokemon GO gyms are like real life history. First it was all about fighting, now it's all about motivation and depression.June 23, 2017
It's now impossible for me to get coins in new Pokémon Go cause in my area every time I take a gym it's immediately sniped by YellowJune 23, 2017
Gym battling is so painful for team Instinct. Not even worth it. Mystic is everywhere and very active. They were finally losing interestJune 23, 2017
Thankfully, Niantic seems to have quietly changed the payout to 1 Coin per 10 minutes since the update went live this morning. Unfortunately, this doesn't help the rural players who rely on gyms with low turnover rates. Reddit user steveo51515 explains the frustration pretty well:
"Is this actually real? The town I work in has literally less than 5 players, and I think we're all Mystic. The 5 gyms in town were level FOUR Mystic for months on end. Collected coins daily from them. As soon as the gyms went live I went to them and threw my best Pokes in them. Fast forward 16 hours and they're still sitting there. I thought ALL Pokes returned when their motivation drained, but I just read they need to be defeated at least once!
So basically: My 5 best Pokemon are in gyms that NO ONE visits. I can't claim coins from these Pokes whatsoever until they're returned."
There's also the problem of cheaters. While legitimate players need to physically travel to a gym in order to place pokemon on a gym, fight defenders, or feed berries to increase a pokemon's motivation stat, those who fake GPS coordinates - or "spoofers" - can instantly teleport around town, pumping pokemon full of berries (theoretically) indefinitely - and thus never opening up a spot for an opposing team's real player. Again, players are not happy.
Hey @PokemonGoApp, you're NOT doing enough to take down spoofers.This Gym Rework launch is a DISASTER.#PokemonGOJune 22, 2017
So, to recap: according to Twitter and Reddit, the new system gives less of a reward to urban players, presents a roadblock for rural players, and everyone loses to "spoofers" who fake their GPS location. Not a great start, but hopefully things can be tweaked to make the game fair and fun. Personally, I admit the idea of catching pokemon in the real world is still appealing to me, but right now it doesn't sound like it's worth the headache.