Since Pokémon GO was introduced last month in the United States and Australia — and subsequently in countries all over the world — one of the most annoying features has been the game’s Pokémon tracking features, which are seen as pretty unhelpful.
Those in charge of the game and its design, Niantic and Nintendo, appear to be aware of this issue, however. In the past week, the designers have been testing out new strategies to respond to the demands of Pokémon GO players. One recent change — implemented across all markets — is pretty useless and doesn’t change much from features that were already available in the game. The other, released so far in limited markets, has been praised by some bloggers.
First thing’s first: A patch uploaded over the weekend changed the controversial “nearby” feature of the game, which shows which Pokémon are in your general vicinity. Basically, the feature does almost the exact same thing now but has a new label (“sightings”) and has a grass graphic behind the Pokémon. The feature shows you, basically, any Pokémon within about 200 yards. New features include a faster refresh rate and doesn’t show duplicate Pokémon.
The feature being tested out in limited markets has been rated as much more useful than sightings. A nearby tracker that could be rolled out to all of the markets at any time will allow users to tap on the Pokémon they’re interested in and then hit a view button that will then take the user back to the main screen map. That screen will zoom and show the PokeStop closest to your desired Pokémon. Helpfully, if the Pokémon leaves the area before you get there, it will then tell you “The Pokémon fled! Check nearby list for other Pokémon.”
It’s likely only a matter of time until you can get the tracker on your app, too.