Concerns about the future trading in Pokemon Go

Am I the only player concerned about how trading will affect the game in a negative way?

I guess being a programmer/game developer my job is to think “what can go wrong” first, while players think “how cool it will be”.

I understand that trading is a big thing in the Pokemon lore & games (I am not a fan, but I read about it). Trading in MMOs is generally a good thing, especially in Pokemon go where it counters the localisation feature of spawn nests or specific pokemons. Your area has an abundance of 5 pokemon types, you can trade with another player that has other 5 pokemon types, everyone is happy.

But..being a location based MMO, targeting a mainstream audience, and living in a world where bad thing happen I can see more reasons “against” than “pro” ones. An alternative to trading (in my opinion) is to rotate the spawn zone so in the end everyone has the same chance of capturing all the pokemons, if they played for a long period of time and more free containers.

Profit lured players

A new opportunity (beside selling the account) will emerge: selling rare/big pokemons.

Tricking/stealing

Combining a game that is played on the street, with a mainstream audience, and the shady people that want to make money will find new ways to trick players giving them pokemons. The worst scenario I can think out of my head now (I am sure we will see new smarter ways in the real life): spot a pokemon go player, steal their phone, transfer their pokemon, sell the pokemon.

Copyright to overmetal.com

Easy way out

All the shady/bad/cheating ways to collect rare pokemons are done for a purpose — to sell them. So let’s talk about buyers. Not working hard for something lowers their perceived value, they will brag about the new acquisitions and conquered gyms.

Poison community

This will lead to more players becoming frustrated. Frustrated players will shout (for good reason), making them see the community with more suspicious eyes, not trusting the fellow hard working (or lucky) players, poisoning the community even more. This finally leads to one of two things: they will buy pokemons or quit the game. I am sure you are already sick of the game because you see 3000CP Dragonite and 36 level players in your area, after 1 week of playing, wait until there are more of them :(.

Busy spawn zone

If you played any big MMORPG for a long time you were at least once in the position where you couldn’t kill a mob (in this case capture a pokemon) because an army of bots are farming it. In Pokemon GO this will not be the case, there is no “last hit” mechanic, all pokemons can be caught by all players in the area, so a farming bots will not affect the game experience at a Gameplay level (yet). But let’s presume that on the technical layer this will harm the players surrounding a Legendary pokemon spawn. I’m not familiar with their client/server communication layer and infrastructure, but I can guess this will happen with the nearby trainers feature (required by the Challenge mechanic), flooding your client with thousands of players information, freezing your 3G connection and stealing your opportunity to capture your biggest pokemon. (Ex: big event or rare spawn, 100 players will try to catch it, 2500 bots teleport there with GPS spoof, your game freezes, you do not collect pokemon don’t pass Go).

Water — flood — by http://joeyb0015.deviantart.com/

Developer support flood

“Please give me my pokemon back, I did the trade by mistake.” “I selected the wrong pokemon and the other player doesn’t want to give it back”. Sounds familiar? I guess the support ticket rate will increase by at least 1000% because of this single feature. Niantic will drown in tickets, decreasing the response/solve rate of all tickets. This will hurt all the players in a bigger scheme of things. (PS: my 1 week old tickets are still unanswered).

Finding a pokemon is not the same as receiving it

If the developers will allow new pokemons to be traded in (that you do not currently have in your pokedex) will allow players to “catch/find” all the pokemons without leaving their bedroom. The game will change from “who finds more pokemons” to “who has more money” or “who has more friends”. More frustration for the players that walk 5km each day. Weeee.

Ingress event in Tokyo

Can Niantic make it even worse?

Never say never. One possible scenario is to give legendary pokemons only to location based events. Events (based on Ingress history) are taking place only in big cities around the world. Doing this, 90% of the players will not have access to these pokemons, so they cannot complete their pokedex. The desire to complete the pokedex (being a big part of the game and 90% of the pokemon lore) and the limited spawn locations will lead to “demand”, demands leads to “supply”, that leads to more sellers/fake accounts. Weeeee.

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