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Pokemon Go

Posted: Sat Jul 09, 2016 3:36 am UTC
by Xanthir
In case you aren't aware, Pokemon Go is basically Ingress with a Pokémon skin. It's kinda AR - you walk around in the real world looking for Pokemon, at which point it displays it against what your camera sees, and you fling pokeballs at it until you catch it. There are "Pokespots" scattered around that give resources (like extra pokeballs), and gyms at various landmarks that you can conquer and defend for "pokebucks" (the in-game currency).

It's silly and small, but very nostalgic (it's limited to the Gen1 pokemon, at least for now), and a good excuse to get out of the house. The wife and I went walking today, and the trail near our place is *full* of pokespots and several gyms. Right now we're arguing about which team to join, because if we're on the same team we can support each other in the gyms. (You have to defeat all of the trainers and the gym master to take over a gym for your team.)

Re: Pokemon Go

Posted: Sat Jul 09, 2016 4:04 am UTC
by DaBigCheez
Have started poking at it a little bit. It's definitely not going to be for everyone, just in the sense that if you're in a rural area, you may not *have* any of the points to interact with. In a metropolitan area, though, they're seeded pretty thick and it's a great excuse to get out there and take a walk.

That said, I can't really judge the gameplay, because the servers have been coughing up a lung...well, since launch. A Pokemon game attracted the attention of a lot of people, who knew? It should die down a bit as it gets further out after release, but in the meantime, there's a lot of random crashes, freezes, or failures to load due to their servers being unloaded during peak hours. Night-time walks it is.

(Fun fact: not only were their servers down, the third-party sites that you could use to check if the servers were down were *themselves* DDoSed by the sheer number of people trying to check if the Pokemon Go servers were back up yet.)

Re: Pokemon Go

Posted: Sat Jul 09, 2016 5:12 am UTC
by cyanyoshi
I still haven't been able to log in using my pokemon.com account because of website problems, and I'd rather not link it to my Google account. So...yeah. I hope they get their stuff together so I can actually play the game.

Re: Pokemon Go

Posted: Sat Jul 09, 2016 5:54 am UTC
by Xanthir
DaBigCheez wrote:(Fun fact: not only were their servers down, the third-party sites that you could use to check if the servers were down were *themselves* DDoSed by the sheer number of people trying to check if the Pokemon Go servers were back up yet.)

Yeah, that's why you use the Twitter account instead. ^_^

Re: Pokemon Go

Posted: Sat Jul 09, 2016 7:39 am UTC
by EdgarJPublius
My rambling thoughts so far:
  • I can't ever motivate myself to just go on a walk around the neighborhood or ride my bike without some other purpose than just fresh air and exercise. Pokemon Go has turned out to be a pretty good excuse to go outside and walk around though.
  • There's a nice little loop right across the street from me that has a gym and four pokestops, which helps because it's so quick and easy to just jog around real quick, grab supplies at the stops, maybe catch a few pokemon, then train at the gym for a while. The loop it about 1km, so walking it twice hatches an egg too.
  • I've got tons of nostalgia for the original Pokemon, having watched the cartoon and played Red/Blue with my brother, so wandering around catching 'em all is a pleasant stroll down memory lane, in addition to one around my neighborhood.
  • The Game store I mostly play Magic at is a pokestop and most of the staff, plus a lot of the other magic players, also play Pokemon Go, so it's basically non-stopped Lured and full of people calling out whenever they see a new pokemon spawn, which was pretty fun.
  • Doing my loop tonight, I saw tons of people with their phones out Pokemonning in groups and individually. I was really surprised at how popular it is.
  • The local hackerspace has a gym at the far end of the parking lot, but the closest pokestop is just far enough away that it's inconvenient to get to from the 'space.
  • The servers have been a dumpster fire during the day, but fine in the evening/at night. Which is ok by me because here in Texas the daystar burns with the fury of a thousand Flareons and it's best not to go outside anyway.
  • When I go out hunting, or just sitting at a pokestop, it seems that Ratattas and Pidgeys each outnumber everything else combined 10-to-1. Pretty much everyone locally who's been playing for the last few days has a few maxed out Pidgeots and Ratticates by now. The actual variety of Pokemon I see normally seems fairly balanced, just the weighting of how often they appear relative to each other seems way unbalanced.
  • I like that certain Pokemon are found in certain areas, but I wonder about some of the particulars regarding the implementation here. Like, I get that in theory water Pokemon are found near water. But I've found a variety of water-types wandering around me and I'm not that close to any bodies of water not even really a pond or creek. On the other hand, I haven't seen any wild ice, fire, rock or electric types , and I have no idea where to even start looking.
  • I don't really like the level-up/evolve mechanic, especially considering how unbalanced the spawn rates of certain Pokemon types are. I understand why battling isn't more prominent in the game and I'm fine with that. I just wish there was some other way to level up and evolve my Pokemon. It would be nice if battling at a gym, or having a Pokemon defend a gym improved your Pokemon or yielded candies. Alternatively, some way to exchange stardust and/or unwanted candies for more desirable candies would be nice, even if the exchange rate were massively expensive.
  • Also, I want to be able to choose my own Eeveelution.
  • On the topic of being an old-foegy and get of my lawn you young whipersnappers, why 'Pokestops' and not the already established in franchise-lore 'Pokemart' or 'Pokecenter'?
  • Not sure how I feel about the positions of stuff on the map. Lots of other people have already pointed out that it's a little weird that so many pokestops/gyms are at churches. On the other hand, I think that fact has been a little overwrought by the internet, churches do have many qualities that make them useful for this type of game. It's more weird to me that there are so many churches and most people don't really seem to notice until their attention is brought to it. On the gripping hand, the map was imported from Ingress where my understanding is it was mostly user-generated, so the weirdest thing may be that the people noticing and commenting on it now are basically the same types of people (if not necessarily the same specific people) who made all those churches into points of interest in the first place. It'll be interesting to see if anything changes significantly when/if Pokemon users are able to submit/suggest new points of interest.
  • Speaking of the map, My city's has a big hole in the middle of it. the entire downtown area is completely empty of Pokestops and Gyms. It was quite well populated back in the Ingress heyday, and I am given to understand it was still populated during the Pokemon Go beta. But apparently some wires got crossed at launch and all of Downtown Austin, Texas (including the entire UT campus) just never made it to live. Many locals are vexed by this.

Re: Pokemon Go

Posted: Sun Jul 10, 2016 8:09 pm UTC
by bachaddict
I was a beta tester, now playing in Germany. The servers die at about 8am US time! It's pretty fun for my first pokemon game, though I will probably shift my playtime back to ingress before long.

Re: Pokemon Go

Posted: Sun Jul 10, 2016 8:22 pm UTC
by Flumble
I was considering playing the game (the weather is nice and the holidays have begun), but then I remembered I have a windows phone.

Bummer. :|

Re: Pokemon Go

Posted: Sun Jul 10, 2016 8:25 pm UTC
by Angua
It's pretty cool how you and your team mates can take down a gym at the same time. My bf and I are going to have to go shopping together from now on, as the gym near the supermarket is pretty heavily defended.

Re: Pokemon Go

Posted: Sun Jul 10, 2016 9:39 pm UTC
by EdgarJPublius
I have a real hard time taking down gyms. Most of the time they bug out and I can't KO the last Pokemon defending, and the rest of the time GPS is wonky and says I'm not close enough even though I'm standing on the place where the gym is.

Re: Pokemon Go

Posted: Sun Jul 10, 2016 11:54 pm UTC
by Lucrece
Tried it, couldn't get into it. I hate playing app games on a phone, especially if they rely on touch screen gimmicks. Seemed a bit simplistic.

I must say I felt vindicated by its popularity, though. I remember when I would play Pokemon in my 3DS some years earlier and sometimes I'd get sneers from the same kind of men who are now wondering around with their phones in the street in search of pokemon.

It's as if this "infantile" past time of videogame fandom is getting more widespread acceptance.

Re: Pokemon Go

Posted: Mon Jul 11, 2016 12:24 am UTC
by Xanthir
EdgarJPublius wrote:I have a real hard time taking down gyms. Most of the time they bug out and I can't KO the last Pokemon defending, and the rest of the time GPS is wonky and says I'm not close enough even though I'm standing on the place where the gym is.

When it bugs out on the last pokemon, if you actually won (brought down their HP first), then it *will* record that, granting you XP and lowering their prestige accordingly. It just doesn't *show* it to you.

I'm really angry at the programmers for these basic-ass race-condition soft-locks. Like 2/3 of my captures end up soft-locking on the ball too, which sucks when they escape the ball and I have no way of knowing or responding to it. As far as I can tell it's entirely a matter of the server response not getting back fast enough.

Re: Pokemon Go

Posted: Mon Jul 11, 2016 12:42 am UTC
by DaBigCheez
Yeah, mostly seems like a combination of "overloaded servers" + "game wasn't coded to know what to do when it doesn't get a response from the server". Some games can carry on 95% fine clientside until finally hitting something where they *have* to wait for the server...this is not one of them.

Re: Pokemon Go

Posted: Mon Jul 11, 2016 2:05 am UTC
by Xanthir
Yeah, that's some *basic-ass shit* to deal with. It's disappointing, because we maintain shitty networks on campus for testing purposes; I think Niantic lives separately from our SF office, BUT STILL. Failing to test these conditions is inexcusable, piled on top of the shitty coding that causes the problem in the first place. >_<

Re: Pokemon Go

Posted: Mon Jul 11, 2016 11:45 am UTC
by Obby
The servers are definitely not equipped to handle the amount of people trying to play. Which is a bit surprising, to be honest. Pokemon is huge, and it spans multiple generations. I played Red & Blue when I was in grade school 20 years ago, and now my 6 and 7 year old cousins are starting to get into the games and TV shows and such and love it just as much as I did. They're probably going to grow up with it like I did. I'm not sure how this wasn't anticipated. That said, it hasn't been that bad for me. It's frozen 3 or 4 times when trying to catch something, occasionally it won't load a Pokestop, but overall it's been OK.

The game itself is pretty barebones, but it's fun. There's not much to do outside of catch pokemon and train them to try and fight at gyms. There's no battling with friends (hell, there's not even a friend list), the combat is pretty much just tap until the round ends, there's no direct way to interact with other players at all unless you're fighting people inside a gym... But it definitely scratches that "gotta catch 'em all" itch, and it gets my wife and I out of the house while it does it. We actually have met quite a few people playing it while we walk around. Some dude was even driving around our local park blasting the TV show's intro song.

It's a weird feeling, being out with other people around who you know are all doing the same thing, when 10 years ago something like this would have gotten some strange looks and stares. It's nice to not really have to worry about it.

Also, I'm currently sitting in my office with some incense popped. I've caught like 7 or 8 pokemon, and only 2 of them have been repeats. Which is nice.

Re: Pokemon Go

Posted: Mon Jul 11, 2016 12:53 pm UTC
by Zohar
I've been enjoying the experience for now, and also work and home both have pokestops so that's nice. But I have no idea how to do any of the gym stuff - maybe it crashes on me or something? Whenever I'm around a gym I press it and none of the buttons do anything. It's very frustrating. It also crashes quite a bit.

Re: Pokemon Go

Posted: Mon Jul 11, 2016 2:03 pm UTC
by SecondTalon
Obby wrote:It's a weird feeling, being out with other people around who you know are all doing the same thing, when 10 years ago something like this would have gotten some strange looks and stares. It's nice to not really have to worry about it.


Paraphrasing some Tweet I saw float around a week or two ago...

1998 : Never tell strangers on the internet where you live and certainly never get in cars with strangers.
2016 : Use the internet to summon strangers to your house so you can get in their cars.

In other news, there's a park nearby where you can sit in a relatively small area and hit 4 Pokestops at once, and a 10 foot walk puts you in contact with a gym.

Re: Pokemon Go

Posted: Mon Jul 11, 2016 3:33 pm UTC
by DaBigCheez
Zohar - no idea if this is your issue, but make sure you're pressing on the base of the gym (where its projection intersects with the ground), not the "main structure" floating above. There should be a "GO" button in the lower right to start a gym battle or the like, though there appear to be multiple glitches with the gym battle proper (getting stuck on the pre-battle "GO" screen / gym leader's pokemon stuck at 1 HP and won't faint), both of which are probably caused by server lag.

In quasi-related news, I just learned that you can swipe left and right on a gym to see *all* the defending Pokemon, even if out of range of that Gym. Makes it a bit easier to hand-pick your team to counter them. Not that that's relevant for me, given that my highest-strength 'mon is at about CP130 and all the defenders are at 700-1k...

I've got a public park with 9 pokestops and 2 gyms about six blocks away (with another gym and three stops halfway along the route to get there), and if I want to go a bit further afield, the "main road" nearby is pretty much non-stop Stops.

The servers have definitely been much better over the weekend; still a bit hiccupy, but at least alive. The gameplay is...well, not particularly in-depth or even "good", but it gives me an excuse and a direction to get out there and actually walk instead of *only* sitting behind my desk all day. And it has been interesting seeing groups of people congregate at the Lure pokestops in the park, or the like, and overhearing people talking about "yeah, I saw a Gastly while I was working, it sucked because I couldn't just stop work to go catch a Pokemon..."

Although apparently some have been using the Lure modules to, well, lure people to them so they can commit armed robbery. Watch out for Team Rocket, folks :(

Re: Pokemon Go

Posted: Mon Jul 11, 2016 5:53 pm UTC
by Zohar
Managed to get into a gym fight around work. Immediately lost - the guarding pokemon were super strong compared to mine. But at least it works, somewhat. I'm having lots of network issues with the game.

Re: Pokemon Go

Posted: Mon Jul 11, 2016 11:15 pm UTC
by SecondTalon
Knowing weaknesses and strengths is useful. I had a high 200s level Eletric type absolutely wreck a mid 400 level Flyer.

Re: Pokemon Go

Posted: Tue Jul 12, 2016 1:20 am UTC
by Xanthir
Wife had a teensy 100cp Magnemite totally wreck a 500cp pidgey - at least sometimes, "super effective" staggers the victim, so she kept it stunlocked until it died.

(Then the game locked up, but we confirmed that she did indeed successfully defeat the gym.)

And I read the postmortem about the network issues on our cloud infrastructure today. Obviously can't share anything, but suffice to say that the player count exceeded their *worst case* scenario by quite a bit.

Re: Pokemon Go

Posted: Tue Jul 12, 2016 3:46 pm UTC
by Xanthir
I finally took a gym last night! Wooo!

The hospital right next to us is a gym, but it's been owned by some strong Valor players for quite a while. I checked it on a whim last night, and noticed it was suddenly way down, a level 1 with a single 350 Fearow guarding it. Wife and I hurried to put pants on (it was about 10pm) to go take it; by the time we got to the door, it'd already been taken over by an Instinct player. It's cool, the Pidgeot replacement was around 700, that's still takable by us. As we approached it, we noticed it was in the middle of a battle, and was taken by Mystic *just* as we reached it.

Had a fun time chatting with the two Mystic guys that had just flipped the gym, and we all took a while leveling it up and filling it with our strongest. Good times were had by all.

It got flipped half an hour later by some level 19 fucker, but them's the breaks I guess. I had my shining moment finally.

Re: Pokemon Go

Posted: Tue Jul 12, 2016 9:00 pm UTC
by EdgarJPublius
Xanthir wrote:
EdgarJPublius wrote:I have a real hard time taking down gyms. Most of the time they bug out and I can't KO the last Pokemon defending, and the rest of the time GPS is wonky and says I'm not close enough even though I'm standing on the place where the gym is.

When it bugs out on the last pokemon, if you actually won (brought down their HP first), then it *will* record that, granting you XP and lowering their prestige accordingly. It just doesn't *show* it to you.


I've had a few gym battles where that happens. But usually by the time I can see that the gym has fallen, it's either already owned by someone else, or my GPS starts bugging out and I can't get close to it again.
Most of the time though, everything just resets as though I never tried to take the gym in the first place. The gym's prestige is the same and all my Pokemons are full health.

Gym battles have been behaving better the last couple of days, but it seems that the tradeoff is the app randomly crashes or restarts more often than it used to.


The Gym closest to me is a pretty popular spot and trades owners regularly. I don't even try to keep a foothold there unless there happens to be an open slot on my team and I'm going to claim the bonus right then. Luckily there are a few other gyms I can get to regularly that are in less well-trafficked areas and I can reasonably expect to hold onto them for a day or so.

Re: Pokemon Go

Posted: Thu Jul 14, 2016 4:34 pm UTC
by Negated
The game is not officially out in my country and I had to get the apk from elsewhere. I am suddenly walking and biking a lot more. Good to have the much-needed exercises. Hatching egg is a total pain in the ass though. I just finished a 10km bike trip to work and it registered just under 2km. I even deliberately went on a leisurely pace. They really ought to raise the speed limit. Everyone used bikes to hatch eggs in previous Pokemon games, right?

Re: Pokemon Go

Posted: Thu Jul 14, 2016 6:45 pm UTC
by PeteP
Ah it is out here too! And of course my Iphone 4 is too old for ios 8 and ios 8 is required for pokemon go. Well I would only have tested it a bit anyway.

Re: Pokemon Go

Posted: Thu Jul 14, 2016 6:57 pm UTC
by Angua
Negated wrote:The game is not officially out in my country and I had to get the apk from elsewhere. I am suddenly walking and biking a lot more. Good to have the much-needed exercises. Hatching egg is a total pain in the ass though. I just finished a 10km bike trip to work and it registered just under 2km. I even deliberately went on a leisurely pace. They really ought to raise the speed limit. Everyone used bikes to hatch eggs in previous Pokemon games, right?

My bf and I think it only registers movement reliably if your phone isn't asleep.

Re: Pokemon Go

Posted: Thu Jul 14, 2016 7:19 pm UTC
by Zohar
From what I understand the app has to be opened.

I have no idea how people can control a gym for the 21 hours required to get any sort of items. Maybe if their entire region only has one team color?

Re: Pokemon Go

Posted: Thu Jul 14, 2016 7:20 pm UTC
by Angua
You only have to have it at the time of collection.

So, wait until your time is nearly up. Take down a few gyms, cash in, rinse and repeat following day.

Re: Pokemon Go

Posted: Thu Jul 14, 2016 7:25 pm UTC
by Zohar
Oh, wow. How do I know what's the collection time?

Edit: Oh it looks like you can claim the prizes every 21 hours, but you can claim them immediately after you place a pokemon in a gym. I had no idea.

Re: Pokemon Go

Posted: Thu Jul 14, 2016 9:39 pm UTC
by SecondTalon
You can also grind a gym up and, if enough people are around, cram it so full of strong types that the odds are it'll be hard to take, but...

It looks like even a moderately successful assault takes down +1000 points (I was taking down 3500 points after only dropping the first two of six critters) while a successful push seems to only do a fraction of that (similar situation at another gym, was only adding 491 after beating the first two things)

Basically, if two or three people are collaborating to take a gym down, unless you've got 6+ people trying to keep it up, it'll probably fall.

Re: Pokemon Go

Posted: Fri Jul 15, 2016 12:47 am UTC
by You, sir, name?
Played for two days. Walked 26 kilometers. Phone battery is drained by noon. Send help.

Re: Pokemon Go

Posted: Fri Jul 15, 2016 9:32 am UTC
by Felstaff

Re: Pokemon Go

Posted: Fri Jul 15, 2016 6:48 pm UTC
by Zohar
So apparently there's a new filter on Yelp.

pokestop.png

Re: Pokemon Go

Posted: Fri Jul 15, 2016 11:16 pm UTC
by Soupspoon

Re: Pokemon Go

Posted: Sat Jul 16, 2016 3:42 am UTC
by ahammel
Xanthir wrote:And I read the postmortem about the network issues on our cloud infrastructure today. Obviously can't share anything, but suffice to say that the player count exceeded their *worst case* scenario by quite a bit.

I'll pour one out on the curb for the ops staff.

Re: Pokemon Go

Posted: Sat Jul 16, 2016 4:51 am UTC
by Xanthir

Re: Pokemon Go

Posted: Sat Jul 16, 2016 11:45 am UTC
by You, sir, name?


I feel, having played the original Doom, I would have no problem navigating such a cave system. Kids These DaysTM.

Re: Pokemon Go

Posted: Sat Jul 16, 2016 11:56 am UTC
by Soupspoon
You, sir, name? wrote:I feel, having played the original Doom, I would have no problem navigating such a cave system.

Having done that, and also made my own (sometimes extradimenensional1) Doom WADs, way back then, I suspect they didn't even have to deal with walls appearing disappearing out of sight when triggering other bits of floor... Modern gamers don't know they're spawned... ;)


1 Rooms with rotational symmetries of a half, or less, were my favourite trick; entire imp armies impossibly hiding 'behind' a narrow central pillar, for example. And was that really the door you came in through?

Re: Pokemon Go

Posted: Sat Jul 16, 2016 1:12 pm UTC
by You, sir, name?
Euclidean geometry has ruined an entire generation ;-)

Re: Pokemon Go

Posted: Sat Jul 16, 2016 1:45 pm UTC
by Soupspoon
In personal news, I've just passed what I think is my first confirmed personal encounter with Goers (as opposed to general people generally wandering around with smartphones/tablets generally their main subject of attention, which is something I can be seen doing). Wandering through a public place with groups of all ages sat around on stone features and off to my right, from the midst of a group of youths, comes the cry from one of them (here slightly bowdlerised) "Oh fsck! I was going to catch that twot, you fscker!"

Re: Pokemon Go

Posted: Sat Jul 16, 2016 7:28 pm UTC
by Xeio

This, along with the just supreme overabundance of Eevee where I live is why I was so confused about the "stampede" of players in NY over a Vaporeon.

Fuck, if I could find a gym without a CP 1k+ Vaporeon (or any Eevee variant) that'd be nice.