Thoughts on Pokemon Go’s New Tracker
Shortly after the launch of Pokemon Go, the game’s original 3-step tracking solution went down in flames. Apparently, the functionality destroyed Niantic’s servers, and it wasn’t that great to begin with. Out of this epic failure came the rise of third-party tracking apps, such as the now-defunct Pokevision. Months later, Niantic hopes to quell the criticism once and for all with this new tracker.
Gone are the Sightings of yesterday. Instead, we get a new Nearby feature that displays Pokemon that are within proximity of nearby PokeStops. Simply click on the Pokemon you’re looking for and the game will mark your map with the location of the PokeStop. Simply walk over there and the Pokemon should appear. If you don’t make it in time, the game will notify you that it ran away.
The good news is that it works as advertised. If a Pokemon has spawned near a PokeStop, the tracker does an excellent job of flagging it and providing you with direction. In areas with many PokeStops, this is a huge upgrade.
But what about all of the Pokemon that don’t spawn near Pokestops? Well, you’re out of luck. Those will not appear in the new tracker. There are numerous downsides to this. By my home, the best place to catch rare ones are by the building complex across the street. With this new tracker, I now have no idea what’s going on there.
In its place are “nearby” Pokemon that aren’t actually that near. Some of the PokeStops it pulls in for me are actually quite far, or in my specific case, on the other side of a highway. This renders a number of the listings effectively useless unless I hop in the car and drive over.
If you’re not in the vicinity of a PokeStop, you have it the worst. In this scenario, your Nearby is left blank. What used to be a pain in the butt before of manually triangulating Pokemon seems like a much better fate than a complete loss of sightings.
I like this tracker on concept, but its flaws are glaring to the point where I wish the old Sightings came back. Unless I’m in the downtown core, the Nearby functionality is actually less functional than the directionless sightings we had before. Niantic has been great of late with their updates, but this one is a big swing and a miss for me.