Every so often, Pokemon GO introduces new Pokestops for players to visit. However, it seems that Pokemon GO developer Niantic may have recently removed several PokeStop in rural areas, leading to an uproar from players who do not live in urban hubs.
According to reports on social media, a Pokemon GO “claw-back” occurred on October 11, removing many PokeStops and Gyms in rural and suburban areas. Players discussing the removal of the in-game spots say that although Niantic has not officially confirmed the claw-back, Pokemon GO users in less populated areas have reportedly been left with no Pokestops or Gyms “for miles around”.
The disgruntled Pokemon GO players explain that Niantic opened Ingress portal submissions (which are used for Pokestop submissions too) on September 25 but that every location added since then has now been removed. Because many players had used Ingress submissions to improve the PokeStop situation in rural and suburban areas, it’s these less-populated areas that have been hardest hit by the claw-back.
Upset fans also dispute the theory that the locations have been removed in order to fix the two-item bug which provides fewer items from PokeStops. They argue that if Niantic had really released a server-side rollback, taking the game back to an older state in order to fix the gitch, the two-item bug would no longer be present in the game. And yet, the bug is still present and being felt by many Pokemon GO players.
Pokemon GO‘s rural playerbase has long felt hard done by the game’s developers, and have previously complained that the game is less enjoyable for them. It’s why Niantic responded to rural players’ complaints earlier this year, outlining what the developer had already done to fix it and acknowledging that further improvements could be made. That response was seen as a ‘win’ for players outside of heavily populated urban hubs and for many, it renewed their faith in the game and the development team.
If Niantic has purposely clawed back rural PokeStops then, or has adjusted the game without thinking of the impact for rural players, it’s understandable why those fans are so upset.
Fans are currently encouraging each other to report removed PokeStops to Niantic so that the developer becomes “obligated” to address their concerns. Although fans admit that the release of Gen 3 Pokemon means that many of them are otherwise preoccupied, they say that this is a serious issue with the game that takes priority over anything else.
Pokemon GO is out now on Android and iOS.
Source: Reddit (1), (2)