There’s a new update to Pokemon Go and now we have a tracking feature that actually works. Those of you who have been playing since the start may recall there was a step feature that was supposed to show you how close certain Pokemon were to you. Three steps meant it was close and then the closer you got, the fewer steps it would show – from two, to one, and then to actually spotting the Pokemon in the wild. Sounds nice, right?
The problem is, it never worked. Because it was broken, Niantic removed it in a previous update of the app. This upset a lot of players, however, as they liked the idea of the feature. Now it seems they are testing a new version of the feature called “Sightings”. It popped up for me this evening and I was excited to give it a go.
Here is what it looks like:
Apparently not everyone has it yet. My daughters don’t and I read that it was only rolled out to a smaller set of users for testing purposes but as soon as I saw it, I had to check it out. Unfortunately I didn’t get a screenshot when I first started using it but we had a good laugh over spotting a Goldeen and Tentacool in the grass like the wild Pokemon seen here.
Aside from that, I enjoy the feature. The biggest reason being: it works!
Seriously, this is a tracking feature that works. It’s quite simple in functionality. When a wild Pokemon spawns, it will show in your Sightings. When it despawns, it will go away. When you get closer to it, it will remain in your Sightings and if you get too far away, it disappears so you know you need to go back in the direction you were just in, similar to a digital game of Hot and Cold. While not quite as cool as the 1-3 step tracking feature (when it worked), it’s a fun and simple replacement.
This new system allows you to spot nearby Pokemon and then actually walk around and find them, which is pretty much the idea behind Pokemon Go so I will call that a win.
I tested it around my home a little before venturing into the great outdoors and I am pleased to report that I was able to track and capture the specific Pokemon I was looking for. This is something many of us have not been able to do for some time now. If your Pokemon hunting has been completely random and hit-and-miss, you’re going to enjoy this new feature.
I got some of the typical Weedles, Rattatas, and Pidgeys that seem to roam constantly in my neighborhood but I also tracked a Ghastly, Venomoth, and a Golbat. So all things considered, I call it a success!
With that said, how does this new feature work? Well, here are the basics:
- It replaces the old “nearby” system in your tracking area of the app. It also has a cute little graphic of tufts of grass behind the Pokemon. The list will change periodically based on spawns and despawns of Pokemon in your area.
- This new system works by pulsing the area every few minutes to see what wild Pokemon are out there in range of you. It’s basically no different than how it always worked but now you can use it properly to find Pokemon that have spawned around you.
- To “track” Pokemon in your Sightings, you just walk around in directions. If it disappears, you have gone too far. If you keep going the right way, it will pop up for you to attempt to capture it.
It’s hard to say anything for certain with this just releasing tonight but it seems like the radius for this new tracking feature is a bit smaller than the old one. With the old system, you’d see a Pokemon on the list but be unable to find him in the wild (like that Pikachu that hid around our house for days – arrrg!) Now with Sightings, if it shows up in your tracking, it is actually there and you can find it if you move around enough before it despawns. This means if a rare was to show up, you’d at least have a good chance of finding it and trying to get a few throws in to capture it, rather than just be teased by that digital icon telling you it’s there somewhere… although you cannot ever find it.
So far, that’s all the time I’ve had to mess around with it but I’ll keep testing and report back if anything new and worthwhile happens. Do you have this feature yet? Is it working for you?