Pokémon GO Buddy Run Header
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Conceptual Idea: Pokémon GO Buddy Run

Buddy PokèStop Run and Done

Why We Need Buddy run

As the world comes to terms with social distancing measures in an effort to slow down the progress of COVID-19, Trainers are all finding themselves facing a similar problem. A severe lack of Poké Balls. Whether or not they paid for and took part in the A Drive to Investigate Genesect event, most players are finding themselves running out of balls very fast, especially with the increased spawns from Incense that everyone found themselves buying. With lockdowns increasing the world over, trainers are literally confined to their houses, and unless they somehow live atop a PokéStop or a Gym, Poké Balls are being used far more than they are being replenished – and with no end in sight at the moment, this is not boding well for the long term playability of the game for most trainers. 

Niantic has taken some phenomenal steps to help remedy this; more Poké Balls in Gifts, more Gifts to can be held and given, etc. They have given many Trainers ways to replenish their inventory. However, I had another idea that I’d like to also propose as a potential solution. 

A Potential solution?

This writer is suggesting a temporary solution. One that stays within the spirit of the game, as well as makes use of the buddy system that is currently in-game. The suggestion is an event we shall call “Buddies to the Rescue”.

Buddy Run: The idea

Our Pokémon Buddies have come to notice that their trainers are stuck at home, unable to go out due to social distancing measures put in place to keep them healthy. Pokémon are not – as far as Professor Willow knows – affected by this Virus, and as such, they have felt the need to help their trainers out. For the time being, once every 5-10 minutes, Buddies will run to a random PokéStop or Gym nearby, spin it, returning with the spoils (Both items and quests). 

It could be implemented as follows:
Great Buddy – Can visit Pokéstops up to 200m away
Ultra Buddy – Can visit Pokéstops up to 500m away
Best Buddy – Can visit Pokéstops up to 1,000m away

Map Screen of Stops NearbyBuddy Shows where it can go based on locationTap on buddy to see what level your buddy is
Open to see map of PokéStops nearby.Shows PokéStops your Buddy can visit based on Buddy Level.Click on Buddy to see
a reminder of your
Buddy Level.
Buddy randomly brings you gift if you forget 
Buddy can randomly bring you a gift once a day rather than a Souvenir. Buddy gift open screen.

The caveat

Obviously, a system like this will be open to abuse. Not everyone has been locked down (yet), and thus not everyone needs these features to be in place. As such, a requirement for the trainer to have been in the same rough place for the last 24 hours (or a portion thereof), can be used. If the trainer has only moved within a ~100m radius (to allow for GPS drift), the Buddy will realize what has happened, and move to help their trainer.

Further, it would also make more sense for the buddy to be on screen (ie: fed enough berries to be moving around), for this perk to take place. 

The reasoning

Pokémon GO is a game, which, for better or for worse, requires people to move around, and explore their surroundings. Unfortunately, with current world events, this is no longer possible for a large number of people. Without sufficient Poké Balls, trainers are literally unable to play the game, and, at some point, will stop playing. Whether or not these players later return to the game once normal movement is somewhat restored is totally up in the air – without constant gameplay, there is little reason for people to return.

And so, here we are. A suggestion to make full use of the Buddy system, which is already in-game, and still have a fair allowance for trainers to enjoy the game.

The summary

Niantic (Through John Hanke), have said that they are “Working on more adjustments”.

Niantic is making adjustments

Have we seen all the adjustments with the recent updates, or are there more coming our way? That has yet to be seen. Granted, rural players may be unable to totally benefit from this if there are no PokéStops within a certain radius, but adjustments can be made in order to allow for that. 

We also recognize that this may not be an easy solution to be implemented into the game currently as it may be considered a “new feature” so perhaps if it’s not for now, maybe it could be something we see later.

What happens next? We shall see. 

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Dare

Dare has opinions. A lot of them.

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