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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Hardly Egg-sceptional, On Pokemon Go's Egg Mechanics

If you are like a third of smartphone users, you've logged into Pokemon Go and tried to catch them all.  You've probably also gotten an egg from a pokestop, and had it taunt you into walking several KM to see what was inside (and if you are like this writer, your first several eggs contained the same crappy pokemon that are infesting your house).  Eggs have a lot of interesting things going for them.  They have a clear hatching mechanic that is not based on chance (unless you count the chance of Go reading your GPS coordinates and calculating distance right), you can get any pokemon in the rarirty bands, regardless of region, and it is very easy to get eggs from pokestops (I've been sitting at nine eggs for some time, and only dip below that between hatching and visiting a stop).  So, what's my beef with the egg system?  It feels like it was designed for a totally different game.

It seems simple.  Throw egg in incubator, walk a bit, egg hatches, repeat.  The problem is a fewfold.  The first is that the incubators seem like a blatant gating mechanic/money grab.  The odds of getting one are either very low, or artificially capped so you only get one "extra" one at a time (let's face it, hatching 9 eggs at once would be awesome).  The number of eggs you can hatch is drastically lower than the number you can reasonably get in the same timeframe, because of the combination of low incubators for non-paying people and the cap on eggs at 9.  I feel that if there was an intentional gate, it should have been set up in the rarity of getting eggs from pokestops.  Instead of getting one at every other stop until I had 9, why not make it somewhat rarer?  Or tie it to the number I have, so it is easy to get 3 or 4 total, but beyond that I'd better hatch some.

The second problem lies in the core mechanics of Go itself.  In order to power up and evolve pokemon, you need candies.  You get candies by catching or hatching a member of that species, or by transferring one, but at a third of the rate.  Since most single evolution species require 50 candies to evolve (13 catches and transfers) you aren't going to be able to reliably evolve pokemon that aren't in your area.  Say I get a Voltorb (he's not that rare, got him from a 5k egg).  If I want to evolve him into an Electrode, I need 50 candies, and I only have 3 from hatching him.  Voltorb isn't in my region (I assume, I know pokemon are unlocked as you level, and haven't seen him).  So now, I have to get lucky enough to hatch 12-13 more Voltorbs (and since eggs can contain any pokemon in the rarity band, that's going to be hard) or trade for 47 voltorbs (with trading being local only atm, that's not reasonable).  God help me if I have a really rare or desirable pokemon.

So, I can get eggs easily, but hatching them and making use of their pokemon is tedious and limited at best.

-VG

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