Pokémon GO's Best & Worst Of 2020: Worst New Features

The year 2020 is wrapping up, and it has been a year of major change in Pokémon GO. Trainers have seen the game add both new features and new species, all the while adjusting to the ever-changing situation with the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdowns that followed. Now, let's take a look back at what has been a defining year for Niantic's worldwide mega-hit game and determine the Best and Worst of 2020 in every aspect of Pokémon GO. This time… we're talking about the worst new features of 2020. Let's go!

Mega Evolution promo image in Pokémon GO. Credit: Niantic
Mega Evolution promo image in Pokémon GO. Credit: Niantic

5. Candy to Candy XL Conversion

The implementation of Candy XL isn't a huge problem in Pokémon GO, but the conversion isn't quite user-friendly. The truth is, this function is purposely not very effective because it's not meant to be. In the press conference in which Niantic announced the arrival of Levels 41 through 50, they also announced this feature… but specifically said that the main way to get Candy XL is by earning it through encounters, raids, and hatching. This conversion isn't meant to be the main way by which it can be earned, hence the low conversion rate. Even so… 100 Candies for one Candy XL is such a crazy conversion rate that it makes one wonder why this feature exists at all.

4. Tagging

The new tagging feature is as inoffensive as it is useless. It's fine for sorting purposes, but a whole tab for tags seems excessive. Niantic could very well improve this feature, as they could any of the others, but for now, in the midst of a year with majorly positive game-changing implements, this one is more middling than it is interesting.

3. Raid Tier Consolidation

Another great idea in the concept phase that ended up with wobbly execution in Pokémon GO. When Mega Raids were introduced, Niantic removed Tier Two and Tier Four raids. This had some terrific impacts, with Pokémon that couldn't be defeated by solo trainers now soloable. With the exception of Shuckle, now every non-Legendary and non-Mega boss can be soloed. That's great! However, since this happened, the raid rotation has been, bar none, the driest in the game's history. Niantic's consolidation has had net positive and negative effects, so it's not a complete loss, but now they have to add spice back into raids in order to justify this change.

2. Mega Evolution (on debut)

Personally, I don't mind Mega Evolution. I find it to be fair at the moment and Niantic's changes to the amount of Mega Energy rewarded through raids was quicker than expected. However, this makes the list because, on launch, the Pokémon GO fanbase, in general, was outraged and that should be recognized here. Niantic has course-corrected in major ways, but the one lasting negative aspect of Mega Evolution and Mega Raids is that these Pokémon stay in rotation for far, far too long. The Mega Raid rotation is stale as stale can be and needs quicker turnover for it to be as permanent a feature as Niantic is clearly hoping.

Now… notice that all of these features either already have improved or have room to improve.

That is not true of this next feature.

1. AR Mapping Tasks

I love Pokémon GO. There's never a time where I'm not, in some way, active in the game. It's open next to me right now with an Incense on. I truly appreciate all aspects of the game and feel that Niantic has done a great job bringing the world of Pokémon to life like never before. I am excited when every new feature drops. I was excited for this. But I have to be honest.

No one likes AR Mapping tasks.

No one wants to do AR Mapping tasks.

This is not only the worst feature introduced this year but, for the way that it actively impedes gameplay, for the way Niantic never really told us why we're doing it, for the way it feels like work rather than play, and for the way the rewards are absolutely bottom-tier, this is the worst feature ever implemented in Pokémon GO.

NEXT: Worst New Features of 2020

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About Theo Dwyer

Theo Dwyer writes about comics, film, and games.
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