I’m continuing to play Pokémon Go and have discovered an odd element to the game. In past weeks I’ve read quite a bit about how Niantic has screwed up the game by making it harder to catch Pokémon as you gain experience and levels. Since I’ve been a low level player, that hasn’t really had an impact on my game. Until recently.

After travelling to a city rich with pokéstops and Pokémon, I leveled up pretty quickly. At this point, I’m level 21, about to be level 22. It was after hitting level 20 that I noticed something odd.

What I found was that catching a low level Pokémon has become extremely difficult. When I attempt to catch a Rattata with a low CP, it takes me an average of 5 pokéballs to catch it. It has taken as many as 10 pokéballs to catch a Rattata with a CP of 10. This seems to be consistent with other low level Pokémon. Whether it’s a Pidgey, Caterpie, Weedle, or Venonat, the lower CP the Pokémon is, the harder it is to catch. Back when I was under level 21, the opposite was true. I could reliably catch those same low level Pokémon with only 1 or 2 pokéballs. As a level 21 Trainer, this seems to go against all logic. You would think that as I gain experience, my skill with catching low level Pokémon would improve. As you become a more experienced piano player, you don’t become worse at playing Old MacDonald Had A Farm, do you?

At first, when I started noticing how challenging catching low level Pokémon had become, I started to get really frustrated. I didn’t like having to waste 5 pokéballs to catch a Pokémon that I was just catching for EXP and was going to transfer away for a piece of candy. Honestly, it was really pissing me off. Near my house I only see Rattata and Pidgey Pokémon and I was burning through pokéballs like crazy trying to catch them to gain the all powerful EXP to move up in levels.

However, at the same time that it became more difficult to catch low level Pokémon, I also noticed that catching high level (CP of 400 or greater) Pokémon became much easier. Just this morning I caught an Exeggutor with a CP of 1,647 using just one normal pokéball. Yesterday it was a Pinsir with a CP of 1,062 that only took one normal pokéball. My 1,160 CP Electabuzz only took one normal pokéball. It appears to me that Niantic is rewarding those with higher levels for attempting to catch more level-appropriate Pokémon. At the same time Niantic is making it much harder to grind out levels by forcing players to use up their pokéballs if they want to level up by feasting on low level Pokémon.

Is anyone else experiencing this same phenomenon? I’m not sure how to feel about this. On one hand, I like knowing that when I find a high level Pokémon I have a pretty decent chance of catching it. On the other hand, the only way to level up is to gain EXP, so catching low level Pokémon is a must. It’s a double edged sword. Would I rather expend tons of pokéballs trying in vain to catch a Snorlax with a CP over 1,000? Or, would I rather catch the Snorlax with ease, but have trouble catching a Pidgey with a CP of 10? What do you prefer?

Of course none of this matters if Pokémon keep fleeing from encounters. I have lost more Pokémon to flight since leveling up into the 20’s than ever before. All sorts of Pokémon run at the drop of the hat. Just this morning a Rattata with a CP of 10 ran after I had used 10 pokéballs trying to catch it. That sucked!

My new mantra is that I don’t spend more than 3 pokéballs on a low level Pokémon – unless I am stocking up on that Pokémon’s candy to evolve something.

Are you seeing the same thing? What’s your experience been? Does it get worse at even higher levels? I can burn through 100 pokéballs pretty quickly. Are you doing the same? How are you overcoming this weirdness?