Thought I’d do a quick follow up to my recent post about Pokémon Go.

I’ve finally reached level 22 over the weekend and have discovered that it might take me until the end of time to reach level 23. I need to earn 100,000 EXP to move to level 23 and I’m off to a horrific start.

The problem seems to be that Pokémon flee more frequently now that I’m level 22. I don’t know what it is or if it’s just and odd quirk, but I’m experiencing one out of every three encounters ending with the Pokémon fleeing. Are you seeing the same thing? It’s going to be extremely difficult to level up if I have to capture exponentially more Pokémon due to bad encounters. Why? Why is Niantic making the higher levels worse and less interesting to play? Now, when I see a Pidgey or Rattata, I don’t even bother attempting to catch  them because I know they’re most likely going to run away or take a dozen pokéballs to catch. Now I’m only participating in encounters where I really want to catch the Pokémon because it’s new, has a high CP, or I need candy to evolve something I’ve already caught.

What sort of effect is this having? Well, let me share with you. Near my office is a nice park that has 6 well placed Pokéstops. You can make repeated loops around the park and just keep hitting the Pokéstops. By the time you make your loop, the first Pokéstop you visited has reset. It’s absolutely perfect. In fact, most days people have attached lures to the Pokéstops and it is Pokémon Go heaven. Through last Friday I earned an average of right around 10,000 EXP during an hour of walking the park. I’m not alone either. Coworkers were the first ones to tell me about the loop and that they were also averaging around 10,000 EXP every day during lunch. If people have attached lures to the Pokéstops, I could earn 15,000 to 20,000 EXP during the hour. Like I said, it is Pokémon Go heaven – or was until I hit level 22.

Today however, I did not earn 10,000 EXP during an hour spent walking the loop. Nope, instead I gained a whopping 6,500 EXP during the hour. There weren’t many people using lures today, so I would expect to wrap up closer to the low end of my usual 10,000 EXP, but still, I didn’t expect to be 3,500 EXP lower than my historical average.

Why did it drop? First of all, I had significantly more capture attempts end with the Pokémon running away. In fact, it was almost a 50/50 proposition. It didn’t matter if I was using Great Balls, Ultra Balls, and Razz Berries. Easily half of my encounters failed. Plus, the likelihood of even encountering a Pokémon dropped significantly. For the first time ever I was able to make an entire loop around the park and not see a single Pokémon. NOT ONE! Now, more than ever, It seems like the lower level Pokémon are getting even harder to capture. It takes 5 times as long to catch a low level Caterpie than a high level Eevee. The number of balls used to catch the lower level Pokémon is going up. I was averaging 8 balls per low level Pokémon when I was at level 21. Today that average went up to almost 12, if the Pokémon didn’t flee first! Fortunately the high level Pokémon are still somewhat easy to catch, taking only about 3 pokéballs on average, which is still an increase from the average of 1 when I was level 21.

Beyond all of the total fuckups Niantic has already made, I’m finding it challenging to figure out why they would make it harder to catch low level Pokémon as you gain in your skill levels. It just doesn’t make sense to me and goes against all logic. Apparently looking for logic from Niantic was a mistake in the first place.

Is this what I have to look forward to? If I ever hit level 23 (I’m only 15 days of walking the park away!), should I expect that it will get even harder to catch the Pidgeys and Rattatas with CPs of 200 or below? I guess that’s why I keep reading about players “grinding out levels” in the 20’s.

My other fun observation is that after hitting level 22, the Pokéstops have stopped giving out as many pokéballs and are instead giving me tons of Razz Berries and potions. That would be fine if there was a gym within any sort of reasonable distance from either my home or work, but there isn’t. I end up trashing all of the potions I get, otherwise my backpack will be too full and I won’t get the 1 pokéball the stop decides to give me. I’m down to 9 pokéballs after spending an hour walking the park because of bad encounters and the majority of Pokéstops only giving potions. I’m thinking that tomorrow I won’t even bother attempting to catch Pokémon at the park. Instead, I’ll just keep walking the loop to gain some Pokéballs. Maybe I’ll be up to 30 or so after an hour. Of course, with my luck all of the stops will have lures attached to them and it will be Pokémon heaven again! Who knows? I might even gain 10,000 EXP with all the Pokéstops lured.

Are you seeing the same thing? What weird quirks have you noticed about Pokémon Go? Do you think I will ever reach level 23?