Pokémon Go's long-broken tracking feature has been tweaked once again, but don't expect finding Pokémon to become much easier. Developer Niantic has rolled out a new, experimental version of the game's Nearby tab to select players, though the changes so far seem more cosmetic than useful.
I was lucky enough — or not — to receive the tweaked tracking, which comes as part of the game's just-released version 1.3 update. The Nearby tab has been renamed Sightings, and the only major visual difference I've noticed is that the Pokémon are now displayed in front of green blades of grass. I'll give Niantic some credit, though — the list of nearby Pokémon seems to refresh much quicker than it did on the Nearby tab. Even when sitting still, I noticed that the tab would automatically update to let me know that a Tauros or Nidoran could be close by.
Still, the same key problem remains: even when you know a Pokémon is nearby, there's no way to pinpoint its exact location. You can't tap on any of the Pokémon in the Sightings tab, so once one shows up, you'll have to wander around and hope for the best. The Nearby tab allowed you to click on a specific Pokémon you'd like to track, but was so broken that it wouldn't really direct you from there.
However, other users seem to have gotten a different, much better version of the new tracking system. Some folks in the San Francisco area seem to get both Sightings and a new version of the Nearby feature all in a single tab. The "Nearby" Pokémon are displayed next to specific Pokéstops, and according to TechCrunch, players are reporting that those characters can usually be found within a block of the stop they're listed next to. This seems like what the Nearby tab should have been all along; here's hoping it makes it out of the testing phase.
Tracking has been Pokémon Go's most talked-about feature since launch, mostly because it never quite worked. This led fans to use popular online tracking tools such as Pokevision, most of which were swifty shut down by Niantic. Naturally, fans weren't happy, some going as far as requesting refunds on their in-game purchases. In a recent blog post, Niantic acknowledged that many of the third-party trackers were built out of fan passion, but that they had to be shut down to maintain the health of the game.
Fortunately, the new 1.3 update of Pokémon Go also heralds some more universally useful changes. The iOS version's Battery Saver mode has been fixed and restored, and Niantic has some squashed some bugs that affected catching Pokémon and earning the proper amount of experience points. You now have a one-time option to rename your Trainer, and you'll finally get to see visuals of the three team leaders. If you're moving really fast in a vehicle, you'll be asked to confirm that you're a passenger and not a driver.
Fans might not be 100 percent happy with the state of Pokémon Go, but they're clearly not going to stop playing anytime soon. The game made a whopping $200 million in global revenue during its first month, outgrossing competitors such as Clash Royale and Candy Crush Saga by a landslide.