Since “Pokémon Go” was released last summer, how its gyms work has been one of the biggest sources of frustration for players.
Gyms are intended for players to battle each other and the creatures they own — it’s a core aspect of the original Pokémon games that inspired “Pokémon Go.” But they were quickly taken over and abused by cheaters and so-called bots with overpowered Pokémon.
Now the game’s developer, Niantic Labs, is temporarily closing all gyms for what it promises to be a significant update. A recent banner on Niantic’s website said that gyms are “closing temporarily for remodeling,” and that any Pokémon currently in gyms will be returned to their owners.
This massive reset of the gym system in “Pokémon Go” has players speculating about changes that could be coming ahead of real-world events Niantic has planned this summer.
Niantic has been vague about what the changes will be — CEO John Hanke recently said that “improving gym battles” was a focus.
But the “Pokémon Go” enthusiasts over at The Silph Road have found evidence in the game’s code that suggests Niantic may make it so that you’ll be unable to deploy a Pokémon in a gym if its same species is already present. That could prevent the so-called stacking of high-powered Pokémon like Dragonite and Blissey, which can make it nearly impossible to take over a gym.
If Niantic makes gyms in “Pokémon Go” more accessible to normal players that don’t cheat through fake accounts and overpowered Pokémon, interest in gyms could be revitalized among the game’s 65 million players. Niantic is also planning several real-world events this summer, including a 20,000-person event in Chicago that could feature gyms more prominently.