Wow, that was a huge wall of text! (I did enjoy reading it, it was well reasoned and well written.)
Here’s a wall of text right back at’cha!
I’m not going to go through all your bullet points, just a few thoughts.
Yes, it is still glitchy as heck. And it does seem incomplete. And really unbalanced for newer players. I’m going to give Niantic the benefit of the doubt for right now, though. This is only their 2nd major, notable release, and they kind of cut their teeth on a hugely broad game that had a significant invite-only period to help iron out the kinks before going public. They also had the support of Google in the early days before spinning off from the company. They have continued to balance and improve Ingress on a regular basis, as well. I think that since that was their experience, they tried to do it again, and the game wasn’t quite ready for prime-time. They probably should have stuck to that formula of invite-only for a bit, but they may not have been given that choice from Nintendo. Hopefully, we’ll see more content in the future, especially the stupid mini-games!
My phone is brand new, and it overheats. This never happened with Ingress with any of my phones, but it did suck up lots of juice as well. The battery consumption did get better over time, though. There’s probably going to be a bit of optimization to come, with the wide diversity of phones providing more information about the hardware platforms that it’s running on now. Again, that could have been alleviated somewhat by an invite-only phase. Keep in mind, most GPS apps are fairly power intensive, although I never really had as much as a problem with things like Waze or navigation apps.
I don’t think I used the camera mode more than once. I didn’t even notice that until you mentioned it. It is a selling point, that’s part of the reason I got curious in the first place. So… I guess it worked? On me, at least. Eh, it’s a neat toy and it’s cool that the option is there, I guess.
As far as the weirdly random nature of the PokeStops, most of the Ingress Portals that the 'Stops are based on were submitted during the early days of the invite period. There were things like lag and GPS coordinate drift that sometimes threw off the coordinates of a submission, occasionally up to several miles. They sometimes had to push Portals around because a previously accepted one would turn out to be in the middle of an airport tarmac or someplace. Also combined with the fact that they were much more accepting of submissions so they could have more content during that early period, and that it is a much more secretive, grown-up game, there are a lot of creepier, possibly even unsafe for the general public, locations that show up on the radar.
I do think that location being more meaningful for different types available to hunt would be better. But seeing as how Niantic has an entire planet Earth to have to deal with, I can see how basing it on larger geological and natural maps may have priority over regional environment and political maps. I want to find ghost-types in a graveyard! But that’s just one small graveyard in a larger town in a larger county in a larger state in a larger country… nevermind, you get the idea.
Although Magmars being more common around volcanoes, etc. would make more sense. That being said, I do not feel the motivation to go to a different continent just to catch 'em all. I drove my scooter for an hour and a half in the rain just to Ingress before, that’s kind of my limit, and even then there was a sexy person on the other end of that journey waiting for me.
Alright, fine, I’m not going to lie… I would have done it just for the sexy person. ;D
What Niantic is doing is incredibly, almost unimaginably, large and complicated, given the global scope, the fact that AR is still relatively new territory, and what I suspect were severe limitations on development time. I expect this is still kind of beta. Just like the tons of MMOs have had major issues when they were released, this is no different.
I do think that, while it’s going to get (and has already gotten) a lot of backlash, it’s going to have players that will play for years. Right now it’s a flash-in-the-pan news item, eventually the hype will die, but there will be plenty of people still playing.
I agree wholeheartedly with your pros, and I’m sorry if I sound like a Niantic apologist. I got burnt out on Ingress quite a while ago, and that had me hooked for years. I didn’t even want to like PoGo. I never got into Pokemon (cards, videogames, or board games) because I thought it would just get dull and repetitive, and so far, this has happened in every Poke game I’ve tried. I’m not sure why this one has gotten me involved.
It’s still in the mid-30’s (90’s F) during the day here, with humidity nearing 100%, no one in their right mind should be outdoors in this weather. I must be insane.