New in v0.87.5! A Brand New AR Experience is Coming, Holiday Special Boxes, and More!

Fresh on the heels of the major Weather update and Gen III introduction, v0.87.5 appears to bring assets and metadata for a major (and awesome) new catching mechanic!

No other major changes appear in this APK aside from the addition of this major new feature, but we did spot a few tweaks. Here’s what we know so far, travelers:

1. ARKit Integration Via a Unity AR Plugin

ARKit (which requires iOS 11) is Apple’s new library for Augmented Reality experiences.

While Google has released ARCore on a handful of devices (namely their Pixel and one or two others) this Android competitor has not yet been released to the wider Android device family, but is expected to release this year.

In the meantime, it appears Niantic has forged ahead with ARKit and is now leveraging a Unity plugin that enables more awesome AR experiences. This will take its first form in:

2. Wild, Wild Pokemon Encounters with AR Plus! (Not related to the GO+)

If you’ve ever wanted to sneak up on a Pokemon in the real world and try to catch it before it becomes aware of you, it’s your lucky day.

Powered by the new ARKit capability, we’re seeing an all new wild encounter mechanic, complete with tutorial! The major components are AwarenessProximity, and whether the Pokemon is Frightened. Here is a roundup of additions involving this mechanic that we spotted:

  • Jump From Bush: This may be how Pokemon ‘appear’ in AR Plus mode
  • Jump Away From Player: Pokemon now appear to be able to jump away from you when frightened!
  • Jump Away Meters: Self explanatory
  • Awareness: This appears to be how ‘aware’ a Pokemon is of your presence in the encounter
  • Look At Player Awareness Threshold: At a certain threshold, a Pokemon will apparently look at you, signaling a certain amount of awareness of your presence (and consequently the difficulty multipliers in effect)
  • Flee Threshold: This may be the point where a Pokemon is too frightened and takes off
  • Proximity Approach Per Second: We believe you may only be able to sneak up so fast without frightening the ‘mon
  • Proximity Away Per Second: Appears to be a counterpart to the above
  • Nanab Berry Awareness Modifier: Nanabs now seem to have an enhanced use!
  • Pokemon Start Distance Meters: This may be one of the ‘difficulty’ modifiers, requiring you to either throw farther or sneak up a greater distance for rarer species
  • Low Awareness Threshold: Awareness appears to have a multiplier making it more difficult to capture a Pokemon
  • Close Proximity Threshold: Likely the radius where a ‘nearness’ multiplier kicks in
  • Instant Frighten Player Proximity Threshold: Get too close, and the Pokemon appears to get “frightened” and may flee!
  • DodgeAttack: This is most likely the same ball-avoiding tactic we’re already familiar with in wild encounter mechanics
  • Miss: Don’t miss your throw, clearly
  • Pokemon Breakout: As expected

Speaking of modifiers, here are the major ones at play:

  • ArPlusModeEnabled
  • ArCloseProximityThreshold
  • ArLowAwarenessThreshold
  • ArCloseProximityMultiplier
  • ArAwarenessPenaltyThreshold
  • ArLowAwarenessMaxMultiplier
  • ArHighAwarenessMinPenaltyMultiplier
  • ArPlusAttemptsUntilFleeMax
  • ArPlusAttemptsUntilFleeInfinite

3. PTC Login Error Update

It appears a new error message has appeared for PTC login issues – perhaps reflecting continued effort to work on the intermittent PTC authentication troubles.

4. Battle Party Tweaks

A new tweak has appeared for the brand new Battle Party mechanic that appeared in 85.1. This appears to revolve around replacing Pokemon who are in multiple parties across all parties at once.

5. Attack Name Readibility Fix

A new shadow has been added to the attack name, to help with readability in the battle UI.

We’re still very excited by this rework and its potential to house multiple moves in one interface…

6. Holiday Special Boxes!

Six new graphic assets for special boxes have appeared – but they look a little more holiday-oriented this time! We’re looking forward to seeing what these contain in a few days.

7. New Hoenn Pokedex Badge

A new Bronze, Silver, and Gold level Pokedex badge has appeared in the graphic assets as well!

You can view all the changed assets courtesy of /u/Chrales here:

Parting Thoughts

As we enter the holiday season, we’re excited to see what Niantic has in store for the coming weeks!

This new AR catching mechanic was unexpected, as we’d been watching for an AR ‘playground’ mode that was demoed months back in the ARKit news cycle. We’d still love to see the playground, but this new AR experience will be more interactive, and (hopefully) more incentivized to participate in.

We’re very curious whether there will be added benefits to the more time-intensive, but potentially added challenge of encountering wild Pokemon in AR Plus mode. Might we get added candy or stardust for the effort?

At any rate, this sounds like a great new mechanic, especially for those our travelers with smaller children, to be able to participate in a new AR experience outdoors. Can’t wait to give it a whirl!

Until next time…

Travel safe,

– Executive Dronpes –