If you're still out there catchin' 'em all, then you'll be excited about the new Pokémon GO update rolling out throughout this week.
While on the small side for a Pokémon GO update (though we've seen smaller - minor text changes, anyone?), it adds a much needed and anticipated feature to your mobile hunting app - the ability to gauge the IV level of your Pokémon.
What are IVs? IVs - or "individual levels" - are the backstage stats that dictate your Pokémon's effectiveness in battle. The numbers represent the unique Attack, Defense, and Stamina stats of your Pokémon. These dictate how much damage attacks deal, how much damage they receive from opponents' attacks, and how quickly they charge special attacks. Two Pokémon of the same species may have the same CP - but if one has a significantly higher IV value, it will have a significant advantage in battle. Accordingly, knowing which of your Pokémon were inherently the strongest became the key to ruling your local gyms.
At least, that was the theory. Prior to this update (0.35.0 on Android; 1.5.0 on iOS), players could only calculate their Pokémon's IV through use of a third-party app or website - which, thanks to an open-ended statement from Niantic, could end in a ban for users unaware of the dangers of logging in to their Pokémon GO account through a third-party app.
Thankfully, this updates allows players to check the IVs of their Pokémon from within the game. It also finally makes use of the team leader portraits first revealed at San Diego Comic Con, as players ask either Blanche, Candela, or Spark to appraise their Pokémon.
And while the results are not as specific as users of IV calculators are be used to, the reaction of your team leader is a good indication of which Pokémon are worth investing precious Stardust and Candy into. Oh, and which Pokémon might be stupidly large for their species.
For a game that has apparently lost millions of users in a month, the key to sustaining the core of your fanbase is to release consistent improvements and expansions across the board. Despite early hiccups with the servers, and the loss of the beloved tracking system, Pokémon GO may recover their strong start with more updates of this caliber.