Geo-location based games are relatively new to the market on the whole. The success of Pokémon Go prompted many other games into production with the intent of taking part in the model. Of course, Niantic had their feet in the water before most everyone else with their earlier game, Ingress — one of the earliest and most successful geo-location game of its kind.
But where most of the other early geo-location games felt a lot more like google maps (looking at you Zombies, Run! and Parallel Kingdom), PoGo really opened up a lot of new and interesting possibilities by attaching the technology to something beloved by many.
The point is, despite many games using geo-location technology prior to PoGo, the popularity of PoGo set the bar. And for better or worse, it also set the expectation.
Spawns… In Theory
Now, there are some distinct differences between Pokémon Go and Jurassic World Alive. For one, in Pokémon Go you’re limited to only seeing Pokémon in a 50 meter radius, and you can really only click on what’s in that range to catch it.
In JWA, of course, you have triple that range, and more if you pay for VIP. You’re sending a drone to dart dinos so you can reach things much farther away. And because of this, dinosaurs are also visible some 200-250 meters away.
This difference, no doubt, serves as justification for why the spawns look so different. And in theory it makes sense. In practice, however, we find a few problems with this model.
The longer range argument is this — the first big reason we see less spawns is because we have a much longer range to catch things. If we saw more, it’d be like playing PoGo with 3x the spawns. And in part, this may be correct.
When i walk in a park in PoGo, on average I’ll see around 5 spawns in my direct catchable circle. If I look at where I am at random times in JWA, I also see about 5 or so spawns within my 200 meter range. So sure, the quantity seems parallel. But here’s the issue:
I need to travel FAR greater distances in order to see the same number of spawns due to the larger range and limited spawns on the map.
So when I take a two mile walk with my wife to a park near my house, here’s how the breakdown actually works. I saw roughly 50 catchable dinosaurs without diverting the route. And she saw 220 catchable Pokémon without changing course. It’s an issue of spawn density, not number of static spawns in a given location.
That’s not an exaggeration. Below is a photo of the largest indoor mall in the United States. It’s 5.4 million square feet, with over 500 stores, including a massive aquarium, a movie theater, and an amusement park.
Here’s what the mall looks like in Pokémon Go and the exact same view in Jurassic World Alive. I literally just opened the app, faced the same direction, and screen-grabbed.
So in my 50 meter view, i see 8 spawns in Pokémon Go, and in the mall itself i see something like 25 supply drops. In my 200 meter view in Jurassic World Alive, i see 3 supply drops on the outside edge of the mall, and four dinosaurs MAYBE in a 200 meter range.
And even after the spawn rates were increased, the above problems still persist.
The Best Way To Play
The heart of the issue here comes down to what’s the best way to play Jurassic World Alive? And the answer is pretty clear. The best way to play right now is on a bus. Or in a car.
If you want to maximize the time you spend playing this game, you drive to the appropriate local, drop a scent or just cruise around looking for spawns, and pull over to dart them. And while you should never play this game while driving, the fact is the game rewards those who do.
Heck, without my 3 hour round-trip bus ride every day to and from work in a major metropolitan area, I wouldn’t have half the stuff I have now.
And that just isn’t the case in PoGo. When you go above a certain speed in PoGo, it just stops showing you Pokémon.
I’m not claiming to know the best way to manage spawns for Jurassic World Alive. I very much enjoy my commute each morning specifically because I get to dart dinosaurs. But I do see a general frustration within the community for spawns and style of play.
By restricting spawns to supply drops and having FAR fewer supply drops than Pokémon Go (like, 90% less supply drops), and by allowing for the possibility that literally nothing spawns at a supply drop at any one moment (in PoGo it seems like you get 3-4 spawns at every supply drop at any moment in time), you cater to a certain style of play. And that style of play is certainly not on foot.
The question becomes, is that what the players and what Ludia wants, or is there a better way?
I’m not certain, but it’s worth discussing. What are your thoughts?