It’s been a few months and despite all of my earlier complaints, I’ve still been playing it. Partially due to the hole in my heart for these types of games, partially because the Dots are adorable, and finally because despite Niantic’s really frustrating game mechanics sometimes, there’s a lot of genuinely really nice people I’ve met through the game who I not only enjoy talking to but are genuinely so happy to just… help out with stuff. So, while I don’t expect any of them to see this, a shout out to Spriggyn, ToddleMaster270, Schway78, HaroldBird, Fajitas, Chantal, JSet, and the various Hatch-a-Dot groups on Campfire and Discord, among many others plus everyone who kindly approved my Hatch-a-Dot requests before recent changes. It’s only thanks to all these kind people that I was finally able to complete my Archetypes for the time being.
I’m not going to pretend the game is perfect. There’s still a lot of things that could be better and additions I think are needed along with some mechanics needing to be more flexible, but the biggest hindrances of the game have finally been addressed and makes the game playable for those who prefer to play the game more casually and/or solo.
For one, Nests are no longer exclusively real money microtransactions. You can now earn them from certain weeklies, during events, and for every 30 days of logging in (It doesn’t need to be a streak– if you can’t play for a week and come back, it’ll pick up from where you left off). You also earn them from certain level milestones and those who hit the respective levels already were able to claim the missed nests from the store.
Considering how big of a part of the game the Hatch-a-Dot system is, it’s crazy that it took them this long to re-enable ways to get them. Obviously, you can still buy them too (and I still think an option to buy for gems, even if maybe it’s limited per month or something, would be nice in addition to the real money only ones).
Secondly, there’s been an overhaul in general with the Hatch-a-Dot system besides the Next improvements (as mentioned above):
- Wild Dots are back! Like how it was during Beta, you can now find random Wild Dots at Habitats. This essentially means you don’t need to depend on people (or pay) to get new traits introduced later on for those who prefer playing solo and getting everything themselves.
- You no longer need to message people to use the Hatch-a-Dot system. Besides Wild Dots, you can also still hatch Dots with friends or other Dots at habitats that are owned by other players. That said, while this is generally a good thing, there are also a handful of downsides:
- You must be in range of the Habitat like how Pokestops and Flowers work in Pokemon GO and Pikmin Bloom respectively. I do kind of wish they kept that to just Wild Dots or message-less requests as it was nice actually having some kind of option for those who can’t go out much. You still have ‘Nearby Dots’ at least, though, Wild Dots won’t show up on those.
- You can’t hold onto requests – Requests generally lasted for about 5 days. This meant you could request a Dot you saw out and hold onto it maybe for a Community Day Weekend or some other kind of special event if one was close by or even just until you saved up a bit more if you knew you were short on Sundrops/Gems.
- There’s no way to know if the request successfully went through unless someone tells you. Often times, people may ask you to switch out your Dot as you can only breed with a Dot currently out (unless they are at a habitat or on the nearby list). For whatever reason, what may be out on your end doesn’t always update timely for other people as well so with no confirmation or request to confirm, you have no real indication they successfully got it unless they mention as much. Obviously, you can just switch it after a certain amount of time, but I always like to make sure ^^;
That said, there’s definitely more pros overall, especially if it’s someone who doesn’t play anymore or can’t check often (as requests do expire). You also can see the costs up-front.
I would say the biggest addition needed at this point is some way to see every Dot someone has. Whether you need to be friends first or it’s something that has to be enabled or approved, I think this would be super helpful alongside the changes. There’s a few Dots now I’ve seen from people I’d love to Hatch-a-Dot with but have never seen them put them back out and I know they get enough requests to want to bother them by asking.
This would also prevent the constant need to Dot switch in the first place and issues with lag of when your Dot out even updates in the first place for other people.
Speaking of friends, the friend system has also been updated and while you can only send Sundrops to a friend once a day (previously, you could do so unlimited which meant you could go back and forth even if you had just one friend who played), you can now do so much easier and faster with quick buttons to hit on the friend page, better organization, and no longer being sent back outside the friend’s list every time you accepted a gift of Sundrops.
So, overall, I would say the big thing is the game feels fully playable now and everything is properly accessible for all players, even with some of the more frustrating caveats that are now popping up due to the changes.
Even Community Days can generally be used to their full potential, even if players can’t always get as much out of them. What I’m hoping though is that Hatch-a-Dot tasks that can show up won’t be tied to any limited time event items (as some tasks have started having items attached to them– as someone who does not have any nearby Habitats, it can be a struggle) considering that while they have thankfully added Nests you do not need to buy, they are few and far between. At best, you are guaranteed one every 30 days, but how long it may take you to level will vary a lot (Sometimes I level super quickly, other times not so much– it depends quite a bit).
I find it harder to complete tasks if I don’t have a new Dot I’m raising, but of course that kind of adds in a cycle of needing new nests which isn’t great. I think I’m at a point where I’m genuinely pretty happy with the Dots I have so outside of maybe wanting to get certain Traits I don’t have yet or new Archetypes, I’m not really sure what I’m going to go for.
These are some of my most recent Dots:
One of my rules with Archetypes is I wanted it to be one I genuinely liked which meant sometimes I picked a non-archetype because I liked the look better. This definitely made things more costly (whether in-game currency or not), but it meant I was generally happier with the Dots I got rather than getting ones I didn’t care for.
This isn’t always possible, of course, like Banana is probably one of my least favorite archetypes because not only are the shades of yellow I tend to prefer a bit too light, it’s also one of my least favorite horns. The Banana Archetype is one I got last for a reason due to failing once and it took a long time to get one that wasn’t just… completely bright yellow. It took many, many, many rerolls.
And I would say that is really the biggest thing: Nests can be such a gamble. There is currently no way to test what you may get ahead of time so something you may think could work could, well, not. It could go horribly wrong or not get the results you expected and maybe using something further from what you wanted could actually work better.
This is especially frustrating if you use Gems to hatch a Dot over Sundrops. The only point in really using Gems is if you’re hoping to unlock one or more traits you do not currently have yet. The things they don’t tell you though are:
- Just because you use Gems doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed for even one of the traits to pop up.
- You HAVE to pick a Dot with the Trait(s) you want to unlock them. If you do not pick a Dot with those traits, despite using gems, they will not unlock.
- If you do not manage to get a Dot with the Trait(s) you want, you can reroll, but Rerolls also cost gems.
And like, I could deal with the first two things if it wasn’t for the third and/or vice versa. This is probably one of the things I hate most about the system. If I use a premium currency, I feel like either they should unlock regardless because I’m paying the extra price to unlock them or Re-rolls should cost Sundrops. The fact that it’s still a gamble and you need to reroll that 300-2,000 Gem price each time instead of the equivalent Sundrops is honestly awful when you’re not even guaranteed.
Because of this, people recommend having a “Trait Unlock” Dot which is generally a Dot with mostly 1* and/or None Traits because the costs are determined based off how many traits each Dot has, the rarity of each trait, and how far away the person is from you. Which also means if you’re really hoping to unlock traits, breeding that ‘Basic Dot’ with a Dot that has the trait you want on the Nearby list is your cheapest option. Of course, that also assumes you don’t necessarily care what you may get.
Because I am a picky mess, I usually do not go this route and jump in like an idiot, but for the Triton Archetype, I did end up trying to do this as no matter how I looked at it, the Trident Horns and Whale Tail were pricey. They were both 4* traits and while obviously I could wait until I leveled up more, it’d be a long while and when you’re hoping to breed with someone else’s Dot, there’s the concern of will that Dot even still be out by the time I manage to get to that level (and if that person would even still be playing then).
Leia, who I showed above, was the Triton Dot I ended up getting, but this is the Dot I got to unlock those traits:
I had gotten very lucky to get a Dot I liked, but this did take one reroll. Thankfully, between the 50% off Hatch-a-Dot costs weekend and using a lower cost Dot, I managed to get it with the Gems I had which meant it was a lot easier to roll for Leia as I could solely use Sundrops (which were also discounted thanks to the 50% off thing).
Regardless, there’s definitely strategies here to get the cheapest costs you can, and you do earn a decent amount of that premium currency. Despite using all those maybe a few weeks ago now? I have 1,905 gems and I haven’t bought any.
At the moment, there’s still 13 Traits I have yet to unlock (which I’ll either need to use Gems with Hatch a Dot or wait until I hit the respective level). Of those, however, I only really want 2-3– Crown Horns, Beetle Material, and maybe the Puddle Pattern. That said, even if I have unlocked a trait, it doesn’t mean I have any Dot with it.
And this is where the Shop Bundles come in. For usually about $7, a Dot with various traits (some random, some not) may be up for sale. Depending on what traits it has, this could be a really good way to unlock Traits at a much cheaper cost. I still generally will only go for a Dot if I genuinely like how it looks, but sometimes it can be tempting if you’ve really wanted a specific trait.
While these still feel pricey, the price being a little more than a nest, knowing what you’ll be getting, and usually some kind of additional does make it kind of balance out.
Less reasonable are Archetype Bundles which are $15. While I may have had the worst luck possible with Banana, you generally will be able to get Sundrops back up easily enough and can do enough with rerolls to really make it worth it over the Nest Bundle if you were planning to buy anyway. Maybe if they had the option to use real money or premium currency it’d be a little better, but?
Of course, the worst bundles are the level-up Bundles which… don’t really feel rewarding at all. Value-wise, they likely do equal up to what they are, but I just can’t really see anyone actually buying them, even if they really like the Dot. Essentially every 5 levels starting from 10, you get 3 Egg Rays and a specific accessory for your Dot to wear. Starting from 15, this also includes an Archetype Dot, usually featuring things you either unlock that level or maybe you’d still need later on. It’s a quick easy way to get the Dot traits immediately (versus finding someone or a Wild Dot that has them if you didn’t personally get them from your starter Dot) and unlock an archetype right away as well.
The problems are that the Dot appearance is random beyond following whatever requirements the Archetype requires and that they very quickly get fairly expensive.
While Caretaker and Guide Bundles aren’t too bad at $10 and $15 respectively which goes in line with the usual Archetype and special Dot Bundles you’ll see for events (with Caretaker having Celestial and Guide having Cheetah), Curator’s, Skipper’s, Expert’s, Overseer’s, Sage’s, and At one with the Dots’ Bundles do not feel particularly justified at $20, $25, and $30 (the rest are all $30) respectively. I don’t think the specific Archetypes are worth those prices (Peacock, Bismuth, Cotton Candy, Jester, LED, and Static respectively). Static I found very cheap to unlock despite its rarity. Peacock could maybe be considered worth $20 if you really enjoy the look of it, but I think the only one I really found tricky was LED which I ended up getting the trait I was missing (Pulse) from one of their cheaper bundles. I just… It’s not like what you get changes, this goes fully into what is considered the value of the Dot and I just don’t think it fully adds up.
Edit: As of the most recent update (1.6.1), the bundles now include nests which is at least better, but the value still doesn’t feel balanced in my opinion.
And even then, I’ve never been fond of the whole “let’s bundle in tons of extra stuff to bulk up the price”, but I can’t see how one accessory and three Egg Rays make up for it. Not to mention that the Egg Rays are kind of pointless if you don’t usually have nests… At this point, I have so many Egg Rays.
Regardless, I can’t be too surprised when even special Nest Bundles during events are still kind of pricey (Either $12 for 3 or 5 for $20– they usually come with other stuff and it is cheaper than buying them normally, but if you’re someone who can’t afford to spend, neither discount is really enough to suddenly be worth getting), but it’d be nice to see more flexible options or things that felt more worth it for players who don’t want all the extras either.
I really hope they’ll continue improving things. I feel like there’s definitely potential and from what I’ve seen of certain commentary from Devs and Community Managers, they genuinely seem passionate about the product. I may have also pre-ordered the Peridot plush because it looks very cute.
Either way, I really love the Dots I’ve gotten and I’m looking forward to seeing new updates. I think some kind of collectible souvenir thing, kind of like how Pokemon can find stuff in Pokemon GO, could also really go a long way for more to do with your adult Dots.