For the first few levels of Pokemon Go, it is really easy to play without spending money as long as you can get to Pokestops. It is really simple to just keep grabbing up Pidgeys and going to the nearby Pokestops and gyms to get what you need. From there, you can build up your in-game numbers.
Now that the game has been out for over a week, some of the more determined players have reached higher levels, and they have found that it is much more difficult to quickly climb.
Reddit user Riggnaros discusses how the game gets more difficult for people after they hit level 25 in his post on the Pokemon Go thread.
He says that once you hit a level in the "mid-20s," the normal Pokemon that are easy to capture start to "have an abnormally high chance to evade capture." This means that you will have to spend more Pokeballs to capture the monsters that are key to gaining points in order to get to the next level. In order to keep up, you'll have to spend your own money or play even more near Pokestops.
"From level 29-30 I went through over 1000 pokeballs. Literally," Riggnaros complains. "I cannot stress how ridiculous this would be for someone playing [without] spending coins on pokeballs (ie playing the game [free to play] - which is the majority)."
What is even worse is that the experience needed to go up a level seems to go up exponentially. Advancing to level 15, for example, only requires a few thousand points but advancing to level 30 requires almost 500,000 to go one level.
This is incredibly daunting, according to Riggnaros, because there is no difference between what you get from each Pokemon. "It makes no sense that a 10cp Pidgey should be giving the same XP as an 1600cp Scyther," he writes. "Stronger, evolved, and more rare Pokémon should reward you with more XP, plain and simple."
Of course, a lot of games slow down as you play them. But this could prove bad for both Pokemon Go players and Niantic, the company behind the game who needs to keep players interested so that they can make a profit.
The good news is that this is fairly easy to fix. It players become too frustrated, they will see it quickly and can rebalance the experience points before anyone gets too mad. Adding new Pokemon or new features could quell people's anger for now.
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As Riggnaros sums it up, "there is a difference between designing a game that takes 'years to beat'... and designing a game that scales horribly and forces you into mind numbing grinding 'just because.'"