I've seen a few of these posts lately, but I haven't seen any ideas that would easily and effectively resolve the core problems with the current gym system. Combating spoofers, botters, and multi-accounters is not an easy problem and does not have an easy answer. Placing a hard limit on the number of $type per gym will turn gyms into a race for the first few spots. Moreover, I believe gyms are fun when they work and could work more often if not for two main issues:
- CP drives all gym incentives, and
- Maxed out gyms lead to stagnation.
The following are my ideas for fixing both.
Incentives and CP
If CP accurately reflected combat ability, it's use as a ranking mechanism for gyms wouldn't be an issue; however, the CP formula weights attack over defense so players are stuck with a metagame that rewards using poor defenders. Here are two ways I believe Niantic can incentivize using better defenders instead of 'mon with higher CP.
Random Expulsion Order
I propose that when a gym decreases in level, the 'mon expelled should be random rather than lowest by CP. This is both the easiest change to implement and would have the greatest effect. It directly affects the incentive to use high CP 'mon because a higher CP 'mon won't have a greater chance to stay in a gym than a lower CP 'mon. Instead, players would be incentivized to place better defenders in gyms because better defenders may make the gym last longer.
I propose a mechanic for gyms to increase stats of specific 'mon types who are added to the gym for the length of their stay. This would alter the gym meta so players are incentivized to use a wider range of 'mon in gyms without placing a hard limit on the number of a given type who can be added to a gym. It could be implemented similar to nesting where auras "migrate" every so often.
This is best explained with an example. Let's say I'm going to add a 'mon to a gym. The gym currently has an aura which buffs stamina of Psychic 'mon by 100. I add my 100% level 30 Starmie <sup>that I wish I had</sup>. Normally, that would be a bad choice as my Starmie would only have 1974 CP and 196 health. With the aura though, my Starmie joins the gym with 2605 CP and 342 health and is a much better defender.
Participating in gyms is fun. Not being able to participate is not fun. When all the gyms are maxed out, it's harder to participate. If the gyms belong to your team, participation is impossible without shaving (the worst of Unforgivable Curses, so bad it's never mentioned in the books). If the gyms don't belong to your team, only players who have 30-40 minutes to bring a gym down (which many of us do not) have any incentive to participate (and even then, $0.20 worth of coins per hour is a terrible incentive). Here are two ways I believe Niantic can open up spots in gyms without reducing the incentive to participate in gyms.
I propose that a gym's prestige should decay after a period of inactivity. This change would reduce gym stagnation by opening spots in stagnant gyms. Personally, I would peg the magnitude of decay to the gym's level, but the exact formula would need to be fine tuned in testing.
Additionally, if a gym's level is reduced due to decay, the top 'mon by CP would be removed as a Gym Champion (my next idea). This is the only change I'm proposing which rewards using higher CP 'mon. While I believe basing all gym rewards on CP level is a bad idea, I also believe there should be some reward for having a monster 'mon. If implemented alongside Type Auras, a wider array of 'mon would be capable of sitting atop a given gym.
Gym Champions (AKA Term Limits)
I propose that a 'mon should have a maximum amount of consecutive time it can hold a spot in a given gym. Once the 'mon reaches the limit, it would be proclaimed Champion of the gym, sent back to the player with a minor reward, and (possibly) prevented from being added back to the gym for a period of time. The reward could be additional coins and dust, or it could be experience, items, candy, etc. and could either be randomly assigned or user selectable.
In order for this idea to work properly, the time to achieve Champion status would need to be carefully balanced against the time it would take for prestige decay to knock down the gym. At one end of the spectrum, too many 'mon would be removed as Champions before the gym decays, but at the other end, too many 'mon could be removed by decay before achieving Champion status. Somewhere in the middle, however, I think there's a point where hardcore players get rewarded for sitting atop gyms and filthy casuals<sup>like me</sup> get rewarded for using good defenders.
Bonus: Shuckle should hit 4000 CP at level 20 and be able to one-shot Blissey.