Last May, popular location app Foursquare announced that they would be splitting the core functions of the app in two, creating an entirely new app called Swarm that mostly dealt with check-ins, friends, and the real “social” aspects of Foursquare.
But to many longtime Foursquare users who loved the gamification elements of the app, there was a problem with Swarm. Mainly, Foursquare stripped much of the gamification aspects out of it.
For one, Foursquare killed badges – those little tokens people worked so hard to earn by checking in at different places with different people across the network. Sure, Swarm debuted "stickers", but they just weren't the same.
Even worse for fans of the classic Foursquare was the way Swarm handled mayorships. Gone were global mayorships, as Swarm opted to give users a "crown" sticker when they held the "mayorship" only among their friends.
Now, Foursquare appears to have caved and is trying to reintroduce some of the elements that made it fun. No, Foursquare is still just the local recommendation app it's always wanted to be – check-ins are still absent. But it is adding some fun elements to Swarm.
"When we first launched Swarm, we focused on helping you quickly find your friends. We wanted to make it easy to see who was nearby and introduced messages so you could effortlessly coordinate meeting up. But we heard time and time again that while Swarm made those serendipitous hangouts possible, it could be more fun."
Fun, something Swarm has lacked.
So in response, Foursquare is bringing back true mayorships.
"You asked for mayorships, so we’ll be bringing them back soon. All your check-ins now will count towards them, so go out there and start conquering your neighborhood," says the company.
Badges are also coming back - kind of.
When you first open the updated Swarm app, you'll be asked to start "transmuting" your old Foursquare badges into new Swarm stickers.
In fact, Swarm is rolling out a "gotta catch em all" 100 sticker book.
Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley told TechCrunch that the game mechanics has become stale on Foursquare, but they could be given new life on Swarm.
“The overall theme of our work on Swarm is about how we can make it more fun. When we split off Swarm we focused on the core utility of finding friends nearby, and then we built messaging into it, but there was a minimal amount of game mechanics. We wanted to revisit Foursquare game mechanics, which had become stale, and reinvent them with this new release,” he said.
“The old foursquare was full of fun and playfulness, and when we split the apps, Swarm lost a lot of that. Now we’re putting that fun back into Swarm in a big way.”
Soon, Swarm will also add something called "Coins", which will let users compete with their friends on a leaderboard. According to TechCrunch, Coins will "take into account the value of your check-ins, stickers, etc."
You can download the new Swarm app now. Hopefully this kicks the dust off what was already becoming a rather tedious app.