Seriously, I pointed this out in another thread and no one else has really taken notice. Look at the gyms. Right now. They take way more esteem or level then before. A maxed 10 fort is 52,000 instead of 12,000.
If this goes where I think it will, then I like it. I've been wanting them to do this:
Basically, grinding a gym by yourself will suck. A lot. Cracking down level 10s. Grinding into a high level, they're just gonna be too much for all but the elite to do. And even then might not be worth it.
But that's by yourself. Each teammate you get reduces your handicap. For each person, decrease the defenders stats and increase the esteem reward. 4 good players together should kill a fort in, like, 2 battles each.
Fully supports cooperative play, which is what Niantic wants, while viciously hurting spoofing and shaving.