It has been one of the most anticipated features since its release in 2016, but Niantic has finally made it possible to trade Pokémon in Pokémon GO. This feature brings it more in line with other Pokémon games, which typically include the ability to trade captured Pokémon with other players. Prior to this update, players have been unable to trade or share their captured Pokémon with others. However, this system does have some notable caveats.
Firstly, players have to be level 10 or above to trade. This means that new players can’t just fill out their Pokédex straight away via trades. The actual method of who you can trade with is also oddly complicated. Firstly, you have to add your trading partner on your Friends List via a unique Trainer Code. After that, you can raise your friendship level across four tiers, which bring with them various benefits related to trading and battling. These tiers are:
- Good friend: Trade all Pokémon except Mythical
- Great friend: Stardust discount for trading, attack bonus during gym battles with that friend, one additional Premiere Ball for raids alongside that friend
- Ultra friend: Additional stardust discount for trading, larger attack bonus during gym battles with that friend, two additional Premiere Balls for raids alongside that friend
- Best friend: Major stardust discount for trading, largest attack bonus during gym battles with that friend, four additional Premiere Balls for raids alongside that friend
Players can also only level up your Friendship level once a day, and the threshold for levelling up increasing for each tier. Players must pay a fee in Stardust currency, which decreases for each Friendship level. There is a limit for “Special Trades” for only those with high Friendship levels with one another, which refers to trading Legendary or similarly rare Pokémon. Finally, trading can only be done in person; players need to be in the same vicinity, and cannot trade from different locations.
Whilst this could make it difficult to catch Pokémon exclusive to specific regions, there are some justifications for these limitations. For instance, it protects the essential experience of Pokémon GO, which is to go outside and catch Pokémon yourself. Although trading makes it more feasible to fill out your Pokédex, most players will still have to do most of the legwork themselves. It also encourages more interaction, and encourages friends to participate in catching and raiding together to raise their Friendship level. The limit on trading Legendaries will also hopefully prevent a black market for Legendary and Shiny Pokémon from cropping up if players can only trade with people they have interacted with before.
It looks like this is the next step towards making Pokémon GO an even more social experience, and more in line with the main series games. Maybe for the next update we can get battling, Niantic?