After nearly two years of demand, trading is finally arriving in Pokémon GO, alongside a few other new features. The hit mobile game launched in 2016 amid a frenzy of Pokémania, but trainers were dismayed to discover that in their quest to be the very best, they’d have to search far and wide relatively alone; trading, a staple of the series since the beginning, was not a feature GO supported just yet.
Luckily, this morning, developer Niantic announced the implementation of trading in Pokémon GO, as well as friends and an intriguing new item: Gifts.
To engage in gifting or trading, a player must add another player as a friend. Everyone will receive a “Trainer Code” unique to them. Inputting the code connects two players as friends. Friendships will be measured on a scale a la The Sims, with actions such as cooperative battling, trading, and the exchange of Gifts (more on those in a second) increasing the Friendship Levels (once per day per friend). Battling alongside friends of high Friendship Levels grants an attack bonus to both users’ Pokémon.
Sending Gifts is another way to increase Friendship Levels. Pokéstops and Gyms will randomly dispense these mysterious bundles, which cannot be opened by the player who discovers them and must be sent to a friend. The parcel contains useful items, a virtual postcard from the location where the Gift was originally found, and, most intriguingly, a chance at an egg of a new Alolan form of a Pokémon! (More on Alolan forms, including a complete gallery, here.)
Now for the main event: Pokémon trading. Since the reveal trailer almost a year before the game’s July 2016 launch, this feature has been teased. Every major update is met with outcry from a community eager to trade Pokémon. With the recent announcement of the Pokémon Let’s Go spinoff duology for the Nintendo Switch, fans learned that Pokémon could be transferred from the app to the console game, but not from console to app, thus preventing what could’ve been a workaround to allow trades to take place. Players didn’t have long to be disappointed, though, as trading is nearly here.
Friends who are both above Level 10 will be able to trade Pokémon when in close proximity to one another at the expense of Stardust. Some trades will only require 100 Stardust or so. At low Friendship Levels, the cost for trades of more powerful creatures may reach 1,000,000, but thankfully these astronomical requirements can be cut down by a stronger Friendship Level. Players will also earn bonus Candy for the Pokémon they give up in a trade, with greater bonuses provided based on how far apart the two Pokémon were originally encountered in the wild.
Not all trades are equal, though. Special Trades are required for Legendary Pokémon, Shiny Pokémon, or Pokémon new to the recipient’s Pokédex. These can only be completed once per day between friends of the two highest Friendship Levels, so keep that in mind before getting too excited about swapping your extra Moltres for that spare Corsola your friend picked up on her layover in Houston. (I’m not bitter over two trips to Florida last year and zero Corsola sightings, why do you ask?)
Now more than ever, Pokémon GO will be the cooperative, community-oriented Pokémon training adventure of my wildest childhood dreams. Friends are an integral part of Pokémon. Ash couldn’t have done it without Misty or Brock, and now you don’t have to go it alone either. Catching them all is about to get a lot more social.