It’s safe to say that Niantic has found great success with Pokémon Go and the mobile game is seemingly getting better each community event. It was only a matter of time before the company unveiled its newest addition to the game. Later this month, the highly anticipated Pokémon battles come into effect, incorporating changes and rewards from previous updates to create a competitive experience that’s easy for anyone to enjoy.
Head to head battles were something that were expected around the launch of the game back in 2016, but it’s not much of a surprise that it didn’t make the cut when Niantic had so many other things to concern themselves with. They’ve obviously spent some time refining things to work with Pokémon Go’s format and I had a chance to try the snappy PvP battles last week.
When the PvP update launches, players will first lock eyes with an AI trainer to help them get familiar with the mechanics, which simply requires the player to tap on the screen rapidly – it’s basically how gym battles work. In battles, both players pick a maximum of three Pokémon and pit them against each other in a 1v1 competition.
The battles take on some of the features implemented in previous updates, so you’re able to store a charged attack for a more crucial moment in a battle, and your Pokémon is able to learn a third defensive move to protect itself at crucial moments. This makes the games a little more balanced and can cut both ways at various times. The battles feel a bit more compressed and quicker than the hardest of raid battles, so it definitely feels less of a slog to tap your way through.
To initiate one of these battles, you do need to have added another player through a QR or friend code – you can’t just stand on street corners and in parks challenging other trainers as they walk past you. Once befriended, you can send battle and trade requests to each other and connect if someone responds to the notifications sent their way.
There are three leagues players can compete in when battling called Great, Ultra and Master and these basically set the CP restrictions of the team you’re able to use. However, you’ll be rewarded just as well for any type of battle you play and can earn the same rare rewards as you would for other activities. The PvP is aimed to be both an alternative to battling gyms and to be done alongside the everyday activities in the game. The game will even track your wins and with each battle you have with a friend. In addition to this, your friendship will increase with that person meaning more rewards when exchanging gifts. In time or if you’re incredibly lucky, you can earn rare items like evolution stones including Sinnoh stones which evolve certain existing Pokémon into the recently introduced Sinnoh region Pokémon.
Pokemon Go’s roll out of the PvP Trainer Battles mode will be much like when the trading system was originally introduced, so only players who have reached level 30 will have access at first and then it’ll roll out to everybody else. Niantic are giving you more reasons to engage with it, thanks to players being able to get items to evolve their extra rare Pokémon through battling.
While some would argue there aren’t too many tactics involved, the PvP keeps things short, sweet and perfectly consistent with its other simplified mechanics. The game now feels like it has a bit more substance overall, feels like a more complete product with many elements to please the many types of Pokemon players in the world.