Let’s Talk: Gym Etiquette

Hi there trainers!

We’ve all been there – you spend a few minutes (or in some cases quite a few minutes) knocking the Pokémon out of a different teams gym, you deposit your Pokémon in prime place, walk away and then very shortly after you get the dreaded ‘you have earned 1 PokéCoin’ message after being knocked out almost immediately. 

Why does it matter? What is a PokéCoin? Lets talk gym etiquette…

What are PokéCoins?

Pokécoins are the in-game currency of Pokémon GO. Ever since the games launch in 2016 there have been very few ways to freely earn this currency and since 2017 (with the exception of a brief trial period during the Coronavirus pandemic) have only been earned via the same method – gym defending. Every 10 minutes a Pokémon of yours is held in a gym you earn one coin, hurrah! If you have 10 Pokémon in 10 different gyms then you are technically earning 10 coins an hour…. however, it is not as simple as that. To actually receive these earned coins someone from a different team has to come along, battle and defeat your Pokémon. To further complicate matters you are capped as a player to earning 50 coins a day (midnight to midnight, not in a 24-hour period).

So no matter how long your Pokémon has been away as soon as you hit the cap that is all you will receive, could have been days, weeks or even months and if you’ve already had your coins for that day from a different Pokémon returning then you are out of luck.

How much are PokéCoins worth?

As you can see below from the in-game store (based in UK) bundles vary from £0.99 for 100 (1p per coin), right through to £99.99 for 14,500 (around £0.69p per 100 coins). 


What can you buy with PokéCoins?

Lets equate a few items and boxes into coins and the length of time you need to defend a gym to earn them for free –

A set of 10 stickers 35 coins 5 hours and 50 minutes
A lucky egg 80 coins 1 day and 5 hours at maximum allowance
A poffin 100 coins 2 days at maximum allowance
An egg incubator 150 coins 3 days at maximum allowance
A rocket radar 200 coins 4 days at maximum allowance
A pack of 3 remote raid passes 525 coins 10 days, 4 hours and 10 mins at maximum allowance
A team medallion 1,000 coins 20 days at maximum allowance


And lets not even go into the boxes…. You are talking weeks and weeks and essentially placing them out of reach without spending actual money for free-to-play trainers.

So it is easy to see how even small purchases can take a long time for a trainer to buy items for free, so it is important for trainers to be allowed to earn their coins.

What can I do locally?

I’m a lazy/nice trainer, before I take over a gym I will check how long the Pokémon have been in there. If it is more than 8 hours and 20 minutes (long enough to earn 50 coins) and it is low motivation then I’ll take it. I’m also not one to stand still for ages taking a gym so if there are 6 Pokémon in the gym and it is going to require more than two rounds of battling to empty the gym, I’m moving on and you get to stay for another day.

The reason I check the time is because of the timescales above. I don’t need most items and if I need something bad enough to pay for it then I can and will (in reasonable amounts). The coins I casually earn go towards inventory or Pokémon storage but I’m not fanatical about it and it is just as and when I have enough. What I don’t want to do is deprive someone else of being able to buy an item by knocking someone out of a gym and giving them the dreaded 1 coin. 

Sometimes I get to stay the full time and sometimes I don’t. Whilst everyone plays the game differently, some people might ‘claim’ a gym as theirs (because they live/work within radius of it for example), however if it is the only gym in an area it should be viewed as a community gym in sparse areas. If you are claiming a solitary gym as ‘yours’ you still need someone to knock you out to get the coins, give someone else a chance to earn theirs while they are there. Gaining a reputation for being in constant residence will eventually stop you from being knocked out altogether…

Shouldn’t there be other ways to earn coins?

In short, yes.

With even a single remote raid pass taking four days it is well past time for the daily cap to be raised or for other means to earn coins be implemented –

  • Re-introducing the task based system trialled, but on top of gym defending, not eating into the same allowance
  • Research tasks
  • Event research lines
  • Rare drop from gifts
  • Gifting coins to players
  • Rare drop from walking your buddy instead of a souvenir 
  • Rare drop from spinning gyms/PokéStops

There are undoubtedly more methods you can think of but a 5 minute brain storm on my own came up with the above so its hard to believe Niantic hasn’t been able to think of ways and implement them in 7 years, so it very much feels a deliberate choice to restrict access.

What do you think of the coin system we currently have? What other methods could we have to earn coins? Drop your comments below!

Author & tags

UK Instinct player since 14/07/2016, currently at 260m XP and counting... All-round good guy who likes to take on the big raids with as few people as possible!

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