Features We Would Love to See in GO Battle League

Pokémon GO PvP has rapidly increased in popularity over the past few months primarily due to the release of GO Battle League. Trainers all around the world have experienced what the competitive side of Pokémon GO PvP looks like. From what we have seen so far, the player base has steadily increased in numbers with rapid popularity.

Niantic has paid attention to this increase and they want to make Pokémon GO PvP bigger and better.

What better way to increase the quality of game play? By implementing new features and weekly patches such as bug fixes and Quality of Life updates. The PvP community has come up with some brilliant ideas that would help create a better user experience for every trainer involved in PvP.

Myself and ValorAsh (@Ash_Valor) have also done some brainstorming and come up with some innovating ideas that would benefit PvP and could make things more exciting and captivating. 

Community Ideas

Online Status Information

First on our list of ideas that the PvP community has come up with would be to have a feature that allows Trainers to see when other players are online and available to battle.

At its current state, one of the main ways to play a custom match with a friend is to communicate via a separate platform to organize it.

Having the ability to be able to see if a trainer is online would naturally promote an increase in Trainer Battles as you would not have to go through the hassle of trying to organize battles with people on your friend list.

Not only would this promote PvP battles, but it would also be a healthy update for the game as a whole. Seeing who is online in Pokémon GO and to view what your friends are up too would increase sociability within the game. This would even promote more real-life interactions as you could see which of your friends are free for raids and even who is out and about catching Pokémon.

Trainers should, of course, have an option to be able to toggle this feature off if they do not wish to have their player status shown to their friends.

Ranked / Casual Playlists

Separating the playlist into 2 would be a good way to promote more off-meta / “spicy” picks as the PvP community loves to put it.

Trainers would be able to practice different Pokémon that are not normally seen, without the consequence of their matchmaking rating plummeting to the ground.

It would also benefit Trainers that are just after a bit of casual game play without the added pressure. These should not have a walking limit and be readily available whenever the trainer is willing to battle.

This would also promote players wanting to battle more since, at its current state, battles can feel repetitive. Currently, versing the same handful of Pokémon over and over again within each respective league can feel dull after a while.

If more people could freely practice different Pokémon and find new and exciting strategies, it could inspire Trainers to find their own unique lineup of Pokémon for battle.

Removing Friendship Requirements for Battles

As of now, because of COVID-19, Niantic has decreased the friendship requirement to battle from having to be Ultra Friends, to Good Friends.

This change will continue for the rest of the month and makes battling with friends a whole lot easier. I’m sure many Trainers will agree that this change should be permanent and not a temporary solution.

Normally the only way to participate in a Trainer Battle with a friend is to be an “Ultra Friend” which can take a long time if you’re not consistently interacting with the other player on a daily basis.

Trainers should have the option to be able to battle anyone at whatever friendship level they are at.

The main reason why this would be a benefit to PvP is because of online tournaments. Communities such as The Silph Arena host monthly themed tournaments which put a twist on your common battles.

These battles are limited to only a handful of Pokémon which are not commonly seen in standard play. It encourages Trainers to have to power up interesting picks in order to have a competitive edge on your opponents.

Now imagine if we had the ability to be able to do these tournaments remotely with Trainers all around the world without having to send and open gifts first for days on end just to be able to compete in these battles.

This would be a huge step to make remote tournaments more popular and have a greater trainer participation rate. Naturally, this would boost numbers up for the PvP community as a whole which is something Niantic wants.

Quick Chat Option

Having a feature that would allow Trainers to communicate within GO Battle League would be a great way to interact with your opponent. It would make battles more enjoyable by having this extra communication tool. Adding in a Quick Chat feature such as “Good Luck!” “Well Played!“, “Nice Block!“, “GG“, “Good Bait!” and some others would be an awesome touch within GO Battle League.

A few video games such as Hearthstone and Rocket League already benefit from this feature. Players love this added touch to the game and I can say without a doubt that  Trainers in Pokémon GO would appreciate this feature too.

Global / Friends Leaderboards

Seeing who is the highest rank within your friend list and even globally would be a fabulous way to see where you stand on the ranked ladder. Not only would this be good for bragging rights, but competitive Trainers can view their skills not only in battle but on a global scale leader board.

Some high-end Trainers agree that becoming Rank 10 does not mean you are the best at PvP, having a global leader board would separate the good Trainers from the best Trainers.

Having a separate leader board for each region would also be a beneficial feature which would be helpful for seeing who is the best in each respected part of the world.

Add Trainers After Battle

Now, this one already applies to local battles, however, in GO Battle League this feature is non-existent. This idea correlates to the whole removing the friendship limit to battle idea. It should be possible to add another trainer after an intense fight in GO Battle League and be able to scrim that person in a private battle for practice.

Personal Ideas / Brainstormed Ideas With ValorAsh

More Friend Space

200 friends just won’t cut it with the growing popularity of PvP. We believe that having the ability to be able to add more Trainers would be a valuable adjustment. This wouldn’t just be beneficial for PvP, but with the COVID-19 epidemic, having more players to interact within the comfort and safety of your own home would help out many Trainers that may not be able to leave their houses.

For more information about how Trainers can stay safe as a Pokémon GO player, check out this article that covers ways on how you can minimize your risk of coming in contact with this virus.

If Niantic can continue upgrading Pokémon and Bag storage, then they can easily do the same with friendship space (hopefully without a cost).

Representing your Country

The spectacular thing about GO Battle League is that you can battle Trainers from across the world at the comfort of your own home, so why not be able to have an icon near Trainers names to show where you are fighting from!

Adding in a flag feature or a way to find out where your opponent is from would be an appealing touch to the game and an admirable way to represent your country in GO Battle League.

Unlocking More Legacy Moves / Adding in More Moves

Trainers should have an equal matchup when they are going into battle. Recently Niantic brought back many old moves that were no longer obtainable in Pokémon GO. Niantic are aware of making the game fair for every player whether they be new or an old school veteran.

We believe that more Legacy Moves should be accessible to everyone so that Trainers that were lucky enough to have this certain Pokémon in their possession will not have a clear advantage to those who don’t.

Currently, the meta can become tiring seeing the same few moves being used on the same common Pokémon. To change things up, more moves should be added to Pokémon in order to add a more competitive edge and for Trainers to put their game knowledge to the test.

Don’t forget in the main series games, Pokémon have access to a plethora of moves compared to Pokémon GO, so adding in new moves should not be a problem. We think this may be implemented in a future update.

Fixing the Switching Interface

“The current system of switching can be clunky and awkward with the switch menu blocking the charge moves.” -ValorAsh

As of now, the switching mechanic does feel like it can be improved on. In a previous update, Niantic made it so the whole game temporarily paused for both players when a trainer was in the switching screen. This update was abused as some Trainers would use tanky Pokémon to stall as long as possible and get a free win from the timer running out. This would also not stop the clock while in this pause.

Picture edited by Reddit user “Tomohran”

This shows they are aware that they need to work on this feature and that it is far from perfect. An idea that would be helpful instead of the current switching mechanic would be to have a small icon at the side of the screen for each Pokémon available. When a switch is ready, the Pokémon icon should be highlighted green. When it is not ready, there should be a cross through the icon with a timer ring around the icon.

Players would be able to simply tap on one of these icons to swap Pokémon, a one-button feature to swap would be favorable to those that count quick moves and know exactly when to swap to soak up a charge move.

Energy Bar / HP Visual Update

Adding in a way to see exactly how much energy you have would help out many Trainers due to the fact that ‘overcharging’ is a viable strategy in Pokémon GO PvP.

Perhaps Niantic could implement a feature so that when you are storing energy over your current available Charge Move, you should be able to see exactly how many more times you would need to attack to get to a second Charge Move.

Having an Energy Bar near your Charge Moves would combat the current system of having to keep in your head how many times you have over tapped. This bar would obviously only be visible to you and not your opponent.

My last idea on the list which I’m sure many of you will agree with is that Niantic needs to add a proper HP Bar with exact numbers instead of just a plain bar.

This would promote more quick thinking in PvP as Trainers could see exactly how much damage a move is doing and can add up in their head how many more moves it would take to defeat a Pokémon.

This would also be a nice aesthetic to the game and just purely makes sense to add in numbers to the current HP Bar. Especially with the direction Niantic wants to take with GO Battle League.

Parting Words

As a community, we are the driving force for making Pokémon GO even better. With more voices heard we CAN make an impact. Niantic do listen to their player base and have constantly been improving on their game since day 1. Think back to when Pokémon GO first came out. There was not much to do besides just catching Pokémon.

We now have features many people didn’t expect to see in a mobile game. Many of these ideas stemmed from the Pokémon community. The great part about this game is that there is so much potential for new and exciting things, this is the reason as to why many Trainers that stopped playing have been coming back to experience different things within Pokémon GO.

I would personally love to hear more from the community. If you have any ideas or thoughts about how Niantic can improve Pokémon GO PvP, feel free to let us know in the comments.

Go forth and prove your skills in PvP.
Best of luck in Season 1 of GO Battle League!

-Adam ‘Avrip’

Avrip // Level 40 (Valor) - PvP tournament organizer in Perth, Western Australia, Collector and enthusiast of rare Pokémon retro memorabilia, Admin of the Pokémon GO Perth & WA Facebook page, Sold my soul to Niantic on 07/07/2016. https://twitter.com/GOHubAvrip