Well hello, Trainer! As you are currently reading this guide for returning players, we can only assume you have decided to open up Pokémon GO again!
While we are happy to see returning players, you should know Pokémon GO has changed A LOT. Whether it’s been from the very beginning, or just a year ago since you have last played, you’ve got quite a bit of catching up to do! When we say ‘a lot’, we mean ‘a lot’. Therefore, this guide will appear in 3 parts. As new content will continue to be added, these Guides will be updated in the future! Without further ado, welcome to
Returning to Pokémon GO Part 2: Bulky Battles Make Fabulous Friends
As you are returning to Pokémon GO, we assume you’ve been out for a while. In this guide, you’ll get an overview of what may have changed since the last time you played in terms of Battling and Social Gameplay.
|Part 2: Bulky Battles Make Fabulous Friends – Index
|Gym System Rework
|Raid Battles and EX Raid Battles
|Returning to Pokémon GO: In Closing
|EX Raid Battles
|Trainer Battles (PvP)
|Friendship and Trading
Gym System Rework
If you played Pokémon GO in the first year, you probably remember the unbeatable Blissey-packed Gyms back then. You’ll probably be happy to read these days are over, as a massive Gym System Rework took place in the early Summer of 2017. A lot has changed, so let’s list up the most important things:
|New Gym Features
|All 6 Pokémon have to be unique
|Gym Motivation System
|Pokémon have motivation (displayed with a heart container)
|Pokémon lose Motivation over time and when defeated in Battle
|Pokémon with full Motivation faint after been defeated three times
|Pokémon can gain motivation when you feed them Berries
|Gym Defenders get battled in the order they were assigned to the Gym
|Battle Winners have priority to place their Pokémon inside the defeated Gym
|You can use a party of 6 Pokémon to battle
|You can create pre-made Battle Parties consisting of 6 Pokémon
|You can level up a Gym Badge by interacting with that Gym
|Gym Badges have 4 Tiers: Blanco, Bronze, Silver, and Gold
|Gym Badges effect Item drops and increase your chances at receiving an EX Raid Pass (see later on)
|You can receive Items from a Gym by spinning its PhotoDisc
|A higher Gym Badge increases Item drops
|You earn 1 Pokécoin per every 10 minutes defended
|You can earn up to 50 Pokécoins per day
|You can defend a maximum of 20 Gyms at once
|You get a notification when your Pokémon returns from a Gym, accompanied by the amount of Pokécoins earned
More about these features can be found in the following articles:
- Gym Rework and Raid Battles
- Pokémon GO New Gym Features
- New Gym Battle Mechanics
- Pokecoins after the Gym Update
Raid Battles and EX Raid Battles
With the Gym Rework, a whole new feature came out: Raid Battles. We are safe to say that, up until today, this is the most important and significant update in the game. Raid Battles opened up a brand new world of social gameplay in Pokémon GO, but what are they?
A Raid Battle is a cooperative gameplay feature in which you and other Trainers try to defeat an extra powerful Pokémon. This Pokémon is called a Raid Boss. After you defeated the Raid Boss, you get rewarded with Items and Stardust. You are also offered an amount of Premier Balls (white Pokéball), as you get the chance to catch the Raid Boss in a downgraded appearance.
Before the Raid Battle itself starts, a big Raid Egg pops up on top of the Gym where the Raid Battle will take place. There are 5 different Tiers of Raid Battles which reflect in different difficulty levels.
|You can receive 1 free Raid Pass (orange) per day when entering a Gym or spinning it’s PhotoDisc (if you don’t already have one).
|You can buy extra Premium Raid Passes (green) in the in-game Shop.
|EX Raids require an EX Raid Pass (black) to participate (see later on).
|All Rewards appear in bundles. You can find more about them here.
|Raid Boss Catching
EX Raid Battles
At their core, EX Raid Battles are very similar to regular Raid Battles, but there are some important key differences:
- EX Raids only happen on EX Raid eligible Gyms
- You have to be invited in order to participate in an EX Raid Battle
- To be invited, you have to successfully complete Raid Battles on an EX Raid eligible Gym
- EX Raids feature an Exclusive Raid Boss which is only available through the EX Raid System (or at least in the period this Pokémon features in EX Raids)
More about these features and Raid Guides can be found here:
Trainer Battles (PvP)
You read that right, Trainers! PvP has arrived in Pokémon GO. Ever since launch in the Summer of 2016, the Pokémon GO Community was hoping for some ‘Player vs. Player’ battle system. Well, it’s here!
Trainer Battles are a competitive game feature recently introduced to Pokémon GO. The table underneath gives you a brief overview of how Trainer Battles work. For more information and in-depth guides, please visit our Pokémon GO PvP page!
|Max. 1500 CP
|Max. 2500 CP
|Trainer Battle Rewards
|Rewards come in bundles. 1 Item is in each Bundle. Trainers may receive up to 2 Bundles
Friendship and Trading
In the Summer of 2018, another wildly anticipated feature got introduced. A whole new Friendship System became available, and with this, a Trading function also arrived in Pokémon GO. That’s right, Trainers! You can finally trade your Pokémon with fellow Trainers! Let’s take a look at these new features.
The Friendship System is a new feature which allows you to become friends with other Trainers! Every Trainer has a unique Trainer Code, as well as a unique QR-code. Trainers can have up to 200 Friends in Pokémon GO. Every Friendship Level has its benefits regarding Raids and Gym Battles you perform with a particular Friend. There are several ways to level up, which can be found in the table below.
|Friendship Levels and Effects
|1 day of interaction
|7 days of interaction
|30 days of interaction
|90 days of interaction
|More info later on
|1x Attack Bonus + 1 extra Premier Ball
|2x Attack Bonus + 2 extra Premier Balls
|3x Attack Bonus + 4 extra Premier Balls
|Guaranteed Lucky Trade
|Ways to Increase Friendship Levels
|You can increase Friendship once a day per Friend
|Battle with Friends
|Complete a Gym Battle with a Friend
|Complete a Raid Battle with a Friend
|Complete a Trainer Battle with a Friend
|Open a Gift sent by a Friend
|Have a Gift you sent opened by a Friend
|Sending a Gift will NOT increase your Friendship
|More about Gifts later on in this article
|Trade a Pokémon with a Friend
|More about Trading later on in this article
A Gift is an Item box introduced with the release of the Friendship System. It allows you to sent and receive a box, which contains various Items. The following table gives a brief overview of Gift features and what’s inside them.
|You can receive Gifts from spinning Pokéstops and Gyms
|You can carry a maximum of 10 Gifts in your Bag, but they don’t take in Bag space
|You can open a maximum of 20 Gifts per day
|You can send a maximum of 100 Gifts per day
|Gifts can be deleted
|Revives and Potions
With the Friendship System, a whole new Trading feature got implemented. Trainers can finally Trade with their friends in Pokémon GO! Let’s take a look at all the features of Trading.
|In order to Trade with another Trainer, you have to be Friends
|Trading costs Stardust, the amount depending on Friendship Level and kind of Trade
|You can Trade 100 Pokémon per day
|Legendaries, Shiny’s and Pokémon unregistered in a Trainer’s Pokédex require a Special Trade
|You have to be at least Great Friends to perform a Special Trade
|You can only perform one Special Trade per day
|Pokémon Stats change after a Trade
When you perform a Trade in Pokémon GO, IV’s get randomly rerolled. With the addition of Lucky Pokémon, a whole new world of Trading opened! When performing a Trade, Pokémon have a small chance to become Lucky for both Trainers. A Lucky Pokémon requires 50% less Stardust to power up. The older the Pokémon you Trade, the more chance you have for it to become a Lucky Pokémon.
Guaranteed Lucky Trade
If you (or the Trainer you Trade with) have less than 10 Lucky Pokémon, trading a Pokémon from your (or the other Trainer’s) Storage caught in July or August 2016 will result in a guaranteed Lucky Trade!
A recent addition was made to the Friendship and Trading System. Trainers who have reached the status of “Best Friends,” now have the chance to become Lucky Friends. This means the next Trade performed with that Trainer will result in a Lucky Pokémon for both Trainers!
Want to learn more about Friendship, Trading, Gifts, and Lucky Pokémon? Check out these articles:
- A Guide to Friendship, Trading, and Gifts in Pokémon GO
- Pokémon GO Trading: Costs, Mechanics and Special Trade Rules
- Lucky Pokémon Mechanics in Pokémon GO
Returning to Pokémon GO: In Closing
Well, that’s it for Part 2 of Returning to Pokémon GO, Trainers! As you can see, a lot has changed since the game was released in Summer 2016. I hope this guide will encourage you to take on new adventures, and help lots of other Trainers returning to Pokémon GO. Need more catching up? Be sure to check out:
- Returning to Pokémon GO Part 1: Gotta Catch ‘Em All
- Returning to Pokémon GO Part 3: Creative Catching and Enormous Events – Coming Soon