What’s the goal of Pokemon? To catch ‘em all, of course! And if you’re going to catch ‘em all, it’ll probably be tough to do it alone. To paraphrase The Beatles, you’re gonna need a little help from your friends.

Two years after the initial release of Pokemon Go, Niantic will finally implement trading and friendship systems. Since trading is such an integral part of the handheld games, it seems surprising that the feature has taken this long to arrive. However, Niantic likely wanted to balance trading so that it a) wouldn’t break the game b) would stop a black market from existing where people could sell their digital critters for cash. $500 for a Mewtwo with perfect individual values? I’m sure someone would pay up.

So here’s the breakdown of each feature:


While the friendship feature seemingly exists as a gateway to trading, it’s a pretty neat concept in its own right. Pokemon Go has always thrived as a social experience, whether that’s through taking down gyms with others or battling in raids with a group. By adding friends, players will have the ability to get bonuses through playing cooperatively and to check in with people they play with frequently.

According to the latest Pokemon Go blog, players will soon receive their own individual six digit Trainer Codes. By adding another player’s code, you can send friend requests. And what happens then? Here are the perks:

  • Friends will be able to send each other gifts that they’ll receive at Poke Stops. These gifts will consist of various items, and may even include eggs for Alolan Pokemon.
  • By sending gifts, battling gyms, or taking part in raids together, friends can increase their friendship levels. Higher friendship levels will give attack boosts to battles and raids and increase the amount of premiere balls received for raids.
  • And of course, friends can trade with each other, which will also boost their friendship levels. And this brings us to the next section.   


So how do you add trading in a way that allows players to get coveted Pokemon while still giving incentive for solo play? Also, how do you prevent what we’ll call Poke Scalpers from selling their best Pokemon? Well, the short answer is through the friendship system, but Niantic has created a pretty comprehensive series of checks and balances to ensure that trading doesn’t break the game. Sure, some players may get upset with all the rules, but they at least keep things fair. There are also a number of incentives outside of getting a rare ‘mon to encourage players to trade with each other.

  • Players can build their friendship levels through trading. Trading can only take place between friends who are both over level ten and within 100 meters of each other.
  • Players will earn candy bonuses through trading, which increase the further away the Pokemon were caught from each other.
  • All trades will cost stardust. The amount will depend on the friendship level between the two players. The higher the friendship level, the cheaper the stardust cost.
  • Pokemon trades will re-roll the individual values of Pokemon. So if someone has a 100 IV Rayquaza that you want (I know I’d love one), it would be highly advised not to complete this trade. However, the higher the friendship level, the smaller the difference between the old and new IVs. Still, trade high IV Pokemon at your own risk. 
  • And of course, players can trade legendaries, shinies, and Pokemon they have yet to catch. But the catch here is that these are Special Trades, which can only take place once a day between players who are at least “great friends.”


So those are the features! The friendship system will arrive later this week, while trading will debut towards the middle of the summer. While you’re waiting for trading to arrive, it would be wise to increase your friendship levels. That way, when trading does debut you’ll be able to cut down on Stardust costs, limit IV rerolls, and take part in Special Trades.

About The Author

Andrew Agress

Andrew comes from the majestic land of New Jersey (the part that doesn't smell). A big fan of sketch comedy, he writes and performs it whenever possible. He gets his powers from listening to indie folk music and drinking aloe water.