Niantic and The Pokémon Company released Pokémon Go back in July 2016, but the game launched without a crucial feature: the ability to trade monsters. For the past two years, players have wondered when we’d be able to share our monsters with friends, and that time has finally arrived.
Starting this week, Pokémon Go trainers will be able to make use of a new “friends” feature, which gives them the ability to track their fellow trainers’ accomplishments, send them gifts, and trade them their own collection of Pokémon. Becoming friends with another player works similarly to doing so on the Nintendo Switch or 3DS — you must share your “trainer code” with another player, and once they accept your request, you’ll show up on each others’ friends lists.
The friends system is how you’ll trade with other players. Anyone over Trainer Level 10 — which is likely you if you’re still playing Pokémon Go — can trade with others on their friends lists. As Pokémon Go is designed for out-and-about interaction, you’ll have to be physically near your friend in order to trade.
You’ll earn a bonus candy prize when you trade Pokémon, as well, and it will increase depending on how far away the two monsters were caught. Just as with powering up your monsters, you’ll need Stardust, but this requirement will be reduced as you build up your “friendship level” with other players. Legendary and Shiny Pokémon — as well as those you haven’t found on your own yet — can still be traded, but only once per day through a “special trade.” These require more Stardust and can only be done with “great friends” or “best friends.”
If your friends aren’t close to you, you can still interact with them by sending gifts. These wrapped packages can be found at PokéStops and gyms by spinning the disc as you usually would, and you cannot open them on your own. Instead, you can send them to anyone on your friends list along with a postcard, and your friends can receive extra items or even Alolan Pokémon eggs.
Sending gifts will build up your friendship level with other trainers, as will participating in raids or gym battles. In addition to lowering the Stardust requirement for trading, battling with those who have a higher friendship level will give an attack stat bonus to your own Pokémon.
Pokémon Go will get even more features this November with the launch of Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! and Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee! Both Switch games will connect to Pokémon Go and your mobile roster can be sent to the newer games.