After almost two years since its debut, Pokémon Go! is finally receiving some much-requested features in its upcoming update: friends, trading and gifting. According to Niantic, the update will arrive later this week:
We’re excited to share brand-new ways to interact with your friends in Pokémon GO! The Friends feature will start rolling out to Trainers later this week, allowing you to connect with your real-life friends and keep track of their adventures in Pokémon GO!. You’ll be able to send them items, earn bonuses—and even trade Pokémon!
Developer Niantic has steadily updated Pokémon GO! since its release, adding more Pokémon, a buddy system and raid battles. The newest update will allow players to become friends with one another. By simply sending someone your Trainer Code, you are on the road to becoming friends and adding them to your list.
There are several ways to interact with friends in the game. The first involves the new gift item coming to Pokéstops. Gifts can be collected at Pokéstops but not used by the players. They are meant to be sent to one of the many players on your friends list. Upon receiving a gift, players can expect a postcard telling them where the gift came from, a couple of useful items and sometimes even an egg with an Alolan-form Pokémon from the Kanto region. As an added bonus, you can send gifts online and from anywhere.
Trading is perhaps the biggest part of this update, which allows you to exchange Pokémon with other players. There are a few restrictions to how trading works: Players need to be in close proximity with one another and level 10 or higher in order to participate in trades. You will also need Stardust to complete trades, and trading special Pokémon (shiny, legendary, etc.) can only happen once a day with Great or Best Friends (more on that below). An incentive to trade Pokémon is earning candy for that Pokémon, which helps them evolve.
The more players send gifts and trade, the more they increase their friendship level with one another. Friendship levels range from Good Friends, Great Friends and Ultra Friends, all the way to Best Friends. This level also increases the more you play with your friends during raids and gym battles. Increasing your friendship level can also lower the cost of trading Pokémon, and increase attack bonuses at gym battles and raids. In the end, this should prove to be a worthwhile update to the game.