As a daily Pokémon Go player over the past two years, I have been holding out hope for trading to finally make it into the game. Promised as a feature ahead of the game's launch, the feature has been clamoured for by players who have multiples of rare creatures in their collections, and holes in their collection they would like to fill.
After two years of waiting, trading, friends lists, and gifting are finally coming to Pokémon Go, and they'll be here later this week.
So, how will this work? Well, you'll have a trainer code, which you can give to a friend, and they'll send you a friend request. If you accept, you're now Pokémon Go friends. After this, when spinning Pokéstops, you'll start receiving special gifts. You cannot open these yourself, but can gift them to friends, giving them bonus items, a postcard about where you got the gift, and potentially an egg containing an Alolan form of a Pokémon. By raiding together with friends, or sending gifts to friends, you can increase a friendship level with that friend. As these level up, you'll get increasing bonuses for playing together, like increased attack in raids.
So, let's get to the meat of this: the trading. You won't just be able to hop onto a global trade system online and trade any pair of Pokémon that you want – there are a few limitations placed on trading to ensure Pokédex completion remains a challenging undertaking. You'll need to be trainer level 10 or higher, and in the same physical space as another trainer in order to be able to trade with them. Trading away a Pokémon will get you stardust for the traded creature, and trading will require you to pay a stardust cost. Some trades cost more than others to execute, but you can lessen the cost for a trade by increasing your friend level with the person you trade with.
Lastly, if you want to trade a legendary, a shiny, or a Pokémon that the other person doesn't currently have in their collection, you will need to do a special type of trade. You'll both need to be Great Friends or Best Friends, in the same location, and the trade will require huge amounts of stardust. As you can see in the above image, that could be as high as 1,000,000 stardust for some high end trades. This is prohibitively high, and will come as a shock to many who were hoping they could just help their friends out with a quick trade.
While I get the reasoning for all these things – Niantic is hoping to encourage in-person play and community spirit – I am a bit gutted I can't just go on Twitter and shout "I got those region exclusives, trade for your shines." Still, it's finally a way to trade.... but all I want to to trade my rare duplicates for someone else's rare duplicates, is that so much to ask?