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Pokémon Go's biggest missing features

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Battling your friends, fighting nearby trainers and more

Pokémon Go is predominantly a single-player experience in its current state. This looks set to change, however, according to developer Niantic Labs; trading is on its way to the iOS and Android hit.

There are other modes — many of them multiplayer — that Pokémon fans are also hoping will make it into Pokémon Go as it continues to be tweaked following its release. Follow along for a list of some of the other familiar Pokémon elements the game is currently missing out on, and keep your fingers crossed that they're bound for the game.

Battling your friends

Pokémon Go allows for two types of battles in its current form: random encounters against wild Pokémon and gym battles. Neither one functions as they typically do in Pokémon games, particularly the fights against Pokémon you hope to catch. Yet the ability to pit your most powerful Pokémon against that of your best friend is a feature that the game is most sorely lacking.

Pokémon Go largely feels like a single-player experience in its current form. Helping out teammates during gym battles is as close as the game comes to letting you play together. The addition of dedicated multiplayer, friend-versus-friend battles could go a long way in making the actual gameplay feel less isolated.

Fighting nearby trainers

In Pokémon games, players set out across the region by themselves. Running into other trainers along their journey helps to make that journey less solitary, while also providing a chance to toughen up your Pokémon.

It's already obvious that many of the people walking around you are playing Pokémon Go; if you see a group of people stopped in the middle of the sidewalk in the exact spot where you're trying to catch a Zubat for yourself, chances are they're after the same thing. To be able to interact with these people — to battle them — would make the game that much more of a social experience.

Actual Pokémon battles

Catching a wild Pokémon no longer involves siccing your best-suited monster against it. In Pokémon Go, Pokémon battles involve swiping a Poké Ball across the screen, timing your throw and adjusting your aim in the hopes of success. That's a major difference from the Pokémon games of yore, where players headed out into the tall grass to train their own stable of fighters.

Allowing players to fight with their own Pokémon during random encounters is one update that would bring Pokémon Go closer to the Pokémon games many of us know and love. Perhaps it's not the most on-the-go, mobile-friendly style of play, but it's one that could increase Pokémon Go's longevity.

Collecting gym badges

Currently, competing at gyms is a matter of pride. After availing themselves to one of three factions at level five, players can fight trainers stationed at various gyms. Each gym belongs to a team, but winning against an opposing force doesn't give you anything to show for it. Sure, you can then take over that gym, up your own team's prestige and exercise bragging rights, but nabbing those shiny pieces of metal is a big part of the charm in other Pokémon games.

Having a true rival

Many players have already become fiercely loyal to their teams (Team Valor 'til I die), but the game itself doesn't encourage players to compare themselves to others in an effort to become the very best. There's no true benchmark of what that even means in Pokémon Go. Is becoming a Pokémon master just collecting all of the Pokémon? Perhaps, but considering how much travel is required to do that, that goal seems unattainable for many. Does it mean lording over the most gyms? Maybe, but that's not quantified and doesn't offer any rewards on its own.

In the main Pokémon role-playing games, the rival is someone for a player to aspire to become — and to surpass. Adding a character of this nature might be tricky, considering the game is nonlinear and lacks a narrative, but adding some depth behind the teams to inspire players to defeat each other could help keep the ball rolling for even longer.

If I can't trade, battle friends, collect badges or fight my rival, what can I do in Pokémon Go?

As of now, the biggest things to do in Pokémon Go are catch Pokémon, fight in the name of your team for a gym and have fun taking pictures of Pokémon in various places, embarrassing and otherwise. There's plenty to learn about what the game currently offers, so check out our FAQ for more.


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