Pokémon Go’s new Friends feature has a lot of benefits for players, with bigger bonuses given out to closer Friends. That hasn’t been the case for the last several days, however, due to a glitch that’s making it harder to grow better friendships.
Update: The glitch described below has been resolved as of July 2. Players should now expect to see their friendship levels increase as expected. The original article follows below.
Once two players become Friends, they have to tend to that friendship on a daily basis. (It’s not too different from real life, to be honest.) One day of hanging out in-game — whether by trading, doing a Raid battle together or sending each other a gift — will bump you two up to Good Friends; a week straight of hanging out will make you Great Friends, etc. For a lot of players, that hasn’t been the case since late last week, however; Friends are finding that their friendship levels are out of sync.
The bug is kind of complicated, so here’s an explanation from one Pokémon Go fan affected by it:
“It seems that only the person who opens the gift first, enters the battle first, or selects the pokemon to trade first has friendship points increased on their end (raids are unclear, and more random, as far as I can see),” wrote The Silph Road community member GyaraDosXX. “The other person’s friendship level will stay as is until they do these actions first some day. That’s what is causing the imbalance.”
If you think you’re about to get nice and close with your pal, it turns out that they may be nowhere near as close to you. It happens all the time in this world of fallible humans, but it should never be happening in Pokémon Go.
Niantic is aware of the problem, and its support page indicates that a solve is “in the works.” It offers a very vague workaround in the meantime.
“It may take multiple Friendship activities for your Friendship Levels to increase,” according to the developer. “If you notice that your Friendship Level has not increased for the day after participating in Gym Battles/Raids, trading Pokémon, or sending a Gift to your friend, please complete another one of these activities with them.”
Players have found a more concrete solution, however. It involves ensuring that the same player initiates the daily Friend activity — specifically gift-giving. That means they’re always the one sending the other Friend a gift, while the other is always accepting it. The recipient will see their friendship increasing as normal, and once that player reaches Great Friend status with their partner, the two switch roles the next day. The following day, the original gift-giver (and the most recent recipient) will be bumped up to Great Friend status too, just as they were originally supposed to be.
This is all to say that this is a frustrating and slightly mind-boggling problem. It’s great that Pokémon Go is filling out its feature set, and we’re stoked about having in-game friends. But with the special trading and battle bonuses rewarded to stronger friendships, it’s a pain that the feature is majorly borked right now.