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Pokémon Go’s new Party Play feature lets players team up for group challenges, easier raids

Niantic finally puts you and your friends on the same screen

Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

Pokémon Go developer Niantic has always pitched its mobile Pokémon game as a social experience. But when you’re actually playing it, it’s just your lonely trainer on-screen, walking the virtual world of Pokémon Go and catching ’em all.

That’s changing with a new feature called Party Play, a “fully shared in-game experience” which will let players team up in groups to walk together, catch Pokémon together, and battle in raids together, all while showing up on every party member’s screen. The option to raid as a party will probably excite Pokémon Go players the most, because raiding in a party will give your team Party Power, a new damage multiplier that builds up as you battle raid bosses.

Party Power will double the damage of Charged Attacks in raids and charges with every Fast Attack that players in a party perform. More party members means your Party Power charges faster, Niantic says in a blog post detailing Party Play. In a gameplay demonstration of Party Play shown to media, Pokémon Go developers showed a party of three players taking down a Mega Gardevoir with relative ease. (That’s certainly possible under normal circumstances with a trio of high-level trainers, but raiding with smaller-sized groups appears to be much easier with the addition of Party Power.)

A gameplay screenshot of Pokémon Go’s Party Play raid features, showing the Party Power indicator in a Gardevoir raid. Image: Niantic/The Pokémon Company

Pokémon Go Party Play will also extend to a new feature called Party Challenges. After forming a party, the group will get a pop-up menu in-game that offers multiple challenges to tackle: spinning PokéStops, battling in raids, or catching Pokémon.

For the cosmetically inclined, Party Play will also unlock exclusive avatar items for trainers: Eevee-themed T-shirts, featuring a variety of “Eeveelutions.”

Party Play will be accessible from players’ Trainer profile page, where a new Party tab will be added. From there, players can create a party, and will be given a numerical code or QR code that they can share with up to three nearby Trainers.

Niantic says that parties can range from two to four players, and that everyone in the group will need to be level 15 higher or above to join a party. But players don’t need to be in-game friends to join a party, which will hopefully encourage players during Community Day events or larger get togethers, like Pokémon Go Fest, to group up and play together.

Simulated gameplay screenshots of Pokémon Go’s Party Play features, including a party challenge screen, a map screen showing 4 trainers on the same map, and a results screen. Image: Niantic/The Pokémon Company

The developer also confirmed that there’s no way to remotely join a party. Players will need to be in roughly the same location to party up. Expect that proximity range to be approximately the distance within which one can spin a PokéStop or gym, the developer said.

You can read more about Pokémon Go’s new Party Play feature, which rolls out globally on Oct. 17, on the game’s official website.