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Making friends in Pokémon Go guide: Friendship levels, gift-giving and more

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Pokémon Go gets even more social with this new feature

A summer-themed loading screen in Pokémon Go Niantic/The Pokémon Company

Pokémon Go has always been a social game at heart, but it’s only as of the game’s most recent update that players can actually make friends with each other. The Friend List feature comes with various in-game benefits, from gift-giving to trading. It may seem light, but friendship is actually a big deal for the future of Pokémon Go.

So what’s the deal with friends in Pokémon Go?

You probably already have friends who play Pokémon Go, or whom you’ve actually met through playing the game. Niantic has now implemented a system in which you can actually interact with friends and track their activity in-game.

How do I make friends in Pokémon Go?

The Friend List is accessible from the trainer profile. Click on your avatar in the lower left-hand corner of the screen to open up the profile. From there, you can swipe over to the Friends menu, where you’ll see a prompt to add a friend.

From there, you can either input someone’s Trainer Code or copy and share your own. Once you (or your friend) have accepted a request, which you’ll find both in the notifications menu and in the Friends List, you’ll automatically become buds.

What’s a Trainer Code?

A Trainer Code is similar to Nintendo’s Friend Code system. It’s a set of 12 numbers automatically assigned to each player. While giving others multiple numbers to keep track of sounds tedious, the game at least allows you to easily copy and send out your code to potential friends. (You can also change your code to another random selection of 12 numbers, if you’re not happy with the code you have now.)

What can I do once I’ve added a friend?

Once you’ve made friends with another player, you have access to their profile. The data shown include their buddy Pokémon, trainer level and “total activities,” which refers to how many battles they’ve won, the distance they’ve traveled and the number of Pokémon they’ve caught.

Can I organize my friends list?

There is! If you select the A-Z button in the right-hand corner of the Friends List, it will give you several options by which to sort. That includes alphabetically by name or nickname, friendship level or who still has a gift to give you.

You can nickname your friends?

If you go into your friends’ individual profiles and scroll to the bottom, you’ll see an option to assign them a nickname. That will then sit underneath their personal username on the Friends List.

What else can I do?

The most important parts of befriending someone come down to the following three things: friendship level; gifting; and trading.

McWhertor’s Friends List in Pokémon Go
Here’s my friend [Mike] McWhertor’s profile from right after we first added each other to our Lists.
Niantic/The Pokémon Company via Polygon

What’s a friendship level?

Pokémon Go doesn’t just encourage players to become friends. The game wants players to become really, really, really good friends. The friendship level measures just how good of friends you are with the other players on your List.

There are four tiers to the friendship level system, each one achieved after consistent interactions with other trainers. Those tiers are:

  • Good Friends, which players reach after trading or exchanging gifts once
  • Great Friends, which players reach after trading or exchanging gifts over a period of seven days
  • Ultra Friends, reached after trading or exchanging gifts for 30 days straight
  • Best Friends, which is reached after 90 days of interaction

What are the benefits of each friendship level?

Reaching Best Friend status with another player isn’t just a point of social pride. It also grants players several bonuses, including some impacting another new feature, Trading.

  • Good Friends get a three percent damage bonus during Raid battles with friends. They also receive 3,000 experience for reaching this status
  • Great Friends get a five percent damage bonus, as well as one extra Premier Ball to use during Raids. They get 10,000 experience upon unlock as well, alongside a 20 percent trading discount on the amount of Stardust required to exchange Pokémon
  • Ultra Friends get a seven percent damage bonus and two more Premier Balls for Raids; leveling up awards both players 50,000 experience, and also offers a 92 percent discount on the amount of Stardust needed to trade Pokémon with each other
  • Best Friends get a 10 percent damage bonus and four added Premier Balls; they receive 100,000 experience and a 96 percent discount on the Stardust needed for a Pokémon trade

Cool, cool, cool. What about sending gifts to friends in Pokémon Go?

There are two key options in the Friends profile: trading and gifting. Once a day, players can send a gift (with unknown contents) to their pals. These gifts come attached to a photo postcard from the PokéStop the original owner received it from, and the contents range from a large number of myriad Balls and potions. There’s also an exclusive seven-kilometer Egg that players can receive in their randomized gift bag. These Eggs include Alolan-form Pokémon not available in the wild.

A gift being sent off in Pokémon Go
I hope McWhertor likes his gift ... whatever it is!
Niantic/The Pokémon Company via Polygon

As of the most recent version of the game, there are two more things that players can receive for gifting. One of them is stardust, which is used both for trading and powering up Pokémon. The other is experience points, which every player will now receive when they send out a gift to one of their friends.

Sweet. What about trading with friends in Pokémon Go?

We have more info elsewhere about the particulars of trading. The short of it: Friends who are in the same location are able to trade. You can’t trade with folks over the internet. And the better friends you are, the easier and cheaper it is to trade, as we described above.

Can I at least chat with my online (or local) friends?

Nope. There’s no in-game chat.

Dang. Anything else I can do with my friends?

Not yet, but the feature is still new. We’re sure that Niantic will continue to flesh out Pokémon Go’s Friends List as time wears on.