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There’s an extra step to going online in Pokémon Sword and Shield

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If you’re not connected, you’re defaulted to local searches

A Pokémon trainer sitting on the couch with her Rotom phone Game Freak, The Pokémon Company/Nintendo

When you load up Pokémon Sword and Shield today, you won’t automatically be connected to the internet — meaning you won’t be able to use the Surprise Trades or interact with other trainers in the Wild Area.

You’ll instead be forced into searching locally, which makes things confusing; it’s not always clear that you’re offline. Here’s how to make sure you’re connected to the internet.

  1. Hit the Y button on your Nintendo Switch to access the Y-Comm menu
  2. Push the + button to connect to the internet

If everything works correctly, you’ll be online. From here, you’re able to select from different menu options: Link Trade, Surprise Trade, Swap Cards, Link Battle, Profile, and Search Stamps. This is also how you’ll find other trainers to battle with in the Max Raid Battles, otherwise, you’ll only search locally.

Link Trade is the normal trade system, while Surprise Trade is a blind trading method — you’ll be randomly matched with another player. Swap Cards is how you pass your trainer cards out to others, and get someone else’s in return. Link Battle is the battling system, Profile is where you can select a profile picture, and Search Stamps is where you can look at other people’s activity.

The other benefit of being online is that the Wild Area will be populated with other trainers, which is really neat. You can see other trainers running around. If you interact with them, they’ll give you little surprises, like ingredients for curry and other items. Plus, you can visit trainers at their camps to cook together, too.