It’s the feature most players will have been waiting for so long they’ll never actually get to use it, but Pokemon Go has finally allowed players to battle in the game.
The introduction of player versus player fights arrives in the latest update to the game and lets Pokemon trainers use the creatures and skills they’ve honed over more than two years to take on friends.
Battles had been a notably missing part of the game since it was released in the summer of 2016. Now developers say they have finally arrived, with players receiving special rewards for playing them.
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Developers are clear that the matches won’t only reward players who have the strongest Pokemon and the best moves, privileging those who have been playing for a while. They are fast-paced and emphasise strategy, allowing for quick games so players can then get into the next one.
“Timing is important, too,” they write. “If you keep an eye on your opponent’s moves, you may be able to deploy a Protect Shield to save your Pokémon from taking critical damage. But you only have a limited number of Protect Shields before your Pokémon will be left defenseless against big attacks.”
But there are some restrictions, too. Players will have to fight in the same league, which sets a maximum power of each creature used, and the option won’t be available to anyone who has not levelled up enough.
The lack of battles was one of just a range of problems with the release – and immediate, rapid success – of the game when it arrives in 2016. Some of those issues, such as its tendency to repeatedly stop working, were fixed quickly and as players started to leave, while others are still being introduced now.