By default, there are plenty of things to do in Pokémon Go. The mobile game is littered with a variety of side activities, many of which involve leaving the comfort of your own home and going to physical locations. Trainer battles have been a big part of the game for a while now, but up until this point, the feature has been limited to local play only. Fans have been clamoring for a variety of changes and fixes to the feature since its inception, but most importantly, the big request lies behind expanding the feature past local environments; online play with anyone from anywhere. While this seemed but a mere pipe dream before, developer Niantic has revealed its on the way. In a very brief-but-exciting blog post on Pokémongolive, the team announced the introduction of the Go Battle League, their official moniker for online PvP.

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"Like many Pokémon Go features, Go Battle League will encourage players to get out and explore the world with Pokémon," the blog post reads. "Trainers will be able to walk in order to earn entry into the Go Battle League, then battle opponents from around the globe through an online matching system and rise in the ranks of the league. We hope this feature will make the Pokémon Go battling experience more competitive and accessible to more Trainers." An important detail mentioned there is that you'll need to walk in order to 'gain entry' into the League; i.e. you won't be able to participate in online PvP by just sitting on your couch. In doing so, this keeps the Go Battle League in the spirit of the game proper, encouraging trainers to explore their local stomping grounds, even when the battles are far removed from said stomping grounds. Supposedly, the introduction of the Go Battle League will also usher in some quality-of-life improvements and changes to the standard trainer battles.

It seems clear that Niantic has been listening to the fan conversation surrounding trainer battles. Just this past year, an exhibition match tournament was held at the Pokémon World Championships, showcasing the possibilities behind the battle system and what a truly online PvP mode could bring to the table. Since the Battle League will feature a ranking board, it's sure to whet the appetites of the more competitive players out there. Pokémon Go originally released in mid-2016, and has gone on to achieve a staggering player base since then. Its initial months were plagued with technical issues and limited functionality, but the game has really come into its own following some big updates. While it did garner some criticism (and laughs) for how distracted it can make other people walking around in the real world, it's the closest thing we have right now to actually going out and catching Pokémon, and serves as one of the more popular examples of augmented reality games (ARGs) gone right.

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According to Niantic, the Pokémon Go Battle League will be released in early 2020. Not fit to leave us hanging until then, they've promised that they'll have lots more details to share in a 'special Dev Insights video' here in the near future. So until then, stay tuned! In the meantime, Pokémon Go is readily available to download and play on both Android and iOS devices. It's also completely free, so there's really no reason not to give it a try. It has some in-app purchases due to this, but nothing that's shoved in your face or that impacts the game in a negative way. Once the Dev Insights video releases, we'll likely have a better idea as to how all this matchmaking, ranking, and PvPing will actually work. Most likely, it will be an expanded form of battles with friends, the one way to battle a trainer regardless of location. It's a bit understated, since it takes quite a bit of effort to raise your friend ranking with another Pokémon Go trainer. In any case, head to the app's blog to check out the original post for the full scoop!

Tanner
Tanner

Tanner is a freelance writer. He enjoys all things video games, particularly the weirder ones, and can often be found drinking coffee and trying to get through his backlog.

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