'Pokémon Go' PVP Update: Fans theorize about what competitive battling could look like

'Pokémon Go' PVP Update: Fans theorize about what competitive battling could look like
Source: AP
Source: AP

Although Niantic has teased Legendary birds, gym revisions and proximity trading for Pokémon Go in the near future, there's still one main series staple that's absent from the mobile game: head-to-head gym battling. Niantic CEO John Hanke has made cryptic mention of player-vs.-player battling in Pokémon Go in an interview with Waypoint back in February. But with the number of proposed updates on the horizon for the game, it's not surprising that PVP battling would fall to the wayside.

That hasn't stopped a few dedicated fans on the Silph Road community from daydreaming about what a PVP system would look like for Pokémon Go. If you're curious to see what they came up with, read on below.

Pokémon Go PVP update: What would need to change to make multiplayer engaging long-term?

In a post on the Silph Road subreddit, user 9VoltGorilla laid out what they'd want to see in an eventual PVP update, which included updates to the existing battle system to make player-on-player gameplay slightly more kinetic.

"The biggest problem that people have with the PVP system is the mindless button mashing and dodging system that rewards people who can [tap the screen very quickly]," 9VoltGorilla wrote. "I don't think Niantic wants a turn based system and they already have a shell designed around their dueling system so why not make some minor improvements."

9VoltGorilla's improvements to the battle system included a cooldown period on a Pokémon's quick moves (to prevent spamming and fast fingers from constantly winning), directional dodging and the ability to aim a Pokémon's charged moves.

Although it's tough to anticipate how Pokémon Go's battle system will change in the gym update, it's likely that we'd need to see significant changes to the battle system in order to keep it engaging for player-versus-player combat. It's too soon to say, of course, but if we were to place bets, we'd anticipate that the battling overhaul would keep the same basic combat shell as we've had since the game's release, instead of a completely new system.

Pokémon Go PVP update: Could there be both local and network battling?

In their post, 9VoltGorilla also laid out a system in which players would gain "battle tokens," a currency that could be exchanged to battle players both locally and over a network:

The whole point of 'Pokémon Go' is to go out and explore the world and use the real world as our hunting and eventually our battle grounds. With this comes a new item, the battle token. The battle token can only be found in game and cannot be purchased. It can be acquired one of 2 ways
A) spin a pokestop and you have a chance to acquire a battle token same way that you would acquire potions or pokeballs.
B) Prestiging a gym to a certain threshold can also get you battle tokens. Say 5,000 prestige gets you 1 token.

In this hypothetical system, you'd have two options: Either use a gym or a Pokéstop as a hub to set up a local battle for one token, where you could battle someone within 100 yards of you with a randomly generated code. By contrast, network battles would cost three tokens and would match you with an opponent with a similar trainer level to your own. In either case, battles would be limited to three Pokémon per trainer.

In his interview with Wired Germany, Niantic CEO John Hanke said he'd like to see gym battling become more collaborative. We know trading will be proximity-based with no network component, so it's not very likely that we'll see an online PVP component when player-versus-player combat is introduced.

9VoltGorilla's post does bring up an interesting question regarding PVP: Will there be a limit to how often you can do battle? If it utilizes similar mechanics to gym battling, the limit might be determined by how many revives and healing items you have on hand. But could we see a token system like what 9VoltGorilla is describing? It's probably much too early to say.

PVP will likely come after any implementation of Niantic's teased new gym system, so if you're really curious about what PVP might look like, we recommend following gym updates closely. Until then though, hopefully this gets us one step closer to getting the full Pokémon experience in real life.

More Pokémon Go news, updates, tips and tricks

Check out Mic's Pokémon Go guides on how to get stardust, how to determine how long it will take you to reach level 40, the kind of Pokémon you get from 10km eggs, how to create new PokéStops, how to maximize your chances of catching Pokémon and how PokéStops distribute Pokémon eggs. Also check out how to catch Gen 2 baby Pokémon, our analysis of post-balance update Chansey and Rhydon and everything you need to know about finding the long-awaited Pokémon Ditto.

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Alex Borkowski

Alex Borkowski is a tech writer from Chicago covering gaming for Mic. He can be reached at aborkowski@mic.com.

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