With the introduction of Raiding, EX-Passes and Community Days, Pokémon Go has taken a huge steer towards the masses. While these events draw crowds, form communities, and encourage an atmosphere of comradery it’s easy to forget that a large percentage of the game is played as an individual and rarely poses a challenge.
Over the last several months I have hit level 40, focusing on stardust, finding high IV Pokémon but the grind is real and I believe few would disagree. With the introduction of quests it made me appreciate that Niantic may have realised this and introduced the story mechanic as a way to heighten the single player experience.
When adding Pokémon to my local gyms I started to remember the glory of beating Gym Leaders in the game who genuinely posed a challenge. I am sure many have had the Whitney’s-Miltank-Rollout experience, so can relate to what a truly amazing feeling it was to overcome it.
This article is to showcase a new concept for near-end level content. It can be backwards compatible which I will expand upon but for the opening remarks I will be focusing on trainers around level 35.
The first introduction would be the Platinum Medal, a 4th tier of the existing catch x type Pokémon. Each medal would require to catch 500 Pokémon of a certain type. This would be the pre-requisite to the new content and immediately award a Challenge Invitation upon your next successful Gym Battle.
Challenge Invitation would be a letter from a challenging trainer or gym leader from the games or anime. For the example Brock, the Pewter City Gym Leader. He happens to be on a journey, be it as a Breeder or a Trainer, matters not. He has heard you’re a strong trainer and wants to battle!
Greetings Trainer %n,
My name is Brock, I am a gym leader from Pewter City in the Kanto Region. I am currently on a journey and have heard of your exploits with Rock Pokémon. My Gym in Pewter City specialises in Rock Type Pokémon and I would be honoured to battle you at the Gym of your choice.
My rock-hard willpower together with the true-grit determination of my Pokémon will make me a true challenge. Come, show me your best!
Turn in this letter at your convenience at a Gym and I will travel to your location to test your resistance.
Pewter Gym Leader
I should note at this point that my concept is for passes to be obtainable more than once with a rate dependant on your current gym medal when you successful win a gym match.
Take your challenge invitation to a Gym and use the item in a similar fashion to a raid pass. The trainer will then “travel” to your location and exist at that stop for 3 hours.
During this timeframe you can challenge the trainer to a 6v6 Pokémon battle. Trainers Pokémon will be level 35 and of the Type used by that trainer. Using the Brock example, he could use any rock type, additional flavour would be that Brock could use Pokémon he had in the anime like Vulpix, Crobat, Ludicolo, etc and these would be randomised each invitation used.
If the trainer defeats all your Pokémon he will heal both your team and his and allow you to try again until the timer expires. The trainer cannot be reduced like a raid boss, pick another 6 and continue where you left off. He will however use the same 6 randomly generated Pokémon each battle within a single challenge duration.
When you have successfully completed your challenge you will be awarded with the trainers Gym Badge, in the Brock Example we are awarded the Boulder Badge from the Pewter Gym. This acts as a Medal and can come in Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum awarding cosmetic awards in addition to the encounter award.
Encounter Award I am proposing would be a random tier 1 shiny from that type. In the Brock example we would have geodude, onix, omanyte, etc.
The Medal awards would then scale accordingly, below are examples continuing with my Brock theme
Boulder Badge: Bronze
Defeat Gym Leader Brock Reward Rock Capture +1 (stacks on Rock Badge +3, total +4)
Boulder Badge: Silver
Defeat Gym Leader Brock three times Reward Unlock Rock Apparel #1 Pants / Shoes
Boulder Badge: Gold
Defeat Gym Leader Brock five times Reward Unlock Rock Apparel #2 Top / Gloves
Boulder Badge: Platinum
Defeat Gym Leader Brock ten times Reward Unlock Rock Appearance Physical Attributes (eyes / hair / hat / backpack)
As an additional concept I would add that unlocking 8 Bronze Badges would then introduce the Elite 4 / Champions Path. Pokemon would be higher level and offer expanded rewards (story mode). I am aiming to write that article following this one
I have a handful of gaps in my concept. The main one is that I have predominantly used Gym Leaders from Kanto and Johto, gen 1 and 2. We did not have a Dark or Fairy type gym leaders until generations which are yet to be released. I am sure there are suitable candidates but I have struggled to find candidates
Nurse Joy, Officer Jenny, or Team Rocket were thoughts, but they rarely battle in the anime or do not typically use the Dark or Fairy types.
Regarding backwards compatibility, I am sure everyone fondly remembers your Rivals in the various games. Level 20, 25, 30 you’re challenged by a trainer from the main games to introduce the mechanic, awarding incubators, stardust, etc.
Below is a brief matrix of the trainers against each type. Here’s hoping Niantic is listening, either adding to or expanding content beyond the story mode, adding more for the solo player.