Pokemon Go trainer battles will be arriving "soon" based on a number of recent tweets providing a few scant details about the feature from the game's official Twitter channel. Based on the content of the posts, the battles will be kicked off similarly to how trainers run into Pokemon. Namely, they'll be AR based and once started, will trigger an animation leading to the battle itself. The associated images show a battle opponent holding a Pokeball, so there's a good chance the contest will pit one trainer's pokemon against another's but it isn't immediately clear how the battle mechanics will work. In traditional Pokemon titles, the fights are turn-based and players choose which actions their creatures take. In Pokemon Go, battles have generally been more akin to an action RPG with little input from users.
One detail that has been made apparent though is that 'Battle Leagues' will be available for players to participate in with ranks including Great, Ultra, and Master. CP limits will be in place for each tier, beginning with a 1,500 CP limit for Pokemon used in the Great League. The Ultra League will have a limit that's a thousand points higher. Finally, the Master League will test players skill to the limit, imposing no CP limit at all. That suggests that at least some strategy will be required to be successful in those battles. At the same time, Niantic says that there will be mechanics in place to make the feature accessible to everybody.
Background: Player-versus-player modes are something that fans of the Pokemon franchise have been begging for since the very first iteration of the series. The CEO of the company behind the title, Niantic, indicated earlier this year that it would be adding the battles at some point in 2018 after mentioning the feature during the previous feature. So it's not entirely surprising the PvP mode is finally making its way over to the mobile AR adaptation. Details about exactly how that would work for the real-world location-reliant title, to the contrary, have been slim. The game already centers its action around capturing locations acting as 'Gyms' for one of three teams and players already have the ability to build out their own friend list. Those aspects of the game are already in place so it's unlikely they'll be ignored when it comes to PvP battles. The team that's been chosen and whether or not opponents are friends may play a central role in determining who a player can battle and what the consequences of wins or losses will be under various circumstances.
Impact: The incoming feature is also just the latest of many in a years-long stream of changes that have been implemented to meet Pokemon fans' expectations and improve the title for first-time players. Trading pokemon has been a long-standing tradition in the game, harkening back even as far as some early Nintendo handheld versions. That capability and the ability to gift various in-game items was only just added to the game in June this year, despite that it launched in 2016. Niantic only has another month or so to go before it technically breaks its previous promise to have the new mode added in Pokemon Go before the end of 2018. The latest announcement from the company via its social media account seems to indicate that its just about ready to accomplish that but there's still no solid date in place. Once it does arrive, it will undoubtedly be pivotal in helping Pokemon Go maintain its position as one of the most popular games on the Play Store.