Pokémon Go will now have a brand new and interesting feature, originally noticed when a developer was examining the game’s code. The existence of this feature was later confirmed by Niantic Labs, the developer of the popular augmented reality game, who revealed that it will be available to users in the next update, which is being rolled out now.
The Buddy System will let players pick a buddy Pokémon to walk with and earn candy, as well as other rewards and experiences within the game, when they do.
The latest update, rolling out as V 0.37.0 on the Android platform and V 1.7.0 on iOS will introduce the buddy system and buddy Pokémon, along with various other performance enhancements and features.
If you haven’t received the update yet and haven’t had the chance to explore the buddy system for yourself, here’s everything you need to know get ready.
Picking a Buddy Pokémon – Which One to Pick?
Players will be able to delegate the ‘buddy’ status to any one of their existing Pokémon, and although you would want your favorite Pokémon to walk with you, it is advisable to pick a Pokémon that the accumulated candy will benefit most. This means that you’ll be wasting a good opportunity by selecting Pokémon that have gained the maximum IVs and combat points, and already reached their final evolution, to be your buddy. Doing so will make the candy useless, unless you have a Pokémon of the same kind that hasn’t reached its maximum level yet.
To put the candy to best use, the buddy Pokémon you select should ideally be one that you’re looking to power up and evolve, or one of the rare Pokémon that were caught a couple of times, but never showed up again. It will be these Pokémon that will benefit most from the candy that the buddy system earns, as it will help them to get stronger.
Once you’ve come to a decision, tap the picture of your avatar in the lower-left corner of the screen, go into the Menu, and select the new ‘Buddy’ option that you’ll now find between the ‘Journal’ and ‘Customize’ options. You can select your Pokémon of choice from this menu.
Unfortunately, the Buddy Pokémon will not show up or walk beside your avatar within the game. Instead, their picture will appear beside your avatar in the corner of the screen, and they will also be present on the trainer information screen. It should also be noted that any Pokémon that you select as a buddy will become unavailable to defend a gym.
The process of gathering candy will be similar to that of hatching eggs, which, you’ll know if you’re familiar with the game, involves a lot of walking while the game is running on your phone.
Once the player has traveled a particular distance, the Pokémon will earn a single piece of candy. This distance is determined by the Pokémon selected, with common Pokémon collecting a piece on shorter distances than rare ones. When the required distance has been traveled, a prompt on your screen will notify you that your Pokémon has collected a candy.
You’ll be required to travel a distance of 1km, 3km or 5pm, depending on your Pokémon, to earn a piece of candy. The buddy option in the game’s Menu will show you how much distance you’ve traveled with your buddy Pokémon so far, and how much further you need to go to earn the next piece of candy. A new addition to the game’s HUD will be a gauge right above your buddy Pokémon, displaying the candy collection progress.
Selecting a Different Buddy Pokémon
If you wish to switch your buddy Pokémon, you should keep in mind that any walking progress you have with your current Pokémon will be lost when you do. Therefore, it’s a good idea to make the switch right after your current Pokémon has collected a candy.
To switch your buddy Pokémon, navigate to the Buddy menu and tap the arrow on the lower right corner of the menu screen to pick a new Pokémon to walk with.
Other Additions and Changes Introduced in the Update
In addition to implementing the Buddy feature, the latest update fixes a glitch that stopped the egg hatching animation from showing up in earlier versions. It also makes selecting smaller Pokémon on the map easier, brings performance stability when players switch networks, as well as adding support for the Pokémon Go Plus accessory releasing soon, and minor text fixes.
The update has also removed support for jailbroken or rooted devices, making the game unplayable on such devices. This move, developers believe, will hinder cheating as well as the use of scrapers and bots in the game.