Pokemon Go trading has been a feature that players have been requesting since the game first launched way back in 2016. It's always been a mainstay of the Pokemon series, as trading Pokemon between friends was a great way of making sure that your Pokedex is as close as possible to that coveted caught 'em all status. However, it doesn't work exactly like it does in the core Pokemon RPG series, because of course, everything in Pokemon Go has to have a Pokemon Go twist to it. There are some caveats and restrictions on how exactly Pokemon Go trading works, but there's finally a way to trade with your friends and that's pretty amazing.
Firstly, before you even think about getting involved in some Pokemon Go trading with your friends, you'll need to fulfil the following criteria:
1) Have a Trainer Level of 10 or above
2) Be Pokémon Go Friends with the person you want to trade with
3) Be basically next to the person you want to trade with in real life, a.k.a. within 100m
From there, it's technically just a case of going to your Friends feed, selecting the person you want to trade with, and then choosing the Pokemon you want to trade. But, of course, it's not quite as straightforward as that, so read on for our Pokemon Go trading guide, including details on how to become Pokemon Go friends, gifting, and the trading quirks themselves.
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How to make Pokemon Go friends
The first step towards Pokemon Go trading - once you've gone beyond Trainer Level 10 of course - is to actually become friends within the game. To do this, you need to go to your Trainer section, and hit the Friends tab. From here, tap the "add Friend" button to bring up your own Trainer Code. You'll need to share this with anyone you want to be friends with in Pokemon Go, or grab the 12-digit Trainer Code number of any of your friends that play Pokemon Go and add them to your game.
When someone adds you to their Friends list, you'll get a notification within the Friends tab. You can then just accept - or reject - that request to become Pokemon Go friends.
Exchange gifts with Pokemon Go friends to increase your friendship level
It's not just a case of becoming Pokemon Go friends with someone though. There are actually levels of friendship within the game. You can increase you friendship level by trading together, battling in raids or Gym battles together, and also by exchanging gifts.
Every time you visit a PokeStop you'll be in with a chance of receiving a special Gift. You can't do anything with them yourself, but you can send them to anyone on your friends list. These gifts contain useful items like potions and PokeBalls, and even a special yellow and pink egg that will eventually hatch into an Alolan form Pokemon. Magic. You can only send one gift a day to each friend, but doing so builds your trainer level.
There are four levels of friendship that you can achieve with another player:
Good Friend (reached after 1 day of friendship)
Great Friend (reached after 7 days of friendship)
Ultra Friend (reached after 30 days of friendship)
Best Friend (reached after 90 days of friendship)
The good news is you only need to be Good Friends with someone to start trading with them (provided you're both Trainer Level 10 or above), and you can get there by giving each other one gift.
However, if you want to trade for Pokemon you haven't already caught, you'll have to upgrade your friendship level to at least Great Friends.
Increasing your friend level with another player gets you a tonne of perks. When you're Great Friends or above, you can battle at Gyms or in Raids together, gaining attack bonuses and Raid bonuses. Those perks only increase as your friendship level rises too, so get gifting.
How does Pokemon Go trading work?
As long as you've been friends with someone for a day, and have exchanged one gift, you can trade Pokemon with them. Every trade you do will cost you Stardust, although the exact cost depends on a number of factors - but more on that in a minute.
When you know what you want to trade and who you want to trade with, make sure you're physically next to each other (within 100m). Then head to the Friends tab within Pokemon Go, and select the player you want to trade with. Hit the trade button in the right-hand corner, and get your friend to do the same. When you've connected, pull up the Pokemon you want to trade and you'll be informed of the trade cost in Stardew, but also the CP range the Pokemon will hit when it is traded. When the trade is over, the Pokemon's CP level will sit somewhere within this range. The range is affected by your Trainer Level, the level of the receiving trainer and also your friendship level.
You also get candies for every trade, which is a great added bonus. How many you'll receive depends on where the Pokemon was caught too. The further away you are from its source, the more candies you'll receive. According to Reddit, you get one candy for distances below 30km, two candies from between 30 - 100km, and three candies for anything above 100km.
Not all Pokemon are regarded the same in Pokemon Go trading though, as there are two types of trades you can do with a friend: Standard Pokemon Go trades, and Special Pokemon Go trades.
Standard trades include regional Pokemon, different forms of Pokemon already in your Pokedex (such as Unowns, Alolan or Castform varients), and any Pokemon you don't have in your Pokedex that aren't Legendaries or shinies.
Special Trades are reserved for Legendary Pokemon like Articuno or Zapdos, and Shiny Pokemon. You can't trade Mythical Pokemon - aka Mewtwo and Mew - at all in Pokemon Go. They have to be earned I'm afraid.
Pokemon Go trading costs - How much Stardust is it really?
The actual cost of Pokemon Go trading is quite a complex thing. Every trade will cost you Stardust, and that price will depend on a number of factors: whether you've already caught the Pokemon yourself, your friendship level with the player you're about to trade with, and the Pokemon you're actually trading - Standard vs Special trades.
It seems like the Stardust Pokemon Go trading cost is about as follows (thanks to AshmedaiHel from Reddit for the info):
Good Friend: 100
Great Friend: 80
Ultra Friend: 8
Best Friend: 4
Shiny or Legendary (caught)
Good Friend: 20,000
Great Friend: 16,000
Ultra Friend: 1,600
Best Friend: 800
Shiny or Legendary (uncaught)
Good Friend: 1,000,000
Great Friend: 800,000
Ultra Friend: 80,000
Best Friend: 40,000
Basically, you need to plan ahead if you want to trade Legendaries you don't already own to increase your friendship level with the trainer you want to trade with. Just look at the difference in Stardust cost between trading a Legendary bird with a Good Friend vs a Best Friend:
Pokemon Go trading is live now in the game, all you need to do is start saving your Stardust.