Launched in 2016, Pokémon Go has managed to maintain an impressive, dedicated following since its initial breakout release.
Developer Niantic has now announced the next stage in its plans in the Go Battle League; enabling players to battle each other across the world online to expand its competitive PvP functionality.
As the feature begins to roll out, here’s everything you need to know about the Pokémon Go Battle League and Niantic’s competitive plans.
When does Pokémon Go Battle League release?
After Niantic temporarily paused the Go Battle League's preseason stage rollout, Niantic has confirmed it should be gradually rolling out this week (29 January).
As the preseason is made accessible to players, the developer warned there may be some issues to iron out - so it might not be smooth sailing from the outset.
This preseason period is to allow Niantic to “optimise and balance” the feature. It will also help inform them of their plans for seasons moving forward and rating thresholds for ranks.
The Pokemon Go Battle League has started to roll out this week (Picture: Niantic)
What is the preseason format?
The preseason begins with the Great League, before moving onto the Ultra League and Master League. These leagues will rotate every two weeks. You can check out the schedule below.
- Great League – 28th January to 10th February
- Ultra League – 10-24th February
- Master League – 24th February to 9th March
While you will earn rewards in this preseason stage from battles, the rank you achieve will be partially reset once the official Go Battle League Season 1 begins.
What rewards can I get from Go Battle League preseason?
From battles, you can earn large amounts of Stardust, Rare Candies, and TMS depending on how many you win.
There’s also encounters with Pokémon exclusive for those who take part in the Go Battle League, with the first being Pikachu Libre from Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. There will also be special avatar item rewards inspired by Pikachu Libre as you progress through the ranks.
How do I take part in the Go Battle League?
To play in the leagues you’ll have to walk five kilometers to earn entry and unlock five online matches. This can be done up to three times a day.
If you want to reduce some of that walking, you can use the Battle Now feature to spend PokeCoins to enter the Go Battle League before you hit the 5km requirement. As you get closer to the 5km goal, the PokeCoin amount needed to unlock reduces, although you still have to walk 2km at least to access Battle Now.
Thankfully, Niantic is seemingly keen for players to try the feature – with the first set of Go Battle League battles released to players available without walking 5km.
When does the first season of Go Battle League begin?
A date hasn’t been announced for the Season 1 start of Pokémon Go Battle League, so it’s probably best to keep an eye on their Twitter.