Pokémon Go’s new friend battles feature is the game’s biggest update yet

The latest Pokémon Go update has brought with it a long-awaited new feature in trainer battles. We show you how to battle friends in Pokémon Go and access the new PvP mode.

Niantic is currently rolling out trainer battles to Pokémon Go players all over the world, and what was initially open to level 40 players and above now only requires a minimum level 10 rating, meaning that pretty much anyone who’s played Pokémon Go more than a few times can start battling their friends.

How to battle friends in Pokémon Go

In general, the new PvP mode is location based, so you’ll need to be in roughly the same vicinity as your friends to battle them. You can see who’s available to battle by scanning your friends list for nearby rivals, or alternatively there’s a new QR code-scanning option (pictured, top) if you’re physically with a friend and want to set up a battle.

However, there’s also the option to remote battle against fellow Pokémon Go players who you’ve achieved Best or Ultra Friends status with, plus you can hone your skills by battling against the computer in the form of the game’s team leaders, which will earn you much-needed rewards like Stardust and candies

Battling human players also unlocks various goodies, including the rarefied Sinnoh Stone, which lets you evolve Pokémon to their most powerful, final forms and was introduced in the recent Pokémon Go 4th-gen update. Be warned, though, that you’ll only be able to earn rewards through battling your friends up to three times a day, so don’t plan on it being the bread and butter of your resource arsenal.

While Pokémon Go may not be the all-pervasive phenomenon it was when it launched back in 2016, introducing a great many people to the concept of augmented reality in the process, it’s still hugely popular and commands a devoted fan base.

Related: Pokémon Go hacks

Adding the ability to battle friends in Pokémon could help the game rein in some of its lapsed trainers, though a return to the frankly ridiculous interest levels of two years ago seems unlikely.

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