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It’s getting colder and darker each day as winter creeps closer, threatening to keep Trainers from going outside and catching them all. Niantic is still determined to keep you playing Pokémon GO, however, if its new and exciting “GO Beyond” initiative is anything to go by. 

The company has announced a massive series of changes, additions, and improvements to the game that will begin rolling out later this month, with a Wailord-sized heap of surprises to come in 2021.


Rebalances, new level cap, and Candy XL


The first major change will be the rebalancing of the level up system, with Niantic aiming to make leveling up “more fun and accessible.” From November 30th, 2020, you’ll earn more experience points “from catching Pokémon, evolving Pokémon, hatching Eggs, registering new Pokédex entries, and more.” I’m sure I’m not the only one that feels that leveling up in the current version has always felt like a huge grind, so this is great news!



This boost in XP gains should help players to obtain “Legacy 40 Trainer” status, another upcoming addition to the game, which will be awarded to players who manage to reach level 40 before Thursday, December 31st, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. local time. Legacy Trainers will also be awarded Timed Research which will allow them to obtain an exclusive Gyarados Hat for their avatar, along with a special medal.

If Niantic seems keen to push the levels of its player base skyward, it’s because Pokémon GO’s level cap is also going to be raised to level 50. The path from 40 to 50 is no picnic, though; each level, on top of demanding a specific number of experience points as before, will also be gated behind new Level-Up Research goals. (You can see a breakdown of each level’s requirements over on the official Pokémon GO website.)

Candy XL will be a new type of Candy that can be used to power up the CP of your Pokémon higher than ever before. It can be collected “either by catching Pokémon or by converting and combining Candy into Candy XL.”


Seasons, Battle League changes, and Kalos Pokémon


Seasons will also be introduced into Pokémon GO, with the game reflecting the time of year you play with in-game winter, spring, summer, and autumn themes. Each season will cause different Pokémon to appear in the wild, from Eggs, and in Raids more frequently. There will also be new in-game events to match the theme of each season.

This will also introduce new changes to the GO Battle League, which will expand from 10 to 24 ranks. These new ranks will see “a totally new reward structure,” with exclusive rewards themed around the current season for those who rank up.

The first Season, the “Season of Celebration,” will begin on December 1st, 2020 at 8am local time, and will introduce Pokémon from the Kalos region (the land from Pokémon X and Y) into the game the following day! You can catch a list of the initial Kalos critters that will appear in the wild, in eggs, or through evolution on this page, and they will be appearing with increased frequency from Wednesday, December 2nd at 10am to Tuesday, December 8th, at 10pm local time.

I never thought I’d play as much Pokémon GO as I have this year, in light of the many social restrictions in place, but Niantic have managed to keep many of us on the Nintendo Wire team engaged despite all the hurdles. Going by this huge overhaul of changes, it looks like 2021 will be no different!



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Written by Reece Heather

A lifelong Nintendo fan and a longtime editor at Zelda Universe, Reece will forever be grateful that he somehow dodged the Naughty List of Christmas 1998, when Santa delivered the life-changing gift of a Nintendo 64 with Super Mario 64, Banjo-Kazooie, and Mario Kart 64. When he's not playing games, Reece is usually reading Punisher comics, delving helplessly into the weirdest depths of anime and manga, or spending time with his cocker spaniel Gracie -- the goodest girl ever!