As it stands I adore the new buddy system in Pokemon Go. It’s actually a very refreshing change of pace to the old buddy system, where your Pokemon of choice would just sit on your profile, occasionally yawning with boredom and staring off into the blue, red or yellow void. The new buddy system lets your Pokemon stretch its legs or wings or feet or fins or whatever appendages it uses to move and it will run around you, bring you gifts and help you catch Pokemon.
Even the cost of berries isn’t that much. Most people are tripping over berries and we’ve always needed an alternate way to get rid of Nanab berries (aside from deleting them, using them in gyms or feeding them to angry shadow Pokemon) and at most you need 9 berries a day, as three berries will give your Pokemon 3 hours of energy to run around and play with you.
The other tasks aren’t that tricky either, aside from the “visit a new place” task, which is often completed by spinning gyms; and walking 6km, which not everyone has time to do every single day. Everything else can be easily done at home, even if you’re walking a 10CP Magikarp – as long as your Pokemon is in the party you use (be it for raids, trainers or PvP), that counts as battling with your buddy. You don’t even have to win the fight, as long as your buddy is present.
Any rewards from the buddy system don’t seem that huge, especially since the system hasn’t been out for long. It takes a month of getting all 10 hears a day to get to Best Buddy, unless you go massive pay-to-win and constantly buy Poffin berries for the double hearts earned and go super try-hard on it all, meaning the minimum you can do it is about 15 days. It is adorable seeing a cute little Snivy headbutt a Pokeball back at a Pokemon you are trying to catch. It’s kinda creepy when a shiny Altered Forme Giratina does it. Technically, the Stantler I caught today belongs to my Giratina as it was technically the one that threw the Pokeball…
Overall, the buddy system, for one Pokemon, is absolutely brilliant. For more than one Pokemon though? It quickly becomes a chore and a massive drain on your berries.
The reason why it’s a chore is because you can’t make a Pokemon your buddy, feed it berries then put it away to play with later. Every time you swap buddies, you need to feed your Pokemon again so you can complete some of the tasks (taking a picture and playing with your buddy seem to work no matter how well fed your Pokemon is) and the amount of berries needed quickly adds up. Sure, you still earn candies while walking a Pokemon that hasn’t been fed, but you can’t earn as many hearts. Swapping in and out becomes a little bit of a pain in the ass.
So if you want all the more powerful extras, like the souvenirs and the CP boost for best buddies, you do have to go a try-hard route to get that on more than one Pokemon. Heck, it can even cause doubts if you just want to have a couple of buddies, because you might walk something and realise that it’s… not really worth it. I have Great Buddies with Orokin Chonk, my shiny Altered Form Giratina, which, sure, is earning me candy I can use on any Giratina but the other benefits only apply to Orokin Chonk. Maybe I should have concentrated on working on some other Pokemon instead? Maybe I should be walking a Mewtwo or a Klink or something I need candy for? What about a Tyranitar or something that could eventually do with a CP boost?
Maybe that’s the problem. Maybe I am really over-thinking it. Maybe we all are. I think Niantic believed we’d overthink it too, since they restricted how many Pokemon you can have as your buddy per day. There are probably people who will go through 20 buddies a day, but that’s not the intended purpose. You have one buddy, the same way that dumb Ash guy has with his dumb Pikachu.
Still, it would be nice to be able to walk a full team of Pokemon. After all, we do PvP with a party of 3 Pokemon and we do raids with a party of 6. Would make a change to let the whole party wander around…