Hey, do you remember that buddy system in Pokemon Go? The buddy system where your Pokemon will help you do things and bring you gifts and things like that? Remember how fun and immersive it was? Recall how I thoroughly enjoyed it? I even have a Giratina, an Altered Forme version called Orokin Chonk. Who I eventually became Ultra and later Best Buddies with.
Well, I forgot about the buddy system.
Actually, that’s not true at all. I didn’t forget about the buddy system but I did stop writing about it. I am however going to write about it again. And hopefully publish this article before a massive change to the buddy system comes out. Because that’s what tends to happen with me.
Anyway, the buddy system is a silly little system in which you and a Pokemon very slowly become best friends over the course of about a month or two. It takes a long, long time and a lot of energy. For maximum efficiency in obtaining friendships, you must walk 6km a day. You also have a lot of other tasks you can do, like feeding your Pokemon with berries or battling with them.
But over time, the task of keeping your buddy occupied, earning hearts and working towards Best Buddies has gotten… more awkward.
Basically, the Buddy System got NERFED
The first real hit was gradual. Assuming you did all the tasks, it would take, what, a month to become best buddies? I became Best Buddies with Orokin Chonk after a month and a half, due to not always being able to walk 6km a day. Walking 6km a day and feeding your Pokemon berries 3 times a day are where most of your earned hard come from.
But if you didn’t have berries or didn’t have time to walk very far, you could guarantee yourself some hearts per day: Taking a photo; playing with the buddy and battling with the buddy could all be done at home with ease thanks to the Team Leader practice battles. But you could also get 1 heart for spinning a gym and 1 heart for feeding your buddy once. Feeding your buddy once only cost 3 berries, rather than a minimum of 5. But most often it would cost 7-9 berries… unless you feed them exactly one hour after each initial feeding.
So you could easily get five hearts a day by doing simple things, plus one task you’d do every day anyway – spinning a gym disc photo.
This system changed though. Gyms were never supposed to count towards the “find a new place” task. And the “battle with your buddy” task now requires having your Pokemon active. Which means you have to feed them berries to get the battling heart.
With these nerfs, the bare minimum effort to get to Best Buddies was reduced. You need 300 hearts, meaning 2 months at 5 hearts a day. But now, because you can’t get an easy heart from spinning gyms, you get at most 4 hearts a day.
There are more issues though!
Even if you play at maximum effort levels though, it’s STILL a long grind. You can earn 10 hearts a day, assuming you do all the tasks. Which means it takes a month to get Best Buddies with someone.
That’s 6km of walking a day, 7-9 berries a day AND finding a new location. Finding a new location though is almost impossible! I’ve actually gone and spun most of the Pokestops in my local area! The only ones left are ones that are inaccessible or too far to walk to! And my local town has actually got quite a few Pokestops now (even if they are all centralized into two areas).
Imagine playing somewhere with only a handful of Pokestops. You’ll basically never manage to get 10 hearts a day. Not until your buddy starts giving you gifts and souveniers. But even then, you’re still not at maximum efficiency.
Poffins are still kinda pay to win but they still suck?
And then we have Poffins and the excitement system. Do enough tasks with your buddy and they’ll get excited, meaning you can earn double the number of hearts with your buddy for the rest of the day or until they return to their Pokeball. You can feed a Poffin to a Pokemon to instantly fill a Pokemon’s meter and make them excited.
But then you still have to walk 6km, feed them two more times, battle with them and find a new location.
It’s just not worth it.
At the end of the day, what do you get? A Pokemon with a little pin on it. And 1 extra level, if they are your buddy. Bringing them to a maximum of level 41.
Heck, most of the best rewards are unlocked at Great Buddy! At the second level, your Pokemon will help catch other Pokemon by knocking Pokeballs with its head. And it will bring you random gifts once a day. The gifts are just enough to somewhat break even when it comes to berries consumed.
But apart from that? Souvenirs are a non-item and you can already see undiscovered locations on your map, you don’t need a buddy to point that out.
So frankly, the buddy system is a lot of work for almost no rewards. Which is a bit of a shame.