Pokémon GO just got a little surprise update, complete with a curious new feature: “Lucky” Pokémon.
Most things in Pokémon GO are adapted from things that already exist in the Pokémon universe. Items like incense, lucky eggs and the like all exist in the main Pokémon series (though what these items actually do tends to be a bit different in GO).
Lucky Pokémon, as far as I know, is a new concept altogether.
So what are they? And how are they different from existing Shiny Pokémon?
Shiny Pokémon are rare variations of existing Pokémon with colors that differ from the standard. You might tap on your 398th Dratini, for example, only to find that it’s bright pink instead of the standard blue. You might randomly tap a Minun to find that it has green ears instead of blue, or an Aron with red eyes instead of blue. It’s a fun way to keep players tapping on Pokémon even after their Pokédex is technically complete. The differences are only skin deep, though; beyond the visual shift, Shiny Pokémon are generally functionally the same as their non-shiny version.
The new “Lucky” Pokémon, meanwhile, don’t look much different (save for a sparkly background when you look at them in your collection). They do, however, have a little functional advantage: powering them up requires less stardust. In other words, you’ll be able to make them stronger faster and with less work.
How do you get ’em? By trading. While folks are still working out the exact mechanics, it looks like non-Lucky Pokémon have a chance to become Lucky Pokémon when traded from one player to another. According to Niantic, the odds of a Pokémon becoming “lucky” after a trade increase based on how long ago it was originally caught.
And for the collectors out there: yes, for better or worse, “Lucky” Pokémon are now a category in the Pokédex. Niantic just added trading to Pokémon GO a month ago, and this is a clever way to get players to care about trading even after they’ve already caught everything there is to catch.
This update also brings a few other small changes, mostly just polishing up the way the friend/trading system works:
- You can now give friends nicknames. That’s super useful for remembering who is who, or for remembering that you added PikaFan87 because they promised to trade you a Kangaskhan
- You now get a bit of XP for sending gifts
- Gifts can now contain stardust
- You can now delete gifts from your inventory
Originally published at techcrunch.com