Fans have been getting excited for the release of a new feature for Pokémon GO, a Buddy System that allows for the training of specific Pokémon. After an inexplicably long delay, the update hasjust gone live on iOS and Android. It may be a reason for even lapsed players to consider picking up the game and leaving their house once again. But as the system goes live worldwide, some problems with it are already beginning to emerge, as evidenced by data compiled over the weekend by early APK users.
The Buddy System uses the same distance system as egg hatching in order for you to walk to acquire candy for one specific Pokémon that you assign as your “buddy.” You take them on a “walk” of a designated distance, and more powerful Pokémon require longer walks in order to produce candy rewards. A Pidgey, for example, is 1 km, while a Ponyta is 3 km and a Snorlax is 5 km. Completing any of the three distances will get you 1 candy. Reports are still coming in, but it seems as if the 2/5/10 km tier of egg hatching corresponds to the amount of distance required to get candy, outside of the three starters, Charmander, Bulbasaur and Squirtle, which all require 3 km walks.
Some players may be disappointed to see that your Pokémon merely pops up next to your character on the XP screen or in a little circle next to your portrait, rather than actually trekking around the map with you, but I can envision the kind of animation challenges that might have posted, depending on the monster in question, so I understand why that decision was made. Also, seeing an Eevee perched on your shoulder is too cute.
Still, the end result is the same, and players finally have a way to “train” specific Pokémon, as walking around will give you base-level candy for your Pokémon that you can use for evolutions and upgrades. This is theoretically useful for evolving Pokémon that take anywhere from 50 to 125 total candies, meaning previously you would have had to catch dozens of them in the wild, or for training existing Pokémon. You may have caught a powerful Lapras once, for instance, but if you’ve never seen another one, no matter how high your character’s level, or how much Stardust you’ve amassed, you could never upgrade it. Now, that changes with the introduction of the Buddy System.