'Pokemon GO' Update Adds Shiny Pokemon, Trading Feature Coming Soon

John Leuven

Pokemon GO has seen a decline in the activity of its users in the past few months. Many who saw the game as a passing fad may seem to have been proven right all along. However, recent updates from developer Niantic may revitalize its fanbase into playing the mobile adaptation of the classic game all over again.

Since its initial release, fans have been asking Niantic to incorporate features that are found in the main series of the Nintendo games. Devs have been slowly but surely working towards crossing each feature off the checklist. The most recent addition is the inclusion of shiny critters in Pokemon GO.

If the shiny counterparts are anything like in the original games, then this is truly one significant update. As old-time Pokemon gamers know, shiny Pokemon have been a part of the main series games, and is often a point of discussion because of their rarity.

Stat-wise, shiny Pokemon do not really differ much from their "normal" counterparts. However, what makes them "shiny" is their different coloring. So, a normal Magikarp may be orange in color, while a shiny one will be yellow.

Yet, as said earlier, they are extremely rare. You cannot just walk around your usual routes and expect to find a shiny Pikachu. According to Express, shiny Pokemon have a 1 in 4,096 chance of appearing with every encounter. Think of shinies as creatures with a rare genetic mutation — nothing other than the color is different about them.

Shinies are popular amongst classic Pokemon gamers precisely because of this. Their rarity reinforces the game philosophy of "Gotta catch 'em all" and triggers the completionist demands of the gamers' personality. In addition to "catching them all," shinies offer another level of monster-hunting — another set of different-colored Pokemon to tickle the completionist in you.

Another upcoming feature that Niantic wants to implement is trading. It would seem that this would be a given, but apparently Niantic has yet to implement a trading system of some kind.

Trading has been an integral part of the main games, mainly because it is the only legitimate way to complete your Pokedex if you only have one game in the current generation. There are Pokemon that simply do not appear in one game. What is rare or nonexistent in one game may be super-common in another. So if you have a friend with a different version than yours, trading becomes pretty much required if you want to fill your PokeDex pages.

Thinking that Pokemon GO has an online component, we could imagine a GTS-like mechanic when it finally implements the trading system. This is like one huge hub where everyone can post their offers and anyone could bid. Alas, it seems that this is not to be.

Niantic has announced that they will implement a trading mechanic, but it will be local instead of online. That makes it harder to complete the PokeDex when you need region-specific Pokemon. Still, it should go without saying that Pokemon GO would benefit from any kind of trading system. Local or global, it is better than none at all.

Niantic also promised PvP, and a lot of events to come. The events would apparently be timed with the release of each shiny Pokemon, which would help players by increasing the spawn rate of the shiny Pokemon in that particular event. An example of this is the Water Festival.

The Water Festival is currently ongoing, and will run until March 29. It increases the likelihood of encountering water creatures like Magikarp, Squirtle, and Totodile all over the world.

All in all, the future of Pokemon GO looks promising.

[Featured Image by Paula Bronstein/ Getty Images]