When Pokémon Home was initially released last week, one reason i was incredibly excited was because, as i understood it, the Switch and Smartphone app combo were about to fix an issue I’d had with Pokémon for a little while.
The ability to easily trade from your storage box, directly with another player you are already friends with. Pokémon transferable to Sword and Shield can be traded by inputting four digit codes, but if someone else in the world pops in the same code and you don’t notice, it’s easily possible to trade with the wrong person, or at the very least have trouble pairing with your desired friend. Pokémon Home was announced as having a friend list, and the ability to do direct player to player trades between friends. It all made so much sense, friends could pair up and trade with ease. A cause for celebration.
Except, of course it wasn’t that simple. In true Nintendo and The Pokémon Company fashion, things are a bit complicated. You can add a friend in Pokémon home over the internet, from anywhere in the world, but if you try to trade with them from a distance, it never connects. Initially, I assumed this was a result of poor netcode on launch week, but if you dig into the help menus, it’s actually not that at all. Friends can only trade directly with each other in Pokémon Home if they are in the same physical location.
So, if you and your friend live on different continents, and want to trade one shiny Pokémon for another over the internet, and it’s a Pokémon you have in Home that doesn’t yet move to Sword and Shield, you’re a little stuck. There are work arounds, but they are not counter intuitive in the slightest.
Let’s say Friend A wants to trade their Shiny Jolteon for Friend B’s Shiny Umbreon.You could put your Shiny Jolteon on the Global Trade System (GTS), asking for an Umbreon, but you can’t specify you’re looking for a Shiny Umbreon, and someone could send you a regular Umbreon for your Shiny Jolteon. So, how do these friends trade these Pokémon without risking losing their shinys to strangers?
Friend A would out up a Global Trade System (GTS) trade, offering a regular Caterpie or something similarly worthless for an Umbreon. Most trainers on GTS will ignore the trade, because it’s not worth giving up an Umbreon for a Caterpie. Then, the friend with the Shiny Umbreon finds that GTS listing, checks it’s their friend’s name on the listing, then sends their Shiny Umbreon in exchange for the offered standard Caterpie.
If a stranger snipes that trade, because you only put a worthless Pokémon up for offer, you’ve not lost anything. A shiny only changes hands if you pair with your friend correctly.
Then, Friend B would list a Caterpie, seeking a Jolteon, and Friend A would find that trade and send their Shiny Jolteon.
It’s convoluted, and requires that you trust the other trainer not to run off half way through the trade, but it is possible. Considering it is possible to trade with a friend through convoluted means, it just begs the question.why Nintendo and The Pokémon Company don’t simply allow friend trades to happen at remote distances. GTS trades prove the infrastructure is there to trade at distances, and it’s not like this is Pokémon Go where trading to complete your Pokédex is going to stop recurrant mobile spending or something. This is a really strange limitation placed on Pokémon Home, and while there is a work around, it baffles me that we have to go out of our way to do something as simple as trading Pokémon with a friend.