Niantic has often mentioned that one of the goals for Pokémon Go’s Battle League was to add a competitive element to the mobile game. But in a recent interview with Japanese publication Famitsu, the developers gave more details about how they’ll take that plan to the next level.
Trainers got the full details about Battle League season five yesterday and it appears that the reason Niantic made so many changes to the upcoming season was to prepare players for season six, which will be vastly different than any of the previous formats.
Niantic is changing from a 10-rank system to a 24-rank system, according to the Battle League’s manager Alex Moffitt, more than doubling the number of ranks that players will work to progress through during a season. This expansion is being done to provide a better experience for casual players who want to climb the ranks, while also still giving competitive trainers something to strive for.
The current change will see ranks one through 20 be decided by wins and matches played, with ranks 21 to 24 will take into account your win rate. Those top four ranks will also be labeled, with players earning the title of Elite, Veteran, Master, and Battle Legend with each rank up.
Moffitt said this is all tentative, however, and will likely be tested more before Niantic actually rolls season six out.
“For the ranks up to 20, we will calculate how many battles you have participated in and how many you have one based on data,” Moffitt said. “We believe that rank 20 will be something everyone can aim for, and beyond that will be where the more competitive players compete.”
After outlining the potential changes coming for season six, Moffitt also talked about wanting to improve the format and how Niantic is trying to fix lag and connectivity issues that have plagued the Battle League.
“Pokémon Go is enjoyed by so many people all over the world,” Moffitt said. “That means that the type of terminal and the state of the connection are also different. The game has been designed to handle it with a system not found in many other games. The server team needs to optimize this special system for GBL, but I think that the improvement has been quite good for the most part, and it has been quite stable recently.”
And with the team focused on changing things up for season six and improving the various lag and connectivity problems, Moffitt said his next goal is to try to expand the Battle League into esports in some form.
Outside of some smaller events or The Pokémon Company planning to include Pokémon Go in some form in the Pokémon World Championship circuit, things haven’t really reached a point where the Battle League could be considered an esport. But Moffitt is confident that that can change in the future.
“We are continuing to improve the game as a team so that you can enjoy it even more, and I would be happy if you could continue to challenge it with your friends and family,” Moffitt said. “Also, this is my personal vision and I don’t think GBL alone can make it happen, but I have a big goal to reinvent esports in the future.”
Moffitt said that thanks to Niantic’s original AR game, Ingress, and its Olympiad event, he and his team were able to see what form a potential esports tournament for Pokémon Go could look like. The end goal “is to have an Olympic-scale Pokémon Go tournament,” according to his team, even if it somehow takes place independently of the Battle League.