Ranked play is coming to Pokemon GO

Pokemon GO

In the years since its release, Pokemon GO has become much more than just a catching grind or something to occupy you on the bus. It’s been putting more and more emphasis on battling to bring it more closely in line with main series titles.

Now, it’s PvP battle system is going global, and it’s getting a full ranking system with it too. With the rollout starting today, January 28, the GO Battle League will start becoming available to high level players and slowly trickle down to the lower levels. It will begin with a preseason in order to get feedback and improve on the system and feature a weekly rotation of the the game’s three current battle tiers: Great League, Ultra League, and Master League.

There is currently no word on how long preseason will last and when ranked Season 1 will begin, but the game’s developers Niantic do confirm that you will be able to rank up during preseason, although there will be a partial reset of your rank when Season 1 comes around.

There will be ten ranks for trainers to climb, which unfortunately have the unimaginative titles of Rank 1 – Rank 10.

Ranked battles are played in batches of five, and to gain access to these five battles you can either buy a Battle Pass (which will replace Raid passes and can be used for both raids and ranked play) or walk 5km in game. Rewards are dished out for winning your set of battles, which range from Rare Candies, to Stardust, to encounters with rare Pokemon.

It’s currently unconfirmed whether the global matchmaking for the Battle League will be skill-based, but it will most likely find you an opponent with a similar rank to you.

Niantic’s movement towards competitive battling in the game now gives it esports potential. This could be a clever move to not only give Pokemon GO players the competitive battle system they’ve wanted for a while now, but to also capitalise on the current boom in mobile esports.

The first League rotation of preseason begins today with the Great League (Pokemon under 1500 CP) which will run until February 10.