Two years later, the world is still ready and eager to play Pokemon Go! The AR game may have seen a dropoff in the two years since it first dropped back in July of 2016, but the community surrounding the game hasn't completely died. The game still has five million active players around the world as of this year, emphasis on the word active. My walk to work every morning is littered with more than a few gyms that have a different team and different defenders every single day; I have risked being late on several days because my phone has been difficult in allowing me to catch a stray Magikarp. And clearly, I'm not the only one.   

The game may have seen a dropoff since its peak back in 2016, but that doesn't mean that Niantic didn't take all those fan suggestions to heart...eventually. Here are some new aspects of everyone's former favorite AR game that they've added while you're away  

1. Raid battles

pokemon go: new features

Like any good game that you can play with friends, Pokemon Go! added the ability to participate in raid battles. Players level 25 and up can battle against boss-level Pokemon (at five different levels usually with combat power in the tens of thousands) as a group for the chance to win said Pokemon and new items. They were originally only available at sponsored gyms but can now be played while you're standing out in the sun waiting for the app to load properly.  

2. Trading

pokemon go: new features

Trainers young and old have wanted to trade Pokemon since the app first launched, and now you can finally do just that. Trading monsters with your friends is as easy as opening the app and selecting trade...and having the right amount of stardust. It's not the easiest process in the world, but getting that one monster you can't find anywhere else is worth it.   

3. Friends 

pokemon go: trainers

Playing with a game like this alone is only half the battle. Now you can play the game with friends, send each other gifts with items, and trade monsters on the corner while people are trying to get around you. 

4. Newer generations of Pokemon 

pokemon go

The game has slowly been adding more and more generations of monsters and they've finally hit generation three. It's not all seven just yet, but if more people came back on to play, maybe you could catch yourself an Oranguru. 

5. Community events 

pokemon go: new features

Special event days will absolutely get people out of their houses to catch monsters. Pokemon caught here can have unique attacks, grant double experience, and even sport special clothing items. Just this past week, thousands of people gathered in the streets hunting for special Squirtles with sunglasses. If the resurgence of the Squirtle Squad isn't enough to prove that this game has a loyal fanbase, I don't know what else is. 

6. Team gym defense

pokemon go: waterside plaza

We all got used to fighting individual trainers at gyms, but the system has become even more team-oriented. When any particular gym is being run by your team (Valor/red, Blue/Mystic, Yellow/Instinct), you can choose to leave a Pokemon there to defend it from incoming attackers; up to six different Pokemon can be left and will lose CP/health until every monster is knocked out. You can gain Pokecoins from this that you'd otherwise have to spend real money on for backpack space and incenses, so why not save yourself the 10 real dollars? 

7. New items 

pokemon go: rare candy

Have you found yourself in a pinch wanting to evolve a Pokemon but you're just one candy short? Say hello to rare candies. Need a way to get into a raid? Fumble through your pockets for a raid pass. There are even evolution stones now. The possibilities are endless! 

8. Field research 

pokemon go: research

How else could you possibly improve a game like Pokemon Go other than adding sidequests? Field research gives you objectives to meet and the potential to earn yourself more candy, berries, and even catch different legendary Pokemon month-to-month. Special field research is divided into eight sections that set you on a journey with Professor Willow to discover Mew. Just another reason for you to drain your battery hunting for pocket monsters. 

pokemon go: new features