PVP games thrive off of their rated gameplay. Games like League of Legends and Overwatch come complete with ladders that offer rewards based on your rank. Pokémon Sword and Shield has similar competitive PVP formats.
While many players only play Pokémon for the single-player content, there’s still an active competitive Pokémon scene. There are competitive seasons with a rated ladder along with end-of-season rewards. The player base is pretty small next to major esports like LoL, but introducing better PVP rewards would be a great way to grow it.
Why Pokémon needs better rewards
If you want people to get involved in anything, you need to get them to try it out first. Competitive Pokémon is difficult to get into. You have to learn about IVs, EV training, held items, and much more. It’s much more complex than just getting six Pokémon for your party like you would in your playthrough.
Rewards are a great way to incentivize players who wouldn’t normally do competitive battles to give it a try. If they do it and end up liking it for more than just the rewards, then you’ve successfully gained a player. Good competitive rewards also keep current players returning.
Currently, in Pokémon Sword and Shield, the rewards aren’t very enticing at all, especially to players who have played for a while. Every season, players get Battle Points and Battle Items which they can use to put their party together. For online competitions, players get a measly 50 Battle Points.
The higher the rank you finish, the more Battle Points you get. This is ironic, because if you’re in the Master Ball Tier (the highest rank), your party is clearly already very good, so you have little need for the rewards. If you play competitively every season, you probably have thousands of Battle Points that you will never use.
How they could improve their rewards
If there’s one thing every Pokémon fanatic wants, it’s exclusive Pokémon. Whether this means a Mythical Pokémon or a shiny or even just something with a cool hat or outfit, fans will want it.
Traditionally, exclusives like this are given out as mystery gifts. So, why not have some form of exclusive as a reward for participating in PVP battles? Some players will never want to play PVP, and that’s okay, they don’t have to play much.
In Overwatch, for example, once you complete your five placement matches and get your placement, you’re eligible for competitive points and the exclusive end-of-season icon. Pokémon could go with a system like this, giving you the reward for playing a certain number of battles.
Those who do play a lot and reach higher tiers can earn additional rewards, such as new ribbons for their Pokémon (in addition to the one you get for winning a Master Ball game). There are all sorts of cool things that could be done to entice new and returning players.
Hopefully, the Pokémon competitive community will continue to grow, but adding some nice rewards would be a great way to help!