A new feature has been added in the August 23, 2016 update for Pokémon GO. Once you bring the Android version to 0.35.0 or the Apple iOS version to 1.5.0, you’ll be able to take advantage of the Pokémon Appraisal system. This is important, though Niantic didn’t spell out what this feature means for players. This may come as a surprise, if you haven’t been keeping up with the community, but each of your Pokémon in Pokémon GO has Individual Values (IVs), just like the handheld games. These are the hidden stats that determine the attack, defense, and stamina parameters of a character. This update offers an opportunity to understand them.
Unlike other Pokémon games, Pokémon Go doesn’t tell you your characters’ stats. You can see their HP and a combined Combat Power (CP), but that’s it. We don’t get to see specifics. Some people have been researching this since launch, but the short of it is that every Pokémon also has attack and defense stats that we don’t get to see. Same-type attack bonuses (STAB) are also in effect, which means a 25% damage boost when a Pokémon uses a move that is the same as their type. As an example, my Slowbro in the screenshot above is a water/psychic type, so it has STAB with Confusion.
The Appraisal function allows you to get some idea of what these unseen stats are like. This means your team leader, be it Blanche, Candela, or Spark, will first assess that Pokémon’s overall IVs in the attack, defense, and stamina categories. He or she will then comment on the best one or two stats, offering additional insight on that one parameter. This commentary lets you find out how exceptional that stat is. The Pokémon GO Database has collected every line of commentary from each gym leader, to help narrow down specifications.
We’ll continue using my Slowbro as an example. Blanche said, “Overall, your Slow Ride is a wonder! What a breathtaking Pokémon! I see that its best attribute is its Defense. I am certainly impressed by its stats, I must say.” This means Slow Ride’s IVs are nearly maxed out, meaning it has almost all 45 bonus points. Defense has received the most points in it, but it isn’t completely maxed out. That means it has at least 13 or 14 points in defense.
My Starmie, unfortunately, isn’t so lucky. I had two Staryus prior to this Pokémon GO update and had decided to evolve the one with the higher CP. Because you’d think bigger was better, right? Wrong. “Overall, your You Staryu is not likely to make much headway in battle. I see that its best attribute is its Attack. Its stats are noticeably trending to the positive.” These combined statements means it has between eight and twelve bonus points in its Attack stat, but there is a very good chance it doesn’t have any bonus points in the Defense or Stamina parameters.
What does this mean for the Slowbro and the Starmie? Well, the practical part of appraisals only comes in handy if you’re going to attempt to hold gyms. Attack influences how much stronger your Pokémon’s attack will be, on top of the base damage estimate provided next to the move. My Slowbro knows Confusion, a 15 power move, and Ice Beam, a 65 power move. It has a STAB bonus with Confusion. Since its defense is higher and it has that ice type move, I’m planning to use him to try and hold gyms. His high defense stat will come in handy when defending against people trying to take my place and Ice Beam will come in handy if someone shows up with a Dragonite.
Even though Starmie didn’t get the greatest assessment from Blanche, that doesn’t mean it is necessarily a bad Pokémon. Getting a low assessment means that there is a very good chance another Starmie at a similar level would be stronger than mine. But, it also knows both Water Gun and Hydro Pump, STAB moves for the water/psychic type. Since the bonus stats are in attack, it means both are going to come in very handy. Especially since I’ve seen quite a few Illinois gyms with Charizards, Arcanines, and Magmars in them. It still absolutely has a purpose, just not as something I’d stick in a gym to defend it. I’m keeping it on my team for targeted assaults against fire, ground, and rock types.
Think of this as another tool in Pokémon GO that could be helpful in the long run. At the moment, we can’t battle against other trainers. We’re stuck with the moves Pokémon grow up knowing when caught or evolved. The only battles we can participate in are gym fights and training sessions. IVs aren’t everything. Especially in a game where you don’t know what you’ll catch or hatch and when. You could get a Pokémon with great IVs and a horrible move set or, like with my Starmie, one with great moves and less than dazzling IVs. Knowing this extra bit of information will help you determine if it’s something to take into a fight or spend Stardust to power up. It won’t make or break a character, but help you when building early teams.
Pokémon GO is immediately available for Apple iOS and Android devices.