Since launching four years ago, hitting level 40 in Pokémon GO meant hitting the top. You could still keep catching Pokémon and gathering XP, of course — but that shiny level badge wasn’t going up any higher.
That’ll change later this month with an update that bumps the cap to 50, introduces new Pokémon and makes other gameplay tweaks.
Here’s what’s changing:
- New level cap: Starting November 30th, the max level in Pokémon GO will now be 50. Niantic tells me that XP you’ve already accumulated beyond what’s required for Level 40 will count toward new levels. However, there’s more to levels 41-50 than just XP; each new level comes with a set of challenges you must complete, such as completing 100 Field Research tasks or hatching 30 eggs — so no one will be hitting the new cap immediately. Some ultra-dedicated players have accumulated XP many, many times past what’s needed to hit 40, so this twist makes sense.
- XP system overhaul: Niantic is adjusting how much XP players get for things like catching Pokémon, hatching eggs, etc., primarily to make getting to level 40 a bit less of a grind. Anyone who hits Level 40 before the end of the year will get some special stuff, including an exclusive Gyarados hat for their avatar and a “Legacy 40” medal.
- New Pokémon: A new generation of Pokémon — those from the “Kalos” region originally featured in Pokémon X and Y — will start appearing on December 2nd.
- Seasons: Niantic is introducing the concept of “seasons” to the game. Seasons will change every three months based on which hemisphere you’re in, and determine things like which Pokémon you see and which forms certain Pokémon will take. In-game events will now be themed around each season; the in-game player-versus-player battle league, meanwhile, will now be three months long and tied to the same schedule.
Niantic is giving this update a big flashy name for the first time, dubbing it “Pokémon GO Beyond.” It’s the biggest update the game has seen in a long while — definitely the biggest this year.