Pokemon GO has long had a section to look at your hard-earned medals, but they were purely cosmetic– until Niantic’s latest patch.
While it does not appear that all medals are magically useful to you now, an important subsection of them are: Those dealing with how many Pokemon of each type you’ve caught. According to the patch notes, “Trainers can earn a catch bonus for a Pokemon type as they catch more of a specific type.”
This may seem inconsequential, until you remember that some Pokemon’s catch rate is only 2-5%. The Medal Bonus is described as +1 for Bronze (10 Pokemon), +2 for Silver (50 Pokemon), and +3 for Gold (200 Pokemon). What exactly this entails isn’t clear, but it could make catching that Charizard all that much easier.
It appears the Medal Bonus also averages out between two types to improve a catch rate. So, for instance, if you’re gold in Flying types but have no stats in Dragon types, catching a Dragonite will be +1 to +2 easier. But if you’re gold in both Fire and Flying, you’re getting a significant +3 boost to catching Charizard. And if you’re level 20+ and just trying to farm Pidgeys for levels, you’re going to have a much easier time.
The update will also make some other important changes. You can boost a gym by training with a full team of 6 Pokemon, and the fights may be adjusted to your level. Egg distances will update without being checked. And Evolution length has been shortened, meaning if you’re trying to Lucky Egg + Evolve Pidgeys for XP, you can fit 90 Evolutions in instead of the original 60. These may help Pokemon GO’s dropping player rate.
Full patch notes are below:
Catch Bonus: Trainers can earn a catch bonus for a Pokémon type as they catch more of a specific type.
Updated Gym Training: Trainers can now bring six Pokémon to battle at friendly Gyms. The CP of the Pokémon you are battling may be temporarily adjusted lower for your training session.
Egg & Incubator Screens: These will periodically update the distance walked without the Trainer needing to close and reopen the screen.
Fixed several audio issues.
Decreased the evolution animation time.