The Wild Area is one of Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield‘s biggest new features. It’s the open-world Pokemon experience we’ve all been waiting for, and like most open-world games, that also means there’s a lot to see and do in this vast new (wild) area.
Initially, it can be a bit overwhelming. There are some features you might even miss at first. That’s why we’ve put this handy tips guide to The Wild Area together. Our goal is to point you in the right direction so you can get the most out of your time.
Pokemon Sword and Shield: The Wild Area Guide
You’re first given access to The Wild Area right after you battle Hop for the second time and meet with Professor Magnolia. There’s very little explanation of what to do and where to go when you enter the area, and since this is before you even get to your first Gym battle, you’re limited with the Pokemon you can catch (nothing over Level 24).
That being said, there’s still a lot you can do as you explore and figure out how everything works.
Level Grinding in The Wild Area
The Wild Area is the best area for level grinding in Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield for a few reasons. The first is because you will encounter a ton of new Pokemon in The Wild Area. What’s there changes by the day and depending on the weather, and that applies in every section of The Wild Area.
Catching Pokemon earns all of your party members EXP, just like in the Let’s GO games. Pokemon levels scale depending on region and your own level, so there will always be a set of ‘mon you can catch to earn EXP, which means it’s worth coming back to The Wild Area every so often and after you earn a new Gym Badge.
Once you enter The Wild Area for the first time, you also unlock the option to access your Pokemon boxes from the main menu, meaning you can switch your teams in no time at all — perfect if you’ve got several batches of ‘mon you want to develop.
Another level grinding trick is taking on Pokemon higher than your level if you have a way to defeat them. For example, take a Normal type with Payback or Bite to the Watchtower Ruins, and you can fight Level 25 Ghost types without taking any damage in return.
The Wild Area: Super Strong Pokemon
The Wild Area is also home to a broad variety of super strong Pokemon. These are usually evolved forms of some kind — like Gengar, Weavile, Machamp, the Eeveelutions, and so on.
Not only are they also far stronger than the usual strong Pokemon you’ll encounter, but they’re typically not found in the grass either. These wander about the roads and paths away from the grass. If you spot one, make sure you’re well prepared before engaging it.
Whatever your choice, The Wild Area is a great and easy way to level up new catches that need some attention or that you want to evolve to fill out your Pokedex.
Pokemon Sword and Shield Max Raids
Max Raids are one of The Wild Area’s key features. You’ve probably seen something about them in the lead-up to the games’ release. These are 4-on-1 battles against Dynamaxed Pokemon. They take place at Pokemon Dens, the glowing areas that have beams of light coming out of them. Max Raids are ranked with stars, and the higher the Max Raid level, the higher the chance that Pokemon will have perfect IV levels.
Depending on the Pokemon, there’s also a chance it’ll have the ability to Gigantamax.
The thing about Max Raids is they require four trainers. Connecting with others in The Wild Area is pretty easy and seamless, but if you don’t have three other people to take part, the game provides you with NPC allies instead.
I can’t say how effective these NPCs are in very high-level Raids, but so far, the ones I’ve been matched with are competent enough and typically have at least one — usually more — Pokemon or movesets that exploit the opponent’s type weaknesses.
Whittle the opponent’s HP down to zero, and you get the chance to catch it. There are other, equally important rewards as well. Winning a Max Raid could potentially get you
- Experience Candies of various sizes (also good for leveling up)
- Dynamax Candy (necessary for increasing your own Pokemon’s Dynamax level)
- Technical Records (items teaching high-powered moves, but breaking after one use)
What to Do with Watts
If you’re wondering what Watts are in Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield, you have good reason to. The games don’t really tell you what Watts are, even as you’re accruing them by completing Max Raids.
Watts are basically your currency in The Wild Area, and you’ll use them to purchase items from Vendors scattered randomly around The Wild Area, including:
- Curry ingredients
- Technical Records
- Wishing Stone (triggers a Max Raid)
- Rotom Bike upgrades so you can explore further
The Digging Duo near the Daycare (more on that in a moment) will excavate an area of cliffside in exchange for 500 Watts, and they’ll bring back various items ranging from Pokemon fossils to evolution items and stones.
You’ll earn Watts from participating in Max Raids and examining glowing Dens that don’t have a light beam coming out of them, so there’s no fear of never having enough.
Pokemon Camp in The Wild Area
Another feature you’ve probably seen a bit about is Pokemon Camp in The Wild Area. Sonia gives you your camping kit as soon as you enter The Wild Area, and you’re free to camp anytime you want. Sword and Shield‘s day/night cycle is still measured by your Switch’s internal clock, so you won’t be making time pass no matter how often you camp.
Camping is an easy way to restore your team’s health without using items and takes the place of Pokemon Refresh from Sun and Moon as well, letting you play games and chat with your ‘mon to increase their friendship levels.
The big draw here, though, is curry making. We’ll have more on that soon, but making curry in Pokemon Sword and Shield is a fun and useful mini-game that sees you combine berries and ingredients, mix them together like Poffins, then reap rewards like friendship boosts if you didn’t create something appallingly atrocious.
The Pokemon Day Care in The Wild Area
Pokemon Sword and Shield introduce a second Day Care, and it’s located in the Bridge Field portion of The Wild Area. Random as that might seem, there’s actually a pretty good reason for that: Ditto
Where to find Ditto in Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield
Ditto can only be found in the Lake Outrage portion of The Wild Area, but you can’t access it until after you get an upgrade for your Rotom Bike on Route 9. Ditto is the Pokemon breeder’s best friend, since pairing it with any Pokemon you want to breed means you don’t have to get two of that Pokemon.
Sword and Shield introduced new mechanics that make breeding easier and more efficient than ever before, so this second Day Care located near a Ditto roving ground is a huge convenience if you have any interest in breeding Pokemon.
That’s about it for the major things you can do in Pokemon Sword and Shield‘s Wild Area. Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield guides and our review in the coming days.