Thanks to something called "Wonder Trade", Pokémon players regularly put monsters up for trade blindly, without knowing what they will get in return. Maybe it will be a garbage Pokémon, or maybe it will be a legendary. Not knowing what you'll get in exchange for your Pokémon is part of the fun — but even so, hardcore players are compiling data on what people are actually trading through the feature. What they're finding is fascinating.
Wonder Trade Analytics is a website created by Tyler Stark, a front-end engineer that works at PayPal. Using Wonder Trade Analytics, players can submit information about what they're receiving in Wonder Trade. So far the website has amassed nearly 60,000 records of individual trades by players all over the world. Here's some of what they have found.
The Most Traded Pokemon
It's interesting to see Eevee leading the pack as the most traded Pokemon — followed by two starters. Not something I would have guessed.
Out of all these Pokemon, less than one per cent were shiny. One fifth had at least one perfect stat. And nearly 15% had special egg moves, which people can only acquire through breeding. Overwhelmingly, Pokemon that are Wonder Traded are low-level, with almost nothing going past level fifty (click on expand to see the level distribution graph in full):
Why collect this data? For Stark, it's interesting to see behind the curtain, and get a sense of what the Wonder Trade world is like. "I made this project because I love playing Pokémon and I find Wonder Trade data fascinating," Stark wrote on the website's FAQ page.
"When Pokémon X/Y came out...there was a lot of speculation on what people were Wonder Trading," Stark explained to me over email. "I started off recording the data from 300 wonder trades, and posting the results on Reddit."
People responded well to his intel, with some asking if he could start graphing what he found. And so Wonder Trade Analytics was born, a website that is equally fascinating as it is useful.
That's because players can take a look at the information that Wonder Trade Analytics has compiled, and can start approaching Wonder Trade a bit differently. Everyone knows, for example, that it's good etiquette to send out special Pokémon with good moves, stats, or in shiny form. But what do people actually want? And what is Wonder Trade already providing them?
According to the preferences of people using Wonder Trade Analytics, the most liked/well-received Pokémon are Dratiny, Feebas, Vulpix, Treecko, Mudkip, Vivillon, Bulbasaur, Torchic, Growlithe, and Cyndaquil. So if you'd like to make someone's day in Wonder Trade, those are the you'll want to send out — chances are good that whoever receives your trade will be happy. The sorts of Pokémon that might disappoint someone, though? Those would be Fletchling, Bunnelby, Flabebe, Zigzagoon, Luvdisc, Honedge, Ralts, Pidgey, Froakie, and Caterpie. You'll note that many of these Pokémon crack the top ten when it comes to most traded Pokémon. It seems like the Pokémon community could put in a little more effort to make Wonder Trade a better place!
Apparently, the release of Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire has started flooding Wonder Trade with arguably crappy Pokémon, thanks to its initially lackluster Pokémon selection. Here are the most traded Pokémon since the release of ORAS:
Yikes. Most of the top monsters here aren't ones I'd be happy about receiving — but then again, it's the obsession with what one will get in return that probably causes situations like this in the first place. What if we cared a little more about what we could give out? Crazy idea, I know.
If you're holding out on the idea that someone is going to trade away a shiny, bad news: less than one per cent of trades recorded were shiny Pokémon. It's not surprising, but when you take a closer look at what shinies people are trading, things get interesting:
Lots of legendaries! Weird, huh? What are the odds that these are hacked Pokémon, you think?
Curiously, Wonder Trade Analytics has found that there are optimal times for Wonder Trading Pokémon — hours during which you're more likely to get something good in return for your Pokémon. Once 3am CST hits, you're more likely to find Pokémon with good stats, moves, and abilities. What happens at 3am CST? According to the data compiled, that's when Japan starts Wonder Trading, and apparently they're better about Wonder Trade etiquette than the rest of the world. Way to go, Japan!