The Pokemon GO Motivation System Seems Pretty Confusing, But Here’s How It All Works

Pokemon GO Motivation System

What is the Pokemon GO motivation system? With all of the commotion and excitement about the gym overhaul and the brand new raid feature, nobody has really been talking about the brand new motivation system. So, how exactly does the new Pokemon GO motivation system work?

Well, the motivation system is kind of, sort of, another form of a Pokemon’s HP. Heck, that’s probably why it’s depicted as a pink heart when looking at a Pokemon in a gym! The short answer is this: Pokemon that are defending a gym have a motivation level, and once it reaches 0, the Pokemon will return to its trainer.

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In Pokemon GO, a Pokemon’s motivation seems to be tied to its maximum CP. When a Pokemon loses motivation (either by being defeated in battle, or gradually over time), it will also lose an amount of CP. While we’re not yet certain what the exact relationship between CP and motivation is, we’ve got a rough idea.

First of all, when a Pokemon is initially inserted into a gym, it immediately loses a certain amount of motivation and CP. According to some research coming out of The Silph Road, the amount of CP a Pokemon will lose when inserted into a gym is 8% of its max CP, which corresponds with a motivation drop of 10%.

Pokemon GO Motivation System
Source: Niantic, Fair Use

According to the same research, it seems that when a defending Pokemon is defeated in battle, it will lose 28% of its maximum CP, regardless of how much CP it currently has. This corresponds to a motivation drop of 35%, every time a defending Pokemon is defeated in battle.

To reiterate: A Pokemon will enter a gym with 100% motivation (but will lose 10% immediately), and will then lose 35% motivation each and every time it is defeated in battle. If we do the math, it becomes clear that a Pokemon must only be defeated three times before reaching a motivation level of 0%, and being removed from the gym.

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This information should excite you. It means that to clear out an enemy gym, you only need to defeat each Pokemon a maximum of three times. And to top it all off, because CP is linked to motivation, the defending Pokemon get progressively weaker and easier to defeat the more you battle them!

But what do you think? Is the Pokemon GO motivation system a fair system? Or do you think it makes it too easy to knock out defending Pokemon and take over gyms? As always, let me know your thoughts in the comment section down below!

P.S. Want to WIN 3,000 Poke Coins? If you answered “yes”, click here to enter our giveaway where you’ll go into the running to win 3,000 Poke Coins to spend in Pokemon GO!


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  1. In the previous prestige points system, defeating a defending Pokémon with a much lower CP attacker yielded a much greater drop in points. Is the motivation system similar, or do you get the same motivation decrease when you just smash them with shock and awe?

  2. I do not understand why there is an immediate drop as soon as you place a Pokemon in a Gym and I think the motivation should only drop as a result of battling (not elapsed time spent in the gym). I do like that they no longer allow “stacking” and that they now limit the number that can be placed in a gym to 6, but I think that a Pokemon’s motivation should drop to 50% after each death as opposed to 35%. This compromise may make it easier to get rid of the time lapse motivation decrease that is currently being used and if Niantic also dropped motivation 25% when a defender drops into the “red” on his life meter while battling that would be even better, but Pokemon should only be weakened thru battles, not time lapse.

    Would also love to see a mechanic where fainted Pokemon (both Attackers AND Defenders) had to placed on a “Disabled List” for 72 hours before they could be revived and that healed Pokemons had to sit out of Gym Battles for 24 hours before they could be reused. It’s silly to let people use the same Pokemons over and over again on the same day by just hitting them with revives and potions. Adding this mechanic would force players to build deeper reserves of fighting Pokemon instead of allowing them to take all their Staerdust and dump into 3-4 Pokemon that are used over and over and over again. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen the SAME Blisseys and Snorlaxes at my neighborhood gym- don’t these players have any other Pokemon to use? This change would add to the diversity of the Pokemon you would run into and would add alot of interest (and “roster management strategy” into the game). I know it would pique my interest in playing more if these changes were made!

  3. Once a Pokemon is assigned, not only does it lose motivation (10%) at that moment, but I’m finding it continues to bleed motivation at the rate of 1 every few minutes. Also, I can’t get my golden raspberries to work on it. It keeps giving me an error message every time I try.

  4. the new coin system sucks, plain and simple.
    they want your cash.
    still working through the gym/raid system, not sure about that yet.
    live in smaller area.

  5. Pokemon GO explore new places just became Pokemon STAY and defend your territory. Now the most competitive player will be whoever can drop whatever they’re doing and drive or ride across down to feed berries however many times per day. That is CRAZY incentive for spoofers. And forget about checking out new Pokegyms when you visit someplace far away. Last year I visited a friend across the country and I liked that my Pokemon was still there guarding the neighborhood weeks after I had to leave. But these guys have a good history of revising parts of the game that prove to be a problem.

  6. Today I have fought for Gym and receive no points at all not very happy. Yesterday I got all kinds of points when I was fighting. And just say I also try to get on the right and it won’t allow me, what’s up with that? Not feeling happy.

  7. Raids are too expensive to participate in and gyms pay too little since the change. It’s all a cash money grab. Too bad they wrecked the game.

  8. I am also wondering about the coin distribution Lorel…I have been inside a gym now 35 hour plus…no signs of coins or collect time…
    I also have seen at the gym, a place to give raspberries, to strenghthen that gym…or at least your Pokemon…any thoughts…
    still a little confused…

    • You won’t get any coins until your Pokemon is eventually beaten. It’s 1 coin for every 10 minutes up to a maximum of 10 a day. So when you see the hurt gone in your pm index you’ll have received your coins, supposedly. There is no more clock on the right in the store.

      • I don’t think that’s necessarily right. I was getting Pokemon coming back with no coins after being in a gym for hours or a day, even though I hadn’t gotten any coins from any others yet.

    • You won’t get any coins until your Pokemon is eventually beaten. It’s 1 coin for every 10 minutes up to a maximum of 50 a day. So when you see the heart gone in your pm index you’ll have received your coins, supposedly. There is no more clock on the right in the store.

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