Weather has always been a part of the in-game systems in the Pokemon series, but in Pokemon Sword & Shield weather takes on a whole new meaning thanks to the various weather systems that can put in an appearance in the Wild Area – and what they do to the Pokemon encounters in that zone as a result.
Not everybody agrees that the wild area is excellent, but we really came to enjoy its inclusion as an open-ended change of pace for the Pokemon series – and one cool aspect about the wild area is that the encounter tables – that is to say, what Pokemon appear out there – are more drastically effected by the in-game weather. If you’re aiming to catch all of the new Pokemon in Sword & Shield to complete your Pokedex, you’ll want to stalk through the wild area in a variety of different weather conditions.
Which, of course, begs a question: can you change the weather in the wild area? Well, sort of. Allow us to explain…
How to change the weather in Pokemon Sword & Shield’s wild area
Weather is essentially an element you can’t completely control in Pokemon Sword & Shield, but you can manipulate it – and just like the classic Animal Crossing cheats of old, it’s all accomplished by messing with your Nintendo Switch’s real-world clock. You see, the wild area weather is changed every day at midnight, with the switch at midnight based on your Switch’s local clock time.
In real terms, this means you can manipulate the game by opening your Switch settings and changing the clock in order to keep ‘cycling’ the days in order to force the game to re-roll the weather for you until you get what you want. The date and time options can be found in the System tab of your Switch system settings, for the record. There is no punishment for changing the system date like this, but you will have some strange things on record, like Pokemon caught in the past or the future. Just tell people you have a TARDIS, or Delorean, or what have you…
Do remember that most zones of the wild area have different weather, and that changes day-to-day, too – so if you need specific weather at, say, the Lake of Outrage in order to force a Dreepy to spawn, you’ll want to cycle the date and time and keep checking the Lake of Outrage zone specifically until you have the weather you want to facilitate the weather you need. Also, certain weather conditions will gradually ‘unlock’ as you progress through the main story and won’t appear before you reach a certain point, culminating in foggy weather, which unlocks (and brings a bunch of rarer Pokemon species with it) once you become champion and hit the Sword & Shield post game.
What changing the weather will do
Primarily, the weather in Pokemon Sword & Shield will impact your Pokemon spawns out in the wild area – Pokemon that like the wet are more likely to come out in the rain, while fire types are more likely to strut around on a searingly sunny day. There are effects beyond that, however – so remember that weather effects carry over into battle – so in an adverse condition the scope of battle changes, too.
For instance, in hail all Pokemon except ice Pokemon will take damage every turn from the hail hitting them. This goes for both you and any Pokemon you battle or attempt to catch. The power of moves can also be lowered or raised by the ongoing weather – so if you’re going hunting in specific weather conditions, it might follow to bring along some Pokemon that match the conditions.