The new Pokemon Go gyms are now available. In the old version of the game, players could train at a gym to earn prestige points, which in turn level the gym up. But the first thing you might notice when paying a visit to one of the new gyms is that the level doesn’t appear to be anywhere in sight. Why is that? How do you level up the new gyms?
There is no way to level up gyms in Pokemon Go anymore, as gyms no longer have levels at all. Niantic has completely removed the leveling system from Pokemon Go, replacing it with something else entirely.
That replacement is something called the “motivation system.” All Pokemon stationed in a gym have a heart above them, and this measures their motivation level at any given time. The motivation gradually decays over time, and it is also lost when that Pokemon loses in battle. When a Pokemon’s motivation has been completely drained, it is kicked out of the gym.
The goal when you go to enemy gyms, then, is not to decrease its level but to lower the motivation of all the Pokemon stationed in the gym. It’s only when these Pokemon have been defeated that the gym becomes up for grabs.
Because there is no leveling system, there is also no longer any way to train in gyms. This has been replaced with the idea of feeding Pokemon berries, as doing so increases their motivation. When you stop by a friendly gym, in the old version of the game, you might train there in order to give the gym a boost, but now, you can stop by in order to feed the Pokemon in the gym berries and increase their motivation. Not only does this help fortify the gym, but it also gives you XP and Stardust.
Niantic considers this new system of motivation and feeding berries to be a replacement for the old system of leveling and prestige. They wrote on their website, “The Gym Levels and Prestige system is retiring and will be replaced with the new motivation system…Since Gym Levels and Prestige are going away, there is no longer a need to train at Gyms controlled by your team to raise the prestige. Instead, Trainers will now feed Berries to the Pokémon on Gyms controlled by their team.”