The Wild Area is one of the two most advertized features of Sword and Shield (the other being Dynamax). We’ve mentioned it already, but it’s a vast area in the center of the Galar region, which is more open-ended than other locations in the Pokémon series. You’ll find it once you properly leave Wedgehurst to begin your Gym Challenge.
While in the Wild Area, there are some additional controls to learn, all related to the camera. If you move the right analogue stick, you can turn the camera 360 degrees to the left/right and slightly up/down. You can also click the right analogue stick inwards to zoom out/in the camera. Finally, you can press the L Button to focus the camera behind you.
The Wild Area itself is divided into numerous “zones”, which have seamless transitions. When you enter a different zone, the name of the zone will briefly appear in the corner of the screen. Each zone has its own selection of wild Pokémon that you can encounter. In general, the further away the zone, the higher Level the wild Pokémon.
For the most part, you can explore every single zone from the very beginning, although there is one zone that requires the Rotom Bike upgrade. However, you won’t be able to catch every wild Pokémon; you may only catch Pokémon below a certain Level, as indicated by your League Card. The more Gym badges you have, the higher Level the Pokémon you can catch.
As well as wild Pokémon, there are many things to keep an eye out for.
Watt Traders are NPCs found near the entrances and exits to the Wild Area, plus other spots. If you speak to them, you can spend your Watts (from defeating Brilliant Pokémon or searching Pokémon Dens) to upgrade your Rotom Bike or purchase Poké Balls or Technical Records (TRs). Of note, their TR selection changes daily, so try to check up on them every now and then.
Pokémon Dens are hexagonal-shaped rock structures dotted all around the place. If you inspect a glowing den, you’ll receive Watts; afterwards, it’ll lose its glow until the next day. If there’s a beam of light coming from within, you’ll earn more Watts and you can trigger a Max Raid Battle there.
Ingredient Sellers are green-colored NPCs, found in the first zone, Rolling Field, as well as the entrance to Hammerlocke. You can probably guess what they’re here for; they sell ingredients used for cooking curries. Like the Watt Traders, their wares change daily.
The Camping King is a yellow-coloured NPC standing outside the entrance to Motostoke. True to his name, he offers camping-related services. Firstly, he’ll let you change the color of your tent. Secondly, he can evaluate your Curry Dex. As you reach certain milestones, you’ll receive tasty rewards.
The Digging Duo are a pair of NPCs found in Bridge Field, halfway along the Wild Area. If you say “hi” to them, they will offer to dig up items for you, in exchange for Watts. The items they dig up are random; highlights include Pokémon fossils and Bottle Caps. Before they start digging, you must save your game so you can’t reset and retry.
Unlike other locations in the game, the weather in the Wild Area changes daily and can be different in each zone. Not only does the weather affect the battle conditions, but the wild Pokémon (this includes Strong Pokémon) can vary depending on the weather. You can check the weather by pressing the + or - Button when viewing the Town Map.
Here’s a look at all the different weather conditions. For reference, the weather conditions are listed in the same order as the Pokédex’s Habitat view. Also, the battle effects can be overwritten by a Pokémon’s moves or abilities, but they will revert once those moves or abilities expire.
|Icon||Weather||Effect in Battle||Notes|
|Thunderstorm||Rain Dance and Electric Terrain.||(None)|
|Snowstorm||Hail.||Available after reaching Hammerlocke.|
|Intense Sun||Sunny Day.||(None)|
|Sandstorm||Sandstorm.||Available after reaching Hammerlocke.|
|Fog||Misty Terrain.||Available during post-game.|