And in pokego you have to pay to do more than one raid a day, and if you want access to the big raids, you need to hope you get a pass from doing a raid there previously. Want to do more than one raid? Shell out money. Would it be better if we had to pay to do a strike event more than once a day?
In non city areas, pokestops are also hard to come by, as are gyms, I have two stops and one gym in pogo that I can access without taking an hour+ long bus ride into the city, it’s part of what made me abandon pogo,
You don’t have to pay to level up Pokémon, but there’s also no real reason to level non legendaries in the first place, pogo has a practically nonexistent battle system which rewards faster phones more than it rewards true cp value or even type matchup, not only that but you can easily wittle a gym down by battling, healing, and repeating, which means that so long as you can take at least one Pokémon down per battle, you can lazily Redo a gym again and again until you win this rendering level/cp much less important than in JWA.
You also have to buy incubators for eggs if you want to do more than one at a time, on top of the physical work of then walking that egg around. JWA doesn’t expect you to invest walking hours the way pogo does.
Leveling is slower in pogo especially at higher cp tiers and Pokémon rarities to an extent not present in JWA. In JWA there’s a coin investment for the fuse or level up itself, in pogo there’s a candy and stardust investment, if you don’t buy coins with real money, it really isn’t any different in the long run, you still have to go out and collect that stardust or that specific candy, and if you do invest real money into JWA, you can use that money to obtain coins, you cannot use money to obtain stardust or candy in pogo.
It’s also easier to get hard cash from jwa than coins from pogo, you can amass thousands from tapjoy if you know to keep an eye out, the only way to get the real money currency in pogo is to take a gym and hope you can hold it for upwards of an hour or to shell out irl money.
You can definitely compare jwa to pokego, I do all the time and personally prefer jwa, but saying the level up system in pokego doesn’t have the same investment as jwa isn’t really correct, it’s just that instead of battling and spinning supply drops for coins, you have to catch pokemon (using up balls in the process which means just like in jwa you still have to hoof it out to pokestops…if you have any nearby)
Tl;dr it’s not costless to level Pokémon in pogo, it costs time and energy just like in jwa. The only difference is that you literally cannot buy stardust or candy.