I wonder what this battle mechanic will be as it seems we are getting some changes. I can see it being something related to happiness, I wonder if happiness will work like it's own stat or something like that or have a hand in increasing other stats in battle. We'll see.
As for Free Play, I hope to be able to connect with other players while playing the game, but not just for chatting, perhaps doing something with them in game or even challenging them to battles when you meet their character or something or being able to trade with them. There would be no need to go to the Pokemon Center and it would be awesome.