I was there when Pokemon first reached English speaking nations. Now, many years later, and Pokemon Go has revitalized the craze.
In previous posts, I have mentioned that I played Ingress for a while, which was a predecessor to Pokemon Go. But the Pokemon Go game has now recaptured my interest, which had faded for Ingress.
If you are a player, please keep aware of how your actions affect others around you. If you are going to stop and try and capture that Snorlax, don’t just stop in the middle of a busy street. Look around for somewhere to step out of traffic. Don’t go bugging private residences to access the Bulbasaur in their back yard. Don’t go holding 2am Poke-conventions at the Poke-Stop next door to residences that are full of people trying to sleep. Basically, don’t go giving Poke-haters anything to fuel their hate, because that affects all players, not just the inconsiderate ones messing things up for everyone else.
Anyway, this post is for new Pokemon Go players, intended to help them figure some early stuff out. This was written based on game version 1.1.1.
When you start off, the game will spawn three starting Pokemon near you so that you can capture one. If you ignore these starting Pokemon (Bulbasaur, Charmander, Squirtle) 3 times, it should cause a Pikachu to spawn instead.
Early on, aim to capture every Pokemon you see, and activate every Poke-stop you pass. Your player level affects the levels of the Pokemon being captured, and the quality of items being dropped at Poke-stops. So early on, the main objective is to earn experience and level yourself up. Increasing your level will do more to make the pokemon you capture more powerful than anything else.
Poke-stops, Pokemon captures, and evolving Pokemon all generate XP, which will help to level you up.
One method for early levelling is to fill your bag with whatever Pokemon you can find. Hopefully, while doing this, you will have a Lucky Egg drop. The Lucky Egg gives you 30 minutes of double XP. So the idea is to maximise the value of the Lucky Eggs.
A bag full of Pokemon is likely to have large numbers of common Pokemon (Rattata, Pidgey, Spearow, Zulbat, etc). Evolving as many of these as you can before transferring them to the Professor can give you a concentrated influx of XP. If augmented by the Lucky Egg, the XP is even higher.
You can also use Incense, which creates a personal Pokemon lure around you for 30 minutes. So while you are going through your evolution/transfer activities, additional Pokemon should spawn around you at the same time. Capturing these Pokemon will also get the XP bonus from the Lucky Egg. If you save up all your captured Pokemon for the day and evolve/transfer them in a single session, this will probably easily last longer than the 30 minutes of the Incense and/or lucky egg.
The other way of getting XP is through Gym battles. When attacking an opposing faction’s Gym, you can use 6 Pokemon against however many enemy Pokemon defend the gym. Even if you don’t successfully take the gym, every Pokemon you knock out earns you XP. Gym battles are going to be pretty difficult at least until you get your top Pokemon to around 1000 CP.
In a gym battle against an enemy gym, tap your Pokemon to activate their first ability. When the charge meter under your Pokemon’s name is full, hold down on your Pokemon to activate their second ability. Ideally, you want your attacks to be Super Effective, while your opponents are Not Very Effective against you (which is based on resistances and vulerabilities).
CP (Combat Points) are the measurement of the Pokemon’s power. You can train a Pokemon up in levels, though if you are levelling up, it may be easier to wait for a higher version of the Pokemon to be captured as the CP jumps from spending candy levelling Pokemon is the slow way to go.
However, Pokemon that have no further evolutions available to them can only increase level through training with candy, or replacing with a higher level Pokemon.
Someone came up with some math of what the base level of an unevolved Pokemon needs to be to guarantee the evolved form will have at least 1000 CP. There are random factors involved, so levelling two unevolved Pokemon of the same type and CP can still result in evolved Pokemon with materially different CP values. Anyway, to know if your Pokemon is in the desired 1000+ CP range, refer to the following table.
Evee (Sparky) 496
Evee (Pyro) 405
Evee (Rainer) 381
Nidoran (f) 336
Nidoran (m) 372
Alternatively, look at where on the white half circle range the Pokemon sits. An unevolved Pokemon that is further around this half circle range will become a higher level Pokemon when evolved. This will help you choose between different Pokemon even if they are in different evolution forms.
Early on, getting specific Pokemon isn’t that important, as you will probably get higher CP versions of that Pokemon as you advance through levels. However, you do get bonus XP for catching a Pokemon of a type you haven’t caught before, so those are worth taking a little extra effort to chase. You will know if a Pokemon type is new because it will appear on your radar as a silhouette rather than a picture of a Pokemon. Evolving a Pokemon into an evolved form you haven’t encountered yet also counts as discovering a new Pokemon and grants bonus XP also.
There are a couple of tricks while capturing Pokemon that can grant bonus XP also. These do not increase your chance of capture, which can only be affected in the throw by how small the target circle is when you hit. These tricks merely increase the XP you earn with the capture.
Trick one, is the targeted Pokeball shot. This happens when the Pokeball makes contact with its target, inside of the shrinking targeting circle. Most players will first encounter this with a “Nice” message, though hitting the target when it is smaller can return “Great” or even “Excellent” throws, and each earns a little bonus XP.
Trick two is the spin shot or curveball. When the Pokeball appears on screen, use your finger to create a circular motion. This will cause sparkly effects to come off your Pokeball. When released, the ball will curve through the air as a result of the applied spin. Capturing Pokemon with Spin Shots also award small amounts of bonus XP. However, Spin Shots do come with a degree of difficulty, and will result in burning through your Pokeball supply while mastering the technique. You may want to avoid this method if you are struggling with having enough Pokeballs.
Targeting reticule. The colour of the targeting circle when trying to capture Pokemon indicates a comparative level. Green circles should be easy to capture. Yellow circles are slightly more difficult. You may want to use a berry to improve your chances, but can probably get a capture in with a few Pokeball shots. Orange becomes more difficult again, and you may now want to think about using a higher level Pokeball (which often brings the difficulty back down). Red circles are really too high a level for you. I have had a Venusaur spawn on top of me. I threw 40+ Pokeballs, wiping out my entire Ultra Ball supply and the leafy blob just sat there giggling at my ineptitude.
But also note that the targeting circle colour is not the sole factor in difficulty. My experience is that a common Pokemon is innately easier to catch than a rare one, irrespective of the targeting circle colour. Eg: An orange circle Pidgey might still be okay to capture with a normal Pokeball, perhaps with a berry to support. However, an orange circle Snorlax is worth breaking out the rarer higher level Pokeballs.
You are able to carry up to 9 Pokemon eggs at a time. These will periodically drop from Poke-stops , and the game seems to be pretty good about keeping these topped up. You cannot have more than 9 eggs, regardless of bag expansions.
Provided you get a bit of walking done in your day, Pokemon eggs can be a solid way of getting access to Pokemon, particularly some rarer ones as the egg hatching rates appear to be better than random encounters for rarer types.
You receive a single incubator at the start of the game that can be re-used infinitely, but can only hatch one egg at a time.
I choose to run at least 3 incubators at a time, and hatch an average of 3 eggs per day. I do fork out some money for that, so if you are about avoiding expenses, or just don’t have opportunity to get a few km walking in each day, eggs will be a much slower progression.
Eggs are segmented into 2km 5km and 10km types. The rarest Pokemon types are 10km to hatch. However, starting Pokemon (including Pikachu) are all 2km eggs. So getting your Charmander up to Charizard may rely on egg hatchings as starter Pokemon appear to be relatively uncommon encounters.
I know some sites will tell you about ways to cheat the walking. But no Pokemon movie is ever going to star the kid whose greatest achievement lay in avoiding exercise. If you aren’t walking it, you aren’t a real Pokemon master. The real Pokemon master knows that the journey is so that he or she can evolve and grow stronger along with their Pokemon.
While the game is pretty good at how it spreads its item drops from Poke-Stops, you will likely find your bag filling up with some kind of item over another, depending on your play style.
Near my home, there are very few Poke-Stops. So I can run out of Pokeballs pretty easily. But at my work, there are lots of nearby Poke-stops, so I can easily fill up my bags.
Once your bag is full, think about discarding items that you are over-stocked on. Revives and potions are important if you are doing a lot of Gym battles. If you are not doing many gym battles, you don’t need as many potions and revives.
Also, items like Pokeballs and Potions come in tiers. Once you are getting Great Balls and Ultra Balls, then normal Pokeballs aren’t as important. Also, you will probably find that by the time you are earning these higher level Pokeballs, you will be running more often into higher level Pokemon who laugh in the face of basic Pokeballs. So, you can safely delete lower level Pokeballs to increase the room for higher level ones. Similarly, you can probably start deleting basic Potions once you have decent stock of higher tier potions.
You can capture Pokemon gym’s solo. However, opposing trainers can actively defend a gym, and you can even get opposing faction Pokemon trainiers from the 3rd faction attacking at the same time, trying to steal the gym out from under you.
Confidently capturing gyms is best done in groups, with backups available once your battling Pokemon have been KO’d.
Before taking on a gym, click on it to see what Pokemon are defending.
Next, factor this in when chosing your attack squad.
Eg: If a gym is defended by all Water type Pokemon, then sending in Fire Types is a formula for failure. Sending in Grass and Electric types will increase your potency. However, type advantages are secondary to the Pokemon CP level. A lower level Pokemon may look useful because of its type, but its lower level will see it KO’d relatively quickly.
The following table shows type strengths and weaknesses.
Not all the types listed are in the game yet as the chart was designed for the handheld games. Over time as more Pokemon are released, hopefully this will hold true in Pokemon Go also.
You will earn XP if you KO any defending Pokemon in the gym and help weaken it for other players who may come along after.
If you get the chance to add your Pokemon to defend a friendly gym, do so. You will earn XP for their battle regardless of the result.
Any other suggestions for newbies?
Then please add them as comments.