If you haven't noticed, everyone and their brother are addicted to Pokemon GO, the new virtual reality cell phone app that brings Pokemon to our world. While everyone is enamored by this simple, yet brilliant game, there are many details left without any explanation. So, we put together this list of Pokemon GO tips that we have learned along the way. I'll try to keep this post as up to date as possible. Affiliate links are included and help support this blog at no cost to you.
Pokemon GO Tips
The tutorial explains nothing other than the most basic of game mechanics while everything else is left up to the players to figure out. In the original theme song of Pokemon the animated series, one line pretty much explains how we are all supposed to figure out the intricacies of the game, “You teach me, and I'll teach you, POKEMON!”
We, the confused and mystified masses must actually interact with one another and test out ideas together to figure out the game!? This concept is as brilliant as it is simple. While everyone is out catching their 100th Rattata or finally snaring the iconic Pikachu, they are destined to run into a myriad of other trainers to swap tips and keep each other up to date on the most recent Pokemon news. While there are still many nuances of Pokemon GO left to be explained, here are a couple key tips to help the beginner or even slightly advanced players with their struggle to be the very best, like no one ever was.
- Tracking – There is a radar system that shows Pokemon in your area and rates how far they are away by little footprints. But what do those little footprints really mean? It turns out each footprint is exactly 50 meters. A Pokemon that shows no footprints is within 50 meters of the trainer, and then each footprint adds another 50 meters. This means that the Butterfree you just got so excited about with 3 footprints is approximately 200 meters away… in any direction.
- Hot or cold – Okay, so you know how far away these Pokemon are. How the heck are you supposed to know which direction you should be walking? Fortunately, the creators of Pokemon GO set up a little system to help you out. If you go into the list screen to check what critters are roaming your lands, you can select a specific Pokemon and the finder in the lower right corner will prioritize that Pokemon. While you are walking, if a faint green pulse emits then you know you are heading in the right direction. One would think this is self-explanatory, but you would be surprised how few know about this.
- Curveballs – When attempting to catch those higher level Pokemon, a simple toss of a Poke Ball simply will not suffice. There is an advanced throwing technique called the curve ball that gives you a greater chance to trap that tricky Tentacruel. First, place your finger atop the Pokeball and swirl it in small circles. Then swipe forward and the ball will fly up and off to either the left or right. To set up the shot, try angling the phone so that the Pokemon is in the upper right or left corner, so the ball swerves right into your target. This can be a tricky shot and can take some practice so make sure you have plenty of Poke Balls by farming some nearby Pokestops.
Targeting – Finding a Pokemon can be intensely exciting and exhilarating–catching a Pokemon, on the other hand, can be frustrating beyond compare. Here is a nice little run down on how to guarantee that Pokemon stays in that Poke Ball. You may have noticed a targeting circle that progressively grows smaller around your Poke-victim. This animation is not only for visual effect. If you hit within the glowing colored circle when you throw the Poke Ball at your target, it will inform you of your “Nice,” “Good,” “Great,” or “Excellent” shot. The smaller the circle, the better the shot, the more likely you actually capture your desired digital pet. To increase the odds even further you can always try the previously mentioned curveball, and you can even try feeding the wild beasty a Razz Berry. (Razz Berries are an item you can receive after level 8 that can be fed to wild Pokemon to increase the chances of catching it.)
- Poke Ball Recovery – Prepare to <facepalm> yourself. But all those Poke Balls you wasted by throwing wildly off to the side of Pokemon might have been retrievable. When you throw a Poke Ball, and it misses, you can click on the Poke Ball and get it back. This has been tested and shown to be true–though there is no guarantee it will work for everyone.
- Powering Up and Evolving – *WARNING: This statement is not a guarantee and is purely based on personal experience.* When planning to evolve a Pokemon, if it is first powered up to its maximum possible CP prior to evolving, it will be at it's maximum CP once evolution is complete. (Not my fault if this doesn't work for you for some terrible reason. Another trainer told me so.)
- Locations – The developers of Pokemon GO obviously have a bit of a sense of humor. In the original Pokemon game for Gameboy, cities had no Pokemon in them, and tall grass was filled with Pokemon. In this new version, there are far more Pokemon in densely populated areas like the cities and far less in rural regions. There are lots of trends for Pokemon locations such as water type near bodies of water or grass types in suburbs. There are also some very amusing trends, such a hoards of Drowzees and Jynx surrounding a long strip of bars with some Koffings and Gastly's floating around the sides. (LOL)
- Gyms – Quite possibly the most confusing part of Pokemon GO are the Gyms. There are a number of different things one can do at a gym, none of which are explained by the game. When you first reach level 5, you can go up to a gym and join one of the three different teams–Mystic, Valor, or Instinct. You can then attack an opposing gym to try and beat all of the Pokemon at the gym and if you reduce their prestige to zero you can claim the gym for your faction. Here's where it gets weird–you can also attack a gym your own faction controls. By attacking your own gym, you can increase it's prestige and level up the gym, then store one of your Pokemon at the Gym to defend it. If you defend a gym for a day, you get 10 gold coins, and everyone is happy.
- Pokestops and Lures – Pokestops are little landmarks that can spit out some helpful items for you every 15 minutes or so. Lures are hard to get items that lure all surrounding Pokemon to a Pokestop for 30 minutes. There is some strategy to this. If there is a handy small area with a couple Pokestops near one another, then why not set up the lure there and get tons of items and Pokemon all at the same time. Another important thing to think about is population density. If there are barely any Pokemon in an area, then a lure doesn't make new ones magically appear. Make sure you are in an area with plenty of Pokemon in all directions to ensure a very lucrative lure.
GPS – If walking isn't your thing and you decide to take to the roads to hit up Pokestops and chase down rares, here are some tips to keep everyone happy. DON'T PLAY AND DRIVE!!!! Use a buddy system with a partner in the car manning both phones so everyone gets some loot. Pull over and off the road to snag items from Pokestops so as to not interrupt traffic and bring a bad name for the game. Also, the GPS system in the game registers all movement over 20 miles per hour as vehicular. If you want to drive and have it count as steps for incubation, you should drive around 15 miles per hour or less. This slow speed is also optimal for updating the position of Pokemon to best track them.
- Sizes – Does size really matter? While we have no idea what it means, your Pokemon do come in different sizes. At the moment I have 3 Drowzees with unique proportions. If you look at both weight and height of your Pokemon, in very small letters it can say they are either XS( extra small,) XL ( extra large,) or have no letters at all and be ‘average.' There is some speculation that XL Pokemon have a higher CP or that XS Pokemon attack faster but we are still waiting on definitive results.
- AR – When battling at a Gym, you'll notice an option to turn AR on or off. I had dozens of guesses as to what AR stands for and finally asked a fellow Pokemon Trainer in passing and she said, “Oh, that stands for Augment Reality.” Turning it off means you see a basic background instead of the ‘real' backdrop your camera is picking up.
Don't hesitate to let us know if you think any of these Pokemon GO tips are inaccurate. We will gladly update this post with the best information available. 🙂
Check out our gift ideas for people who love Pokemon GO!