The Complete Guide to Pokémon GO [Updated] | Broken Joysticks

Jul
08

The Complete Guide to Pokémon GO [Updated]

Pokémon GO has spread like wildfire across the United States and other countries lucky enough to have access to it right now. However, the guides are far and few between. We’ve collected the best and most important tips and tricks to guide you right here!

PokéStops

  • PokéStops grant you items, including Eggs, Potions, Revives, Poké Balls and Razz Berries
  • To get the items you have to click on a PokéStop (marked by a blue circle icon on the map) and spin
  • You don’t have to click on the items that pop up to collect them, simply closing out of the PokéStops will collect them all

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  • PokéStops are located at points of interest (likely determined by Niantic’s previous game, Ingress); these include murals, parks, art installations and museums
  • The items generated by PokéStops are dependant on your level, higher levels can get more items
  • The items are often level-locked, so you will start by only finding Eggs and Poké Balls
  • A Lure can be placed PokéStop to attract Pokémon

Catching Pokémon

  • You will need to walk to find Pokémon (unless you are using Incense or a Lure on a PokéStop)
  • When you start the game, you are giving the chance to catch one of the three original starting Pokémon (Charmander, Squirtle and Bulbasaur), the others disappear when you catch one, but you can run into them later
  • If you want Pikachu as your starter, you must walk away from the other starters multiple times (3-5 times) until Pikachu spawns with them. You can also run into all four of these Pokémon out in the wild.

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  • Catch every single Pokémon you see. Each catch gives you Stardust and Pokémon candy, both used to improve your other Pokémon
  • You can tell which Pokémon are near you by expanding the menu in the bottom right of your screen, the fewer paw prints, the closer they are, and the top left will always be the closest (and bottom right the farthest)

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  • The environment, time and location affects what kind of Pokémon you run into, go to different kinds of areas to find different types of Pokémon!
  • Wandering Pokémon are visible to everyone and catchable to everyone until a few minutes after they are first caught, then they despawn
  • Pokémon wander around, so one could be drifting towards you or away from you
  • Lures placed on PokéStops and attract Pokémon for everyone for 30min, they are a good way to make new friends
  • Incense is attached to you and attracts Pokémon just for you for 30min. These Pokémon do not appear to be the Pokémon that are shown as being “close” to you
My character surrounded by the pink cloud from Incense.

My character surrounded by the pink cloud from Incense.

  • You must throw your Poké Ball and hit the grey circle around the Pokémon, the aim requires a toss of the correct distance as well
  • For an exp and better chance of the Pokémon you are facing, hit the inner circle — this circle starts as wide as the grey circle and shrinks down to nothing before repeating
  • Like in the classic Pokémon games, hitting a Pokémon with your ball does not mean it will be caught, it can still break out. Three wiggles and a click is what you’re looking for!
  • The color of the inner circle indicates how hard the Pokémon is to catch. Green is easy, yellow is medium, orange is hard, dark orange is very hard and red is the hardest. Red Pokémon are the most likely to break out of their Poké Balls.
  • Throwing “curve balls” (lobbing the ball with a bit of a curved angle instead of tossing it straight) can improve your chances of catching a Pokémon and reward extra experience points

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  • You can swirl the ball before tossing for a guaranteed curve ball
  • Some Pokémon will try to resist being caught by using various moves, these include:
    • Blocking – The Pokémon smacks the Poké Ball away, combat this by throwing the ball when the inner circle is smaller
    • Dodging/Jumping – The Pokémon jumps up, potentially dodging a thrown Poké Ball, combat this by waiting for the Pokémon to jump right before throwing. This move is used mostly by Flying Pokémon.
    • Attacking – The Pokémon attacks when the inner circle is small, causing it to stick at that size. Aside from good aim, the only way to counter this is by throwing your Poké Ball early or by waiting for the attack to end, upon which the normal inner circle cycle continues.
  • At level 8 you unlock Razz Berries, if you use a Razz Berry on a Pokémon you are trying to catch, you have a higher success chance. Use this on Pokémon with orange and red inner circles.
  • You unlock more effective Poké Balls as you level up — at level 12, Great Balls are unlocked
  • The higher your level is, the higher Combat Point (CP) Pokémon you will find, so keep hunting!

Building Your Team

  • Pokémon have different power levels (Combat Points – CP), these can be increased by using candy of that Pokémon type and Stardust
  • Your highest CP Pokémon will generally be your strongest

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  • Pokémon of the same species can have different move sets, check to see which basic and ultimate attack each Pokémon has (found at the bottom of their info page)
  • Candies for a Pokémon can be used to evolve them or, in combination with Stardust, increase their CP
  • “Transferring” a Pokémon will destroy it, but will grant you additional candies for that Pokémon that you can use to evolve and improve others of that species
  • You can hold up to 250 Pokémon when you start the game, so don’t transfer a Pokémon if you are unsure whether or not it will be useful!

Gyms and Battles

  • You battle other Pokémon at gyms (and, it seems, special events) by tapping to attack and swiping to dodge

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  • When your Pokémon’s attack bar under its HP becomes full, tapping and holding will release it’s ultimate/second ability. This can take a bit of time.
  • Pokémon types work the same way they do in the classic Pokémon games, so try to use Pokémon attacks that will be super effective against your opponents or Pokémon that will likely resist your opponent’s attacks
  • When you reach level 5 and interact with a gym, you will be encouraged to select a team to represent in your gym battles; Team Instinct (Yellow), Team Mystic (Blue) and Team Valor (Red)

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  • At this time, it does not appear that you can change your team
  • An unclaimed gym (which will appear white/grey) can be claimed by a team by leaving a Pokémon at the gym. This Pokémon will be returned to you when it is knocked out of the gym.
  • Gyms has prestige and prestige levels. The higher the prestige level of a gym, the more Pokémon can be left by trainers at that gym.
  • Only a single Pokémon can be left at each gym per player
  • To battle an opposing team’s gym, you can select up to 6 Pokémon and fight the Pokémon of the other gym from lowest to highest CP

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  • Defeating an opposing team’s gym will lower the gym’s prestige. If it lowers the prestige level, it reduces number of Pokémon slots the gym has. If all slots were taken, the lowest CP Pokémon of the gym will be kicked out to fit the reduced number.
  • Reducing the prestige to nothing will clear the gym and open it up to be taken over by another team
  • At friendly gyms you can battle with a single Pokémon against the other Pokémon in the gym to increase the gyms’ prestige. The prestige only is increased if a Pokémon is defeated. It appears more prestige is granted for battles between closer CP Pokémon.
  • After a battle your Pokémon may be hurt or fainted, you must use items (Potions and Revives) to bring them back to life and full health
  • Pokémon knocked out of a gym will be returned to you at 1hp

Leveling Up

  • Leveling up your trainer profile has many benefits, including increasing the CP level of Pokémon you can find, granting you additional items, and unlocking new item types

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  • You gain experience for the following
    • Catching a new Pokémon species (500xp)
    • Hatching a Pokémon from an egg (500xp, stacks with new species)
    • Catching a Pokémon (100xp, stacks with catching a new species)
    • Throwing a Poké Ball well grants extra experience.
      • “Nice” throws, hit the inner circle when it is rather large – 10xp
      • “Great” throws, hit the inner circle when it is <70% of the outer circle – 50xp
      • “Excellent” throws, hit the inner circle when it is about 25% of the outer circle – 100xp
      • “Curveball” throws, throw the ball in an arching motion, swirling it on the screen helps – 10xp (xp stacks with the Nice/Great/Excellent xp)
    • Using a PokéStop
    • Winning a battle
  • Using a Lucky Egg grants you double experience points for 30min, this is great to use right before evolving a bunch of Pokémon or when you are sitting on multiple Lures

Eggs

  • Eggs are found at PokéStops
  • You can view your Eggs in the same menu as your  Pokémon (by selecting “Eggs” in the top right)
  • You cannot tell what will hatch out of an Egg, but different species require different amounts of walking (2km, 5km, 10km, etc)
  • “Walking” seems to be considered movement under around 15mph (yes, you can grab a bike and ride around to hatch Eggs like the good ol’ days), GPS drifting sometimes will count as walking
  • You start the hatching process by selecting an Egg out of the Egg menu and placing it in an Incubator

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  • Your default Incubator has unlimited charges
  • Other Incubators (such as ones from the store), have a limited number of incubation charges
  • To incubate multiple Pokémon at the same time, you must use multiple Incubators
  • You can only carry 9 eggs at a time, but increasing your inventory or Pokémon storage with upgrade items from the store may increase this number
  • Each Egg can carry a different Pokémon, depending on the walk distance required, check out this table to see the Egg distances for each Pokémon

General Tips

  • Turn off the music volume in the settings to clearly hear when Pokémon and other objects come within range
  • For Android users, if you turn on the developer mode, you can set your phone to not sleep when it is plugged in. This means you can keep up Pokémon GO and listen for sounds of Pokémon while doing other work
  • Turning off the AR while attempting to catch Pokémon can make it easier to aim and reduce lag (there is a toggle in the top right of the catching screen)

Comment your own tips and tricks below and we’ll be happy to add them to our list!

 

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About Renee Gittins

Renee is the lead developer of Stumbling Cat, a game studio based in Seattle. She loves writing about games and helping others get into game development. She also has an affinity for beers, cheeses and cats.

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