Basic Guide to Playing Pokemon Go
Author: Jun S.
Last Updated on 07/12/16
You probably came to this site because you thought it was for Niantic Inc., but nope! It's for Niantic City. But don't fret-- we understand you've got needs, so we've compiled a complete guide on how to play Pokemon Go and become the very best.
What we know so far:
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, it’s hard to miss that Pokemon GO has swept populations across the globe in a matter of days. Combined with Nintendo, Niantic Inc. released the much-anticipated free-to-play app on Android and iOS markets for on July 7th.
As players live their childhood dreams of becoming Pokemon trainers, fans across the country are partaking in this viral phenomenon, showing incredible popularity among fans from their mid-twenties to early-thirties who’ve grown up with the franchise. With the saturation of tragedy, violence, and social injustice against citizens throughout the country, emotionally-exhausted millenials turn to the nostalgic franchise as a new means of social activity.
The app features gameplay where players search for Pokemon across real GPS maps and toss Pokeballs at Pokemon shown against real backdrops via AR (augmented reality) using their smartphone cameras, as well as collecting items in real designated locations in their city, exploring new places and discovering landmarks, local businesses, and public art spaces. In the most densely populated areas, where Pokemon activity is most active, players witness dozens of fellow trainers playing alongside each other in search of collecting Pokemon.
And unsurprisingly, Pokemon Go has reportedly motivated an increase of thousands of players to walk several kilometers a day above their normal routine, which is great for physical fitness. Some people have even gone as far as used Pokemon Go as their go-to fitness app and jogging companion. (The app even records how many kilometers you’ve walked with the app open! Hell, bring your Fitbit with you and impress your friends.) Animal shelters are even encouraging trainers todonate their time to walking dogs for charity while playing.
With the level of activity, social interaction, and personal investment, it's impossible to say that Pokemon Go ISN'T a cultural sensation.
Official Pokemon Go Trailer
The general public has also benefited from the phenomenon experiencing a surge in steady traffic to local businesses, bars and breweries, and historic landmarks (Business owners, take note!) Meanwhile, Nintendo Stocks has increased in $9 billion in value, raising its total market cap to $28 billion. It's become so popular that it's quickly surpassing Twitter in daily active users.
The game also features an optional wearable device, "Pokemon Go Plus", and are priced at $35. Pre-orders are currently sold out at this time.
It is worth mentioning that major trends in gaming aren't particularly new. Even with the phenomenon of the Pokemon Go, gamers have always observed trends in the latest online obsession (see: Overwatch), as well as being the latest edition to Pokemon's long line of games in the past two decades (circa 1996). Players are now a spectacle for the confused general public to witness due to the fact that it involves going outside rather than sitting in front of a monitor or TV. (Also, if you've got any misguided fellow adults throwing shade, just remember that you're having fun no one's gonna get you down.)
Of course, this latest Pokemon craze isn’t all sunshine and lollipops and has observed some unexpected results. People have discovered some unpleasant surprises like a dead body, as well as having becoming victims of armed robberies. We advise people to practice safety by sticking to populated areas, observing their surroundings, and playing in groups.
Overall, it’s an incredibly fun way to go outside, hang out with friends, and discover places in the city you hadn’t discovered before. Don’t be overwhelmed! It’s a lot of information, but it’ll come to you quickly. Thankfully, we’re here to provide a basic and comprehensive guide with all the helpful information we know so far.
How to play:
Welcome, Pokemon Trainer!
Professor Willow being hella swole and greeting you to the game, and one of the characters we created.
But before we continue, we encourage players to enjoy the game and play using some basic safety guidelines. Let’s talk about common sense.
As long as you follow these safety guidelines, likely the worst that can happen is that the only thing you run into are a bunch of Zubats.
Once you’ve created your trainer, you’re set to go outside and start capturing Pokemon. The first thing you’ll do is choose a starter Pokemon. You’ll be given a choice of First Generation starters including Charmander, Squirtle, and Bulbasaur. Congrats! You’ve got your first Pokemon.
Pro-tip: If you don’t want ANY of the three, walk away from the spot and you’ll activate Pikachu!
How to locate Pokemon:
Pro-tip: Use Incense from your items to attract more Pokemon to you up to 30 minutes!
How to capture Pokemon:
That time a rattata showed up on my desk.
As you walk around, you’ll come across a few Pokemon in your radius. Once you spot them, tap on the Pokemon and begin capturing by tossing Pokeballs until you’ve caught your new pal.
Once you locate a Pokemon, tap on it to initiate capturing!
Throw a Pokeball as directly as you can until captured.
Pro-tip: Turn off AR mode while capturing Pokemon, as it'll cut down lag and make them easier to capture.
If you’ve run out of Pokeballs (or other items), don’t fret! The city is crawling with PokeStops at popular gathering spots, businesses, and landmarks where you can collect more items by walking up to them and spinning these checkpoints. Occasionally you’ll pick up other items like incense, potions, revives, and eggs! Of course, if you're impatient, there's also the "freemium" aspect of the game where you can purchase Pokecoins to obtain items via real hard earned cash.
Incense: "Incense with a mysterious fragrance that lures wild Pokémon to your location for 30 minutes."
Lucky Egg: "A Lucky Egg that's filled with happiness! Earns double XP for 30 minutes."
Egg Incubator: "A device that incubates an Egg as you walk until it is ready to hatch. Breaks after three uses."
Lure Module: "A module that attracts Pokémon to a PokéStop for 30 minutes. Other people around the PokéStop can also benefit from the effect."
Not running into enough Pokemon? Well luckily for you, all PokeStops have the potential to become “lures”. Lures are activated by the “lure modules” among playable items, and most of the time, you’ll find some generous players activating a bunch where trainers from all over can travel to that spot and share the increased flow of Pokemon to capture. You’ll find handfuls of them across populated areas and are likely bump into dozens of other trainers and Pokemon fans to interact with.
Pokemon Go can be an incredibly social experience, and you might make friends with other groups along the way at lures and while searching for the same Pokemon. You’ll be surprised how many other players will end up at the same lure.
How to train Pokemon:
As mentioned before, the strength of Pokemon is determined by the amount of CP (combat points) it contains. However, there has yet been much of a solid explanation as to exactly how the CP system works, despite the sheer amount of discussions and observations shared online. (Players have gone as far as create spreadsheets logging CP ratios when evolving Pokemon.) But while we're still determining the method behind the CP-based madness and the actual methodology of training Pokemon, here's what we know so far:
Pro-tip: Save your candies and stardust for power-ups further along in the evolution chain for higher gains in CP and finish off the curve towards the end.
How to evolve your Pokemon:
Contrary to what you may find online, determining which evolution an eevee will evolve into (Flareon, Vaporeon, Jolteon) has no specific system and is completely random.
Fun Fact: Pidgeys, weedles, and caterpies require only 12 candies to evolve to their next stage, whereas you need a whopping 400 Magikarp candies to evolve a Gyarados.
How to gain EXP:
Here's a run down of different ways to gain EXP (Thanks to VocalInsanity via Reddit):
100 XP – Pokemon caught
500 XP – New pokemon
10 XP – Curve ball
10 XP – Nice throw
50 XP – Great Throw
100 XP – Excellent throw
50 XP – Checking in at a PokeStop
100 XP – Battling an opposing team’s pokemon trainer at a gym
150 XP – Beating an opposing team’s Pokemon trainer at a gym
50 XP – Beat a pokemon in training (a gym already your team’s color) at a gym
200 XP – Hatch a pokemon
500 XP – Evolve a pokemon
Pro-tip: Use a Lucky Egg to double your EXP when training, evolving, transferring, and etc. in one session. It’ll help you jump levels quickly.
Choose a faction:
After a little bit of playing and once you've reached level 5, you will be asked to join a faction. Team Mystic (Blue), Team Valor (Red), and Team Instinct (Yellow) represented by Pokemon's first generation of legendaries: Articuno, Moltres, and Zapdos accordingly.
Depending on which team you choose, you will be joining other players in training Pokemon and compete by capturing Pokemon Gyms at designated areas.
Take the popular choice and join the illustrious legion of Team Mystic?
Rise against the status quo and join the ambitious Team Valor?
Or go against the grain and rebel as Team Instinct?
In the end, we're just a bunch of nerdy Pokemon fans looking having fun with finally fulfilling our dreams of embarking our journey as trainers. No matter what team, we continue to support each other to have the most fun experience possible, so show your team pride by practicing good sportsmanship! Good trainers always respect their peers and rivals and aim to support each other up rather than tear each other down. And of course, the whole point of the lore behind all three legendaries was to exist in harmony. (It's what Lugia would've wanted.)
How to conquer a gym:
Fun Fact: We’ve been observing the 12th Street BART gym and it’s been an all-out turf war between all teams, Mystic, Valor, and Instinct taking turns owning that gym. And from what we can tell, Instinct is battling hard to stand their ground and we’re impressed.
How to hatch a PokeEgg:
Like previous Pokemon games, PokeEggs are hatched by walking certain distances-- however, unlike its predecessors, Pokemon Go requires the use of an Incubator per egg to begin progress. (Note: PokeEggs are NOT the same as Lucky Eggs!)
Pro-tip: The app will not track your progress if you travel any faster than ~20 kilometers per mile, so riding your bike, taking the train, or driving isn't going to help you hatch a PokeEgg.
How to save battery life:
And lastly, for the few who somehow haven't realized this, keeping your phone and GPS on for an extended period of time SERIOUSLY drains your phone battery. Luckily, here are some reminders on keeping your power going.
Fun Fact: If you see someone holding a smartphone with a USB cord connected to a portable battery, they’re likely playing Pokemon Go.
Additionally, there's been a rumor that Pokemon Go uses Google Maps API and, by downloading offline Google Maps of your area, you can preserve battery life. Unfortunately, a Google Maps engineer confirmed over Twitter this not to be true. Sorry to disappoint!
Our Pokedex so far:
Bulbasaur, Squirtle, Caterpie, Weedle, Pidgey, Pidgeotto, Rattata, Raticate, Spearow, Fearow, Ekans, Pikachu, Sandshrew, Nidoran (female and male), Clefairy, Vulpix, Bellsprout, Jiggypuff, Zubat, Oddish, Venonat, Meowth, Psyduck, Mankey, Growlithe, Tentacool, Slowpoke, Doduo, Dodrio, Ghastly, Haunter, Haunter, Crabby, Rhyhorn, Scyther, Voltorb, Electrode, Exeggcute, Cubone, Onyx, Goldeen, Staryu, Omanyte (PRAISE HELIX), Aerodactyl, Tauros, Paras, Magikarp, Eevee, Snorlax, Pinsir, Koffing, Polywag, Ponyta, Shellder, Lapras, Dratini, and growing.
Currently, there are a total of 147 out of 150 of the possible First Generation Pokemon to capture so far, including the first eeveelutions.
Of course, most Pokemon are there for the taking as long as you know where to look. We’ve even tried our luck captured over 70 different Pokemon in the last few days!
As the game and Pokemon community grows, Niantic continues to develop more features such as trading, a PvP battling system, possibly communication between players, and other general improvements to the app via software updates.
We hope this guide was helpful and wish you the best of luck on your Pokemon journey to become the very best! Happy training!