You’re playing Pokemon Go, right? C’mon. Be real with me. I won’t tell anyone. I won’t ruin your street cred.
In all seriousness, Pokemon Go has had a massive impact on society (both good and bad) in just a matter of days. Whether you’re a wide-eyed kid discovering Pokemon for the first time or a full-grown adult who’s been tricked into exercising just to snag that damn Eevee around the corner we’re all secretly overjoyed to finally have the chance to be real Pokemon trainers.
That said, the game does have some secrets, tricks, and finer points that are worth mastering if you’re truly ready to catch ’em all.
You Can Use Pikachu As A Starter
Seeing as I am hours deep in my own trainer account, alas, I learned this too late to go back and take advantage of the well-hidden easter egg. And no, it’s not a myth, it’s real! Simply walk away from the three classic starters offered at the very beginning four times. The game’s going to try to get you to come back, and when you finish walking away four times, Professor Willow gets the hint. Boom, there’s Pikachu. Now, starters aren’t nearly as important in building your team as they are in the original Gameboy versions, but I haven’t seen many Pikachus in the wild so this is a foolproof way to secure that cute little sucker on your side early on.
The Footprints On Nearby Pokemon Are Important In Tracking
It’s not been proven to have an exact distance associated with each set of footprints but it’s pretty easy (and fun) to figure out. No footprints? You’re basically right on top of the thing. One? Try wandering around your area a little. Two? You’re gonna have to scout a little farther, but watch the footprints to see if you’re getting closer or farther away. Three? Get ready to do some serious searching.
The Size Of The Capture Ring Gives You Extra Experience Points
This was up for debate at first but after extensive study I’m pretty sure I’ve got it right. It used to be that the size of the ring was what determined difficulty; in reality, you’re trying to get the Pokeball anywhere inside the white ring. As the colored ring gets smaller, if you can hit inside that colored ring with accuracy, you get an EXP bonus — the smaller the ring, the higher the bonus. Curveball also offers a bonus.
The Color Of The Capture Ring Is The Capture Difficulty
If the ring is green, it’s going to be a pretty easy snag. If it’s yellow/orange, a little harder — may want to consider a Razz Berry. If it’s red, well, you’re in for a real fight. Prepare to use up some Razz Berries and a few Pokeballs in the struggle.
Transportation Can Help You Stock Up On Items
While the app is capable of figuring out how fast you’re going so no you’re not running down the highway at 40mph YOU BIG CHEATER it’s still a great way to hit Pokestops and look for rarer Pokemon farther from the typical areas you may be exploring. I’m of course not suggesting to do this while driving — in fact, I am saying DO NOT DO THIS IT’S SUPER UNSAFE — but if you’re a passenger or riding on public transit, easy peasy. A few friends of mine actually double-fist their significant other’s phone as the other drives and play both accounts for efficiency. Safety first, Pokemasters.
Gym Battling Actually Does Have A Strategy Behind It
With little to no instruction from the app itself, it’s been quite the learning curve to figure out how the damn thing works. From what I’ve gathered, you attack the opposing Pokemon by tapping the screen with your finger. By doing this you can build your special attack — unleashed when your bar is full and you press your finger to the opposing Pokemon. You can also dodge some attacks by swiping left or right.
If Your App Is Closed, You’re Not Getting Credit
That part is simple. If the app is closed, it’s closed. If you want to wander around without using up ALL your phone’s battery, enable “Battery Saver Mode” under Settings and slip it in your pocket upside-down. The screen itself will darken but you’re still getting credit for your steps and will get a notification for a nearby Pokemon or Pokestop.
Get All The Pokeballs And Double Down On Certain Species
Pokestops are important because they’re free Pokeball resources and the only way to power up or evolve your Pokemon are by collecting A) Stardust and B) Species Candy. Those are both collected by capturing Pokemon; once you’ve got the Pokemon of a certain species that you’re focused on building up, keep capturing weaker duplicates. I’ll explain why next.
Swap Out Weaker Duplicates And Focus On Pokemon With Higher CP
CP (or Combat Power) is instrumental in building a strong team. Early on you’re likely capturing Pokemon in double digit CP, but as you keep training you’ll notice that you’re encountering triple digits in the wild. You may have invested some time in your older Pokemon but trust me, transfer those back to Professor Willow’s Farm For Abandoned Pokemon and work on leveling up your stronger dudes. Just make sure you double check their Attack Power too.
Diversity Is Key
This is more a tip for most of the Pokemon games, I’d wager, but it’s still good for the average player to know. If you’re out to take Gyms from rival trainers, you need to play to their strongest Pokemon’s weaknesses. This will require a diverse team of all types — sorry if your favorite Pokemon is Bulbasaur, that means nothing if a massive Charizard is guarding the Gym you’re ready to take out. Better make sure you’ve got your best water types on deck. (I’m pretty sure I just got shoved in a locker but I don’t care, POKEMON IS REAL YOU GUYS!)