How To Play Pokemon Go- A Complete Guide!

Quick Overview: Getting Started

It’s been many months since the launch of this game and when it took the world by the proverbial storm. But, not everyone got swept away by that wave and there are many who haven’t tried their hands on the game yet. If you haven’t played the Pokémon Go game before, you can play it now. And getting started is fairly simple.

Now that the game is available on all the major app stores in all the regions, you can download it officially on your device. Depending upon the platform, use the official app store to install the game (such as Google Play Store for Android or Apple’s App Store for iOS).

Once downloaded, launch the game. You can sign up for a Pokémon Go exclusive account or you can sign in with your existing Google ID. Either way, the gameplay remains the same. Some people do not wish to give away their Google account information owing to privacy concerns. Thus, creating the Pokemon Go account makes sense.

Whichever way you sign in you will need to create a character to get started with the game. This playable character is referred to as ‘Trainer’ in the game. While the Trainer is slightly customizable, you cannot make any dramatic changes to it.

The objective of the game is to find the Pokémon and raise their Combat Power (CP).

When you start the game for the first time, you are taken through an introduction by none other than Professor Willow. Here you get a quick hang of the gameplay. You are supposed to catch one of the three most easily found Pokémon of your choice – Bulbasaur, Charmander, or Squirtle.

The Professor leaves you alone with your quests afterward. There are some onscreen tips but that’s about it.

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Catching Pokémon

So, how do you catch Pokémon? It is pretty straightforward. You open the Pokémon Go game on your mobile device and get out on the street. The game already has your area mapped and you navigate using the GPS technology. When a Pokémon is near, your phone shakes to let you know of its presence. The Pokémon thus appears on your screen. Tap it and the interface will change allowing you to try and catch the Pokémon. You need to throw the Pokeball the right way at the Pokémon to catch it.

Some Pokémon are easier to catch, others not so much. The difficulty level is determined by the color of the ring around the Pokémon. The ones with the green ring are the easiest to catch. The yellow ones are moderately difficult and the Pokémon with the red ring are the most difficult to catch.

Pokémon are available with varying Combat Power (CP) levels. CP level determines the strength and power of a Pokémon. But, CP is not constant. Once you have caught a Pokémon, one of your objectives is to increase their CP level. The combat power level can be raised over time by one of the two items you get with every catch – stardust and candy.

Stardust is a generic item that is acquired when you catch a Pokémon. Candy, on the other hand, is specific to each Pokémon. You can obtain new candies for a Pokémon and increase its CP by catching its duplicates.  As the game progresses, you can catch Pokémon at an advanced level with higher CP.

While you may find the low-level Pokémon easily around your area, in order to catch advanced Pokémon you will need to go farther.

Pokémon Catching Tip

There are a few tricks you can use to catch Pokémon better. For instance, when you throw the ball at Pokémon, right before the release give it a little spin. The ball will take a curved trajectory and you will be rewarded with higher XP.

You will notice that the ring around the Pokémon expands and collapses alternately. Time your release in such a way that the ring is the smallest when the ball hits it. You will require a bit of practice in this case. You might also end up wasting some pokeballs. However, when you master this technique, it will be much easier to catch Pokemon’s; even the ones with the red circle.

You will need to advance through the game and increase your level to encounter higher level Pokémon. You will also need better quality Pokeball’s to catch difficult Pokémon. Once you reach level 12, instead of Pokeball’s, you get access to Great Balls. They are more effective in catching Pokémon. At level 20, you unlock the Ultra Ball, which is the best you can get to catch the high-level, rare Pokémon.

After a certain level, you will also need Razz Berries. This item is an important aspect of catching high-level Pokémon. It helps in keeping the difficult Pokémon from escaping. Razz Berries are available once you have reached the 8th level. Once you have unlocked the Razz Berries, they are also available at Pokéstops. They are free only up to a certain amount. You can buy more with pokecoins.

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Understanding Pokéstops

Pokéstops are an important aspect of the Pokémon Go game. These are the landmarks for resources and are strewn randomly across the map. The Pokéstops are not very difficult to find as they are mostly available in your local area. If you want to make sure that you have ample items to progress in the game, you cannot ignore Pokéstops. You have to be there more frequently than most casual gamers.

You can see the Pokéstops from a distance on the map but you need to get near it to collect the resources. Once you are within the acceptable range, the Pokéstop icon will transform into a spinning Pokeball. Now all you need to do is simply tap on the icon and you will have access to various resources. You can find eggs, revives, potions, Pokeball’s, and more at any Pokéstop. Remember that not all items at the Pokéstops are free. You will need poke coins to buy them.

You can earn the poke coins by participating in the gym duels. Or, you can also buy them through the in-game purchases.

Pokéstops can also be used to catch Pokémon. There is a feature called ‘lure model’ which you need to activate to lure the Pokémon to the stop.

Increasing the level of your character

To increase the level the Trainer (also called character) you need to have various experiences. In fact, every activity during game play helps you earn more experience. For instance, the more Pokémon you catch the more experience you earn.  When you visit a Pokéstop you come out with more experience. Gym battles also add to your overall experience. As the game progresses and your level increases, you can also pick one of the factions to be the part of. This also allows you to fight the other human players (Trainers) in the gym.  

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What is a gym?

Gyms are like forts. If your faction holds a gym, it must be guarded and defended. Your faction can also take over a gym from another faction. The gym ensures your supremacy and also helps you level up your character.

These gyms are usually located at some real-world landmark of importance. For instance, if there is a famous shopping complex in your area, it could be marked on the map as the gym. If the faction you are the part of controls the gym, you can train one of your Pokémon with the other Pokémon of another member. Training helps in increasing the prestige point of the gym.

Prestige points are important for the gameplay. When the prestige increases the gym capacity also increases. This means gym can accommodate more Pokémon. The more the Pokémon at the gym, the bigger will be the stardust bonus. At the same time, it also increases the total amount of poke coins that you can earn. The gym your faction controls must be held against the onslaught of the rival factions. If the gym has space available, you can station your Pokémon to defend it.

If one of your rival factions hold the gym the faction seeking control will need to battle for it. The idea is to defeat the existing Pokémon of the controlling faction at the gym. This you can do with other members of your faction. Once you have defeated enough Pokémon of the faction holding the gym, you will be able to lower the prestige of the gym. Once the prestige reaches the neutral level, the gym will be available to be claimed over by the other faction. Once you have ascertained your claim of the gym, you can station your Pokémon to defend it against the rivals.

If you want to raise the level of your character and progress in the game, it is important to participate in the gym activities. Gym battle is the most effective way to increase the experience of your Pokémon. This, in turn, helps in increasing the Combat Power of the Trainer.

Gym Battles

Gym battle is the hand to hand combat where two Pokémon fight with each other. It is much like the old age fight games where two characters used kicks and blow to damage the opponent. There are two types of attacks here. First is the light attack wherein you simply tap the opponent. The second is the special attack which requires you to tap and hold the opponent once your ‘special-attack’ meter is full.

You also need to defend against the attacks by either swiping left or right. In order to win the game, you need to inflict enough damage on the opponent until it has fainted. If your Pokémon has lost a lot of strength during the fight, you can heal them with potions.

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Some Important Tips

  • Launch the game whenever you can:

It is true that you cannot be on the lookout round the clock as you have other important things to do as well then just play the Pokémon go game. But, it would be a good idea to access the game every once in a while as you may be treated with great surprises. For example, while driving down, when you pull over for gas refill, pull out your phone and open the game. You may find a rare Pokémon lurking by. You may miss out many Pokémon as you cannot be online all the time. But, if you intend to play the game, catching something is better than having nothing.

  • Use Sightings and Nearby to detect the Pokémon

The game developers have made it easier for you to detect the Pokémon around you. You can use Sightings. This form reveals any Pokémon that might be hiding near you. You will know if there is any Pokémon about to spawn. The other option is Nearby. This tells you if there is any Pokémon by any nearby Pokéstops. On the travel screen of the game, you can see up to 3 Pokémon near you. Tap the tab and up to 9 Pokémon will be revealed to you. This Pokémon could be from Nearby, Sightings, or probably the mix of both the forms. Please note that if there are more than 9 Pokémon in your area, you will not see all of them. You will need to travel a bit to reveal more.

  • Finding the Nests

There are some marked spots where a few types of Pokémon spawn more regularly. These spots are called nests. If you need to catch a particular Pokémon, it would be a good idea to identify their nests. You could travel to the spot and catch the Pokémon the moment it spawns. Unfortunately, typically only the low to mid level Pokémon have the nests. The higher-level Pokémon do not have a pet spot for spawning. They spawn rarely and randomly.

Also, the nest spots change in every two weeks. So, even if you have marked a spot, the nest location will change and you will need to find a new one.

  • Medals Matter

There is a medal associated with each Pokémon. By catching ten Pokémon of the same type you earn the bronze medal. When you catch fifty Pokémon of the same type, you acquire silver medal. When you catch two hundred, you have a gold medal. Why are medals important? Each medal rewards you with extra XP when you catch a Pokémon. The additional XP does not match what you get when you throw a curve ball. However, it is completely effortless and can make a huge difference once you have caught enough Pokémon.

  • Use the balls wisely

If you have a Great Ball or Ultra Ball, you will want to maximize its use. This is why it is important to understand the difference between a good and bad Pokémon. When you see a Pokémon with low CP, you may be inclined to think that it is a low-level Pokémon and thus easier to catch. But, remember that CP not only depends on the level but also on the statistics.

So, if there is a low CP Pokémon there are two possibilities. It is indeed a low-level Pokémon with great stats. The second possibility is that it is a high-level Pokémon with awful stats. Unfortunately, you cannot tell one from the other.

This is why it is best avoid such a Pokémon and not waste your ball on it. It may turn out to be high-level, low stats Pokémon with a red ring. This Pokémon will keep eluding the balls. As a result, you would end up wasting resources and time.

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