I’ve become somewhat obsessed with Pokemon GO since I started playing it, and I’ve been trying to cobble together a mental guide for how to be successful from a hodge-podge of sites, people I’ve met while playing the game, and some of my own experiences. Here’s what I’ve got so far. Items in red are ones I’m less sure of.
- The panel at the bottom right tells you what Pokemon are near. 3 feet = far, 2 feet = nearby, 1 foot = close, none = very close
- The Pokemon in the panel are arranged by closeness. Watching how they re-arrange as you walk in one direction will tell you if you’re hot or cold. Work together with friends to cover a wider area
- Rustling grass patches aren’t necessarily Pokemon. They may be nearby, though
- Look for Pokemon GO maps of your city on reddit. You can also use the official Ingress map for a rough guide, but you have to sign up for an account, which I didn’t bother to do.
- Bonus! For those lucky enough to live in Austin, here’s a user-created map of the various locations of note
- Some Pokemon are easiest to get by hatching eggs. Check out this list of Pokemon with the distance required to hatch their egg to get an idea of what each of your eggs might be
- Incense seems to mostly attract common Pokemon, so it’s useful when you’re trying to catch a few to level up
- Walking along roadways SEEMS to yield fairly weak results. Try finding parks and other open areas that are high in pedestrian traffic. There also doesn’t seem to be any universal rarity scale – it appears to be dependent on where you are, so look around when you’re far from home!
Once You Find Them
- Spinning your pokeball with your finger (swiping to the side) before throwing it makes you throw a curveball, which gives you a 10XP bonus. It MIGHT make your throw more effective too, but I’m not sure about this
- Hitting a Pokemon in the colored circle, when the circle is small, gives you the best chance to capture it. Hit it outside the colored circle, or when the circle is bigger, and it’ll be harder
- Waiting to evolve your Pokemon until you’re a higher level will improve the boost in CP your Pokemon gets
- Poke Stops regenerate after a few minutes. If you find a comfortable spot, hit one a few times. If you’re surrounded by them, walk in a circuit so that the first one is recharged by the time you return to it
- Controlling a gym for 21 hours gives you a small number of Poke-coins that you can spend in the store. Work with teammates to help lock down gyms
Battling Other Players
- To train your Pokemon, go to a gym owned by your team and tap the boxing glove icon to train against the Pokemon at that gym
- Leaving a Pokemon at a friendly-controlled gym will help strengthen it against rival teams, since rivals will have to defeat your Pokemon before taking on the gym’s master
- Here’s Niantic’s guide for attacking a rival-controlled gym, and using attacks in general
Battling the App
- Carry around a battery pack for your phone. Seriously.
- Turn on the “battery saver” and turn your phone upside down. It will dim the screen, vibrating when there is a Pokemon nearby
- Disabling the AR feature saves some battery, and sanity (you won’t have to turn around constantly trying to find your Pokemon)
- If you want to get really hardcore, you could buy a Pokemon GO wearable for ~$200 on eBay so you don’t have to stare at your phone constantly (they supposedly ship in late July). Caveat emptor. Pre-orders sold out, but Nintendo will probably offer them for sale again in the near future given the game’s popularity
- Be aware that, on iOS at the moment, you’ll be giving up full access to your Google account if you log in with it. Niantic says they’re working on a fix, but in the meantime, maybe try creating a Trainer account instead
- All those people you see huddled around popular Poke stops, pacing around while staring at their phones? Go talk to them – they probably know something that you and I don’t!
Good luck out there!