*NOTE* This is an ever growing, ever changing collection of info and data!!! I will note accordingly when new info gets added! Check back periodically!
So the tiny handful of people who visit my site may notice that I haven’t been posting much lately, that’s because I have been rather entrenched with a new game which you have no doubt heard about, Pokemon Go. I remember when Pokemon hit the U.S. back in 1999. I was working at a gaming/sports card/comic store called Shinder’s, which has long since gone out of business. When it launched, I didn’t fully understand it, but I was the Pokemon buyer, so it was my job to buy used cards from the kids and intentionally rob them blind while selling them for a gigantic profit. Yes, it was essentially my job to steal from the young and give to the dirtbags who led the company to go under. Anyways, Pokemon is a very simple concept and can be really fun. 17 years after Pokemon hit landfall here, it is launched as a mobile device app game which has spread like literal wildfire.
The game itself is very simple, you are a Pokemon trainer and you can walk around the real world, virtually catching Pokemon which may appear in your immediate vicinity. Using pokeballs, you capture these little characters which give you candy and stardust. Those two gifts are used exclusively to power up the respective Pokemon. There are also a variety of other items that can be obtained for various uses, such as potions to heal or awaken your Pokemon, an incubator to hatch pokeggs you may find devices that lure Pokemon to your location. Throughout the real world, there are landmarks, public places and other locations which serve as either a pokestop or a gym. A pokestop is a place you can visit and gather some of the aforementioned items. A gym is a place that you can fight with other Pokemon. Basically if the gym is controlled by an opposing team (more on teams later), you can fight the Pokemon in it to try and overtake the gym for your own team. If the gym is controlled by the same team as you, can you still fight the Pokemon in it, but instead you add prestige to the gym, making it stronger and working towards allowing you to deposit one of your Pokemon into that gym. That’s pretty much it in a nutshell.
I’m not necessarily going to turn this post into a guide per se, but I am going to make an attempt at collecting useful tricks and data from around the web. If you have any feedback or links you’d like to see added, please feel free to post in a comment.
- Turn off AR – AR stands for augmented reality and as you are probably aware, when a Pokemon appears in your area and you tap on it from the map view, it will bring up a view of the Pokemon in your immediate area. This is highly entertaining for the most part, especially for the kids. However turning off the AR will result in battery saving and also reducing/eliminating the risk of people around you not being happy with their picture potentially being taken. Basically, if you’re in a crowded area, it might just be a good idea to disable it out of respect of the random people around you.
- Nearby Pokemon – This feature should be really neat, but at the time of writing this, isn’t working for nothing. Basically in the lower right corner of the screen shows what Pokemon are in your area. The exact distance of the footprints has been an issue of much debate, not certain anyone knows 100% what the distances are, but the general approximations are:
- No footprint means it should already be appearing within your circle radius
- One footprint means it is within 10 meters (32′) of your location
- Two footprints means it is within 20 meters (66′) of your location
- Three footprints means it is within 30 (100′) meters of your location
- Eggs – Hatching an egg is really simple. You collect an egg sometimes from leveling up or from a Pokestop. You put that egg into an incubator and then walk the desired distance to hatch the egg. Here in America, we just had to be different from the rest of the world and make up our own stuff, so we don’t use kilometers like just about the rest of the world uses. With that out of the way, the easiest conversion to keep in mind is that 1 km is equal to about 2/3 mi. If you want to be exact:
- 2 km = 1.24 mi
- 5 km = 3.1 mi
- 10 km = 6.2 mi
- What will hatch? This handy infographic shows a generalization of what could hatch from your inbuating egg. Now the thing to keep in mind is that anything in the 2 km group could hatch from a 5 km egg, and anything from 2 km or 5 km could hatch from a 10 km egg. It’s always a gamble of something unique and great, or a Pidgey from a 10 km egg, which could lead to crying and anger 😉
- Throwing the Poke ball – When you encounter a viscious, wild Pokemon, you can use your poke ball to catch it. There are several levels of poke ball; good (poke ball), better (great ball), best (ultra ball) and holy moly (master ball)! Again, this is simple, you use your finger to grab the ball, then gesture it towards the Pokemon. As long as it hits, you have a chance to catch it. There is a chance that the Pokemon will break free and you can either retry to hit it, or it’ll run away. The higher the tier of the poke ball, the higher the catch rate is.
- There is a color ring that “radiates” around the Pokemon. This will range from bright green to a deep red and will gradient between those two colors (often green, orange or red in some variation). This shows the general catching difficulty of that particular Pokemon. It is generally associated with the CP of the wild Pokemon, not always, but usually. Using a higher tier of poke ball will improve this difficulty (i.e. using a great ball could change the ring from deep orange to a darker green, thus making catching a little easier). This ring also serves as a potential for bonus points. As the rings radiates inwards to “zero in on” the Pokemon, if you hit that exact spot with your poke ball, you’ll get bonus points. The smaller the ring, the greater the points.
- There is a rumor I’ve seen several times that states if you miss, you can tap the poke ball as it’s rolling or bouncing away, and you’ll get it back. However I have never gotten this to actually work.
- You can also spin the ball, basically put your finger on it and swirl it around, then throw. This will cause a curveball, giving bonus points. There is some technique used in throwing a poke ball, whether curving or just throwing at all. Takes some practice.
- The Razz Berries don’t taste like snozz berries! But the Pokemon apparently love them. You pick up Razz berries from pokestops, you can use these just before each throw attempt and it allegedly makes the Pokemon more friendly to you and thus, easier to catch. I personally think this is garbage and I have severe doubts that they actually do anything.
- Lucky Egg – So there this item called a Lucky Egg, which doubles all of your XP earned during 30 minutes. This is incredibly valuable and I have personally used it to go up 3 levels within the 30 minutes. Here’s the general idea:
- Go Pokemon hunting and gather up a ton of the common fodder (i.e. pidgey, rattata, caterpie, etc…)
- Once you have a buttload of Pokemon captured, you are probably ready to start
- If you really want to get technical and figure out a great process, you can use PidgeyCalc to maximize your plan (which I use often!)
- The super basic plan is to activate the Lucky Egg, now go in and start leveling those Pokemon like crazy
- When you get an evolution that you don’t need, ship it off to the Professor for more candy
- Wash, Rinse and Repeat
- XP for Actions – Here is a generalized list of how much XP you can earn for doing certain things (if I’m missing something, please let me know):
- Capture a Pokemon 100XP
- Capture Bonuses (hitting those focused color rings mentioned above)
- Nice 10XP
- Great 100XP
- Excellent 100XP
- Curveball 10XP
- Hatch a Pokemon
- 2Km 200XP
- 5Km 500XP
- 10km 1000XP
- Evolve a Pokemon 500XP
- Register a new Pokemon in your Pokedex 500XP
- Check a Pokestop (gain 1-5 items) 50XP
- Check a Pokestop (gain 6+ items) 100XP
- Training at a Gym: Varies on success
- Battle at a Gym: Varies on succcess
- Rustling Grass – As you walk around, you may see on the map the occasional spots of rustling grass. This is supposed to mean that there are Pokemon nearby. Allegedly.
So some people and websites claim that pokestops in more popular areas are better than others, I call shenanigans on that statement. I have gotten 7 items out of a pokestop that was seemingly in the middle of nowhere, while getting just 3 items (no poke balls) from multiple pokestops all in a close area and each with a lure on them (more on those later). I firmly don’t believe that there is any math or science or method behind pokestops and what they will drop. If you think otherwise, cool, feel free to comment, I’d love to discuss it.
In the game, a pokestop is a blue icon that kind of looks like a floating cube. When you arrive to said pokestop, it will change into a circular thing that when you tap it, it will pop up a circular image of the real world place you’re standing in front of. Swipe the image to make it spin, and your items will pop out. Tap them and they’re yours.
Without a doubt, one of THE most common questions out there is “where are they?” or people wanting a map of them. The game developers, Niantic, use a pre-existing system for a game they previously developed called Ingress. This system effectively uses Google Maps to identify landmarks, neighborhoods, places and areas that serve as a good selections for pokestops (and gyms too). Doing a quick google search for “Pokemon Go Pokestop Map” will yield a wealth of results and options to peruse. These are all fine and good, but I guess I’m just a more organic player and I’d rather learn about hot spots from other players and word of mouth.
- CP (Combat Power) – This is very simple, this is effectively the level of your individual Pokemon. The higher it is, the stronger they are. CP can be increased by a combination of stardust and candy.
- Stardust – This is some mystical powder found whenever a fairy farts (ok, made that up). Every time you catch a Pokemon, you get 100 Stardust. Save it up and use it to increase your Pokemon CP.
- Candy – Every time you catch a wild Pokemon, you get 3 candy of that kind of Pokemon. For example, if you catch a Pidgey, you get 3 Pidgey Candy. Pidgey evolves into Pidgeotto who evolves into Pigeot. If you catch a wild Pidgeotto, you get 3 Pidgey Candy, same thing with a wild Pidgeot, 3 Pidgey Candy. These collected Candy are used to evolve your Pokemon (more on that later).
- Move Sets – Not all Pokemon are created equal. You may have two Pokemon that are the same (take Eevee for example) and are similar CP. However, always be sure to look at move sets because you may have a preference if you plan to use that specific Pokemon in a gym. If you have your top 6 Pokemon that you like to fight with and don’t care, then meh, it doesn’t matter.
- Rename your Pokemon – Yes, you can rename your Pokemon if you’d like. This is a cute customization for the game which has resulted in both great and not so great publicly displayed name choices.
- A resource out there that is pretty neat, albeit a topic of contention, is Pokevision. Basically this website taps into the Niantic servers to map the current, active location of Pokemon spawns in a given map area. This kind of resource (while it lasts) is both a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing because for some, it’s almost like a way to pre-plan where to go based on what you may need. But it’s also a curse because many people, like myself, prefer the organic method of Pokemon hunting, which is to just get out there and find them on your own! The entire point of the game is to go out, travel, walk, hunt, find Pokemon. It borders on cheating when you use a resource like this to know in advance what area a particular Pokemon currently is. I personally prefer the method of
Holy smokes, is this ever a huge topic among the players out there. So here’s the deal, when you reach level 5, you get to pick what team you end up on. The choices are Team Mystic (blue), Team Instinct (yellow) and Team Valor (red). Some people may choose based on their favorite color, or based on the values of each team, or based on their favorite legendary bird that the team originates from, or you roll a die, or you couldn’t care less and pick one for some other meaningless arbitrary reason.
Choosing a team servers one legit reason:
- Gyms are affected by your team of choice (more on that later)
and several totally superficial reasons:
- Pointless and obnoxious bragging rights
- Who is more popular than another (does it really matter?)
- Can increase group of friends unity
- Can decrease group of friends unity
- Can create new groups of friends
- Can create even more individual isolation
There is also NO SHORT SUPPLY of team specific clothing too. Whatever your reason for choosing a team, whatever your friends are claiming, whatever colors you’re sporting, just please keep in mind, IT’S JUST A GAME, IT DOESN’T MATTER!!!
Additional info coming soon includes gym details and most importantly, regional info about parks and hot spots in at least the Twin Cities area! STAY TUNED!