I think it’s safe to say that the Pokémon Go craze has pretty much taken over our lives. Even if you haven’t jumped on the bandwagon, you’re at least very aware of, and possibly annoyed by, its existence. People from different generations and walks of life are all participating in this one collective experience. What makes the game so great is, for one thing, it is encouraging people to become more active. Whereas with most virtual reality games you have to remain stasis for long periods of time, in order to succeed at the game you actually have to physically go out into the world. The game mixes virtual reality and…well… reality in such a way that gamers from all walks of life are being compelled to…well… walk. Not only does it encourage an active lifestyle, but this is the first scenario where walking around with your face plastered to your phone will end up allowing you to interact with new people. It is so easy to meet and strike up a conversation with a fellow Pokémon Go player. We are all being drawn to the same locations and we all already have something very big in common.
The game is very addictive and, for someone like me who is extremely competitive, it is hard for me to accept that I’m not the best. However, as I’ve grown more experienced with the game, I have gained some tips for people who are just beginning and even for people who are progressing further into the world:
Choosing your first Pokémon
When you start out in the game, don’t choose your first Pokémon right away. When you first enter, a group of rare Pokémon will appear for you which will usually include a Charmander, Squirtle, Bulbasaur, etc. However, if you hold out on choosing your first one then a Pikachu will appear for you and, considering that I’ve never even seen a Pikachu on my radar, I would highly recommend taking advantage of this.
How to evolve
Evolving is different in this game than in previous Pokémon games and it took me a little while to figure it out. Essentially, every time you catch a Pokémon (of any species) you will get three “candies” for that specific Pokémon. These “candies” are applicable to all of the evolved versions of that Pokémon as well. For example, all “Pidgey Candy” is applicable to a Pidgeotto as well. Once you collect a certain amount of candy, which will be listed under each Pokémon, you will be able to evolve that Pokémon. Therefore, the more Pidgey’s or evolved forms of this Pokémon that you collect, the more likely you will be able to evolve. The strategy comes in from deciding whether to evolve a Pidgey or save your candies to evolve a Pidgeotto into a Pidgeot. Whichever you decide, I highly recommend evolving the Pokémon with the highest CP because they will end up being the most powerful and have the higher CP potential in their next form. Tip: If you have multiple versions of the same Pokémon, you can transfer them back to the Professor to get an extra candy! (Make sure you transfer ones with the lowest CP)
Powering up (before or after evolving)
This is a big debate and, so far, there doesn’t seem to be much difference either way. However, the CP of the evolved Pokémon is factored in or aligned with your level. So, the higher level you are in the game the more likely your Pokémon will evolve with a higher CP. And, going along with that, the higher level you are the more likely you are to run into wild Pokémon with a higher CP.
Once you hit level five you will be able to pick your team and begin either training or battling. This is how you know which you can do: if the team you choose has control of that gym, then you are able to train there and level up the gym/gain XP. The higher level the gym, the more Pokémon you can post there to defend the gym (so a level one gym can hold one Pokémon and the max is level six with six Pokémon). If the team you choose doesn’t have control then you will battle to gain control of that gym. Tip: During a battle, swipe left and right to dodge oncoming attacks.
Pokémon, especially rare and high CP ones, can prove to be difficult to catch. To give yourself the best chance at catching one, make sure you pay attention to the rings around the Pokémon. While holding your finger on your Pokéball, ready to strike, wait until the inner green ring is at its smallest and then throw. This means that the Pokémon’s defense is weakest and you’ll have a much higher chance of keeping it in your Pokéball. In addition, as you level up further you will be given items that will give you a higher chance of catching such as Razz Berries and Great Balls. Razz Berries come first in the game. They are fed to your Pokémon and will give you a better of catching on the next throw. It will ONLY work on your next throw, though, and you won’t be able to use another for that specific Pokémon so make it a good one. Great Balls come at Level 12 and they, essentially, just give you a better chance of your Pokémon staying inside your Pokéball. I recommend saving these for when you find rare Pokémon.
For beginners to the game, Pokéstops are real-life landmarks that will give you valuable items like Pokéballs, Potions, Razz Berries, etc. when you are near enough to them. A few tips about these: any Pokéstops surrounded by, what looks like, purple confetti has a Lure on it. Essentially this is like the “incense” but a little more powerful and can only be used at Pokéstops. These can also benefit other players in the area as well. So if you see this on your map, I definitely recommend heading toward it and mooching off of the Lure. It’s also a great way to meet fellow Pokeventurers. In addition, although this isn’t always the case, the rule of thumb is that the more well-known landmarks will produce the more useful/powerful items.
I highly recommend stocking up on these while you are at a lower level and being conscientious about how many you use. As you get further into the game, you receive little to no new Pokéballs from reaching a new level. Once you start to receive Great Balls you will mainly just get those from leveling up. While those are…well… great, your supply of standard Pokéballs will seriously diminish, especially for people who don’t have a lot of Pokéstops around their area. So just be aware of that as you go through and keep vigilant about your supply so it doesn’t run too low. Otherwise, you run the risk of being out when a rare Pokémon appears.
This is in my own experience, but I have found more rare Pokémon when going out at night, so I would recommend this as the best time to hunt!
Aside from the glitches and lockouts from the overloaded servers, this game has proven to be a huge success. It is a great way to motivate yourself to stay active and meet new people, while still enjoying the competitive edge of a videogame.
There is a lot that I could say about the game on a personal level, but my experience and love for it can be summed up by one particular experience.
This past week, I was out playing with a good friend and we spotted a Lure. We approached it, meeting some new people while reaping the benefits of the Lure. After a few minutes, a cop car pulled up in front of us and, over the loudspeaker, an officer said, “Who’s catching ‘em all?” We all bursted out laughing and the cops parked and played with us. To me, that was the perfect summary of what Pokémon Go has already done for us. Even in the wake of this past week, with all of the tragedy that has happened across our country, we can still come together to be “the very best, like no one ever was.”