Since the games launch, trainers worldwide (those country’s eligible) have already embarked on their magical Pokémon journey. Niantic’s powerhouse game, Pokémon GO, has shocked our nations, toppled markets, and allowed us to re-live our fondest childhood memories.
Data shows that thousands upon thousands of users have committed to the famous “Gotta Catch Em’ All” tagline. With over 7.5 million downloads and a $1.5m daily revenue bucket earns Pokémon GO its high stature. However, even though the numbers sound great, the app is still pretty glitchy and the servers are extremely flakey, but that still doesn’t stop us from loving the hell out of this game.
So with that said, I’ve compiled a collection of important tips and tricks to make your experience and game play a more efficient/productive one. So whether you’re just starting out or you’re a level 20+ veteran, these tips will be beneficial for you:
Ultimate Game Manual 1.0 – Last updated July 2016
– Check back often as this Manual will be updated with new information and data as it’s discovered.
In-Game Item Breakdown & How To Use Them
Throughout your journey, and as you level up, you will receive different types of Pokéballs that make for capturing these critters a lot easier. As of now there are only 4 tiers of Pokéballs in-game.
- Here are the Pokéballs in order from low to high capture rates:
- Pokéball – A trainer starts the game with this item unlocked
- Great ball – unlocked at level 12
- Ultraball – Unlocked at level 20
- Masterball – Said to be unlocked after level 40 (Absolute catch every time – a Pokémon cannot break out of the capture) – the drop rate of this Pokéball will more than likely be extremely rare.
The best way to obtain Pokéballs is by visiting Pokéstops. However, you will receive a bundle of Pokéballs for every level milestone you reach.
Lure Module – An item that is placed at a Pokéstop to attract Pokémon to its location
An active lure can be seen on your map as a Pokéstop covered in cherry blossom petals. You can either earn Lure Modules by leveling up or you can “pay to play” and purchase in-game currency called “gold coins,” that will allow you to buy the lures in the games market place.
- Lures can be purchased from the in game shop.
- 1 = 100 PokeCoins
- 8 = 680 PokeCoins
Pokémon will appear at the lure influenced location approximately every 3 to 4 minutes.
- An important tip to remember when setting up lures is to try to set them up in an area that has several Pokéstops right next to each other. This will allow you to maximize on the number of Pokémon that will appear.
When you start the game you are given two incense for free, if you want to acquire more you can either reach level 5 and visit various Pokéstops as it’ll have a chance of dropping.
Another method to purchase it using in-game currency:
- 1 Incense = 80 Pokécoins
- 8 Incense = 500 Pokécoins
- 25 Incense = 1250 Pokécoins
If you want to maximize your use of an incense, make sure to walk!
- An Incense spawns a Pokémon every 5 minutes if you remain stagnant.
- If you are moving the Incense will spawn a Pokémon every 1 minute or 200 meters
The Incense is known to stack well with a Lure Module, highly increasing the amount of uncommon Pokémon that will appear.
These are especially important when working on leveling up your player to get to those next level exclusive items (Great Balls, Hyper Potions, etc…) The absolute best stack I’ve seen is to have a Lucky egg going, an incense, 3 to 4 eggs incubated, and 10-15 Pokémon ready to evolve. The higher the steps for the egg the more XP you get so try to have a few 10km ones or all 5kms. Using a lucky egg with a lure module will also help you keep track of the 30 min timer on the lure since a timer never shows up when the item is active.
- Here’s an XP breakdown to give you a better idea of when to use the Lucky Eggs:
- Catching a Pokémon = 100 XP
- Capturing a new Pokémon = 500 XP bonus
- Evolving a Pokémon = 500 XP
- Hatching a PokéEgg = 200 XP
- Collecting a Pokéstop = 50 XP
- Getting a ranked Pokéball throw = 10 XP, 50 XP, 100 XP (Nice, Great, Excellent)
Use an egg and evolve all of your Pokémon that only require 25 – 12 candies — Pidgey, Caterpie, and Weedle are usually the fastest Pokémon to accumulate candy for. Normally the gain is 500 XP per evolution but when you add a Lucky Egg to the mix the gain is 1,000 XP each time. You can still evolve the Pokémon that have a higher candy requirement, it’s just easier and faster to stick to the lower candy evolution ones for the level grind.
This item is simply used to take pictures when AR is turned on instead of having to take a screen shot.
Razz Berry – A PokéFruit that lowers the difficulty level of a capture.
You can use one during every capture attempt. (Throw a ball and miss or fail to capture allows you to use another Razz Berry)
- If there is a particular Pokémon that you want to catch whether for duplicating and collecting it’s Pokécandy or just because it’s rare – I highly suggest using a Razz Berry to weaken the capture difficulty level. Normally rare Pokémon or ones with a high Combat Power(CP), have a different colored capture ring which means it will attempt to break out of capture more often or run away. The best way to prevent this is to use a Razz Berry first before tossing a Pokéball.
These items cannot be purchased in the shop, but will become available for you to collect at Pokéstops after you reach level 8.
Potions – An in game item used to heal a Pokémon
There are several types of potions offered in game:
- Potion = Heals for 20 points
- Super Potion = Heals for 50 points
- Hyper Potion = Heals for 200 points
- Mega Potion = Heals for 500 points* (This is speculated, nothing has been found or released as to the logistics of it’s existence)
This is one of the only items that can only be obtained by visiting Pokéstops and or leveling up. Potions begin appearing after a trainer reaches level 5
Revives – An item that is used to revive a Pokémon’s HP that has depleted to zero
Revives are solely used to recover fainted Pokémon. When a player’s Pokémon is kicked out of a gym from an opposing team, that Pokémon’s health drops to zero and is unable to battle again until a revive is used. Revives only bring back a Pokémon to half health, so in order to fully replenish their HP you’ll need to use potions from your item menu.
Trainers will start to see Revives drop at Pokéstops after they reach level 5. These can also be rewarded by hitting new levels.
This item can either be bought or obtained through level up rewards. Although, every trainer gets one unlimited version of the incubator that is part of your core items(can be used forever), much like the camera. If you are thinking of buying an incubator here’s the cost:
- Incubator = 150 gold coins
- Incubators earned from rewards or purchased in the shop can only be used 3 times and will then disappear from your item list.
Once your egg is incubated, you have to walk the required amount of km’s to hatch it. The tracking method is calculated through a combination of GPS tracking and the pedometer in your phone. Your steps towards hatching your eggs stop counting once your phone is moving more than 13-15mph – preventing players from getting in their cars and just driving the amount needed to hatch the egg.
- Most Eggs only require 2km or 5km to hatch but there are a few 10km eggs that have been known to hatch some pretty rare specimens.
- Here are a few images detailing your possible hatches in order from 2km, 5km, 10km:
The exact logistics behind this is still TBA. You can very well have a 10km egg and not get a rare Pokémon from it, however your chances are greatly increased.
- Here are a few images detailing your possible hatches in order from 2km, 5km, 10km:
Proper Capturing Methods
Let me start this one off by stating that there isn’t an official method to capturing Pokémon – Until Niantic and the Pokémon Company release an official guide all we have is reddit and user experience. W , here are essential methods and techniques to follow for landing your capture 90% of the time.
Aim straight up
- It sounds like something extremely apparent but the fact of the matter is we aren’t conditioned to properly swipe up on our smart devices without deviating our fingers slightly in other directions. This is due to the conditioning of other mobile games, apps, and just the way we have been manipulating the touch screen technology. I can only speak for Apple users – my technique is to aim directly at the time clock. This provides a perfect upward guide for a bullseye shot.
Using this technique will greatly increase your throwing awareness. You’ll begin estimating the strength and velocity of your throw depending on the distance of the Pokémon you’re trying to catch.
Get comfortable throwing from all distances
Pokémon tend to appear from 3 different distances:
- Up Close
- Mid range
Pokémon can switch distances during a catch – They can appear “Up Close” and if they break out of a capture, they can move to a further distance to make it harder to catch them.
Understanding how fast or how far up you should swipe on your screen to land a capture is going to be a learning curve, but the good news is you’ll have tons of common Pokémon that appear all the time to practice on. So my advice is even if it’s a Pokémon you’re not interested in catching, do your best to make the catch as flawless as possible so when a Pokémon appears that you do want, you’ll be ready and know the right techniques to capture it.
Land a graded capture
If you haven’t noticed it by now, your captures can actually receive a grade depending your Pokéball throw accuracy. Landing a graded capture gives you more XP for the capture and raises the chance of you capturing said Pokémon.
- There are 3 grades a trainer can receive for a capture:
The secret to always landing a graded throw is to toss the ball inside the shrinking circle.
The smaller the circle gets the better the score. However, working on getting a good grade landing and measuring out the distance of the throw is the tough part, so all in all don’t feel discourage just keep shooting for the best captures.
Throw a Curve Ball
This is a technique I wouldn’t recommend on a rare Pokémon or one that you crucially need, because you may miss your chances of catching it.
To curve the ball you simply press and hold down on your Pokéball and rotate your finger in a circular motion to create a spin. This spin will cause the ball to curve so the traditional swipe up method would not work for this, you’ll need to anticipate the curve and throw the ball as if you were creating a C or a backwards C (depending on which side your throwing from).
Use stronger Pokéballs & Know the capture ring phases
Everyone starts off with the normal red/silver Pokéball but after level 12 & 20 you’ll obtain better Pokéballs. Now granted, it’s harder to come across the higher tiered Pokéballs but they do lower the capture difficulty of any catch, making your job a lot easier.
Check out this video detailing how the different kinds of Pokéballs lower the capture difficulty:
Be aware that every Pokémon has a different capture ring difficulty.
- Green = Easy
- Yellow = Medium
- Red = Hard
The ring blends from shades of green to red so there isn’t a one color solves all. You’ll have to look at the color that appears and strategize how to capture said Pokémon using the strategies found in this manual.
- Another tip to be aware of is that when the difficulty changes, so does the speed of the capture ring. This makes it harder to land a graded capture.
Feed them Razz Berries
As shown in the video above, you MUST feed hard to catch Pokémon a few Razz Berries during your capture attempt. This will stack onto lowering the difficulty by using a higher tiered ball and landing a graded catch.
Turn off AR mode
Turning off the “AR mode” on your screen will allow you stabilize the Pokémon, making your capturing experience much more rewarding when you’re grinding through levels.
Deactivating AR mode does take away from seeing Pokémon in the real world, but let’s face it, by this point in time all you care about is getting strong CP fighters and filling up your Pokédex. You can always turn AR mode back on at any time to take creative pictures.
Click and Go
A lot of trainers aren’t aware that all you have to do when you see a Pokémon on your map is click it and the capture screen will pop up. You don’t have to walk up to it’s exact location – as that can be dangerous if the Pokémon appears in someones lawn or in the middle of traffic. I’ve clicked on plenty of Pokémon during my daily commute to work, on a bus, and moved far past where I found it and still captured it. PLAY SMART.
How to Hunt for Pokémon Near You (This section has changed since recent updates, stay tuned as Niantic will release a better tracking system)
Strategically manage your Pokémon Collection
After level 5 you will be able to begin conquering gyms. The only down side to this is that the Pokémon you decide to leave there will not be able to battle for you while stationed at the gym, this is why you should learn to manage your collection wisely. There is no need to fully register all of your duplicate catches, it could leave you defenseless. Here’s an example: You have two Charizards –
- Charizard – CP 1300
- Charizard – CP 1450
Your instinct maybe to trash the one with lower CP and keep the strongest, however the error here is let’s say these are your two strongest – if you register one and place one at a gym, you leave yourself powerless if you happen to come across another gym that you want to take over. You may very well be able to beat the gym but if holding was your plan then you’re going to run into a problem because you’ve hindered your ability to retain your high level Pokémon.
- Your Pokémon’s over all worth depend on 3 essentials:
- Your Level
- Combat Power (CP) when it was found
- Your Pokémon’s Move set – (Different moves deal more damage and are more effective)
Naturally your first inclination is transfer all of your low CP Pokémon for Pokécandy – that’s a strategy that really only works well at the beginning of the game. Once you power up to a level 15-20 you want to start being cautious of who you’re evolving and who you’re transferring.
Additionally try to keep some of your duplicates because of the potential upcoming updates. It has been rumored that the developers will be adding in a person to person trading system – if you get rid of all your best duplicates you will have nothing to offer another trainer when the time comes to trade.
Find Pokémon with high CP
The only way to find Pokémon with high CP levels is to raise your overall trainer level. Keep in mind that Pokémon do happen to spawn with random CP levels.
- Example: Your player be at level 20 and your friend is at level 15 and suddenly a Charzard appears but the one you encountered is only CP 800 while your friend found 1 at CP 1200. The good news is that even this can happen it’s rare and higher level trainers do have a greater chance of finding those higher CP Pokémon.
An interesting theory that seems to hold some weight is that all Pokémon of the same name retain the same maximum CP level. Catching a Pikachu at 46CP and later on finding one at 350CP just means you were a high enough level to find one that’s almost maxed out. The only difference between the two, aside from CP, is that you just saved yourself a ton of stardust and resources that you normally would have wasted to power up a low level Pokémon. So do your best to evolve/power-up the Pokémon with the higher maxed out potential.
When to evolve your Pokémon
Please note that unless you’re grinding out your levels and only evolving Pidgeys, Weedles, and Caterpies (with a lucky egg active), then it’s in your best interest to wait around and evolve your Pokémon once you know it’s one of the highest CP that you’ve found for your level.
- Once they’re evolved, you can worry about powering them up with stardust.
- Here’s a comprehensive chart that lists all of the Pokémon evolutions, and how much Pokécandy you’ll need to evolve them.
- Also, use this Evolution CP Calculator to help you determine the range in how much CP you’ll gain for evolving your Pokémon.
A big question everyone is asking themselves is “What if I have two of the same Pokémon, and they’re identical in terms of CP“?
Well the way out of that is to then look at your moveset. Make sure that the one you are considering evolving has a high level special attack (meaning it does a lot of damage), and that it pertains to it’s elemental powers.
- Pikachu A
Attacks: Scratch, Thunder
- Pikachu B
Attacks: Thunderbolt, Thunder
- Pikachu A
I would personally evolve Pikachu B because it has all electric type moves and then I can deem that one my main electric type when I evolve it.
How to Evolve
The over all evolution process is quite easy to understand. Some Pokémon just have the ability to evolve into a stronger creatures. If you happen to click on a Pokémon in your collection, you will see the requirements needed for it to evolve.
- Pokémon need Pokécandy (a candy specific to a linage of Pokémon) to evolve. So you would use Machop Candy to evolve every evolution in Machops evolution chain. In other words, you don’t need “Machoke Candys” to evolve him into Machamp.
- Some Pokémon only have one evolution while others have two.
Control the Eevee’s Evolutions
Players have finally discovered how to choose which Eeveelution they’ll get. The method is quite simple and is said to work 80 – 90 percent of the time.
You simply nickname your Eevee one of the following names and she’ll evolve into one of the tree you choose.
- Sparky = Jolteon
- Rainer = Vaporeon
- Pyro = Flareon
Gyms – Choosing a Team – Battling
Throughout your travels you will find gyms scattered across your Pokémap.
- A white gym indicates that the gym has yet to be taken over.
This means you can assign any of your Pokémon from your collection to leave behind and protect that gym territory for your team. When you defeat an opposing color gym it also turns into this color for brief moment before you take it for your team.
A gym with the colors Blue, Red, or Yellow means it has been taken over by one of the 3 team choices offered in the game.
- Blue – Team Mystic
- Red – Team Valor
- Yellow – Team Instinct
Check out VG247 site for a more in-depth look into the meaning of the teams.
Choosing a team grants you membership to that particular team which then allows to begin either taking over or helping to fortify a gyms. The gym system was designed to have teams clash against opposing team members for ownership.
if you’re on the Blue team and you defeat a gym that was taken over by the Yellow team, you make the territory neutral (white), giving you the opportunity to take it over your group. Please Note: Be quick about assigning a Pokémon to that gym once it’s neutral because anyone can just walk by and take the gym after all your hard work.
Battling a gym with the same color as your team
Battling a fellow team gym only makes that gym stronger. Making a gym stronger requires you to level it up, allowing more members from your team to add their Pokémon to it.
- Every gym has a level and EXP bar:
Your goal should be to build the gym up, add your Pokémon, and be on your way. Having the strongest Pokémon in a gym is simply only for bragging rights, your main goal should be to make sure your team maintains control over the territory. I’ve come across a Team Mystic gym (my team) with 8 levels. This makes it extremely difficult for other teams to even attempt to take over.
- You can also only battle the same color gym with 1 Pokémon.
A quick thing to note is that while your Pokémon are stationed at the gym they bring in daily revenue. Sort of like a part time job, your Pokémon can earn you:
- 500 star dust and 100 coins per day (21 hrs)
- 100 coins and 5000 stardust daily Max.
The more Pokémon you have across multiple gyms the more free daily stardust and gold coins you’ll earn. This ties into what I said about managing your collection – build a strong team so you can take over multiple gyms and maintain them.
Battle System and Strategy
The fighting system in the game is quite simple. You continuously tap the screen until the opposing Pokémon faints. During battles you can maneuver your Pokémon from left to right to avoid and dodge the enemy’s attacks which in turn conserves your HP for the other battles.
- Attacks & Specials –All you have to do to get the ball rolling is to tap the screen which will make your Pokémon use a normal attack. Like most fighting games, the more hits you gain on your opponent, the more your special bar builds up. There is a blue bubble under your health bar
To unleash your special attack you simply tap and hold for a moment and then your Pokémon will unleash it’s special move. Different move set’s have different sized special bars, just be sure to watch when it fills up so you can use it to your advantage. This bar continues to replenish even after you use it throughout the fight.
- Dodging – Simply by swiping in a left or right direction on your screen you can avoid attacks from the opposing Pokémon. Every Pokémon has a different attack timer and animation for it so it will be hard to guess exactly when to dodge, but once you start dodging the special attacks you’re in good standing. The more Pokémon you battle the familiar you’ll become with the fighting mechanics.
Battling Opposing Gym
Just like the original gameboy games, you are allowed to bring 6 Pokémon with you into battle. Make sure to check out the opposing Pokémon that are stationed at the gym you want take and evaluate if you can use any of the elemental types as advantages for your battle. Every Pokémon has a type and some are stronger against certain types.
- Depending on the level of the opposing gym you will have to face it and beat it several times before you can take it over.
- Be sure to compare CP levels and choose your strongest fighters to take on the gym.
- Additionally, make sure you have a lot potions and revives in your pack to heal your Pokémon.
Here’s a charted list of elemental Pokémon advantages and disadvantages when battling:
Strong: grass, ice, bug, and steel
Weak: water, ground and rock
Strong: water, ground and rock
Weak: fire, poison, flying and ice
Strong: ice, rock and fairy
Weak: ground, fire and fighting
Strong: grass, ground, flying and dragon
Weak: steel, rock, fire and fighting
Strong: fire, electric, poison, rock and steel
Weak: water, ice and grass
Strong: normal, ice, rock, dark and steel
Weak: flying, psychic and fairy
Strong: psychic and ghost
Weak: ghost and dark
Strong: fighting and poison
Weak: bug, dark, ghost
Weak: ice, dragon and fairy
Strong: grass, psychic and dark
Weak: rock, fire and flying
Strong: water and flying
Strong: fire, ice, flying and bug
Weak: water, grass, ground, fighting and steel
Strong: grass and fairy
Weak: ground and psychic
Strong: grass, fighting and bug
Weak: electric, rock and ice
Isn’t strong against anything
Weak: electric, rock and ice
Strong: fire, ground and rock
Weak: electric and grass
Strong: fighting, dragon and dark
Weak: poison and steel
Strong:psychic and ghost
Weak: fighting, bug and fairy
Here’s a great video done by Youtuber Quin69 that shows you first hand how battles work.
Stardust & Pokécandy
The stronger your trainer is the better Pokémon you’ll find. If you want to keep progressing in the game be sure to catch everything you see because it all counts as EXP, Stardust, and Pokécandy.
Use your items wisely and in stack methods to maximize their usage:
- Lucky Egg active when evolving or hatching multiple Pokémon
- Luck Egg active when next to 2-3 Pokéstops that have lures set up
- Lucky Egg activated with Incense – make sure to walk
- Lucky Egg, Incense, and Lure Module – Ultimate combo, try to move around as well to hatch eggs while this stack is active.
Playing at different times means you can catch different Pokémon. Area also makes a difference, I have found more water Pokémon near water sources.
Parks and central areas of towns and/or cities seem to have more Pokéstops to visit.
BE VERY CAUTIOUS IN YOUR TRAVELS WHEN PLAYING THIS GAME APPLICATION. PLAY IN WELL LIT AREAS AND CROWDED AREAS TO AVOID ANY POTENTIALS DANGERS. ALSO BE VERY MINDFUL OF YOUR SURROUNDS AND TRAFFIC.