While several parts of the world are already miles ahead in their journey to become Pokémon masters, most of us here in Asia are left warming up the benches and observing from the sidelines – waiting for our chance to showcase how years of trading cards, episode marathons, and gaming have prepared us for real-life Pokémon hunting. However, if you think about it, having a later release date of Pokémon Go may actually work towards our advantage, as we can observe earlier players and get a few tips and tricks so we can start our own journeys right.
We did a little bit of research and foraged through the experiences of those who have already been playing Pokémon Go to get a closer peek at the gameplay. This, together with our brief experience of actually playing the game when the servers were still up, allowed us to compile this Pokémon Go Beginner Guide so we can all be more or less be extra-prepared when the game finally becomes available in our country.
This guide will be organized into three sections – TIPS, RUMORS, and Pokémon Go IRL.
*Disclaimer: These tips are based on the experiences of players from countries where Pokémon Go is already available – namely United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and some parts of Europe. Being a location-based AR game, there may be differences in the gameplay in your country.
- Choosing The Best Starter Pokémon For You (and getting Pikachu as your Starter)
By now, you probably already know that at the start of the game you’ll be presented with three Pokémon to choose from as your starter – Bulbasaur, Charmander, and Squirtle. But which one should you choose?
If we consider CP, Charmander may be the best option since Charizard, reportedly has the highest of the three – with a max CP of 2,602. Venusaur isn’t far behind with a max CP of 2,580, while Blastoise has 2,542.
However, Fire-types like Charmander are weak against three other Pokémon types, namely Rock, Water, and Ground. Grass-types like Bulbasaur are weaker against more (Fire, Ice, Poison, Flying, Bug). Water-types like Squirtle are weak against two types only (Electric and Grass).
You’ve also probably heard that there’s a hidden trick to get Pikachu as your starter by running away from the three original starters four times (they’d keep on popping up after you run a certain distance) until Pikachu appears as one of the options. In terms of CP Pikachu isn’t really as competitive as the other three, but it would be a great starter option if you consider the fact that you’d most likely encounter more Charmanders, Bulbasaurs, and Squirtles in the wild anyways. That and the reason that Pikachu is super cute.
- Find Pokémon Types in their natural habitat
It makes sense that water-type Pokémon may be found near bodies of water, or grass-types to be found in grassy areas. But where do you find the types like Poison, Fairy, Fighting, Psychic, and Dragon?
Poison-types allegedly can be found in wetlands, marshes, and ponds. Fairy and Dragon types may be found in places of interests like landmarks. It’s possible to find Fighting Types in stadiums and sports centers, and Psychic Pokémons may be found near hospitals and residential areas at night.
All in all there are 18 different Types of Pokémon with a variety of strengths and weaknesses. Bottomline is, you’d be most likely to find them in areas where you can imagine their Type will survive.
- How to attract more Pokémon with Incense.
In Pokémon Go, you can use an Incense to attract Pokémon to your location. Most players would just wait for the Pokémon to go their way, but there’s actually a better way of attracting more Pokémon with this item.
Redditor __isitin__discovered that an Incense’ spawn-rate of Pokémon increases when you travel at least 200 meters between spawns. Waiting for Pokémon to go to you would spawn one Pokémon every 5 minutes, but jogging around would increase the spawn to up to one per minute. Looks like Pokémon Go is giving us more reasons to move around!
- Easier Way of Catching Pokémon
There’s a much easier (and more accurate) way of catching Pokémon than just blindly flinging your Poké Balls around.
When catching a Pokémon, tap and hold the Poké Ball until a circle appears. Its color would go from green, orange, and red, while changing its size at the same time. There’s a higher chance for you to capture the Pokémon when the circle is green, and smaller. It gets tougher when the circle is at orange or red, and the circle is bigger.
- Turn off AR
Another way of making it easier to catch wild Pokémon is to turn off the augmented reality. I know, I know…this makes it less fun, but this keeps the Pokémon from moving around too much in your screen – making it easier for you to improve your aim.
- You can request for PokéStops.
We still don’t know how “abundant” PokéStops and Pokémon Gyms will be in the Philippines, but in case your neighborhood is as dry as a dessert, you can actually fill out a ticket in the Pokémon Go support page to request to add a local landmark to the Pokémon map.
- Be Smart when Evolving
I know it can be tempting to power-up your Pokémon ASAP, but more experienced players are actually suggesting to do otherwise. The reason? It’s possible for you to find the same kind of Pokémon in the wild with a higher starting CP – which also means a stronger evolved version.
The better way of doing it would be to collect more Candies for a certain type of Pokémon, then choose to evolve the one with the higher CP. From there, you can start powering it up.
- You can get more Items from PokéStops
You’d most likely be always on the lookout for PokéStops because this is where you’ll be able to get items such as Poké Balls without spending too much real-life money in the game.
When you visit a PokéStop, you’ll have to spin a coin, which will then give you valuable items. After a single spin, the coin would then become unusable.
However, you don’t have to leave right away as there’s actually a way for you to get more items. Pokéstops refresh pretty quickly – that is every five minutes, and by then you can make another spin to get more items.
- Beating Gyms and Becoming a Gym Leader
Apparently, beating Gym leaders once doesn’t automatically transfer the leadership to you – it only lowers the Gym’s Prestige.
A Gym’s strength is determined by its Prestige Points. A Gym gains Prestige when it wins battles, and loses them when the leaders lose a battle. To claim a Gym, you’ll have to fight the leaders repeatedly until you reduce the Gym’s Prestige Points to zero (which also means defeating all Pokémon guarding it).
Obviously, it helps to team up with other players to take over a gym. If you win, be sure to leave one of your strongest Pokémon to guard the Gym, otherwise other players can easily take over. Note though that you won’t be able to use the Pokémon you leave in Gyms, so be sure you have other strong Pokémon in your lineup.
Eevee’s evolutions may seem random at fist, but apparently there seems to be an Easter Egg on how to choose which Eeveelution you’d like.
If you name your Eevee “Sparky”, there’s a chance that your Eevee would evolve into a Jolteon. Naming it “Pyro” would result in a Flareon, and “Rainer” would give you Vaporeon. Just be sure to restart the game after naming to refresh your name-change.
This is still unverified though so well have to see for ourselves if this is also 100% accurate like the Pikachu-Starter Easter Egg.
Whew! That was a mouthful! Let’s head on to some rumors, which are more or less just educated guesses, but still worth considering nonetheless. Most of these came from a recent data mine of Pokémon Go’s coding, so there’s at least some reason to hope that some of these are true.
- Master Balls
Fans of earlier Pokémon games would know that the Master Ball is the only Poké Ball that has a 100% guarantee of capture. This valuable item seems to be missing from Pokémon Go so far, but the data mine I mentioned earlier also includes a picture of a Master Ball, so we can hope that it’s hidden somewhere in the game.
- Common v Uncommon v Rare
We made an infographic compiling a lot of players’ inputs, and we’ve reached the conclusion that depending on your area, there will always be a small number of very common Pokemon, a huge pool of uncommon Pokemon, and then the rare ones.
Once again, from what we’ve put together, it seems like the Eggs that you receive in the game to hatch are classified. Eggs that require 2 km of travel hatch common Pokemon, 5 km eggs hatch uncommon Pokemon, and 10 km eggs should hatch rare Pokemon.
- Getting Legendary Pokémon
Speaking of getting Pokémon other than the normal means – it seems that Mew, Mewtwo, and the three Legendary birds – Zapdos, Moltres, and Articuno are available in the game but not in the wild.
Just like with Mew, this assumption was based on the fact that these Pokémon don’t have a “Base Capture Rate”, which we think means that you can’t capture them in the wild. We can guess that these special Pokémon are reserved as special bonuses of sorts for special events. After all, one of Pokémon Go’s trailers showed some sort of timed event where several players join together to defeat a single Mewtwo.
Another information from the date mine that’s worth to be excited about is the “confirmation” that Mew would indeed be in Pokémon Go.
The coding reveals that the Mythical Pokémon would be one of the most powerful in the game. However, it seems that it cannot be captured by normal means (no surprise there).
POKEMON GO IRL
MENTAL AND PHYSICAL HELATH BENEFITS
Pokémon Go has no doubt transcended the usual online gaming to one that makes a significant impact to the real, physical world. And I’m not talking about the usual claims that video games making people violent or antisocial.
In fact, Pokémon Go seems to have the opposite effect. Players are allegedly making an effort to go out and interact with other users in order to play the game. I personally know someone who usually spends his weekends inside his man-cave playing computer games, go out into the streets just to catch a Sandshrew. It may not sound like a big deal but a game that encourages people to actually go out of their comfort zones and interact with others IRL is nothing short of revolutionary.
Believe it or not, the mental and physical benefits of Pokémon Go seem to be real. Players are getting motivated to go outdoors, get some exercise, and even meet new people. I won’t go so far as saying it helps with depression, but I can tell that it definitely may help improve somebody’s mood. Have you heard that guy from New Zealand who quit his day job to become a full-time Pokémon Go player? It’s funny, and it seems ridiculous but it’s true.
PLAY WITH CAUTION
But then again, like everything that’s fun, playing Pokémon Go must be done with caution. It definitely isn’t a good idea to play when driving, and you should still be mindful of your surroundings while going around “catching ‘em all”. There have already been reports of injuries and deaths attributed to carelessness while playing the game including a car crash and even a teenager who was shot dead for trespassing.
Not to mention the cellphone snatchers who’d be having a buffet, with all the players exposing their phones outdoors, eyes fixed on their screens. Definitely a possibility here in the Philippines.
With the game’s popularity online and offline, it’s no surprise that businesses have started jumping in on the trend. McDonald’s allegedly has a partnership with Pokémon Go for its release in Japan. Rumors say that McDonald’s branches in Japan will be turned into Pokémon Gyms, encouraging players to visit the said restaurants. Well played, McDonald’s. Well played.
Images have also been circulating online of business posting notices in front of their shops, saying that only customers can get a chance at catching Pokémon inside the business premises. Makes me hope that there’s a rare Pokémon lurking around my house!
There’s a whole lot more to Pokémon Go that what we compiled in this article, with new Easter Eggs, tricks, and updates popping up every now and then online. It’s a real game-changer, so to speak, with the number of users rivaling social media platforms like Snapchat and Twitter.
For now, we can only cross our fingers and hope that the game gets release in our country pretty soon.
This article is contributed by Pokemon Master Geoff Ledesma. Gym Leader Bob Freking contributed to this article.