The folks at Game Informer have put together an extensive guide for Pokémon GO, covering a wide range of topics such as Legendary Raids, Alolan forms, trading and much more. You can check out their handy guide below:
People still play Pokémon Go?
Yes. Lots. After an initial boom when the game launched in July 2016, the mainstream hype died down. However, a dedicated (and sizable) player base has remained. As recent as June 2018, Pokémon Go was in the top 20 free games on the iOS App Store. In May 2018, games and interactive media researcher SuperData reports that Pokémon Go was the fourth highest grossing mobile title in the world, beating out juggernauts like Clash Royale, Clash of Clans, and Candy Crush Saga. That same report states that summer 2018 saw Pokémon Go hitting its highest player count since 2016 when the game exploded into the mainstream.
Alright, now that we have that out of the way…
Well, I’ve never played it. How do I start and what should I focus on at first?
Well, all you need to do is download it on the iOS App Store or the Google Play store. It’s a free app with optional microtransactions. Once you’re in, you’ll be asked to choose a starter Pokémon. You can choose between Bulbasaur, Charmander, and Squirtle, or do a secret trick to get Pikachu as your starter.
Once you’re up and running, simply walk around and start catching things that you encounter and spinning the disks of each PokéStop you stumble upon to earn items. Each new monster brings you one step closer to filling up your Pokédex, which is, for many, the ultimate goal of the game. Each time you catch a Pokémon, you earn candies, which can be used to evolve some Pokémon or, when combined with stardust, power them up. I’d recommend holding off on powering up any Pokémon until you get to a higher level, as each time you level up your profile, you are able to catch more powerful monsters. Until then, just save up your candies not used for evolution and stockpile any stardust – you’ll love having an abundance of stardust later on when your monsters are ready to take on gyms. For more on gym battles read below.
How do gyms work?
In summer 2017, Niantic reworked the gym system to get rid of the need to train in order to earn more slots. Instead, each gym has six permanent slots available to whatever team controls it. When you interact with a gym for the first time, you gain a gym badge, which levels up based on your interactions with that particular gym. In addition, each Pokémon now has a stamina meter, which depletes over time or any time that creature loses a battle against a rival team. The stamina directly impacts that Pokémon’s CP, meaning that a less motivated Pokémon is less effective in battle. When the Pokémon’s stamina meter reaches zero, it returns to its trainer after its next battle. Players with Pokémon that are losing motivation to battle can replenish their stamina by feeding them berries. Each berry slightly increases the Pokémon’s stamina meter and awards the trainer with 20 stardust.
Each gym has has also added a PokéStop disc to spin. If your team is in charge of that gym, you get bonus items. You also earn more items the higher leveled your badge is for that gym. The first time you visit a gym PokéStop each day, you earn a free raid pass if you don’t already have one in your inventory.
For our impressions on this iteration of the gym system, head here.
What’s a raid and how do I get a legendary Pokémon?
Occasionally, extremely powerful raid bosses take over a gym. This is signaled by the creature appearing on top of the gym with a timer above its head. Within that time limit, you can trade in a raid pass (you get one free raid pass per day as outlined above) to battle that creature. These aren’t your typical monsters, however. These bosses are supercharged to require multiple players most of the time. That means that instead of facing a Tyranitar with 3,000 CP like you would in a standard gym battle, the Gen 2 leviathan is even larger in size and features a ballooned CP of over 30,000.
Depending on the difficulty of the raid boss, you’ll want to join up with a group of players. You can bring up to 20 players into the same battle against the boss, but you don’t always need that many. For level 1 raid bosses, you can likely take them down on your own, while you probably want a handful of players for level 3, and anywhere from 9 to 20 for level 5 bosses.
In addition, Niantic now has exclusive raid battles where you must receive a special invitation in order to participate. The invitations are based on if you have completed a raid in the gym that the exclusive raid boss is taking over. Because of the exclusive nature of these battles, trainers are given additional notice so that they can gather a big group of players. The first exclusive raid boss is Mewtwo, but other powerful creatures will join in the future.
Each player brings a team of six Pokémon they select during the two-minute waiting period in the lobby. While the game typically recommends creatures, those are usually not the best options. Pokémon like Blissey and Snorlax might have high CP and stats, but that’s mostly thanks to their defense. Instead, look for Pokémon that don’t only have more offensive abilities, but also play into the weakness of the raid boss. For example, if you’re facing off against Arcanine, a fairly strong water Pokémon fares better than even a high CP Blissey. Save your Blisseys for defending gyms. If all of your Pokémon get knocked out, you can rejoin the battle as long as you’re within the time limit. You can either select a new team or quickly use healing items to revive the ones that were just defeated.
If you manage to defeat the boss, it shrinks down to normal size and more normal CP; the over-30,000 CP Tyranitar shrinks down to just over 2,000 CP. You earn raid-exclusive items like rare candy and TMs. Rare candy can be exchanged for a candy for any Pokémon of your choosing, while Fast TMs and Charged TMs re-roll a Pokémon of your choosing’s fast and charged move, respectively. Based on a number of variables including how much damage your team dealt, whether your team currently controls the gym the raid is taking place at, and how much damage you dealt, you earn Premier Balls, which are used to try and catch the raid boss. The higher you get in the tiers, the more difficult the raid bosses are to catch. Legendary Pokémon in the fifth tier are particularly difficult to catch, so you absolutely want to use Golden Razz Berries and try your best to be accurate with your throws.
If you manage to catch the raid boss, it becomes your Pokémon and you earn some candy for that creature. You are free to do with the Pokémon what you wish. However, the only catch is that you are unable to station legendary Pokémon in gyms.
Here are the Pokémon that appear as raid bosses when there isn’t an event taking place:
TyranitarLevel 5 – Legendary
Level 6 – Exclusive
What are quests and how do I get mythical Pokémon like Mew?
In March 2018, Niantic introduced Research Tasks to Pokémon Go. These are split into two categories: Field and Special. Field tasks are often simple and can be easily completed without going too far out of your way. Redeeming these field research tasks yields you either item bonuses or an encounter with a Pokémon. Once you complete a field task, you can redeem them toward research progress. You can only earn one stamp per day, but upon completing seven daily field research tasks (they don’t have to be consecutive days), you earn an encounter with a super rare Pokémon.
Here are the Pokémon Niantic has given to players on their seventh field research stamp to this point:
- April 2018 – Moltres
- May 2018 – Zapdos
- June 2018 – Articuno
The special research tab tracks your progress toward catching a mythical Pokémon. The first Pokémon offered is Mew. While most of the quests are rather straightforward, some have some quirks you should be aware of.
Some tips for the Mew special research quest:
- If you’re close to evolving a Magikarp into Gyarados, hold off until you reach Stage 6 of the questline, as that is one of your tasks. It’s an easy one to complete if you have the candies, but if you don’t, it can be quite the grind since Magikarp requires 400 candies to evolve.
- Stage 5 features the task of catching a Ditto. Unfortunately, this is completely random. One field research quest (Battle in 5 Raids) has the potential to deliver a Ditto as its reward, but that’s a rare quest to receive. However, Ditto can take the form of the following Pokémon, so if you catch all of the following monsters you encounter, you increase your chances of stumbling upon one:
- For the quests that require you to battle in raids, all you need to do is trade in a raid pass for it to count. This means that if you’re pressed for time, you can just trade in your raid pass and then leave to get credit for it.
- Practice throwing excellent curveballs, as that is one of your final tasks before encountering Mew.
Once you reach Stage 8, all that’s left to do is catch Mew. It’s assumed that Niantic will switch Mew and its associated quests out for another Pokémon (presumably Celebi) at some point in the future, but nobody knows when that might be.
What is Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee and Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu? How does it interact with Pokémon Go?
Let’s Go, Eevee and Let’s Go, Pikachu are Nintendo Switch games releasing on November 16. The Let’s Go games are geared towards younger gamers who may have been introduced to Pokémon through Pokémon Go and now want to explore the other games in the series. While not full Pokémon RPGs, they borrow from both the core Pokémon series and Pokémon Go. The games are set in the Kanto region from Pokémon Red, Blue, and Yellow. The games take other elements from Yellow in having your starter Pokémon be either Pikachu (your starter in Yellow) or Eevee (your rival’s starter in Yellow), and designating a Pokémon to walk with you outside its Poké Ball.
Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee and Let’s Go, Pikachu feature exploration comparable to games like Pokémon Sun and Moon, but capture mechanics like Pokémon Go. Instead of using a touchscreen, however, you use the motion controls of the controllers to fling your Poké Balls. Two players can explore cooperatively at the same time, and even throw Poké Balls at the same time to make capturing easier. Players can also use a new Poké Ball Plus accessory, which is sold separately and doubles as a replacement for the Pokémon Go Plus accessory outside of the Switch games, instead of the Joy-Con controllers.
If you connect your Switch and Pokémon Go accounts, you can transfer Gen 1 Pokémon you have in Pokémon Go to Let’s Go, Eevee and Let’s Go, Pikachu. The Pokémon Company has also teased that players who connect a Let’s Go game with Pokémon Go will encounter a special, never-before-seen Pokémon.
The Pokémon Company plans to announce more interactions between the Let’s Go games and Pokémon Go as we get closer to launch.
What’s the deal with in-game weather?
In its December 2017 update, Niantic added a new mechanic where the weather in the game mirrored the weather around you. While this makes for new environmental backgrounds and a change to the map your character traverses, it also affects which Pokémon appear more commonly. If you see a Pokémon spawn on the map with a swirl pattern beneath it, that means it is a result of the new weather mechanic and that if you catch it, you receive an additional 25 stardust. The weather system also makes the affected Pokémon stronger in battle. For instance, on a clear day, not only will fire Pokémon appear more commonly, but their attacks are also more effective if you take on a gym or raid.
Check out which types are made more common and stronger in the list below.
- Clear – Grass, Ground, Fire
- Rain – Water, Electric, Bug
- Windy – Dragon, Flying, Psychic
- Snow – Ice, Steel
- Fog – Dark, Ghost
Where can I find a specific Pokémon?
Due to the nature of Pokémon Go’s spawns, there is unfortunately no reliable way to tell you to go to a specific spot to always catch a specific Pokémon. However, many monsters do “nest” in the game, meaning that if you go to a particular spot while their nest is located there, you’re likely to catch several of that monster.
Nests are not mentioned in Pokémon Go itself, but you can find out what nests are around you (and even search on specific species of Pokémon) using The Silph Road’s Nest Atlas tool. This tool features reliable crowd-sourced information from Pokémon Go players all over the world who report the nests they encounter.
If you find an accessible nest of a creature that you need, it’s not a good idea to wait. Nests migrate approximately every two weeks, which means many of the nests near you will be replaced by another creature. The silver lining is that the Weedle nest next to your house could very well become a Kabuto nest for a couple of weeks.
What Pokémon are region-exclusive?
Just like in the mainline Pokémon games, some monsters can only be found in certain regions. While Niantic has remained steadfast in keeping some the regional exclusives just that, it has bent the rules in some select instances like Pokémon Go Fest in Chicago where Heracross appeared, and the European Safari Zone event.
Check out the full list of known regional exclusives below.
- Tauros – North America
- Farfetch’d – Asia
- Mr. Mime – Europe
- Kangaskhan – Australia
- Heracross – Central and South America, Southern Florida and Texas
- Corsola – Tropical Regions (within approximately 30 degrees of the equator)
- Zangoose – Rotates
- Seviper – Rotates
- Relicanth – New Zealand
- Solrock – Rotates
- Lunatone – Europe, Asia, and Australia during nighttime
- Torkoal – South Asia
- Illumise – North America, South America, Africa
- Volbeat – Europe, Asia, Australia
- Tropius – Africa, Middle East
What do I get from eggs?
If you can’t find a particular Pokémon, sometimes the best way to find it is to leave it up to the roulette that is hatching eggs. You get eggs from PokéStops and can hold up to nine at a time. In order to hatch eggs, you must equip an incubator and walk the distance required for the type of egg it is.
Each trainer is provided one incubator that can be used an infinite number of times. Additional incubators can be earned through leveling up (though that becomes much rarer at higher levels), but the easiest way to get more incubators is to buy them for 150 Pokécoins each in Pokémon Go’s in-app shop. Unfortunately, every incubator earned or purchased outside of the original one can only be used to hatch three eggs.
A popular strategy is to use limited-use incubators on 5km and 10km eggs, while only using the unlimited-use incubator every trainer has on the multitude of 2km eggs you’re sure to encounter. This will ensure you don’t burn through your premium incubators on eggs that not only hatch quickly, but are also less likely to yield anything good. In addition, the higher the egg distance, the more candy you’ll receive for the Pokémon that hatches.
These eggs look different based on how far you must walk to hatch them. 2km eggs are colored with green spots, 5km eggs feature yellow spots, while 10km eggs have blue spots. While it might sound like you’d only want 2km eggs so that you can burn through them and gather as many Pokémon as quickly as possible, the higher the distance required by the egg, the better the pool of Pokémon is that can hatch from it.
You cannot acquire regional-exclusive Pokémon from eggs not found in those regions, and stats have shown that if you visit the same PokéStops every day, you’ll likely hatch the same handful of Pokémon each time. In addition, only the most basic form of that Pokémon’s evolution chain is able to be hatched, meaning you’ll never find a Tyranitar or Dragonite in your eggs, but rather those Pokémon’s pre-evolution forms, Larvitar and Dratini.
Beginning in June 2018 with the introduction of friend gifts, a 7km egg was introduced. 7km eggs are only obtainable by receiving a gift from a friend when you have at least one egg slot open. At their introduction, 7km eggs hatch Alolan variants of Kanto Pokémon.
To see what species of Pokémon come from each egg type, check out the most recent list below.
- Grimer (Alolan)
- Meowth (Alolan)
- Sandshrew (Alolan)
- Vulpix (Alolan)
[Source: Ranked Boost]
Sometimes, Pokémon from previous generations get a new evolution in a future generation, right? Which Pokémon should I save up for in the future?
We’ve seen Pokémon from Gen 1 get new evolutions in Gen 2, and Gen 4 is a huge one for new evolutions of preexisting monsters. You should start saving candies for the following monsters to prepare for the launch of Gen 4.
Pokémon from Gen 1:
- Eevee (Glaceon, Leafeon)
- Electabuzz (Electivire)
- Lickitung (Lickilicky)
- Magmar (Magmortar)
- Magneton (Magnezone)
- Rhydon (Rhyperior)
- Tangela (Tangrowth)
Pokémon from Gen 2:
- Aipom (Ambipom)
- Gligar (Gliscor)
- Misdreavus (Mismagius)
- Murkrow (Honchkrow)
- Piloswine (Mamoswine)
- Porygon2 (Porygon-Z)
- Sneasel (Weavile)
- Togetic (Togekiss)
- Yanma (Yanmega)
Pokémon from Gen 3:
- Dusclops (Dusknoir)
- Kirlia (Gallade)
- Nosepass (Probopass)
- Roselia (Roserade)
- Snorunt (Froslass)
How do I get coins and what do they do for me?
Pokécoins are the currency in Pokémon Go, and for many, they represent the free-to-play “catch.” Coins can be used to purchase:
- Poké Balls
- Raid Passes
- Lucky Eggs
- Lure Modules
- Egg Incubators
- Bag Upgrades
- Pokémon Storage Upgrades
If you’re trying to fill out your Pokédex, your best bet is probably to spend your coins on incubators, though a storage/bag upgrade or two will make things much easier on you. Lucky Eggs are good for if you’re trying to up your player level, and Lure Modules are good for if you like hanging around an area with a PokéStop for at least 30 minutes. Poké Balls are often looked at as the worst value in the shop unless you rarely visit an area with multiple PokéStops, or you are in desperate need of some.
You earn coins by placing your Pokémon in a gym. For every 10 minutes your Pokémon occupies a gym, you earn a Pokécoin. However, you do not receive those coins until your Pokémon is knocked out of the gym. In addition you are capped at earning 50 coins per day, so it doesn’t matter if you have one Pokémon in a gym for 10 hours, or Pokémon spread across seven gyms for weeks on end; if they get knocked out on the same day, you’re only getting 50 coins total.
Alternately, you can purchase coins using real money. Coins are the only element of the game that can be purchased with real-world currency; you cannot buy stardust, Pokémon candies, or evolution items.
Which Pokémon are rare?
The list of “rare” Pokémon varies greatly depending on where you are located, but there are a few that are generally considered to be rare. Pokémon like Dratini, Dragonair, Dragonite, Lapras, Chansey, Blissey, Gyarados, Porygon, Unown, Snorlax, Aerodactyl, Larvitar, Pupitar, Tyranitar, Feebas, Milotic. Lotad, Lombre, Ludicolo, Trapinch, Vibrava, and Flygon, are typically considered the rarest, though some appear more commonly in some areas.
What is Community Day?
Beginning January 2018, each month has featured one Pokémon for three hours in a Community Day. During that window, the designated Pokémon appears everywhere. If you evolve the Pokémon all the way up to its ultimate form within that window, that Pokémon will know a move exclusive to the Community Day. In addition, shiny variants of the featured Pokémon spawn more frequently, giving players a chance to nab an extremely rare version of the featured monster.
You can see which Pokémon have been featured during Community Day below.
- January 20, 2018 – Pikachu
- February 24, 2018 – Dratini
- March 25, 2018 – Bulbasaur
- April 15, 2018 – Mareep
- May 19, 2018 – Charmander
- June 16, 2018 – Larvitar
- July 8, 2018 – Squirtle
What are “shiny” Pokémon and how do I get one?
Shiny Pokémon are different colored versions of existing creatures. They don’t include any kind of special stat boost or exclusive moves, but they look different. Shiny Pokémon are typically extremely rare, but they are known to become slightly more common during certain events including Community Days. When you evolve a shiny variant of a Pokémon, the evolved form will also be shiny and of a different color.
The following Pokémon are currently available with shiny versions:
[Source: Pokémon Go Wikia]
What are Alolan forms?
In Pokémon Sun and Moon of the mainline games, players travel to the Alola region. There, you encounter Pokémon from the first seven generations of the series. However, some of the Gen 1 creatures found in Alola have distinct appearances, and different or additional types to the ones you find in other regions. Beginning on May 29, 2018, Pokémon Go began introducing the Alolan variants of Kanto creatures into the game beginning with Alolan Exeggutor.
With the introduction of trading and friend gifts on June 21, 2018, you can now receive special 7 km eggs from friends. These eggs can hatch Alolan variants of Kanto Pokémon. Some Alolan variants, such as Rattata, as able to be caught in the wild.
Check out the Alolan variants that exist below.
- Diglett (Ground/Steel)
- Dugtrio (Ground/Steel)
- Exeggutor (Grass/Dragon)
- Geodude (Rock/Electric)
- Golem (Rock/Electric)
- Graveler (Rock/Electric)
- Grimer (Poison/Dark)
- Marowak (Fire/Ghost)
- Meowth (Dark)
- Muk (Poison/Dark)
- Ninetails (Ice/Fairy)
- Persian (Dark)
- Raichu (Electric/Psychic)
- Raticate (Dark/Normal)
- Rattata (Dark/Normal)
- Sandshrew (Ice/Steel)
- Sandslash (Ice/Steel)
- Vulpix (Ice)
What are evolution items?
Before the Gen 2 Pokémon were introduced, all you needed to do to evolve a Pokémon was to catch enough of that creature to collect the right amount of candy. Since the introduction of the second generation of monsters, however, several Pokémon now require candy plus a special evolution item in order to get them to evolve.
These evolution items are found at PokéStops, though they are much rarer than items like potions and Pokéballs. Your best bet to acquire one of these evolution items is to hit at least one Pokéstop every day for seven days in a row. On the seventh day, the game awards you with a larger haul of items, increasing the chances of receiving a rare evolution item.
Each evolution item works with a very specific set of Pokémon, which you can see below.
- King’s Rock
- Helps Poliwhirl evolve into Politoed (100 Candies)
- Helps Slowpoke evolve into Slowking (50 Candies)
- Dragon Scale
- Helps Seadra evolve into Kingdra (50 Candies)
- Metal Coat
- Helps Onix evolve into Steelix (50 Candies)
- Helps Scyther evolve into Scizor (50 Candies)
- Sun Stone
- Helps Gloom evolve into Bellossom (100 Candies)
- Helps Sunkern evolve into Sunflora (50 Candies)
- Helps Porygon evolve into Porygon2 (50 Candies)
What do berries do?
There are currently four types of berries in Pokémon Go that are meant to help you with the capture of wild Pokémon. You obtain these randomly through activating PokéStops (with the exception of Golden Razz Berries, which can only be earned in Raids). The Razz Berry was originally the only berry in the game, but with the introduction of Gen 2 monsters, Niantic has introduced Pinap Berries and Nanab Berries. When Raids were introduced in summer 2017, Golden Razz Berries were also introduced. You can only feed one berry to a Pokémon at a time, but the effect wears off if the creature escapes from a ball. If you miss your throw, the effect does not wear off. See what each berry does below.
- Razz Berry – Makes the wild Pokémon easier to catch
- Golden Razz Berry – Makes the wild Pokémon much easier to catch
- Pinap Berry – Causes the wild Pokémon to reward you with double candy if you catch it
- Nanab Berry – Makes the wild Pokémon’s on-screen movement less erratic
What Pokémon aren’t in the game?
In addition to every Pokémon that debuted after Gen 2 (Pokémon Gold/Silver), several monsters are still not in the game. You can see the latest list of creatures that have yet to be found in Pokémon Go below. Gen 3 has debuted, but only a selection of the Hoenn region monsters are included as of December 2017. The following Pokémon (as well as every Pokémon Gen 4 and beyond) are still yet to be discovered in Pokémon Go:
Can I trade Pokémon with friends?
Initially teased in a September 2015 announce trailer, Pokémon Go finallyintroduced trading and a friends list in June 2018. Using your friends list, you level up friends with every interaction you have with them. The more you trade and send gifts with them, the higher your in-game bond with that friend is. The stronger your bond with a friend on your list, the less stardust it costs to trade with them.
To trade, you must be in-game friends with the trainer you hope to swap with. While you can send gift packages you receive from Poké Stops to any trainer you’re friends with, you must be within 100 meters of a trainer you want to trade with. Trades that involve Legendary Pokémon, Shiny Pokémon, or Pokémon not in one of the players’ Pokédex is considered a Special Trade. In addition to costing a lot of Stardust (sometimes as much as 1,000,000 for low-level friends), you can only execute one special trade per day. This means you’re finally able to get those regional monsters without traveling, but it’s going to cost you Stardust.
When you swap Pokémon, they sometimes bring bonus candy with them. The further apart the Pokémon were caught from each other, the more candy they bring. This distance bonus maxes out at around 100km. Stats, such as CP and HP, change when a Pokémon is traded, so just because you send someone a strong Pokémon, that doesn’t mean it’ll be as strong when it arrives in their inventory.
We’ll update this section once we have more details on the trading.
What is Pokémon Go Plus?
Pokémon Go Plus is an external device that links to your phone to let you passively play without having your phone open. It tracks distance for eggs and buddy candy, and even lets you catch Pokémon. You can read our full impressions here. Unfortunately for iPhone users, the device has had several issues since the release of iOS 11.
Another way to play Pokémon Go without having your phone constantly open is if you own an Apple Watch. Using the Apple Watch app for Pokémon Go, you can earn distance using the watch’s pedometer, meaning you can earn distance doing stationary exercises, and get alerted of nearby Pokémon and PokéStops. Unfortunately, the app has stability issues, which you can read about here.
In addition, the Poké Ball Plus accessory launching alongside Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee and Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu for Nintendo Switch this November functions as a Pokémon Go Plus in addition to its controller functionality.
Source: Game Informer