The Ultimate Pokémon Go Guide: From the Basics to Expert Tricks

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If you have chosen to read this article then you, like the majority of the population, have downloaded and begun playing Pokémon Go. Here is everything you’ll need to know to get started, and even some tricks that will help you get ahead fast!

Universal Tracking System
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Universal Tracking System

The tracking system in the game is a little hard to get used to at first, and very frustrating if you have no clue what it means or does. There will almost always be a Pokémon near you in the game, and with this in mind your tracking device should always be showing you those that are near you.

By clicking the box in the bottom right of the game you open up the tracking system which shows you a maximum of nine Pokémon that are near you. The further down the list they are, the further away they are.

The feet that show up under the Pokémon indicates their distance from you. As the feet start decreasing the closer you are getting to that Pokémon.

The issue that comes up with the tracking device is that you can’t tell if you’re going in the right direction. Many articles out there explain that the pulsating green box around the tracker indicates you are heading in the correct direction for the Pokémon you are tracking, however this is not the case.

That pulsing box simply tells you that the list of Pokémon in the tracker device is updating. The only way to tell if you’re going in the right direction is whether the footsteps get smaller, or if the Pokémon ends up further down the list.

Trial and error, fellow trainers, that’s all it is.

Hatching Those Eggs
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Hatching Those Eggs

A neat part of the game is the ability to hatch Pokémon from the eggs you receive at various Poké Stops. When you receive an egg, you need to place that egg into your incubator.

This triggers the game to begin counting your steps. Your eggs won’t hatch if you are not using an incubator.

Also, for those of you who think you can be lazy to hatch the eggs… think again. The steps don’t count if they are moving faster than 25 km/h.

The eggs are a way for trainers to hatch Pokémon that they either haven’t caught yet, or to level up their current Pokémon. You can receive either 2 km, 5 km, or 10 km eggs, with each level evolving different types of Pokémon.

Curtis Moldrich has created a nice article on eggs and hatching eggs that I suggest you all check out. He also includes a list of Pokémon that will hatch from each tier of egg.

Gotta Catch 'Em All
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Gotta Catch ‘Em All

You’ve downloaded the app. You have created your character. You are ready to immerse yourself in the world of Pokémon and catch ‘em all… but you can’t.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but striving to catch them all is currently not a realistic goal seeing as some Pokémon are region specific, and others simply aren’t here yet.

Region Specific – These Pokémon are specific to certain regions and cannot be caught anywhere else. Tauros is North American specific, Farfetch’d is Asia specific, Khangaskhan is specific to Oceanic Provinces, and Mr. Mime is a European catch only.

Don’t fret, though, as Niantic has released word of potential trading opportunities in upcoming patches!

Legendary Pokemon – These Pokémon include Articuno, Zapdos, and Motres, as well as Mewtwo and Ditto. The creators of the game have confirmed that these Pokémon will make an appearance, but as raid party Pokémon.

This means that in order to catch these Pokémon you will need battle them with a large group of people, much like what we saw with the Mewtwo battle in Time Square that was featured in the promotional video.

Upon defeating the Pokémon they will be showcased in your captured list.

Mythic – The only mythic Pokémon that has been named currently is Mew and not much is being said about it.

Tips and Tricks

I won’t call this cheating, but let’s say these tips and tricks will help fast track your experience, which can help if you’re just starting in a world of level 20+ trainers.

Lucky Eggs
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Faster Leveling – Every few levels you will receive something known as a Luck Egg. These eggs double any experience you receive for half an hour.

Many new trainers see these eggs and launch them right away while they are exploring. This is the worst possible use of the egg as you will only get experience when you catch Pokémon.

Your best bet with these eggs is to wait, wait, wait. Catch a ton of Pidgey’s, Rattata’s, Drowzee’s, and anything else that comes at an easy evolution cost. Ensure you have enough to level at least four of each species and then begin planning your next adventure.

Find an area in your city that is a hotspot for Poké Stops and lures. Get to a lure, and a nice sized crowd, launch your egg and begin evolving those Pokémon you have saved up.

The experience you get from this should help you level much quicker, plus the Pokémon that start popping up at the lure will grant you experience as well!

Eevee Evolutions
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Eevee Evolutions – This is perhaps the best trick to learn ever! There are three different Eevee evolutions out there: Jolteon, Flareon and Vaporeon.

Each trainer tends to have their favorite, but you will want all three to complete your collection. Each move that an Eevee knows will change its evolution. Swift, Body Slam and Dig are some of the moves your Eevee will know.

An Eevee with Dig will evolve into a Flareon, one with Swift a Vaporeon, and one with Body Slam a Jolteon. There is no way around this… or is there?

In the first generation of Pokémon there was an episode which featured the Eevee brothers and their Eevee evolutions Pyro, Rainer and Sparky. If you name your Eevee one of these names you can control what it becomes.

Pyro will be a Flareon, Rainer a Vaporeon, and Sparky a Jolteon. I tried this myself and can confirm that it works!

Gym Battle
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Becoming a Gym Leader – The interesting part of this game is that by taking on a gym (after hitting level five and choosing your faction) you have the chance to defeat it and take it over in the name of your team. The top Pokémon of the gym is featured for everyone to see, and if that’s yours it’s quite an accomplishment.

To make the gym stronger you can actually battle yourself to raise the prestige of the gym. The more prestige, the harder it is to take over. Here are some tips on which Pokémon work better.

When looking at your Pokémon, their height and weight are what you want to look for. A heavier and taller Pokémon will yield you a better defense, while a smaller and lighter Pokémon can offer a better offence.

Some Pokémon will actually have a size indicator (xs or xl) above their weight. You’re always better to leave the heavier Pokémon to defend a gym, and keep your smaller ones to take over more!