Pokemon GO: How to track, catch, train and evolve your Pokemon and fight Gym Battles

A Beginner’s Guide

BY AMIT BARAN ROY   |   The hype with the Niantic’s latest augmented reality game Pokemon GO is rising every day by tens of folds across the world. Since its release on July 6 2016 in US, Australia and New Zealand, the game has already topped iOS app download charts and has already been installed on 5 percent of America’s Android Smartphones. Not only that, the big news that went viral yesterday is that the game’s success has added $7.5 billion to Nintendo’s market value. No doubt, the game is making huge amounts of money at such an early stage. For players who are already acquainted with the mobile game Ingress will have a better know how of the dynamics of the game as they are a bit similar to each other. But the game lacks a good beginner tutorial, something which we have seen in Ingress too. With the game scheduled for a worldwide release soon, we thought of sharing a basic beginner’s guide as to how you should approach this game to reap the best benefits early.

How to Track and Catch a Pokemon in Pokemon GO

Pokemon GO currently allows players to track and catch varieties of Pokemon. Train and get them to evolve and fight Gym battles. While we expect more upcoming features such as fighting among strangers etc but let us stick to the base game for now. The first step as a Pokemon trainer is to go out and explore the vast Pokemon map using your GPS to track and find Pokemons. Tracking, finding and catching Pokemons requires a bit of concentration and effort. While the rule of thumb says rustling wild grasses are the seats for Pokemons, but its not always true. The best way to track a Pokemon is to have an eye on your lower right bar of the screen where the profiles of different nearby Pokemons are shown with marked distance as footprints. Three footprints suggests a Pokemon to be far away from you and it needs a bit of walking. While a zero footprint Pokemon is right on top of you and may pop up in few seconds which will be indicated by the vibration of your phone. You can also use items like Incense and Lure modules to attract a Pokemon for capture. An incense item uses a pinkish fragrance that lures a Pokemon towards you for 30 mins whereas, a Lure module can be used to attract a Pokemon towards a Pokestop for 30 mins (Note that others around the Pokestop can also benefit from this). Also an essential tip is if you see a crowd of trainers at a particular place, it may be suggestive of a Pokemon as Pokemons generally appear at the same spot for everyone.

Pokemon GO

To catch a Pokemon, go through the following points:-

  • For capturing a Pokemon, first of all you need to have Pokeballs. You can get them at Pokestop. Try not to waste them by mastering your throw for a perfect catch.
  • Every Pokemon has a colored ring around them that marks the difficulty level. A green ring is easier to capture, a yellow is of intermediate difficulty and a red means a tough one.
  • When a Pokemon spawns near you, tap and hold the Pokeball and you will observe the ring getting focused with reduced diameter. Swipe up in a straight line to throw the Pokeball when the ring has the minimum diameter for a perfect catch. With time, you will master your Poke catching skills. Perfection greatly depends on the timing of your throw.
  • If you have AR/camera enabled, you can switch it off to make the Pokemon catching easier.
  • Note that there are high performance Pokeballs like Great Balls, Ultra Balls, and Master Balls that increase your ability to catch wild Pokemon. Also, Razz Berries make the wild Pokemon easier to capture.
  • Successfully catching Pokemons earns you Stardust and specific Pokemon candy that are useful for power up and evolution (explained later).
  • You can also earn curveball bonus by spinning the Pokeball in a circular manner while capture which makes it to sparkle.

How to Train and Evolve your Pokemon in Pokemon GO

If you are among the followers of the original Pokemon show and games, be aware that training a pokemon in Pokemon GO is entirely a different ball game. Means, there is no kind of battling between Pokemons to train them up, rather they need to be fed ‘Stardust’ and ‘Pokemon Candy’ (items which you receive while capturing Pokemon) to fetch them CP (Combat Power). A high CP Pokemon indicates higher strength and should be considered for Gym Battles. CP and HP (Horse Power) can be increased by following two methods:-

  • Power Up your Pokemon- You can power up your Pokemon by feeding them with Stardust and species specific Candy. As said above, both of them can be collected by capturing more Pokemons (explained further below). You will need different amounts of Stardust for different Pokemon species but for Pokemon Candy, they usually require a single one. That can become two if the CP bar (white bar) fills more than 75 percent of the whole. Powering Up increases both CP and HP.
  • Evolve your Pokemon- Evolving Pokemons is a bit of challenging task. By that I mean it usually requires a high number of species specific Candy. For example, have a look at the Staryu below. Capturing each Staryu or its evolved ones fetches 2 Candy. That means you need to catch almost 25 Staryu or its evolved ones to evolve this particular Staryu. Some people have the doubt whether to go for Power Up or Evolution. But whether you chose to evolve it first or not, you will actually end up spending equal number of Stardust and Candy points to max out its CP anyways. For a heads up, some rare species Pokemon may require a huge number of Candy. But evolving a Pokemon can offer upto 1000 XP points which is critical for levelling up your trainer. Note that high level trainers can have the upper hand while capturing pokemons, growing each Pokemon’s CP potential as well as fighting battles in Gym.

Pokemon GO

How can you obtain Pokemon Candy or Stardust

There is no other way to obtain the above items unless you play the game rigorously. You cannot purchase them at shop or anything. The methods available to earn them are as follows:-

  • Catching a Pokemon- Each time you catch a Pokemon, you can earn 100 Stardust and 3 Pokemon specific Candy points.
  • Transferring a Pokemon- You can transfer a Pokemon to Professor Willow in exchange for a Candy. But this deal is irreversible and irrespective of your Pokemon CP or HP. So be aware before choosing this step.
  • Hatching a Pokemon- You can hatch Pokemon eggs to earn XP points, Stardust and good amount of Candy. Eggs come in four varieties- 2KM, 5KM, 10KM and Lucky. So you can simply hatch an egg by walking the required distance. The Lucky eggs generally provide just XP bonuses and are bought in shop.
  • Defending your Gym- If you are using one of your pokemon to defend a Gym that you have captured, you can earn bonus Stardust and Pokecoins almost every 20 hours.

How to fight Gym Battles

First and foremost, you need to be atleast a level 5 trainer to challenge a Pokemon battle at any Gym. Also, its to your advantage if you have a good number and a variety of types of Pokemons along with you. Pokemon GO battles are not turn based like in other original Pokemon games and are comparatively short, simpler and in real time. Its rather a Hit and Dodge kind of battles. There are two kinds of attacks. The basic attacks are the ones listed first in a Pokemon’s profile followed by the special attack. For any basic attack, you need to simply tap on your screen. You can dodge attacks by swiping left or right. During this, you will observe that a blue meter is filling up at the bottom below your health bar. This is the time when you unleash your special attack by simply holding down your screen. You should note that you can use upto six Pokemons while challenging an enemy Gym. But try to place your strongest Pokemon (highest CP and HP) at the top of your team so that you don’t have to do a lot of swapping in between battles. You should keep in mind about the types of Pokemon that are weak or strong against other types. For example, to challenge a Fire type Pokemon, you can use your Water type Pokemon. Thus, the usual Rock Paper Scissor rules apply. You can also meet a Friendly Gym depending on the team you have sided with. In friendly Gyms, you can train your Pokemon by battling one-on-one fights to earn experience points and improve the level and prestige of the Gym. If your Pokemon faints at rival Gyms, you can use Potions and Revives to restore health. These items can be purchased at Pokestops.

Pokemon GO

Well, these are a few basic things that every Pokemon newbie should be knowing to have an engrossing experience with their Pokemon GO game. Now, I would want you to go out and test this awesome game but at the same time, would also advise you to be careful and alert of your surroundings due to all those nasty things that have been happening around the world with this game. You can download the Pokemon GO app for free from your Android Playstore or iOS store.

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