Your Ultimate Guide to Pokemon Go
Pokemon Go. What is it? Why is everyone walking around on his or her phones like zombies? When did this happen? Fret no more, this article is all that you need to get the grips with this new fad, with a few cheeky tips tailored to Liverpool thrown in for good measure.
Therefore, if you are totally new to the idea, read on, but if you’re here to look for some extra tips, scroll on down a bit further.
First and foremost, I must say, that I’ve been playing on it since it’s UK release on the 14th July and I am a big fan. Don’t get me wrong, my mind still boggles at the fact that me and my friends are going out to catch Pokemon, plus I think that the news reports about people stopping on a motorway or putting in 999 calls about stolen Pokemon are absurd, however I think that it is a fantastic thing, nonetheless. It has a true sense of nostalgia, especially for my generation, it has brought other generations together and, most of all, it’s great fun.
So, let us not start from the start, because if you don’t know what Pokemon is, then where were you in the late 90s/early 2000s and why are you here?! Instead, let us start with the concept of the new smartphone game.
The idea is that you create an avatar within the app, which then follows your location as you travel around the local area on a GPS style map. The app then knows how far you have been walking, how fast you are going and what is around you (this become more relevant later on). As you travel around the map your avatar will come in to contact with various things such as Pokestops, gyms and, of course, Pokemon. Various Pokemon will crop up on your map and, by clicking them; you can attempt to catch them using your Pokeballs. Pokemon can turn up totally out of the blue, or you can view what is around you in the bottom right, with a series of footsteps showing you how far away they are, three footsteps being furthest away, and no footsteps showing that you are right on top of the little critter.
When you first log in to the game you get a quick go at catching your first Pokemon by choosing between Squirtle, Bulbasaur and Charmander. These Pokemon do not run away as other ‘wild’ Pokemon will in the game. However, you always have the option of running away yourself, and that is no different in these early stages. By running away from these first three iconic Pokemon four times, you will be greeted by a Pikachu, something that I learnt after catching my first Squirtle…I’m not mad…I’m just disappointed.
So, you’ve caught your first Pokemon and have probably been catching Ratatas and Pidgeys non-stop (trust me). But you keep going past these blue things on your GPS map, and you’re running low on Pokeballs. Fear not, for these ‘blue things’ are Pokestops, which have the simple use of giving you supplies. These are everywhere, and were actually put there by real game testers in the BETA version of Pokemon Go. When walking around, giving them a click can actually educate you on some landmarks that you did not know were around you; for example, the donkey grave in Princes Park…yeah, I know.
After you have stocked up you’ll probably notice bigger landmarks, which have Pokemon on the top of them; these are gyms. In the series, taking control of, or battling in a gym is large feature. So, in the game you do just that. You battle each other through frantic tapping and swiping. Tapping the opposing Pokemon attacks it, whilst holding down on your Pokemon charges a special attack and, swiping dodges the opposition offensive. A Pokemon’s CP (combat points) aren’t everything in battle, weight, weaknesses and prestige account for a lot too. So, check out your Pokemon’s weight as it may say ‘XS’ or ‘XL’ next to it and, take a look at the numbers next to the gyms name to see how prestigious the holders are (how long they’ve occupied that particular gym). To find out a Pokemon’s weakness, I recommend downloading a Pokedex from the app store, don’t worry it’s free! All Pokemon have traits, for example, a water Pokemon will be the weakness of a fire Pokemon, but electric Pokemon will be the weakness of many water Pokemon.
Now then, you’ve managed to take over a gym, so go in to the shop and claim your free coins that you can spend on supplies. I would never recommend actually purchasing anything with you know, real money.
As your XP (experience points) increases, through just playing the game, you will catch increasingly rare Pokemon, with higher CP. Powering up your Pokemon, or evolving them when you have enough ‘candy’, something that you earn for each individual Pokemon when you catch them or transfer them away, can also increase CP and XP respectively.
Now that you have the basics, let’s get on with the cheeky bits…
- Get out; it’s an eggcelent idea! Walk everywhere. This is what sets the game apart from your generic computer game. One way that you can get XP, rare Pokemon and higher quality Pokemon is by incubating eggs. If you swipe right on your Pokemon page, you can incubate 10km eggs, getting you very rare Pokemon, 5km, less rare, and 2km gets you the standards. BUT, (big but, see <<), don’t disregard the 2km eggs, you could earn yourself a Squirtle, Bulbasaur, Charmander or even a Pikachu in these, as these Pokemon are very rare within the gameplay itself. BE WARNED, the app knows when you’re going over 20(ish)mph and therefore discounts this as walking. So you have very little chance of scamming it!
- Don’t walk aimlessly! Pick interesting locations, such as parks and public places of interest, these tend to be hubs for various Pokemon. Here are some of the best places that I have come across so far. Sefton Park has lots of ground and bug type Pokemon around, with water types near the lake. The city centre, especially nearer L1, can be rather eclectic, although sometimes hit and miss. The best place that I have found is the waterfront, from Brunswick Dock up to just past the Liverbirds. This has proven to not only be a hub for water Pokemon as well as other varieties, but for players. Twice I’ve been down there later at night, I won’t say what time, and the place was bustling with gamers!
- Seek out and use lures. This is the reason that the dock area is so good, because the crowds put lures on Pokestops to attract rare Pokemon. By doing this at the docks, we managed to get a Blastoise! Look for these pink lures on Pokestops, but be careful as there have been some reports of people putting lures on to get unsuspecting victims nearby for these a***holes to mug. So, STAY SAFE OUT THERE!
- Talk to people! We’ve chatted to numerous people on our walks that have said “Anything good over there?” or “There’s a Geodude near the BT Convention Centre!” Yes, this is geeky, but who cares, geeks are nice…honest. More often than not you can somehow just tell when people are on the game by the way that they are walking whilst staring at their phone. Yes, I know that people do that a lot nowadays anyway, but trust me, once you start playing, you’ll be able to spot it.
- Get a Pokedex! I know I said this before, but just in case you skipped to this section, I’ll repeat. A free Pokedex app can be easily downloaded that will tell you a Pokemons strengths and weaknesses in battle. Use this to your advantage when going for gyms.
- If you have an Eevee check this out before you evolve it! If you name it Sparky, it will evolve in to Jolteon, the electric evolution. Naming it Rainer will mean that it evolves in to the water evolution, Vaporeon, and name it Pyro for Flareon…fire, obviously.
- Don’t power up willy-nilly! As your XP increases you will catch more powerful Pokemon, so all that powering up will just mean that you’ve wasted your stardust and candies. Try to hold out until you have a powerful version of a Pokemon, and then evolve it.
- Lucky Egg! You get a lucky egg when you reach level 9. This doubles any XP earned for 30 minutes. I recommend using this when you have lots of evolving to do, and you plan on going out to catch lots of Pokemon. That way, it’s not wasted because you’ll be earning XP non-stop.
And there you have it, a little for everyone, beginners and those more advanced. I personally feel that this is a great game and deserves a certain amount of hype that it has received. Meeting people whom would otherwise be stuck in doors playing video games, out on the street, I feel, is something special. Many people spend a lot of their time on computer games these days no matter what, so, if this gets people outside more, socialising more and even walking the dog with their family more, then what is so wrong with that? Who knows, once the fad has settled down, people might have discovered that they like walking the Vulpix with their parents…I mean the dog…
By Alex Dop