Go, Pokémon Go!
We have no doubt that you have heard of Pokémon Go even if you haven’t become one of the many, many people who are playing it. You might already know that the Monastery Grounds is quite the destination for players since there are 5 Pokestops and 2 Pokegyms here. If you are looking for some basics about the game, where here they are!
To start … what is Pokémon Go. It is an app for your mobile phone that merges the classic collectible card game with opportunities to exercise (walking/hiking), explore interesting locations, and participate in a scavenger hunt. As you move around you look for Pokémon that are in your area, and toss a Pokeball at them by flicking your screen and if you toss it just right, so you catch any creature you find. Different kinds of Pokémon can be found in different geographical areas; wandering around a park will likely net you plenty of grass and bug types, while a day at the beach will load you up with water types. Some of the Pokémon even only come out at night.
What am I looking at?
When opening the map, you’ll see yourself on a map of your surroundings. The map comes from Google, so it should be pretty accurate. In the lower right corner, you’ll see a box with silhouettes of Pokémon who are nearby. Tap it, and you’ll see everything in proximity. One paw means they’re quite close, three paws means they’re 150-200 meters away. If a Pokémon is really close, they’ll appear on your map. Tap a Pokémon on your map and the view will switch to your phone’s camera so that you can see the Pokémon superimposed on the real world. Flick the Pokeball at the bottom towards the ‘mon. Do it right and the Pokeball will twitch for a bit, then spew stars and say “Gotcha!” Pokémon can break out or run away, and you may just plain miss, so the number of Pokeballs you need to catch a Pokémon will vary. The number to the right of your Pokeballs tells you how many you have left. If you run out, you can get more at a Pokestop or buy them with real money.
How to level up
Some aspects of Pokémon Go are locked off until you’ve moved up to a certain level. You gain experience by doing things in the game; catching any old Pokémon nets you 100 points, while catching one you’ve never found before will get you 500. Visiting a Pokestop gets a 100 points, but hatching an egg can get you 1000! The higher your level, the better Pokémon you’re likely to see and be able to catch.
How to use a Pokestop
Pokestops show up on your map as blue cube-shaped icons marking a local landmark. A landmark doesn’t have to be something famous, just something very easy to spot, like the sign at the entrance to a housing development or a clock. Get close enough to the Pokestop and the cube will turn into a circle that looks like a Pokeball. Tap it and an image of the landmark will show up in a circle. (Spin the circle by swiping side to side on your phone and it’ll spit out goodies like Pokeballs, potions, and eggs. You need to give them time to refill before you can hit them back up, though.
How to join a gym
You'll spot plenty of landmarks on your map, including tall towers with a Pokémon hovering over them. These are gyms, where you can battle for control...once you reach Level 5, that is. Once you hit that maker, tap on a gym, and you'll be invited to join one of three teams: Insight (yellow), Mystic (blue), or Valor (red). At the moment, it doesn't matter which one you pick, so just go with your favorite color or use your friends' teams as a guide. Teams battle for control of gyms so if you see a blue gym, for example, that means a Mystic player currently controls it.
How to battle at a gym
When you get close enough to a gym to actually have a battle, you'll be presented with a series of opponents. The first one on your screen is the weakest; swipe to the side to see the others, which get stronger and stronger until you discover the gym leader, who's goign to be a tough fight.
If the gym is the color of your team, you won’t battle, you’ll train. You select one Pokémon to fight with, and if you win, you help your gym get stronger and earn more slots for fighters. The higher a gym’s level, the more Pokémon an opponent will have to beat to overtake it. Pick the Pokémon you want to train with by tapping on it and then hitting the glove icon in the lower right hand corner.
If the gym is controlled by another team, you’ll select six of your Pokémon for the upcoming battle. You’ll always start from the bottom and work your way up, but it’s good to plan ahead, factoring in Pokémon strength and types. To actually fight, quickly tap on your Pokémon. In the upper left hand corner, you’ll see a meter filling up as you tap. When it’s full, hold on your Pokémon to use its Special Attack. If you’re well matched against your opponent’s Pokémon type, you’ll see that your attack is “super effective.” If you’re poorly matched, you’ll see “it’s not very effective.” You can also dodge attacks by swiping left or right. Reduce your opponent’s HP (the bar over their head) to zero and you’ve won! As long as you win one fight, you’ll help weaken an enemy team’s hold on that gym, so don’t worry if you don’t have strong enough Pokémon to take over the whole gym.
What does incense do?
Incense Pokémon to you for 30 minutes. You can tell it’s active when a purple ring of smoke circles around your trainer. It also shows you how much time you have left in the upper right corner of the screen. Incense is most effective when you’re moving around, so if you’re somewhere you don’t expect to be again soon, like the beach, it’s a smart idea to use it to scoop up plenty of ‘mons. To use it, go to items, and tap incense.
What does a lure do?
Lures draw Pokémon to a Pokestop for 30 minutes. So why not just use incense, then, you ask? Because lures work for everyone but incense only works for you. You’ll know someone’s activated a lure on a Pokestop when it showers pink confetti.
What’s up with the eggs?
Eggs hatch Pokémon! You’ll find them at Pokestops, and you’ll need to put them in incubators (which you can also get from Pokestops) to hatch them. You’ll have to walk a certain distance to get each egg to hatch, and yes, you really do have to do the walking out in the real world. The further you have to walk, the stronger that Pokémon is likely to be. Your progress is measured via GPS, not steps, so a treadmill’s no good, and you have to be traveling under 10 mph, so cars and public transit are also out. A bike will work, just remember you need to have the app open and running.
Pokémon can evolve into bigger, stronger Pokémon. Pick any ‘mon in your collection, and you’ll see how much candy you’ll need to make it evolve. You earn candy by catching that kind of Pokémon, and also by transferring it back to the Professor. (Scroll down to see the “transfer” button.) Each Pokémon needs its own kind of candy, though, so you can’t use Pidgey candy to evolve your Duoduo. You don’t have to evolve Pokémon if you don’t want to, though. Evolution is either to get you stronger Pokémon for battles, or to help you catch ‘Pokémon hem all. It also nets you experience, though, so you may want to do it even if you don’t care about battling or getting all the ‘mons.
Check out http://www.gamesradar.com/Pokémon-go-tips/ for some more great tips about the game.