It’s been almost a month, and people still can’t get enough of Pokémon GO. Considering fans waited 20 years to be able to catch pokémon in real life, it makes sense that it would continue being a smash. With the promise of ongoing support and future updates, Niantic’s hit will most likely continue enthralling audiences around the world.

With that in mind, some people might still need help learning the ropes. Here are some handy tips to help put you on the road to the Elite Four!

Don’t Get Attached

A typical rule of thumb in previous Pokémon games is that once you catch a pokémon, it’s yours. That Starly you catch at the beginning of the game is yours throughout. The idea is to build up a party that you have an attachment to and have put a lot of effort into training.

“2 B A Master”: Mastering Pokémon GO 1That isn’t the case with Pokémon GO. Instead of taking down wild pokémon to farm XP, you should try to catch pretty much everything you can. This includes catching dupes of a pokémon you may already have. It’s based on two factors: candy and CP. Catching a pokémon and then transferring it to the professor nets you a candy from that pokémon. That candy is used to level up and evolve pokémon corresponding to that respective candy. So, even if you catch ten lame Pidgeys, that’s still ten Pidgey Candies you can use for powering up and evolving.

But make sure to choose the pokémon you use that candy on wisely. Every pokémon has a certain CP to start, which is basically their power level. This is totally random, meaning that no two creatures start off the same. It is fairly easy to tell early on if a pokémon will be worth spending candy and stardust on, so before you take the plunge, it’s important to have a pokémon that won’t be taxing on your resources.

Basically, the idea is to constantly catch and transfer pokémon until you get one that you feel is worth the effort of being a mainstay.
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Get Up, Stand Up

A joke since the launch of Pokémon GO has been that Nintendo is trying to trick people into being active. Indeed, it definitely feels like a large scale geocaching affair intended to get kids off the sofa. While it’s tempting to try and game the system if you’re a total homebody, I’d caution against it.

This isn’t for some secret, insidious reason or anything. It’s just that Pokémon GO has been deliberately designed to to be played on the go. Whether it’s hatching eggs, finding PokéStops, or just stumbling into new pokémon, being active is the key to success. Moving about increases your chances of running into certain pokémon, as specific areas will often be populated by specific pokémon. This means that kicking your feet back on the sofa and setting up a lure just won’t cut it.

Get outside and explore, or travel downtown to hit up popular spots. Unless you’re in the middle of nowhere, there’s bound to be something out there.
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It’s All In The Wrist

Gone are the days of choosing your poké ball, hitting a button, and hoping for the best. Pokémon GO introduces a virtual ring-toss game. Essentially, you look at a ring on the screen, wait for it to get to its largest size, and then use your finger to flick a poké ball straight at it. If the ball hits the target, it’ll start the capture sequence. Some pokémon are easier to catch than others, though; if the ring is orange or red, it’ll put up a bit more of a fight.

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“2 B A Master”: Mastering Pokémon GO 3You can also earn some extra XP from these throws. If you hit the shrinking ring dead-on, you’ll get bonus points based on your accuracy. Likewise, you’ll get a bonus boost of XP if you execute a curveball (hold the Poke Ball until it starts spinning and sparking.) Sweetening the deal is the fact that both accurate throws and curved throws actually increase the likelihood of catching a pokémon. It pays to be patient and line up a shot just right.

As tempting as it may be to get caught up in the moment and fling poké balls every which way, that won’t help. Ultimately, patience and accuracy are your best friends.

Catch (and Evolve) ‘Em All

You may see your friends bragging on Facebook about their latest victory in a local gym. Here’s the thing: gyms are kind of a waste of time until you hit the mid-teens to 20s in your levelling. While it may feel good to tap your way to the top, it’s actually more beneficial to just keep catching and evolving pokémon. It’ll level you up way faster.

In fact, catching and evolving easy-to-find and easy-to-evolve pokémon is the most lucrative way to make gains. Coupled with Lucky Egg, which boosts your XP gained, constantly catching and evolving will skyrocket your Trainer Level in no time. That’s a good thing, because the higher your level, the stronger pokémon you’ll find in the wild, and the more items you’ll have access to.

Instead of focusing on Internet bragging rights, plug away at actually catching them all. It’ll be worth it in the long run. Once you hit higher levels the gyms become valuable assets in levelling.
“2 B A Master”: Mastering Pokémon GO 4

Vape Nation

This is a fairly small tip, but one worth mentioning. If you have an Eevee and want to evolve it, you should always shoot for a Vaporeon. As I reported on last week, you can actually determine your “Eeveelution” based on the name you give it. Use this trick to get a Vaporeon.

The reason for this is simple: Vaporeon is over-powered and breaks the game. It is the strongest pokémon in the game by leaps and bounds, with attacks that are absurdly powerful compared to other pokémon. It also has the fastest attack animation, which comes in handy for gym battles. Until this obvious imbalance is patched out, use it to your advantage.
“2 B A Master”: Mastering Pokémon GO 5

Other Trainer Tips

  • Turning off AR saves battery and makes catching pokémon easier.
  • Spending money is a good idea, and worth doing at least once or twice for some good items.
  • Don’t focus on powering up your pokémon until your Trainer Level is in the 20s.
  • There isn’t a Mew under that truck, so don’t look.

That about wraps up what I’ve experienced with Pokémon GO thus far! Any other tips? How far along are you in the game? Sound off in the comments!