Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few weeks, you’ve no doubt heard about Pokemon Go. Nothing short of a cultural shift, the massively popular augmented reality game is now the biggest mobile game of all time. If you are looking to start playing Pokemon Go as a beginner, or want to play with your kids, this beginners guide is for you.
Developer Niantic has effectively capitalized on the huge following of the anime cartoon, and is reaping the rewards handsomely. Built on Nintendo’s iconic series of video games, it’s taking mobile gaming to a new level. Not sure on how to get started? Use our beginners guide to learn the ropes as you begin your journey to become the ultimate Pokemon trainer.
What is Pokemon Go? Through the use of your smartphone, you can now catch virtual “pocket monsters” in real life. Meant to encourage exploration and exercise, the game is helping countless people enjoy walks and trips out to their favorite locations. Using augmented reality technology with GPS positioning, it’s turning real life locations into hubs where players can converge and socialize.
Learn how to play using this comprehensive beginners guide to Pokemon Go. Continue reading this guide below and you too can catch them all!
Beginners Guide to Pokemon Go
What is Pokemon Go? – The mobile game retains much of the gameplay from previous Pokemon games. The basic core elements are all there; catch Pokemon, train Pokemon and battle them. The only difference is now you use your phone to explore your world in search of these virtual characters.
This treasure hunt element is what makes the game so massively popular. Instead of using your video game controller to find Pokemon, you now track them in real life. Rather than sitting on a couch and catching them all, you are waking around and exploring your world. When you want to take your Pokemon Go game to the next level, start with this beginners guide first.
It’s this very element that makes Pokemon Go so popular. Although you may not know what Pokemon are, that’s not needed to enjoy this game. Even though it’s a game about virtual “pocket monsters,” in reality it’s a game that’s built around you exploring the real world with friends and fellow gamers. Checking into real life Pokestops, engaging with other trainers, Pokemon Go is more than a game; it’s a social revolution.
How To Start – Before you can start your journey to catch them all, you’ll need to learn the ropes and figure out how to play. In order to do this you need an account. You can either create a Pokemon Trainer Club Account here, or sign up through Google. You may have heard negative things about Pokemon Go privacy, but those are overblown to put it kindly.
Niantic’s servers will store your game data and your progress, giving you the ability to log in and play right away. Now that you have a Pokemon Go account, you are ready to download the game and start your journey! Get it here for the Apple Store or for Android users check here for Google Play.
Customize your trainer – Once you download and launch Pokemon Go, you’ll be greeted by the Professor. With his help you can customize the look of your character. There are many options when it comes to the physical appearance of your Pokemon Go trainer. From gender to the style of shoes you are wearing, you have a lot of customizable options available to you.
If you don’t like your end results and change your mind, not to worry you can always edit your look later. When you are done with your character creation, you can begin playing. Our beginners guide can help you get started from this point onward, when you are ready to play the game with your customized character.
Enter the virtual world of Pokemon Go – When you are done customizing your trainer, you are taken to the Pokémon Go map. Here you’ll see what looks to be a customized version of Google Maps. Complete with unmarked roads, this map view is what you use to hunt down and catch Pokemon.
You’ll also notice a variety of icons or symbols on this map view. There are many map icons that can mean a variety of things depending on what you are looking at. Two of the most common landmarks are Pokestops and Pokemon gyms. As you move in the real world and explore, your character moves as well in accordance with your phone GPS.
One of the first things you’ll be tasked with is to catch your first Pokemon. The Professor will help you find your starter Pokemon, and give you an option between three of the most popular. Choose from Bulbasaur, Charmander, or Squirtle, and you can even catch Pikachu as your starter. If you don’t know what Pokemon are but do know Pikachu, there’s a trick to getting him as your first Pokemon.
When Pokemon appear on your map view, you can tap on them in an attempt to catch them. When you tap on the Pokemon, you’ll be taken to the combat screen. Your phone should vibrate when new Pokemon are discovered in your map view.
There’s a few things you’ll need to know about the map view, let’s review them below as an essential part of our beginners guide:
- Pokemon Go Trainer Icon – Your trainer face should appear as an icon in the lower left hand corner. Tap on this icon to bring up your character stats, level and other pertinent information.
- Backpack – This is where you store all your items that you’ve collected from Pokestops.
- Pokedex – A virtual database of all the Pokemon you have collected, or hatched from eggs
- Pokemon Tracker – In the lower right hand corner, you will see tab displaying the Pokemon in your nearby vicinity. This new tracking system is still a work in progress, but it’s a way to find the Pokemon you want to catch and track them down.
What you need to know before playing – Staying safe and being aware of your surroundings is the biggest safety tip for Pokemon Go. In fact the loading screen is an image of a player looking down at their cell phone, walking straight into a Gyarados. This is meant to serve as a warning to be aware of what’s going on around you at all times when playing the game.
About Pokemon – Currently, the only Pokemon in the game come from the 1st generation of pocket monsters. These Pokemon are traditionally found in the Red, Blue, and Yellow titles, although the second generation is being added to the game as we speak. The most important part of our beginners guide is learning all about the most important Pokemon in the game, and what makes them so important.
Pokemon can come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and no two Pokemon are the same. There are several statistics in Pokemon Go that determine how effective they can be. Values such as attack rating, defense and stamina all play an important role. Combat Points or CP is an overall rating that helps general players determine how powerful Pokemon truly are.
However the real indicator of your Pokemon potential is a value called Individual Values. These are also known as Pokemon IV. This is basically a set of values that determines how much potential your Pokemon truly has. Just as an example, no two Pikachu Pokemon are alike. One will have better Pokemon IV rating, meaning it will take less resources to level up and will be a better fighter because of it.
If none of this makes much sense, not to worry. Knowledge of Pokemon IV is not required to enjoy the game. It’s a bit above our Pokemon Go beginners guide, so if you are a casual gamer no need to worry about this stat.
Pokemon Types – There are many different classifications that Pokemon fall under. Some of these types include; Fairy, Psychic, Bug, Rock, Ground, Electric, Grass, Water, Ghost, Poison, Flying, as well as Normal types. Depending on the type of Pokemon you are taking into battle, and what Pokemon you are fighting against these types play an important role in the outcome.
Pick the wrong Pokemon type and you might end up doing no damage in battle. Or you can make short work of an enemy with the right choice. Knowing what Pokemon type is strong against what is a huge part of the game. This gives Pokemon Go battle a sort of paper, rock, scissors element of strategy.
Learning about Pokemon type isn’t really part of our beginners guide, but make sure to check our guides above. Once you know what Pokemon type is strongest against which, and which types are weak against others, you are better equipped for combat.
Where to find Pokemon – Depending on the type of Pokemon you want to catch, you should look in specific areas. For example many of the popular water types require you to look near lakes, beaches or the ocean. Fairy types prefer coming out to play during the evening hours. Grass type Pokemon can be found in parks, grasslands or fields, and so forth.
Here’s a few guides to help you get started;
- How to Catch Grass Type Pokemon
- How to Catch Bug Type Pokemon
- How to Catch Fire Type Pokemon
- How to Catch Electric Type Pokemon
- How to Catch Rock Type Pokemon
- How to Catch Fighting Type Pokemon
- How to Catch Fairy Type Pokemon
How to catch Pokemon – This is one of the biggest points in our beginners guide. As you walk around playing Pokemon Go, your character will move as well. When walking and exploring new areas, it’s best to keep your eyes up and be aware of your surroundings. You don’t need to have your eyes glued to the screen in order to find Pokemon. Simply walking with your phone is good enough. When a Pokemon appears your phone will vibrate or you will hear the call of the Pokemon.
When a Pokemon appears on your map, tap it to bring up the combat screen. The background of this screen will display whatever your camera is pointed at. Sometimes you may not see the Pokemon in front of you, if so move your device around until it appears. You also have the option of turning off the augmented reality, by tapping on the A/R switch in the upper right hand corner.
This makes catching Pokemon much easier as the background and monster will remain fixed. It’s also a good way to save your battery, as Pokemon Go is a massive battery hog. Learning how to catch Pokemon is a big part of this beginners guide, and over time you’ll develop your own strategies.
From here you will use a variety of items to try and catch the Pokemon you see. In the combat screen you’ll be presented with a Pokeball. You can use your finger to aim the Pokeball to try and hit the Pokemon. When you touch your Pokeball, you’ll notice a colored ring appear around the Pokemon.
The color of the ring indicates how difficult the Pokemon will be to catch. The size of the ring is meant to show the accuracy of your throw. The smaller the ring gets, the better chance you have of catching the Pokemon.
If you succeed the Pokemon will be taken into the Pokeball. It will then begin to shake and once it settles down, you will get a success message. The Pokemon will be added to your collection of monsters. When you catch a new Pokemon, the entry will be added to your Pokedex.
However not all Pokemon will be that easy to catch. Sometimes the Pokemon may break free, in which case you are free to attempt another capture. Some Pokemon may take multiple Pokeballs to catch. When this happens, consider using a Razz Berry or a more powerful Pokeball.
Where to find rare Pokemon – Rare Pokemon can be difficult to track down. Because the spawn rate of these Pokemon monsters are far less than the more common ones, you’ll need to explore in different areas. Try looking in highly populated urban regions with lots of Pokestops. There are many hints and tips to finding and catching the more rare species of Pokemon
Some of these tips include hunting in groups or playing in areas with lots of other players. It’s also been suggested that tourist locations and public landmarks are also great choices as well.
For example the Pokemon known as Hitmonlee is often found around where the great martial artist Bruce Lee is buried. That’s the kind of out of box thinking you need to have when looking for rare Pokemon to catch. For people looking for extremely rare Pokemon, you’ll need a little more than our beginners guide. Check out our total game guide for more information.
How To Attract Pokemon – When you can’t find any Pokemon to catch, there are items in your inventory that can help. These are known as Lures and Incense, and both items attract nearby Pokemon in different ways.
Pokemon Go Lures are activated at Pokestops. These attract nearby Pokemon to that location. These show up as flower petals that float around the Pokestop and they last for 15 minutes. Lures can benefit any player in the vicinity of that Pokestop.
Incense is used to draw Pokemon to yourself. This lasts for 30 minutes and can attract Pokemon to your location. Use both in conjunction to increase your chances at catching Pokemon.
What are Pokestops – These are real life locations or landmarks that can be looted for items. They can include churches, historic landmarks, businesses, or art like murals and paintings. Travel or walk to these locations to spin the icon and collect potions, items, experience and even Poke eggs.
These Pokestops are marked on your map as blue poles with cubes on top of them. When you approach these locations, the icon will change into a spinning disc. This means you are ready to collect the items held within.
Tap on the icon and swipe the disc to collect your rewards. Once you’ve collected items from the Pokestop, it will take 10 minutes before you can collect from the same Pokestop again.
All of the items you collect from Pokestops help you catch Pokemon, or heal them. The next part of our beginners guide covers eggs and incubators and what they are used for.
How To Use Poke Eggs – These eggs are used to hatch Pokemon, and they come in 3 different distances. In order to hatch these eggs, you’ll need an incubator. Once the Poke egg is placed in the incubator, you must walk the distance on the egg in order to hatch it. When you have walked that distance the egg will hatch and you will have a new Pokemon.
For players looking to get an edge hatching eggs, you’ll need to look outside our beginners guide. Check out our guides on hatching eggs quickly, and even our egg hatching trick.
The best kind of Poke eggs are of course the hardest to hatch. These are 10km eggs and they can hold some of the most powerful and rare Pokemon in the entire game. Whenever you acquire a Poke egg, you must put it into a incubator in order to begin the hatching process.
You start the game with an unlimited incubator, and can find more at Pokestops or through the in-game store. If you are looking to use a bike or a car to try and hatch your egg, you must stay under 10.5 km/hour. Speeds over this value will not register with Pokemon Go servers and you won’t be awarded the distance for your Poke egg.
How to Evolve Pokemon – Like all Pokemon games, evolution is a huge part of gameplay. Use our beginners guide to learn how to evolve your Pokemon, or simply browse through our evolution guides.
Evolving Pokemon requires the right amount of candy. Every Pokemon has a specific candy that’s unique to their species. Candy is awarded each time you catch Pokemon, and when you turn in duplicate Pokemon to the Professor. When you have enough of the specific candy needed, you can evolve your chosen Pokemon to the next evolutionary stage.
This will increase the power and statistics of your Pokemon. Similar to leveling up your Pokemon, you want to make the right choices in which monster to power up. There are many online calculators out there that can help you figure out which one gives you the best chance at victory.
When you evolve Pokemon, you increase the statistics for that monster. To level up your Pokemon you will need Stardust. You gain Stardust by catching Pokemon. However don’t waste Stardust on Pokemon that aren’t worth it. Use this guide to help you calculate your Pokemon’s IV or overall potential.
What are Gyms – Like Pokestops these are real world locations. They are shown on your map view as tall towers with Pokemon on top of them. Gyms are controlled by one of 3 teams ( explained later ) and battle takes place between these factions here. When you see a gym, you can tap on it to see which Pokemon are defending it.
Some Pokemon are better gym defenders than others. When you are attacking an opposing team gym you have your choice of the top six attackers in your arsenal. Once you defeat all of the defending Pokemon, you can claim that gym for your team. Likewise, players can take over an unoccupied Gym and claim it for their team.
Typically gyms can hold 2 Pokemon defenders. Gyms can also be “leveled up” by training them. In order to train a gym, you’ll need to be on the same team as the one controlling it. Instead of six attackers however, you’ll be waging a friendly battle to gain more experience and levels for that gym.
The higher the level of the gym, the more Pokemon you can assign there. This makes gyms more difficult to take over. Once a day you can collect Stardust and Pokecoins from any gyms where you have assigned your Pokemon.
How To Battle in Pokemon Go – Combat is an important part of the game, and our beginners guide. Once you’ve gained enough experience to get to level 5, it’s time to choose a team. To do this visit a nearby gym and choose between Team Valor (Red), Team Mystic (Blue) or Team Instinct (Yellow). These teams represent the original Pokemon titles; Pokémon Red, Pokémon Blue, and Pokémon Yellow.
When you are ready to wage war, tap on the gym you wish to attack. You enter the battle screen where you can battle against your foes. Tap on the screen to launch a normal attack, press down and hold to launch a special attack, and swipe left or right to dodge incoming attacks. Every Pokemon has a different set of attacks, and even same Pokemon can differ wildly.
It won’t be long until you find a Pokemon attack set that you like. This can also play a huge role in the decision of which Pokemon to evolve and level up. The more Pokemon defenders and prestige the opposing team gym has, the longer it will take to defeat. Once you’ve cleared out all of your enemies, you can claim the gym for your team.
What is the Pokemon Go Plus? – This wearable accessory is set for release soon, and it will make catching them all much easier. This is a bit outside of our beginners guide, but for casual and hardcore gamers alike this accessory is incredibly powerful. There are many features to this accessory, but the biggest is being able to catch Pokemon without having to open and look at your phone.
The Pokemon Go Plus device comes with a detachable band and a clip, which means you can wear it almost anywhere. You can use it to spin Pokestops, collect items and even catch Pokemon, all without every having to open the Pokemon Go app.
Have any questions about our beginners guide to Pokemon Go? Want to see something added to this beginners guide? Let us know in the comment box below!