Compared to the main Pokemon games where breeding for perfect stats will cause you sleepless nights and competitive battling will drive you nuts, Pokemon Go has a rather simple and easy-to-follow gameplay. Everyone can easily learn how to play the game in just an hour or two, which is one of the draws of the game. Niantic would be wise to keep things that way because a lot of people who play the game are just casuals. However, just because the game has a simple gameplay doesn’t mean there aren’t exploits to be had, or at least stuff to make things easier than they already are. If you’re a Pokemon Go trainer aspiring to become the very best like no one ever was, check out these few tips, tricks, and general hints to make your journey easier.
1. Use the GO Extender app to conserve battery
You can help your poor device conserve energy by turning on the game’s battery saver feature and switching off the augmented reality mode. To further save more battery, use the GO Extender app. Among other features, the app allows your phone to have a black screen while the game is still running. It’s best used when hatching Pokemon eggs because they don’t really need anything from you other than to walk with the game on. Do note that this is a third-party app, so use at your own risk.
2. Pikachu as starter Pokemon
At the start of your adventure, the game will give you the chance to catch one of the original starters – Bulbasaur, Charmander, and Squirtle. But there is another Pokemon that you can alternatively start off with: Pikachu, similar to Pokemon Yellow. To encounter the electric mouse, simply ignore and move away from the three original starters when they appear before you. If you do this several times, Pikachu will appear among them.
3. Don’t be shy about catching weak and common Pokemon
Try to catch as many Pokemon as you can, even multiples of the basic cannon-fodder Pokemon, Rattata and Pidgey. Catching lots of Pokemon nets you experience points to boost your trainer level. A higher trainer level results in more powerful Pokemon showing up, represented by their Combat Power (CP). Plus, catching Pokemon rewards you with Stardust, which is used to power up your Pokemon. Don’t focus on powering up your Pokemon in the beginning – work on your trainer level first.
4. Go out at night, too! But don’t stay out TOO late.
Don’t play on the same time every day. Some Pokemon appear more often at certain times of the day and some Pokemon appear more frequently at night – especially Ghastly, Haunter, Gengar, Clefairy, and Clefable. Spread out your playing time at different phases of the day, although be mindful of your responsibilities someplace else.
5. Have the Pokemon come at you instead!
When you’re trying to gain experience through catching Pokemon, it’s best to simply use Lures and Incense to summon hordes of Pokemon in a single area. Yes, they’re only effective for 30 minutes, but using them is much more efficient, not to mention less tiring, than walking around for miles catching Pokemon. Also, always be on the lookout for PokeStops that have pink metals – that means a Lure is currently active in that PokeStop.
6. Use the Pidgey farming trick to rack up tons of EXP
One of the best ways to gain experience points is repeatedly evolving common Pokemon. Simply use a Lure or Incense and catch as many Pidgey or Rattata as you can. You will receive Candies every time you catch one, which you can then use for evolution to receive more experience. If there’s simply too much of the same Pokemon with you, ship them over to Professor Willow for additional Candies. Using this trick is much more efficient if you use a Lucky Egg just before evolving all your Pidgey or Rattata. The Lucky Egg doubles your experience for 30 minutes, so you’ll be gaining a lot simply by standing still and repeatedly evolving your weak Pokemon.
7. Throw curve balls to gain more EXP
Speaking of repeatedly catching Pokemon, you can similarly gain more experience by employing a curve ball when throwing Pokeballs. During a Pokemon encounter, you can do a curve ball by holding down on the Pokeball and making a circular motion before letting it fly. You know you’re doing it right if you see sparks coming out of your Pokeball. And also speaking of Pokeballs, don’t be shy to use higher-level ones when catching rare Pokemon. Great Balls and Ultra Balls aren’t in limited supply in the game, so use them if the situation calls for it. Check out the video below, courtesy of YouTube user MeneerTAO.
8. Boost your catch rate with Razz Berries
Use Razz Berries first when catching rare Pokemon. Razz Berries boost your chances of catching a Pokemon. It’s not exactly a 100% guarantee, but it’s better than nothing, right? And when catching Pokemon, be mindful of their movements. Wait for them to stay put before attempting to showcase your Pokeball throwing skills. Also, when your target Pokemon runs away from you, don’t be heartbroken – the same Pokemon will just hang around in the area, waiting for you to give it another shot. See video below, courtesy of YouTube user #iamaniff.
9. Choose your team wisely
When picking a team, it’s best to base your decision on two things: your friends’ teams and the Gyms in your area. Being teammates with your real-life friends allows you to work together when taking down opposing Gyms – you can easily gang up on one Gym until its Prestige is reduced to zero. Well, assuming you and your friends’ Pokemon are strong enough, that is. Joining the team that holds the most number of Gyms, or the well-defended ones, in your area is also important. You can train your Pokemon in friendly Gyms and if you have a Pokemon deposited to defend a Gym, you will receive Pokecoins each day.
10. Use Ingress as a PokeStop and Gym map
Have you ever heard of the mobile game Ingress? It’s another augmented reality game created by Niantic. In Ingress, there are portals scattered around the world. These portals are represented by places of interest or significance, like murals, memorials, parks, and buildings. Well, guess what? Niantic got a bit lazy and simply used the portals data and converted them into PokeStops and Gyms. Pokemon Go doesn’t allow you to scout for them unless they’re nearby, so Ingress can serve as your sort of world map in the game. Ingress also has things called Exotic Matter or XM. They are represented by white dots in the game and are sometimes concentrated in one area. And guess what, again? Areas with high concentrations of XM translate to rare Pokemon appearances in Pokemon Go. Nice, eh?