IF my late-night sojourns through South Bank Parklands are any indication, Pokémon Go stretches 'popular' to new limits.
The thought of wandering through the real world while catching pokémon probably first occurred to most of us when we were still kids in school and Blue Version (boo Red) gave us all an unhealthy obsession.
Now that it's here, the hype has translated into a wonderfully obscene reality of public spaces filled with people's necks bent down to carefully watch for emerging critters to catch.
Sadly, it's not the best-understood game, so here's what I've discovered through too much play time and speaking with others who've played too much as well.
So here are some things I've learned:
1. If you decide you like the game, buy a portable battery charger for your phone. You'll need it. Like all Niantic games this one will drink the juice from your phone faster than almost anything.
2. Turn the music off, it'll drive you zubatty.
3. There are ways you can improve your chances of catching a pokémon once you've found it:
Turn off the AR (augmented reality - it's a little slider in the top right). Sure, that's why you started playing it but if you want that rare you need to make it easier on yourself.
Hold the ball before you throw it. A shrinking circle will appear over the pokémon. Release the ball to hit when it's at its smallest size.
Spin the ball slightly as you release it to get a curveball effect. Tricky to do deliberately.
Use Razz Berries. Don't hoard them as there are plenty out there.
Pokémon from the same species will always stand the same distance from you and will take up similar amounts of space (their 'hit box'). Use this knowledge to practice landing the balls on the centre of their body to get the 'nice', 'great', and 'excellent' throw bonuses as they increase your chances of capture (and give you more XP - Adam Walmsley).
Rare and high-level pokémon seem to 'force' a certain amount of spin onto your throws, so take that into account and throw subsequent balls against the spin.
- Better quality balls are going to increase your chances, but don't panic if you're stuck using the generic ones - I've caught plenty of ??? rares with ol' reds.
4. Don't evolve your pokémon until you're higher level. Unless you're impatient and plan on playing for longer than you need to, wait until you're catching pokémon around the CP300 mark, then evolve those. Otherwise, you'll end up with a really weak final evolution and a long slog blowing stardust on powering up.
5. Speaking of stardust, it makes more sense to power up *after* you've evolved, as the math works out to them being roughly equal effectiveness but you can back out of powering up the pokémon if the evolution doesn't give you a high enough level and you want to try again (this is utter speculation and comes from a high-level player I met in a park at night).
6. Transfer your pokémon! You only need to keep one (maybe two) of your highest-level copy of each species. The rest can be transferred to the professor and he'll give you a candy for that species. A great reason to keep catching those annoying zubats and doduos.
7. Dodging in gym battles seems obvious (even if the results can seem dubious for a while) but it can help you overcome much, much tougher gyms if you get it right and try set yourself up at the front of the gym for maximum visability (Taezar from Team Instinct West End).
8. The most reliable use for that little pokémon finder in the bottom-right corner of the map is for finding rares. The link between the commons that appear there and what actually pops up seems unreliable at times, but if you suddenly see a Slowbro or Grimer where otherwise there'd be none - bang - you've found a rare.
9. Those fluttering bits of grass mean pokémon are likely to appear near that location. Parks tend to have more of these and therefore more pokémon.
10. If you don't have incense, there's a good chance a popular spot where you live will have a pokéstop with a lure module plugged into it; use that instead. You'll tell these pokéstops apart by the lovely rose petals (or love hearts, who knows?) dancing around them. You need to be close to them for you to have the increased chance of finding pokémon though, and they do combine with incense so you can have yourself tripping over pokémon - especially near parks.
11. Always incubate your high-distance eggs first as they're going to have the rarest pokémon in them. Past level 5 (or so) it almost becomes worthless incubating the 2km eggs except if you're grinding through them to find a common that just won't pop in the wild no matter where you look.
12. Ummm, ghost-type pokémon will appear near hospitals. Just thought you should know.
13. In the same vein, grass-types show up near green areas/bush, water-type near water, and so on. Dratini likes to hang out near water (and mainly at night - Adam Walmsley).
14. The basic rules of pokémon types still apply. For example, flying will beat bug, bug will beat psychic, psychic will be awesome. It's worth checking an online reference of which types do well against which other types.
Feel free to send in any of your own findings and we can pool them all together for the glory of Team Mystique. It's in the name - Articuno is number one!
Tips from friends and readers:
- TIP: Catch as many doduos and rattatas as you can. Chuck out a lucky egg and evolve those suckers for stacks of exp (Madeline O'Leary).
- If you need stardust in a hurry go for a walk along the river and catch an insane amount of magicarp. They're everywhere. Ditch them, keep the stardust. (Taezar from Team Instinct West End)
Things we're currently working on:
Are the Eevee evolutions RNG (random chance) or based on the move they're found with?
- There's no evidence that the 'Eeveelutions' are anything but random chance.
- I disproved one rumour, that the Eevee evolves based on nearest gym, yesterday, evolving two Flareons next to different colour locations.
Do ghost pokemon come out more near cemeteries and graveyards?
- The concensus appears that they don't have a location, just high rarity (Reddit).
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