Pokémon GO: Walkthrough Guide, Tips & Tricks

Pokémon GO
By: Niantic, Inc. (Nintendo)

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This is a walkthrough guide with hints, tips and tricks for the iOS and Android augmented reality (AR) game Pokemon GO by Niantic and Nintendo. Feel free to ask for extra help in the comments section.

See my Pokemon gym guide here.

NOTE: I learned this the hard way, but the max Combat Power (CP) of your Pokemon increase when you level up your character. So it’s worth it to stockpile stardust and candies as much as possible, holding off on using them to power up or evolve Pokemon. If you evolve a Pokemon while you’re a lower level, it will be very weak as you yourself get stronger. They don’t grow with you — only their potential does! See my evolution guide for more information.

Setting Up an Account:

I recommend using a Google/Gmail account, even if you make up a new one just for this game. The Pokemon account has some issues with sign-ups and I personally couldn’t get it to work. However, when the servers are down, the Google account will be more annoying, as you’ll have to log in before finding out the servers are down.

Choose your screen name wisely, as there doesn’t seem to be any way to change it in the future. It will also appear as a watermark in photos you take with the in-game camera.

You’ll see your avatar walking around the map, so choose an outfit and appearance you can live with. 😛

Starting Out:

Professor Willow will give you a choice between three Pokemon — Squirtle (water), Charmander (fire), and Bulbasaur (grass). I chose Charmander because I always choose Charmander. I mean, he evolves into a badass dragon! It doesn’t really matter which one you choose, though. Unlike the old Pokemon games where your starter would grow with you, this time you’ll only be able to evolve it if you catch a whole lot of that Pokemon. So it really won’t make much difference overall. I haven’t even touched my Charmander. 🙁 Keep reading to find out why this is.

(NOTE: You can get Pikachu as a starter if you really want it. To do so, don’t choose from the three offered. Instead, walk away and come back to make them respawn. It’s not a guarantee, but if you try a few times, Pikachu should respawn alongside the other three.)

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To catch a Pokemon, first tap on the Pokemon you want on the map. Then, grab the Pokeball at the bottom of the screen. Try to flick it at the Pokemon when the green (or yellow, etc) ring is smallest. That doesn’t guarantee a catch, but it will make it much more likely. I recommend using your pointer finger instead of your thumb, so you have more control and can keep the ball going straight. Or at least use both hands to support your phone when you flick with your thumb.

Getting a “Nice!” throw gives you 10 extra experience and a “Great!” throw gives you 50 extra experience. An “Excellent!” throw gives 100 extra XP. It might also make it more likely to hold the Pokemon, but I’ve had plenty jump out and flee after a Nice or Great throw.

You can turn off AR to make it easier to catch, but then you lose the fun of seeing the Pokemon in the real world.

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If you spin the ball before throwing, it sparkles and you can try to get a curve ball.l for an extra 10 XP. It might give you a better chance of the Pokemon staying in the ball, but I’m still testing it myself.

Another trick you can try is swiping up at the Pokemon while it’s zoomed in, before the Poke Ball even appears. I got my first Excellent Throw that way.

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I’ve seen people claiming that if a ball misses the Pokemon, you can tap it to pick it up from the floor. But I’ve tried this a number of times and it hasn’t worked for me, so I don’t think it’s true.You can read more about it here.

Some Pokemon will be really easy to catch as they don’t put up a fight. The lower the CP, the easier they will be to catch. You can also tell from the color of the ring. Green is easiest, light green will put up more of a fight, then yellow, orange, and red is really hard to catch. Common Pokemon like Pidgeys, Spearows and Rattata show up all the time and are easy to catch (at least when their ring is green). But others put up more of a fight. For instance, the Ekans I caught kept jumping over my ball! So it took a few tries to get him.

This Weepinbell wasted 50 Pokeballs and I eventually gave up trying. But I later got tools like Razz Berries and Great Balls that make these stronger Pokemon easier to catch.

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NOTE: A Pokemon always starts out pretty close to you. But if the Pokemon breaks out of the ball you throw, he’ll jump out further away from you, making it a bit harder to catch him. You can try using Razz Berries before your first throw to try and prevent that. Mega Balls and Ultra Balls (when you’re able to get them) also minimize this issue. Pokemon also get more aggressive after a failed catch. A few failed catches might even make them run away! So if you want to make sure you catch a specific Pokemon, use your tools like Razz Berries and Great Balls early on and make sure you’re hitting when the colored ring is big, not small. Keep in mind that Pokemon tend to fight and run more when your avatar reaches higher levels.

Combat Power (CP):

The higher the CP of a Pokemon, the stronger it will be. Ideally, you want a Pokemon to be at max CP before evolving it. If you find a high-CP Pokemon in the wild, it will be more difficult to catch, but it’s worth it!

It’s also worth it to power up a Pokemon to its max CP before evolving. But j recommend holding off on powering up or evolving rarer Pokemon until you’ve leveled up quite a bit.

For instance, I got this Doduo up to 355 CP before evolving (as high as it could go at the moment) and then the Dodrio it evolved into had a CP of 778!

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So it’s best to catch a Pokemon in any form (evolved or unevolved) closest to its current max CP. Power it up as much as possible before evolving. But if it takes too much powering-up to get his CP up, I recommend waiting until you find a stronger one. It is still possible to find a fully-evolved Pokemon with a very high CP in the wild. Those are priceless!

NOTE: The max Combat Power (CP) of both your owned and wild Pokemon increases when you level up your character. I learned the hard way, but I would recommend you stockpile stardust and candies as much as possible, holding off on using them to power up or evolve Pokemon. However, evolved Pokemon earn more CP (~25) per Power-Up than their unevolved version (~8). So if you want to evolve some common Pokemon early on just to have something to use in gyms, it’s not the end of the world. If you evolve a Pokemon while you’re a lower level, it will be very weak as you yourself get stronger. They don’t grow with you — only their potential does!

See my evolution guide for more info about CP and evolving Pokemon.

TIP: Use a Lucky Egg (to earn double experience for 30 minutes) and then use some of your Pidgey candies to evolve Pidgeys (or other common Pokemon you have a lot of) that you don’t need. You can then turn those into candy to evolve other Pidgeys. You get more experience for this than just turning them all into candy. And Pidgeys only need 12 candies to evolve into Podgeotto. Evolving a Pokemon normally gives you 500 XP. So if you save them up and use them while a single lucky egg is activated, you can earn 1000 XP for each. I’ve caught so many Pidgeys by now that I had well over 400 candies.

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Razz Berry:

If you use a Razz Berry on a Pokemon that’s difficult to catch, it will make it easier to catch. You can find these randomly at Poke Stops.

The Map:

To get around in Pokemon GO, you have to move your body outside in the physical world and the game’s GPS feature will recognize that you moved. I live in a city, so Pokestops are abundant. There’s one right by my apartment. Pokestops help you replenish Pokeballs and other items (even Super Potions, Hyper Potions and Great Balls once they’re available to you) for free. If you get in range of one, the cubes will turn into a flattened, spinning Pokeball and you can tap on it. (If you’re out of range, the game will tell you.) Blue ones have items for you, but purple ones don’t because you already visited them recently! You can return to a used one as many times as you want, but it does take a few minutes for it turn from purple back to blue. When you do access a Poke Stop, you need to swipe left or right to spin the image in the middle. You can then tap the items that come out of it or just close out of the Pokestop and let the game collect everything for you automatically.

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You can see this video of how the Poke Stop Module works:

You’ll also see any nearby Pokemon on the map. If you want to catch one, just tap on it. Pokemon only show up if they’re within your radius.

NOTE: The lower part of the screen where all the buttons are housed only seems transparent. But if a Pokemon shows up down there, you need to rotate your map so it’s above that section and you can tap on it. Otherwise, your taps won’t register.

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How to Create a Poke Stop:

People have been asking me how to make a new Poke Stop. There wasn’t a way…until now. Niantic added a way for you to request a new Poke Stop or to have one that’s inappropriate shut down. You can fill out the support form here.

Catch Everything!

Don’t pass up any Pokemon you see. Even if you already have two dozen of them, you’ll still need the Stardust to power up other Pokemon. So catch everything you see!

Bag Space:

If you don’t want to spend money on extra space, you have room for 250 Pokemon and 350 items in your bag. It’s fairly easy to make room for Pokemon by transferring all the weaker, low-CP ones. But your item bag can get filled up pretty easily. The nice thing, though, is that you can go over 350 under certain circumstances. For instance, if you level up when your bag is full, you’ll still get all your goodies. But you won’t be able to collect any new items from Poke Stops until you get to 350 or less. If you are just a few over 350, I suggest deleting a few potions, razz berries or revives, depending on how much you have of them. You want to keep enough room to be able to keep collecting more Pokeballs, since those are what you’ll be using the most of. To delete an item, just tap on the little trash can icon next to them and choose how many to throw away. I never throw out Poke Balls!

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Find & Track Pokemon:

Pokemon locations are, for the most part, random. There’s no way to predict exactly which Pokemon will show up where, especially if they’re rare. But water Pokemon are easier to find around bodies of water (duh) and some Pokemon only show up at night. But there’s a way to at least find out which Pokemon are in your close vicinity right now.

If you want to see which Pokemon are near you, tap on the little tab in the lower right-hand corner. You can see which Pokemon are closest. Three footprints means you need to get closer to them, two means you’re a bit closer, one means you’re very close. Zero footprints means they’re right on top of you and you should be able to see them. You can also track a Pokemon by tapping on its image in that screen.

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I think server lag interferes with the Nearby list, making tracking difficult. I could be tracking a Pokemon and it just goes from one or two footprints to vanishing completely. Or a Pokemon has three footprints but is listed as the closest one to me and then it just vanishes. I think it’s the list lagging behind reality. The Pokemon was long gone but the game wasn’t reporting in real time. I’ve gotten into the habit of rebooting the app often just so I don’t waste my time tracking a Pokemon that’s already long gone.

Tracking is very broken at the moment.

UPDATE: They removed tracking altogether from the game and even had third party tracking sites and apps closed down.

Click on the little numbers below to continue to the next page with more tips or click here.

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65 thoughts on “Pokémon GO: Walkthrough Guide, Tips & Tricks

    1. Gjermund

      It lists the pokemon chronologically from #1(Bulbasaur). to the last #149(Dragonite). Even though there are many generations of pokemon, one can currently only have those from the 1st generation which consists of the first #151 pokemon, but #132 Ditto, #144 Articuno, #145 Zapdos, #146 Moltres, #150 Mewtwo & #151 Mew isn’t available in the game.

      Reply

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