So! The wife and I have been playing a significant amount of Pokemon Go, which we both find highly humorous as we weren’t inherently ‘Pokemon Fans’ to start off with. The only exposure to Pokemon either of us have had is secondary, or via the cartoon that came out over here some years back. That’s it, we’ve never played ANY of the games. Regardless of this fact, we’ve both jumped into Pokemon Go head-first and have been loving it (when the servers for it aren’t dead).
I’ve been trawling for various tidbits of information on the game ever since it released, and I thought some of you out there might benefit from what I’ve learned:
- The Curveball – There is a ‘curveball’ throw you can do with your Pokeballs that has actually ended up aiding me in the ability to land shots on the smaller, harder to hit Pokemon. Spin your finger in a circle counter-clockwise (I do this in the lower left corner of my phone’s screen) and you’ll start to see your Pokeball sparkle. Once you get the sparkles, sweep your finger up and right. Right is important because you’ve been spinning your ball counter-clockwise, which will make it swing back left once it starts moving. It takes some practice but it’s a real easy way to land shots on various difficult targets. NOTE: According to the game’s code, this only nets you an Experience bonus on the capture. That’s it. No bonus to make captures ‘easier’ is given.
- Eeveeolutions – The Pokemon Eevee has three different possible evolutions, and this is normally determined randomly. You can get around this randomness however and get the Eevee evolve that you specifically want. The key to this is in the original lore behind the Pokemon. When Eevee is first introduced into the Pokemon lore, there are three brothers that own the various possible evolutions. Sparky has Jolteon (the Electric type), Pyro has Flareon (the Fire type), and Rainer has Vaporeon (the Water type). If you rename your Eevee to one of these names, you’ll get the corresponding eeveeolution. This means that an Eevee with the nickname Pyro will evolve into Flareon the fire type evolution. The wife & I both have tested this first hand, it does work.
- Incense – Incense is a buff item that can be used to lure random wild Pokemon from your surrounding area to you, inducing wild encounters. These encounters normally happen at a rate of once every 5 minutes if you are stationary. However, if you are moving you’ll net an encounter every 200 meters.. up to once every minute! This means that you can max out at 6 encounters while stationary, or upto 30 while moving!
- Movement speed (& Egg Hatching) – The game rewards your walking around not only with random encounters, but also with distance clocked towards any Pokemon eggs you have incubating. Distance covered is only tracked if you have the app open AND you’re moving slower than 20 miles per hour. If you move faster than 20 mph, the game starts ignoring distance covered. This means that you cannot use a car or other high speed vehicle to ‘hatch eggs faster’ unless you’re moving slower than 20 mph.
- Multi-Luring – Lures are a buff item you can place on a Pokestop which behaves exactly like Incense, but instead bestows benefits to all players in the surrounding area. If you have a Pokestop with a Lure on it, and a Charmander is brought into the area because of it… all players within range of that Pokestop will be able to take a shot at capturing their own Charmander. NOTE: Some map locations have multiple Pokestops within range of each other; sometimes even overlapping. You can take advantage of this and place Lures on BOTH Pokestops.. doubling your Pokemon intake.
- ‘Mass Evolving’ – If you’re looking for some experience boosting to catch up to your friends, consider “Mass Evolving”. This is a practice where huge batches of normal ‘yard trash Pokemon’ like Rattatta, Pidgey or Weedle, get collected and mass-evolved one after the other. This can be magnified even more if you are lucky enough to be in possession of a Lucky Egg item which grants you bonus experience for all actions within a 30 minute time window. Start your Lucky Egg’s 30 minute timer, then evolve as many Pokemon as possible within that time frame.. even if it’s on duplicates or Pokemon you’ll end up transferring to Professor Willow later.
I don’t know if any of these tips will help, but if they do I’d love to hear on Twitter! (@Vaygrim)
UPDATE (7:30pm July 17, 2016): Currently the ‘Pokemon Tracker’ radar feature, which shows up to 9 of the nearest Pokemon in your immediate vicinity, is BROKEN and shows all Pokemon around you at 3 paws distance. Normally this would reduce the number of paws under a Pokemon as you got closer to them. Right now only the display order is correct (top left is nearest, bottom right is farthest away).. but the ‘paws’ indicator is stuck at 3 all the time. This has to do with something broken on the backend, and involves some mapping API Niantic Labs uses in association with Google Maps. A fix is being worked on.