Everything You Need to Know About Pokemon Go

I’m a bit late to the game posting a Pokemon Go guide, but had some business to take care of. Here are answers to the questions you may have while playing Pokemon Go.

If there’s anything I haven’t covered here, feel free to ask in the comments, and I’m happy to answer it unless it’s already covered in the guide, in which case you’re an idiot.

How to Find Pokemon

Pokemon Go Locator

Pokemon are located throughout the real world. When you start the game, you’ll be presented with a map that’s basically a cartoon version of Google Maps.

On the bottom right, you’ll see a white bar with 3 Pokemon. Tapping this area brings up a list of nearby Pokemon. The distance to each Pokemon is shown as either 0, 1, 2, or 3 steps. Each step equates to approximately 1 block, though direction isn’t shown.

Also, on the map, you’ll see random areas with leaves rustling. This indicates areas where there’s a higher chance of catching a Pokemon.

Just because a Pokemon doesn’t appear on the map doesn’t mean it’s not there. Random Pokemon will show up as you travel and can also be lured with incense and lure modules, which are discussed below.

When a Pokemon shows 0 steps, it will appear on the map, vibrating your phone. Phone vibration is turned on by default – it can be turned off in the settings, but it’s not a great idea as you’ll need to watch your phone while you walk.

Pokemon you’ve caught previously will be rendered like the 3 in the screenshot above, while Pokemon you’ve not yet caught will be grayed out.

How to Catch Pokemon

Catch Pokemon

When a Pokemon appears on your map, tap it to start the process of catching it.

With AR mode on, the Pokemon will appear as an overlay on your camera. Your phone needs a gyroscope for this feature to work, though most modern smartphones have this feature.

Without AR, the Pokemon will appear in front of you wherever direction you face. This is often easier, as they’ll move around less and you won’t accidentally move.

Holding the pokeball at the bottom of the screen brings up a white circle around the Pokemon, and a colored circle will get larger and smaller within it. Your goal is to flick the pokeball into the circle.

Green circles indicate common Pokemon and are easiest to catch. Yellow circles are uncommon, orange are evolved or rare, and red are legendary Pokemon.

Uncommon and above Pokemon are harder to hit and will often take more than one pokeball to catch, as they often escape. To increase your chances of catching a Pokemon, hit inside the circle at its smallest point. You can also use a razz berry to increase your odds, as discussed below.

The closer to center you hit, the more XP you gain for catching the Pokemon. These bonuses come in the form of “Nice” and “Great” shots.

You can also hit a curve shot by off-centering the Pokemon to one side of the screen and curving your finger at an angle when flicking, similar to how you’d curve a bowling ball.

Contrary to gross misinformation being spread online by click-baiting journalists who are clearly not real gamers, you do not need to spin the pokeball for a curveball bonus. These people rushed out guides for SEO purposes and don’t know what they’re talking about – ignore them.

How to Power Up and Evolve Pokemon

Evolve and Power Pokemon

Each time you catch a Pokemon, you receive stardust and candy. Candy is attached to the specific type of Pokemon, whereas stardust applies to all of them.

As you can see in the screenshot above, a combination of stardust and candy is used to power up, and a large amount of candy is used to evolve. Most basic Pokemon cost 12-25 candy to evolve, while some (especially those with a second evolution like Pidgeotto) cost 50.

You can also gain candy by transferring extra Pokemon to the professor.

Don’t bother leveling a Pokemon until after you evolve it, as you’ll waste both stardust and candy. The maximum CP for a Pokemon is displayed as a white semicircle above the Pokemon’s picture.

As you level, the thick line progresses across the semicircle to the right. The farther along it is, the more stardust each power up costs, from 200 to 1000. At the extreme right, the Pokemon is maxed out.

Each Pokemon has a different max strength range, and wild Pokemon will be at different points along the power scale. When you have duplicate Pokemon, transfer the lowest power, but be sure to take their attacks into consideration if you plan to battle.

How to Battle Pokemon

Pokemon Go Gym Battle

Throughout the real world, you’ll find gyms, which are located at various points of interest. These gyms are where you’ll be able to battle your Pokemon against others once you reach level 5.

At level 5, you select among the 3 Pokemon teams, which is discussed more below. Whether your team or another team holds a gym determines your available actions. You can tell what team holds a gym by its color.

If your team holds a gym, you can either battle them or join them in occupying the gym. If another team holds the gym (or it’s full), you can only battle.

WikiHow put together a great chart on type strengths and weaknesses, so I’ll refer you there for more information on this rock-paper-scissors elemental aspect.

Once you’ve selected your Pokemon team (from 1 to 5 of your strongest characters), you’ll be placed in the Pokemon stadium to do battle. Tapping the screen performs your Pokemon’s basic attack, while swiping up or down dodges incoming attacks.

As you hit with basic attacks and dodge your opponent, the blue bar in the top left of the screen underneath your Pokemon’s health bar and avatar fills up. It’ll either be one long blue bar or several smaller ones.

Once a bar has been filled, you can perform your Pokemon’s second, stronger attack by pressing and holding your finger on the screen.

Unlike gross misinformation published by aforementioned casual gamers posing as journalists on other sites, you do not need to hold your finger on your Pokemon to perform the strong attack. These people went full retard and don’t fact check their guides before rushing them out for SEO purposes.

For each Pokemon you defeat in a gym, you gain XP, gym prestige, and knock that Pokemon out of the gym, making it easier for the next. If you defeat them all, you claim the gym for your team (or yourself).

If your Pokemon is defeated in a gym, depending on whether or not your team controlled the gym, you’ll need to heal them with potions (if battling your own team) or revive them with revives and heal them (if battling opposing teams).

How to Level Up Players

Pokemon Go Android Screenshots HD1

Each time you catch or evolve a Pokemon, interact with a pokestop, and win a gym battle, you receive XP. This XP levels your Pokemon trainer, and the higher your level, the more likely you are to come across rarer Pokemon.

You also gain minimal XP bonuses for hitting within the colored circle with a pokeball, throwing a curveball, and finding a Pokemon for the first time.

Lucky eggs can be purchased with gold, which is either purchased with real money or earned by occupying gyms. Using a lucky egg doubles your XP gained for 30 minutes.

What Are Razz Berries Used for?

Razz berries are obtained by interacting with pokestops. These can be used to make it easier to catch a Pokemon. When you’re in the screen to toss a pokeball, tap your inventory on the bottom right of the screen to select a razz berry. Tap the razz berry again to feed it to the Pokemon.

Razz berries are best used for orange and higher Pokemon, as these rare and legendary animals will often dodge or escape your capture attempts and then run away.

Pokemon Go‘s servers are often overloaded and the game consistently freezes due to its massive popularity, so you want to catch the rarer Pokemon as fast as possible before you end up losing it to a system glitch.

What Are Eggs Used for?

Pokemon Go Eggs

There are two types of eggs in Pokemon Go – lucky eggs, which can be purchased from the store, and eggs, which are found by interacting with pokestops.

As discussed above, lucky eggs increase XP gained for 30 minutes, while eggs eventually hatch into Pokemon. Eggs are labeled as 2, 5, 7, and 10 km eggs, which is how far you have to walk to hatch them. The longer the distance, the higher the rarity of the hatched Pokemon.

There is a speed limit of approximately 15 mph attached to eggs, so you can’t hatch them in your car or using public transportation, but you can ride a bike, skateboard, roller blades, etc.

To hatch an egg, place it in an incubator and start walking. You need to have the app open for the distance to count, though you can enable power saving mode in the settings.

What Is Incense Used for?


Incense can be purchased in the store or found by interacting with pokestops. Using incense draws Pokemon to your location for 30 minutes. During this span, you’ll average around 5-10 Pokemon sightings, though their rarity is randomized.

What Are Lure Modules Used for?

Pokemon Go Lure Module

Like Incense, lure modules lure Pokemon to your location. However, lure modules are used on pokestops instead of your body, so you’ll need to hang around that location.

In addition, other players can see pokestops that have lures attached to them. This makes lures a great way to meet other Pokemon Go players (or get yourself robbed, so be careful).

What Are Pokestops?


Pokestops are places of interest around the world. When you get close enough to interact, you can tap the pokestop and spin the picture by swiping left or right to release several items such as pokeballs, incense, potions, revives, razz berries, and eggs.

You also gain 50 xp for interacting with a pokestop, which turns it from blue to purple on your map.

If you have a lure module, click the space above the photo in the pokestop to attach it. This will lure Pokemon to the pokestop for the next 30 minutes and signal to other players that a lure has been used.

Pokestops are often found in strange places, such as graveyards, police stations, churches, hospitals, and even medians in the middle of the road. Be careful when playing Pokemon Go in some areas like police stations, where you’ll scare the cops and they may shoot you (especially if you’re not white in America).

Which Team to Choose

Pokemon Go Android Screenshots

You have three team choices upon reaching level 5 – Instinct (yellow), Mystic (blue), and Valor (red). Which team you choose is entirely up to you. I chose Mystic, though Valor definitely seems more popular in my area based on the amount of gyms they control.

The mascot for each team is one of the legendary Pokemon birds – Zapdos (Instinct), Articuno (Mystic), and Moltres (Valor). Although none of these legendary birds has yet to be spotted in-game, they’ve been spotted in the code and are rumored to be a part of in-game events.



Brian Penny is a former Business Analyst and Operations Manager at Bank of America turned whistleblower, troll, and freelance writer.

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