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Everything you were too afraid to ask about ‘Pokmon Go’

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There’s a whole lot to learn about the world of Pokemon .
Image: sam haysom/ mashable composite

If you’re starting out in the colorful world of Pokmon Go and you’re keen to catch them all/ be the best like no one ever was/ etc ., there are a few key things you need to get to grips with first.

Whether you’ve never played Pokmon before or you have fond childhood memories that you’re looking to rekindle, you’ll still be starting from scratch with this game it’s very much its own beast.

It’s also a hell of a lot of fun. I’ve been wildly obsessed with the game for only over a week now, and there are plenty of things I wish I’d known when starting out that would have helped me pick it up a lot faster…

What do you actually do in Pokmon Go ?

It sounds a bit odd when you break it down, but basically you go around catch beasts called Pokmon so you can battle other people’s Pokmon with your own Pokmon. The reason Pokmon Go is so clever, though, is that it’s all tied to the real world.

The app tracks your IRL location, which means you hunting and catch Pokmon on the same network of roads and parks that you’re walking through in real life. PokStops( where you stock up on items) are linked to real world places like post office, and gyms( where you fighting contender Pokmon trainers i.e. other people playing video games) are things like churches and train stations in the real world.

So how does the game run?

This is what the main game screen looks like.

Image: sam haysom/ mashable composite

Once you’ve signed in with Google or via the Pokmon Trainers Club and chosen your username and trainer attire( you get to pick your own shoes and everything ), you’ll be greeted by Professor Willow. After he’s waffled on a little bit and told you a few things about the game, you’ll find yourself looking at something similar to the screen above. This is the main screen you’ll be looking at most of the time when you play Pokmon Go .

As you walk around your local region with the app open, your character will move too. If you walk up to a PokStop( the little blue cubes indicated on the map above ), they’ll get bigger and allow you to tap on them. You can stock up on items like balls for catching Pokmon and potions to mend your critters after you’ve done some battling at the gym by spinning the circular sign that appears after you’ve tapped.

Similarly, you can visit and do battle at gyms by walking up to one’s IRL location and tapping the corresponding icon on your map.

Elsewhere, the “Nearby” button in the bottom right of the screen shows you what Pokmon are in your proximity( the number of paw prints below each goes to show how far they are from your current locating ), the Pokball icon bottom-centre brings up the main game menu and the picture of your face and username in the bottom-left brings up another mini sub-menu( both of these are explored in more detail below ).

Navigating the submenus

The two sub-menus accessed by clicking on the Pok Ball( left) or your user icon( right ).

Image: sam Haysom/ mashable composite

If you click the Pokball, you’ll assure the screen pictured above on the left. From here you can access the items you’ve collected from Pokstops, position your current squad of Pokmon, explore your Pokdex( an encyclopedia of all the Pokmon you’ve ensure and caught ), or buy some coins at the shop( this is the in-game currency that allows you to buy additional items, if you feel like splashing out on some extras ).

Clicking the little icon of your character’s face, meanwhile, brings up the screen on the right. From here you can see your current level, the number of experience points( or XP) you need to progress to the next level( you gain experience for everything from visiting a Pokstop to catching a new Pokmon view a full list of things that give you XP here ), and a publication containing a history of the stuff you’ve done recently in the game.

The emblem of your squad( when you reach Level 5 and are able to join one) will also appear in the bottom-right, but more on that later.

Making sense of your awesome Pokmon

It’s easy to view your full collection of Pokmon.

Image: sam haysom/ mashable composite

You’ll catch one Pokmon right at the start of the game( see below for info on how to actually catch the damn things ), but as you wander around and investigate you’ll soon catch plenty more. Clicking the Pokmon button in the main game menu brings up the screen above and on the left, which shows you all the Pokmon you currently have in your squad( tip-off: click the clock in the bottom-right to change the route they’re ordered ).

If you click on any individual Pokmon, you’ll be able to see its stats( see the right-hand image above ). CP( combat points) basically means how strong the thing will be in a battle, while HP( reach phases) relates to its health bar( this will go down if it’s hurt in combat ). Every time you catch a Pokmon you’ll get Stardust( which allows you to power up a Pokmon’s CP) and Candy( which, when you have enough, allows you to evolve a Pokmon ).

Take the Pikachu above, for example. His CP is 269, but the semi-circular bar behind him isn’t full; this entails I could click the “Power Up” button and use 1300 Stardust and 2 Pikachu Candy to boost his CP. When I have enough of the right type of Candy( 50, in Pikachu’s example ), I can also evolve him. It’s worth noting that different types of Pokmon need different sums of Candy to evolve( the common Pidgey merely needs 12, while Magikarp needs a whopping 400 ).

Using items

Look at all these sweet, sweet items.

Image: sam haysom/ mashable composite

You’ll unlock more and more items as you go through video games, but to start with you’ll mainly have Potions, Pok Balls, Incense and an Egg Incubator. We won’t go into a detailed breakdown of what they all do here( there are pretty good descriptions for each in the menu ), but the main thing to remember is that you can only store up to 350 items at a time and you can make room by deleting ones you don’t want( Tip: Potions are likely a good thing to cut down on if you need to make room in your bag nobody requires 50 Potions .)

What about eggs?

Eggs are a great style of get new Pokmon( and gaining XP ).

Image: sam Haysom/ mashable

Eggs fall somewhere in between items and Pokmon; you get them haphazardly at Pokstops alongside other items, but they live in a tab accessible through your Pokmon menu( see the left-hand screen above ). Basically, eggs contain Pokmon that you can hatch by “incubating” them( sticking the egg in an Incubator and strolling the required distance; either 2km, 5km or 10 km, depending on the nature of the egg ). The longer the incubation, the rarer the Pokmon tends to be.

It’s actually, truly worth biding on top of your eggs and incubating them as soon as you get them; that style as you’re straying around catching Pokmon, you’ll also be making progress towards hatching a new critter.

How do you actually catch Pokmon?

This is what your Pokmon-catching screen will look like.

Image: sam haysom/ mashable composite

When you stumble across a Pokmon in the wild, your telephone will buzz. Double click the Pokmon on the map and you’ll be taken to the screen above( use the toggle in the top-right to switch between the AR view and a more plain, grassy background ).

All you need to do after that is hold your finger down on the Pokball, watch the circle change sizing around the Pokmon( it’s easier to catch if it’s bigger ), then swipe your thumb up the screen in the direction of the Pokmon. If you land a hitting, the ball will roll back and forth three times before the word “Gotcha” signifies a successful catch.

Of course, it might not be that simple. Some Pokmon are harder to catch than others and might break free, which means you’ll need to keep throwing balls at them until they’re caught. Afterwards in video games you’ll get stronger Pok Balls to help you catch the tougher ones, as well as Razz Berries( you can feed these to Pokmon to build them easier to catch ).

What can you do at a gym?

The screen on the left is what you’ll see when you click on a gym. The right is the combat screen.

Image: sam haysom/ mashable composite

At first, you can’t do anything at the gym. If you click on one before you get to Level 5, you’ll get a message from Professor Willow telling you something about requiring more experience before you can do battle.

Once you do get to Level 5, though, things change. Tap on a gym after that phase and you’ll be asked to join a team( either Instinct, Mystic or Valor) so you can enter the sweet, violent world of Pokmon combat.( Tip: it doesn’t actually matter which team you pick, but it might be worth joining the same one as friends/ household/ colleagues so you can work together to go after gyms in your region .)

There are two reasons you’d want to fight at a Pokmon gym: to develop your Pokmon( if it’s a gym controlled by your team) or to capture it( if it’s held by another squad ). Fighting and training at one of your team’s gyms will get you experience points as well as create that gym’s prestige( which is like experience phases for gyms ). As gyms gain prestige, they get more levels, each one controlled by a different Pokmon, either from the same player or different players.

If you oppose an opposing team’s gym and defeat all the Pokmon there( on all the levels ), you can claim the gym for your team by leaving at the least one of your Pokmon there( it’s still tied to you, and will return to your collections if it’s ever defeated ). If you hold they gym long enough, you’ll receive Pokcoins, which you can use to buy items( see above ).

How do you fight at a Pokmon gym?

Some of the messages you’ll see while fighting other Pokmon.

Image: screenshot captured by Kitsap Scene/ FLICKR

Fighting at a Pokmon gym is a hectic affair. The first time you do it, you might be at a loss as to “what were doing”, confused by all the rapid movement and animations. But the basic mechanics are very simple.

There are just three gestures available to you: tap, long press and swipe. Tapping will stimulate your Pokmon execute a quick assault, which is the thing you’ll probably want to do the most. Swiping to the right or left attains your Pokmon dodge your opponent’s attack. A long press will unleash your Pokemon’s special assault, but you can only do that when the blue bar beneath your green health bar is full.

Generally, the animations demonstrate what’s happening with flashes and missiles when assaults are happening, and you’ll see dialog boxes appear about the effectiveness of your attacks as well as when you execute a dodging. Your health bar shrinks and changes color from green to yellow to red as you take injury. Your Pokmon’s CP( combat power) rating gives you an idea of how much injury your Pokmon can do, while your HP( hit phases) relates to how much damage it can take.

At least those are the basics. There’s actually a lot more detail to the combat system that isn’t obvious, involving different types of Pokmon having advantages over certain other types, various “base” statistics the user can’t should be noted that determine assault and defense values, and plenty of tips and tactics( it’s said you should dodge twice as soon as a battle starts, for example ). This video summarizes a whole bunch of advanced tactics for when you think you’re ready 😛 TAGEND

Importantly, losing a battle doesn’t mean you lose your Pokmon. It’ll either be damaged or “fainted; ” in either instance, there are common items( like potions) that will revive and mend the little guy. So don’t fret too much about losing just head for a gym and start a battle! It’s what Pokmon do, after all.

Pete Pachal contributed to this guide . Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments .

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