Pokemon Go Comprehensive Guide

Pokemon Go Comprehensive Guide by phozee

Now that a little over a full week has passed, I’ve had time to train up, discover some rares, explore the mechanics of the game and take a lot with other players. I’ve cleaned up the previous guide and added some things that I’ve learned through friends, Reddit, and trial-and-error. So far, I am level 25, I have seen/caught 110 different Pokemon, and I’ve walked about 90 km (56 miles). In my time playing so far I’ve got into some hoodlum shenanigans, I’ve made several new friends that I would have not met otherwise, I’ve visited some areas I would not have seen otherwise, and I’ve gotten a stupid amount of exercise (probably should have weighed myself at the start).


This is long post, but I tried to make it comprehensive. I was going to write a short version but honestly so much of this information is important and knowing it affects how you play the game, so just read the whole thing if you are going to play anything more than casually. Some of it is information you may have already figured out. Some of it is new information I just learned this weekend or even today.

If there’s anything you think I missed or you have any questions, let me know and I will add it here.

How do I find Pokemon?

Pokemon appear around you, and certain places have a higher chance to spawn certain ones. I have found specific beaches and parks usually have specific Pokemon that spawn a lot there, for example there’s a park/beach in the town south of me that is filled with Charmanders.

Get up and walk! This game is all about moving. Moving means hitting more Pokestops, encountering more wild Pokemon, hatching eggs, and actually increases the rate at which incense spawns appear.

How do I track a specific Pokemon?

You can see what is nearby by tapping the button on the bottom-right corner of the main screen, and tap a specific one to focus it so that you can see it on the main screen.

Each one has a set of footprints by it, which indicates how far away it is. Each footprint represents a certain distance.

3 footprints means you are 90+ meters away from the Pokemon.

2 footprints means you are 60-90 meters away.

1 footprint means you are 40-60 meters away.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FzQHIjkXQuM&sns=fb

NOTE: this has definitely been buggy the last couple days. No Pokemon ever shows as less than 3 steps, and some won’t show up on your radar at all while they might for your friends standing right next to you. Some won’t leave your nearby even after they have despawned (until you restart your app – recommended you do this every 5-10 minutes).

Walking in the direction of the focused Pokemon will cause the indicator to blip green. NOTE: This may or may not be accurate – need to re-test once the Nearby bug is fixed. Blips may instead indicate that your list is refreshing.

If you are hunting for something in particular, the best thing to do is be social and ask people around you. I found out about the nearby beach with the Charmanders by asking around!

If you or someone else finds a Pokemon nearby, that spawn exists for EVERYONE in the same place, but spawns separately for everyone (one person catching it does not ‘steal’ it from others). That means if I find a Mewtwo in the bushes behind my house and catch it, it will still be there for anyone else who wanders by. So if you’re in a public place and you find something rare, other people may be grateful if you tell them :)

How do I catch em all?

Once you’ve found a Pokemon and started the catch encounter, you have to throw the Pokeball at them.

The Pokeball must land inside the WHITE circle for it to hit and start the catch sequence (where the Pokemon tries to break free from the Pokeball). However, you want to time your throw for when the COLORED circle is as SMALL as possible. The smaller the circle, the higher the catch chance.

The color of the circle represents the difficulty in catching it – green is the easiest, red is the hardest. Harder difficulties have an increased chance to break out of the Pokeball.

If you land the Pokeball inside the COLORED circle, you will also get some bonus XP! This requires gauging the distance and arcing your throw accurately. The XP bonus depends on the size of the colored circle and grants different bonuses:

“Nice!” – colored circle is 75-100% of the white circle – 10 XP

“Great!” – 25-75% – 50 XP

“Excellent!” – <25% – 100 XP

There is also a bonus for throwing curveballs. To throw a curveball, tap and hold the ball and spin it around in circles before throwing – you will see sparkles flying off the ball as it’s spinning.

Curveballs grant 10 XP, but this does NOT stack with Nice/Great/Excellent, meaning if you throw a curveball and get Great, you will only get higher of the two bonuses (Great, which is 50 XP). I do hope they change this in the next patch, because if I land an Excellent curveball, why shouldn’t I get all the XP from that?

Getting these throw bonuses DOES affect catch chance (confirmed from data-mined game files).

How do Pokemon becoming stronger / evolve?

As you may have noticed, Pokemon do not have levels like they do in the traditional games. Instead of level, Pokemon have CP (Combat Power).

Raising their CP and evolving them requires candy, which is specific to each Pokemon. For example, Charmander/Charmeleon/Charizard all require Charmander candies to evolve or power up. Powering up requires candies and stardust, while evolving requires only candies.

(Yeah, it’s kind of a weird mechanic that evolving / powering up has nothing to do with training a specific Pokemon, and instead catching multiples of the same kind. Meh.)

Your trainer level also determines the CP of Pokemon you find in the wild, which is why RAISING YOUR TRAINER LEVEL IS YOUR #1 PRIORITY. Don’t waste your time and effort powering up your Pokemon at low levels (< lvl 20). Just focus on leveling up as fast as possible.

If you want to maximize your power even further, you need to train Pokemon with the highest possible IV. Brief explanation from ZoaolTD:

Basically, in the main series games, each of the Pokemons stats (HP, Atk, Def, SpAtk, SpDef and Speed) have a corresponding hidden stat (called an IV – or individual value). These range from 0-31 and the IV number gets added onto the base stat in order to make different Pokemon (of the same species and level) have different stats. So say you have 2 Pidgeys of the same level, and they have both got a base HP stat of 10. If one of the Pidgeys had a HP IV of 5, the HP stat would increase by 5 to 15, whereas if the other Pidgey had a HP IV of 30, its HP would increase to 40. Therefore, even though the Pidgeys are the same level, they have different stats and the Pidgey with the HP IV of 30 would be much stronger than the other one with a IV of 5. What has been found out is that Pokemon GO also has these hidden stats for each Pokemon, which will make your Pidgey and your friends Pidgey have different HP, Attack and Defense, even if their CP is the same.

Further reading and IV calculator (thanks Niathepia for the link): https://www.reddit.com/r/TheSilphRoad/comments/4te6bn/improved_iv_calculator_automatically_calculate/

How do I raise my trainer level?

There are a number of ways you get XP:

Hitting a Pokestop – 50 XP (100 XP if you get 6+ items? Not sure – need confirmation)

Catching a Pokemon – 100 XP (500 XP if it’s a new one) (+bonuses for Nice!, Great!, Excellent! or Curveball throws)

Evolving a Pokemon – 500 XP

Hatching a Pokemon – Unsure of this one, I believe it’s based on the egg type (2km, 5km or 10km) but need confirmation

Taking out an enemy gym / training an allied gym – XP determined by the number of Pokemon you defeated in battle. As low as 150 XP for taking out a level 1 gym, or as high as 750 XP for taking out a level 4 gym (and even more for higher level gyms, I’m sure!)

How much XP do I need to level up?

This depends on your current level. The higher level you are, the more you need to progress to the next level. This rate increases exponentially after 20. That means your progress will decrease DRAMATICALLY.

To put this in perspective, levels 1-10 take 1000 XP multiplied by the current level (1000 XP to advance from lvl 1, 5000 XP for lvl 5, 8000 XP for lvl 8). In total, going from level 1 to 20 takes 205,000 XP. But levels 20, 21, 22, and 23 take 25,000, 50,000, 75,000 and 100,000 XP, respectively. 24 takes 150,000 XP, and 25 takes 190,000 XP. That means It takes just as long to go 3 levels, from 20-23, as it does to get from 1-20. And it takes as long to go 1 level, from 25-26 as it does to go from 1-20.

This graph gives a good field of reference: http://i.imgur.com/VwCgdUD.png

See here for a list of XP required for each level up to 25, as well as the rewards at each level:http://i.imgur.com/BLAUiYP.png

What’s the fastest way to level?

At lower levels, catching and evolving Pokemon (mostly first-tier common Pokemon) is by far the best way to level quickly. Every evolution gives the same amount of experience – a flat 500 XP. That means to maximize efficiency, you want to evolve the ones that cost the least to evolve. PIdgeys, Weedles and Caterpies all cost 12 candies to evolve into their next form, and they are also the most common encounters.

Lucky eggs grant double XP – catch every Pidgey / Weedle / Caterpie you can find, and once you have a ton of candies, pop a Lucky Egg and evolve them all. 1000 XP per evolution will power level you very quickly.

How do I get candies?

For every Pokemon you catch, you get 3 candies for it. (Catching a Pidgey gives 3 Pidgey candies. Catching a Pidgeotto or Pidgeot also grants 3 Pidgey candies.)

For every Pokemon you transfer, you get 1 candy.

For every Pokemon you evolve, you get 1 candy.

For every egg you hatch, you get a random amount of candies. (Not sure but it’s probably based on the type of egg and rarity of the Pokemon, too.)

How do I get stardust?

NOTE: I STRONGLY recommend not using any stardust until you are at least level 22-23.

For every Pokemon you catch, you get 100 stardust.

For every egg you hatch, you get a random amount of stardust (I’ve gotten as little as a couple hundred and as much as 1700.) This is probably the best way to get stardust.

For every gym you control when you use your gym shop ability, you get 500 stardust and 10 Pokecoins (maximum 10 gyms – so 5000 stardust and 100 coins).

Is it better to catch Pokemon strong or weak?

You can find Pokemon strong or weak in the wild, but either way it seems as though they should be able to reach the same maximum CP by powering them up, regardless of what they were at when you caught them. Catching them at a high CP just means less work and resources to make them as strong as possible.

How can I tell how strong a Pokemon can get?

There isn’t a way to see an exact value, but if you look at a Pokemon’s stats page, you can see an arc around their model, which represents how powerful they are (filled up means you cannot power it up anymore until you raise your trainer level). So if it’s CP is at 500, and the arc is halfway filled, it can reach ~1000 max at your current level.

This may not be entirely accurate. The arc may indicate the NUMBER of powerups you can do, but each powerup may be a random amount. Needs additional testing.

How do gyms work?

NOTE: I recommend not spending too much time on gym battles until you are at least in the late tens / early 20s. They are still good XP, but it’s not worth going out of your way and focusing on them in lieu of catching Pokemon.

Gym battles are not turn based like classic Pokemon. You tap to attack, a super meter fills up. Tap and hold to use super. You can swipe left or right to dodge, but dodging basic attacks is pretty difficult. Supers can be dodged much more easily than regular attacks.

Each people can leave one Pokemon at a gym of the allied color. A gym can hold as many Pokemon as it’s level (lvl 3 = 3 Pokemon). You fight a gym’s Pokemon in order of CP (so the strongest one is the ‘gym leader’) To take a gym over, you have to knock out everyone in it. Every time you win a battle you lower the gym’s prestige. If it falls below a threshold, the weakest Pokemon gets knocked out.

Level 1: 0-2,000 Prestige

Level 2: 2,000-4,000

Level 3: 4,000-8,000

Level 4: 8,000-12,000

Level 5: 12,000-16,000

Level 6: 16,000-20,000

Level 7: 20,000-30,000

Level 8: 30,000-40,000

Level 9: 40,000-50,000

Level 10: 50,000-100,000

So if a gym has 3 Pokemon and is sitting at 5,000 prestige, but you win a battle and kill all 3, the prestige will drop below 4,000, which removes the weakest Pokemon from the lineup. Rinse and repeat until the gym is level 0, at which point it will be unclaimed and you can place your own guy on there! The Pokemon you want to place MUST be at full HP, so if you are competing with others to place your guy down as soon as the gym falls, make sure you don’t use him in the fight, or you’ll have to spend time after the fight’s over to heal him up.

You use a party of 6 Pokemon to fight an enemy gym. If a Pokemon faints, you have to use a Revive to heal it back up.

You use 1 Pokemon to fight an allied gym. When it loses, it does not faint, it just sits at 1 HP, so you don’t need to Revive; just Potion.

Defeating an allied gym’s Pokemon increases its prestige, which allows you to help level it up so you can put your own Pokemon there (or if you already have one, someone else can, thereby making it more difficult for others to take.)

How do I know what Pokemon to pick in a fight?

Consult this type-chart: http://i.imgur.com/7QvjwwS.png

Unless you have a Vaporeon, Then, always pick Vaporeon.

What do I get for battling at gyms?

In your shop, there is an icon on the top right that looks like a shield, and has a number in it. This number represents the number of gyms that you currently have a Pokemon residing in. For every gym you control when you activate this cooldown, you get 500 stardust and 10 Pokecoins (max 10 gyms, which is 5000 dust and 100 coins). This ability has a 21 hour timer on it, so typically I try to use it in the evening/night when people are playing a little less. Having it be slightly less than 24 hours also gives you some breathing room to try earlier the next day.

Unfortunately gyms are easier to take over then they are to defend, so don’t expect to hold gyms for too long. Take as many gyms over in one run and claim the rewards. Repeat daily if you can fit a route into your day.

The gym system is interesting because unless you are actively trying to get as many gyms as you can in order to use your ability to get stardust / coins, there is NO benefit to actually holding on to a gym. You don’t get any XP or anything for claiming it, but you still do get significant XP for the actual battling process and knocking the gym out. Once you hit higher levels (early-mid 20s), gym battles is the most efficient way to level. (You’ll also probably be sick to death of catching Pidgeys and Weedles so it’s a nice break from that).

How do I efficiently level via gym battles?

Leveling by training at gyms will be your main method of leveling at higher levels. I try to find level 6+ gyms, and train at those with lucky eggs. I typically gain 1500 XP (750 without Lucky egg) every 2-3 minutes. As the gym level decreases you gain less experience.

Find an active park or area where 2+ gyms are raided often and in close proximity of each other. Train at the gym and take over, leaving a low CP pokemon. There’s 2 reasons for this. 1. You can transfer the 1 HP pokemon that was returned to your inventory instead of wasting potions and revives on higher CP pokemon (Gyms at active parks will be raided almost instantly so there is no point in leaving a strong pokemon). 2. You bait lower leveled trainers to take the gym which makes it easier for you to train and take it back.

I like to find 2 gyms with pokestops in between. I’ll train at the first gym, leave a low CP pokemon that I don’t care about and then walk to the 2nd gym (collecting pokestops on the way). I repeat the process at gym 2. By the time I walk back to the first gym, another team has taken over. Repeat these steps and you will be leveling fast. Again, this is for higher leveled players and at levels 1-19 you may be better off farming at pokestops with lure modules. Also you may not have a strong enough pokemon to train consistently at a gym.

What are all these different items in the shop?

If you are spending any significant amount of time playing this game, I highly recommend you invest a little money into it. Time is money, and you save a lot of time by spending a little on items that increase your leveling speed and Pokemon catch rate.

Pokecoins are bought with real money but can also be gained by using the gym shop ability. They are used to buy certain items that can only be obtained with coins, such as Lures, Lucky Eggs, and Incubators.

Lures Modules are placed on a Pokestop and benefit everyone. They attract Pokemon to the stop. Lucky Eggs give you double XP for 30 minutes. Use them at the same time as a module / incense, as they also have 30 minute durations. Use them before your incubator eggs hatch. Use them before you evolve anything. Incense attracts Pokemon to your location for 30 minutes. Moving while you have an incense up attracts Pokemon at a much faster rate than if you are sitting idle. If you aren’t moving, you will see a Pokemon every 4-5 minutes. If you are up and walking, the rate increases to one every 1-2 minutes. Incubators are required to hatch eggs. I always have 9 up at a time.

Are there other items that are unlocked later?

Level 12 – Great Ball

Level 15 – Hyper Potion (need to confirm)

Level 20 – Ultra Ball

Level 25 – Max Potion

Level 30 – Max Revive

How do I catch the legendaries?

Articuno, Zapdos, Moltres, Mewtwo and Mew can theoretically be found in the wild; according to data mining of game files they have a value for a spawn rate. However, they have no catch rate, meaning they may require Master Balls to catch. (In the original games, you were given ONE master ball, which gives you a 100% guaranteed catch.)

It’s presumed at this point that they will be spawned at special events, but nothing as far as I know is confirmed yet.

Any other pro tips?


Stardust is the most important resource you have. It is your bottleneck to becoming the very best, like no one ever was. Stardust is gained by catching Pokemon, so catch everything ever, always. Many of you may still be investing stardust and candies into pokemon that you’ve had for some time now. You need to save those stardusts/candies for new pokemon. As you level, your pokemon will be outclassed and will become fodder for your new pokemon. Unless the pokemon is special to you, it would be more beneficial for you to transfer them and use the candies to upgrade the newer, stronger pokemon.


“WE get it. You vape.”

You can force an Eevee evolution by naming it before you evolve. Sparky = Jolteon, Rainer = Vaporeon, Pyro = Flareon. NOTE: this only seems to work ONCE per evolution. So if you have already gotten a Vaporeon from this trick, it will probably give you something else instead (I got a Flareon on my second try evolving an Eevee named Rainer). There are reports of it working as long as you don’t try the same one twice in a row, but this needs additional testing. PeaceLoveUnity7 claims that as long as you un-name the previous Eevee, it should continue to work. If anyone tests this out, please let me know.

Always go for Vaporeon, he is by far the strongest of the 3, and definitely one of the strongest Pokemon in the game in general right now. He has a ton of HP, his attack animation is the fastest in the game and has high damage, making it one of the highest damage-per-second moves, and ranking him overall at #2 strongest in terms of damage and health next to only Mewtwo.

You can see a breakdown of every move and it’s DPS here:https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/u/1/d/1vj1nsbsIE7FVPFWE-ZRFNgoszfgfDJ1MiT81d8XbPug/htmlview

He also have very few counters, because there are not a lot of strong grass / electric types that can hit hard enough to really take out his HP. Vaporeon can actually seem to take an Jolteon on in a 1v1 despite being at a type disadvantage. Venusaur and Magneton may be really good picks if you can find and train an strong one. This also means YOU SHOULD NOT FOCUS ON FIRE POKEMON like Flareon / Arcanine right now.

If I had to guess, Vaporeon will probably get nerfed in the near future.


It’s cool for a little bit, but overall it’s a novelty that gets old fast. It makes catching Pokemon harder, and it drains the hell out of your battery.


“But this game is free and I don’t want to pay money!” Considering the amount of times I’ve wasted $60 on a PC / console game that I ended up playing for under 10 hours, and considering the amount of time I’ve spent playing this game already…it’s well worth it. Using these items will increase the rate at which you level significantly and are well worth it.


Everything in this game happens faster when you’re up and moving. You’re putting distance on your eggs, and hatched eggs give you Pokemon (often rare ones), candy, stardust and XP. You’re hitting Pokestops, which replenish vital items like potions and razzberries. You’re finding more Pokemon in the wild. And Incense actually spawns Pokemon at a much faster rate while you are moving!

How does moving affect how often Incense spawns Pokemon?

According to some game data files:

StandingTimeBetweenEncountersSec: 300

MovingTimeBetweenEncounterSec: 60

DistanceRequiredForShorterIntervalMeters: 200

This means, in order to maximize the rate at which Incense spawns Pokemon, you need to walk 200 meters a minute. That’s a lot, and you’d basically need to be moving 7.5 mph (most people jog at 4-5 mph) do that. So if you’re at a brisk pace of ~3 miles per hour, you’re still getting spawns every 2 minutes or so, as opposed to every 300 seconds (5 minutes) while standing still.

More Reading

The following information was posted in a Facebook group, allegedly from data mining the game files. None of it seems sketch and is in line with some data-mined files that have already seen the light of day, so I’m inclined to believe it, but take it with a grain of salt.

  • The Trainer Level Cap is 40.
  • Egg’s cap at Level 20, so if you get an Egg at Level 37 it’ll still hatch at the same quality as if you were level 20.
  • Wild Pokemon cap at Level 30, meaning after Level 30 everyone will find the same max CP Pokemon and it’ll be a matter of spending the candy and stardust to upgrade them to your level’s cap based on their CP arc.
  • There is an achievement/badge rank above gold.
  • Curveballs and Accurate Throws (Nice, Great, Etc) have been confirmed as helping with the capture chance of a Pokeball throw.
  • There may be future Incubators that reduce the amount of kilometers needed before they hatch. (There is an incubator called “distance” in the code)
  • Moves have an Accuracy and a Critical Hit Rate.
  • Each unique Pokemon has it’s own Capture and Flee rate.
  • Move Damage may go up with Trainer Level.
  • Pokemon do become harder to catch as you level up.
  • Mewtwo, Moltres, Zapdos, Articuno are Legendary.
  • Mew is Mythic.
  • Farfetch’d is out there… somewhere. As is Ditto.
  • The Charge Meter is filled 0.5 for each 1 HP of damage dealt. This means a super effective move that does more damage will charge the special attack faster – that is actually really important to know.
  • To level from 39 to 40 takes FIVE MILLION EXPERIENCE, and going from 1 to 40 takes Twenty Million. On my best day I can get about one hundred thousand exp, maybe 125k. So that’s like 3-4 months to go from 39 to 40. Won’t be seeing that any time soon! lol
  • Pokemon have a base Attack, Defense and Stamina (HP) – thus they do not have a Attack and Special Attack stat like in the 3DS games.
  • Dragonite has the strongest base attack for non-legends, at 250.
  • MewTwo has a base attack of 284.
  • Moltres has the highest base attack of the three legendary birds.
  • Articuno has the highest base defense of the three.
  • Zapdos is almost as high as Moltres in base attack but is likely lower due to Type Advantage.
  • Pokemon have an evolution modifier AND a HP modifier when they evolve both CP and HP go up a set multiplier.
  • Defending Pokemon at a Gym attack every 1.5 seconds.
  • The Master Ball is in the game, no clue where it is found.
  • The Legendary Pokemon do have a spawn rate – BUT – they have no capture rate, could this mean they require a Master Ball?
  • STAB is present in the game, giving a 25% Bonus to an attack move. STAB stands for “Same Type Attack Bonus” and means if a Grass Pokemon uses a Grass move it will hit harder than if a Ground Pokemon used the same Grass move. This is a big deal confirmation.

None of the above is “coming soon” it’s all based on things found already in the code (some may not be turned on of course).

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