How To Start A New Pokemon GO Game: A Beginner’s Guide

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How To Start A New Pokemon GO Game: Pokémon GO became a cultural phenomenon when it was launched back in 2016, with over 500 million downloads by the end of the year. Although the hype for the game has died down by a bit this year (for obvious reasons), Pokémon GO still attracts thousands of new players every day.

This massively popular AR mobile game has received several significant updates in the last few years, including new Pokémon from Johto, Hoenn, Sinnoh, and Unova regions, as well as new types of battles, quest systems for Legendary Pokémon, Gyms, and numerous quality-of-life updates to the geolocation system.

For new players, the game mechanics can be pretty convoluted at first. This is why we have prepared this beginner’s guide to start a new game of Pokémon GO so that you can jump right into the action.

Before you start…

There are some things you should remember when playing Pokémon GO:

  • Pokémon GO’s player base is quite large, so it’s important that you ask your friends to play as well. They can not only help you complete raid battles but also make Pokémon and item trades.
  • If you don’t have friends to play with, then take advantage of social media platforms like Facebook or Discord to look out for public meetups.
  • Avoid playing Pokémon GO while you are driving. You are probably aware of the outcomes.
  • Since Pokémon spawns pretty much everywhere, make sure that you are aware of your surroundings before chasing the Pokémon.
  • If your smartphone can’t hold battery charge for long, the chances are that you won’t get much from your hour-long session in Pokémon Go. You should always carry a power bank in such cases.
  • Although the game has in-game transactions, most of the items can be obtained for free if you are willing to grind a few hours.

Starting your Pokémon GO journey

The first time you launch Pokémon GO, the game will prompt you to log in with either your Google account or official Pokémon account. Both of the methods support cloud saves, so you don’t have to worry about losing your progress if signed out.

Once you get past the terms of service screen, you will be introduced to Professor Willow, similar to how all other Pokémon games begin. Then, you can choose your avatar style and customize your trainer’s appearance. You can even change your style of clothing and backpack. It’s worth mentioning that you can edit your avatar’s style whenever you want.

When you are in the game, tap the Poké Ball icon below the screen, then tap Settings. Make sure that you enable Battery Saver for prolonged sessions, and disable AR+ to make it easier for you to catch wild Pokémon. However, it mostly depends on your preference. Once you reach level 5, you can also enable the Adventure Sync option, which will track your steps and travel distance even when you close the game. It will help you collect more Candy and hatch Pokémon eggs faster. Note that it will impact your device’s battery life.

Choosing your starter Pokémon

When you get to Pokémon GO’s main screen for the first time, you will get to choose your first Pokémon. You can choose between three starter Pokémon from the Kanto Region, which are Charmander, Squirtle, and Bulbasaur.

However, you can also catch a Pikachu as your starter, which shows up only when you walk around for a few minutes and not select any of the three main starters. It only works in specific regions. For the record, your selection of starter won’t affect the gameplay by any means.

Looking for wild Pokémon

In Pokémon GO, Pokémon tend to appear everywhere, but they often spawn more in grassy areas and bodies of water. You will also find them around PokéStops and Gyms. Other players can also apply a Lure Module at a nearby PokéStop, which causes Pokémon to spawn every few minutes in case you are close to it. In addition, you can use an Incense so that Pokémon spawn near you every minute or so.

You should also see a small bar at the bottom corner of the screen, which will show you all the possible Pokémon spawns nearby. In case you haven’t logged the Pokémon yet on your Pokédex, you will only see a shadowy figure in the bar.

To find a Pokémon nearby, stand on a safe spot, then look out for leaves fluttering on the map. You can go there and get a chance to catch a wild Pokémon. When it appears on the screen, your device should vibrate and make a sound. You can then tap the Pokémon to encounter it.

Catching Pokémon

When you are encountering a Pokémon, swipe up to throw a Poké Ball at it. You can throw it farther by swiping upwards a little bit more. There’s a higher chance of the Pokémon deflecting the Poké Ball off, so you have to keep throwing Poké Balls. You can also throw a spinning Poké Ball in a curved manner, which will give you additional XP.

When you manage to hit the Pokémon with a Poké Ball, it will go into the Poké Ball and keep shaking for a few seconds. When it stops shaking, it indicates that you have captured the Pokémon successfully. However, most of the time, a Pokémon can either break out from the Poké Ball or run away from the encounter. You can decrease the chances of it by using different types of Poké Balls.

For increasing your chances of catching a Pokémon, make sure that you throw the Pokéball inside of the colored circle that appears around the Pokémon. It can be green, yellow, orange, or red, indicating the Pokémon’s probabilities of getting caught. Also, throwing the Pokéball in the colored catch circle will give you bonus XP, if only you manage to catch the Pokémon.

You can also use a Razz Berry on a wild Pokémon, which significantly increases the chances of the Pokémon being caught by a Poké Ball. You can use a Razz Berry as many times as you want until you run out of stocks.

Overall, your chances of catching a Pokémon increase when you use better Poké Balls, Razz Berries, and make perfect throws in the inner catch circle.

Finding PokéStops

It’s quite essential for new players to find PokéStops nearby, which are mostly located around real-life landmarks. You can get plenty of items by visiting PokéStops, including Potions, Poké Balls, and Pokémon Eggs.

To find PokéStops, look out for blue floating discs on the map. Tapping it will show you the name and a photo of the location, which will help you find it in the real world. Once you are close to it, you should see a Poké Ball icon. Tap it, then spin the disc until you receive all the items. You can get three to five items from every PokéStop. When you complete a PokéStop, the icon will turn purple. You can get more items from it once it turns blue again.

As previously mentioned, you and other Pokémon GO players can also use a Lure Module on a PokéStop, vastly increasing the chances of encountering a wild Pokémon. Note that the effect of the Lure Module lasts for only half an hour. If a Lure Module has been applied on a PokéStop, you should see heart-shaped particles around the PokéStop icon.

Below is a list of some of the items you can expect to receive from PokéStops. It depends on your trainer’s level, so make sure that your grind for higher levels and reach Level 30 for better items.

ItemsRequired LevelItemsRequired Level
PotionLevel 5Razz BerryLevel 8
ReviveLevel 5Super PotionLevel 10
Great BallLevel 12Ultra BallLevel 20
Hyper PotionLevel 15Max PotionLevel 25
Max ReviveLevel 30

Gym Battles

Pokémon Gyms in Pokémon GO lets you challenge other trainers in a Pokémon battle. In case you have allotted a Pokémon to a Gym, you can earn 500 Stardust and 10 PokéCoins from the Shop. You can redeem it once every 24 hours.

To put one of your Pokémon into a Gym, find a Gym nearby first. It should show you a grey icon, and a (+) symbol should appear in the corner of the screen. Tap it and choose your Pokémon to add to the Gym.

Once you do it, the Gym icon should turn to the color of your team, which you get to select once your trainer is Level 5. For Team Valor, Team Mystic, and Team Instinct, the color of the Gym should turn to Red, Blue, and Yellow, respectively.

It’s worth noting that you can only put Pokémon to a Gym controlled by your team. For example, in case you are select Team Instinct, you won’t be able to put your Pokémon to a Gym controlled by Team Valor or Team Mystic.

However, you can battle the Gym by tapping the Battle icon. You will be prompted to choose your Pokémon, so make sure that you select the best ones. Once you do it, tap GO to enter the battle arena.

Every Pokémon comes with fast and slow moves. While slow moves take some time to charge up, they deal significantly more damage than fast moves, which charges faster than slow moves. Each time you deal damage to your opponent, you should see a blue bar fill up under your Pokémon’s HP bar. You can use it to charge up your Pokémon’s slow moves.

Make sure to dodge your opponent’s vicious moves and time your attacks perfect. If you manage to defeat one Pokémon in the respective Gym, its Prestige will reduce by 500. When the Gym’s Prestige reaches zero, you will be able to claim it and add your Pokémon into the Gym.

Once you add your Pokémon to a Gym, it won’t come back until the Gym loses its Prestige. The more Prestige a Gym has, the more spaces for the player to add their Pokémon. In case a Gym loses Prestige, the spaces for the Gym will be decreased, resulting in the Pokémon with the lowest CP sent back to its respective trainer.

Number of PokémonGym PrestigeNumber of PokémonGym Prestige
1022,000
34,00048,000
512,000616,000
720,000830,000
940,0001050,000

Hatching Pokémon Eggs

Although it’s quite rare, you can find Pokémon Eggs randomly at PokéStops. In case you get one, you can see it by tapping the Poké Ball icon below the screen, then tapping the Eggs option.

To hatch a Pokémon Egg, you have to put it into an Incubator first. By default, you get one Incubator, which can be used only one Egg at a time. You can buy extra Incubators from the Shop to hatch multiple Pokémon Eggs at the same time. Also, the Incubators you purchase from the Shop can be used a limited number of times, unlike the default one you can use infinitely.

Every Egg needs you to travel a specific distance to hatch. You have to either walk or ride a bicycle for it. Moving too fast in cars, buses, and trains won’t cover the distances. The rarer the Pokémon Egg, the more distance you will have to cover to hatch it. It can be either 2km or 10km based on the rarity of the Pokémon.

Wrapping up

This guide covers some of the most crucial gameplay elements of Pokémon GO for beginners. Although there’s more we could have covered, the intuitive in-game tutorials will walk you through everything you need to know about the game mechanics.

While you are here, you can also check out our beginner’s guide for Fall Guys, which covers tips for every round in the game.

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