Australia went absolutely nuts for Pokemon GO yesterday, so much so that it overtook the election and became the hottest trending topic on social media for the country.
But while a lot of people have just experienced Pokemon GO for the first time, there were plenty -- myself included -- fortunate enough to get some time in the closed beta. So if you're just getting started with Pokemon GO, here's some tips to help you out.
Get A Battery Pack, Or A Second Phone
Walking around with high accuracy GPS enabled is going to chew up your battery life, but Pokemon GO seems to amplify that tenfold. Myself and the Gizmodo team had our phones plugged into USB ports yesterday with Pokemon GO's battery saver option disabled, and the game still drained the battery.
It's something that Niantic has acknowledged in their FAQ. "Some devices may experience battery drain while playing Pokémon GO for prolonged periods of time," the developer says.
For a lot of people, prolonged periods of time is more like 20 or 30 minutes. That's especially true if you're walking outside with the brightness turned up (because of the glare). So if you're thinking about going for a Pokemon GO picnic, make sure you take plenty of power packs with you.
If that's not an option, however, Gizmodo's Campbell Simpson points out that you can continue to level the same account over two devices:
I'm a bit cautious to recommend this given the recent server ups and downs, but I know from experience that it's possible to log into your Pokemon Go account on more than one device to play the game. Not simultaneously, though, because that might stuff things up royally, but if you're playing on one phone and it runs out of battery, you can log in on a separate phone or tablet -- as long as it can run the game, as long as it has GPS and a mobile or Wi-Fi connection.
I've got the game installed on about six different phones and tablets right now, and I feel like maybe I could get through a full day of playing the game. It's actually a lot more fun in augmented reality on a big tablet display -- you can see a lot more, and it looks more real. It's worth trying it out on different phones and tablets to see what runs the best, lasts the longest and is the easiest to carry around.
Hopefully Niantic improves the game's battery usage soon.
Learn How To Throw Poke Balls Properly
If you want the highest chance of catching a Pokemon, you need to wait until the ring inside the circle is at it's smallest. That's the advice straight from the developers. You can get away with throwing the Poke Ball whenever you like at the easiest difficulties. But when you start seeing orange and red rings, you'll want to maximise your chances of success as much as you can -- especially once you start trying to capture Pokemon with Great and Master Balls.
Once you get to a higher level you can also start to pick up berries at Pokestops. Berries can be fed to wild Pokemon to increase your chances of capturing them.
It Doesn't Matter What Starter Pokemon You Choose
Choosing a starter Pokemon in the handheld games is a big deal. In Pokemon GO, that's not the case at all because you'll need to catch 20, 30, 40, 50 or more Pokemon to evolve it into something good.
Take Magikarp, for instance. Everyone struggles with Magikarp so they can get the dragon fury that is Gyarados. But you only get three Magikarp candy every time you catch one -- and you need 400 candies before you can evolve a single Magikarp into a Gyarados.
Even if you just want to power up your Pokemon, you still need candies to do it -- and you only get those from catching Pokemon. So don't worry about what starter Pokemon you pick, because unless there's 40 or 50 of them hiding in the suburb you live in, chances are you'll be spending your time levelling up everything else.
Eevee Evolutions Are Random
This is a basic tip, but useful to know: if you get enough candies to finally evolve an Eevee, you won't have any say in its final evolution. It'll get a big bump in combat power regardless of its final form, but you don't have any influence over the process. So don't fret about it.
Pay Attention To Your Special Attack Meter
Given that most people's Pokemon are fairly weak, gym battles don't tend to last long enough for a special attack to charge up. Once the meter is filled enough -- and you can see on the stats for each individual Pokemon how much charge is required -- you simply press and hold (or long press) your Pokemon to unleash a special.
Don't Waste Your Money Buying Pokeballs
While your area might not be filled with the Pokemon you want, you can always get a regular supply of Pokemon thanks to lures and incense. And if you're going to spend money on anything, those are the two items that are the most valuable starting out.
Catching Pokemon, especially new Pokemon, is one of the most efficient ways to level up. Pokestops are pretty generous when it comes to giving out Poke Balls, potions and even the odd revive, but incense and lures are as rare as hen's teeth. So save your hard earned Pikachu gold for those instead.
Get Used To Transferring Pokemon
If you're looking to level or evolve Pokemon as fast as possible, the best way to do it apart from catching Pokemon en masse is to transfer them back to the Professor. You'll get a single candy from that Pokemon every time you do so, which is immensely helpful given the amount of Pokemon you'll need to catch to evolve anything valuable (like a Gyarados).
Keep Pokemon GO Open If You Want To Hatch An Egg
Getting annoyed every time you look at your eggs, wondering why they're not hatching? It's because the Pokemon GO app doesn't track distance walked when the app is closed. To ensure that your exercise is being properly monitored, keep the app open -- and active -- for the most efficient hatching.
Sure, it won't do wonders for your battery life but then the game is so thirsty you should probably have a power pack regardless.
Don't Waste Time Waiting For Pokestops To Give You Items
Little lifestyle tip: once you've spun a Pokestop's icon, you don't need to wait for the items to spawn in order to collect. You can just press the "X" and all the items will automatically be deposited into your inventory.
It's a useful trick to reduce repetition. But where it becomes really useful is if you're on a train, and you only have a small window of opportunity for when you're in range.
Don't Just Claim New Gyms, Defend Your Team's
If you walk past a gym that's already claimed by your team, it might be tempting just to leave it and continue on to claim new gyms. However if a gym is claimed by your team, you can leave another Pokemon there to defend it. Try to leave a Pokemon of a different type to the ones that are there already, to create more of a challenge for anyone who wants to claim it from you.
If you rock up to one of your team's gyms and the icon to leave a Pokemon doesn't appear, that means that gym will have to be leveled up before you can defend it. To level it up, just 'train' at the gym by pressing the boxing glove icon -- though you'll have to defeat the gym in order to level it up. Gyms can host up to 10 Pokemon if they're at maximum level.
Dump Your Pokemon At All The Gyms For The Most Coins
Whenever you enter the Pokeshop, you'll see a small shield icon at the top right of the menu. It's a bonus that you can activate once a day, and the more Pokemon you have defending gyms the more coins you have enabled.
It's not particularly efficient unless you're, say, a courier who has a route that goes past several gyms every day. But for those of us who live their lives on the road, it's worth remembering. Wait until you've dropped off as many Pokemon as you can, and then activate the bonus for the most coins. You'll also get a special defender bonus if you hold a gym for more than 21 hours, but that can be pretty difficult to do when you're just starting out.
Keep An Eye On The Footprints
Pokemon GO doesn't explicitly tell you where you can find Pokemon in the wild. But you can gauge roughly where they are by looking at the number of paw prints underneath their name on the Nearby chart.
No footprints means that the Pokemon is in your immediate vicinity. One footprint means it's close. Two is a little further away and three is further still. It's not as helpful as the distance that was listed in the beta, but if you walk in a direction and refer back to the footprints, you'll know whether you're going in the right direction.
That's our advice for getting started with Pokemon GO. If you have any tips or advice, let everyone know in the comments below!