Pokemon GO Advice From Players Level 25 And Beyond

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It’s been just over two weeks since the launch of the app that even your neighbour who you've never met is talking about. Pokemon Go is now playable in over 50 countries, with the latest location being Nintendo’s origin country, Japan. The smartphone game has made Nintendo more valuable than Sony in less than a week, forced both US presidential nominees to mention the word ‘Pokemon’ in their speeches, and even taught social skills to young people with autism. If you’re not a fan of Pokemon Go you might have installed the PokeGone Chrome extension to try silencing the Internet.

However, if you’re still trying to be the very best, then take note of these actually useful tips from five level 25+ players to guide you this weekend.

There’s tips everywhere. There’s tips about how to level fast. There’s tips about how to get Pikachu as your starter Pokemon. And there’s tips about how to find Pokemon near you by looking at the fiddly steps counter thingy on the bottom right hand side of your screen.

But Why Trust Me?

As an ex-competitive gamer (Call of Duty (PC) and World of Warcraft (PVP: Rank 11, 2.2K rating in 2s), I came into the game wanting to level up fast and be one of the best. I hit level 25 a few days back with a healthy entourage of 1800+ including a dangerous 2150 Snorlax, 2000 Vaporean, 1900 Lapras, and 150,000+ stardust left to power up my future toons.

I’ve been fortunate to meet some smart and high-level Pokemon Go trainers during my travels. Here’s some of our tips that you may not have seen over the Internet yet.

1. Save All The Dust And Candy That You Acquire

“Stardust becomes hard to accumulate especially when it costs so much to power up a Pokémon at higher levels. You earn 100 stardust per Pokémon caught in the wild and some Pokemon, like Gyarados, requires 4000 stardust to level up once, so it’s best to save as much as you can,” says Blade ‘B1adee’ Scott, a level 26 Team Instinct member. “Strong Pokémon can be found in the wild and in eggs at all levels, but higher CP Pokemon favour stronger trainers. Be sure not to use all your stardust levelling up a 200 CP Eevee as you’ll find 500 CP versions when you hit higher levels (20).”

Tom ‘motbackwards’ Phillips, a gamer from Melbourne, agrees with this strategy, “Hold off on from evolving your 3-stage Pokemon until you have enough candy to get to the third generation. Once you have enough candies to get your second level Pokemon to the third stage of evolution, you are more likely to have found a higher level base Pokemon from which to start.”

2. Level Faster By Planning Ahead

You’re probably in a stage where you’re stuck between level 15 and level 20. No matter how many Pokemon you catch or Pokestops you spin, it seems like it’s not making an effect on your XP bar. One of the more better tips I’ve discovered is focus catching Pidgeys (or Caterpies/Weedles) When you have about 40 of them (and about 480 Pidgey stardust), pop a Lucky Egg and evolve them all. You’ll get 1000XP per evolution will definitely level up once or maybe even two times before your 30 minute egg runs out.

Not everyone can do this of course. It’s hard to catch so many Pidgeys in a Zubat-infested world, and Vincent ‘Vinnystrife’ Strife, a level 27 gamer from Melbourne, recommends to know your most populous lured-Pokestop area and draw a walking path to ensure maximum efficiency and leveling.

“The best piece of advice I can give anyone for leveling really fast is to know your area, or an area you can get to, and draw up a plan. Near where I live, there’s a place called Waverly Park where there are five lures around the football oval with a running track around it. I went down there and planned it so that I would run inside the oval just enough to grab each lure as I past. I tend to leave the Pokemon that is harder to catch and just move to the next one. There are two big stretches between in this plan where I use the time to capture Pokemon. I average about 30-40K XP an hour without evolving the Pokemon I catch — I save that till later. Once I have enough or need to take a break, I use my Lucky Egg to mass evolve my Pokemon for another XP boost.”

3. Learn How To Curve Your Balls

You’ve probably learned how to throw your Pokeball with your eyes closed. A swish and a flick. But it won’t be this easy when you’re faced with higher-CP’d Pokemon, says Jonno 'Skeptics' Danilov.

“As you climb the level ranks, the Pokemon get stronger. This forces you to start using Great Balls and Ultra Balls which not only wastes a valuable resource, but may introduce curves to your throws that become very annoying if you can’t control the curve. So learn how to curve your balls. Pokemon at higher levels tend to blow your Pokeball away as you throw it as well. The other benefit of throwing curve balls is an additional 10XP bonus. Now it may not seem like much but at my level, any exp is gold!”

4. Don’t Bother Taking Gyms Unless You’re Serious

Pokemon Gyms are a fantastic means of testing your Pokemon’s true strength (and reaping the 500 dust + 10 Pokecoin Defender Bonus ) as the PvP functionality is not yet enabled in the latest version of the game. The first time you take over an enemy gym, it’s the most exciting moment of your Pokemon trainer career, but what Pokemon should you put into the Gym you’ve just spent ten minutes taking over?

The truth is right now, it doesn’t matter, claims B1adee.

“It’s advisable to put your strongest Pokémon into the gym to make it a lot hard for enemy teams to take you down but it is very easy to be brought back down. If you’re up for it though, don’t do it alone. Team up with a few people of the same team (go Team Instinct!) to reinforce your gym to make it harder to take down. This will increase the gym’s overall prestige so players can join and help strengthen the gym. Keep in mind, it does take a lot longer to level up a gym than it does to take one down.”

Note also that taking down gyms will help you level slightly, as beating a level 4 gym will give you 450XP, level 3 gym will give you 350XP, and so on.

5. Know Your Pokemon’s Movetype As You Start Battling Gyms

This last tip is a more advanced one. You’re levelling up faster now and you probably have a few 1600CP+ Pokemon. Not too shabby. So you’re testing your might against gyms and you lose against a 1200CP Pokemon. Why? It’s because of your attack moves. Not every water Pokemon has water moves — even your trusty Squirtle. As Ariel 'arieruu' Goh explains, “ Take note of the types of moves that your Pokemon have and how these can influence how effective your Pokemon is in battle.

In Pokemon Go, there’s something called STAB, or Same Type Attack Bonus, which basically means if a Pokemon of a certain type uses a move of the same type (Grass-type Pokemon using a Grass-type attack), there will be a 25% attack bonus added to the move's strength. A super-effective move will also charge your Pokemon's special attack's meter faster. Another useful tip for gym battling is naming your Pokemon based on their move types. This makes it easier and faster to choose a Pokemon that will be super-effective against the one you are battling at a gym.

For trainers of more advanced levels, it's useful to know Pokemon also have hidden stats called IVs - In Pokemon Go, there's stamina (STA), attack (ATT) and defence (DEF), and these influence your Pokemon's CP and HP. Thus, they influence your Pokemon's potential, and keeping ones with high IVs allows you to have the best Pokemon that you possibly can. Each stat has a maximum of 15, and a Pokemon with maximum IVs (15STA/15ATT/15DEF) would be the "perfect specimen" and will have significantly higher CP and HP than one with minimum IVs (0STA/0ATT/0DEF) when they are both powered up as much as they can be. If you want to learn more about these more complex layers of the game, you can find useful resources generated by fans here and here.

If you thought these tips were good, here's a few additional ones based on my experience with the game:

  • If you're going to spend money on the game, buy Lucky Eggs. They're about 70c a pop when you buy 25 at a time.
  • Don't waste money on incense. It supposably does something but I've never seen any tangible results while sitting down or walking.
  • Make friends while playing the game. It's a social game. Say hi to people when you're sitting next to them while leeching off the same lure. Join Pokemon Go Facebook groups so you know what events are on. It's a lot funner when you're playing with people.
  • Be helpful. No one person is an expert in everything. Everyone's a student. We're all still learning this game.
  • Each suburb has different Pokemon. You gotta travel if you want to catch them all.
  • I saved up my 10K eggs until I reached level 20. So when they hatched, the Pokemon are extremely high in CP (like my Snorlax). I've been told they don't hatch any higher if you're over level 20.
  • Don't be afraid to use those Great Balls and Ultra Balls. Especially if it's for a Pokemon you NEED to catch. Same goes for the Berries.
  • Don't fall in love with your starter Pokemon pick. You'll catcher higher level ones in no time.
  • There's a few businesses around Australia offering solid discounts and free lures/charging stations. Take advantage of them if they're offering some worth your while.
  • And finally and most importantly. Stay safe. Don't go catching Pokemon solo at night. Don't try battling a gym or catching Pokemon near a lure that's in the middle of nowhere. Look up every two seconds if you're playing while walking. Pokemon will always be there tomorrow. Some thing's aren't.

Now it's your turn. What level are you currently? Do you have any tips you want to share? I'd love to read them, and I'm sure many other players would too.

Matthew Wu is a tech and competitive gaming enthusiast. You can follow him on Twitter, where every second tweet is about Pokemon Go.

This story originally appeared on Gizmodo


    It's one part MMO, one part e-sports isn't it?

    The article even remarks how the mid-teens levels are practically a No Mans Land of not quite bad but not quite good either. This is me when it comes to Street Fighter, I want to re-learn the game but not from the gurus!

      Basically. It's with most games actually. Moving from the middle-high ranks get tougher (see: WoW during 40s, LoL and DOTA2 with ELO Hell, etc. Gotta push past through it.

      It doesn't help that there's no vision of end game for Pokemon too -- just gyms (and future trading and PvP).

        Totally. We are the QA.

        Great read, dude. Seriously, going to bookmark this.

          Glad you enjoyed it! All the best with your Pokemon adventures.

        WoW, 1 to 60 is piss easy now, and has been since Cata.

    21 so far for me!

      The next few levels get hard. Make sure you find/make a few friends that are your level in order to keep pushing you to keep playing. The social aspect (including attacking gyms) help out a lot.

    There's one aspect of the game NO ONE is talking about, and that's the extremely lopsided issue with Pokecoins.

    The only way to get coins is to A) buy them with real currency, or B) get them from having Pokemon at Gyms. So basically if you don't want to battle you are NEVER getting any coins to buy incense, lucky eggs etc. Sure you get some here and there from hitting a new level but that's it.

    This creates a situation where the only people who are able to get coins without paying are the ones who have pokemon at gyms, which means they can afford to buy more supplementary items to help level their pokemon or catch higher level ones and also go up in levels themselves, which means they can level up their pokemon etc etc. it's an endless progression if you're one of the lucky ones at the top.

    It boils down to a weird capitalistic structure where the rich are getting richer and more powerful and the gap between lower level or newer players is becoming wider and wider. It becomes increasingly harder for lower level players to even get a look in at a gym, so that they might earn coins to buy items to help them progress a bit faster to catch up.

    It's really lopsided and a bit frustrating as I can see it getting worse and worse as time goes on, with the top level players staying at the top, reaping the most rewards and effectuvely shutting out lower level and new players.

      It might be unsatisfactory, but the answer to this is basically that like the big raids in WoW, gyms are there for the top-level players. You might nab one occasionally for a quick 10 coins if you're lower level and out with some friends, but really until you're Level 20 you'll level up much faster by spinning pokestops and catching and evolving. With some judicious use of the incubators and lucky eggs you get for levelling up, you'll reach 20 in no time. Then your levelling will slow way down, but you'll be able to catch 1000+ CP Pokemon all the time and be a respectable force in the gym game - levels past 20 are slow to gain and provide much smaller benefits.

      tl;dr: Spend 20 levels playing the "catch 'em all" game, THEN play the gym control game.

        That seems like the most feasible explanation, although as the level cap raises it becomes difficult again, effectively widening the gap further.

        I would think that getting coins when you level up would have been sufficient, so that there's more than one way to get them, whereas now, people are being locked of getting them altogether and will continue to be as the level cap is rasied incrementally.

          21 is a soft level cap at the moment - getting past there requires far, far more experience than the earlier levels and provides diminishing returns in Pokemon strength. A Level 20 player might need to use a couple more potions to take down a gym than a Level 25, but broadly speaking they're competitive (at least, much more so than a Level 15 against a Level 20).

          It's still hard to hold a gym on your own at Level 20, but it's hard to hold them at Level 25 as well. By Level 20, you're functionally an endgame player.

      That's why you want friends on the same team. You can all tackle the gym at once and knock points off it much quicker. Take advantage of types also.

      Except eggs and incense aren't necessary...they're just convenience items. Incense isn't even required, generally nets 6 pokemon in 30 mins...better off going for a walk or finding a lure hotspot.

      Lucky eggs are valuable for that xp boost. You can pay for them and use them all the time, or if you save them and wait till you can spend 30 mins straight evolving pokemon then you never need to buy them. By the time you've used them all you've already earned more from leveling.

      I'm level 21...bought 8 lucky eggs when I started (used most of them at low levels) because I was a week late and wanted to catch my brother. I've never run out and still have 3 left. Also in terms of gyms I take them down regularly using pokemon that have half the CP of the defenders. Gym battles heavily favour the attackers...no-one holds onto a gym for very long.

      Last edited 26/07/16 12:08 pm

        I'm aware eggs etc aren't 'necessary' but my whole point is the that the pokecoin currency can be used to get a significant edge over other players, and also lock them out of the chance of gaining pokecoins for themselves.

        I'm level 17 and have played a little bit everyday since launch, (highest pokemon I have in a jolteon at 935) usually on my lunch break or going on a walks with my partner after work. I have gotten into a few gyms (briefly) and earned maybe 150 coins in total. It's almost impossible for me to get into any now as all the gyms around my work or home are controlled by trainers with pokemon double the CP of mine. Even if I want to take down a gym by continuously attacking and healing after it would take hours as some of the gyms are lvl 5+

        What this means is that I'm locked out of earning coins completely because i don't have my pokemon at a higher level The best way to level up at a decent pace is with things like eggs, lures etc but I have to wait till i hit levels to get them, otherwise I have to fork out real $$$. Meanwhile the people controlling the gyms are sitting at the top collecting in game coins (ie not real cash) everyday they are in control, which they can then use to level up faster, power up their pokemon and so on, thereby putting themselves in a position where they can lock out even MORE people as the gap between players increases.

        In essence it punishes those people who are NOT spending all their time/cash on becoming the absolute top tier, and locking out all others from having a chance at challenging them.

        It's bad enough dealing with Murdoch or Rinehart in the real world, let alone the pokemon world too.

          You're putting too much stake into gyms. I've collected a grand total of 20 coins from gyms, you don't need them to level fast, you don't need coins. Even then it's 10 coins per gym, you can hold a max of 10 gyms meaning its 100 per 21 hours max. In general gyms seem to change hands every 10-15 minutes so good luck on anyone holding a decent amount of gyms.

          As for the time to attack..I spent 10 mins (until it started raining and I ran for it) and knocked 2 levels off a level 7 gym using pokemon that had hundreds lower cp to do it. Attacking gyms isn't hard and it doesn't take long. Holding gyms is bloody hard and you don't get much for it.

          Gyms give a very minor reward, trust me, you aren't missing out on anything there. If you want lots of coins you buy them, pure and simple. It's a free to play game, that's how it's been designed to run. People who pay real cash get a small advantage.

          Last edited 26/07/16 2:22 pm

            I'm not putting too much stake into gyms at all, but the fact remains holding a gym is the only way to get coins other than with real cash.

            Time to attack gyms would vary on the strength of your pokemon, the opponents and also how many levels the gym has. The ones around here are pretty stacked with heavy CP pokemans and have heaps of levels, so it's not quick or easy task.

            It's not a BIG deal, it's just a discrepancy that I feel is weighted badly and may put people off the game who are late comers or casuals.

            Last edited 26/07/16 3:19 pm

              QQ mate, QQ.

              It's not such a big deal, you just suck. If you feel you need to buy eggs, lures to get that edge but aren't committed enough to do it, then it obviously isnt a big deal. Plus playing only a couple hours a day will not help even if you had those eggs and lures as the guys in these high gyms are likely playing with friends and strategising.

              TLDR: QQ

          What advantage do you think players are buying with coins? Like @xenoun said, everything except eggs is pretty useless for levelling advantage, and the eggs you get for levelling up are sufficient if you use them wisely. At best, it takes the Level 1-20 grind from three weeks to two.

          Your inability to hold gyms is a function of the game mechanics, not your level - it's just far, far easier to take over a gym than it is to defend one. The gym across the road from my work is often filled with 1500+ CP Pokemon and it still changes hands every hour or two, and no bought items are going to prevent that. Nobody is sitting on multiple gyms for days on end reaping the rewards.

            Like I said, the system rewards those already at the top, and helps them stay at a higher level, but a the same time is punishes those who aren't holding gyms as there is no other way to earn coins.

            The system does work with the turnover of gyms, you're right, it's juts trying to get a look in to actually get in there is the hard part. I have seen people with really high level Pokedudes sit at the top of a level 7 gym consistently for days though.

              But you're saying it's a feedback loop. True, the people who have gyms get coins, but they don't get many, and I'm still not clear on what you think they're buying that strengthens their advantage.

                Everything you can buy can strengthen your advantage to some extent, lures, incense, eggs etc they can all give you a leg up when it comes to catching more pokemon, leveling them up and leveling your self up which in turn means you can level up your pokemen further.

                You can level up faster, and level your pokemen higher as opposed to people not collecting coins every day.

              Mate, as other people have said, you're over-valuing gyms. I know because I did exactly the same thing. The amount of time you spend taking down a gym for coins is not insignificant. Then consider you've got to do that a few times if you want more than 10 coins, and hope that no-one takes back your coins...

              I'd say dedicated players are probably only getting 30-50 coins on average per day. Best bang for buck out of that is buying more backpack space and/or egg incubators. And if you spent even $7/$15, you'd be way ahead of these people in terms of time/money investment. You can't use money to buy better pokemon. To get better pokemon you just have to catch a lot of pokemon and evolve the best ones. That is all there is to it.

              Consider that you have SIX pokemon to attack a gym with. I took down a 1800CP arcanine with a 1200CP Golduck - just because the CP is higher, doesn't mean you can't kill it if you pick the right pokemon. Multiply by your six best pokemon and however many potions/revives you have (probably a lot unless you've been ditching them) and you can usually take down gyms with much higher CP pokemon that what you have.

              Hit up lures hubs and farm pokemon for a bunch of pokemon - then use the lucky eggs you've gained through levelling to go on an evolving spree. Don't use the lucky eggs otherwise. You want AT LEAST 30 pokemon ready to evolve before popping an egg, if not 40. Level up to 20 and you'll start being able to compete with some of your more powerful evolved pokemon and take the gyms. But trust me, it really doesn't provide as big an advantage as you think it does.

              Seriously, once you hit level 20 and start getting >1k pokemon, you'll be able to take gyms.

      I thought so too until I saw a clip of what happens when multiple people fight a gym at the same time. Attacking in groups makes it essentially 2, 3, or 4 VS 1. I was overjoyed when my GF and I with 300-400cp pokémon took down a gym with level 1000cp leaders. We blew through our 6 and just got it but we won and got the bonus.

      You just need to play with friends, even red and blue players can fight a yellow gym at the same time. You can then work together taking the gym from one another and 'cheat' the defender bonus.

      That said as a level 9 I chose a pidgey and spend all my savings (dust/candy) on it from every one I'd caught (roughly 50 of them) and got it to 900cp, after doing the same with an ekans, and rattata. I had enough cp to take on gyms by myself.

      It doesn't take much to level a 'mon' to 1000cp, you just can't be picky about which one.

    Do most people throw straight or throw curveballs? I've thrown every shot curve since the start and it just seems odd to me to throw straight.

    People keep complaining about the difficulty peak in catching pokemon at higher levels, saying a 40CP Zubat takes 6-8 balls etc. I'm level 21 and am still yet to see any spike...most low CP pokemon are a single ball to catch, or it'll be 2 on the odd occasion. Even the 300+ CP Zubats generally take only 1 ball but require 2 more often than the rest.

    Is this because I curve the ball? Are the people with the spike complaining because they're throwing straight?

    Incense will spawn more pokemon, the faster that you're moving (up to around 100km/hr). The sweet spot seems to be around 40-60km/hr (if you have someone willing to drive you around).
    At that speed, you'll notice pokemon spawning roughly once a minute or so and they'll have the pink swirls around them (to differentiate between normal and incense spawns).

    If you're just sitting around, the pokemon will only spawn about every 5 minutes. Which is a complete waste of incense. Find a PokeStop and use a lure instead (or just find one that someone else has lured).

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