Pokemon Go's India release has finally happened on iOS and Android. You can now download and play Pokemon Go officially in India. The developers of Pokemon Go seem to like letting people figure things out on their own. While that leads to lots of surprises while playing the game, you could save a lot of time and effort if you knew a few things when starting off.
A whole bunch of Pokemon Go players started playing the game early, even before it was officially launched in their regions. This means that if you started late, or couldn't dedicate much time to the game, you find yourself surrounded by people with 1000CP (combat power) Pokemon and you'll be intimidated by seeing 2000CP Dragonites ruling gyms. If you are facing this, the following tips will help you make up for lost time.
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1. Hold the throw
Once you tap a Pokemon to start a capture attempt, you might be tempted to start throwing Pokeballs immediately. Instead, try swiping upwards a little and holding the ball there. You'll often see the Pokemon jump, or see it's attack animation. Both these things could lead to you missing the Pokemon and this tip could save you a lot of Pokeballs in the long run. With the latest update, bonuses for difficult throws are gone, and arbitrary curveballs have increased, so make each throw count.
2. Optimise incubators
You have one infinite use egg incubator and one limited use incubator that you can use thrice. Always use the limited-use incubator on 10-km eggs and the infinite one on 2- and 5-km eggs. This way you'll spend more time with two or sometimes even more incubators running simultaneously.
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3. Hoard Stardust and Incense
Just started the game and excited about that 10CP Pikachu with 65 attack? Do not power it up. Hoard all of your Stardust and Candy. Your 10CP Pikachu might touch 50CP now, but as you keep playing, you'll encounter Pokemon with much higher CP in the wild. By the time you reach level 17, you should start seeing 1000CP Pokemon in the wild. Powering up your low-level Pokemon will only give you around a 50CP boost, so it's not worth the effort initially. Later in the game if you're pushing your Pokemon beyond 1000CP or even 2000CP, you'll need all that Stardust you're hoarding.
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Incense is an item you'll get for leveling up, or sometimes from Pokestops, and it helps lure Pokemon to wherever you are. If you move while using Incense, you'll catch more Pokemon. There's no point using an Incense when you're a low level. Save it for level 15 or so, and activate it in a place where a lot of Pokemon are known to spawn. Then you have a better chance of catching high CP Pokemon.
4. Don't waste the Lucky Egg
A Lucky Egg gives you twice the amount of XP (experience points) for half an hour. These are extremely rare items in the game - you only get them once every five levels. You can buy one for 80 Pokecoins too, but we'll get to that later. You need to make every Lucky Egg count and by that we mean, used properly, it can help you to earn at least 50,000 XP in 30 minutes. The best way to do this is mass evolve all of your Pokemon. Go to Pidgey Calc and add all Pokemon you have ready for evolution, along with the number of Pidgey candy you have. The site will recommend the number of Pokemon you need to maximise that Lucky Egg. Pidgey, Weedle, and Caterpie need just 12 Candy for evolution, so hoard them until you're ready to rise up levels at escape velocity.
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You can also use an Incense and Lucky Egg at the same time to keep catching new Pokemon and gain XP, but the evolution trick mentioned above is better.
5. How to find Pokemon
Nearby tracking in Pokemon Go is broken. Niantic even removed the feature from the latest update, and kicked out the amazing Pokevision website that showed you where Pokemon are. There are two great alternatives that still work, so you can find Pokemon with ease.
The first is Pokemon Go Desktop Map. Under Downloads click the version for your computer's operating system (eg: PokemonGoMap-Win.exe for Windows). Once you've installed it, follow the simple instructions to get a Google Maps API key. Just remember to log in with a Google account not linked to Pokemon Go. Enter the key in the app, log in with the same Google account, and you'll see all the Pokemon in any given location. The app is slow to refresh and the mobile version needs the desktop app running on your PC, but it works.
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The second alternative shows how Pokemon Go's tracking should have worked. It's Android only, so download Compass for Pokemon Beta from Google Play. Log in with a Pokemon Trainer Club account not linked to your Pokemon Go account (or just create a new one in the app). Now the app will scan all the Pokemon around you, and show you a compass with distance. Follow the compass for the distance specified and then open Pokemon Go on your phone. Boom, the Pokemon will appear right there. If you're on iPhone, you'll just have to wait for the launch of an app like Pokepilot.
6. Which Pokemon should I evolve?
There's no point in evolving that 35CP Weedle into a powerless 40CP Metapod. It's a waste of Candy. Ideally you want to ensure that all Pokemon you evolve have the potential to turn into 1000CP behemoths in their final forms. For that, there is Pogotoolkit. Just select your Pokemon and enter its CP. The site will show you its CP after evolution. The data is fairly accurate but expect a deviation of a 10-50 CP. If Pogotoolkit is down, you can always check this Reddit thread to see what you need to guarantee 1000CP+ evolutions.
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7. Collecting Pokecoins
When you place your Pokemon at the gym, you can either collect Pokecoins immediately or wait until you have a few more Pokemon at other gyms. Since you probably aren't a high level player, start putting Pokemon and collecting coins immediately. It'll add up to a miserable 10 coins per 21 hours, but if you time it right, in 8 days you could have enough Pokecoins to buy a Lucky Egg.
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8. Pokemon battles
You've seen three 1000CP Pokemon from a rival team guarding a gym. There's no way your weak Pokemon can take all three down, but if you do things right, you could take down one at least. This earns you some XP, and lowers the gym's prestige. Remember that you can take six Pokemon to battle rivals, and you can use an app like Willow or a website like PokemonDB to figure out which of your Pokemon are effective against those guarding the gym. Pokemon Go often selects the most effective ones by default, so you can trust its judgement too.
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Also remember that the game has a "same-type attack bonus". If your Pokemon is a water-type, check its attacks. Under the name of the attack, you'll see type. Water type Pokemon will deal additional damage with water attacks, for example. Pokemon with a quick base attack, like Vaporeon's Aqua Tail can deal a lot of damage in a short time. The secondary attack may have big damage, but it takes time to charge and you could have already lost before you're ready to fire.
These tips should help you catch up with the players ahead of you. If you have any other tips, let us know via the comments.