I recently started playing Pokemon Go, and it took me an embarrassing amount of time to figure out the little basics which, had I known them, would have saved me a lot of items that I wasted on crappy Pokemon. I ended up jumping from site to site, gathering pieces of information here and there, until I got a better understanding of how to best obliterate my valuable time. So to save you from going through the same tedious process, here's what I learned ...
Create A Throwaway Email Address
Within days of this game coming out, the whole internet exploded with stories of "POKEMON CAN READ YOUR EMAIL, WE'RE ALL GONNA FUCKING DIE!" Fortunately, that ridiculous panic turned out to be total bullshit. The problem, though, is that I've seen insane stories of gaming networks being hacked for real, so I know that's a legitimate possibility. So instead of assuming that they don't have access to every facet of your life, right down to your DNA, let's just play it safe and assume that they do.
As with any game or software which requires an email address to log in, I always create a throwaway email address. That way, if someone breaks into it, who cares? If the game company spams me with "important information" that I will never give even a fraction of a shit about, so be it. I'm not going to be reading that email anyway. So the first thing I did was set up a new gmail address, which is pretty simple:
Well, maybe. Sometimes it takes a couple of shots before landing on a name that hasn't already been taken. Let's try another.
Well, shit. Ummmm ...
Booyah! Now, we're off to the races, baby! Now, just fire up the game, and let's get to catching Pokemon right in their stupid Pokefaces.
NOTE: If you run into server issues, you may regret choosing a long password.
Before You Even Pick A Nickname, You Get To Catch A Pokemon!
Right off the bat, you're thrown into the game. Three Pokemon will appear, and you'll be able to catch only one of them as your starter. TIP: If one of those three are not Pikachu and you are an obsessive freak who cannot survive without a Pikachu, you can still get one. Walk or drive away from those three starter Pokemon without tapping on one of them (don't battle any of them). After you get far enough away, they'll despawn and respawn within your reach. Get them to do that four or five times, and they'll finally respawn with Pikachu added. Here's "ThatDudeSly" doing it on his YouTube channel:
All you have to do to initiate your first battle is touch one of them, because Pokemon are notorious for reacting to touch with hatred and violence. The only way to stop them is to cram them into a ball that's a fraction of their size. To do that, just hold down on a Pokeball, and then flick it toward the Pokemon. If you hit it, the ball will capture it, and now you are officially an enemy of animal rights activists forever.
Since I don't like to walk or drive or leave my house for any reason, ever, I caught my first one in my living room:
The FUCK off of my filing cabinet!
Every time you catch a Pokemon, you will get 100 stardust, which is a very important form of currency which you'll need in order to level up your enslaved animals. You'll also get experience points for yourself as a trainer. The higher your level, the more likely you are to encounter more powerful Pokemon with higher stats. TIP: If you want more XP, you can swirl your Pokeball around before you throw it, and if it hits, you'll get a "curve ball" bonus. You'll also get more XP by hitting that shrinking circle with the ball. The smaller the circle, the more bonus points you'll get. Personally, I usually just scream in a blind panic and throw my phone, so I haven't really mastered that part yet.
Always remember to rename your Pokemon. Not only does it give the game a more personalized feel, but it helps if you can name them something which helps you remember what attacks they have. Once you have a shitload of Pokemon, that gets kind of hard to remember.
There are a few things you need to know here. Things I didn't understand until I looked them up. That number at the top (CP) stands for "combat power," and not "cock puncher" as I originally thought. It basically represents how powerful your Pokemon is -- how hard it can punch another Pokemon in its Pokecock. The lowest power you can have is 10, and most of the ones you catch in the first few trainer levels are going to be super weak like this. I'm going to explain how to make them more powerful, but don't waste your items on these beginning catches. Remember, the higher your level, the more naturally powerful Pokemon you'll find. You'll want to save your items for leveling up those.
It doesn't make much sense to waste a bunch of items leveling up weak Pokemon like Sack Back or Dick Magnet, when you could be sprucing up your more powerful ones, like Metallicat or Butt Gerbil.
Tapping "Power Up" will give you a permanent increase in hit points and CP. Tapping "Evolve" will change your Pokemon into its next, more powerful version, and also increase its CP value, hit points, and possibly change or upgrade its special attacks. There have been arguments about which do first -- do you level first and then evolve, or do you evolve first and then level? Those who have tried both methods have said that they've seen no difference, and then were immediately called racist and homophobic slurs. But not at real-life PokeStops, because though everyone loves to hand out a good insult online, nobody likes receiving an old-fashioned ass-kicking in meatspace.
You'll want to check out the attacks of each Pokemon you catch, because two of the same Pokemon can have different special moves. For instance, I have two snakes which at first glance don't look all that different:
But if you scroll down to their attacks and stats, you'll see that Tubesteak is much larger than Skin Flute, while Skin Flute's "Gunk Shot" is more powerful than Tubesteak's "Sludge Bomb."
Also notice that the more powerful your Pokemon, the more resources (stardust and candy) it needs to level up further. My rule of thumb is to keep the highest CP-value ones, as well as any that have high-damage attacks, and then just transfer away all duplicates. Doing that will permanently delete the Pokemon from your list, and the professor will give you one candy of that Pokemon type in exchange. Because that's the way we'd do it in real life. "Thanks for the snake. Here's a piece of snake candy."
So let's go back to that very first battle, in which you caught Bubblefarter. After you capture your first Pokemon, the professor will ask your name, so ...
Have Several Thousand Nicknames In Mind
Due to the sheer amount of people playing this game, your nickname of "Donglord_NutJammer" is probably going to be taken. Right now, this game has been installed on more phones than Twitter, and try to remember how hard it was to come up with an original handle when that beast got popular. You'll have to think of something original, like I did:
Well yeah, of course I do.
Of course it's not. OK, let's get a little more original. Maybe pluralize it.
Goddammit. OK, how about I just use my favorite band from the '90s that isn't Faith No More?
GODFUCKINGDAMMIT! OK, screw this.
After the professor patronizes you and causes you to throw your phone at your nearest child, he'll tell you that it's time to walk around and catch Pokemon. Finally! Now it's time to do the fun stuff, baby ...
... unless you live in the country or on the edge of a small town. In that case, you'll have to walk or drive into the middle of town, where the actual Pokemon are. Even if you're not near heavily-populated areas (where most of them spawn), you'll still be able to catch some. It'll just take way longer for them to show up. So while we're waiting for Pokemon to spawn close enough for me to catch, let's go into the menu so I can explain a few things that I didn't know when I first started out.