Pokémon Go captured the world when it launched in summer 2016. Beyond the excitement of traveling to new locations to catch monsters and meet like-minded trainers, one of the things that made Niantic's collaboration with The Pokémon Company so interesting was the mystery that surrounded nearly every element about the game.

The mystery was thrilling at first, but after a while, being in the dark wore on users of the app, and they decided to do something about it. Players scoured their local areas, data-mined the app, and started crowd-sourced sites on where to find the best monsters and how to be the most efficient trainers they could be.

Each time a new major update hits, the sense of mystery in Pokémon Go is reinvigorated. However, thanks to the methods discovered and created by players in the original release, light is shed on each successive update quicker than ever before.

Check out the latest information on Pokémon Go below, and if you have anything you think would be helpful to add, let us know in the comments section.

People still play Pokémon Go?

Yes. Lots. As recently as February 22, 2017, it was the top-grossing app in the iOS App Store, and as of June 2017, Niantic says it has over 60 million monthly active users across the globe. Alright, now that we have that out of the way...

Well, I've never played it. How do I start and what should I focus on at first?

Well, all you need to do is download it on the iOS App Store or the Google Play store. It's a free app with optional microtransactions. Once you're in, you'll be asked to choose a starter Pokémon. You can choose between Bulbasaur, Charmander, and Squirtle, or do a secret trick to get Pikachu as your starter.

Once you're up and running, simply walk around and start catching things that you encounter and spinning the disks of each PokéStop you stumble upon to earn items. Each new monster brings you one step closer to filling up your Pokédex, which is, for many, the ultimate goal of the game. Each time you catch a Pokémon, you earn candies, which can be used to evolve some Pokémon or, when combined with stardust, power them up. I'd recommend holding off on powering up any Pokémon until you get to a higher level, as each time you level up your profile, you are able to catch more powerful monsters. Until then, just save up your candies not used for evolution and stockpile any stardust – you'll love having an abundance of stardust later on when your monsters are ready to take on gyms. For more on gym battles read below.

How do gyms work?

In summer 2017, Niantic reworked the gym system to get rid of the need to train in order to earn more slots. Instead, each gym has six permanent slots available to whatever team controls it. When you interact with a gym for the first time, you gain a gym badge, which levels up based on your interactions with that particular gym. In addition, each Pokémon now has a stamina meter, which depletes over time or any time that creature loses a battle against a rival team. The stamina directly impacts that Pokémon's CP, meaning that a less motivated Pokémon is less effective in battle. When the Pokémon's stamina meter reaches zero, it returns to its trainer after its next battle. Players with Pokémon that are losing motivation to battle can replenish their stamina by feeding them berries. Each berry slightly increases the Pokémon's stamina meter and awards the trainer with 20 stardust.

Each gym has has also added a PokéStop disc to spin. If your team is in charge of that gym, you get bonus items. You also earn more items the higher leveled your badge is for that gym. The first time you visit a gym PokéStop each day, you earn a free raid pass if you don't already have one in your inventory.

For our impressions on this iteration of the gym system, head here.

What's a raid and how do I get a legendary Pokémon?

Occasionally, extremely powerful raid bosses take over a gym. This is signaled by the creature appearing on top of the gym with a timer above its head. Within that two-hour  time limit, you can trade in a raid pass (you get one free raid pass per day as outlined above) to battle that creature. These aren't your typical monsters, however. These bosses are supercharged to require multiple players most of the time. That means that instead of facing a Tyranitar with 3,000 CP like you would in a standard gym battle, the Gen 2 leviathan is even larger in size and features a ballooned CP of over 30,000.

Depending on the difficulty of the raid boss, you'll want to join up with a group of players. You can bring up to 20 players into the same battle against the boss, but you don't always need that many. For level 1 raid bosses, you can likely take them down on your own, while you probably want a handful of players for level 3, and anywhere from 9 to 20 for level 5 bosses.

In addition, Niantic now has exclusive raid battles where you must receive a special invitation in order to participate. The invitations are based on if you have completed a raid in the gym that the exclusive raid boss is taking over. Because of the exclusive nature of these battles, trainers are given additional notice so that they can gather a big group of players. The first exclusive raid boss is Mewtwo, but other powerful creatures will join in the future.

Each player brings a team of six Pokémon they select during the two-minute waiting period in the lobby. While the game typically recommends creatures, those are usually not the best options. Pokémon like Blissey and Snorlax might have high CP and stats, but that's mostly thanks to their defense. Instead, look for Pokémon that don't only have more offensive abilities, but also play into the weakness of the raid boss. For example, if you're facing off against Arcanine, a fairly strong water Pokémon fares better than even a high CP Blissey. Save your Blisseys for defending gyms. If all of your Pokémon get knocked out, you can rejoin the battle as long as you're within the time limit. You can either select a new team or quickly use healing items to revive the ones that were just defeated.

If you manage to defeat the boss, it shrinks down to normal size and more normal CP; the over-30,000 CP Tyranitar shrinks down to just over 2,000 CP. You earn raid-exclusive items like rare candy and TMs. Rare candy can be exchanged for a candy for any Pokémon of your choosing, while Fast TMs and Charged TMs re-roll a Pokémon of your choosing's fast and charged move, respectively. Based on a number of variables including how much damage your team dealt, whether your team currently controls the gym the raid is taking place at, and how much damage you dealt, you earn Premier Balls, which are used to try and catch the raid boss. The higher you get in the tiers, the more difficult the raid bosses are to catch. Legendary Pokémon in the fifth tier are particularly difficult to catch, so you absolutely want to use Golden Razz Berries and try your best to be accurate with your throws.

If you manage to catch the raid boss, it becomes your Pokémon and you earn some candy for that creature. You are free to do with the Pokémon what you wish. However, the only catch is that you are unable to station legendary Pokémon in gyms.

Here are the Pokémon that appear as raid bosses. If the Pokémon is italicized, it is currently not a raid boss.

Level 1
Charmeleon (November 4, 2017 - ???)
Ivysaur (November 4, 2017 - ???)
Metapod (November 4, 2017 - ???)
Wailmer (December 21, 2017 - ???)
Wartortle (November 4, 2017 - ???)
Magikarp (June 21, 2017 - November 4, 2017)
Bayleef (June 21, 2017 - November 4, 2017)
Quilava (June 21, 2017 - November 4, 2017)
Croconaw (June 21, 2017 - November 4, 2017)

Level 2
Cloyster (November 4, 2017 - ???)
Magneton (November 4, 2017 - ???)
Marowak (November 4, 2017 - ???)
Mawile (December 8, 2017 - ???)
Sableye (November 4, 2017 - ???)
Sandslash (November 4, 2017 - ???)
Tentacruel (November 4, 2017 - ???)
Muk (June 21, 2017 - November 4, 2017)
Electabuzz
(June 21, 2017 - November 4, 2017)
Magmar
(June 21, 2017 - November 4, 2017)
Weezing
(June 21, 2017 - November 4, 2017)
Exeggutor
(June 21, 2017 - November 4, 2017)

Level 3
Alakazam (June 21, 2017 - ???)
Gengar (June 21, 2017 - ???)
Machamp (June 21, 2017 - ???)
Ninetails (November 4, 2017 - ???)
Omastar (November 4, 2017 - ???)
Porygon (November 4, 2017 - ???)
Scyther (November 4, 2017 - ???)
Vaporeon (June 21, 2017 - November 4, 2017)
Jolteon
(June 21, 2017 - November 4, 2017)
Flareon
(June 21, 2017 - November 4, 2017)
Arcanine
(June 21, 2017 - November 4, 2017)

Level 4
Absol (December 8, 2017 - ???)
Golem (November 4, 2017 - ???)
Lapras (June 21, 2017 - ???)
Nidoking (November 4, 2017 - ???)
Nidoqueen (November 4, 2017 - ???)
Poliwrath (November 4, 2017 - ???)
Snorlax (June 21, 2017 - ???)
Tyranitar (June 21, 2017 - ???)
Victreebel (November 4, 2017 - ???)
Venusaur (June 21, 2017 - November 4, 2017)
Charizard
(June 21, 2017 - November 4, 2017)
Blastoise
(June 21, 2017 - November 4, 2017)
Rhydon
(June 21, 2017 - November 4, 2017)

Level 5 - Legendary
Kyogre (January 12, 2018 - February 14, 2018)
Groudon (December 15, 2017 - January 15, 2018)
Lugia (July 23, 2017 - August 31, 2017)
Articuno (July 23, 2017 - July 31, 2017, August 14, 2017 - August 31, 2017)
Moltres (July 31, 2017 - August 7, 2017, August 14, 2017 - August 31, 2017)
Zapdos (August 7, 2017 - August 31, 2017)
Raikou (September 1, 2017 - September 30, 2017)
Entei (October 1, 2017 - October 31, 2017)
Suicune (November 1, 2017 - November 30, 2017)
Ho-oh (November 27, 2017 - December 14, 2017)

Level 6 - Exclusive
Mewtwo

What's the deal with in-game weather?

In its December 2017 update, Niantic added a new mechanic where the weather in the game mirrored the weather around you. While this makes for new environmental backgrounds and a change to the map your character traverses, it also affects which Pokémon appear more commonly. If you see a Pokémon spawn on the map with a swirl pattern beneath it, that means it is a result of the new weather mechanic and that if you catch it, you receive an additional 25 stardust. The weather system also makes the affected Pokémon stronger in battle. For instance, on a clear day, not only will fire Pokémon appear more commonly, but their attacks are also more effective if you take on a gym or raid.

Check out which types are made more common and stronger in the list below.

  • Clear - Grass, Ground, Fire
  • Rain - Water, Electric, Bug
  • Windy - Dragon, Flying, Psychic
  • Snow - Ice, Steel
  • Fog - Dark, Ghost

[Source: Niantic]

Where can I find a specific Pokémon?

Due to the nature of Pokémon Go's spawns, there is unfortunately no reliable way to tell you to go to a specific spot to always catch a specific Pokémon. However, many monsters do "nest" in the game, meaning that if you go to a particular spot while their nest is located there, you're likely to catch several of that monster.

Nests are not mentioned in Pokémon Go itself, but you can find out what nests are around you (and even search on specific species of Pokémon) using The Silph Road's Nest Atlas tool. This tool features reliable crowd-sourced information from Pokémon Go players all over the world who report the nests they encounter.

If you find an accessible nest of a creature that you need, it's not a good idea to wait. Nests migrate approximately every two weeks, which means many of the nests near you will be replaced by another creature. The silver lining is that the Weedle nest next to your house could very well become a Kabuto nest for a couple of weeks. 

What Pokémon are region-exclusive?

Just like in the mainline Pokémon games, some monsters can only be found in certain regions. While Niantic has remained steadfast in keeping some the regional exclusives just that, it has bent the rules in some select instances like Pokémon Go Fest in Chicago where Heracross appeared, and the European Safari Zone event.

Check out the full list of known regional exclusives below.

  • Tauros - North America
  • Farfetch'd - Asia
  • Mr. Mime - Europe
  • Kangaskhan - Australia
  • Heracross - Central and South America, Southern Florida and Texas
  • Corsola - Tropical Regions (within approximately 30 degrees of the equator)
  • Zangoose - Rotates
  • Plusle - North America, South America, and Africa
  • Seviper - Rotates
  • Minum - Europe, Asia, and Australia
  • Relicanth - New Zealand

[Source: Reddit]

What do I get from eggs?

If you can't find a particular Pokémon, sometimes the best way to find it is to leave it up to the roulette that is hatching eggs. You get eggs from PokéStops and can hold up to nine at a time. In order to hatch eggs, you must equip an incubator and walk the distance required for the type of egg it is.

Each trainer is provided one incubator that can be used an infinite number of times. Additional incubators can be earned through leveling up (though that becomes much rarer at higher levels), but the easiest way to get more incubators is to buy them for 150 Pokécoins each in Pokémon Go's in-app shop. Unfortunately, every incubator earned or purchased outside of the original one can only be used to hatch three eggs.

A popular strategy is to use limited-use incubators on 5km and 10km eggs, while only using the unlimited-use incubator every trainer has on the multitude of 2km eggs you're sure to encounter. This will ensure you don't burn through your premium incubators on eggs that not only hatch quickly, but are also less likely to yield anything good. In addition, the higher the egg distance, the more candy you'll receive for the Pokémon that hatches.

These eggs look different based on how far you must walk to hatch them. 2km eggs are colored with green spots, 5km eggs feature yellow spots, while 10km eggs have blue spots. While it might sound like you'd only want 2km eggs so that you can burn through them and gather as many Pokémon as quickly as possible, the higher the distance required by the egg, the better the pool of Pokémon is that can hatch from it.

You cannot acquire regional-exclusive Pokémon from eggs not found in those regions, and stats have shown that if you visit the same PokéStops every day, you'll likely hatch the same handful of Pokémon each time. In addition, only the most basic form of that Pokémon's evolution chain is able to be hatched, meaning you'll never find a Tyranitar or Dragonite in your eggs, but rather those Pokémon's pre-evolution forms, Larvitar and Dratini.

To see what species of Pokémon come from each egg type, check out the most recent list below.

2km Eggs

  • Charmander
  • Misdreavus
  • Machop
  • Abra
  • Slugma
  • Togepi
  • Pichu
  • Poochyena
  • Wurmple
  • Wailmer
  • Bulbasaur
  • Krabby
  • Geodude
  • Exeggcute
  • Gastly
  • Remoraid
  • Spinarak
  • Igglybuff
  • Gulpin
  • Luvdisc
  • Squirtle
  • Slowpoke
  • Oddish
  • Cleffa
  • Diglett
  • Shuckle
  • Aipom
  • Zigzagoon
  • Spoink

5km Eggs

  • Chikorita
  • Pinsir
  • Mantine
  • Sneasel
  • Rhyhorn
  • Omanyte
  • Lickitung
  • Elekid
  • Sandshrew
  • Growlithe
  • Magnemite
  • Onix
  • Psyduck
  • Cubone
  • Seel
  • Vulpix
  • Wooper
  • Tyrogue
  • Treecko
  • Shroomish
  • Azurill
  • Corphish
  • Cyndaquil
  • Scyther
  • Stantler
  • Girafarig
  • Dunsparce
  • Kabuto
  • Grimer
  • Magby
  • Phanpy
  • Houndour
  • Pineco
  • Drowzee
  • Shellder
  • Staryu
  • Voltorb
  • Poliwag
  • Hoppip
  • Mudkip
  • Shuppet
  • Duskull
  • Carvanha
  • Totodile
  • Tangela
  • Qwilfish
  • Gligar
  • Ponyta
  • Yanma
  • Smoochum
  • Teddiursa
  • Snubbull
  • Koffing
  • Wobbuffet
  • Eevee
  • Tentacool
  • Natu
  • Paras
  • Swinub
  • Marill
  • Torchic
  • Makuhita
  • Wynaut
  • Lotad

10km Eggs

  • Chansey
  • Aerodactyl
  • Sudowoodo
  • Porygon
  • Chinchou
  • Mareep
  • Sableye
  • Lapras
  • Miltank
  • Skarmory
  • Larvitar
  • Dratini
  • Slakoth
  • Ralts
  • Feebas

[Source: Ranked Boost]


On the next page, we get into coins, evolution Items, trading, and more!