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When you first start playing Pokémon GO, the only way to add pokémon to your pokédex is to catch them in the wild. But before too long, you’ll get two new ways to add them: hatching and evolving.
NOTE: Video to come.
Hatching pokémon eggs
Until you reach Level 5, when you visit a PokéStop and spin the photo disc, pokéballs are the only items you receive. Once you’ve reached Level 5, however, you start collecting a variety of new items, including pokémon eggs. You may not realize it right away, but you can see if you have any by going to the Pokémon screen and clicking the Eggs tab.
There are three different types of eggs: 2km, 5km, and 10km. These correspond to the distance you need to walk with them inside an incubator to hatch them. The lower the distance, the lower the level of pokémon that will hatch out of them. However, you have no way of knowing which specific mon will come out of any given egg.
Another type of item you start receiving after Level 5 are incubators. The first one you get is good for infinite uses, i.e. you put one egg in it and after it hatches you can put another egg in it. After that, any eggs you receive can only be used for 3 eggs. You can also purchase incubators in the Shop for 150 coins.
As soon as you have an egg available, you should start incubating it. All you need to do is tap the egg and then tap the Start Incubation button. From this point on, every time you go walking, the app will track your distance and if you go back to the Egg tab, you’ll see how far you have left to go to hatch that egg.
- The general consensus is that you should use the Infinite incubator for 2km eggs if you have them and use the 3-Use eggs for 5km and 10km eggs.
- The PoGo app needs to be open to track your distance, but it can be in the background, so you can do other things on your phone while you’re walking.
- You can’t speed up the hatching process by running, biking, or driving with the app open. It has a speed detector and if it’s higher than a walking pace (not sure the exact speed) it won’t track the distance.
When you’ve reached the required distance, an egg will appear on your screen with the word “Oh?”. Tap the egg to hatch it. You’ll receive 200, 500, or 1,000 XP for hatching the egg, corresponding to 2km, 5km, and 10km distances. And if the pokémon that comes out is one you don’t already have in your pokédex, you’ll receive an additional 500 XP.
Once the egg has hatched, you should assign the incubator to another egg right away if there are still uses available.
Several pokémon are members of a family, with either 2 or 3 levels of species. For example, a Pidgey evolves to a Pidgeotto, which then evolves to a Pidgeot.
To evolve a mon, you need a certain quantity of that family’s candy, which you receive when you catch a pokémon or transfer one back to the Professor. The amount differs depending on the species and which level you’re evolving. Using the Pidgey example again, you need 12 candies to evolve to a Pidgeotto and 100 candies to evolve to a Pidgeot. You can find out how many you need on the individual pokémon’s stats page.
There are only three pokémon that only need 12 candies to evolve: Pidgey, Caterpie, and Weedle. Most of the first-level mons require 25 or 50 candies to evolve to the second level and those usually require 100 candies to evolve to the third level, if one exists for that family. There are some exceptions; most notably, a Magikarp requires 400 candies to evolve to a Gyarados, one of the more powerful pokémon. (In 2.5 months, I’ve managed to collect 170 magikarp candies… *sigh*)
Evolving a pokémon gives you 500 XP and, like with hatching, if the evolved species is one you don’t already have in your pokédex, you’ll get a 500 XP bonus.
- Most of the second and third-level pokémon can also be caught in the wild; however, some of the rarer species are only available through hatching or evolving.
- Some evolutions require a “special item” in addition to the candy. You get these from pokéstops on your 7-day streak spin and occasionally randomly at other times. This article explains more about which evolutions require which special items:
How to evolve using Special Items, their drop rates, and when to evolve or Power Up your Pokémon (Eurogamer.net, 06/23/17)
Finally, a note about choosing a team for future gym battles
In June 2017, Niantic completely overhauled the gym system for the game and at the time I’m writing this, a lot of things are still in flux. So I won’t be writing anything about battles until things are sorted out.
However, there is one gym-related thing you should do when you reach Level 5 and that’s to select a team. There are three teams available: Mystic (blue), Valor (red), and Instinct (yellow) and even if you have no intention of participating in battles anytime soon, there are a few advantages to choosing a team now.
- As part of the gym update, you can now collect items from them like at PokéStops. However, if you tap a gym without being on a team, you’ll be sent into a whole set of screens trying to get you to join one. And there’s no way to get out of these screens without shutting down the app. So picking a team now will ensure you don’t have to go through all that again. 🙂
- When you spin the disc of a friendly gym (one controlled by your team), you get a bonus item out of it.
- Once you’ve joined a team, you get a (fictional) team leader who can appraise the strength of your pokémon to help you decide which ones to evolve and power up later. You get this information by tapping the icon at the bottom right of the pokémon’s stats screen. This article explains more about what the appraisal phrases mean:
What ‘Appraise’ Means In ‘Pokémon GO’ And How To Use It (Forbes, 08/24/16)
When I was deciding what team to join for my personal account, I had difficulty choosing between Mystic and Valor, but I ended up going with the latter. So for PoGoLuddite I’ve gone Team Blue all the way! 🙂
NOTE: Once you select a team, you can’t change it. So choose carefully!
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