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Want to master ‘Pokémon Go’? Here’s every tip you need to know

Buddy system and speed limit are among recent changes to 'Pokemon Go'

éPokémon Go became a cultural phenomenon in 2016 by giving everyone the chance to “catch ’em all.” In nostalgically augmented reality (AR), you wander around your city and neighborhood to find and catch as many virtual pocket monsters as possible.

More: Pokémon Go lowers spawn rate of those pesky Pidgeys, Zubats, and Rattatas

Despite how simple the game mechanics seem, there are still ways to play the game well. Whether you have yet to begin amassing your collection, or you are well on your way to filling out your Pokédex, this article will break down all the game’s nuances and various ways to play. We’ll cover everything, from how to find, catch, and train your Pokémon, to how to best use your items and maximize your strengths in battle.

Tips to find the best wild Pokémon

Pokémon Go wants you to get up on your feet and venture into the real world. In town, grass- and normal-type Pokémon will often appear. If you go near water or out at night, however, you’re likely to encounter water-based and psychic Pokémon, respectively. That said, people have run into water Pokémon in locations without water nearby, so it’s not entirely based on your geographical location. Various groups, publications, and people have created crowdsourced Pokémon Go maps that detail what types of Pokémon have been found in different locations. Developer Niantic Labs has been shutting these sites down, however, so your mileage may vary.

Here are some tips for finding Pokémon

Tip #1: Whenever a Pokémon appears, as long as it’s on screen, you can tap it to begin the catching process — no matter how far away it is from you.

Tip #2: Don’t give up if a Pokémon flees while you’re trying to catch it. It may reappear on the map, so you may get another chance.

Tip #3: Use Incense and Lure modules! Incense is a consumable item you can earn by leveling up, or purchase from the Pokémon Go shop. It attracts Pokémon to you, naturally increasing your odds of spotting a rare Pokémon. It also lowers the probability of them fleeing.

Lure modules work in a similar way, but are applied to a PokéStop rather than a player. They attract Pokémon to a specific location for 30 minutes, and in doing so, benefit all players in the area. So, if you see a spot on your map with pink confetti-like animation, go there for a better chance at finding Pokémon. Add some incense, and you’re likely to be swarmed by the little monsters.

How to pick the best starter Pokémon

Like in the classic handheld video game series, you begin your adventure by picking a starter. At first, you will be surrounded with the three classic starter Pokémon. Bulbasaur, Squirtle, and Charmander. Choosing a starter isn’t too important as you’ll likely find a higher level Pokémon sooner or later in the game. Anecdotally, Charmander seems to be the best choice: While it is not uncommon to find Bulbasaurs and Squirtles wandering around, but Charmanders seem to be a little more scarce.

There is also a hidden fourth starter, Pikachu. You have to follow some simple, but specific steps in order to get the electric mouse to appear — thankfully, we’ve got a detailed guide describing exactly what to do.

Legendary and rare Pokémon

While nearly every one of the original 151 Pokémon appear in Pokémon Go, there are several that are hard to come by, and a few that have not yet been seen. Legendary Pokémon Zapdos, Articuno, Moltres, Mew, and Mewtwo, and the rare shape-shifting Pokémon Ditto, all have in-game models and Pokédex entries, but have not been found.

Crafty players have snooped into the game’s code and uncovered the data on the uncaught Pokémon, leading to speculation that they will appear in later updates, special events, or after heretofore unknown criteria have been met. There are also a number of Pokémon that are region-specific: Tauros can only be found in North America; Farfetch’d is exclusive to Asia; Khengaskan roams solely in New Zealand and Australia; and Mr. Mime only hangs out in the European wilds. These designations only apply to finding them in the wild, though. Everyone can randomly hatch Tauros, Farfetch’d, and Kengaskan from 5km eggs and Mr. Mime from 10km eggs, no matter where they are.

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