Court of Nerds Episode 70: Pokemon Go!

Now that Pokemon Go has been out for a week, we've learned a lot. So much so that last week's podcast was almost entirely obsolete the day after we recorded it. Oops!

So, in lieu of a Podcast, we've compiled a list of tips, tricks, and news we've learned in the last week:

Pikachu, one of the most sought after Pokemon, can be caught in the beginning of the game! Instead of choosing a starter, you simply walk away. Literally. After a few times, you'll have the option of catching Pikachu. But good luck finding him again (I kid, mostly)

 Almost literally more Pikachus than are in Pokemon Go.

Almost literally more Pikachus than are in Pokemon Go.

Eeveelutions, it turns out, are random. But it IS possible to choose which of the current three Eeveelutions you get by renaming your Eevee to Rainer (Vaporeon), Sparky (Jolteon), or Pyro (Flareon). When the expanded content drops before the end of the year, we'll have to see if this is a bug or a genuine feature with the subsequent Eeveelutions.

 C'mon little Pyro! One more Eevee caught, and I'll have enough to confirm! (Though many, many others have confirmed this as true)

C'mon little Pyro! One more Eevee caught, and I'll have enough to confirm!
(Though many, many others have confirmed this as true)

Incense works best when moving. While remaining motionless (according to the game's sometimes buggy GPS), Pokemon will only spawn approximately once every 5 minutes, resulting in a net of only about 6 creatures per incense, which is a pretty awful ROI. However, the game will spawn a new Pokemon every 200m or so. This translates to about a 7mph jog, meaning you could theoretically catch 30 Pokemon on one incense if you're moving fast enough.

Speaking of drop rates, it appears that the game rewards better, rarer pokemon when you're traveling with a larger group in a well populated area. And which Pokemon drop in which location varies based on your geography (though common Pokemon, like Rattatta and Pidgey still drop in high numbers). You're more likely to catch Water-types in relative close proximity to water (making evolving a prized Gyrados much easier, though no less grindy).

And if you feel underleveled, you'd do well to catch all those super common Pidgeys, Weedles, Caterpies and Rattattas. Instead of transferring them, pop a Lucky Egg and evolve those suckers into Pidgeotto, Kakuna, Metapod and Raticate for a super boost in EXP.

 Desiigner's song "Panda" was actually about the number of Pidgeys he caught

Desiigner's song "Panda" was actually about the number of Pidgeys he caught

Also, the game's code and geographical hotspots correspond almost exactly with that of Ingress, so it's possible to get a pretty good idea of Pokestop and Gym locations based on differently sized portals at Ingress.com/Intel. Also, it appears that areas with higher concentrations of XM in Ingress correspond with areas with Pokemon. Also, those areas are static, and everyone sees the same Pokemon unless using Incense. This can be pretty entertaining, as in the case of the now infamous Vaporeon Stampede in New York's Central Park.

And yes, rarities and more powerful Pokemon are more common the higher your player level, but they're also more difficult to catch.

Gym battles are not reserved for power-trainers. Type placement matters, but slightly less than in the regular games. Remember the five D's of Dodgeball? Dodge, duck, dip, dive, and dodge! It's possible to dodge attacks by swiping right as the Opposing Pokemon is winding up for the attack. The Opposing Pokemon will always attack the same way. Study them like you're playing Dark Souls, and the openings will become far more apparent. Is it possible to get through an entire battle without a scratch? Theoretically, but it's super labor-intensive, and not for the faint of heart.

And if possible, capture as many gyms as you can. Having at least one Pokemon on Defense in at least 10 Gyms (which is the max) will net you 100 Pokecoins and 5000 stardust, which you can collect every 20 hours. Sure, it's not the best ROI, but it beats the heck out of *gasp* actually paying money (for a broke, cheapass like me at least).

Also, Legendaries and Peer Trading may be coming in the next several months. Though the implimentation is still a mystery. I'd still like to see an expanded social aspect, like friend lists and chatting (since the game discourages you from using other apps). 

Yes, gamers have found code for Mew, Mewtwo, and the Legendary Birds. How they'll be implemented remains to be seen.

 Word is, Mew will spawn under a truck.

Word is, Mew will spawn under a truck.

It should be noted that nearly 90% of stories you hear about the game are total fabrications (yes, even News articles). Unless the story links back to a genuine news article from a local source, it's probably fake. Dead bodies? Most likely fake. People "stealing" Pokemon from other people? That's not how the game works. Trespassing claims are more likely, but since you can almost literally catch any Pokemon from a sidewalk or trail, there is NO NEED to hop into someone's yard to catch them. And if you do, it's totally not freaking worth it to begin with. Since most people are not stupid, this leads me to believe that most of the stories of "Pokemon Go trespassers" are also likely false. It goes without saying that all trainers and all gamers should be on their best behavior in public, but that's another discussion for another time.

As for bugs, they are still numerous, even after the first few updates.

The "curveball" effect, where you throw a Pokeball straight up and see it fly off into the wild blue-yonder is annoying, and potentially damning for those who've invested actual money for more Pokeballs. We still have the catch-glitch, where the game freezes while attempting to catch a Pokemon (the "fix" for this is bafflingly unacceptable: restart your game and check your Pokemon list and hope it worked). And that's to say nothing of the "Zombie Gym" bug, where opposing Pokemon will glitch at 1 HP and are unable to be defeated. "Tracking" Pokemon is buggy at best, and impossible at worst.

Connectivity issues are common, and understandable. The game's number of daily active users is bigger than Twitter, Tinder, and Snapchat. The demand is unprecedented. And since Niantic decided to "soft launch" the game in limited countries and gradually expand, we'll continue to see problems connecting until they upgrade their servers significantly.

But overall? This game is still amazing a week in; we're learning a great deal about ourselves by playing it:

We've learned of new local landmarks and art that we previously had no clue existed. We learned that exercise isn't so difficult when you have proper motivation. We learned that, of the 21 million daily active users, Trainers come in all shapes and sizes and age groups, from the very young to the very old. We learned that it's easier to make friends through commonality. We learned that we could band together for a common cause, and better our communities. We learned that no matter how difficult an obstacle, we can overcome through teamwork.

And that makes this game truly priceless.

Also, if you want to listen to our truly, and hilariously outdated Pokemon Go podcast, you can listen here:

Happy hunting!