Pokemon Go has taken up the Philippines like a storm. People are swarming public areas in hopes of capturing a walking onion, a mouse with jaundice and a singing ball of cotton candy. Social media's filled with posts of captured pokemon. Heck, even primetime evening news just covered it.
(If you want to hear Noli de Castro say "Pokemon *slight pregnant pause* Go" click here)
Just considering how, for the last week since the game's launch, the country has been experiencing heavy monsoon rains; and yet mall execs anecdotally claim that their lure parties increased foot traffic this last weekend.
So if you want to be the very best like no one ever was without getting robbed, hitting doors or receiving the ire of non-Pokemon Go players, here are a few practical tips that I'd like to share with everyone.
- If you're planning to hunt Pokemon, make sure you bring the following
- Smartphone - I'm adding this because I've seen people playing Go using their iPads and Samsung tabs. If both your phone and tablet can run the app, I suggest playing it on your phone instead. It's easier to hide in your pocket and less effort in swiping to throw a pokeball.
- Rubber shoes- It's hard to walk around trying to hatch 5k or 10k eggs if you're wearing uncomfortable shoes
- Earphones- Keep in mind that you are going to play in public. We don't need to hear you having trouble capturing a Pidgey.
- Portable powerbank- I'm sure you've noticed that Pokemon Go sucks a lot out of your phone's battery be sure to bring one. Bring a powerbank that can at least fully charge your phone twice (1 charge for an extra round of hunting, the other for you to get home). For Apple phones,a 5,000 mAh powerbank can already suffice.
- Bring a windbreaker jacket with pockets- The weather's still unpredictable so it's better to bring one. Use the extra pockets to stash your powerbank.
- TURN OFF AR MODE- It's fine to marvel at the AR technology of Pokemon Go, but if you're serious in getting into the whole catching business, it's best you turn off augmented reality. AR mode "on" makes it hard to center a pokemon to throw a pokeball. In addition, it makes you look like a dumbass waving your phone around in public (more susceptible in hitting other people and getting robbed mind you)
- This will sound odd but, as much as possible, avoid bringing out your phone from your pocket. Again this is more for your safety as you walk around in public. This is where your earphones will come in handy. Here's what I do:
- Turn off the music (you can do that buy tapping on the gear icon at the top-right of the screen and unchecking the music option) to lessen the noise. Less noise means less distraction, hence more awareness of your surroundings.
- In case you haven't noticed, Pokemon Go has specific audio cues when you're nearing or exiting a Pokestop and when a Pokemon pops out. Turning off the music makes it easier to hear these cues.
- I check my route to have a sense where the pokestops are.
- Put back my phone inside my pocket, walk. I only take out my phone once I hear a pokemon or pokestop pop.
- Last weekend, while at the mall, a teen girl while walking suddenly stopped in the middle of the walkway because a Koffing popped out. She stood there for five minutes with her mom peering into her screen while other people avoided them. Just an example of a few things us players do that gives us a bad rap from non-Pokemon Go players. A pokemon won't run away if you're within a considerable distance from it. Just avoid being a dick by tapping on the pokemon AND THEN MOVING TO THE SIDE OF THE WALKWAY.
- PLAN YOUR POKESTOP ROUTE- If you're planning on restocking on balls and potions at an area with a lot of pokestops, it's best that you follow a route. Pokestops refresh every 5 mins, so having a route ensures that you have continuously fresh pokestops every time you pass by them.
- If you're planning to squat at an establishment near a pokestop, have the decency to buy from it. One time I went Pokemon hunting around our subdivision. After walking around for roughly an hour, I decided to buy a cold drink from a korean grocery with two pokestops beside it. When I arrived there, 10 - 12 teenagers were bunched around the grocery's parking space playing. Upon entering the store, I asked the lady behind the cashier where their cold drinks are. She pointed where it was and asked me if I got tired from playing Pokemon Go. I said yes and told them a bunch of teenagers were also outside playing. She acknowledged that their parking slot has become a gathering place for players, though she also added that, sadly, they don't buy anything from the store. I won't be surprised if the next time I go there they'll already have a sign shooing away Pokemon Go players. This again is another rude behavior that we need to avoid. The thing is, buying stuff from these restaurants or shops encourage them to embrace Pokemon Go and us players rather than driving us away. We can all enjoy Pokemon Go without spending a peso, so if you want to give back to the whole Pokemon Go ecosystem, buy a drink or two from a shop.
- Don't be choosy in catching Pokemon- yes it's kind of boring when you always getting pidgeys, caterpies and weedles. You'd wish you can catch a Snorlax or a Venusaur in the wild. But really, the only way for you to catch them is if you level up your trainer. And it turns out, the easiest way to rack up levels is to mass evolve all the lowly pidgeys, caterpies and weedles you've been trying to avoid.
- Avoid gyms until you're at least level 20- The game gives you the ability to takeover gyms at level five. However, a quick check on a nearby pokegym would already show you that level five wouldn't just cut it. It's best that you focus on capturing enough common pokemon first and mass evolving them with a lucky egg. With that in mind, you can discard the potions and revives you get from pokestops and from leveling up. These just take up precious bag space that can be allotted to more pokeballs and berries.
- The game is actually generous in popping pokemon. I've noticed that the game pops out a pokemon even when you're stationary, as long as you properly shut down the app and wait for 20 - 30 minutes. This is perfect when you're stuck at a place without Pokemon (i.e. like at work or at home).
Here are the tips I can share with you guys right now. We'll continue covering Pokemon Go every time updates are added to the game (waiting for trading!). If you have any tips yourself, feel free to leave a comment in the comments section below.