Pokemon Go

Gotta catch them all… it’s the best kind of addiction.

My pocket monster

I feel like I need to start this post off by informing you that I have previously never been a Pokemon fan.  That being said, I’ve barely done anything else for the last 10 days.  I’ve previously mentioned that I’m mildly agoraphobic so working from home means I may leave the house 3 times a week on a good week.  I have gotten dressed and left the house for the last 10 days in a row!  It started with an invite from a local friend to a Pokemon hunt downtown on the Friday after the game released.  After I googled a bit to see what it was all about, I decided to download the game (it’s free after all!*) and play along for the night.  We parked at the far end of the Riverwalk and walked all over the place encouraging other people out and about that were also playing (which seemed like half of the population of people downtown).  We ended the night at the Flying Saucer, where high level players had added a lure module to all of the 3 nearby Pokestops.  I was hooked before the night was over.

The next day, when I would have gone downtown to the farmer’s market and back home to pickle some okra, I went downtown to meet my friends again.  I did stop and pick up some okra but we didn’t make it home until after 9 hours of running around town.  By the next morning, I was beginning to get a bit sore, but I’ve powered through worse at week long SCA events and the recent Ireland trip.  😉  Over the last ten days, I’ve logged 50km in walking and I’ve pushed my level of social interaction to a higher level.  I’ve got a few core friends that are willing to go out with me every night (as a female, it’s safer to explore in a group – don’t let a game distract you from the reality of the world).  I’m jealous of all the folks who have stops and gyms where they work, since I work from home, I have to seek out Pokemon activity.  Even with these limitations, I’ve made it to level 21 (and 45% of the way to level 22).  This is no small feat in the higher levels, as the amount of experience (XP) required to make it from one level to the next gets exponentially higher as you progress levels.

I’ve got a full time job, so I have to use my PoGo time wisely.  I drive to a spot that has a few local gyms on my lunch break, and I make a circuit of stops downtown in the evening to replenish Pokeballs (thanks to a friends’ coworker for figuring out the best loop!) where I get in about 5k worth of walking to hatch eggs.  Here are some of my tips for leveling (based solely on my game play for the last 10 days):

Power leveling 101: Save all your evolutions for one time, then use a lucky egg to get double XP.

Power leveling 102: Time your evolution eggstraganza (pun intended) for a time you are going to be around a Pokestop for half an hour. Drop a lure on the Pokestop and active your lucky egg at the same time. The evolve your Pokemon in between catching new Pokemon. Half an hour = truck loads of XP.

Power leveling 103: Add incense to the mix above.**

Power leveling 201: Pidgeys, Caterpies and Weedles only require 12 candies to evolve.***  Handily, they are some of the most common spawns (at least in the city), so don’t turn your nose up at catching them as you level up.  Before you transfer all your Pidgeys (or Caterpies or Weedles) to the Professor for more candy, plan out the evolutions carefully.  You also get a candy back for evolving a Pokemon, so if you have a stack of 7 Pidgeys to evolve, you have 7 candy left over.  You can transfer those Pidgeottos to the Professor and get 7 more candy, leaving you with enough candy for another Pidgey evolution, if you didn’t transfer your last one to the Professor before you started.

Pidgey - XP grinder
PoGo card view

Doing all of the above at once takes some pre-planning.  After each hunting session, I sit down at home (where there aren’t a lot of spawns to distract me) and transfer Pokemon.  As I get enough candy for each evolution, I mark my Pokemon with the favorite option (star in the top right corner of the Pokemon “card” of each one), so I know not to transfer that one.  I also just found a great calculator online that will simplify your planning session!  You just plug in the number of candy and Pidgeys (or Caterpies or Weedles) you have, and it will tell you how many to transfer and how many to keep, along with the amount of time to complete the evolovions (without the distraction of a lured stop, of course).  I plan an evolution session once I have over 20 evolutions, as I can manage about 25 evolutions and capturing Pokemon in the 30 min span.  This took time to learn how to juggle, and my group has found this to be about the max.  It will vary by your ability to manage the amount of items happening in the same space of time, so play with the number for yourself.

Get ready to evolve!
PoGo Favorite View

It also takes some time management during the eggstravaganza event itself.  Once the lucky egg is activated, you only have 30 mins to maximize your XP.  Make sure your Pokemon are already sorted by favorite, before beginning.  I recommend activating the incense, lure and then the lucky egg in that order.  The incense and lure have a few seconds delay until they generate a spawn, and that gives you time to open and activate your egg.  Immediately open your Pokemon (presorted to favorite), and start evolving.  They secondly sort by CP, so if you begin at the top, you evolve your highest CP Pokemon first.  Each time a Pokemon spawns from the lure/incense, you will feel your phone buzz, so you can close out of the Pokemon screen and capture the new spawn.  I’m not fast enough to unfavorite each Pokemon after their evolution, so I just go based on the CP and keep track by short term memory.  Remember after you finish the evolutions, to go back and check if you can transfer a few 2nd levels (Pidgeotto, Kakuna and Metapod) for another 12 candy evolution before your lucky egg runs out.

On a final note, go check out the Eevee evolution easter egg hack.  I have done this a few times and had it work each time (with multiple Rainers).  B has had a few work, but one fail (we think the server didn’t register the name change).  Rename your Eevees and close and reopen the game before you begin for the best time management.

Edited for: clarity, and to add some safety information.  Srsly y’all, don’t be stupid with PoGo.  Situational awareness should still be a priority.

Seems like you can only do the Eevee trick once, so choose wisely.

Also, see my follow up posts on PokeStops and gym tactics.


*I have spent $20 on the game.  You can’t get bag space from stops and incubators are rare.  I have had way more than $20 worth of entertainment so far, so the cost benefit was worth it for this micro purchase.

**It’s been tested and proven (by the internetz) that incense works better when you walk around, so adding an incense to a stationary lure will only add 3-6 spawns.  If you are incense heavy, this could be worth it, if you aren’t it might not be.

***The Pidegy/Caterpie/Weedle grind assumes you have already either captured or evolved to the 3rd level of each to unlock that Pokemon.  I have quite a few gym competitive Pidgots, so saving 50 candy to evolve a strong Pidgeotto vs 4 Pidgeys is a trade-off you need to consider for your circumstances.


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