Eevee Evolve Control

eevee-240Shortly after Pokemon Go launched, an easter egg was discovered for Eevee evolution. You can control how your Eevee will evolve by changing the nickname of the Eevee. If you name your Eevee “Rainer”, you get a Vaporeon with water attacks, “Pyro” evolves into a Flareon with flame attacks, and “Sparky” evolves into a Jolteon with electric attacks. In terms of raw power, Vaporeon is the strongest, then comes Flareon, and Jolteon is the weakest.

After some testing players found some boundaries. All your other Eevees, Vaporeons, Flareons, and Jolteons had to have the standard, stock name. The only Eevee with a changed nickname had to be the one you were evolving. If you already had another Vaporeon named Rainer, the trick didn’t work. At some point in the last week, the naming trick began to fail, somewhat randomly. It seems that 75% of the time the nickname trick works, and 25% of the time it doesn’t.

Will this process still work in the future? There is no way of knowing. Niantic, the game developer, controls all aspects of Pokemon attributes and evolution on their servers. If they change anything, the changes flow to all the Pokemon in your collection automatically.

Please let us know in the comments if this process works for you!

Level 22 Status Check

butterfree-240Halfway through Level 22, the main change you’ll notice as you level up through the 20’s is that Pidgey and Rattata get harder to catch. So do all the other Pokemon, but you have Great Balls and Ultra Balls for them. Never waste the good stuff on the trash Pokemon, part of winning the game is learning to catch them with standard PokeBalls. Be sure to use a Razz Berry for the more important catches: the best Gym attackers and defenders. More on that soon, but first job, after listing my new Pokemon catches, is to spell out the process to evolve Eevee into your choice of Vaporeon, Flareon, or Jolteon.

New catches over the past few days:

002 Ivysaur
011 Metapod
012 Butterfree
014 Kakuna
015 Beedrill
024 Arbok
043 Oddish
049 Venomoth
053 Persian
059 Arcanine
078 Rapidash
084 Doduo
086 Seel
088 Grimer
092 Gastly
097 Hypno
101 Electrode
106 Hitmonlee
113 Chansey
116 Horsea
118 Goldeen
127 Pinsir
134 Vaporeon
135 Jolteon
136 Flareon
143 Snorlax
147 Dratini

Next up: Tips. Lots of little things make a big difference!

Level 20 & Level 21

top-pokemonTook a day off from the Pokemon hunt to rest and recover, but more than made up for it last night. Hitting Level 20 with 100,000 Stardust and a whole bunch of great Pokemon ready to evolve was worth waiting for. As of today I’m within a few thousand experience points of Level 22, and last night I cashed in 8 gyms. That was worth 80 gold and 4,000 Stardust. More on gyms later, today’s big news is that the site is moving to a new domain tomorrow: Level 20 Strategy.

Lots happening with the move, so I don’t have time to go into all the details, but here’s a screen shot of my top gym rats. If you save all your Pokemon that have 90% combat points without being picky about which ones you get, you’ll end up with a great set of fighters. Of course if I want to collect in gyms again tonight I’ll have to make the rounds an hour before my cash time, only one of the gyms I fought in last night looks like it will hold as-is for tonight. That’s what playing Pokemon Go is all about.

Thanks for your feedback and encouragement, check in again tomorrow at the new place!

The Pokemon Go Shop

pikachu-240Most of you saw a great free game, tried it out, and had a lot of fun catching Pokemon. Then you checked in at a bunch of PokeStops, your bag filled up with PokeBalls and Potions, and you got some Pokemon Eggs too. You probably discovered how cool it is to set a Lure at a PokeStop or use an Incense module when you’re walking around. Like all good things, the first one is free, but buying things at the Pokemon Go Shop can get expensive, and fast.

What do you really need, when you’re using a Level 20 strategy? Bag Upgrades and Egg Incubators are the two must-have items. If your budget can handle buying 2,500 PokeCoins for $19.99, you’ll be all set. Your cost per PokeCoin will be 0.8 cents. Here’s the shopping list:

3 Bag Upgrades, at 200 coins each, total 600 PokeCoins.
9 Egg Incubators at 150 coins each, total 1,350 PokeCoins.

That’s it, that’s all you need. You will have 550 PokeCoins left over, and you might want to spend them on a Lure, or an Incense, or a Lucky Egg. When you’re hanging out with friends at a park with several PokeStops close together it’s great to set off two or three Lures next to each other. So go ahead and buy one Lure from the store and pop it in. If you visit someplace special, like a river that has lots of Magikarp, buy an Incense, which gives you a half hour of good fishing. Don’t buy Lures and Incense in bulk, unless you really have no budget limitations.

Never buy PokeBalls. The primary reason to upgrade your bag is to carry enough PokeBalls so that you never need to buy any. Plus you’ll get potions and more powerful balls that you can’t buy. You never, ever want to discard those items. You start with a bag that will hold 350 items and each bag upgrade adds space for 50 more items. Three additional bag upgrades will get you to 500 items and that’s plenty of space to get you to Level 20.

Incubating Pokemon Eggs is a great way to get rare Pokemon. The Pokemon you hatch will usually be at maximum power for your experience level, and they also include extra candy. You get one free Incubator, with infinite uses, and that one should only be used to incubate eggs that hatch after two kilometers of walking.

Incubators you buy incubate three eggs and then they expire. Only use them for the five and ten kilometer eggs, because that’s where you get the rare and uncommon Pokemon, the ones you may never see walking around town. If you have a bunch of two kilometer eggs sitting around waiting for the infinite incubator, no big deal. Some of them are Pidgey and Rattata, and you’re in no hurry to get more of those. But even then, the extra bonus candy you get from 2 kilometer eggs will be useful.

Lucky Eggs double your experience points for a half hour. You will use one of them every once in while, particularly when you’re going to Evolve a bunch of garbage Pidgey and Rattata for the experience points. Don’t buy Lucky Eggs in bulk, even if you have an unlimited budget. Most of the time they’re not worth the expense. I’ll be posting details about how to get maximum value out of a Lucky Egg soon.

There’s one last item, the Pokemon Storage Upgrade. There is no reason to consider buying one of those until sometime after you get to Level 20. Most of the time when you get more than three of any particular Pokemon you’ll want to transfer the weaker ones to get an extra candy. The only exceptions are Pidgey and Rattata. You’ll want to keep those until you sit down and evolve a bunch of them for the experience point bonuses.

Level 20 Strategy: Stardust & Candy

vaporeon-240Stardust is the equivalent of diamonds in the Pokemon Go game and Candy is gold. Those are the two key items you can’t buy at any price, the only way to acquire them is long-term grinding, i.e. catching Pokemon. Getting Stardust and Candy, and keeping them until Level 20, should be your primary goal during the first phase of your Pokemon Go game.

The Pokmeon Go Evolve mechanic requires Candy, Power Up requires both Candy and Stardust. During levels 1 – 19 every Pokemon you find will have a limited Combat Point potential. That’s because if they were powerful you wouldn’t be able to catch them. You should save both key items until Level 20 because you have no way of knowing which powerful Pokemon you will catch when you get there.

Candy is Pokemon-specific, for example you can only use Pidgey Candy on Pidgey, Pidgeotto, and Pidgeot. You can only use Rattata Candy on Rattata and Raticate. Evolving Pidgey for 12 Candy and Evolving Rattata for 25 Candy are the only two exceptions to the “Don’t Evolve Before Level 20” rule. The reason is simple: these are the only two Pokemon with abundant Candy. Pidgey and Rattata are everywhere, you can get a lot more of their Candy any time you take a walk. I’ll write more on using Pidgey and Rattata Candy to level up quickly soon, in a post about Lucky Eggs.

The Stardust you get from catching Pokemon can be used on any Pokemon you like. No matter how much you think you might like a Pokemon before Level 20, when you get to Level 20 you won’t like it very much. Early stage Pokemon won’t have any true power potential when it comes time to play the long-term gym game. If you use even a single unit of Stardust before you have a huge Pokemon to boost at Level 20 or more, you will be sorry.

After playing the game a total of 15 hours spread over four days I am almost to Level 19 and have 85,125 Stardust. I also have Candy of varying amounts for each of the Pokemon I caught. Eevee grows up very nicely at 25 Candy per Evolve, and I have collected 82 Eevee Candy so far. That much Candy will make three very powerful Pokemon whenever I am lucky enough to find an Eevee in the wild that’s already at 90% Combat Point potential. I should be able to catch one or two of those the week after I hit Level 20.

I can’t wait!

Ten Kilometers

My feet are so sore. I have a blister on my big toe on my left foot. In case you’re wondering 10 kilometers is a little over 6 miles. I finally had to stop just short of Level 19, but not because I wanted to. No Pokemon hunting for me today, that’s for sure, and I will remember to be more careful from now on.

Last night I saw lots of cool Pokemon and caught most of them, the prize catch was a powerful Ponyta. I hatched eggs and some of those were powerful too. I evolved a major fighter before Level 20 to get a 950 Combat Point Pidgeot with Hurricane attack, but I didn’t use a single speck of Stardust to make it even bigger.

Some nice additions to my Pokedex:

004 Charmander
007 Squirtle
026 Raichu
037 Vulpix
039 Jigglypuff
042 Golbat
047 Parasect
051 Dugtrio
057 Primeape
060 Poliwag
120 Staryu
128 Tauros
129 Magikarp

One good thing about not catching more Pokemon today is that I’ll have time to write about Pokemon Eggs and Lucky Eggs, and explain why grinding up to Level 20 is so important.

Start With Pikachu

pikachu-240When you first begin your Pokemon Go journey there will be three Pokemon on the screen. However, Pikachu is not there. In the original story, back in the first 1998 cartoon, Ash arrived late to get his first Pokemon and received Pikachu. The writers and animators did an excellent job of making Pikachu one of the most beloved toons ever.

While there is no inherent game value to beginning with Pikachu, people want a Pikachu to start. Most of us have a purely emotional attachment to the character. So this what you do:

Go to a park or someplace with a lot of room to walk. When the three first Pokemon appear, walk away without selecting any of them. After 30 or 40 meters they will disappear and reappear at your current location. Walk away again. Keep walking away, and on the fourth time they reappear you will see Pikachu nearby. Just select him and he’s yours.

You can edit your Pokemon names to give them nicknames if you like, and I named my first Pikachu “Pikachu 1” so I wouldn’t accidentally transfer him away for candy later in the game. There are other reasons to use the nickname feature, particularly when it comes time to Evolve your best Eevees at Level 20.

Your job in the beginning is to get as many Pokemon as you can, especially Pidgey, Caterpie, Weedle, and Rattata. Don’t Evolve them, Transfer them, or give them a Power Up, for now. They will give you a lot of Stardust and Candy, and they will generate a lot of Experience Points for you when the time comes to Evolve them. Good luck!