It seems like just a month ago we were giving a huge Pokemon Go update with the Beta Release. Oh wait, it totally was! So why another update so soon? Well the Beta was recently released in Australia and New Zealand with many new things to learn; but what’s most impressive is that the Beta that was initially released in Australia isn’t the Beta that’s currently being played over there. Updates are continually being added to Pokemon Go, and with each iteration we get a better look into what the final product will look like as well as how much work Niantic and Pokemon are putting into this revolutionary game.
How revolutionary? Well, let’s break it down with this Mega Update of everything we’ve learned from the Pokemon Go Beta for Australia & New Zealand.
Game Mechanics – Poke-Coins, Leveling Up, & Obtaining Items:
First question to be answered: Is Pokemon Go Free To Play? The answer is yes!!! Pokemon Go will be a Free To Play/download game. The main currency of the game will be known as Poke-Coins and in addition to In-App Purchases, it seems as though these can also be earned from events and speaking with ‘The Professor’ – perhaps also for completing certain milestones. How ever you obtain them, Poke-Coins can be used in the shop for acquiring certain items such as Pokeballs, Incense (to attract more Pokemon), Incubator (to hatch PokeEggs faster) or eve Upgrade your Item/Pokemon Storage capacity. Although purchases through the Shop aren’t the only way to obtain items.
By catching Pokemon – and possibly completing tasks – you will gain experience until you Level Up. As of the moment, catching any Pokemon nets you 100 Exp Points and catching a New Pokemon nets you a bonus of about 500 Exp – additional modifiers may be added for Legendry Pokemon. Additionally, AchievemUpon Leveling Up, you will receive some random Items such as Great Balls. Though beyond Poke-Coins and Leveling you can ALSO receive Items by visiting PokeStops like I mentioned in my previous article. PokeStops are real world locations that by visiting and hacking into you’ll receive a bunch of random items and even Pokemon Eggs. Though to find balance to these, after visiting a PokeStop it’s icon will turn Purple for a time being until slowly fading back to Blue (visitable).
As for the use of the Pokemon Go Plus, that information is less conclusive; however signs of it’s use are starting to appear. There seems to be notifications for Pokemon encounters (regular and Legendary), PokeStops, Events and more. Additionally, the Pokemon Go Plus also seems to have an activation feed to allow you to hack PokeStops, enter battle with wild (non Legendary) Pokemon and catch them.
Finding Pokemon – Location & Weather-Based Pokemon:
Upon looking at the Beta Footage, the Pokedex seems to only go up to #137, but if we remember our Pokemon Games, the Pokedex grows based upon which was the highest number Pokemon captured – in this case Porygon #137. Although there’s been various reports of Dratini captures, which I’ll get to in a moment, so we know it goes higher. All in all, it’s still staying in the original 150 range, which confirms out belief that Pokemon Go will be initially released with the original Kanto 150 and expansions for Johto, Hoenn, etc could come in later Updates. Though regardless of HOW MANY Pokemon are available in the game, we need to know WHERE to find them – and that is where things get really fun!
As we initially hopped – and later got confirmation on – Pokemon will spawn with relative relation to their typing/ nature habitat. Although as we’re now learning from the new Beta Version reports, discovering Pokemon will be a lot more in depth than that. Yes Water Pokemon will still appear by Water, but they will also appear more frequently during rainstorms. Additionally, Electric Pokemon will also become more active during rainstorm and Thunderstorms… which could be dangerous, but is still awesome. And it’s not just Land vs Water, Dry vs Wet that determines which Pokemon you find as Bug Pokemon will spawn more near Botanical Gardens. In fact, some reports even claim that Ghost types only spawn at certain hours at night, which opens up a Day/Night potential as well.
A final note to this though is that there are some specific areas that will spawn Rare Pokemon. One user reported finding multiple Jolteon and Porygon in a specific patch of grass, so Rare Pokemon farming areas will be highly sort after and interestingly random at some points. So keep an eye out. One such interesting farming ground appears to be Adelaide Oval sporting arena in which many users reported finding hordes of Dratini. Perhaps Sporting Arenas spawn Dragon Types? Probably not, but if there’s a famous location nearby be sure to go check it out because the Pokemon Go team seems to be doing their research extensively.
Obtaining Pokemon – Capture Mechanic & Hatching PokeEggs:
As I mentioned previously, when you select to capture a Pokemon you’ll be taken to a separate screen, which can be toggled On/Off in terms of real world location or set background. When capturing a Pokemon, it’s not a simple button press but rather you must try to hit the Pokemon with your Pokeball. As of the moment, we can’t be sure if ‘used/missed’ Pokeballs disappear (like in-game) or return to you (like anime); but I’m willing to bet it’s Option #1. Each Pokemon will have a circle target prompt around it that you must hit and it can be assumed that the strength of the PokeBall and rarity of the Pokemon will determine the size of the target mark. Even your Trainer Level could become a factor in this.
Regardless, as previously stated you can also acquire Pokemon by obtaining and hatching PokeEggs. Again, these can be obtained from PokeStops and the hatch rate will differ from egg to egg. Although rather than the countdown clock being a ‘timed’ counter, it is actually a distance counter. In other words, just like in the regular games, you hatch your Pokemon by walking with them and you’ll be alerted to how much time/distance remains until your Pokemon hatches.
Using Pokemon – Evolution Shards & Gym Battles:
Ok, now that you’ve caught your Pokemon what are you going to do with them? Simple, evolve them or prep them for Gym Battles. The evolution mechanic is still mostly unknown, but in the footage we can see a slot for something called an Evolution Shard. This is obviously what achieves evolution; but how do you earn them and how many do you need per evolution? Not all Pokemon level up at the same rate, so will higher rarity Pokemon will need more Evolution Shards to evolve. Are the shards achieved at the end of battle as a potential drop? Are they Pokemon specific and drop when catching multiple copies of the same Pokemon? We still have to wait on this revelation, but at the rate the Beta is ‘evolving’ we should see more of this mechanic become implemented soon enough.
UPDATE: Evolution is indeed achieved via Evolution Shards and it’s Pokemon specific. By and large, a three stage evolution requires 10 EShards per stage, two stage evolutions take 20 EShards; but there are some exceptions. Magikarp for example apparently takes 100 and some (probably the caterpie/weedle evolution chain) take 4 EShards.
As for the other staple of the Pokemon Universe – Gym Battles – those we actually have learned quite a bit about from the Beta. Much like Ingress – Niantic’s previous Augmented Reality game – trainers will be divided into one of 3 Teams: Red, Blue and Yellow after the original Generation 1 games that appeared outside of Japan. Gyms are real life places that can be captured by different factions. And upon claiming a gym for your team (ie: Team Yellow), you select a Pokemon from your Party to ‘leave’ at the Gym in order to take on challengers. When your Pokemon is knocked out – and only when it’s knocked out – will it return to your collection. For the most part, battles here seem to operate in a 1-on-1 format and deposited Pokemon will most likely recover after a battle (whether immediately or gradually). This is where Teamwork could come in real handy.
All in all, this game is looking absolutely spectacular and the level of dedication and detail Niantic and Pokemon are putting into it is purely stunning. These Betas are certainly evolving at each turn and that shows that they truly care about finding what works, what doesn’t and adding in new mechanics as older ones are perfected. So keep up the great work and stay tuned for more updates soon. There’s word that an announcement will be made in the coming week(s) about a release date, and if that is officially announced I’ll be sure to add it to this article – or the next depending on the WHEN.