As you move through the world collecting items from PokéStops, you might just luck out and pick up an Poké Egg. These eggs will eventually become Pokémon in their own right, but they need a little bit of incubation — and a lot of steps — to make that happen.
When you pick up an egg, you meed to place it in an incubator to get the hatching process going. You start the game with a single, unlimited-use incubator, but you can purchase more if you want to hatch several eggs at once.
Once the egg is incubated, you’ll need to physically walk — sorry, would-be cheats, but driving won’t work — a certain distance before the egg will hatch. Depending on the rarity of the Poké Egg you’ve found, that could be as little as 2 kilometers, or up to 10 kilometers. And yes, you will have to walk with the app open for those steps to register. RIP battery life.
Evolution doesn’t work the same way in Pokémon Go as it does in the classic games: Pokémon don’t evolve or level up after battles with other Pokémon trainers.
Instead, you must catch duplicates of the same Pokémon, which drop Candy and Stardust. You can also send unwanted Pokémon to the Professor for a single candy, but be careful. Once a Pokémon is sent to the Professor, you can never get that version back.
Once you have gathered enough of a single type of Pokémon, you’ll be able to use the Candies to evolve it. Candy is Pokémon-specific, and can be used to level up any Pokémon in that evolutionary chain. For example, you can use Candy that Charmander has dropped to evolve a Chameleon.
In addition to giving you the next evolutionary stage of a Pokémon, evolving will raise a Pokémon’s CP and HP. CP represents how strong a Pokémon’s attacks are while HP represents how much damage a Pokémon can take. Stats may also be increased by combining Candy and Stardust.
When you reach level five and visit a Gym, you’ll be asked to join one of three color-coded teams: Instinct (Yellow), Mystic (Blue), or Valor (Red). They’re color-coded based on the original U.S. titles – Pokémon Red, Pokémon Blue, and Pokémon Yellow: Special Pikachu Edition.
Unlike Nintendo’s games, the team you choose doesn’t affect the type of Pokémon you come across in the wild, but it does matter for Gym battles. After picking a team, you’ll join millions of other players around the world; each team will work together to become the most successful. Teams can turn Pokémon Go from a single-player experience to a group sport.
Teams are how you join up with your friends to make a dent on the world. You and your team will take over and level up Gyms; when you possess a gym, you get Pokécoins and Stardust, which can help you level up and evolve your Pokémon.
Much like PokéStops, Gyms are actual landmarks out in the world, and they are where all Pokémon battles happen. You can claim them for your team, or help level up a Gym already claimed for your team to build up its prestige. Trainers can take over an unoccupied Gym and claim it for the Instinct, Mystic, or Valor team. If your team’s color is in control of a Gym, you can train your Pokémon inside, one at a time. If a Gym is held by an opposing team, you’ll need to battle the Pokémon standing guard to lower its prestige and have a chance of taking it over.
Gyms earn prestige when you train your Pokémon in one that your team controls, and lose prestige when opposing teams win battles against the Pokémon left there. Your team’s Gym will earn experience points to gain prestige, which will amount to leveling up the Gym. As its levels increase, so do the number of Gym Leaders. For example, if your Gym has reached level three, you can have three Gym Leaders in it, which makes it harder for opposing teams to overthrow.
Entering a Gym triggers a fun mini-game wherein you attack the opposing Pokémon, and dodge their attacks. While battling, you have three options: You can tap the screen to attack, press and hold the screen to initiate a special attack, or swipe left or right to dodge an opponent’s attack. Just as with traditional Pokémon games, the goal is to reduce your opponent’s Pokémon to zero hit points.
To steal control of a Gym that is already occupied by an opposing team, you must win in battle against all of the Gym Leaders’ Pokémon in it. Beating leaders in the Gym will lower its prestige, but it will take multiple battles against the same Pokémon in order to occupy it for your team.
When you occupy a gym, you not only help your team — but you earn PokéCoins, too! Every 20 hours, you can visit the Shop and redeem your coins, based on how many gyms you currently occupy.