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Before you Go: Our guide to becoming a Pokémon Trainer

Now that Pokémon Go has officially been released here in Canada, everyone wants to be a Pokémon Master. With so many Pokémon to catch, streets to explore, and gyms to conquer, though, starting out can be confusing. Don’t worry though, we’re here to help. Follow this guide to learn how to jump start your adventure – and make sure you’re ready to catch ‘em all.

Step 1 – Get outside

This game can only be truly enjoyed when walking around outside. Different Pokémon appear in different areas all over, so exploring is the name of the game. So grab some comfortable shoes, and get out there! But remember: be aware of your surroundings. Walking into a pole will only give you a headache. Also, be respectful of your surroundings. Please don’t trespass on private property just to catch that awesome Vaporeon.

Step 2 – Now that you’re outside, what does all the stuff on the map mean?

There is a lot happening on your Pokémon Go map, and learning how to read it will make it even easier to play. So what do all those little icons mean?

PokéStops: The blue icons represent PokéStops. What’s a PokéStop, you ask? Simply put, when you are within range of one, you can get helpful items like Pokéballs or potions by tapping the icon and spinning the image. PokéStops tend to be located at cool landmarks such as street art, statues, or parks, so get out there and explore your neighbourhood!

Gyms: Gyms are portrayed as a tall blue, red, or yellow icon with a Pokémon on top. These colours represent the different teams within the game, and depending on your allegiance, you can either train or battle Pokémon here. You can only battle at a gym when you are at level 5, where you’ll be asked to pick your team. You can choose from Team Instinct (yellow), Team Valor (red), and Team Mystic (blue – so for obvious reasons, we think Team Mystic is the coolest).

Moving grass: Sometimes while you are out hunting, you may notice some grass moving around on your map. This means that there is a good chance that a Pokémon is nearby there. Start heading in that direction, and see what you find. So now you know the basics of the map, but how do you actually catch Pokémon? The icon on the right hand side shows nearby Pokémon. The paws that appear under their picture represent their proximity to you. Three paws is the furthest away, one paw is the closest. So if you see a specific Pokémon you want, start walking in any direction – if the paw number increases, turn around and try a different direction. Eventually, you’ll find it! Pro Tip: Want to be able to see even more while hunting? Try using a tablet with LTE. You’ll appreciate how the extra screen real estate will make it even easier to see what’s around you and catch Pokémon.

Step 3 – Now go catch ‘em all!

So you found your first Pokémon, but now you have to catch it. It seems as simple as flicking the Pokéball at the Pokémon, but there’s a bit more to it. When you throw your Pokéball, you want to get it inside the moving ring. This not only gives you some more XP, but a better chance of catching that Pokémon. Turning off the AR feature can also make it easier to catch Pokémon, as it centers them on your screen (and it can help with your battery life, too). Another way of getting Pokémon is with eggs. You can find eggs at PokéStops. Put one in your incubator and start walking. Once you walk far enough (while the app is open), your egg will hatch into Pokémon!

Step 4 – Evolving

Now that you’ve caught a few Pokémon, you probably want to evolve some of them using “candies”, turning them into new and powerful Pokémon! You can get these candies in three different ways: catching Pokémon, transferring a Pokémon to “Professor Willow”, or hatching a Pokémon from an egg. You can also use some spare candies to power up your Pokémon.

Step 5 – Bonus tips

We’ve covered the basics, but there is a lot more to the game for you to discover. We won’t give everything away here, but we will give you some extra tips to help you with your training.

Follow Lures: Whenever you see a PokéStop with pink leaves around it that means someone has set up a lure there. When a lure is active, more Pokémon are likely to show up there.

Prolong Your Battery Life: This game is a bit of a battery hog, but there are some things you can do to keep your device running for as long as possible. In addition to turning down your device’s sound and brightness, you can also toggle battery saver on in the game’s settings. Once done, all you need to do is hold your phone down at your side. This will dim the screen and stop all sounds, but still alert you when a Pokémon is nearby. Turning off background programs and Bluetooth connectivity also helps. You may also want to bring a power bank along with you. That way, when you start to get low on juice, you’ll have a back up to help get you that last Pokémon.

Check Your Data: Most of the game’s functions rely on the camera, gyroscope, and your device’s GPS. Having a robust data plan can still be a huge benefit, though, as it’ll allow you to keep the app running all day, which can help you do things like hatch your eggs.

Use the Best Mobile Device For the Job: Not sure what device you should play Pokémon Go on? Since the game relies so heavily on your device’s battery power, choosing one with a top-notch battery and power-saving features means you’re less likely to run out of juice right before a big battle. A device with excellent outdoor camera settings means, with Pokémon Go’s Augmented Reality elements, you’ll catch Pokémon in stunning outdoor scenes. The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, the HTC 10, and the Sony Xperia X Performance combine excellent battery life with some great camera settings. And, of course, a device running on Canada’s fastest ranked mobile network (that’s also the largest) will let you quickly catch that elusive rare Pokémon the minute you spot it.

The bottom line: Pokémon Go is a fun and engaging experience that’s redefining mobile gaming and Augmented Reality gaming, as well as encouraging players to go outside, explore their neighbourhoods, and enjoy the nostalgia of a beloved series. With our helpful guide and a top-of-the-line device, you’ll be on your way to becoming the World’s Greatest Pokémon Master in no time.

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