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Pokémon Go beginner's guide: Get a head-start on the competition

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Pokemon Go

Pokémon Go beginner's guide: All you need to know to start your Pokémon journey.

Don’t know your PokéStop from your Gym? Confused about the difference between Incense and Lure Modules?

Well worry no more, Pokémon beginner, we'll have you up to speed in no time at all with our guide to the basics of Pokémon Go.

Related: How to play Pokemon Go – Tips and tricks to become a master

PokéStops

To start levelling up and gaining experience points, you’ll need to start amassing not only Pokémon, but also items to help build and strengthen your team. You can collect items – more on those later – from PokéStops. These are the 3D blue diamonds on your map and represent free supply stores from where you collect all the necessary items to help your roster of fledgling Pokémon along.

Incense and Lure Modules

You’ll want to start attracting more Pokémon so you can catch them and amass a larger team. When you begin the game, you’re given two Incense pots to get going. Activate them to emit a fragrance that will have the little creatures drawn to you like bees to honey.

Related: How to battle in Pokémon Go

Pokemon Go lure

While Incense pots allow only you to attract Pokémon, Lure Modules work for every single trainer in the vicinity and can be used on PokéStops. The stop will then start producing pink petals to let you know it's a hotspot for Pokémon.

Pokéballs

So, now to catch your Pokémon. To do that, you’ll need Pokéballs. These can be collected from PokéStops or bought with the game’s currency: Pokécoins. Try spinning the ball before you throw to add to its effectiveness.

Factions

There are three factions, or teams, that Professor Willow will ask you to join once you enter a gym – see below – for the first time. Which team you join will depend on which names or colours you prefer, since no team is better than the other. You can pick from Team Mystic (blue) Team Valor (red) and Team Instinct (yellow).

Gyms

Gyms are marked by large towers on your map and are typically associated with landmarks or points of interest. Once you reach level five, you can start battling for control of gyms.

Related: 7 bizarre places Pokemon have been spotted in Pokemon Go

Pokemon Go Gym

Gyms are important because this is where the battles take place. You and your team will aim to capture gyms by defeating other teams. Gyms that aren’t owned already show up grey on your map. Place your Pokémon here and the gym is yours. When a gym is already occupied, it will show up with the team’s colour. You can challenge ownership by battling its occupants.

This is where building a balanced team helps. For example, Pokémon with water strength are good lined up against Pokémon with fire strength. Conversely, fire outmuscles grass and so on – it's like a game of rock, paper, scissors.

Rule the gyms and you rule the game – simple.

Potions, Super Potions and Revives

After a hard battle, your Pokémon will need recovery before the next challenge. Applying potions can heal wounds; super potions heal them quicker. Revive is a medicine that completely restores a Pokémon that has fainted due to defeat or distress from a taxing battle.

Candy and Stardust

Candy and Stardust help evolve your Pokémon into fighting superstars. Again, these are among the items that can be collected from PokéStops. In addition, you can give Pokémon back to the professor who will hand over candy in exchange.

Upgrading your Pokémon is important as you progress through the game. Candy is specific to the Pokémon you apply it to, whereas Stardust can be used on anything.

Eggs

Eggs can hatch Pokémon and also add XP and stardust to your arsenal. You can hatch them by walking around – so the more you play, the more you’ll gain.

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Pokemon Go Lucky Egg

And don’t think you can cheat by driving. The system gives you credit only for travelling under 20mph, so cycling and skateboarding are the only things you’ll get away with.

Razzberries

These are the fruit you can use to try to make hard-to-catch Pokémon easier to nab. Throw one out during a capture scenario and you should be able to bring the insolent little critter around. Once you’ve gained their trust, it will make catching them far easier.

Footprints

Finally, the "Nearby" guide in the bottom-right of your screen is a useful tool. Each Pokémon on the list will have footprints below them. These little steps mean you can track the Pokémon you may be lacking in your lineup. You can then purposefully navigate to the ones you need. Zero steps: they’re right on top of you; three, and you’ve got further to go.

Pokemon Go Nearby

Simply circle the one you want and don’t close the grid. The closer it gets to the top left, the closer you are. If it drops a place, you’re walking in the wrong direction. It’s a little like that “warmer, colder” game you played as a kid.

Generally speaking, you don’t have to go that far. Just make sure that you’ have the best weapons in your holster to capture that rare and powerful Pokémon.

Watch: What is Pokemon Go?

Got any other tips we should include? Let us know in the comments.

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