Matt here – On June 30th Pokemon Go left beta, dashing all hopes of me being a part of it, however it gave me hope that it official release would be soon and I was not disappointed. With a tentative release date of “July” I suspected it could be the end of the month, but was pleased to see that was not the case. A mere five days later, on July 5th, it released.. First I will start with the triumphs of the game and then, if you want to feel my pain, the difficulties.
HINT! – When you first start the game, you will be given a choice of 3 Pokemon to catch. Choose wisely! The chances of finding the ones you don’t choose again are slim! I got a Squirtle when I would have been much happier with a Charmander!
I woke up excited. I had captured my first Pokemon the night before (Squirtle) but I was excited for more! Once I got moving in the morning I caught a Ratata right out my front door! Not the best Pokemon to be sure, but I had barely left the house! So I bus to work and I pass a LOT of Pokemon, but thankfully the game allows you to catch them so long even if you’ve passed them. The effective range is about three times the distance of your bubble, so you can catch most everything you pass! By the time I had gotten to work, I already had 7 Pokemon. What I didn’t have was an understanding how a Pokestation works. During lunch I did a bit of research and found that you have to spin Pokestations and then they give you free stuff!
Hint: While Pokemon can be caught at a distance, Pokestations and Gyms are picky on distance. They are much harder to catch if driving past!
After work I finally was able to travel around and get some more Pokemon. I had half an hour to wander around Downtown Reno before my bus arrived. I caught a bunch of Pokemon and started grabbing stuff from Pokestations. By the time I got home I had over 30 Pokemon and had hit level 4. Later, as the day got cooler, I went out again, grabbed 6 more Pokemon before even reaching the other side of my (admittedly large) apartment building where I reached level 5. Now I can fight at gyms! I started walking around, grabbing Pokemon everywhere and I finally hit a gym just it was open! No one had taken it yet and so I did with a low level Pidgy. I put that there so I could train against it, get some experience and give the gym some experience as well. It made me choose a color and I choose yellow, Team Instinct (aka Spark!)! By the time I had gotten back home I was just shy of 50 Pokemon and level 6, but I used an essence power up and that got me to 52 Pokemon before going to bed.
Hint: Don’t get discouraged if you catch a lot of a single Pokemon, the Pokemon candy you get by doing so will help you power up and evolve your stronger Pokemon of the same type! Also, be careful where you spend Stardust!
Let me repeat: Level 6, more than 50 Pokemon and a gym leader in one day! A day I was working most of the day at that! As I am writting this article, I am level 7 and have 72 Pokemon and as far as I know I am still the Gym Leader for my local church.
This game is a lot of fun!… when its working.
Now the problems – At approx 6pm on the 5th I find out it released. I go to the Play Store on my phone and it isn’t there. I go to the Play Store on my computer and it is there, but not compatible with my Nexus 6P. I find out its because its not built for Android N, of which I am in the beta. So I decide this is worth downgrading for. I do so which takes many hours because of all my apps and then its time to install!
Hint! Even if you are home in bed, open the app, there is a chance a Pokemon will appear near you!
BUT WAIT! Its still not compatible with my devices. Upon further inspection, its not compatible with ANY of my devices, past or present. I get suspicious. I hit Reddit and find that I am not alone in this. They suggest finding an APK. Great idea, but that has to be hard to find right? Nope. Less than a minute later I was downloading an APK and ready to go. One more problem though. Its 10pm and I get up early. So after logging in for the first time, I log out, promising to start my Pokemon adventures the next day.
Hint: Servers down? Close the app and try again! There a chance you will be able to get in if you try again!
You will notice that at the beginning I don’t mention catching Pokemon at lunch. That’s because the servers were down the entire time and were still down when I first got off work. Luckily after work they came back up after a few minutes! More good news is that I have not seen any difficulties with the server today (yet). This morning I was able to download the game from Google Play, replacing my APK’d version and its working perfectly.
This game is a lot of fun and there are advantages to being in a multi-player game from the beginning. I just wish it wasn’t so difficult to start. However it does seem that most of the issues are resolved. I look forward to a long and happy Pokemon experience!
Hint!: Apparently I was wrong. The servers, for now, seem to almost always be down during the day. Play in the mornings and the evening!