Massively on the Go: Our basic guide to Pokemon Go gameplay and questing

    
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Pokemon Go has come a long way since its early days of just catching and gym battling. Those are still core gameplay elements, but there’s a bit more to it now. It’s not just about catch and release, but catching specific Pokemon, catch several in a row, catching with a specific kind of throw, and more, mostly thanks to questing.

Yes, there are quests in POGO now, including dailies. I’m not just talking about the old system either. Now, at the very least, you want to catch one Pokemon, spin one PokeStop, and do one “Field Task,” the game’s equivalent of dailies. If you understand that, you can probably stop here, but for those looking to dig a bit deeper, keep reading.

Quest UI. Click to zoom in.

Quests as a tutorial

Yes, POGO has quests now, though they’re more like a tutorial or practice mode most of the time. They also may act differently for special events, such as giving you special Pokemon during an event or even allowing you to catch raid-exclusive Pokemon without using a pass. Much like eggs and raids, quest Pokemon have higher hidden stats (IVs), meaning long-term investment in them will often pay off better than wild caught ones.

To check your quests, click on the binoculars icon (left image above, blue). That will take you to the research tasks, which we’ll call “Quests” in general. “Field tasks” (right image above, blue again) are like your dailies for you MMO fans, or just goals for you new to the genre. You get them from PokeStops. You can get the same quest from multiple PokeStops, but completing the quest prevents you from picking up any quest from that Stop for the rest of the day. For example, if you get a quest that asks you to catch a Ditto on Monday, but you don’t solve it until Wednesday, you won’t be able to get a new quest from the Stop that gave you the Ditto quest until Thursday.

Don’t worry, though, because if a quest has dull rewards or is too boring/hard, you can click the trash icon to get rid of it (the pink circle above). You can hold up to three dailies at a time, and complete as many as you want per day, but you’ll only get one “stamp” per day (green circle in the image). Getting seven stamps gives you a bonus encounter that’s often a legendary or (recently) a retired Pokemon, like Zapdos or Snorlax with Body Slam. Quest reward Pokemon (black circle up above) change, so check your favorite fan sites or with your local community about what the rewards are. As usual, I recommend The Silph Road sub-reddit.

To note, however, you don’t need to play seven consecutive days, so if you need to take a day off, don’t worry! Just know that seventh-day day reward will change, usually at the end of the month, so play accordingly.

You also have “Special tasks” (red). These are essentially storyline quests. Yes, there’s a story. No, you can’t trash any of the quests, but that’s because these are more involved. The rewards are quite good, and they eventually pay off with a unique Pokemon that you cannot catch any other way. The quests can’t be trashed or skipped, though there’s no deadline on finishing them. Without giving out any spoilers, let me just encourage you to hold off on evolving a Magikarp until you have a Special task asking you to evolve one.

For the most part, I’d suggest checking The Silph Road for images of the latest quest rewards and keeping a copy on your phone to check. Don’t be afraid to trash quests that don’t give you a reward you want or that may take too long for a reward you really don’t need. Hatching three eggs for ten Pokeballs probably isn’t worth it for most people, especially if there’s a Stop that gives the same reward for less effort.

The daily grind and situational awareness

When you have time to play, I suggest picking an area and general goal. Try to make sure the two match. For example, if I’m restocking my supplies, I won’t walk in an area with few PokeStops. If I’m looking for exercise, I’ll try to avoid an area with lots of gyms that could distract me.

It’s very easy to lose track of time and stay a bit longer than you wanted. Not only can the thrill of the hunt distract you, but the desire to complete quests can suck you in. While you may gain some exercise, you may also lose daylight, and crime can be a factor in some areas. You also need to worry about your phone’s power supply. Having a general goal, like walking for 30 minutes, completing a certain quest, or hatching an egg, can help you manage your time and keep you focused.

Having a location or two that you frequent also means there’s a chance people will notice you as a local, and gamer or not, you may meet friendly faces. If you’re lucky enough to meet another player, I’d advise against shouting out Pokemon locations, but use discretion. Even on Community Days when my group is filling the local area, we tend to get near each other before sharing Pokemon locations, and often we post it in our group chat. We may say things a bit louder though, so other people secretly playing the game may hear it.

If you’re not traditionally a gamer (but have a kind friend who brought you here), don’t be ashamed of being a POGO player! Anytime non-players talk down about the game and people who play it, I simply respond with, “If I hadn’t been playing, we wouldn’t have met today.” I’ve yet to have a negative response after that.

That being said, it may also be because I’m very aware of my surroundings. I’ve been playing the game for about two years, and I’ve never knocked anyone over, though I hit my head when I tripped once. Part of this is because I imagine myself as a car while playing (note: please don’t drive and play! If you’re trying to cover ground quickly, just park frequently). While playing, I suggest holding the phone slightly in front of you and vertically, rather than horizontally. When you need to catch something, look behind you to ensure you’re not cutting someone off and step into a safe place. Once you’re ready to walk again, look both ways before stepping out again. Do not play while crossing the street, even in parking lots. Wait until you get to the sidewalk or path.

It may sound like a lot, but this advice works well in everything from parking lots to nature trails. I’ve avoided cars running stop signs and, more recently, angry (literal) hawk mothers dive bombing me. Having the Go Plus helps a lot, since once you’ve played for awhile, you’re mostly grinding, so you can just peek at your phone quickly and leave it be until you feel it vibrate, indicating that something’s happened.

All of this should not only keep you fairly safe but help you manage your time and maybe even get you to meet people in meatspace. Remember, quests are the same for everyone, so if you meet other players, you can share that info as well! Gyms may also be a factor, as they offer both PvP and PvE options that attract your fellow players. Like any good MMO, adventure just happens sometimes. Have your goal, but if you can be flexible, go for it!

Massively OP’s Andrew Ross is an admitted Pokemon geek and expert ARG-watcher. Nobody knows Niantic and Nintendo like he does! His Massively on the Go column covers Pokemon Go as well as other mobile MMOs and augmented reality titles!