Appendix:Pokémon GO Player's Guide/Gyms
Basics of Gyms in Pokémon GO
The Pokémon Gym challenge has been the core of the Pokémon narrative for over twenty years now, and as such the Gym mechanic of Pokémon GO is arguably the most complex and nuanced feature of the game. Before Trainers can even begin claiming Gyms in Pokémon GO they must have reached Trainer Level 5. If you are not yet Level 5, you are encouraged to get back out there and catch every Pokémon you see and visit every PokéStop you can. Before long you’ll be ready to begin battling Gyms and claim them for your own.
Upon reaching Trainer Level 5 you’ll be prompted to choose one of three teams.
- Team Instinct is represented by Zapdos and led by Spark. They value Pokemon breeding and state that there’s no losing if you trust your instincts.
- Team Mystic is represented by Articuno and led by Blanche. They value Pokemon evolution and state that calm analysis is the key for victory.
- Team Valor is represented by Moltres and led by Candela. They value training, battling, and pure strength.
Currently, your team affiliation is permanent and affects only how you interact with Gyms. All other aspects are merely cosmetic.
In Pokémon GO, like the core series games, players can challenge Pokémon Gyms, which are shown on the map as large towers. If a tower is visible on your screen it can be selected from any distance away and its information can be scouted. The Gym screen will always show the Pokémon stationed there, the Pokémon’s CP, the Trainers who have claimed the Gym (if any), the Trainer’s level, and the battles won by the victorious Pokémon. Once the Pokémon is defeated it will be removed from the Gym and its stats will disappear.
If the tower is colorless, it means that the Gym is without an owner at the moment. You can give it a Pokémon so that you can gain control of the Gym immediately. Gyms automatically begin at level 2, allowing up to two Pokémon to be stationed there. A Pokémon placed in a Gym cannot be removed until it is defeated by a challenging Trainer, at which point the Pokémon will return to your collection so you can use it again. This Pokémon will return at 1hp, so remember to use healing items to restore your Pokemon’s health.
However, if the tower is colored red, yellow, or blue it means that one or more Trainers have claimed the location for their team. Trainers on the same team can use their team’s Gyms to train or fortify the Gym itself. Trainers on opposing teams will be prompted to challenge the Gym, potentially even to claim it in their team’s color.
Let’s create a short scenario: You are a Trainer aligned with Team Mystic and across the street from your house is a Gym that has also been claimed by Team Mystic. This Gym can be used as a training spot for your own Pokémon. Defeating the defending Pokémon will make earn experience for both Pokémon and Prestige points for the Gym. Don’t worry, you don’t have to defeat all Gym defenders to earn experience and Prestige. Each Pokémon you defeat will yield at least some rewards. In addition, your Pokémon cannot faint during training battles, instead remaining at a minimum of 1 HP.
Raising Prestige points for the team will increase the Gym’s overall level and will allow more friendly Trainers to defend it from being claimed by rival teams. Currently, the maximum level and amount of Pokémon that can be stationed at a Gym is 10.
Defeating a Gym
Like in the core series games, you will need to make use of strategies to defeat the Gym Leader or Leaders. Things such as type effectiveness can play a big role on defeating them, but the most important thing to take into account is knowing their Combat Power (CP).
You should use your strongest Pokémon during the battle. It could take a few battles to claim a Gym as yours, especially when there are more Pokémon to defeat. A battle of attrition makes the Gym lose their Prestige level, reducing the number of usable Pokémon and improving the chances of defeating the Gym. However, if you lose at the Gym, this will award the winner Prestige, also allowing them to level up this way, so make sure to play your cards right.
Pokemon that are stationed at Gyms will be ordered by CP with the weakest being fought first and the strongest being fought last. In addition, the strongest Pokemon in the Gym will be marked with a crown icon on the Gym home screen, signifying that they are the Gym Leader.
You may need to battle a Gym multiple times in order to fully claim it. Gyms will lose approximately one level for each time you defeat its full compliment of defenders. As a Gym loses levels it will also lose defending Pokemon. If you can get a Gym down to Level 1 with a prestige of 0 you will have defeated the Gym completely.
Once defeated the Gym tower will be colorless and will no longer be affiliated with any team. Deposit one of your Pokémon in the now vacant Gym in order to claim it for you and your team. Remember, only Pokémon will full hit points can be deposited in Gyms.
For now Gyms are the only places where you can fight in Pokémon battles.
Choosing your Pokémon team
As stated previously, when challenging an enemy Gym, you can choose up to six Pokémon; when you are training in a friendly Gym, you can only choose one. Look at which types of Pokémon you’ll be battling and pick your team accordingly, bearing in mind the type of Pokémon and whether its type is super effective or not. Type matchups have not changed from the core series.
|These matchups are suitable for Generation VI.|
Another important aspect of choosing your team, is to look at the Pokémon’s CP. The bigger the CP is, the stronger the Pokémon will be. However, don’t always focus entirely on a Pokemon’s CP. Although difficult, it’s possible for a Pokémon even six hundred points weaker to overpower its opponent through type effectiveness alone.
In Pokémon GO, battles can only be conducted at Gyms. Battles are not turn-based, and they are not conducted directly between two players. Rather, your opponent is always under AI control. Battles are also timed, limited to 100 seconds.
Depending on whether the Gym is a rival Gym or a friendly Gym, the format will be slightly different.
- At a rival Gym...
- You will choose six of your own Pokémon to battle one or more Pokémon from the Gym.
- If you lose, your Pokémon faint.
- At a friendly Gym...
- You will choose one of your own Pokémon to train against a single Pokémon from the Gym.
- If you lose, your Pokémon will return to your collection with 1 HP.
During a battle, you can make your Pokémon perform three basic actions.
- Dodge: swipe left or right on the screen.
- Fast attack: tap your Pokémon.
- Special attack: hold a long press on your Pokémon; BUT, this can only be used after the special attack meter is charged!
Two buttons in the bottom-right of the screen will also allow you to forfeit the battle (top) or switch to another Pokémon on your team (bottom).
Dodging can prove vital to prolonging a low-powered Pokémon's fight against a high-powered opponent! When a Pokemon is about to use its secondary attack a message will appear above its head. Do your best to avoid these attacks.
But beware! Successfully dodging an attack is about timing. Even if you're out of your opponent's apparent line of attack, if you don't dodge at the right time, you can still get hit.
All Pokémon have two moves, as seen on their summary screen (under the label "8" seen here). The first move listed is the Pokémon's fast attack, and the second is its special attack.
A Pokémon's fast attack can be used at any time during a battle simply by tapping your Pokémon. Using your Pokémon's fast attack charges its special attack meter.
Using a Pokémon's special attack requires that it consume one charged bar of its special attack meter and is triggered by holding a long press on your Pokémon. This pressing requires a slight charging time, during which your Pokémon can be hit, so timing this attack well may be wise.
Special attack meter
On a Pokémon's summary screen, the blue bar or bars shown after the special attack's name make up its special attack meter. As a rule, a special attack's power is inversely related to the number of bars in its meter. That is, a weak special attack like Struggle has a power of 15 and 5 bars, while a strong special attack like Hyper Beam has a power of 70 and 1 bar. In the end, what this means is simply that weaker special attacks can be used more often or in quick succession if so desired, while stronger special attacks can only be used infrequently (since they need more charging for one use) and fewer times in succession.
During battle, the special attack meter starts out as an empty gray meter under your Pokémon's HP and must be filled. It can be filled two ways:
- Use fast attacks
- Take damage from the opponent
Each attack received or dealt does not necessarily fill a whole bar of the special attack meter. It may only fill a small portion, or it may fill a large portion.
If your Pokémon faints or switches, its special attack meter is reset!
Important factors in a battle
These are the statistics that will influence how well one of your Pokémon will do against another Pokémon in battle. Smart play in attacking and dodging can potentially mitigate any disadvantages you may have against a "stronger" Pokémon, but at the same time, being more evenly matched will make for an easier battle.
- HP (Hit Points): obviously more HP means you (or your opponent) can survive longer. Exact HP cannot actually be seen in-battle, so you may have to keep it in mind for your own Pokémon or try to guess it based on your opponent's CP.
- CP (Combat Power): this is a measure of a Pokémon's attack strength. It can also suggest a Pokémon's HP, as CP and HP usually increase together.
- Attack power: the power of your Pokémon's fast and special attacks. Most fast attacks are relatively weak while special attacks are generally stronger, sometimes significantly so. However, the requirement to charge your special attack means you won't be able to use it as often as your fast attack (especially for stronger special attacks).
- Types: attacking and defending types also factor into damage just like in the core games.
Defending your Gym
When your team has a Gym, plenty of Trainers are required to work together so as to build up the Gym’s defense. Upon challenging a friendly Gym, you are helping it build their Prestige level up, so that more Pokémon can be used to defend the Gym.
To reinforce your friendly Gym, you need to walk up to that Gym, touch it to enter, and at the bottom of the screen, touch Add Pokémon, and select the Pokémon you want to add to the Gym. Bear in mind that you can only add one Pokémon per Gym, so make sure to choose carefully.
Battles in a friendly Gym are similar to those fought in a rival one, although neither the Gym’s Pokémon nor Prestige level will be damaged. However, your Pokémon will be damaged, so you will need to heal them through items obtained at PokéStops.
The longer you keep on battling on that Gym, the better its Prestige level will be, eventually allowing another slot on the Pokémon list for defending the tower. The higher the Prestige level is, the longer it will take for Gyms to level up even further. For example, going from level 2 to 3 can be done in about two matches while going from Level 6 to 7 could take over ten matches.
When interacting with other players
While Pokémon GO does not currently feature any direct connection between players’ devices, there are still ways for players to interact at Gyms. If a tower on the map has explosions and battle signs, it means that the Gym is being challenged by other Trainers. You may choose to assist the challenger, even if they are on a different team. Joining a battle will allow both Trainers’ Pokémon to appear on each other’s screens and both Pokémon will be able to team up to defeat the defending Pokémon. Remember though that defeating a Gym leaves in its neutral stage. If you’re fighting alongside an opposing team member, you’ll have to be quick if you want to claim the Gym for yourself.
As Pokémon Trainers, you should always practice good sportsmanship when interacting with others playing the game, especially when it comes to Gyms. Although we laugh and make jokes about the turf-war nature of teams controlling Gyms, they should never come at the expense of anyone’s enjoyment of the game. Here are a few tips for sportsmanship and Gym challenges.
- New players join the game every day and are not always able to understand the battle mechanics. If a Trainer challenges your Gym while you are present and asks you questions about how to play, don’t ignore them. Let them experience the thrill of defeating a Gym. Remember, Gym Leaders originally existed to give out Badges upon a loss and were expected to lose.
- If your Gym is conquered remind the new leader that they should claim their PokéCoins before someone else takes the now-weakened Gym.
- Don’t hang around a Gym that is being taken and then rush in to claim it without participating in the battle. It’s not fair to the players who had to battle the Gym to not get to benefit from it.
- Remember to be respectful of all players. This is a game that is meant to be enjoyed together. Bullying, discrimination, harassment, etc. does not create a welcoming community and will not encourage others to play the game.
- When you claim a new Gym consider training there for a bit to raise its Prestige level. This will allow other members of your team to quickly place other Pokemon in the Gym without having to defeat your strongest Pokémon and leveling Prestige themselves.
- Many Gyms are at locations such as churches, hospitals, and cemeteries. In some cases they may also be located at a place of residence, or in an area protected by a homeowner’s association or gated community. Always be aware of where Gyms are located and do not trespass. If asked by security, neighborhood watch, or local police to leave the premises, always be polite and comply. If a resident asks you to leave their property, apologize and comply.
Benefits of combat in Gyms
When you fight on Gyms, you will earn experience points, but you also win a daily reward for leaving a Pokémon on a Gym’s team.
In the Store menu, you will find a shield which will let you know how many Pokémon you have defending Gyms. You will earn 500 Stardust and 10 PokéCoins for every Gym held, having a maximum of ten Gyms. You can claim them every 21 hours, after of which the timer will refresh and you will have to wait until you can cash them in again. You could also bypass the timer and buy them instead.
Current bugs encountered in Gyms
Currently it has been reported by a number of Trainers that Gym battles can experience a number of issues that will result in the battle being inconclusive. Niantic has already stated that they are working on the problem and hopefully all bugs will sorted out quickly. We here at Bulbagarden have encountered some of these issues ourselves and have a couple tips that might help ease the frustration.
The most common bug is usually encountered in the final stage of a Gym battle, though it can sometimes occur earlier. When a Pokémon, usually the final defender, reaches 1 HP, it will be unable to lose any more hit points and the Gym will be unable to be defeated. While there has been no official explanation of the problem, it’s likely that this remains a server connection failure. The Gym is possibly attempting to update itself with the Pokémon GO servers and is unable to do so. In the event that you encounter this bug, it is possible to continue battling until a connection is reestablished, at which point Pokémon will be able to faint once more. If the glitch persists for more than 15 seconds, it is recommended that you close and reload Pokemon GO and attempt the battle again. Remember to check your Pokémon’s health before going into the battle. It’s possible that the last fight will still have been recorded and your team will require healing.
Another common bug occurs at the beginning of Gym battles. Sometimes, when the word “GO!” appears at the start of a match the battle will reset itself back to the main Gym screen. This sequence will continue in a never ending loop so long as the Trainer continues to attempt to challenge the Gym. While there is again no official explanation for this glitch we have personally experienced it most often when there are multiple users interacting with the same Gym. We suggest closing and reloading Pokemon GO as soon as you experience the glitch. Once you have returned to the overworld screen, begin walking away from the Gym until it returns to its collapsed tower form. Approach the Gym and attempt the battle again. We cannot guarantee 100% success with this method, but positive results have been repeatedly observed.
It should be noted that Gyms are currently more stable during non-peak hours of play. If you are able and willing, consider challenging Gyms before going to bed for the night. Please remember to always take safety measures when venturing out after dark. For more information on safety measures, please check the Safety Guide.