Fresno Beehive

The Fresno Beedrill: ‘Don’t be a jerk,’ and other tips for local ‘Pokemon Go’ players

The Fresno Beedrill is your spot for the latest “Pokemon Go” news and tips.
The Fresno Beedrill is your spot for the latest “Pokemon Go” news and tips. SW Parra/The Pokemon Company

The Fresno Bee has existed for 94 years. The Fresno Beehive has existed for – an amount of time. And now, the next evolution: The Fresno Beedrill. This is your local hub for all things Pokemon.

OK, that last one isn’t a thing. But more and more of my coworkers – most of whom do not play games – have downloaded “Pokemon Go,” the extremely popular augmented reality mobile game with a hidden fitness app agenda. I forget that most people haven’t spent their whole lives playing video games, so things that are obvious to me aren’t quite as black and white for newcomers. I have spent the last week or so giving advice on how the game works and how to get the most out of it.

Perhaps you would like some of that advice? There are hundreds of “Pokemon Go” players in town who are much further along than I am, but they can get their own media jobs.

Here are a few tips to help you on your journey:

Use the buddy system

I mean this in a few different ways. Playing “Pokemon Go” isn’t inherently dangerous, even in the “bad parts” of Fresno. I write about crime. Property crime is way more prevalent in northeast Fresno than southwest.

Safety in numbers is good, but there are other reasons. A buddy can keep you from being impolite. Fellow Beedrill Carmen George joined me earlier this week for a Pokehunt, and we tried to keep each other from blocking the sidewalks as the other 50 or so hunters combed around the hot spots.

It also solves the driving conundrum. It is possible to hit Pokestops and catch Pokemon while moving in a car, but you should NEVER EVER play it while driving. A buddy can hold both phones while the other person drives. If you are worried about your buddy holding your phone because bae could send nudes at any time, uh – maybe warn bae? I don’t know. It isn’t a perfect system.

Stack your items

First, a quick primer on items. Incense brings nearby Pokemon to you. Lure modules bring nearby Pokemon to Pokestops. Lucky eggs (not to be confused with Pokemon eggs) give you double the experience from catching Pokemon, battling or visiting Pokestops. Incubators are used on Pokemon eggs, which will hatch a Pokemon after you walk 2, 5 or 10 kilometers after starting incubation.

Here is a good explanation of when you will earn these items through leveling up.


Plan your outing. It should be at a place with multiple Pokestops clustered together. Pokestops are almost always art pieces or memorials, so go to places with lots of those. Be respectful – don’t go to graveyards thinking there will be ghost Pokemon. Think Fresno State, Woodward Park, Fresno City College or Old Town Clovis. The Tower District would seem like a good spot, but it is terrible.

You and the dozens of other trainers gathered at one of these spots should be able to keep five or six Pokestops constantly filled with lure modules. Hit your incense and lucky eggs, and make sure you have multiple eggs incubating at once. Then walk around swiping the Pokestops for items and catching (almost) everything that walks. I got about 20,000 experience doing this at Fresno State on Monday.

The game doesn’t know we’re in a drought

“Pokemon Go” seems to know that Fresno is an inferno right now, so fire Pokemon – especially Growlithe – are everywhere. But water Pokemon are a lot more scarce.

Fear not – you don’t have to go to Pismo or even Millerton to find them. The lakes at Woodward Park and nearby Woodward Lakes have some, but you can also take advantage of the fact the game was mapped out several years ago. It still thinks drainage areas throughout town, like those on Ashlan Avenue near Highway 168, are full.

I found a Squirtle and a Horsea just hanging out at Blackstone and Shields avenues, because that’s where the canal dips under Blackstone. Just be careful around there. Don’t fall into the canal or get hit by a train for a Pokemon. It isn’t worth it.

Eventually, you will need to let some Pidgeys go

You’ve probably already noticed that some Pokemon are way more common than others. I don’t know why Fresno is smack dab in the middle of a Paras epidemic. That little mushroom crab isn’t common in the video games, so why are stuck with them? Catch one, name it Paras Hilton and move on with your life.

Anyway, you will probably want to trade in your duplicate Pokemon with lower CP levels into the professor. You only have so much space. Select the Pokemon, scroll to the bottom and hit transfer. You will get an additional candy for the little guy, and you can use those to power up or evolve his higher-level counterparts.

Once you have a few high-level evolutions of a particular Pokemon, catching the lesser counterparts isn’t even worth the Pokeball. I have three maxed-out Pidgeots and 100+ Pidgey candies, so I leave those poor 45 CP Pidgeys alone.

They can fight – if you want

If you only want to collect Pokemon in “Pokemon Go,” then good for you. I think that’s a perfectly good way to spend your time.

However, the traditional purpose of all Pokemon games is to battle the little guys until they become bigger guys capable of beating other players’ big guys. This isn’t that fun in “Pokemon Go,” but here’s how it works.

When your trainer gets to level five, you pick a team: Valor (red), Mystic (blue) or Instinct (yellow). I recommend Mystic, as it knows but one king – the King in the North whose name is Articuno. Picking a team will allow you to compete in gym battles.

Gyms are the huge spots on your map with a Pokemon spinning around on them. If the gym is not your team’s color, you can fight the Pokemon stationed there to try and take it over. Select the gym, and swipe left and right to view its Pokemon. You probably won’t be able to battle any gyms successfully until you reach level 12 or 13 and your Pokemon have at least 600 CP.

If you can beat a Pokemon at a gym, do it. You can run from battle by click the little running man icon at the top if you move onto a Pokemon that is too strong for you. Beating one Pokemon damages the gym and gives you experience, so it is worth it. You can also have your Pokemon fight a friendly gym’s Pokemon for a little bit of experience.

Pokemon types matter in battle. Grass is good against water but bad against fire. Water is good against fire but bad against grass. Here’s a full breakdown of that.

It’s worth noting that your Pokemon do not get stronger from this. The only way to make your Pokemon stronger is by leveling them up with stardust and candy, which you get from catching Pokemon of the same type. Pokemon have maximum strengths, shown by that white semi-circle above their name. Once it gets all the way to the right, that Pokemon is as strong as it can be. So if you care about battling, the best strategy is finding high-level Pokemon who have more than half of that semi-circle left to grow.

If you decide to bolster a friendly gym with your own Pokemon, make sure it is at least level 700-ish. Successfully defending a gym against challengers gets you Pokecoins, which can be used to buy items in the store. But if you throw a weak one in there, it will just get blasted immediately. That will lower the gym’s prestige and force you to waste items healing said Pokemon without any of the perks.

Each Pokemon has a unique maximum CP level. Here’s a chart for that.

Don’t be a jerk

Seriously, don’t be this guy:

But if you simply MUST be that guy and send angry messages to writers 1,500 miles away from you, please use punctuation and lower-case letters.

I also saw a partnered Twitch streamer holla at a woman playing nearby him on a live broadcast. He followed her and kept yelling things after she clearly wasn’t interested. Definitely don’t do that, either.

This is a fun way to get outside and meet new people. Don’t try to ruin that if it isn’t your idea of fun.