Part 6: Gyms
Gyms are where you can earn additional Stardust, but more importantly, the only place to earn Pokecoins for free.
In the Gyms of Pokemon Go, there are three teams, and when you reach level 5 and try to access a gym (you don’t have to be at the gym’s location), you’ll be asked to select a team (it doesn’t really matter which team you choose, but try to choose the same team as your friends, especially if you plan on defending a gym together).
The concept behind gyms is really simple, but can appear daunting at first. The basic idea is to take control of a gym and hold it for as long as possible (you’ll earn goodies every 21 hours as long as you hold on to a gym).
If, on the rare chance, that a gym is unoccupied, you can add one of your Pokemon (probably the strongest) to the gym and then that gym will be yours (while the Pokemon is in the gym, you won’t have access to it). Most likely, the gym is already occupied.
If it’s occupied by someone on the same team as yours and there’s a free spot, you can add in your Pokemon. If it’s occupied by another team, you’ll have the option for battle to try and gain control of the gym. Remember, to do all of this, you’ll have to be at the gym’s location.
Each occupied gym has a prestige rating (for example, 6500/8000) that drops every time someone attacks the gym. When it drops down to nothing, the gym becomes unoccupied and anyone in the vicinity can occupy the gym. You can boost back up your gym’s health by “training” your Pokemon, which is actually just you yourself attacking your own team’s gym. This is a great way to also practice attacking gyms. So someone attacks your gym, your gym loses health, and you get it back up by training at the gym. Simples!
You can also train at gyms controlled by your team, but where you don’t have a Pokemon placed in there. Doing this not only helps you train for real battles, boosts the gym’s prestige, it can also lead you an opening for your own Pokemon if you raise the prestige to the next level.
Once you successfully defeat a gym, you don’t actually automatically claim it. You’ll have to exit back to the map and claim it manually, but often, you’ll find that somebody else was has beaten you to the punch. That’s one of the problems with the game mechanics at the moment, which is why you may want to bring a friend to a gym battle and have him or her take over the gym the instant you defeat it (having a good connection that allows for faster refreshes with the game servers also helps).
Once you claim a gym, immediately go to the “Shop” section, click on the shield icon at the top right to claim your defensive bonus (Pokecoins and stardust). But hurry, once your Pokemon gets defeated and ejected from the gym (which can happen in minutes), you will no longer be able to claim any rewards.
The gameplay is the same whether you’re attacking someone else’s gym, or training at your own gym, and battles can seem really hectic at first, but if you follow our tips, you should have no trouble dispatching even really high powered Pokemon at gyms.
First thing to note is that battles are in real time – they’re not turn based like in past Pokemon games, so once the battle starts, be ready to tap and swipe away. There are two attacks you can perform, a standard attack, and a special attack. The screenshot aboves shows the “Quick Attack” standard attack, which deals 10 damage, and a “Dig” special attack, which deals 45 damage. Tap the screen rapidly to launch a standard attack.
You’ll notice that your special attack meter will start to fill up after every standard attack – once it’s filled and flashing, you can then touch and hold to launch a special attack (which will deplete the attack meter).
The other very important move during a battle is dodge, which allows you to dodge your opponent’s standard attacks. Swipe left or right to dodge an attack.
How do you know when to dodge? There’s a simple trick that makes it easy to avoid getting damage, and at the same time, deal it to your opponent. Just before your opponent attacks, the screen will flash yellow, do a dodge (swipe left or right) at this instant, and then tap two or three times, and you should be able to avoid the attack while dealing some damage to your opponent. You can repeat this over and over again. You still can’t dodge special attacks though, but make sure you deal out some damage via your own special attacks once the meter fills up.
Got a Tip? Or spot something not quite right on this page (my bad)? Post everything in the comments below.