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Imagine Pokémon in The Real World.
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Pokémon GO is an Augmented Reality Pokémon game for mobile devices made as a collaboration between Niantic Labs (creators of Ingress), Nintendo, and The Pokémon Company. It allows players to journey to real-world locations to find and catch wild Pokémon, as well as battle other trainers and participate in large group events. The game was planned to be released alongside the Pokémon Go Plus, which uses a Bluetooth connection to notify users when a Pokémon is nearby, but these plans fell through as numerous server stress issues surfaced. It was released on July 6th 2016 for iOS and Android devices.

At release, the game initially only had Pokémon from Generation I (Pokémon Red and Blue), minus the legendary Pokémon and Ditto, which were eventually patched in. The full roster of Generation II Pokémon (Pokémon Gold and Silver), minus their legendaries, Smeargle, and Delibird, was added in February of 2017, though a few of the Baby Pokémon from that generation were added as part of the previous year's Christmas event. The majority of Generation III (Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire) was added in increments between October 2017 and February 2018. In May 2018, Alolan forms of certain Kanto Pokémon (Pokémon Sun and Moon) were announced. The first wave of Generation IV Pokémon (Pokémon Diamond and Pearl) arrived in the middle of October 2018, with a second wave arriving a week later, and a smaller third wave in May 2019. The first wave of Generation V Pokémon (Pokémon Black and White) came out in September 2019.

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In June of 2017, raids were added to the game, which allows groups of players to team up to fight a single giant "boss" Pokémon. These were soon followed by raids featuring legendary Pokémon, starting with Lugia and the three legendary Kanto birds. Legendary raids appear on a rotational basis, with a new species being featured approximately once per month.

In March of 2018 a Field Research system was added, which allows players to undertake daily quests for rewards. Quest chains called Special Research are also available, with the first two giving the mythical Pokémon Mew and Celebi respectively as rewards for their completion.

In late May 2018 it was announced that Pokémon Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee!, a Nintendo Switch title that combines the catching elements of Pokémon GO with the mechanics of the main series Pokémon titles, would be released November 2018. The game is compatible with Pokémon GO, allowing players to upload Pokémon they've caught in GO into Let's Go!, although limited to Generation I Pokémon and their Alolan forms, and the eventually revealed Meltan and Melmetal. In May 2019, compatibility with Pokemon Home, an early 2020 title was announced.

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On July 25th, 2019, Team Go Rocket was unleashed, occupying Poké Stops with the goal of draining their resources dry and challenging Trainers to battles with corrupted Shadow Pokemon.

No relation to the fanfic of the same name. Or to Square Enix Montreal's Hitman GO, Lara Croft GO, and Deus Ex GO; which are also mobile spinoffs to console game series (though SE Montreal has cracked jokes about the similarity).


Pokémon GO contains the following tropes:

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    A-C 
  • Acceptable Breaks from Reality: Water Pokémon that should realistically exist only in oceans, lakes, and rivers can be found floating in landlocked regions.
  • Achievement System: Medals are earned by achieving certain milestones such as traveling so many kilometers, catching so many Pokémon of various types, hatching eggs, or fighting enemy Gyms. While originally just cosmetic, certain badges now offer rewards for completing each tier.
    • Earning the badges for catching certain amounts of a type of Pokémon grants a bonus to the capture rate for that specific type. For example, each tier of the Schoolkid medal adds +1 to the capture rate for Normal-type Pokémon.
    • Certain other badges unlock the ability to purchase unique clothing options themed around that badge. For example, leveling up the Gym Leader badge by defending gyms unlocks three sets of clothing themed around the three team colors.
  • Adaptational Badass:
    • Flareon in the main series is a relatively mediocre Pokémon due to bad stat distribution and an unfavorable movepool. In this game, Flareon is one of the strongest Pokémon commonly available, and is the favored counter to the extremely difficult-to-beat Blissey, thanks to having just the right mix of attack and defense and a resistance to Blissey's fairy-type move Dazzling Gleam.
      • As of 18 May 2019 update, Glaceon. In core games, Glaceon suffers from weak speed stats while having incredible Special Attack and Defense stats, leading to certain problems when the target Pokémon is faster than it. In Go, due to Speed stats being downplayed or non-existent, Glaceon becomes one of the strongest easy-access Pokémon available since it has great Attack and Defense stats making up for high CP in addition to being useful on most Dragon-type opponent Pokémon.
    • Luxray suffers from similar problems as Glaceon in core games in addition to having mediocre stats other than attack and a bad movepool, but in this game speed stats are downplayed or non-existent and there are limited uses for coverage, making it one of the go-by non-legendary electric attackers in GO.
    • In the main games, Exeggutor suffers from having low speed and its plethora of weaknesses. In Go, however, its weaknesses are abated while its entire moveset benefits from same-type attack bonus and all hit for decent power. It also has fairly high CP, slightly better than Flareon. This high CP coupled with being a single-evolution Pokémon makes it relatively easy to turn a weak Exeggcute into an extremely powerful Exeggutor (Exeggcute are somewhat rare, but not impossible to farm). Being a Grass-type also gives it an advantage against the often overused Vaporeon, whose high CP puts it above all of its type disadvantages sans the Zapdos, Grass-type starter Pokémon and Leafeon.
    • Speaking of Fossil Pokémon, while you probably won't hear about anyone seriously trying to use Rampardos in a non spin-off game, in this game it is one of the strongest Pokémon. This is because of a combination of a sky-high 295 attack stat, passable bulk, and for some reason Rock Slide instead of Stone Edgenote  alongside Smack Down, an incredibly powerful Rock fast move. Its biggest weakness in the original games, its abysmal speed, is also offset in this game, making it supreme in all raid lineups against Raid Bosses weak to Rock. In fact, it is so powerful that one can more often that not tear out 50%-70% of a Tier 3 Scyther's HP by itself.
    • While Kingler has the stats required to become a top tier threat, boasting Alakazam-like bulk and Machamp like attack, its moves beg to differ as they were extremely horrid, with its sole stab charged move being the horrid Water Pulse. This changed drastically however in the 2019 water festival update, as it gains Crabhammer, an extremely powerful moves that elevates its DPS to exceed Kyogre and Machamp, making it one of the best Glass Cannons in the game.
    • There are some moves that are totally unviable in a mainline game such as Sky Attack, Frenzy Plant or Avalanche that are incredibly powerful in Pokémon GO, while the effectiveness of moves such as Earthquake and Psycho Boost can be significantly superior in PvP compared to PvE.
    • Some status moves brought from mainline games were given offensive stats due to the game's system. For example, Charm, a Fairy-type status move, becomes a Fairy-type Fast Attack in this game.
    • Team GO Rocket Grunts are a HUGE step up from what would normally be par for the course in the mainline games. Sure, they use the standard Zubats and such, but they have double, or sometimes even triple the stats of their normal counterparts. That's like an evil team Grunt whipping out a Pokémon that has stats that are so grossly inflated that they can take out your Mewtwo with a single Bite move in the hideout part of the game! May be a bit of Fridge Brilliance involved, because the Pokémon they use go far past the maximum CP it can normally get to, because they've been powered up unnaturally and are thus Shadow Pokemon.
  • Adaptational Wimp: Due to the way attack and defense were originally calculated, the game used to heavily favor Pokémon which are relatively even in both physical and special attack while giving little-to-no weight to speed. This made dedicated special attackers and Fragile Speedster Pokémon sub-par at best. One of the most egregious examples would be Alakazam, who in the main games is a Glass Cannon known for its amazing Special Attack and Speed stats. In Go, its max CP was a measly 1813, lower than both Golbat and Pidgeot. This is also why Jolteon was relatively weak compared to its kin, since it relies more on speed than they do. The current system, while largely ignores Speed stats, gives much more weight to the stronger of a Pokémon's attack/special attack and defense/special defense stats, creating a system much more in line with the main games.
    • This spawns a new problem however; It makes Pokémon with high defense and low attack Stone Wall have much lower CP that one with high attack and moderate defense or Glass Cannon. In addition to that, due to the mechanics of this game, they do not have the support or status moves to make them stand out and thus they become incredibly weak or even completely unviable.
    • Pokémon that rely on items or abilties to become strong also get significantly shafted; The lack of Pure Power or Huge Power makes Azumarill and Medicham unviable and Marowak or Alolan Marowak do not have Thick Club and thus falls in the same way.
    • Then there's also the various moves that are otherwise really good in a mainline game. For example, Earthquake, which is one of the best moves in a mainline, is being reduced to close to one of the worst moves in the game due to its slow speed and inefficiency, while others such as Psychic, Fire Blast and Close Combat suffer from similar problems and are thus outright unviable in most situations.
      • This is subverted for Earthquake in PvP, however; As its slow speed in PvE is negated and it does not take a lot to charge up, instead being mid-heavy weight like Future Sight and Outrage. Dazzling Gleam and Zen Headbutt, while otherwise great moves for PvE, are reduced to being unviable in PvP due to their ridiculous energy costs or slow speed.
  • Allegedly Free Game: Downplayed. The game is free to play, starts you off with a decent assortment of items, awards items for each level up, and provides a random assortment of three to eight (though rarely more than five) items every time you visit a Poké Stop. Additionally, the game rewards you for capturing and defending Gyms for your team with gold coins, which can be used to purchase additional items. It is entirely possible to play the game to its fullest extent and be a competitive player without spending any real money. However, there are a few exceptions. Items which make the game easier (Lures, Incense, Lucky Eggs, Incubators, Bag Expansions, etc.) are rarely handed out as rewards in-game and cannot be obtained from Poké Stops. To acquire them in any significant amount, you'll need to spend real money. Also, if you live in an area with fewer gyms and Poké Stops, you'll find it more difficult to replenish the supply of even your basic items, which may require you to spend money to keep playing.
  • Ambiguous Gender:
    • Before the release of Generation 2 Pokémon, there was no way of identifying a Pokémon's gender, much like in the original Pokémon Red and Blue. Even now, a Pokémon's gender is only listed on its stats screen, so unless the Pokémon is a One-Gender Race like Jynx or Tauros, experiences Bizarre Sexual Dimorphism like Nidoran, or has more subtle gender differences like Pikachu or Venusaur, you're not going to know if that wild Pokémon is a boy or a girl until you catch it.
    • Blanche of Team Mystic has no strong features to identify their gender. At most, they are wearing raised heels and a ponytail. Character designer Yusuke Kozaki (of Fire Emblem and No More Heroes fame) has stated that he thinks Blanche's gender should be open to interpretation, after seeing the fan reaction. Officially, however, the character is female.
    • In contrast to other games in the series which ask, "Are you a boy or a girl?" the new avatar customization screen merely prompts, "Please choose your style," a change praised by many players for its gender inclusivity.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • There is an item cap (350 to start, although it can be upgraded), and once you've hit the maximum, you won't be able to collect any more. However, if you level up, you don't lose out on the item windfall: the game temporarily increases your max item limit to accommodate the item prizes.
    • With none of the original five Evolutionary Stones in the game (and thus, no Fire, Water, or Thunder Stone), the original three Eevee evolutions are randomized. Fortunately, it only takes half as many Eevee candies to evolve one compared to a standard two-tiered Pokémon (25 instead of 50). There's also an Easter Egg that lets you pick the evolution you want, but this only works once for each of the Eeveelutions. After that, it's always random.
    • One of the items the player starts with is a limitless-use egg incubator, ensuring that they will always be able to incubate at least one egg. Additional incubators (which have a three-use limit) allow the player to hatch multiple eggs at once.
    • When battling an opposing gym, you always get to use up to six Pokémon no matter how many the gym contains. Each Pokémon you defeat will decrease the opposing Pokémon's "Motivation" (happiness level and CP)note . Through simple Zerg Rushing, you can take down a high-level gym with Mons individually far less powerful. This prevents any one team from holding a gym with no effort on their part, though in turn this makes earning daily defender bonuses more difficult.
    • The Buddy Pokémon update allows you to assign any Pokémon in your roster as a buddy that walks along with you. Doing so adds a distance counter (between 1 and 5 km, or 20 km for legendaries), which earns a candy every time you reach that goal. This makes earning candies for rare Pokémon much easier. Magikarp, Swablu, Meltan, and Wailmer in particular benefit from this, as they all require 400 candy to evolve (and Meltan can only be caught for a half hour a week and requires Pokémon to be sent to the Switch games to activate the chance) but only need to be walked 1 km per candy.
    • Taking down an opposing Gym gives a brief period where only the player(s) responsible can place Pokémon in the now-vacant Gym, preventing other players who did not contribute from stealing the spot.
    • At the launch of the raid system at 2017 up to early 2018, raid bosses, especially legendary raid bosses such as Mewtwo and Moltres, were so far away that they're very difficult to throw at, and several have erratic movement patterns. An update made it so most Pokémon are close enough that they're hard to miss.
    • The Pokemon that Ditto hides as are always Com Mons, so that people would not get disappointed should they catch a very rare Pokémon only for it to be a Ditto in disguise. Also, Ditto disguises cannot be shiny and when a disguise has a shiny released, Ditto will no longer use that disguise. This was implemented after several players got very angry upon seeing their shiny Pikachu become a normal Ditto.
    • Nanab Berries lessen the chance that a Pokémon will go into their jump/attack/evade animation while the player is trying to catch them, a welcome addition as the extra animations are a huge annoyance, since the Pokémon can and will do one of these actions as a Pokéball is being thrown at them.
    • Pokémon encountered as a reward for completing research tasks have a 0% flee rate, meaning that a player can use a Pinap Berry on it and take as many tries as necessary to capture it. This includes legendary Pokémon encountered as a reward for completing a seven-day Research Breakthrough. To go through an entire week of completing tasks, only to have the legendary Pokémon flee after a failed throw, would be cruel even by the standards of Classic Video Game "Screw You"s.
    • The Adventure Sync function allows the player to progress walking distance-related tasks like hatching eggs or getting Candy from their Buddy while the app is inactive, so you don't need your phone out all the time, especially in areas with sparse Pokéstops distribution.
    • If you encounter a shiny Pokémon as the result of winning a raid, it has a 100% catch rate, so it will not escape if you make a successful throw. Raid bosses can still flee if all thrown balls are missed or speed lock,caused by moving too fast, occurs though.
    • Once a player obtains a shiny Pokemon, their Pokedex will give them credit for all forms of said shiny. So, for example, if you catch a shiny female Pikachu, the Pokedex will also show the model for a shiny male Pikachu. Evolve it, and not only will it show both male and female shiny Raichu, but if the player has caught a standard Alolan Raichu, it'll show the shiny male and female Alolan Raichu as well. This only applies if the player has found normal versions of each form, however - if a player has only seen normal Raichus, it won't show the Alolan forms. If a player has seen only male Raichus, it won't show the female forms (but once a player does acquire said normal forms, the shiny forms are also added).
  • Anti Poop-Socking:
    • The whole idea of the game, it seems. This may well be the first Pokémon game that actually encourages people to go outside, get fresh air, and get physical activity.note 
    • The Adventure Sync function lets the player advance walking-related tasks while the app is off, encouraging them to put their phone away and take a nice long walk without worry of missing out on egg hatching or bonus candy.
    • Raids are only active for a set time period each day, usually between sunrise and sundown. This discourages people from playing in the dead of night.
    • For a short time after release of the weather system, the game would discourage players from going outside during "Extreme" weather conditions by removing all weather-related bonuses. While the game still warns of severe weather, there is no longer any penalty for actually playing under such conditions.
    • Due to how Eevee's evolution paths was randomized, a new series of Lure Modules, including Mossy and Glacial Lure Modules, were added to ease for the players who wished to obtain Leafeon and Glaceon. Downplayed, since it needs 200 Pokécoins to purchase each, but it's easier to get one of those Eeveelutions when under Lure activation or just wait for other people to set one for you.
  • April Fools' Day: In 2018, the icons for Pokémon were changed to the menu sprites from Pokémon X and Y.
  • Artificial Brilliance: While the game tends to be notoriously bad in picking teams against a rival gym, when facing a Raid Boss, the AI will pick a team not only based on the Boss's types, but also what attacking moves they carry (something the player can't even know until the battle begins). This can mean if a Boss Exeggutor knows Psychic attacks, it won't suggest your Poison-types to face it, or if a Boss Magmar knows Karate Chop, it'll refrain from suggesting your Rhydon over your Vaporeon.
  • Artificial Stupidity:
    • The game is not very good at constructing default teams for a player to attack a gym or some ordinary raids. The game will arrange a team based on what elements would be good to attack the gym with on average but doesn't take CP or the order of the gym's mons into account. This could leave the player with a party that includes an 800 CP Ground type to attack a 2,400 CP Water type. In raids, the game sometimes prioritizes Blissey and other Tanks with high survivability but lackluster offense.
  • The Artifact: Like in the main series, you start out with a choice of one of three starter Pokémon — Bulbasaur, Charmander, and Squirtle, with Pikachu being a hidden fourth option — each of which have a fairly low encounter rate. In the main series, the starter serves as a way to acquire new Pokémon early on. In this game, their only purpose is to serve as a tutorial for the game's catching mechanics, since battles are restricted to gyms and thus they do not aid in catching Pokémon. Nor are they particularly good for gym battles, for that matter, as there are Pokémon that are stronger and easier to acquire for that.
  • Ascended Glitch: For a few days, the bonus item pile for spinning Pokéstops 7 days in a row always came with one rare evolution item. This turned out to be a bug and got patched out, but due to popular demand, it was eventually brought back as a permanent feature.
  • Ascended Meme: Spark dabbing became this in June 2019 after the game's official Twitter account tweeted a picture of him dabbing to celebrate Team Instinct reaching their first Global Challenge goal.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority:
    • Gyms are captured by beating the Pokémon other players have left behind to defend it. Once they've won, the player can then deposit one of their own Pokémon there and use them to try and defend the location from other teams. Members of the same team can then come and reinforce the Gym, adding more Mons for the other teams to fight.
    • Under the old Gym system, a Gym's standing Leader was determined by who has the strongest Pokémon in it. So if the strongest Pokémon present had 500 Combat Points, depositing a Pokémon with 600 would make you the new Gym Leader.
  • Augmented Reality: Players are able to encounter wild Pokémon by finding them in specific real-world locations, both urban and rural. They can then capture these Pokémon by finding them using the device's camera, though that feature is optional; disabling it presents the player with a generic grass field instead, on which they can capture the Pokémon. Furthermore, as of February 2019, players with AR-capable devices can take out any Pokémon they own and place it in the real world to photograph it.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • AR Mode, while great for pictures and such, makes it harder to catch Pokémon because you have to hold your device steady in a certain position in addition to throwing the ball. If it's turned off, Pokémon stay centered on the screen regardless of your position. However, there is the exception of some flying/levitating creatures that will move left and right, which are easier to keep centered (and therefore hit) with AR. AR+ mode, on the other hand, has actual rewards for the increased difficulty.
    • Gyarados. While a very powerful Pokémon overall, the sheer effort required to get one (400 Magikarp candies, or 101 Magikarp) makes going for the slightly weaker but far easier to obtain Water-type Vaporeon (only 25 Eevee candies, albeit with only a 1 in 3 chance of getting the proper evolution) a more appealing option. Gyarados can have Waterfall, a Water-type move that is quicker and stronger than Vaporeon's Hydro Pump and Water Pulse, but it's still more time-consuming to acquire than Vaporeon.
    • Ditto's Transform ability allows it to copy the first Pokémon in a gym, including those you haven't caught. However, Transform counts as a move and you have no control over Ditto using it, so the opposing Pokémon is going to get a couple shots off which you have no way to dodge. Furthermore, it only means that, barring Ghost- or Dragon-Type opponents, neither side will have type advantage while the opposing Pokémon may or not be stronger than Ditto.
    • Using the Pokémon Go Plus accessory. While it's great to be able to catch Pokémon at a much faster speed than engaging them on your device (as well as being able to catch them without running the game), you'll find that it does a rather poor job at attempting to catch Pokémon, with many otherwise easy catches escaping and the peripheral quickly draining your stock of normal Poké Balls.
    • While Slaking has an obscenely large CP with the stats to match it, its Quick Move is always the piddly-damage Yawn, which is only used to charge its Charged Move. Because Pokémon defending a Gym are programmed to use Quick Moves at a certain pace as opposed to how fast one's fingers can mash the screen, Slaking charges and deals damage at a much slower pace on defense and amounts to little more than a punching bag for attackers.
    • Several Legendary Pokémon can boil down to this trope. Unless caught during their favored weather, they are usually caught at CP lower than the Pokémon you fielded to beat them, and the only way to get the candy to power them up is to either catch more of them through their Raids, which is a tedious task that is moot if the Legendary flees, or invest Rare Candy into them, which involves hoping you get more Rare Candy from the Raids you complete. note  Even if you've powered them up to outstrip your other Pokémon, they can't be used to defend Gyms.
    • Getting a second charge move to cover up for deficiencies in a good Pokémon's moveset sounds great, except the price for second charge move depends on the distance required to get candies when walking with that species as a buddy - starting at 10,000 Stardust and 25 candies for anything needing 1 km, and the Pokémon may have only one viable charge move. There are a few cases where buying a second move is reasonable, but unless a player has resources to burn, it can be more sensible to spend that quantity of stardust and candy just building up a second Pokémon with a different moveset.
    • Deoxys Attack Forme. It has the highest attack of any Pokémon in the game; unfortunately, only Dark Pulse is a viable charge move out of three possible, and its Defense is abysmal.
  • Awesomeness Meter: The game rewards the player for catching Pokémon with a little added flair, granting an experience bonus and increasing the chance of a successful capture. Landing the ball within the colored circle is deemed a 'Nice', 'Great', or 'Excellent' throw depending on the size of the circle, which is worth 10, 50, and 100 points, respectively. Throwing a curveball is an additional 10 exp bonus, which is accomplished by either spinning the ball before throwing it or throwing at a sufficient angle.
  • Big Applesauce: The climax of the trailer, where thousands of players are participating in a contest to catch Mewtwo, takes place in Times Square at night. (And it seems that, indeed, NYC has some rare ones.)
  • Bonus Feature Failure: During the end of May 2019, a surprise "Sleeping Snorlax" event was launched, flooding the overworld with Snorlax taking naps. These Snorlax, unlike "awake" Snorlax and those evolved from Munchlax, have Yawn as their fast attack, the same zero-damage attack intended to cripple the Slakoth line.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • Pokemon commonly dubbed as "early game birds/rodents/bugs" by the fandom, such as Pidgey and Weedle, have the benefit of requiring only 12 candy to evolve into its second stage, as opposed to 25 or 50 for most species. While catching and evolving such common species is boring, it's an extremely efficient source of experience, especially when combined with a Lucky Egg.
    • Hatching a Pokémon from an egg may not be as exciting as catching it in the wild, but egg-hatched Pokémon are likely to have excellent IVs and often come with enough candies to evolve to their next stage right away, and some eggs contain species difficult or impossible to find in the wild. That said, hatched Pokémon are always forced to be three quarters up their progress bar when hatched (unlike wild catches which can be at the very end of it), often necessitating powering up to make them usable in combat.
  • Born as an Adult:
    • As in the main series, some Pokémon were introduced before their baby forms, such as Pikachu before Pichu. Before the corresponding baby form was added to the game, the adult form could hatch from an egg.
    • Unlike in the main series, where Pokémon (starting from Generation IV) hatch at the lowest level, a Pokémon will hatch at a level equal to the player's level at the time they obtained the egg (maximum of 20), with their progress bar at the three-quarters mark. This can overlap with Disc-One Nuke as well as Pint-Sized Powerhouse depending on the Pokémon species and CP.
  • Boss in Mook's Clothing: The only clue you have as to what a member of Team Go Rocket has to fight with is in the little dialogue box they have on the screen where the player accepts or declines the battle. In most cases, it'll be something fairly weak and generally on a theme (like all Flying types). However, if the mook doesn't give a hint as to a type and it is a female grunt, she will have a trio of powerful attackers being boosted by being Shadow Pokémon and will always start with a very powerful Snorlax. (If the Grunt is a male however, he will bring 3 starters of varying evolution stages instead which is much easier.)
  • Boss Subtitles: Raid bosses are introduced this way when you first click on the gym that spawned them.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory:
    • If you have money to pay for coins, you can buy Lucky Eggs to double your XP gain. Used properly, you can average about 30,000 exp per egg. About $40 will get you to level 30, provided you save up your candies and mass-evolve Pokémon while the egg is active. Earning that amount of gold through defender bonuses would take months.
    • The Plus wrist accessory, which sells at 35 USD, allows the player to use some of the functions of the app while their device is asleep, so long as it maintains a bluetooth connection. It allows Pokémon to be captured with a simple button press, use Poké Stops, and records the player's steps to aid in hatching eggs and gaining movement achievements. However, it is a Press Start to Game Over when it comes to catching Pokémon. The accessory has no way to display the power or species of the Pokémon, it defaults to your weakest Pokéball type with no option to switch or use berries, and there's no option for trick throws, which all adds up to a greater likelihood of wasted Poké Balls.
    • In the same vein as Ingress, having access to better transport (like having one's own car as compared to settling with public transport) allows one to visit more places and catch a greater variety of Pokémon, and, in certain cases, catch certain region-exclusive species.
  • Burning with Anger: Shadow Pokémon, unlike those from Colosseum and XD, sport angry red eyes and are cloaked in purple flames.
  • The Bus Came Back:
    • Done with an achievement: the Ace Trainer badge was originally for training up gyms. However, with the June 2017 overhaul removing gym training, players could no longer train up gyms, making it so that the badge was impossible to earn. However, the December 2018 addition of Player Versus Player also added in the ability to train against the three team leaders, and doing that would also count towards the Ace Trainer badge (with any pre-June 2017 progress counting).
    • Shadow Pokémon return in the GO Rocket update after having last appeared in Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness in 2005 (apart from One-Scene Wonder in Pokkén Tournament.
  • Button Mashing: What the combat system effectively boils down to. Formerly weak attacks in the main games like Water Gun become some of the strongest moves in the game due to its fast animation speed leading to greater DPS.
  • Calling Your Attacks: When catching wild Pokémon, they will shout their cry before they attack in an attempt to deflect your ball.
  • Camera Screw:
    • Poké Stops and especially gyms can obscure Pokémon that have spawned in proximity, forcing you to rotate the camera or even walk to another spot to get a proper angle.
    • The camera in gyms adjusts its zoom to fit all the defenders within its field of view. This causes problems when larger-than-average Pokémon, such as Steelix or Hariyama, are among the defenders, where the other defenders appear small and thus hard to tap. This is especially prominent with Wailord, which is about as large as all the other defenders combined (excluding aforementioned larger-than-average Pokémon) - the other defenders appear tiny and clumped together next to Wailord.
    • Wailord causes an even worse camera screw as an attacker during gym fights, where it blocks most of the screen, making it near impossible to see what's going on.
    • Alolan Exeggutor causes this almost everywhere but on the world map, being taller than the screen or, more hilariously, the viewport's top edge in certain interfaces such as the Gym Badge screen, making it appear headless.
  • Cap:
    • The level cap is 40, though the amount of experience required to get there is pretty ridiculous. Getting to level 10 requires 45,000 exp. Getting to 20 requires another 165,000. Getting to 30 requires a whopping 1,790,000. And the final stretch to 40 requires 18 million, or 90% of the total experience required for every level.
    • The player can only carry 350 items, 250 Pokémon, and nine eggs at any given time. Bag and storage upgrades increase the item and Pokémon limit, respectively, by 50 with each purchase. The egg limit cannot be increased.
    • The Friends list is limited to 200 friends, to which 50 gifts can be sent per day, and from which 20 gifts can be opened per day. The player can only hold a maximum of 10 gifts at once to encourage gifts to be sent out regularly.
    • When a player's Pokémon is removed from a Gym, the player earns 1 coin for every 10 minutes that Pokémon has defended the Gym for. A maximum total of 50 coins can be earned per day this way.
    • All Pokémon have a maximum potential CP value, which varies depending on the Pokémon. Unevolved or common Pokémon have low maximum CP, while evolved or rare Pokémon have higher potential. For example, a basic Pidgey maxes out at 580, while the final evolution Pidgeot can reach 1994, which is average as far as evolved Pokémon go. Slaking tops the chart at 4548, while legendaries typically range between 3300 and 4000. The weakest are Magikarp and Feebas, who max out at a puny 220 CP (but evolve into the mighty Gyarados and Milotic at 3281 and 2967 respectively). A full list can be seen here. However, while these values represent the maximum, the player can only reach a percentage of that maximum based on their current level, and the Pokémon's IVs determine whether it can reach that maximum or end up slightly below it. Likewise, the lowest CP value each Pokemon can have is 10. In gyms, the lowest possible CP value is 2, allowing a CP 10 Pokémon to bottom out in motivation.
    • Players have a limit of ten berries per hour that they can feed to Pokémon in allied gyms. Any attempt to go beyond that will give a message that the Pokémon in question is full and not interested in eating further.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Team GO Rocket overall is this, to the extent that it comes off as Motive Decay compared to their original appearance. Their takeover of Poké Stops has them bragging about doing it for taking the items (you know, the ones that you get for free) just for themselves and For the Evulz.
  • Clingy MacGuffin:
    • Eggs cannot be discarded; you have to walk them until they hatch to get rid of them.
    • Mythical Pokémon (such as Mew) cannot be transferred, taking up permanent space in your Pokémon storage. Thankfully you can also own only one of each, preventing you from filling up your storage with untransferable Pokémon.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Eggs have green, orange, pink, or purple spots to indicate that they require 2, 5, 7, or 10 km respectively to hatch, and each color has their own list of Pokémon that they could possibly be. The pink-spotted eggs, likewise, only hatch into Alolan Pokémon.
  • Com Mons:
    • While what Pokémon that have become these has changed over time as more Pokémon have been released, as well as between different places (with some lesser common Pokémon having greater spawn rates in some areas compared to others), the current selection of overly common spawns include Weedle, Pidgey, Ratatta, Spearow, Venonat, Paras, Eevee, Sentret, Ledyba, Spinarak, Hoothoot, Natu, Murkrow, Poochyena, Zigzagoon, Wurmple, Swablu, Bidoof, Starly, and Kricketot.
    • In late 2018, a "meganest" mechanic was unintentionally implemented, where one particular species for a limited time (roughly two weeks) will swarm a given area, being mixed in with assorted other spawns including some of the species mentioned above spawning in lower numbers and the general encounter rate for commons favoring more recent generations. Meganests were terminated in March 2019, returning the wild encounter rates to normal.
    • In different weather conditions, the encounter rates of Pokémon with specific types will increase slightly, such as Grass, Ground, and Fire-type Pokémon appearing more commonly in clear skies and Poison, Fighting, and Fairy-type appearing more often under cloudy weather conditions.
    • During timed events, the spawn rates for specific Pokémon of a type or certain theme are jacked up significantly, though the above Com Mons and nesting species still appear.
    • Initially played straight with Zubat, until the Johto update in February 2017 reduced its encounter rate to be slightly lower than "uncommon" finds such as Hoppip and Marill. Nowadays, it is more rare, only returning to its former glory during Halloween events.
    • Each egg type (2km, 5km, the friend-exclusive "Alolan" 7km, and 10km) has different rates for which species they will hatch into.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Team GO Rocket fights involve battles against Shadow Pokémon with stats 2-3 times what a human could possibly get. It's suggested that this is because they're literally cheating - they are Card-Carrying Villains after all.
  • Consolation Prize:
    • If a wild Pokémon flees, you still get 25 XP for your effort.
    • Failing to defeat a Raid Boss gives you a small amount of Stardust.
  • Cosmetically Different Sides: There is no functional difference between the three Teams, apart from names, colours, and emblems.
  • The Corruption: Shadow Pokemon from Pokémon Colosseum and Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness were reintroduced to Go in late July 2019 with slight reworks. They are now illegal experiments headed by Team Go Rocket and used by their Grunts.

    D-G 
  • Damage-Sponge Boss: Raid Pokémon function like this, due to having CP in the ten thousands granting them monstrous stats. They are designed for a group of up to 20 to take down; to attempt to defeat a high-difficulty Raid alone is a nigh-impossible task. Raid Pokémon also do not telegraph their attacks, and given the tight time limit, a common strategy is to completely ignore dodging and simply bash it until it goes down. Most Tier 4 raids can be completed with a group of at least 4 or 5, though, while Tier 5 usually require 5 to 8 to take down.
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts: Due to the way gym battles work, the player's Pokémon can theoretically win against one far stronger so long as you can dodge every attack. One slip and your Pokémon is down, of course.
    This also extends to gyms as a whole. Since the defending Pokémon's motivation goes down when defeated, it becomes easier to beat on the rematch, and any sufficiently persistent determinator with enough time (and revives) can simply chip away at the gym over and over again until it's taken down, not giving members of the team defending the Gym a chance to use Berries to recover their Pokémon's CP.
  • Developers' Foresight: The game doesn't record distance unless you're travelling under 15 mph, so riding in a car won't accumulate much distance. This is not to say there's no point at all — there are frequent stops in a city, after all — but highway travel will earn next to nothing.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: Curveballs. By spinning the Poké Ball before throwing, it will fly in an arc (usually, a diagonal one) instead of a straight line. If you land the throw, you get a "Curveball" bonus. This takes a lot of practice to get down correctly, especially on smaller devices, and different Pokémon need different aims, but mastering the technique is well worth the effort; a successful curveball carries a catch rate multiplier of 1.7. For comparison, Great Balls and Razz Berries are both 1.5, as is a "great" throw. The only things that give more of a bonus are the 1.8 from an "excellent" throw and the 2.0 of Ultra Balls. Curveballs also stack with all of these things. A curved great throw with a regular Poké Ball has a higher multiplier than just throwing an Ultra Ball.
  • Difficulty Spike: Catch rate is based on Pokémon level, and players only encounter Pokémon up to their own level, so catches are pretty much 100% success when the player first starts. Once the player reaches higher levels, that's when Random Number God kicks in and Pokémon gain the ability to break out of the player's thrown Balls and escape.
  • Disc-One Nuke:
    • Downplayed. It's possible for low-level players to catch evolved Pokémon with CP several times higher than that of their average encounters (a Kingler with ~300 CP vs Krabby with only 50-100, for example). However, CP is based on level as well as species, so they still won't be nearly as strong as those caught by a high-level trainer.
    • Beedrill and Pidgeot are relatively easy to raise because Weedle and Pidgey are so abundant, due to their Com Mon status. This goes for all evolvable Com Mons as well.
    • Eevee: six out of Eevee's seven evolutions are considered strong enough to be viable even in high-level meta, despite being almost as common as Pidgey.
    • Rhydon and Aggron count as well; Not only that these Pokemon are commonly seen in high levels, they are also quite strong and easy to evolve due to their abundance. However, despite being quite sturdy, they hit like a wet sponge, so it is ill-advised to use them at higher levels or abuse them in multiple copies.
  • Ditto Fighter: Ditto, of course. Ditto will automatically copy the first Pokémon it fights, taking on the Pokémon's base stats and movepool adjusted to the Ditto's level (for example, a level 20 Ditto copying a level 30 Dragonite would become a level 20 version of that Dragonite). It will retain this disguise for as long as its in battle.
  • Drought Level of Doom: Low-density areas such as industrial parks and suburban neighborhoods tend to have a disproportionate number of spawn points in comparison to Poké Stops, meaning that it's easy to grind for stardust and experience points in these areas, but also easy to deplete one's supply of Poké Balls.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: On September 22, 2018, massive amounts of a never-before-seen Pokémon appeared worldwide for a brief period of time. Upon being caught, however, they would all turn out to be Ditto. Three days later, it was formally announced by Game Freak, and is called Meltan, a Steel-type Mythical Pokémon.
  • Early Game Hell: Once you get past the first ten levels, making your way to level 20 is much more difficult, especially if you don't use real money for experience-boosting Lucky Eggs. Though you can get free coins by dropping Pokémon into gyms your teammates have conquered, capturing enemy gyms or participating in raids will be frustrating as most other players will likely be using Pokémon at least twice as strong as your own. Things get easier once the player grinds enough candy to fully evolve some of their Pokémon and start adding higher-CP Pokémon to their battle roster. Unlocking Pinap Berries at level 18 and Ultra Balls at level 20 further aids this process.
  • Easter Egg:
    • When you first start the game and are given the opportunity to catch one of the three Kanto starters. If you continuously walk away from them, they will eventually respawn with a Pikachu as a fourth starter option, as a nod to Pokémon Yellow.
    • There's a way to guarantee the Eevee evolution you want; nickname your Eevee "Sparky" for Jolteon, "Pyro" for Flareon, "Rainer" for Vaporeon, "Sakura" for Espeon, "Tamao" for Umbreon, "Rea" for Glaceon, and "Linnea" for Leafeon. The first three are the same names as the three trainers who owned each of the three original Eeveelutions from the Pokémon anime episode "The Battling Eevee Brothers", while the fourth and fifth are the names of two of the five Kimono Sisters who each owned an Eeveelution from the anime episodes "Trouble's Brewing" and "Espeon, Not Included". The latter two are based off two notable post-game trainers in seventh-generationcore-series games. Niantic themselves confirmed this method works.
    • If you have a Pikachu as your buddy Pokémon and you walk 10km with it, it will sit on your shoulder on the profile screen. Same occurs if you have Eevee as your walking buddy.
    • If you throw a Pokéball at a Kangaskhan and it lands near the pouch, it'll land inside it next to her joey instead of capturing her.
  • Encounter Bait: The Incense and Lure Module items attracts Pokémon to the user and a Poké Stop respectively for 30 minutes. Pokémon drawn by Incense are exclusive to the player, while Lures work for all players.
  • Enemy Mine:
    • Players from two different teams can work together to topple a gym held by the third team. However, only one team can hold the gym after it reverts to neutral, so they'll probably end up fighting each other for control over it afterward.
    • A straighter example is Raid Battles, where any player of any alignment can work together to destroy the Raid Boss Pokémon.
  • Exergaming: Some of the game's features, such as hatching eggs and even gaining experience, are tied to how far you walk. Eggs hatch after walking anywhere from 2 to 10 kilometers, and there are medals for walking certain distances. The game stops counting distance when you go over about 15mph, though, so trying to cheat with a car won't get you much of anything.
    • The Adventure Sync feature lets the game take data from your fitness apps while it's inactive, letting you progress egg hatching. You get additional rewards for meeting certain distance milestones each week.
  • Exact Words:
    • If Professor Willow assigns you a quest that requires you to spin PokéStops, you must spin them by hand rather than use the Pokémon Go Plus to collect the rewards from it.
    • If a research request says "Catch X Pokémon," or "Catch X of Y type Pokémon," only catches count. Hatching, trading, or evolving do not count for these quests.
    • Works in the player's favor in "Use X berries" or "Make X of Y type throws" research requests. Those do not require a successful catch - if a player happens to have such a quest when they encounter something that's difficult to catch (like if they've just cleared a Tier 5 raid), it's fairly common to complete these quests on just the one encounter after it breaks out of several successful throws. Some people even seek them out for this purpose.
  • Experience Booster: The Lucky Egg item doubles experience gained for 30 minutes.
  • Fake Difficulty:
    • If the color of the target circle is very similar to the color of the Pokémon, it can be very difficult to see what you're supposed to be aiming at.
    • Mons that are very far away on the screen can be tricky to catch if your screen is too small—it's extremely difficult just to throw the ball far enough, to say nothing of actually hitting the tiny target.
    • Raid bosses with a sole single weakness to ground, most notably ones of pure Electric typing are of such, as ground type moves, particularly the ubiquitous Earthquake, are notorious for their extremely slow speed that they are often amounting to Scratch Damage against these raid bosses. It is further compounded when the raid boss in question has a very high defense stat such as Jolteon or Raikou, which can make the raid borderline impossible to deal with minimal players save for a select few legendary Pokemon.
  • Fake Longevity: Some Special Research questlines have tasks where you have to catch a Pokémon or spin a Pokéstop at least once every day for X days in a row, which just prolongs the time it takes to complete the questline without adding any challenge.
  • Fake Ultimate Mook: Slaking defending Gyms looks intimidating with its massive CP, but the way the AI handles its attacks (using moves at a set rhythm rather than as fast as possible) means that it slowly does Scratch Damage with its intentionally pathetic fast move and very occasionally unleashes a much stronger charge move. By the time it's done actual damage, the player would most likely have run through most of its health bar.
  • Fanservice: The already attractive player avatars were given costume options in the form of the "Jogger" outfit—the female avatar gets a tight midriff baring top, the male gets a tight sleeveless shirt, and both of them get short shorts.
  • Fire, Ice, Lightning: The Teams have the Legendary birds of Kanto as their mascots — Articuno for Team Mystic, Zapdos for Team Instinct, and Moltres for Team Valor. As with the core games, there are trios such as Magmar, Jynx, and Electabuzz also available in the game.
  • Fission Mailed:
    • An unintentional example. Due to how the internet connection and servers are handled differently in certain conditions, a player may experience wild Pokémon encounters escape due to interrupted connection, only to find them caught in their own bag. Their journal also lists them being caught instead of fleeing, as a result.
    • A straighter example happens during the Sleeping Snorlax event, as a Sleeping Snorlax, as opposed to operated by the typical Catch Rate rule, is scripted to break out of two ball captures before being caught on the third ball capture.
  • Flashmob: Many Raids, at least in highly populated areas and especially high-tier raids, almost require this. A Raid consists of a co-op Boss Battle against a stronger-than-normal Pokémon at a random gym. While Tier 1 and Tier 2 raids can be completed alone, higher-tier raids require multiple players. Tier 5 raids in particular (which contains the rarest and strongest boss Pokémon) essentially enforce this trope, requiring at least 6 players to complete. While legendary Pokémon raids often manage to draw together enough players by themselves, it's common practice to coordinate through chat groups such as Discord and Facebook groups, sometimes bringing 20+ or even 30+ players together. In high-activity places such as Hong Kong and Singapore, cooperation is not even needed as players will automatically swarm to the raid.
    • Another example is during every time that a new Pokémon wave appears, lots of people will be swarming to areas where a high rarity Pokémon spawns in hopes of registering them to their Pokédex. Out of new waves, this will still occur if any 100IV specimen spawns, especially if they are shiny eligible or have high rarity value.
  • Flying Seafood Special: Goldeen, Tentacool, and many other water-type swimming Pokémon are portrayed as floating in mid-air on ground, both with AR mode on and off. Averted with Magikarp, of course, which just flops around uselessly, but justified with its evolution, Gyarados, for being part Flying-type.
  • Freudian Trio: The teams' philosophies.
    • Team Valor believes in training Pokémon using raw strength, emotions, and passion, making them the Id.
    • Team Mystic believes in using logic and intellect in training Pokémon, making them the Superego.
    • Team Instinct doesn't favor either emotions or logic, instead relying on their own instincts, making them the Ego.
  • Game-Breaking Bug:
    • The game can be very processor-intensive on low-end devices, as it simultaneously puts a good deal of pressure on the graphics while using the GPS, with the option of using the camera and gyroscope in the AR Mode. As a result, extended periods of play can cause the game to lag heavily, especially if the game has to load a large amount of map data. Given enough time, this can render the game unplayable until you reset it.
    • The 0.51.0 update results in the game becoming completely unplayable at odd times (the map doesn't load, and nothing else is selectable), likely due to the changes made to the day-and-night system. Closing and reopening the app can fix this, but not always.
    • When you successfully dodge an attack, your Pokémon will take the full damage, and then the game automatically adjusts this so that it takes partial damage, instead. If the undodged damage is enough to make the Pokémon faint, the game will switch it and the next Pokémon in the party in and out, not understanding which should be out and whether the first Pokémon should've fainted. A variant of the "dodge glitch" that can happen if there is only one player battling involves too much dodging and a "shadow" charged move from the raid Pokémon that comes out of nowhere. The enemy Pokémon can even seemingly regenerate HP from such an attack.
    • Attempting to use a Pokémon Go Plus while the app is running in the background can be problematic as the app itself has a very high chance of closing in the background if a different app is loaded, forcing you to re-launch the game.
    • The update that coincided with the Pokémon Detective Pikachu promotion caused the game to go completely haywire with countless apparently random bugs, errors, and glitches. While some glitches were innocuous like Pokémon looking like they had been sent through a paper shredder when in gyms, the camera in the gym flying around randomly when trying to feed Berries, or Pokémon spotaneously morphing into other Pokémon after being caught (at least when the Pokémon went from a Com Mon to a more desirable mon such as Aerodactyl or Chansey), others were bad enough that many players quit playing the game until they could be fixed. Some of these worse bugs include the wrong Pokémon being transferred when transferring mons, the game suddenly being a lot more of a battery drain than usual, the random inability to get anything besides standard items like normal Pokéballs from Pokéstops, Lucky Pokémon costing MILLIONS of Stardust to power up, and the aforementioned spontaneous morphing bug due to it also causing players to lose out on strong or even Legendary Pokémon from Raids or Research Tasks due to them morphing into less desirable mons. In the newest version, most of these were mitigated.
    • Tapping on a Pokémon the moment it disappears from the map may soft-lock the game since the hud has disappeared and input has been disabled in anticipation of the encounter starting. However, since the Pokémon is not there, the encounter will never start and the game will hang, forcing a restart.
    • One that can become particularly frustrating is that the game will hang during a Team GO Rocket fight if a Double Knockout happens. This will happen regardless of how many Pokémon either side has left, and a restart will treat it as a loss for the player. If Team GO Rocket manages to cause this by using their last Pokémon to knock out the player when the player still has reserves left, this can cause a Rage Quit.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • Because of the game's algorithm for spawning, more Pokémon will spawn in areas with more people playing the game. This means that crowded cities will have a greater volume of Pokémon than rural areas, and areas where there is no cell reception like caves and mountains won't have any.
    • The December 2017 update added "Extreme" weather alerts claiming "Pokémon seem to dislike these conditions", the effect of which reduces weather-related spawns and attack boosts. Putting aside the real-world aspect (it's intended to discourage playing outside in harsh weather), the exact opposite is true from an in-game perspective, as within the lore of the mainline Pokémon games outside of Go, there are species that can withstand (and are even found in) extreme conditions. This was later removed in an update launched in January 2018, which now allow appropriate Pokémon to spawn during Extreme weather.
    • Some spawn points are technically in, as opposed to next to, bodies of water. Fortunately for all of those Geodude, Rhyhorn, and other very heavy Pokémon (and the trainers that want to catch them), they do not immediately sink beyond a player's reach upon spawning there.
  • Gender Bender: Raichu's initial character model was female, as evidenced by the fact that the tip of its tail was flat rather than pointed. Pikachu, on the other hand, used the male character model, lacking the heart-shaped tip that distinguishes the female version. Thus, any time Pikachu evolved into Raichu, it would be changing gender as well as form. This was corrected in a later update, changing Raichu's model to the male version.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • The game doesn't explain the purpose of the circles that appear when you're preparing to toss a Pokéball at a wild Pokémon, specifically the colored circle inside the white target circle, which shrinks as you hold the ball. The color of the circle determines how likely you are to catch the Pokémon. Green usually works on the first try, while yellow, orange, and red represent an increasing likelihood that the Pokémon will break free. You're more likely to catch the Pokémon if the colored circle is smaller when the ball hits, and if the ball hits within that circle. This is deemed a "Nice", "Great", or "Excellent" throw depending on the size of the circle and earns a small XP bonus. You can also spin the ball using your finger to throw a curveball, which gives an XP bonus if you do it right.
    • The game also does not tell you anything about weaknesses and resistances. This can easily cause a bunch of players going into a legendary raid and using the default selection and time out even if there are supposedly slightly more than the minimum amount of players that can beat it. This is because that the autoselect more often than not contains inappropriate Pokémon for that specific raid boss, such as Aggron against Latios or Tyranitar with two Rock-Type moves against Giratina.
    • When you actually enter a gym battle for the first time, it can be a rather Unexpected Gameplay Change since there's really no battling before this. Battling consists of tapping on your opponent to attack with your basic movie, while a "Charge Meter" charges up to allow your Pokémon to use a more powerful move. Swiping allows dodging. None of this is explained to you upon your first battle, neither is there any sort of training mode to try out your Pokémon's moves before challenging a gym.
    • There is a way to get Pikachu as your starter, but the game never tells you how.
    • The game doesn't tell you that you need to flip your device sideways to reap the benefits of battery saver.
    • Players discovered a 100% sure-fire way to evolve your Eevee into whatever you want it to be. You have to name them "Sparky", "Pyro", or "Rainer" to get a Jolteon, Flareon, and Vaporeon, respectively. Also, make sure you exit the app and relaunch after changing the name to ensure that it went through to the server. For the Gen 2 Eeveelutions, you have to name your Eevee "Sakura" or "Tamao" for Espeon and Umbreon. For Gen 4, "Rea" gets Glaceon and "Linnea" gets Leafeon.
    • Incense works by generating Pokémon at your location, at a rate of one every five minutes (so about five overall). However, you can double or even triple that amount if you jog at least 200 meters between spawns, which ups the spawn rate to about one per minute.
    • Remember IVs from the main games? Surprise, they're present in this game and just as cryptic. Pokémon have three hidden stats — Attack, Defense, and Stamina — which all factor into a function that determines its final CP as well as its HP. And just like in the main games, you have no control over whether that high CP 'mon you're catching has good stats or not. The Elite Tweak factor is less pronounced, though, due to the lack of EVs, and the difference between a 'mon with perfect IVs and an average 'mon is about 10% additional damage in battles. Later updates added and refined the appraisal feature, letting you have a better idea of the parameters without needing the assistance of a third party program.

    H-N 
  • Hand Wave: Legendary Pokémon can't be used to defend gyms as the game states they have Undying Loyalty to their trainer. However, they can still be transferred to the professor (just with an extra warning), making that explanation especially flimsy.
  • Hard Mode Perks: The AR+ mode which expands further through the regular AR mode. The Pokémon is hidden around after the player clicks it on map, requiring the player to tap on the moving bushes to catch it, and it adds a warning bubble that requires players to have some patience to avoid getting it filled. Successfully reaching them in slow pace gives you "Expert Handler" bonus reward with extra XP and Stardust after they're caught in time, but reaching them quickly will net you a Nonstandard Game Over.
  • Hello, [Insert Name Here]:
    • As in every Pokémon game, you can nickname your Pokémon. However, unlike most Pokémon games including Mystery Dungeon spinoffs, you can rename your Pokémon at any time, resulting in users taking the concept and running wild. Due to privacy, however, nicknames do not appear when viewing other players' Pokémon in Gyms, instead showing the default species name.
    • Using/abusing the appraisal function to let the team leaders say weird, obscene, etc. things, because how players nicknamed their Pokémon.
  • Hitbox Dissonance:
    • If you're riding a vehicle while playing, trying to tap a freshly-spawned Pokémon or a nearby Poké Stop can be hit or miss, since the app will cause your character to jump forward in bursts as it tries to keep your location updated. For safety reasons, it's impossible to spin stops at all when you're going above a certain speed, even if you're within distance.
    • While it's rare, it's possible for Pokémon to spawn directly on top of one another. Often tapping the Pokémon that appears front-and-center will instead start a capture sequence with the Pokémon behind or under it.
    • What counts as part of a Pokémon's hitbox when a Pokéball is tossed differs between species; the wings of a Zubat register hits, but not, say, the fins of a Goldeen.
    • The capture circle and the hitbox of the Pokémon can be vastly different. Some have a large target circle, but their actual hitboxes are so far away that on smaller devices you may have trouble even throwing the Pokéball far enough to land a hit. On others, the hitbox can be be larger than the circle, making it difficult to land an accurate throw.
  • Holiday Mode:
    • In general, holidays and other events grant various increased rewards, such as double experience, stardust, or candy, as well as special boxes in the in-game store featuring bundled discounts.
    • Around Halloween, the game increases the spawn rates of "spooky" Pokémon (such as Gastly, Zubat, and Misdreavus), and doubles the amount of candy earned for any action. The 2017 version was also the debut of Sableye, Shuppet, and Duskull (and their shiny forms) as well as a Pikachu wearing a witch hat.
    • For Thanksgiving, experience and Stardust earned was doubled across the board. In 2016 this was issued automatically alongside the release of Ditto, while in 2017 the rewards were unlocked as part of a Global Catch Challenge for catching 3 billion Pokémon globally, culminating in the temporary worldwide release of Farfetch'd.
    • December features another special Pikachu, this one wearing a Santa hat. The 2016 event also featured the release of the game's first "baby" Pokémon (Igglybuff, Pichu, Clefa, Magby, Elekid, Togepi, and Smoochum), while 2017 marked the first appearance of the seasonal Pokémon Delibird. 2018 made Ice types (Jynx, Sneasel, Delibird, Snorunt, Spheal and Snover) spawn more often alongside Stantler and introduced the shiny form of Delibird.
    • Valentine's Day sees an increase in the spawn rates for pink Pokémon (such as Jigglypuff, Clefairy, Slowpoke, Exeggcute, Chansey, and Porygon), and in 2018, the holiday debuted the shiny form of Luvdisc.
    • Easter is celebrated with an "Eggstravaganza" event, giving out eggs with a greater variety of rare species and awarding double candy for each egg hatched. 2018 added shiny forms for the baby Pokémon Magby, Togepi, and Wynaut.
    • The game celebrates the anniversary of the franchise as a whole in February and of Pokémon Go in July, with a Pikachu wearing a party hat or Ash Ketchum's hat respectively.
    • 2017 featured periodic events boosting the spawn rates for a particular type of Pokémon, such as a Water Festival for Water types or Adventure Week for Rock types. In 2018, this was replaced by a monthly Community Day, where one specific Pokémon would have its spawn rate massively increased for a three-hour period, with an exclusive move and shiny form available as well.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: Shuckle as a Tier 3 raid boss. It has like 3000CP, but its defense is the highest of any Pokémon in the game, so it is impossible to solo. A Kyogre with rain boost will only reduce it to red before it times out, but the Kyogre won't faint.
  • Hostile Show Takeover: Days after the Team Go Rocket update, the faction seized control over the official Pokemon GO Twitter for several hours. Hilarity ensued as they proceeded to post about how Evil Feels Good and roast the playerbase.
  • Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence: The in-game map may be perfectly flat, but players still have to navigate obstacles found in the real world. Sometimes a nearby Pokémon might be just out of reach on the other side of a busy street, river, or private property. Just because all of those things are technically surmountable doesn't mean attempting to do so is a good idea.
  • Joggers Find Death: Pokémon Go players have found dead bodies while playing this game according to CNN, 10news, and CBS.
  • Lady Not-Appearing-in-This-Game: A male version that's not used for Fanservice. News stories and unofficial ads for the game have been using a cartoon depiction of YouTuber TheJWittz, specifically the image that he typically uses in his thumbnails. He's not actually in the game, although he does play it, and has made a video discussing this.
  • LARP: Short version: Basically, you take your iOS or Android device outside, and it spawns virtual Pokémon, which you can actually see through the camera on the device, and then capture, train, and battle, creating a facsimile of Pokémon training. The game is designed to encourage outdoor activity, especially exploration.
  • Luck-Based Mission:
    • When trying to capture Pokémon, the odds of a successful capture can vary radically, especially if the Pokémon in question is of a rare species or has CP in the quadruple digits. The stronger the Pokémon, the more likely it is to break out of any ball thrown at it. The player can improve their odds by using Razz berries and higher-rank balls, successfully landing their ball inside the colored circle, and throwing a curveball.
    • Obtaining a Pokémon of specific gender can be this. Unlike in main games, the gender markers don't show immediately when you try to catch a Pokémon, and some Pokémon don't have gender differences, so you can't directly determine their genders until after you caught them. Also, the gender ratio is lifted directly from main games, meaning certain species like starters, Eeveelutions and fossil Pokémon have only a 1 in 8 chance of being female.
    • Played With. The three Eevee evolutions (Jolteon, Vaporeon, and Flareon) are normally completely random with each evolution, so the only obvious way to get the one you want is to either keep evolving Eevees or catch one of the evolved forms in the wild. What the game doesn't advertise is that naming your Eevee "Sparky", "Pyro", or "Rainer" guarantees it will evolve into Jolteon, Flareon, or Vaporeon, respectively, so it's only luck-based if you don't know the trick to bypass it. The Generation 2, Espeon and Umbreon, are instead based on buddy walking distance and the time of day, but this can also be bypassed by naming your Eevee "Sakura" or "Tamao". The Gen 4 evolutions, Glaceon and Leafeon, require special lures to evolve, which can be bypassed with the names "Rea" and "Linnea".
    • When evolving a Pokémon, you have no control over what moves it will end up with. You can evolve something with a great moveset into something much more powerful, only to have it be rendered useless by a lousy moveset if the Random Number God doesn't smile upon you. Fortunately, Raid battles may award Technical Machines, which allow a player to switch a Pokémon's move to a new one, though this has its own level of luck if there are more than two moves available since the new move is randomly chosen. This also applies to the "XL" and "XS" tags, which can be gained or lost randomly upon evolution.
    • Just caught a Mew and want to use it in battle? Good luck rolling a good moveset from an enormous move pool that has moves from every type in the game!
    • Hidden Power takes this to greater heights as its type is discovered to be randomly determined as opposed to IVs in the original games.
    • Catching Ditto. Ditto's Transform gimmick allows it to copy other Pokémon, and that includes wild Ditto. Thus, in order to catch Ditto, you have to hope that whatever low-tier Com Mon you're trying to catch is actually a Ditto in disguise. There are a few hints that a Pokémon may be a transformed Ditto (catch and flee rates for Ditto aren't the same as the Pokémon it's copying), but absolutely no way to tell without catching them.
    • Obtaining an EX Raid Pass on your own. Such passes grant access to invitation-only EX Raids and are randomly "awarded" to a subset of players who have recently raided before at the gym where the EX Raid will take place.
    • Getting babies barring trading. Since an egg's content is randomized and this game lacks breeding, obtaining a baby Pokémon, let alone a specific baby, is a matter of luck.
    • Lucky Pokémon and Lucky Friends. When traded, there's a low chance that both Pokémon become Luckynote . Being Lucky Friends guarantees that, but becoming Lucky Friends is itself a Luck-Based Mission - it's a random event that has a low chance of occurring upon the first interaction of the day with a Best Friend (though your individual chance of becoming Lucky Friends with someone is higher the more Best Friends you have, of course), and lasts only until after the next trade.
    • Clamperl, unlike the main games, is also a random evolution, with no known way to influence whether it'll become a Huntail or a Gorebyss (not even a nickname trick like Eevee). This can be exceptionally frustrating because Clamperl is only available via research rewards or raids (and is thus much rarer than Eevee). In particular, trying to get both a shiny Huntail and a shiny Gorebyss is very much subject to the luck of not only finding multiple shiny Clamperl, but hoping that the Clamperl in question won't all evolve the same way.
  • Magikarp Power:
    • Magikarp, of course, which evolves into the giant sea dragon Gyarados. Since candies now cause evolution instead of simply leveling up, this game makes evolving Magikarp a challenge by requiring 400 candies instead of the usual 50 for a single-evolution Pokémon. A single Magikarp gives three candies (six if a Pinap Berry is used), plus an additional one for transferring it, meaning 58 Pinaped Magikarp are needed for a single Gyarados. That said, once you manage to evolve Magikarp, it goes from having the absolute worst CP (220 max) to one of the best (3281 max), fifteen times Magikarp's original value, which is the single largest CP jump of any Pokémon in the game. Wailmer and Swablu, introduced in the Gen 3 updates, also require 400 candies to become Wailord and Altaria respectively, though they don't get such a massive spike in power.
    • Chansey was uselessly weak until Gen 2 mons were added, introducing the evolved version, Blissey. Since Chansey is so rare, it's difficult to get enough candy to evolve one (unless you gathered a lot during the Valentine's Day event), but once you do... you've got a Ridiculously Cute Stone Wall that can hold a gym against almost all comers. Her absurdly high HP stat at its best serves as a deterrent to attackers due to the sheer amount of time needed to whittle her down, and at its worst can cause the battle timer to run out before she falls. Though her attack is subpar, several of her moves are super effective against Fighting types, most players' go-to Blissey killer.
  • Mechanically Unusual Fighter: Slaking retains its obscene base stats from the core series, but Pokémon GO lacks abilities and it therefore doesn't have its Truant ability to offset this. To balance Slaking and make it operate similarly to the main games, it instead has its fast attack set to Yawn, which does piddly damage and is there to charge up its Charge Move.
  • Mêlée à Trois: Three factions — Teams Instinct, Mystic, and Valor — fight among themselves over gyms.
  • Metal Slime:
    • Unlike Com Mons and most uncommon Pokémon, ultra-rare Pokémon such as Lapras, Snorlax, Chansey and Aerodactyl have no fixed spawn areas and can spawn in any area at any time, and do so very rarely. They are usually very hard to hit with a ball, have abysmal catch rates, and are highly prone to escaping if they keep breaking out.
    • Ditto. They are very uncommon, hide disguised as Com Mons, and break free more frequently than their true counterparts.
    • Unown comes in 28 forms based on English alphabet letters as well as ? and !, and has an achievement dedicated to collecting all of them. This Pokémon is so rare that most players haven't even seen one on the Nearby list, let alone in a gym. It's even rarer than wild Tyranitar and more useless than Magikarp.
  • Mighty Glacier: Snorlax and Blissey are considered the two best gym defenders due to their massive health pool and high CP, and with the right moveset are difficult to dodge or counter. Expect to see one of each in most highly-contested gyms.
  • Mini-Boss: The GO Rocket update adds Team GO Rocket members to various Pokéstops, and visiting them will initiate a fight with the GO Rocket Grunt. Not all Grunts are pushovers — some hold teams of fully-evolved Pokémon.
  • Mirror Match:
    • Fighting a Pokémon as the same Pokémon in gyms.
    • Ditto will transform into the first Pokemon it sees in a gym, inheriting the latter's CP.
  • Mystery Box: Pokémon Eggs. Unlike those from the core game series where you usually know what species is inside as you bred them yourself, the Pokémon available inside eggs are random, selected from four different pools of species based on the egg's color. Incubators must be used to hatch them, which can only be purchased en masse from the Shop.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The medals for catching Pokémon of a certain type are all references to the Trainer Classes that used them in the main games.
    • Pikachu is the only Pokémon in the game who has Pokémon Speak, just as in Pokémon Yellow and the Generation VI and VII games.
    • Many items in the game are featured in the main series but have different effects; Stardust is Vendor Trash in the games but is used to level up Pokémon in GO, the Razz Berry is used as a Pokéblock/Poffin ingredient in the games but is used to increase capture chance/reduce flee rate here, and Pokémon candies are similar to Rare Candy/evolution stones in their ability to evolve Pokémon.
    • Abra is the single most likely Pokémon to flee if it breaks out of its capture ball, a direct reference to the fact that, in the main games, Abra's only move was Teleport, which it would use to immediately flee from battle if not caught (or incapacitated) during the first turn.
    • The motivation system is lifted from Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon, but has been reworked to suit the different game mechanics.
    • The Alolan Marowak Raid Battle is a Harder Than Hard version of Totem Marowak Challenge in Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, despite Totem Auras not being present in this game.
    • Two of the new series of Lure Modules, Mossy Lure Module and Glacial Lure Module, reference to the Moss Rock and Ice Rock in core-series games as they can be used to locate and allow anyone nearby to evolve their Eevee into Leafeon and Glaceon respectively. They're also similar to Mossy Rock and Frozen Rock in Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series.
  • Nerf:
    • The 0.31.0 update nerfed the base damage of numerous attacks (in particular, the formerly dominant Water Gun from 10 to 6, helping to bring Vaporeon into check) and buffed many others by up to 50 points in some cases (like Hyper Beam).
    • The same update nerfed catch rates, with even low-CP Com Mons having high chances of breaking out of a ball and escaping, which increases as the player's level rises.
    • The overhauled gym system in June 2017 produced a major nerf on gym defenders - defenders would slowly weaken over time (though this can be counteracted by feeding them berries, and they're back to normal once they leave the gym), a gym is filled when six (as opposed to the previous ten) have been placed, and finally, only one of a given species can be in a gym at any given time. This downgrades Blissey from a nightmare stacking a gym ten deep to a difficult but manageable problem that is unique in that gym.
    • The October 2018 rebalance was notable for buffing several offense-oriented Pokémon but infamous for nerfing many defensive-oriented ones, most famously Blissey. Changes to the stat calculation reduced max HP for the extreme outliers as well as reduced the effect of unbalanced defense stats in the original games, both of which put a serious crimp in Blissey's effectiveness as a gym defender. Further, the effects of Elemental Rock–Paper–Scissors was enhanced in both directions - super-effective attacks are even stronger than before, but resisted attacks do even less damage. Blissey's weakened stats and lack of resistances put Blissey in danger from many more attackers. She's still by far one of the best defenders, but she's way more manageable than before.
  • New Media Are Evil: Within days of the introduction of Pokémon Go, news outlets passed along a number of stories relating to it, including people being robbed while playing the game, a woman stumbling on a dead body, and people playing in inappropriate areas. In most cases the problems encountered stemmed either from a lack of common sense while playing or were risks one would take by simply going outside.
  • Nice Hat: Pikachu has access to a total of four different hats depending on which Holiday Mode is active: a witch hat during Halloween, a Santa hat during Christmas, a party hat during the franchise anniversary in February, and Ash's baseball cap during the app's anniversary in July. A hat-wearing Pikachu will keep its hat when evolved into Raichu, and any Pichu hatched from an egg acquired during event will have the hat as well. They're functional, too- any hat-wearing Pikachu can learn the quick move Present.
  • No Fair Cheating:
    • If you try to travel at more than 15 mph, the game won't track your distance for egg-hatching purposes. If you travel faster than 30 mph, Pokémon spawns, Poké Stops, and the tracker are disabled until you slow down.note 
    • If you try and download the app in a country where the game is not legitimately released, there will likely be no Poké Stops or wild Pokémon spawning since they aren't programmed to appear there. This doesn't stop some impatient players from doing it anyway, in hopes Pokémon will somehow appear anyway or to give themselves an early advantage whenever the game is actually released in their region. If Niantic figures out that you're sideloaded and are playing outside of the regions where the game is available, they'll eventually tempban your account until the game becomes officially available in your country.
    • Don't even think of trying to use a GPS spoofing app to trick the app into thinking you're somewhere else. If Niantic figures it out, they'll issue a ban which causes all Pokémon to automatically run away, disables all Poké Stops and gyms, and prevents you from leveling up.
    • Pokémon can be slashed out if the user is discovered to be using third-party apps like GPS spoofing and tracking apps. Slashed-out Pokémon cannot be used in Gym battles and will not yield any candy after transfer.
    • There are also several day shadow bans, which only allow common Pokémon like Pidgey and Ratatta to be seen and lock the player out of raids.
    • 90 day account bans are the next level up, then account termination.
  • Nonstandard Game Over: In AR+ mode, reaching the Pokémon too quickly (ie: instantly) will raise the warning bubble by filling it with red, increasing the likehood of fleeing even before you try to capture it.
  • No Plot? No Problem!: Unlike Ingress with its extensive, ongoing lore and its use of real-world Kayfabe events as storytelling, this game doesn't really have much of a plot beyond "Congrats, you're a trainer, now go catch Pokémon and join one of these three teams!" The closest the game has is Special Research, where Professor Willow assigns the player tasks to help him research in studying and identifying Mythical Pokémon.

    O-P 
  • Obvious Beta: The initial release was pretty rough. There were constant crashing issues, the servers were unstable, and the app was (and in many cases still is) a massive battery and data hog. The initial release was even versioned as 0.29.0, which is a number typical of a beta build.
  • Olympus Mons: As in the core series, legendary Pokémon. Premiering at the 2017 Pokémon GO Fest event in Chicago, legendary Pokémon are the target of tier 5 raids, with a new species debuting approximately once per month. Once their visit is over, the legendary Pokémon is semi-retired so others can take their place. Mewtwo can also be caught in EX Raids, which require extremely rare EX Raid Passes. After Mewtwo was changed to be a standard special raid, Deoxys took its place in EX Raids.
  • 108: The general theme of the 2018 Halloween event quests, ending in the player catching Spiritomb.
  • One-Man Army:
    • Well, One Pokémon Army. The trailer has Mewtwo, a single Pokémon, going toe-to-toe with the Pokémon of hundreds of trainers, and for quite awhile Mewtwo is kicking ass. On the long list of Pokémon Mewtwo had to fight off were Dragonair, Charizard, Pidgeot, Gengar and Gyarados; all powerful Pokémon in their own right. It is eventually caught, but given the clock, it held its own against all of them for almost ten straight minutes. Once they were finally released, max-level Legendary Pokémon all qualify for this trope.
    • Under the old gym system, when trying to raise the prestige of an allied gym, you were only allowed to use one Pokémon to defeat all the Pokémon at that gym, regardless of whether it has one or nine. The one you chose therefore has to be strong enough to fight all of them consecutively without being knocked out. You earned prestige for knocking out at least one, just not as much. The game gives out better rewards if your attacker is weaker than the defender, the largest bonus being awarded if the defender is twice as strong, so you could earn as much if not more prestige in one fight with a weak Pokémon as you could against the entire lineup with a strong one.
    • Upon the release of raids, gyms now can spawn Pokémon with a CP rating in the tens of thousands. The highest level of raids are simply not possible for a single person to handle, and that one Pokémon with a CP of over 40,000 can easily curbstomp multiple trainers with a full team of six.
  • Parrot Pet Position: Just like Ash and his Pikachu, you can have a Pikachu and certain other small Pokémon (most notably Pidgey and Spearow, in which case it's justified because they're fairly small birds, as well as Eevee) ride on your avatar's shoulder if you assign it as your buddy. This isn't automatic in Pikachu and Eevee's case, however; you have to keep it as your buddy for a while for the effect to kick in. Prior to that, it just stands beside you like the others.
  • Permanently Missable Content: If a Pokémon you were attempting to catch flees, it is lost forever and you must seek out another member of that species.
  • Piñata Enemy: The Team GO Rockets that occupy various Pokéstops might look intimidating and can actually devastate low level or inexperienced players, but they give at least 500 stardust when you defeat them and 100-375 more stardust when you successfully catch their Pokémon. This allows high-level, expert players to grind them for large amounts of stardust as long as they have a steady supply of potions.
  • Play Every Day: The game has daily streak bonuses, in which your first Poké Stop visit and first catch of the day will net you an additional 500 XP, 500 additional Stardust from the Pokémon caught, and additional items from the Stop. If you maintain the streak for seven days, the seventh day will increase the bonus XP/Stardust to 2000 and the items from the Pokéstop will be greatly increased, in addition to dropping rare items needed for certain evolutions. The cycle repeats after that. Missing a day resets the cycle. This encourages players to at least visit one Poké Stop and catch at least one Pokémon daily. Visiting a gym grants a free Raid Pass every day (provided the player doesn't already have one), and the player can complete research tasks for one field research stamps per day, with a breakthrough bonus after seven days.
  • Pokémon Speak: Pikachu does this, provided by Ikue Otani. The rest have upgraded versions of their cries that were first heard in the Generation VI games.
  • Power Level: Pokémon in this game have a "Combat Power" (CP) rating, which is calculated based on a series of hidden values such as experience level and stats to provide an at-a-glance summary of how strong that Pokémon is. It can be misleading sometimes, though.
  • Power-Up Food:
    • The Candies that are received when capturing or transferring/releasing Pokémon can be used alongside Stardust to enhance the Combat Points of a Pokémon of their corresponding evolutionary line or evolve them.
    • Berries can be fed to Pokémon in an allied gym, increasing their motivation and temporarily boosting their CP.
    • Inverted against wild Pokémon with Nanab Berries, which make the Pokémon move around less, and Razz Berries, which make it harder to break out of a ball.
  • Product Placement: Prior to the December 2016 update, all Starbucks locations were turned into Poké Stops, with an advertisement in place of the regular location name. Since then, Niantic has signed deals with most mobile service carriers to include their locations as well.

    R-Z 
  • Rare Candy: The only way to power up your Pokémon's stats, as well as evolving them, is by feeding them candy. Aside from species-specific candy exclusive to Pokémon of that species, there's also a version of the Trope Namer, Rare Candy, which can be transformed into regular candy for any species.
  • Rare Random Drop:
    • Zigzagged with evolution items (Sun Stone, King's Rock, Metal Coat, Dragon Scale and Up-Grade), needed to evolve certain Pokémon. Spinning at least one Poké Stop a day for 7 days straight always awards a random evolutionary item from the first spin on the seventh day; all other times they have an 0.15% estimated probability of being dispensed from a Poké Stop. As of the launch of Generation IV in the game, the Sinnoh Stone (a stand-in for several different evolution items from the handheld games) has been added to this list.
    • Technical Machines, or TMs (which replace a Pokémon's attack with a random new one), are sometimes dropped by raid bosses, their rarity being greater the lower the tier; roughly 60% of Tier 4 raids drop them, while a minority of lower-tier raids do.
  • Redemption Demotion and Redemption Promotion: Shadow Pokémon manage to play both straight, albeit at different times. When Team GO Rocket uses Shadow Pokémon, they get a significant bump to their CP (and thus overall stats), on par with a two-star raid boss, plus they can use the standard assortment of charge moves. Should the player defeat the Rocket Grunt and catch said Shadow Pokémon, though, it gets a very rapid demotion to around level 1 and is stuck using Frustration, which is deliberately built to be the absolute worst charge move in the game. On top of that, it costs triple resources (stardust and candy) to power it up or give it a new move. However, purify it, and it instantly levels to 25, it can learn other charge moves (including replacing Return, which replaces Frustration but is only marginally better), it gets a +2 bonus to the IV values of all of its stats (unless it would take it over the maximum of 15), and the cost to power up or teach a new move gets a 20% decrease from normal. It might not ever reach the frankly unfair levels of power that a Shadow Pokémon reaches in Team GO Rocket's hands, but it's much easier to max out a purified Pokémon than one caught in any other fashion.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Shadow Pokémon are now pictured with bloodshot red eyes locked into a permanent angry expression.
  • Regional Bonus: There are several Pokémon that are continent or country-exclusive:
    • Farfetch'd can only be caught in Japan and South Korea.
    • Kangaskhan can only be caught in Australia.
    • Mr. Mime can only be caught in Europe.
    • Tauros can only be caught in North America.
    • Corsola can be caught in a few selected countries and regions: Kenya, Ethiopia, Madagascar, India, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia, Papus New Guinea, Northern Australia, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Mexico, Peru, Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico.
    • Heracross can be caught in Southern Florida, Southern Texas, Central and South America. It is a highly useful bargaining chip for trades since it is a fan favorite Pokémon that is quite useful in battle. note 
    • Illumise can be caught in North America and South America. Volbeat, on the other hand, can be caught in Asia, Australia and Europe. The same situation is repeated with the duos Lunatone/Solrock and Zangoose/Seviper, in those orders. note 
    • Relicanth can only be caught in New Zealand and surrounding islands (Fiji, Samoa, etc.). This makes it a very valuable bargaining chip in trades.
    • Torkoal can only be caught in South Asia.
    • Tropius can only be caught in Africa, Southern Spain, the Mediterranean Sea (Malta, Cyprus, etc.), and The Levant (Israel, Lebanon, etc.).
    • Carnivine can only be caught in Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.
    • Chatot can only be caught in India, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Northern Australia, Peru and other South American countries.
    • Pachirisu can only be caught in Russia, Alaska and Northern Canada.
    • Shellos is an interesting case, as it's available everywhere, however Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia get the "eastern" (cyan) variation while the Americas get the "western" (pink) variation.
  • Relationship Values: There are five levels of friendship between you and your friends. Higher friendship levels means reduced Stardust costs for trades and increased attack and extra Premier Balls in raids if they participate alongside you.
  • Running Gag: Part of a series-wide one, as of the second Team GO Rocket update. You know how there's inevitably someone in the games that uses full team of only Magikarp? There's a chance that a Water-focused Team GO Rocket grunt (leading off with "These waters are treacherous!") will be sporting a whole team of shadow Magikarp. Not surprisingly, even with the boost to CP that Rocket-controlled Shadow Pokemon get, it's the easiest possible Rocket fight.
  • Schizophrenic Difficulty: The research quest for Mew has 8 stages, each with 3 mini-missions. The difficulty and time-expense of each part gradually increases at first, until the 5th-7th stages, where time spent and difficulty vary wildly, with some of the steps being entirely luck-based such as catching Ditto.
  • Scratch Damage: In gym battles and raids, charge moves always cause damage; dodging just mitigates how much damage is taken. This is in part to prevent someone from Cherry Tapping a gym or raid to death with something otherwise weak, as it's impossible to fully avoid taking damage. Fast moves that aren't dodged also always cause damage, regardless of the power of the move. However, in the case of Splash and Yawn, they have 0 power, so they only do a bare minimum of damage.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Like in a Safari Zone, it is possible for every Pokémon in this game to flee, with encounters ending in the Pokémon escaping a Pokéball they just broke out of. Some are more likely to escape from a destroyed Poké Ball than others, such as those with the Run Away ability and Abra, who teleports away in the main games, only giving you one chance to acquire them before they flee.
  • Self-Imposed Challenge:
    • The "Team Harmony" Challenge, for players who don't want to get mixed up picking between Teams Valor, Instinct, and Mystic and would prefer to try and ease tension between the three groups. By doing this players lock themselves out of ever battling at the gyms, so the only way they play is to catch and raise Pokémon. Fans have even picked Lugia as their unofficial mascot for this type of challenge, as opposed to Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres the other teams are represented by.invoked
    • The ultimate challenge is to reach level 40 without ever catching a single Pokémon, but rather leveling up only from the 50 XP earned from Poké Stops. That's only 400,000 Poké Stop visits.
  • Smoke Out: If you take too long to capture a wild Pokémon or sometimes when it breaks out of the ball you enclose it in, they'll flee, leaving a puff of smoke.
  • Socialization Bonus:
    • Pokémon are more likely to spawn in areas with higher mobile data traffic, encouraging players to travel in groups or visit high-population areas.
    • When battling Gyms, multiple players who are not of the same team as the target Gym can gang up on the same combatant, speeding through otherwise troublesome battles and saving on healing supplies. Players aligned with the same team can cooperate to maintain their Pokémon's motivation, extending their ability to defend the Gym.
    • If you want a greater chance at beating higher-difficulty Raids, it pays off to know and coordinate with other players who are willing to join you, rather than hope that the missing manpower happens to be passing by.
    • Friends get trade discounts, extra attack power in gym and raid battles, as well as additional Premier balls to catch raid bosses with. The amount depends on friendship level, which is increased by trading Pokémon, battling and raiding together, and sending gifts to each other.
    • The aforementioned gifts contain 7 km eggs which hatch Alolan forms of Kanto Pokémon, in addition to various standard items.
  • Special Attack: Every Pokémon has two attacks: a basic attack that can be spammed, and a special attack that is more like a Limit Break, needing to be charged up during a battle before it can be unleashed against an opponent.
  • Spiritual Successor:
    • To Ingress. The core foundation of the game was created from Ingress. All the Poké Stops and gyms are all the established hotspots and contested portals from Ingress, with no difference at all. Pokémon Go has you join either Team Valor (red), Team Mystic (blue), and Team Instinct (yellow) to fight over gym ownership, just like Ingress had fighting between the Enlightened and the Resistance.
    • To a lesser extent the game also shares some fundamentals with the Pokéwalker from Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver, in that both are rather simple Pokémon games that encourage the player to walk around to get the most out of them. The game can also be considered the closest we can get to an actual game based on the Safari Zones from the main games.
  • The Spook: Towards the end of September 2018's Chikorita Community Day, high server traffic led to all of the Chikorita being replaced by a flood of a mysterious, never-before-seen Pokémon. Its name and CP were listed as "???", and catching it would cause it to turn into Ditto). Naturally, both the GO playerbase and the core Pokémon fanbase went wild with speculation, and the Japanese GO Twitter seemed to imply that the appearance of this new critter was no mere accident. Three days later, it was revealed to be a Mythical Pokémon called Meltan.
  • Stone Wall:
    • The Gen 2 update adds Blissey, which is (in)famous in the games for being a damage sponge. Though her attack is sub-par, she has good defense and absolutely beastly stamina. Her HP is so high that she can actually outlast the battle timer when defending a gym..
    • Also joining the fray is Shuckle, which boasts absurdly high defense in exchange for rock-bottom stamina and attack. Its CP is only marginally better than Magikarp. Its moves mean nothing with its terrible attack. Its only purpose is to take hits.
    • Umbreon, like its main game counterpart — its HP and Defense are very highnote , but its Attack is cripplingly low, resulting in it being the weakest Eeveelution in terms of CP, despite its advantage over Psychic and Ghost-type Pokémon.
  • Take a Third Option:
    • Or fourth option, rather. You're given a choice of three starters when you first start the game (Bulbasaur, Charmander, Squirtle). If you walk away instead of picking one, the game will spawn Pikachu as a fourth choice.
    • Once you click on a gym after you reach level 5, you're forced to choose between Valor, Mystic, and Instinct. It is entirely possible to never pick a team, if you're willing to lock yourself out of those features of the game, by never clicking on a gym.
  • Temporary Online Content:
    • The February 2017 update changed many of the possible movesets for Pokémon but didn't change any of the invalidated movesets of Pokémon already caught. That means that Pokémon with those specific movesets are now unobtainable. It's not that big a deal, however, since said movesets (with some very highly sought-after exceptions such as Shadow Claw on Gengar and Body Slam on Snorlax) aren't anything special and are inferior to some of the revised versions.
    • Certain Pokémon can only be obtained during limited time:
      • Delibird can only be obtained during Christmas events.
      • Pokémon with special movesets (such as Pikachu with Surf) can only be obtained during Community Day events.
      • Spiritomb can only be obtained as a Special Research encounter during the 2018 Halloween Event.
  • Timed Mission:
    • Gym battles have a time limit of 99 seconds for each Pokémon fought. This prevents situations where a player with an extremely weak Pokémon could, in theory, engage in Cherry Tapping against a much stronger one by dodging constantly. At least half of the defender's CP is sufficient, though it will be a close battle. This makes Blissey a nightmare to fight, as her HP is so high it is legitimately difficult to knock her out fast enough.
    • The trailer shows players battling Mewtwo, with a timer counting down. The context suggests timed missions to capture rare Pokémon are a part of gameplay. It also seemed that every participant gained a Mewtwo as a result of successfully catching the one at the event.
    • Raids have a timer of 180 seconds for any given attempt; Legendary Raids last 300 seconds per attempt. Moreover, the raid itself is only active for about 1 hour.
    • Every wild Pokémon will only remain available to catch for a certain period of time, which varies depending on the rarity of the Pokémon in question. Any number of players can catch it during this period.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The "be aware of your surroundings" message that shows up on the loading screen depicts a trainer absentmindedly looking at his phone while a Gyarados (and in the later versions, Gengar, Steelix, and Alolan Exeggutor) is poised to attack in front of him.
  • Trailers Always Lie:
    • The trailer shows two people trading Pokémon with each other, but trading was not actually present in the final game until two years later, albeit functioning much differently than advertisednote .
    • The trailer shows a much more comprehensive tracking system for nearby Pokémon, indicating both direction and exact distance to encounter them. The actual system has gone through a couple of versions, neither matching what was advertised. The first gave no direction and only indicated distance through a four-tiered systemnote , which was eventually removed entirely. The second, replacing the first not long after its removal, is a dual style "Sightings" system which either identifies the nearest Poké Stop to the Pokémon or uses a tall grass graphic to indicate that it's relatively close.
    • The augmented reality in the trailer was leagues above the actual gameplay. The AR system in the game just superimposes the Pokémon over the camera display, not taking into account any obstacles or even draw distance. The trailer, on the other hand, looks more like a game made for a VR headset.
    • The first trailer shows Pikachu using its cry from Generations I to V. In the game proper, it's the only Pokémon that does Pokémon Speak like in the main series games starting from Generation VI.
    • In the trailers, Pokémon were identified with levels like in the main series, instead of Combat Points like in the actual game.
    • Both trailers (the initial one and the second trailer showing gameplay much closer to the game's actual capabilities) show Player Versus Player battles, the first trailer even showing a three-on-three team battle. This feature was not in the final game until late 2018, which introduced proper fights between players.
    • The trailers show people being able to find Pokémon just about anywhere. While this is not technically false, it does assume the player is in an area with a high volume of cellular activity, which affects how many Pokémon will spawn in a given area. As many people in rural and suburban areas have discovered, spawn rates in low-activity areas are significantly reduced.
  • Undesirable Prize:
    • Basic Poké Balls are frequently given for spinning stops and become less desirable when higher-leveled players have access to the rarer but much more powerful Great and Ultra Balls. It's easy to amass more than 200 of them with a Bag that's been upgraded and frequent spins. There's the weekly walking bonus, where 20 Poké Balls are piled onto your current stock. That said, since the Go Plus only uses Poké Balls, they become more valuable to Plus owners as "fuel" for the device; then Great Balls become this trope.
    • Most Field Research tasks include items or random Pokémon encounters as a reward, with some requiring painfully hard (or time-consuming) objectives to complete. However, the items rewarded for finishing these may not be worth the effort and time. One such example is finding and winning a Raid battle for five regular Potions.
    • Pink eggs received from gifts. Unlike regular eggs whose contents can change over time, these 7 km eggs, outside of certain events, are restricted to hatching into a grand total of seven species.note  Additionally, Pokémon that evolve into Alolan forms in the main games (Pichu, Exeggcute, and Cubone) are excluded, leaving a rather barebones selection of Pokémon these eggs hatch into. Thankfully, you can now hatch Baby Pokémon from 7km eggs which allow you to reliably get rare babies such as Riolu or a shiny if you are lucky, but this does not stop a Pichu or Igglypuff from ruining the day.
    • From September to October of 2019, Flower Crown Eevee (previously released earlier that year alongside Flower Crown Pikachu before disappearing) was made available through Research Breakthrough. While previous non-Legendary-focused Breakthroughs focused on very rare or otherwise unobtainable Pokémon (with the Snorlax breakthrough noticeably granting Snorlax with the move Body Slam, a move it can no longer learn), Eevee is naturally a very easy find in the overworld- doubly so if the weather is Partly Cloudy, and these particular Flower Crown Eevee do not learn any special unreleased or legacy moves to further distinguish them from standard wild/hatched Eevee (such as the commonly-requested Last Resort). The only added benefit to these Eevee (apart from their aforementioned crown) is their increased odds of spawning as a Shiny Eevee, which is still low.
  • Undying Loyalty: Captured Legendary Pokémon are explained to be fiercely loyal to their trainer to the point where they will never leave their trainer's side, and thus the player cannot use them to defend Gyms no matter if there's another Pokémon in the player's party that outclasses them in typing or stats. Their only use is to fight in battles and raids.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Gym Pokémon are controlled by an AI, not the player. As a result, they don't bother with dodging, use their basic attack at a set rate regardless of the move's actual recharge time (which in almost all cases is lower), and will use their special attack as soon as the meter is charged even if it would be less effective than the basic attack. (For example, if their special attack is a different type which your Pokémon resists.) To counter this, players will usually place Pokémon with extremely high CP to guard gyms, so their sheer power covers their incompetence.
  • Vendor Trash: While there is no actual shop for Pokémon, players can "sell" them by means of transferring them to Professor Willow to receive one candy of that Pokémon's type. You'll end up doing this a lot to farm candies, especially for Com Mons.
  • Victory by Endurance: As long as you have the last Pokémon standing in a gym battle, you win. Made easier by the fact that you always get to use six Pokémon, while the gym could have as few as one. That one Pokémon could defeat your first five, but if you defeat it with your sixth, you win. Furthermore, as you defeat Pokémon and degrade the Motivation of a gym Pokémon, you can heal up and try again. So long as your potion supply isn't an issue and you can reliably beat at least one each time, victory is more or less certain barring outside interferences.
  • Videogame Caring Potential: As of June 2018, players have the option to befriend each other in-game. If they do this, they can send gifts to each other (among other perks). Some players have gone out of their way to befriend folks who live in remote areas with very few Pokéstops or gyms so they could send items to help them out.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential:
    • Sometimes it's just easier to not swap out your Pokémon if it's hurt, or even lead with a Pokémon that only had a sliver of health left and force it to faint, since you can then use a Revive on it and automatically gain half its health back as opposed to spending twice as many potions to heal it to full.
    • Players can attack and take over gyms that were just conquered by other players, denying them even one coin.
    • Many players are not purifying caught shadow Pokémon. Willow says they’re struggling and in obvious pain, but despite this it's very likely that a purified Shadow Pokémon will be stuck with poor stats even after purification, and some players simply won't bother with Pokémon that cost an increased amount to purify when they have no chance of being confident fighters.
  • Video Game Perversity Potential: In the 0.35 update, a new feature was added where you can have a Pokémon appraised by a team leader. They will comment on the Pokémon's stats, and if they're of an unusual size, they will comment on that as well. However, they will refer to the Pokémon by whatever nickname you've given it, which can lead to some rather humorous lines. This has been somewhat curtailed by filters as of trading being added.
  • Virtual Paper Doll: Players can customize the appearance of their trainer. Most clothing options require coins, however.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifter: Ditto, which can become any Pokémon, copying their appearance, moveset, and base stats perfectly (its level, however, remains the same). This even applies to catching them; Ditto disguise themselves as random Pokémon, so you never know if a Pokémon is actually a transformed Ditto.
  • Weak, but Skilled: A player good at dodging can take down a gym Pokémon leagues more powerful than their own mon.
    • An additional example is lots of non-evolved Pokémon often have superior moves compared to their evolved forms, such as Haunter naturally learning Shadow Claw and Lick while Gengar doesn't have these options available as of currently, instead having the inferior Hex, or Mareep learning Thunder Shock, Discharge and Thunderbolt, which is superior to all of Ampharos' electric moves.
  • Wizard Needs Food Badly: A Pokémon assigned to a gym has a "Motivation" meter that scales the Pokémon's CP and stats, making the Pokémon weaker the less motivated it is. In addition to being lowered upon defeat (kicking the Pokémon out of the gym if depleted), it declines pretty fast over time and has to be replenished by feeding the Pokémon berries.
  • Zerg Rush:
    • When fighting a gym held by an opposing team, you get to use six Pokémon regardless of the total currently at the gym (which can be up to six). This makes it quite easy to overwhelm a Pokémon individually stronger than anything you have by chipping away at them with a rush of weaker ones. Furthermore, multiple trainers can team up against the same gym, making victory more a matter of attrition, and Pokémon in the gym lose CP as their Motivation lowers, either from losing battles or simply over time.
    • The only effective way to take down a high-difficulty Raid boss is to organize a group of people and overwhelm it with sheer numbers.
  • Zero-Effort Boss: One of the possible Raid bosses in Tier 1 is Magikarp. Later on, others such as Feebas, Combee and Kircketot apply as well.


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