Why Do You Play Pokémon Go?

There are many different ways that you can play Pokémon Go and many different aspects of the game that you can focus on. But we’d like to know why you play… What keeps you going and what parts do you enjoy the most?

Below are what we would consider to be some of the main goals and aspects of the game that keep us enthusiastic. At the bottom, there’s a link to a short form so you can tell us which of them you focus on in your day-to-day Pokémon Go journeys. We will publish and discuss the results in a future article to see what most people enjoy about this amazing game. 

Completing the Pokédex

Why Do You Play Pokemon Go? – A complete Pokédex (correct on date of writing)

Arguably, the most important goal of, ‘catching them all’ has been made slightly easier since the introduction of Rare Candy and Trading, but catching every single available Pokémon is still no easy feat…

To date, we have 466 Pokémon available in the game, with more being added every few weeks.

Once a Trainer has caught one of every species, they may want to take things to the next level and try to get one of each gender for each species. There are also multiple forms of some Pokémon, shiny forms and even versions that are costumed like Event Pikachu with hats and Event Eevee (and its eeveelutions) with flowers.

If anyone has managed to complete the ‘dex to its full extent, they’re truly an Elite!

Chasing High IV Raid Bosses and Raid Rewards

For many Trainers, Raiding seems to be high on the agenda of day-to-day gameplay, with the top prize for successfully beating a Raid Boss being the chance to catch it. Getting one that has high IVs though, is the icing on the Legendary cake.

Many players seek to max out (fully power-up) at least one of each Legendary Pokémon, and if you’re going to spend huge amounts of your resources in doing so, then you might as well aim to spend them on the best one you can get your hands on.

Bragging rights play a huge part in this competitive, community-driven game and they don’t get much bigger than when you have a 100% Legendary to show off to your friends!

The rewards received from Raids are also a major incentives that keeps us buying Raid passes. Rare Candy, TMs and Golden Razzberries are all very important resources and are most easily gained by this method.

Shiny Hunting

There’s great satisfaction in being the first person to catch the latest Shiny variant and despite most being nothing more than collectibles (i.e. not useful in battle), finding a very rare version of an already released Pokémon can be very exciting and can quickly earn you the jealousy of your co-Trainers.

Some communities have Shiny leaderboards too, with the aim to be the Trainer who has the most unique shiny forms.

Building Strong Raid Counter Teams

Why Do You Play
Why Do You Play Pokemon Go? – A Dialga Raid Boss counter team on a level 39 account – Optimised using our Dialga Heat Map

If you hope to give yourself the best chance of catching Raid Bosses, then optimizing your counters for each one will help you to do this in two ways;

  1. The Trainers who deal the most damage to a Raid Boss secure themselves a ‘Damage Bonus’ – up to three extra Premier Balls with which to try and catch the Raid Boss!
  2. If you’re low on Trainers for a Raid, ensuring that everyone deals as much damage as possible can sometimes be the only way to guarantee you beat the Boss before the timer runs out.

For the most hardcore players, there are plenty of Raid Guides and info-graphics around which tell you the best counters if the Pokémon are fully powered up. But for a lot of players that don’t have fully powered up counters (or the resources to fully power them up), our Heat Maps can help you work out exactly which of your Pokémon will hit the hardest at their current levels. As an example, here’s our Heat Map for Rayquaza.

‘Short-Manning’ Raids

Similar to the process of ‘Building Strong Raid Counter Teams’, ‘Short-manning’ Raids is basically trying to beat high-level Raid Bosses with as few accounts as possible. This is generally a pursuit for the more hardcore Trainers who find themselves with resources in excess of those required to simply beat Bosses using a less than an ideal number of accounts.

This could be a trio, a duo or even a solo, and factors such as Boss movesets, Weather Boosts, and Friendship Bonuses can be the difference between success and failure, so the investment of a lot of time, planning and resources are often required too. But if you can do it, the feat alone, never mind the acknowledgment from the community, can give an enormous sense of achievement!

IV Hunting

While it should be well known that IVs only make a slight difference in battle situations, having one of every species with excellent IVs is high on the agenda for a lot of Trainers, especially if they’re meta-relevant because if you’re going to power something up, it might as well be the best it can be.

Some Trainers even actively seek out and keep Pokémon with 0% IVs just for that extra challenge and trophy aspect.

Reaching XP Milestones

EastBayRag’s total XP to date
Why do you play Pokémon Go? – EastBayRag’s next milestone of 160m XP will be the equivalent of hitting Level 40 eight times!

Whether it be reaching a new level, hitting level 40, or going many millions of XP beyond that, aiming to reach that next milestone can still be an exciting achievement.

The easiest way to gain XP fast is by hitting Ultra or Best Friends with other trainers and doubling the large amounts of XP gained, by using a lucky egg.

Building the Best PvP Teams

EastBayRag’s total XP to date
Why Do You Play Pokemon Go? – Ultra league teams in the process of being optimized

The introduction of Trainer Battles (PvP) in Pokémon Go gave some players a lot of new options for how to spend their hard-earned resources. Pokémon that were once nothing more than Pokédex fillers are now having such large amounts of stardust spent on them that it would have seemed crazy just a few months ago.

Analyzing your teams and thinking about which ones deserve to have their CPs brought up the League caps is now an aspect of the game that many players would describe as their main focus of gameplay.

There’s a great satisfaction to be had from spending your time and resources to carefully develop a battle strategy on paper and to then see it work successfully on the battlefield.

Completing Medals

We have medals for many aspects of the game now but for the more hardcore players, achieving gold on all of them is often a focus. No major bonuses are unlocked by doing this (only some Avatar clothing items and a higher catch rate for each level of the Type Medals) but again, the sense of satisfaction for achieving all of the goals the developers set out, some of which require a lot of hard work, must be amazing.

Controlling Gyms

Many players still enjoy the challenge of taking down and defending Gyms. There is, of course, the potential bonus of 50 Pokécoins per day for defending Gyms, and extra items from spinning a Gym that your Team controls, but beyond that, it really comes down to competitiveness between the Teams.

Earning Gold Gym Badges

Even for a casual player, getting a single Gym Badge to Gold is fairly easy, especially if it’s a Gym you pass every day or live close to. But getting Gold Medals for all of the gyms in your city or even town is something that can take a lot of effort and dedication. The only in-game benefit that Gold Gym Medals currently give is that you receive more items from spinning that Gym’s PhotoDisc, but are also legitimate sources of those all-important bragging rights.

Taking AR Photos

We at Go Hub love AR photos. We even have a monthly series featuring the best of our readers’ photos called the AR Showcase. But for the Trainer with a creative side, finding that perfect shot can be a strong focus of their day-to-day gameplay and since the Go Snapshot feature was added in February 2019, AR photography in Pokémon Go has become much easier; Using the camera button on each Pokémon’s information screen, you can place any of your Pokémon into the real world and snap away without fear of losing it.

Some communities even hold Go Snapshot competitions! If you love taking AR photos and want to encourage more people to try it, why not suggest a competition to your Admins?

Why Do You Play
Why Do You Play Pokemon Go? – A Go Snapshot photo by LMSharpy / gosnapspkmn

Helping Other Trainers

As a writer for Pokémon Go Hub, this is a part of the game that I can personally identify with. But writing (hopefully) informative articles is far from the only way we can help each other.

Many Trainers who have been playing Pokémon Go religiously since launch, often have the experience and knowledge of the game to be able to help those who don’t know it quite as well. Virtually every community will have those players who share valuable information, news, tips, tricks, insights, info-graphics, Raid locations, Research task locations, Trade offers, rare/ high IV spawns, nest locations, EX Raid invitations, etc, etc.

In a game as socially active as Pokémon Go, not only does sharing this type of information help everyone in the community to progress more quickly and more efficiently, but it feels great to know you’ve helped others – it’s a real win-win.

Playing for Exercise

We’re arguably more immersed by this game than any other game in history; among smaller details that reinforce this, the world is our gaming environment and for many players, this has never stopped being a novelty…

Apart from those who live at a Pokéstop or Gym, you have to leave the house to play Pokémon Go and whether you play while you exercise or exercise while you play, the health benefits of Pokémon Go are certainly a major factor for why many people still play it. As someone who used to have no real desire to leave the house, I now spend very little of my free time inside it, thanks entirely to this game.

Playing Socially

Similarly to playing for exercise, some players weren’t actively socializing before they discovered this game. But now they’re part of a passionate community, most of whom meet up almost daily to Raid, Battle, Trade, share information and news, and ultimately have fun playing Pokémon Go.

The formation of great friendships and strengthening of family bonds are just two of many positive effects of this game’s existence.

Why Do You Play Pokémon Go?

Of the fifteen reasons above, which five would you say keep you playing the most? Please let us know by filling in this form.

We’ll analyze the results to see if we can find any interesting correlations and share them with you in a follow-up article.

I’d also like to note that this article (and some of its contents) was partly inspired by a similar question on The Silph Road’s Travelers Card form where they ask what your ‘current primary goal’ is… We’re also interested in the answer to this but would like to know about your secondary goals too.

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