We don’t need to tell you that Pokémon Go is an absolute phenomenon—chances are you’ve seen the roving packs of people staring at their phones the last few days, capturing digital beasts as they wander the neighborhood. Actually, if the App Store rankings and social media hype are any indication, chances are you’re playing it, too.
Like most major mobile games released these days, Pokémon Go is a free-to-play game: That means you can download it and play without spending a penny, but there are in-app purchases available that let you pump in real cash for advantages. And with a super-hot social game like this, the temptation to shell out for an edge can be tempting.
True story: I took this gym away from one of my kid’s preschool teachers after I saw him pull it away from my faction. And then I quickly grabbed the rewards.
Luckily, you don’t have to spend money to have a good time in Pokémon Go, and if you take advantage of all the opportunities around you, then you can still earn coins and amass a heap of awesome Pokémon at a steady pace. Only want the free side of this freemium hit? Here are a few tips to follow.
Defend gyms and reap the rewards: One of the cornerstones of the Pokémon Go experience is battling for nearby gyms, which might be placed at local statues, murals, monuments, or parks. Once you reach Level 5 with your character, you can choose a faction and battle against the Pokémon that protect each gym and try to take them back for your crew.
Depending on where you live, you might have trouble taking out the high-powered Pokémon installed by players with way more play time than you. Keep an eye out as you wander, though: You might stumble upon a gym occupied by a Pokémon with a low Combat Point (CP) rating, which means it’s more vulnerable to attacks. When you do, pounce and then put your Pokémon in charge.
Don’t forget the crucial last step, however: You get daily rewards for defending a gym, and oddly enough, they’re found within the in-game store. See that little shield icon in the upper right of the store? If you’re defending at least one gym, tap that and get your reward. You’ll get 10 coins and 500 Stardust per gym, with rewards given for up to 10 gyms per cycle. Once redeemed, you’ll have to wait 21 hours to get more rewards, and the cycle begins anew.
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