Pokemon GO - High Level Pokestop Farming for Consistent Experience Gain
In this guide, we explore another form of gaining experience: Pokestop farming. Instead of catching a large number of basic Pokemon and evolving them with an lucky egg, we'll focus instead on traveling through a large number of Pokestops quickly, and catching selective Pokemon. If one lives in an area with sufficient density of Pokestops, this method of gaining experience is just as effective, if not more effective than Lure farming.
The TL;DR guide
In short, if you are able to access 4+ fresh Pokestops faster than you can catch a basic Pokemon such as a Pidgey or a Ratata, you are going to gain comparable, if not more experience by just spinning Pokestops rather than catching Pokemon. In an area dense with Pokestops, this can be attained easily by either bicycling or jogging.
Before we dive into the details of Pokestop farming, we need to understand the alternative: Lure Farming. Understanding this method will give us clues on why it stops being efficient at higher levels, and motivates Pokestop farming.
Leveling up at lower levels (level 1 through 20) primarily consists of Lure Farming: catching basic Pokemon, such as Pidgeys, Weedles, Caterpies in a lure cluster to accumilate a large number of candies. Then, a huge batch (usually 60) of Pokemon are evolved under the effect of an lucky egg, bringing in a surge of experience.
The player is rewarded 100 experience with an additional 10/50/100 for good/nice/excellent throws when the pokemon is caught, but the real benefit comes from evolving the Pokemon, which grants an additional 500 experience per evolution, 1000 if under the effect of the lucky egg. If we ignore the bonus from throws, the evolution method grants each pokemon caught this much experience:
100 + 1000.0 / ((candies_to_evolve - 1) / 4.0)
To explain this formula, each pokemon provides 4 candies when sold, and evolution cost "candies_to_evolve" number of candies. However, a Pokemon actually cost 1 less candy to evolve because you gain a candy when you evolve a Pokemon. Thus, each pokemon contributes to (candies_to_evolve - 1) / 4 evolutions. Divide that out of 1000, the experience gain of evolution under the lucky egg, we get the contribution of a single pokemon toward an evolution. Add that by a 100, the base experience gain without the lucky egg, we find the worth of a pokemon including its contribution to evolution.
If you are not conviced this formula matches the actual experience gain in the game, I've wrote a simulator simulating the experience gains in the real game, you can check it out here link. Go over the code and convince yourself that this short formula is accurate by running some simulations
Common Exp Worths
Here I list common values of exp worths based on the cost to evolve:
- A pokemon that takes 12 candies to evolve (Pidgey, Weedle, Caterpie) is worth 464 exp
- A pokemon that takes 25 candies to evolve (Ratata, Ghastly) is worth 267 exp
- A pokemon that takes 50 candies to evolve (Spearow, Drowsee) is worth 182 exp
The take-away here is that a 12 candy evolution pokemon is worth much more than any other kinds of Pokemon.
Pitfalls of Lure Farming
Lure farming, while highly effective at earlier levels, becomes increasingly inefficient and frustrating at higher levels because even the basic Pokemon have become difficult to catch due to their increase CP. The Pidgey that takes only a single Pokeball to capture when the player is level 1 can have a CP value as high as 300+ when he is level 20, and consequently takes several Pokeballs to catch, and can even escape completely. This can even cause a player to run out of Pokeballs.
However, the bigger issue of Lure Farming is that In a populated city area, a lure module will bring a wide varieties of Pokemon rather than only the basic types, which greately dilutes your catch rate on desireble Pidgeys.To put it in perspective, assuming all catches are evolved under Lucky Egg:
- If the player is catching 1 Pidgeys per minute, his effective exp gain is 464 exp / min
- If the player catches 1 Pidgey, 1 Ratata in 2 minutes, his effective exp gain is 365 exp / min
- If the player catches 2 Ratatas and a Spearow in 3 minutes, his effective exp gain is 238 exp / min
In Pokestop farming, rather than sitting next to a cluster of lure modules one is constantly moving from one Pokestop to the next, with the primary objective of touching as many Pokestops as possible. The player will only stop to catch desirable Pokemon such as Pidgey or Weedles, thus greatly reducing the "junk" Pokemon that are often lured by the lure module.
The math behind Pokestop farming is very simple. Each tap of a Pokestop brings you 50 experience. This experience is unaffected by your player level, as a Pokestop does not get harder to spin at a higher level, unlike a Pokemon. Also it does not deplete your Pokeballs.
However, if we want to match the exp gain of catching 1 Pidgey every minute, we would have to spin 9+ Pokestops every minute, this amounts to 1 spin every 6 seconds or so, and as one can see, it is not feasible. The real power of Pokestop farming is that you are still catching Pokemon. You can actively select what you capture: Traveling from one area to the next gives you great control over the kinds of Pokemon you encounter, and you can focus in on high valued Pidgeys with a low CP.
A Comparative Study Between Lure Farming and Pokestop Farming
Lure Farming Study
I headed out with some friends and stumbled upon a group of people farming Pokemon near a lure cluster. The cluster consists of 3 pokestops in close proximity. I sat next to them and applied an incense to myself. The session ran for 30 minutes, and here is the result, with number of pokemon overlayed
Overall, a total of 5205 experience gain, and 40 Pokemon captured The Pokemon caught during the lure farming session are as follows:
To tally the result, there are
- Candy source for 12 candies evolution: 4 Pidgeys, 1 Pidgeotto, 1 Caterpie --- Total of 6
- Candy source for 25 candies evolution: 9 Ratata, 1 Oddish, 3 Gastly, 1 Squirtle, 1 Bellsprout, 1 Nidoran --- Total of 16
- Candy source for 50 candies evolution: 3 Zubat, 1 Koffing, 6 Spearow, 5 Drowsee, 1 Ryhorn, 1 Horsea, 1 Krabby --- Total of 18
Overall, if we were to use these Pokemon for evolution, we would obtain 6318 additional experience from evolutions.
The total experience gain is 6318 + 5205 = 11523 over 30 minutes, or 384 exp / min
PokeStop Farming Study
Here is my usual PokeStop farming route during night time when nobody is around campus. The thick red line indicates the path traveled, the thinner read lines connects to Pokestops that I spin. Three extra Pokestops are drawn in because they cannot be included in the screen capture.
My strategy is as follows:
- If there's a pidgey, always try to catch it
- If there's a fun pokemon, yolo catch it anyways
- if there's a ratata not too painful to catch, try it
- If there's more pokestops to be spun, bike there and spin ASAP
- If the pokestops are not fully refreshed (rarely happens), look around and catch a ratata
Here is the result of my run. I had to stop early at 26 minutes because a lot of my eggs are going to pop, and I didn't want to complicate my measurements.
As we can see, we gained a total of 5960 experience, and caught 16 Pokemon on this run. Here are the Pokemon captured:
To tally the result, there are
- Candy source for 12 candies evolution: 10 Pidgeys, 1 Pidgeotto --- Total of 11
- Candy source for 25 candies evolution: 3 Ratata, 1 Gastly --- Total of 4
- Candy source for 50 candies evolution: 1 Horsea --- Total of 1
Overall, if we were to use these Pokemon for evolution, we would obtain 4748 additional experience from evolutions.
The total experience gain is 4748 + 5960 = 10708 over 26 minutes, or 412 exp / min
Overall, the two methods of farming gives comparable results, with Pokestop farming coming slightly better at 412 exp/min over 384 exp/min of Lure Farming. A single comparison study is definitely not comprehensive enough, that's why I would encourage you to measure your own sessions by taking before / after screenshots of your lure farming session, and try out a similar session with Pokestop farming, and see for yourself if one method is better than another. In my area where Pokestops are dense, it has worked out for me extremely well.
The benefit of lure farming is the amount of Stardust you are able to acquire. For catching 40 Pokemon, I've amassed 4000 stardusts while by spinning Pokestops I've only amassed 1600 Stardusts. This benefit is offseted by the aquisition of extra potions and pokeballs from Pokestop farming.
As a result, I would advocate a mixed strategy of going between Pokestop farming and Lure farming: Going through the cycles of acquiring Pokeballs and using them. If anything this guide shows that if one wishes to maximize exp gain, finding the right Pokemon to catch is of utmost importance, as a CP 300 Spearow has very little value, and a CP30 Pidgey is likely very valuable. Going from 1 Pokestop to the next fulfills the dual purpose of locating high valued catches as well as providing a very sizable experience gain, and its efficiency largely depends on the Pokestop density in your area, and how fast / skilled are you in navigating an optimal route
There are several extra things that can go well with Pokestop Farming. Namely, you can farm GYMs by battling a gym and gaining experience, and you can also farm Eggs by hatching while biking around. The efficiency of these additions are not included in this guide, but I imagine Pokestop Farming, with the addition of Gym battles and Egg hatching is going to dominate the high level players in terms of gaining experience, as common Pokemon become harder to catch.
This guide is adapted from 2 blogposts from firstname.lastname@example.org with permission. The original blogposts are here:
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