Let’s Talk about Pokémon GO Grind Culture

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Last November a post on Reddit went viral within the Pokémon GO community. It is a ‘daily checklist’ of tasks that can be completed in-game every day, and let’s be honest the list is exhaustive…

Here at GO Hub we have a daily routine article, showing the options you have for day to day play. This all got me thinking, I initially felt guilty, comparing my average day of gameplay to this extensive list and what other players achieve every 24 hours. So I went to Twitter and asked how people felt about the online ‘grind culture’.

The results of the poll resounded with my initial feeling. However, I realised that we all have different play styles, different priorities and goals and really, different aspects of the game that bring joy. I reached out to my friends at GO Hub, asking about their play-style and goals that keep them motivated. Hearing everyone’s responses gave me a different perspective of Pokémon GO, some of my friends play the game in a way that I had not even thought of before!


I am a rural player with no Pokéstops within a safe walk from work and only one stop near home. This greatly affects my play-style, I think that if I lived in a town I would be more active with raiding as I could easily walk to raid in-person rather than having to remote raid where I am currently.

At the moment my PoGO goals are around XP and medal completion. I am trying to make the ride from level 40-50 as smooth as possible. These are things that I can work on even without events, and keeps me pretty motivated.

My daily routine is very relaxed. Every morning I make sure I send any gifts that I need to, this is usually to only my Best Friends and mutuals as I do not have a stop within reach to spin throughout the day to farm gifts for sending. I then cycle through the 6 buddies that I am working on, getting 6 hearts on each. Before I go to work I make sure I have spun my closest stop and caught a Pokémon for the daily streaks.

On my lunch break at work I go out and do my Daily Incense, this is good motivation to go and get some fresh air which I always don’t realise I need until I’m outside. There aren’t many pavements where I work and no stops/gyms so I can only focus on catching what’s on the map. Every evening I make sure I open the maximum number of gifts to work on Friendships.

Every week I coordinate using a Lucky Egg during raid hour to get those XP gains. I make sure to work through my free Mega Evolutions at least once a week to level my Megas up quickly. I’ll join remotes to get a dex entry/energy for the Legendary or Mega rotation. Before the remote raid nerf I used to raid every legendary until I got the shiny, but raiding just isn’t a huge part of my gameplay anymore. When I’m out and about I’ll keep my eye out for Showcases or Gyms that I can enter, but this is not critical.

I play most events if I’m free, I enjoy Community Days, Hatch Days and Raid Days. To have a good (and safe) experience with these events I do have to travel to my nearest town. Spotlight Hour and Raid Hour don’t work out great around my work schedule (and throughout Winter it’s pitch black at 6pm) so I often miss out on those. I do have fun doing Spotlight hours where I can in the Summer, but this is probably once every 2 months.

In the last few months, I have enjoyed AR photography and I find the AR community so welcoming. It’s not something I have time to do very often but I try to at least enter the GO Hub AR Showcase each month.

I like my routine being pretty chilled and nowhere near some other people’s gameplay. It allows me time to enjoy the game without getting burnout, and without taking up too much time as I have an otherwise busy schedule.


My main focus is XP from friendships, that’s where I put the majority of my efforts. I set myself an XP target for the year that I focus on, its 100million XP per year, this year I did that in 10 months so I’m looking to see where I get to by December 31st.

Daily goals

  • Do as many hearts on as many (up to 20) buddy Pokémon as I can
  • Get 100 gifts to send and send them (mostly from the stop outside my house but also I go to the train station close by as it has 3 stops next to each other)
  • Open as many gifts as I can for those 10 days from ultra or best (up to the limit)
  • Put Pokémon in Gyms that I know I’ll defend for at least 8 hours for the coins
  • Update my friends list database with everyone’s status/level and add anyone who has completed the 120-day cooldown, removing those who haven’t progressed in a while
  • Do any timed or special research tasks that I have currently outstanding

Weekly Goals

  • Pass the weekly 50km walk target
  • Spin and catch daily for the streak
  • Level up as many to ultra or best during raid hour and coordinate with those that want it on levelling up so that they can get the XP as well. I always try to help with this with whoever needs it and asks
  • Catch as many Pokémon as possible during spotlight hour to increase my total Pokémon caught
  • Try and progress in GBL but usually get to rank 21 and then hang out there and not get any further
  • Clear up my storage of anything hanging around that shouldn’t be there
  • Add at least 30 new friends from my database of friend codes

Yearly Goals

  • I have a yearly XP goal of at least 100 million XP between Jan 1st and Dec 31st so monitoring that and making sure I’m on track
  • Attend GoFest and any other events I can

Ongoing Goals

  • Complete my lucky dex
  • Complete all gendered pokemon
  • Complete all Mega Evolutions for both genders where available
  • Complete my map of Pokémon from around the world where the game is available to play


My play style is kind of casual. I play 1-2 hrs a day, maybe 3 during the weekends. I live in the suburbs so I don’t get to spin a lot of stops usually. But I do try to catch 100+ Pokemon and get 150,000+ XP every day. Sometimes I raid, sometimes I don’t. And I’ve stopped playing GBL because I just lost interest for it

As for my personal goals, I try to keep a living shiny dex. I don’t have a lot of shinies, but it’s one goal I have for the game. Outside of events, there is really no motivation for me to play. It’s just the same old spawns over and over again, and the raids are also lackluster. Pokemon GO feels dull right now, hopefully it can become more fun in the future.
Shiny Kleavor by kittypokemonsalot


I guess my play style on PoGo is that I’m the kind of player who mainly logs in the game everyday for the daily streaks and other means which I’ll explain shortly. But I can be hardcore on the grind depending on what is currently happening in the game like monthly Community Days (and depending what’s featured), annual Go Fests and Tours, and events that I found interesting to play for the bonuses and/or spawns. If there’s nothing much going on, I essentially laid myself back until something exciting happens.

My daily routines usually consist of the following:

  • Logging in the game to do the catch and stop streaks
  • Opening/sending gifts to friends to level up friendship levels as well as seeing which of my Best Friends am I gonna trigger Lucky Friends status with
  • Mega Evolving some mons for the Mega Level progress and the Mega Evolution badge
  • Log in the game every few hours to hit a Rocket Balloon -battle a Team Leader for daily rewards like dusts and maybe a Sinnoh Stone
  • If I’m outside of my house like a park or campus, I would do a raid or two with my free passes and/or taking down some gyms for coins
  • Catch some ‘mons for dust grinding and spin some stops in prep for an event

Personal goals: Ever since I reached Level 50 back in October, I don’t have a major goal to go after other than completing the dex but some other goals in mind including:

  • Trying to obtain as many shlundos from lucky trades as possible
  • Engaging with and improving my community
  • Trying to reach 50km weekly (with the help of Pikmin Bloom)
  • Trying to get a hundo, or shundo if I’m very lucky, legendary for T5 raids
  • Farm as many dust as possible
  • Trade as many mons as possible with friends to farm Lucky Mons


Hiya, Priom here! I have a sort of biphasic playstyle where I dedicate one time of day to PvP and the other time I turn the game on for getting my daily incense off, catching Pokemon, playing with the ‘mons I want to best buddy, sending and receiving gifts, and the like. Whether I catch mons during the day and PvP at night or vice versa isn’t set in stone and changes based on other stuff that’s going on both in the game and real life.

And this isn’t a strict rule either of course, as I think games are more fun with a bit of leniency. So for example, I might not PvP for some time if there aren’t any cups going on that I’m interested in. Or I might not catch mons for a day if I’m pressed for time and want to PvP instead.

That’s about it. I don’t raid as much though I was keeping an eye on any 1-3 star raids in my local community when the Master Ball research was still around. Another thing I wanted to note is that a significant portion of my time spent on the game isn’t even when I have the app turned on. I put my phone in my pocket while I exercise for the Adventure Sync bonuses and also catch up on the official tournaments when they go on during the weekends!


As a college student, my schedule is pretty busy, so I’m usually not going out intending to play most days. I usually just run the GO Plus on my way to and from classes and meetings. One big thing that I always ensure to do is my Mega Evolutions for the day. I know this may seem like a waste of resources for some, but I prefer to have my Mega Evolutions at max level as soon as possible, as you never know when one might fit a certain niche over the standard Megas we usually turn to. While the rotation was much bigger when I started this, today its usually 3-5 Megas I’m currently working on levelling up. Right now, this lineup consists of a second hundo Blaziken to use as a Fighting attacker, a hundo Garchomp (since the mega was just released), and a hundo Beedrill I just recieved in a trade. This is definitely a more lucrative usage of Mega Energy, but since I have the energy to spare I figure I’ll use it.

As far as weekly goals, these have shifted a bit. Trading is a big part of the way I like to play the game. I love collecting Hundos and maxing them out to level 50. I would definitely have a lot more Stardust in the bank if I didn’t choose to max things like Wigglytuff or Diggersby, but if they have perfect IV’s I’m willing to invest. Trading is huge for this. Even if its not a distance trade with guaranteed XL’s, I will still try and swap, especially if it is a common spawn or a community day mon where XL’s will come naturally. This swapping has helped me fill out my roster of hundos, whether they be relevant or not. Of my 66 Hundos this year, about 1/3 of them are from trades.

If I do get a chance to trade for guaranteed XL’s, then I have a stockpile of Pokemon I’m looking for XL’s for saved up to send over. If the trades are guaranteed XL’s, then I’m not really concerned with what I’m receiving. The XL’s are more important. Because of this, I usually find myself only limited by stardust rather than XL candies. In the past, my goal was to build out a team of meta-relevant PVE attackers. I’m not obsessed with 100% optimization, as the meta is constantly shifting, so I just shoot to have a full team of strong attackers for each type. Most of my resources went into grinding these out, so that whenever I lobby into a raid I have a team of optimal attackers even just by auto-recommendation. However, I’m mostly done with this objective. I can now invest resources into some personal favorites of mine, or shinies with less optimal IV’s. Either way, trading is central to the way I enjoy playing the game.

I actually had two goals for 2023 and I have met them both already so right now I am cruising along slightly but let me fill you in on what my goals were and how I got there

250,000,000 XP goal

That’s right. 250 MILLION XP, a quarter of a billion. Now as a player since July 2016 I know there are people with 8-10 times (and more) XP than me but being as I don’t play professionally or even semi-professionally, for me this is a weighty goal with no other reason to reach it other than it be a milestone towards the big 1B. I wish there was a trick for this but it’s simple grinding – catching whatever is around you, keeping new friends coming through and levelling them up, grinding raids, using spotlight hours and community days and events with XP multipliers and combining with lucky eggs. There are no shortcuts. If you want to keep on track if you have a specific date in mind then you can check how many days there are to your date via Google and work out how much XP you need per day to meet that. Keep updating weekly so you can keep an eye on whether you are over or underperforming, ultimately it’s consistency, even if the spawns around you aren’t what you want just keep excellent throws coming and rack it up.

300,000 Pokémon catches

Again, I know people with accounts as old as mine with many times more catches but it is my individual goal rather than benchmarking myself against someone else, there is no right or wrong amount to play, just do it for yourself. I invested in a catcher device so I can’t and wouldn’t claim to have hand-caught every one of those but it still requires remembering to put your device on, keeping it charged, keeping your account stocked with pokéballs at all times, endless sorting and transferring of catches, although it helps me meet my goal it does come with an amount of admin that can be a deterrent every time you go out and about using it. The biggest grind days for me are usually the Community Days and special events like GO Fest where I would be catching consistently throughout. It comes down to the same grind as mentioned before, maybe you don’t want to catch that Rattata particularly but you do it because you have the end goal to meet and that’s what keeps me logging in and pushing on.

I guess 2024 goal will be 375,000 catches by end of December and maybe 350,000,000 XP… 


It’s so interesting to see how different all of our play styles are within the GO Hub team. It shows that although there’s TONNES of stuff that you could do daily in-game, you can maximise your enjoyment by playing how you like. There are endless aspects of the game such as PVE, PVP, XP, catching, dex filling, medals, photography etc… that you can tailor your gameplay.

If you have time to do everything the game has to offer, play events for their full duration and complete tasks and that is what you enjoy that’s great. However, if that would cause you burnout, becoming ill or putting other important life things on the backburner then that’s not healthy and you should try to have some boundaries in place.

Every Trainer will have a different lifestyle, free time, family life, access to stops/gyms, accessibility and so many more factors. You mustn’t compare yourself and your achievements to others. Play the game the way you want to and let the game bring you closer to the world of Pokémon, that is after all its main appeal. 

Do you ever feel affected by the ‘grind culture’, do you have a comfortable daily routine? Let us know in the comments, we’d love to hear from you!

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Hey! I'm phrixu, a Pokémon GO player from the UK. I am dedicated to making Pokémon GO as accessible as possible, to the whole community!

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