Gyms are where the real Pokémon battles take place. All Gyms are controlled by a team and are represented on the map by the color that represents the team. When a player reaches Trainer Level 5 in Pokémon Go, they will select one of the following teams: Team Instinct (yellow), Team Mystic (blue) and Team Valor (red). The team a trainer picks define what Gyms the trainer will fight against, and the Gyms the trainer can ally with to strengthen up.
If a trainer finds an uninhabited Gym on the local map, which is colored silver, the trainer can claim it for their team in Pokémon Go. Once taken, the trainer, or someone from their team, can place a Pokémon to defend the Gym. The more Prestige a Gym has, the higher the Gym’s level and the more Pokémon it can store.
A trainer can increase the Prestige of their team’s Gyms by training. To increase Prestige, a trainer must defeat at least one of the Pokémon currently defending the Gym and are only allowed to use one of his or her own Pokémon. If they defeat all of the Pokémon, then they’ll get bonus experience and Prestige. If multiple trainers battle at the Gym, all trainers will receive XP, which goes toward raising trainer level.
For each Pokémon the trainer places inside a Gym the trainer receives 10 PokéCoins and 500 Stardust, collected from the Shop every 21 hours. A trainer can place only one Pokémon in each Gym, so taking over and defending multiple Gyms is paramount!
Trainers tap their phones to unleash their Pokémon’s attack while in battle. The more damage the Pokémon inflicts, the more energy it stores for a more powerful special attack. To unleash the special attack, tap and hold until the small blue bar below the HP (health point) bar fills up, then release. Trainers can bring up to six Pokémon when battling a rival Gym, and can repeatedly challenge them as often as they’d like until that Gym’s Prestige reaches zero.
Prestige is valued by the battles the Gym has. The more victories the Gym receives, the more Prestige it has; likewise, if the Gym loses a battle, its Prestige is lowered. Once the Prestige is at 0, the team loses control of the Gym, which color turns to silver and can be taken by anyone. The Prestige alters the Gym’s level, which modifies how many Pokémon can be stored in the Gym. The maximum number of Pokémon to be stored in the Gym equals the Gym’s level.
You will notice that the Gym is deliberately designed to bring together as many players as possible to one physical location:
1. An individual can take a Gym with patience and time, but it will be nearly impossible if multiple rival team members are present. Also, an individual will not be able to hold it effectively, because each player can only leave a single Pokémon to defend each gym.
2. Because each player can only leave one Pokémon at each gym, the team must interact and cooperate with each other to build the strongest Pokémon team.
3. Prestige is associated with the Gym, but notice that the same “Prestige” is associated with the toughest players.
4. There’s nothing that brings people together better than competitive sports, which fighting in the Gym is all about. Taking control of a Gym is like winning a tournament.
5. If multiple trainers battle at the Gym, all trainers will receive XP.
It appears that Niantic was thinking about the opportunities for businesses when it created Gyms. Think of what you can do with all the people who will congregate at your shop if it is close to a Gym, if not the Gym itself.