Palworld: How to Catch Pals

Mastering Palworld: A Step-by-Step Guide to Catching Your Pals

Palworld is a surprisingly diverse game with lots to do. Fortunately, a cast of colorful, bulbous friends is ready to help you with everything from combat to crafting, resource collection, and transportation. Of course, you’ll have to catch them first.

One of the main draws and a central gameplay point for Pocketpair’s new creature collector survival game is catching Pals, but the process isn’t as simple as just lobbing a Pal Sphere and hoping you catch something. You’ll need to learn which spheres are suitable for pals of different levels, you’ll need to weaken them so they can’t escape, and you’ll need to know where to find the pals you’re looking for. Fortunately, we’re here to cover all those points and offer some tips to make this process fun and easy for players of all calibers.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through How to Catch Pals, How to Weaken Them, explain the Differences Between Spheres, How to Find Pals, show you How to Increase Your Capture Power, and offer some tips and tricks to make capture easier.

Before You Begin Catching Pals

Unlocking pal spheres in the tech tree

Before you set off into the great unknown to catch the big one, it’s important that you are well-prepared both for the journey and for any pals you may come up against. As with any survival game, you should make sure you have enough food and any clothes you may need to survive the biome you are entering.

When facing pals, it’s particularly important that you bring along at least one weapon, though we recommend one melee weapon and one ranged weapon to allow for more versatility. That means you’ll also need ammunition for your ranged weapon. You should also check your equipment’s durability to make sure your armor doesn’t shatter with the first hit you take.

Finally, but most importantly, you should bring along a good supply of Pal Spheres. You may need several spheres to capture a pal, so be sure you have plenty of spares. Personally, we like to keep a stockpile of at least 50 or so, if at all possible, whenever we head out on a pal safari.

What Makes Pal Spheres Different?

Checking different spheres capture power

You may have noticed that there are several different kinds of Pal Spheres available to players inside the technology screen. But what do all of these different kinds of spheres do differently?

Essentially, the only real difference between these spheres is their capture power. The higher a sphere’s capture power, the more powerful and higher level pals it can capture and the more easily it can do so. You can also use stronger spheres against weaker targets to make capture easier or certain, if you wish. That said, stronger spheres cost more resources to make and should generally be reserved for hard targets.

There is no hard and fast rule for what pals need what spheres. However, the farther you go down the technology list, the more powerful the spheres become. To make things simple, here is the order of power for each sphere, starting with the weakest:

  • Pal Sphere
  • Mega Sphere
  • Giga Sphere
  • Hyper Sphere
  • Ultra Sphere
  • Legendary Sphere

How To Capture Pals in Palworld

Lining up a throw on a pal

There are three main steps to catching pals in Palworld:

  1. Locating a pal
  2. Weakening it
  3. The capture itself

It’s necessary to perform these steps in the proper order or you might end up wandering far from your target’s habitat or wasting numerous spheres on a sturdy pal.

1. How to Find Pals

Searching the Paldeck for Pal habitats

Every pal has different habits and can be found in different areas of Palapagos Island. Though their chances of spawning are still randomized, pals can generally only be found within their assigned Habitat. Don’t worry; you don’t need to start looking for tracks or anything like that to locate the pals you’re searching for.

Once a pal has entered your Paldeck, you can search for its habitat by selecting its entry and clicking the “habitat” tab above its image. The display will switch to a version of your map with highlighted sections showing where the chosen pal can be found on the island. Keep in mind some pals will only spawn during the day or at night, but you can switch between the two displays at the bottom right, marked with the sun and moon icons, to see where it can be found at any time of day.

It’s rare but possible that a pal may not have a designated habitat. These pals only appear under special conditions, such as in a boss arena. Fortunately, you can fight and capture boss pals as much as you like, though each will have a cooldown between respawns, so you’ll have to be patient.

2. How to Weaken Pals

Zapping a giant pal with a stun baton

If you’ve never played a game like Pokemon before, it may not be clear that you’ll first need to weaken a pal before you can successfully capture it. Doing this will require restraint on both your part and the part of your pals, as you’ll need to get your target’s health as low as possible without killing it.

The lower a pal’s health is, the easier it is to capture. However, that also means it’s much easier to kill, so caution is key. Also, note that status afflictions applied to a pal will make them marginally easier to capture.

3. How to Use Pal Spheres to Capture

Checking the capture success rating

Once the pal you are targeting is sufficiently weak, it’s time to break out the spheres. First, note the display in the bottom right corner of your HUD. This shows you which kind of sphere you have equipped, and it may be necessary to change spheres based on how powerful your target is. You can change spheres by pressing the indicated button above the display (default “2” for PC) or by using the scroll wheel when aiming with a sphere.

To capture a pal, you’ll need to hit them with a sphere. There are a number of ways to do this, but the most simple is to throw it. To throw a pal sphere, hold down the associated button (default “Q” on the keyboard) and aim at your target. A UI display will appear around your target, showing you an estimated percentage for chances of capture. You should know this estimate is only calculated by comparing your sphere’s capture power against the remaining strength of your target but does not calculate your personal capture power, so it will almost always be lower than your actual chances.

Once you are satisfied with your odds, you can throw the sphere by releasing the throw key or cancel your throw with the focus button (default RMB for PC).

Remember:

  • Pal spheres are heavy and will drop fast, so you will likely need to be relatively close to your target.
  • It may be necessary to aim above your target so as not to undershoot.
  • Pal spheres can still strike targets after rolling across the ground or bouncing off environmental features or other pals.
  • Sphere Launchers can increase your capture distance but are notoriously inaccurate and do not correspond to your aim reticle.
Waiting to see if the capture was successful

Once a pal has been struck, they will turn into light and condense inside the sphere, which will float nearby and begin to shake. With each shake, the pal inside has a chance to break out and may attempt to do so up to twice. With each failed escape, the capture success meter around the sphere will increase until it reaches 100%, indicating a successful capture!

If a pal breaks out of your sphere, don’t panic. You can simply throw another sphere at them if you are happy with your chances or weaken them a bit more to increase your odds. You may do this as many times as you have spheres.

How to Increase Your Capture Power

Offering Lifmunk Effigies to a Statue of Power

Every pal tamer has an innate stat called Capture Power. When attempting to capture a pal, this stat combines with the strength of their spheres to determine the level and strength of pals you can capture, as well as your chances of successfully doing so.

If you want to increase your capture power, you’ll need to explore the island thoroughly. Those gleaming Lifmunk Effigies you find all over the place aren’t just shiny collectibles; they can be offered to a Statue of Power in return for a permanent buff to your capture power. The number of required effigies will increase with each sacrifice.

Statues of Power can be constructed at your base after being researched or found inside one of many churches scattered around the island.

Tips and Tricks for Capturing Pals

A helpless pal caught in a trap

1. Restrain Your Pals

Your partner doesn’t care that you are trying to catch a rare pal and will continue to attack until they kill the target if allowed.

To prevent this, you can call your partner back into their sphere, command them not to attack using the command wheel (bound to the “4” key on PC by default), or utilize a pal that can be ridden, allowing you direct control of their actions.

2. Strike From Behind

Hitting a pal with a sphere from directly behind them will give you a solid bonus to your chances of capture, though this can be difficult to achieve in open combat.

3. Keep Your Old Weapons

It may seem pointless to hang onto that crummy old bow when you have a real firearm at your fingertips, but all that firepower can make weakening lower-level pals without killing them difficult. Your old weapons will deal less damage and allow you more control over how quickly you drop weaker pals’ hp.

4. Aim for Non-Vitals

Your instinct, after a while, will likely be to aim for a target’s weak point at all times. This can often lead to accidentally killing a pal you want to capture. Aiming for non-vital points, such as a target’s legs, allows you to intentionally deal less damage, so you can get a target weaker without knocking them out.

5. Make Use of Traps

Certain traps, such as the Hanging Trap and Bear Trap, are designed to immobilize a target rather than kill it. Using these traps renders pals temporarily helpless, allowing you to carefully weaken them, line up a throw against their back, and give you a flat bonus to your chances of capture.

6. Bows, Tools, and Stun Batons

If you are having problems with dealing too much damage to pals you want to capture, you can make use of bows, tools, and stun batons.

Bows deal damage relative to how long the player holds down their draw (up to a maximum), allowing players to intentionally underdraw their shot to deal less-than-lethal damage.

Tools like axes and pickaxes deal a very predictable and small amount of damage, which is perfect for steadily weakening lower-level pals without killing them.

Stun Batons are designed for capture, and though they are nearly useless for killing enemies, the small amount of damage they deal and the ability to electrocute a target makes them ideal for increasing your chances of a catch without killing your target.

Master the Pals, Conquer the Island

Riding a wolf pal to the top of a mountain

Catching pals in Palworld is one of the most addictive and fun aspects of the game, but it can also be one of the most difficult and frustrating. Now that you’ve got some technical know-how and a few tricks up your sleeve, you should have everything you need to go out there and catch your pals (except the spheres themselves, of course.) Don’t get too carried away with your power, or you’ll flatline every rare pal you come across.

Are you looking for more pointers to help you survive and get going in Palworld? Check out our 10 Tips for Getting Started.

Aaron Van Dyck's avatar

About Aaron Van Dyck

Aaron Van Dyck is a thriller novelist with a passion for survival games and exploration. He started writing at the age of 13 and has always been drawn to the sense of self-reliance and freedom found in open worlds. An avid urban explorer and RPG enthusiast, he enjoys dungeon crawling and has a particular love for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Far Cry 5, and Cataclysm: DDA. He's also a fan of shooters and action games with immersive stories and unique monsters to encounter.

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