Niantic has finally gone on the war path. The company has begun issuing permanent bans to any and all who they catch cheating, either via systems such as Pokevision or using bots to play the game for them.
The reason for Niantic’s change from soft bans is due to an outcry from the Pokemon Go community that cheaters are ruining the game for everyone. The Pokemon Go Reddit page has a number of threads filled with people sharing their grievances with people who don’t play the game properly.
This thread in particular has over 500 comments discussing the damage bots are having on players’ experiences. Right at the top, Redditor bbqk says, “If bans don’t roll out before trading comes. There’s really no point for me to play anymore.”
Another Redditor, farrellykw, linked an Imgur photo of a guy who he claims reached level 35 in a week using bots and spoofs, and has an entire team of ridiculously strong Dragonites at his disposal.
Many of the other comments follow the same theme. It seems as though people are just fed up with having all their hard work be for nothing when people can overtake their progress in no time at all.
So we know that people don’t like cheaters. The next point to consider then is why are people cheating in the first place?
There are a number of reasons for this. Some people could live outside of areas with a lot of Pokemon activity, and so they need to “cheat” in some way in order to make the game playable. With all the hullaballoo that’s been occurring recently with the nearby function and the Pokemon appearance rate being lowered, a number of people probably took to cheating in order to keep the game fun for them.
On the other hand, some people just want to be the best without putting much effort it. Others, still, just like to mess with people.
For those that live in rural areas, cheating could be justified to be a legitimate way to play the game. Pokemon Go’s fun relies on being near a lot of Pokestops and gyms to make progress and have something to aim for. Without that, there’s not much point to play.
However, not even rural areas are safe from cheaters. Another Reddit thread details the story of Xuan 135. They state that where they live is quite rural, and has only one gym and two Pokestops. This situation was fine until botters started appearing overtaking the gym with unbeatable Pokemon. This significantly ruined the fun for everyone that played where he lived, taking away the little they could get out of the game without cheating.
Despite the minority amount of players that may genuinely benefit from cheating, the majority of people doing this appear to just be making the game worse for everyone. Niantic’s efforts to perma-ban cheaters seems to be majorly supported by the community. Although the amount of people abusing the game is vastly lower than the amount playing by the rules, the community still feels that some sort of action needs to be taken.
Niantic’s website has options to report players suspected of cheating, allowing players to aid in clearing up the game from this type of activity. There have been a few innocent people caught up in the cross-fire from the banning, causing their games to appear with an empty map. There a few solutions to this problem for those suffering from this, but if they don’t work, you can appeal to Niantic directly in an attempt to become unbanned.
Hopefully with the steps Niantic has taken against players abusing the game, more people can enjoy the game as it was made to be played. In addition, without the distraction of banning everything, Niantic can focus their efforts on improving the mechanics of the game so that it provides a better experience for all its users.