Pokémon GO: Niantic buries cheaters with Pidgeys and Rattatas

Recent changes to Pokémon GO may not have been noticeable to most players. But cheaters are frustrated. Let’s keep them that way.

If you’re savvy, you can cheat at Pokémon GO. You can sit in the comfort of your home and never walk a step as your character hatches eggs, captures higher and higher CP Pokémon and drops high-powered Pokémon in every gym in a city. It’s an enormous frustration, especially to players in smaller locations who don’t have high CP Pokémon to kick invaders out of their gyms. But it sounds like Niantic is finally taking some serious steps to ensure that if they can’t kick cheaters out of the game completely, they can frustrate them into quitting.

First,  /r/TheSilphRoad has reported that an enormous section of the botting community has reported that their accounts were “shadowbanned,” or flagged as illicit. They can still play the game, but shadowbanned players, for some reason, keep running into only Pidgeys or Rattatas. They are unable to see rare Pokémon node spawns. This immediately puts a damper on their days, as they cannot catch the high CP Pokémon that they keep taking over gyms with.

Furthermore, someone else on /r/TheSilphRoad spotted yesterday that not only can shadowbanned accounts not see rare spawns, but they also cannot purchase items from the shop. This means no more incubators, which means no more traveling enormous distances to hatch eggs. Shadowbanned accounts are now effectively limited to the strong Pokémon they already have and however high they can evolve a Pigeot. Here’s a hint – it’s not high enough.

TheSilphRoad is full of suggestions on other things Niantic could potentially do to dissuade hackers, like not letting PokéStops drop Revives or even having them only drop Nanab Berries (objectively the worst berries). While there is some concern about legit players getting caught in the crossfire, fortunately, it sounds like those instances are few and far between.