Suggestions regarding Spoofers

Hello everyone,

Because the new cycle year is close, there are increasing number of Spoofers who are trying to take in-game advantage before the new cycle. Since the COVID-19 outbreak, there are 50+ spoofers that took down multiple strategic portals here in Turkey. Some of them did get banned, some of them got away with their filth. There are tons of way to acquire Spoofing accounts. I believe that Niantic is aware of the situations regarding Spoofers. There are multiple precautionary measures for Spoofers. I believe that Niantic is trying the best to keep the people's efforts but I also believe that they're not enough. The new report-fast track system is helpful but Spoofers get banned after they deal the damage. Once the damage is done, the restoration process is too slow and doesn't cover the urban area damages. Here I will propose some additional precautionary measures against Spoofers:


There are lots of Spoofers who are levelled up within a one/two hour period then spoofed to strategic/hard to reach portals. The L6/L7 is very easy to reach (Apex is very helpful) and enough to take down any portal. We saw this kind of accounts multiple times. I believe that with right adjustments this can be prevented.

- There should be limitations for levelling-up too fast. There should be additonal requirements for levelling up especially until L8. For example there should be a requirement for each level to wait 1 or more day. I know that this may discourage actual new players but they are the tip of iceberg. Within last 12 hours there are 2 accounts that levelled up too fast and took down the strategic portals here in Turkey. We are not able to prevent them. They got banned AFTER they spoofed. And also, new players don't know how to level up fast until they learn the fundamentals. Leveling up too fast is a clear indication of spoofing or backpack accounts. New adjustments regarding this issue may be helpful.

-The viruses are helpful to Spoofers. They knew that because of the COVID-19 virus it is sometimes impossible to reach some portals(curfews restrictions etc.) There are 2 in-game viruses that are helpful to Spoofer also. The JARVIS and ADA viruses. These items are helpful to them because if they are facing recharges they can easily flip the portal. JARVIS and ADA are also easily reachable via passcodes and any account who has experienced player behind them can easily reach these passcodes. And also those passcodes provide items that are helpful to Spoofers also. I believe that with the right adjustments, the level cap to use these passcodes and items can be increased. (may be L8 or L10)

- I know that NiaOps are little bit conservative about banning accounts. But there are clear indications regarding Spoofers. When I was a new player, it took me 6 months to figure out the whole game mechanics and fundamentals. If a new account is sniping strategic portals or levelling up too fast, those are very very suspicious actions and clear indications and should be resulted in ban. If real players are really worried about their account getting banned they can appeal it with proofs.

- The reinstatement/restoration process takes too much time and effort. NiaOps should be able to flip back everything Spoofer done without any help or field/link drawings. The action logs are there. The status of the portal or area can be found from the history. I believe that Niantic have the history logs. Sometimes, It is hard for us to remember exact links and fields or status of a portal. However, with the right adjustments, the information from players to restore any portal wont be needed. This way the whole process will be faster and more effective. If the information is still required from players, the process shouldn't take too much time. There should be more people needed for those reinstatements. And also, urban area portals should be restored even though they are easy to reach. You can not know that nearby real players have enough resources or keys to restore the spoofed area.


- Last but not least, the main accounts of bad actors behind those Spoofers should also get banned permanently. Many of the spoofers know the game very well. They target strategic portals, they know how to level up fast etc. There must be experienced players behind Spoofers. The accounts that buy items from 3rd party sellers can get banned. Why not the main accounts that provide items to Spoofers? I don't know how much information Niantic have about the IP or device logs but if they have those kind of information they can detect the accounts linked to any banned account. As players, we can predict the main accounts from the actions taken by Spoofers but we'll have no solid evidence about them. This loophole, this vicious cycle (get a new account-level it up-spoof-get banned-repeat) doesn't discourage bad actors. There should be swift and clear actions against them.


Thank you for reading this and sorry for any mistakes if they're made. I'm very angry about the Spoofers lately and I felt the urge to do something about them. I know that some suggestions here may not be aplicable but there is a necessity to prevent increasing number of Spoofers and protect the real agent's efforts.


Best regards,

Comments

  • PerringaidenPerringaiden ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 2020

    There should be limitations for levelling-up too fast.

    Players can level up quite quickly, especially in the first five or so levels. Level 2 requires you to fully deploy a single portal, and capture a second. Level 3 requires 10 fully deployed portals, another trivial task. An expectation to "Now you have to wait a day" would be crippling for new players. Brand new players with a bit of advice and a grey area, can get to level five within 2 hours. 75 portals without even making a link.

     I believe that with the right adjustments, the level cap to use these passcodes and items can be increased. (may be L8 or L10)

    The level requirement of a flipcard is portal-1. So if you want higher level protection, build higher level portals. That said, spoofers level accounts to the required level. They are not limited to low level accounts nor does it take long to make high level ones. So raising the level just makes them make higher level accounts. And if you wanted to say "you can't use flipcards for the first week" (combining your first suggestion), they'd just build and store accounts to let them bake.

    Last but not least, the main accounts of bad actors behind those Spoofers should also get banned permanently. Many of the spoofers know the game very well.

    They do this. There have been some good examples of notorious spoofers getting caught by making a mistake. However, things like IP addresses don't help when the accounts use spoofed IMEI's and VPNs. And Niantic can't stop VPNs or it will eliminate the entire Chinese player base, plus many other players. The biggest problem Niantic has is linking throwaway accounts to the actual player's "real" account. That's why they use throwaway accounts...

    I totally agree that spoofers are a problem, but as far as I've heard, Niantic is already banning hundreds if not thousands of accounts a month. It's a constant cat and mouse game and a well organised spoofer completely isolates their cheating from their 'real account' and some don't even have a real account any more. So you can't ban nothing, and if there's no cost to new accounts, losing them isn't really a punishment.

  • AzhreiaAzhreia ✭✭✭✭✭

    The reinstatement/restoration process takes too much time and effort. NiaOps should be able to flip back everything Spoofer done without any help or field/link drawings. The action logs are there. The status of the portal or area can be found from the history. I believe that Niantic have the history logs.

    Actually, they don't. They don't keep portal states, so won't know what level resos were on the portal at any given time, which mods were on or what links originated or terminated at this portal. If they did, they wouldn't need this information from players for resets. So while it would be ideal to have all the actions of a particular account be reversed, it's simply not possible.

    If the information is still required from players, the process shouldn't take too much time. There should be more people needed for those reinstatements.

    Agree on this. It's time-consuming for both players and VG to gather the information and log it correctly. Resets should also be run more frequently.

    And also, urban area portals should be restored even though they are easy to reach. You can not know that nearby real players have enough resources or keys to restore the spoofed area.

    While this would really be ideal, it is not feasible in the current state of things concerning resets.

    First, there is the time constraint. We (VG) need the portal and link information to reset for every single portal. Gathering that for urban portals, plus their links etc, will take forever.

    Secondly, as it's urban, the gameboard is ever-changing in these areas which means that inevitably, other players will have interacted with those portals after the spoofer (but before reset), which would then result in legit player actions being overwritten by a reset.

  • Spoofers are taking over the game.

    Too many are leaving the game and no new players.

    Older players don't care unless it personally effects them and completely unwilling to take on a spoofer themselves

    Vanguard is too slow and almost useless because of it, and only do ones they feel like doing.

    Game only has another 12 months to 2 years because spoofers can't be addressed quickly or consistently.

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