Spoofing destroys the Game
After we had last year a problem with several spoofer agents (all from the same player) who finally got removed through the TR system, spoofing has become a severe problem for the last few months in our area (60 x 60 km area). All blue portals (in a 60*60km area) get neutralized shortly after being deployed, home portals get besieged for hours, the spoofers puts fields over areas where agents start to play and to link something and so on.
This is spoiling the fun of a lot of players. The new system is not working and it seems that more and more players start to play a spoof character as well. And regular players lose their interest in the game (including me).
There have been dozens of reports by several agents that were ineffective and I will give a few examples. I was wondering, why nothing is happening although a kindergarten kid can see that this not regular playing. What is needed to get an effective response from the new system? Do you always need to fast track the report?
Examples for Impossible Travel Times of teambloo5uck5 (level 10), all provided with links to Google Maps and the portals (I cant post it here):
5:20PM teambloo5uck5 deployed a Resonator on Magistrat der Stadt Reichelsheim (Platanenweg 10, 61203 Reichelsheim, Germany)
5:26PM teambloo5uck5 destroyed a Resonator on Spirale Skulptur Fahrradständer (In der Grobach 9, 61197 Florstadt, Germany)
5-6 minutes (remember that it takes a while to destroy a shielded portal) vs 11-12 Minutes according to Google Maps.
9:56PM teambloo5uck5 destroyed a Resonator on Alte Niddabrücke (Friedberger Str. 4N, 61194 Niddatal, Germany)
9:59PM teambloo5uck5 destroyed a Resonator on Reitgemeinschaft Weissenburg e.V. (Außerhalb BGr 14, 61184 Karben, Germany)
(right before checkpoint)
3 vs 6 minutes according to Google Maps
Examples for impossible showups:
First action at that day:
2:44PM hgoOO2 captured Geländeplan Kurpark (Unnamed Road, 61231 Bad Nauheim, Germany)
2:44PM Your Portal Geländeplan Kurpark (Unnamed Road, 61231 Bad Nauheim, Germany) is under attack by teambloo5uck5
First action at that day:
3:24PM notimerac deployed a Resonator on BN - Stromauge (Gartenfeldstraße 1, 61231 Bad Nauheim, Germany)
3:26PM teambloo5uck5 destroyed a Resonator on BN - Stromauge (Gartenfeldstraße 1, 61231 Bad Nauheim, Germany)
3:26PM teambloo5uck5 captured BN - Stromauge (Gartenfeldstraße 1, 61231 Bad Nauheim, Germany)
3:38PM hgoOO2 deployed a Resonator on Schuckhardtbrunnen Aliceplatz (Parkstraße 4, 61231 Bad Nauheim, Germany)
3:38PM Your Portal Schuckhardtbrunnen Aliceplatz (Parkstraße 4, 61231 Bad Nauheim, Germany) is under attack by teambloo5uck5
we are again talking about portals in no man's land and the name makes it also clear that teambloo5uck5 only wants to bully teambloo (which also has been reported without an effect) and to spoil the fun of RES agents in our area.
First portal action:
2:14PM teambloo captured Trauerfeier mit Kreuz (Unnamed Road, 35519 Rockenberg, Germany)
2:15PM teambloo linked Trauerfeier mit Kreuz (Unnamed Road, 35519 Rockenberg, Germany) to Münzenberg Hattsteiner Hof (Hattsteiner Hof 15, 35516 Münzenberg, Germany)
2:16PM teambloo5uck5 destroyed a Resonator on Trauerfeier mit Kreuz (Unnamed Road, 35519 Rockenberg, Germany)
first action at that day
2:12PM chimera80 captured kirchliches Wernborn (Usastraße 12-14, 61250 Usingen, Germany)
2:16PM teambloo5uck5 destroyed a Resonator on kirchliches Wernborn (Usastraße 12-14, 61250 Usingen, Germany)
2:16PM teambloo5uck5 deployed a Resonator on kirchliches Wernborn (Usastraße 12-14, 61250 Usingen, Germany)
2:16PM teambloo5uck5 captured kirchliches Wernborn (Usastraße 12-14, 61250 Usingen, Germany)
first action at that day (30 km from previous example)
3:40PM Bastos2000 destroyed a Resonator on Beweinung Christi - Kloppenheim (Frankfurter Straße 24-28, 61184 Karben, Germany)
3:40PM Bastos2000 captured Beweinung Christi - Kloppenheim (Frankfurter Straße 24-28, 61184 Karben, Germany)
3:49PM teambloo5uck5 destroyed a Resonator on Beweinung Christi - Kloppenheim (Frankfurter Straße 24-28, 61184 Karben, Germany)
The CORE Subscriptions enable you to file a support ticket in game which can get fast tracked.
I didn't think that feature was actually live yet?
Currently, anyone can ask that their ticket be fast tracked, but there's no guarantee that it will actually be processed like that.
The problem is not in the speed at which Niantic receives a report (which CORE Fast Track will help), but the quality of its further processing (which CORE Fast Track won't help).
Reports like this have been sent via the in-game feature in dozens but without having any effect. And actually I am not willing to pay any subscription when I cannot link anything because every deployed Portal gets neutralized within seconds or a spoofer lays a field over me with anchors in the deepest woods when I start to play. It takes an hour to remove the field but the field is restored within seconds and without efforts after one has left the location.
After playing the game for 7 years, i must admit that it is too broken and there are no tools to fix it. The new in-game reporting is a shame.
Problem is not reporting spoofers how fast or not, problem is its way too easy just create new accounts with bots, lvl up them to lvl 8 or something and they are back destroying the game... we need a new verification method or something idk...
Spoofing also destroys the game in an another way.
Here several new young pogo players come to Ingress to play and most of them are the only players in their area due to low player base.
The old guys who hate pogo players always accuse the pogo guys of spoofing even if they are just playing around their town and asking for selfie is common and there is lot of questions in the comms.
It's kind of annoying and sad to see old players kind of ruining the experience and being toxic.
I wish spoofing was 100% impossible so that these kind of accusations didn't arise especially against new players.
Since our state is big and everone doest see everone, people start doubting each other after the accusations even the players within a faction.
Anyway I am happy that at least reporting works unlike in pogo, gald to see some effort being put in by niantic in the matter.
I hope more effort will be put into making spoofing impossible in future.
No. The problem is that Niantic Support seems generally not reading spoofing supports currently, if corresponding suspects were not specifically marked by Vanguards or Trusted Reporters (which means you have to beg someone who could talk to customer support to escalate your case)
I've mentioned that I was doing experiments with very obvious spoofing cases to reach this conclusion.
And I have done it. Before I post the comprehensive report I can put the conclusion here in advance: Was "Lambert" reading our support tickets? No. No with very solid evidence which I will show later.
@hgoOO2 My suggestion for you: If the case you were filing involves inpossible travel times or something obviously not possible to be done by human beings, PM a Vanguard (you may find someone here on the forum as long as you keep making replies) and get his help to make your reports really reviewed by someone. Vanguard may tell you that you need making another report again with short description, even if you have done so you may still find it intersting that your ticket would be reviewed this time.
And if the case does not involve that, give up.
It's not simply "no guarantee". I have recently encountered multiple cases with numerous reports that impossible travel times got no "fast track" at all.
Fast-track isn't evaluated on the basis of spoofer actions. It's evaluated based on the portal location where the spoofer was active.
I want to clarify, the help article says:
Players can request for selected spoofing related incidents to be fast tracked to minimize the impact on the game board.
So spoofer can be active on easy-access portals for a long time with no ban? That's ridiculous, isn't it?
No. It means reports of spoofing on easy-access portals will be reviewed in the normal timeframe.
So that the spoofer can do even more damage, as MagikSky done. 120 hours since first report on them - is it normal timeframe?
Sigh, I'm going to stop right here. I'm not Ops. I can only explain the intent of fast-track. It's been launched to replace the TR program, taking on the same function but driven by Ops, not by players.
TRs only escalated urgent cases of spoofing on remote/strategic/durable portals. Fast-track does the same.
TRs would also not have escalated these accounts and would have recommended you report them yourself on the support site.
Can the turnaround time be improved? Possibly. I don't know what the actual personnel requirements are to achieve that though.
Can the system overall be improved? Yes. But I can only speculate on what the shortcomings actually are.
The primary purpose of fast track as opposed to reviewing Spoofer activities in normal timeframes, is to stop a spoofer that's going from mountaintop to mountaintop, killing hard to reach or low signal portals etc. It's original purpose was for catching people 'in the act' in blatant actions that were easily banned.
I can tell you, for sure, watching from a map to prove a spoofer is not really somewhere in an urban environment, is far harder to pinpoint and say "There! See!" by someone who isn't well versed with that specific urban environment. The only real gotcha is when they travel too fast, which most are well experienced at not doing by now (or got banned).
So it's understandable that Niantic doesn't fast track watching and waiting for a spoofer to make a mistake that they can identify. Slow meticulous analysis of an account's metrics and play history aren't going to work for fast tracked tickets.
In terms of "Amount of damage" generally urban environments go back and forth constantly, and destroying urban fields etc is a great opportunity for more AP for many people, so while spoofers are annoying there, they're not generally doing the same level of unrecoverable damage.
This is true, but recently even this policy is not enforced as well. I'll post a thread by the end of this week and notify you, where we may see that even cases reported by multiple C.O.R.E. players that are actually mountains + from remote area to urban area + long range movement + impossible travel times + very short and straightforward descriptions upon the tickets as suggested by @Azhreia , are NOT reviewed and handled (=automatic replies) by Lambert or NIAOPS at all within a week.
Fair enough, I'll look at what you post.
I also want to add describe the situation with teambloo5uck5.
First, the name is offensive. We have a player who is named teambloo in our area. We have reported the offensive name several times: no reaction.
Second, this player changes the pictures of home portals to nonsense pictures and then tries to get these portals removed.
Third, fast lane is of no use. This player has neutralised 5000 portals and has never been there. He is not even from this area but lives in a city that is about 40km away.
Fourth, many reports about impossible travel times have been filed (see HgOOO2 post) and none have been seriously processed.
If there is a vanguard here or niantic game support, I please them to take that topic serious. There is nearly no blue portal in a metropolitan area of 50 times 50 km left. Imagine that....
This char is the successor of tobeteacher, profdrdj, profdrdjdj and more.
I’ve experienced this recently myself. Very discouraging. Multiple reports of repeated actions of movements that are not humanly possibly given the location/access. Yet, they’re free to continue their actions as they will. This is happening in a semi-urban environment, but that doesn’t mean one can travel at the speed of light.
I can already confirm this.
I must say - I have done spoof reports through ticket system. (Not for fast track action, but for blatant spoof action) and had ticket closed - no action.
Then submitted exact same ticket, word for word via TR and had agent subsequently banned.
Something is wrong somewhere.
Plus unfortunately it's not possible any longer to submit via the TR bot independently after the change of TR procedure. Things are going wilder.
The main of the above mentioned character now creates a field (3 Mio MU) every night over 1/3 of the cell. Once the field is taken down, it is easily set up again, making it impossible to play in a large area of Germany. Good Job, Niantic!
Without banning the spoofer chars quickly, one can learn how to trick the system and how to avoid the traps that are based on heuristics and are less effective against higher level chars.
Obvious spoofers not even banned in proper time window (slowly), not to mention "quickly", this is the current situation we are facing and I don't see much we could do about that.
If an obvious spoofer does not get a ban, then it can become obvious for the spoofer to think there is no need to worry for a ban.
They can even think that spoofing is not a reason for a ban. And then other agents around will accept this too.
And before you realize you will find out that most left the game or became spoofers themselves.
Niantic, please, I am once again asking for solutions. Communities will never grow until the spoofstorm is cutted off.
This is exactly happening in our area. And it does not only impact the own faction but also the faction of the spoofers. People that like to play by walking or driving around, are excluded from the game.