Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Cheater, Cheater Pumpkin Eater

I last posted about Ingress banning players who used IITC or Broot Mod while playing and how I didn't necessarily consider those cheating. Here is what I see as the cheating problem in Ingress. Let me define my premise, cheating is doing something outside the the rules or norms of the game in order to gain an advantage. No advantage, no cheating. 


Just to refresh your memory, spoofers are people who use certain applications to falsify their GPS location. With these apps a player could sit comfortably in their home and hack level 8 portals in both Paris France and Paris Kentucky without leaving their couch. 

How easy is it to do???
Apparently pretty damn easy. Just go to the Play Store and search for GPS Spoof or Fake GPS. You'll see dozens of apps. -- And no I haven't done, nor would I do this.

Niantic has done some to thwart spoofing, but it causes another problem. They have put a "speed limit" on scanner activity. It appears that if your speed between two portals is greater than approximately 35 mph, you are prevented from not only hacking, but doing basically any scanner activity which you can gain AP or items from Hacking to recharging. There has also been discussion that this is a safety measure to prevent playing ingress while driving.

In my opinion that is not a legitimate defense against spoofers. It is more a hindrance to real players.  Here is my real life example. In the picture to the right my local team did an event in one van we had 9 level 8 agents, and had more in other vehicles. We would at times have to wait at certain portals a few minutes before we could take any action. This became very frustrating. We weren't speeding, driving hazardously or anything else (okay we had 9 people in a vehicle which seats 8). But this hampered our enjoyment of our day and event. 

I don't know the answer to how to solve the spoofer problem, but the speed limit is not it. 

Illegitimate portals
I believe submitting a knowingly illegitimate portal is cheating. You've probably seen post on G+ like this one where people find illegitimate portals. Some how they got through the portal approval process. In this picture someone actually was successful at submitting their TV in their home. 

Other illegitimate portals include:
  • Intentionally submitting inaccessible portals. There is a player in our area who lives in a gated community. The community has fountains, statues, gazebos and a park sign which would all normally be legitimate portals, but they are inaccessible to the public. Even a Level 8 XMP wouldn't reach any of them. So for a while he had his own private level 8 farm as he would invite other members of his faction in to upgrade and hack. Do you need to guess what type of mods this has on it?
  • Fake portals. If you follow some of the G+ posts you will see things like backyard playground sets, private garden statues, gnomes, and the like which are not unique or interesting. 
The only reason people submit illegitimate portals is to gain an advantage and as such this is definitely cheating. Sure I'd love to sit at my couch and hack my personal portal in my living room, but that's not what the game is about.

Multiple Accounts
Here's a problem I see first hand and it frustrates me. It doesn't matter if your second account is with the same faction or the opposite faction both are equally bad.

Children's Accounts -  In my area we have a player who has played multiple times under both factions and each time this player also gives their child an account. This player is quite obviously playing both accounts as I see the "child's" username over the COMM at the crazy hours of the morning I play and/or I will see the child's account activity on the Intel Map desktop COMM with no activity from the parent. How ridiculous. This person is either obviously cheating or a horrible parent or both.

If a child wants to play and is legitimately playing, I have no problem with that. Heck, I've been places with many portals before with my son and handed him my phone and let him go hack portals. If I were to get him his own phone and he wanted to play Ingress I'd let him. Even though it is a TOS violation for children to play. If done legitimately, there is no advantage gained other than another player for your faction.

So these cheaters can now single-handedly create L6 (or more with more accounts) portals. Which you will use to hack and gain items gaining an advantage.

Storage Accounts -This is something opposing players in my area were talking about and dare I even say bragging about, having a second account specifically for storing items therefore getting around the 2000 item limit. They swear they don't play with those accounts, they just store items with them. Give me a break...

This too is obvious cheating. The game is set up with a 2000 item limit. As much as I wish it were more or keys wouldn't count or something similar, that's the way it is.

Opposing Accounts - While I haven't seen directly or suspected others of this, I was reading about it. A person creates accounts with both factions, then plays as one fully charging portals, linking, creating control fields, then logs in with their second account destroying what their other account created and rebuilding for the first account to destroy again. These cheaters gain advantage by being able to quickly gain AP and level themselves quickly, or sometimes they spy for one faction, the other or both.


  1. I use a second account but do not consider it cheating. I use it for two reasons.

    1. Keep a record of unique historical or image portals, I will never use them, they are just for my record and memories

    2. Prior to a business trip to a distance location, I clear out my inventory so that I have a relatively clean slate at the new location, likewise when I return home, I keep only the memorable portals and restore my 'stored' inventory.

    However as a daily use of moving inventory, I agree with you.

  2. Only thing I think is cheating is spoof location. Everything else is war strategy. I know a cheat that would so help either team. I've never heard of it being done but it would so give an advantage to either team.

    1. It doesn't matter what you think is cheating. It matters what the games rules say is cheating. And having multiple accounts is cheating.

  3. So I fired up this game today and it says the idea is to walk from place to place..

    Sounds like driving or biking are as big a cheat here, as they would be in the Boston Marathon. If your speed between nodes is over 30 MPH (is Usain Bolt's top end speed) the app should just scrap that account and let you start over.

    So if you will drive, you may as well just spoof your locations, make fake locations, and anything else that helps you avoid exercise. It is like paying someone at the gym to work out for you or just lying to your fitness app.
    And on an eco-note: spoofing doesn't pollute the air like driving does.

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