The topic of cheating in Pokémon GO has been a hot one over the past week or so as Niantic attempts to deal with the hordes of players who are seeking a means of getting an unfair advantage in the game, but it would seem that the automatic measures put in place by the developer can be a little overzealous.
Take the case of superfan Jimmy Derocher, who decided that he would attempt to acquire one million XP in a single day. Derocher had already proved that it was possible to gain that much XP in a weekend, and was keen to see if it were possible to do the same within the space of 24 hours.
Derocher's plan involved hitting a series of Pokéstops in a 0.2 mile loop, and he stated that he would livestream the attempt via Twitch. The news quickly spread and hundreds of other players stated that they would like to be involved via Facebook; all were keen not only to see if Derocher could pull it off, but to know if it were indeed possible to amass such a large amount of XP in the space of a single day.
To begin with, things went according to plan. However, by the time Derocher reached the 13th hour of his epic quest, Niantic's anti-cheat countermeasures kicked in. Every monster that Derocher encountered ran away from him - but not before he had collected around 600,000 XP.
According to Derocher, this is Niantic's way of stopping cheaters from grabbing more XP than they should, and is best described as a "soft ban" as it only lasts 24 hours. However, despite the temporary nature of the ban, he feels the system is unfair to those who want to play by the rules:
In a sense I was trying to prove to Niantic that their limit was actually hurting players who play efficiently. I'm a bit of a hardcore gamer and I play somewhat efficiently, but the point is that I shouldn't be hitting a 24 hr ban limit in just over half that time. Bots are far more efficient than humans are, and I think the effective soft ban was put in haphazardly...hurting a lot more players than I think they expected.
Games are meant to be played, and in my opinion played well.
On the bright side, Derocher's attempt had a dual purpose - to raise money for charity:
I logged 25 miles using the app Charity Miles, and we'll be able to donate $50-60 to charity thanks to stream donations, [But] we easily could've seen 1.5x that mileage and 5-10x the charity donations given...a full stream. I was still able to spin Pokestops [after getting softbanned]...I [also got] 25 XP from a mon running away. People laughed on stream because I continued to play for over an hour and a half getting something like 25k experience.
It remains to be seen if Niantic will change its system in the light of Derocher's noble attempt, but it has recently been dealing with cheaters in the most drastic way possible - terminating their accounts entirely and wiping all progress.