Millions of people play Pokemon Go every day. With so many people involved in the game, many players have found ways to cheat the system. They spoof their location and use tricks and hacks to find better (or more) Pokemon.
Naturally, hacks and spoofing tricks go against the policy of the game. It means those who rely on these activities can get banned. And the last thing you want is to have your account banned after you’ve spent hours collecting rare Pokemon.
To avoid any unwanted restrictions, players must understand why bans exist and how they can impact the gameplay.
Pokemon Go Player Policy
Pokemon Go has a strict policy in place designed to remove players from the community if they show any suspicious behaviors.
Niantic, the developer behind the game, introduced a new Three Strike Policy on July 18th, 2018. As its name suggests, the policy consists of three strikes. You trigger each after illegitimate actions, such as game hacks and location spoofing.
Here’s a brief overview of the strikes in the order players get them:
- Strike 1
The first strike is only a warning. It informs that developers have detected the player’s actions.
The developers are consistently working on improving the detection system. It spots tricks and hacks before they give the player too much of an advantage in the game.
But the first strike comes with more than only a warning. It can also degrade the gameplay experience by preventing the player from finding rare Pokemon. The game will only show the average and common Pokemon, making it less fun to play.
The first trike lasts seven days. After this period, the gameplay will be as before.
- Strike 2
If the player continues cheating the game after the first warning, they will trigger the second strike. It revokes access to the account for some time.
In this scenario, the player receives a message during login that their account was suspended because of illicit activities.
The second strike lasts for 30 days, after which the player gets the access back.
- Strike 3
After the player regains access to their account, their record is not zero. But any new illegitimate activities won’t trigger the first strike and the warning.
Instead, if they continue cheating through the game, they will trigger the third and final strike. It results in a permanent ban. The account will stay suspended without a chance of restoring access.
Have You Been Shadowbanned?
Unlike the permanent “strike 3” ban, shadowbans don’t prevent players from participating in the game. Instead, they prevent players from seeing all Pokemon in the environment, other than the common spawns.
If you don’t want to see anything but Pidgeys and Rattatas, you should avoid actions that lead straight into a shadowban.
The best way to test whether you’ve been shadowbanned on Pokemon Go is to play at the same location with a friend. If you don’t see the same Pokemon your friend sees, chances are your account is under a ban.
The thing is, shadowbans come without warning. It means your account could be under a ban without you ever suspecting it.
Have You Been Banned by Mistake?
If you believe that developers banned your account for no reason, you can always appeal the termination. For that, you’ll need to contact the developer. Niantic’s responsive staff will investigate your case to confirm if there is a reason for full suspension.
But keep in mind that even though they do respond to every appeal, only a few of them get overturned. After all, their detection system is quite accurate. Niantic works hard to keep the game fair for everyone. Thus, they stick to strict rules and restrictions despite the appeals.
Avoid Bans Like a Pro
The best way to avoid bans is to stay away from hacks and cheats in the game. But an occasional change of location can speed up your gameplay and help you find better Pokemon. Players can avoid being detected by using a VPN along with a GPS spoofing app.
A VPN masks your IP address, which otherwise reveals your virtual location. If you match the IP address location to the spoofed GPS location, the game is less likely going to flag it as illicit behavior. Besides, using a VPN while gaming can have other benefits, including additional security and anonymity on the server.
Of course, if you change your location every few hours, it may appear suspicious nevertheless. After all, no one can fly from the USA to Germany in a matter of minutes.
So, if you love Pokemon Go as much as the next guy, use the tricks and hacks with caution. Good luck!