CHEATING AT POKEMON GO

images-9If we’ve learned anything from Pokemon Go, it’s that people will go to great lengths in order to successfully beef up their Pokedex and increase their levels. Some travel the world in an attempt to catch ‘em all, some make additional purchases for phone battery packs to maintain a good charge, and others accidentally stumble off a pier trying to line up the perfect shot.

But a subgroup of players have taken things a step further, harnessing the power of technology to create their own tools used to game the system and guarantee success in Pokemon Go. While many of these venture into morally gray territory — particularly those that cheat the mechanics and skip the intended progression — it just goes to show that people will use any means necessary to become Pokemon Masters.

A majority of these techniques use the Android version of the game, since it’s marginally easier to modify than iOS. IGN doesn’t condone the use of any third-party applications designed to skip the intended Pokemon Go progression path, not only because it goes against the spirit of the game’s design, but also because we can’t ensure the safety of these applications. As always, cheat at your risk. Or of course you can always check out IGN’s comprehensive Pokemon Go Wiki Guide to get ahead.

And if you’re one of the millions of players trying to legitimately earn your Pokedex, it’s still fascinating to see the lengths some players will go. Below are five ways players are cheating at Pokemon Go.

Pokemon Trackers

Pokemon Go itself is not particularly handy as a map tool. Street names are not present, and the only way to know which locations are Pokestops is to select the stop and read its description. This can be an issue, because there’s no real way of knowing exactly where a Poke Stop is or how far away it might be at any given moment.

To remedy this, many amateur developers have taken to creating a Pokemon tracking tool. Using Google Maps in real time, many of these tools correctly identify the exact locations of these stops and gyms to make them easier to locate. As an added bonus, programs like the now-defunct PokeTracker will highlight specifically where different Pokemon were spawning, sending the user an alert describing which Pokemon were nearby and where they could be found.

It’s technically cheating, since the point of the game is to wander and explore and stumble into Pokemon intermittently. But, it still requires one to get up and move around in order to make their catches, which largely remains faithful to the main game.

Automated Bots

For those who merely want ‘em all without putting forward any of the work, there are entire bots dedicated to playing the game for you. By sending falsified data to the Pokemon Go servers, these bots can do almost everything from easily capturing Pokemon to hatching eggs and duplicating items from Pokestops.

It essentially turns Pokemon Go into an idle game, bypassing the actual “Go” elements needed to make the core game work. It’s an option for those who want to play Pokemon Go without… actually playing it, really.

The Poke Black Market

Perhaps “black market” is a bit of a strong phrase here, but there are some players who make extra fun money by selling their accounts to prospective buyers. Kind of like using an Automated Bot, this is a way for players to automatically give themselves a boost in their Pokemon Go street cred without ever actually having to set foot outside.

There are multiple places where one can do this, and if the Pokemon Go Accounts page on Facebook is anything to judge by, it’s a relatively popular practice. People share details about their accounts, explaining their trainer’s level, key Pokemon in their possession, and how much Stardust they’re carrying, among other things. Some of these go relatively cheap — I saw one listed for $15 — while others continue to grow increasingly expensive with impressively large collections.

Messaging Apps

Vanilla Pokemon Go doesn’t have much by way of a social function built into its program. Instead, players will have to step outside and meet up with others if they plan on being social at all. But, several messaging applications linked to Pokemon Go may implement communication between trainers into the game.

MessGo is one such program, offering people the ability to message nearby trainers to chat about nearby Pokemon, their rosters, and allowing them the chance to team up, catch Pokemon, get leads on where the best ones are spawning, and maybe even organize to take down a gym together. Pokemon Go has become a huge social phenomenon, and apps like MessGo seem to bolster this.

Emulators for Playing on Desktop

This isn’t a widespread practice per se, but it’s still an interesting one: some players have figured out how to run Pokemon Go on their desktop computer via an Android emulator and a GPS feeding spoofed info to the servers.

One user has accomplished this by running one such emulator and using GPS spoofing to take the game virtually anywhere on the map in an effort to catch more Pokemon from around the globe. In GPS spoofing, the program feeds false information about the player’s location to the official Pokemon Go servers.

It’s obviously not the best way to experience the game — there’s a reason it’s designed with walking and traversal on mobile phones in mind — but it’s still a playable version, allowing people to join in the fun and capture all of these pocket monsters without ever leaving the comfort of their desktop.