Thursday, July 17, 2014

Spoofer Protection

Hack acquired no items?

Ingress, being a location-based game, has had issues with people spoofing, or faking, their location to cheat.  If you fake your location, you can be anywhere at any time, nullifying a critical piece of what makes Ingress incredible.  If you're running Ingress on a Jailbroken iPhone, skip to the bottom.

To mitigate this, Niantic has taken several steps to stop, or at least slow down, spoofers.  They haven't published details about them, but one of them has been determined by its impact on normal day-to-day play:  the 35MPH spoofer protection bubble.

You might have hit the bubble if you hacked a portal on the edge of town, drove down the highway to the next town, and received "Hack aquired no items" for a bit.  Some common symptoms include:
  • Hack Aquared No Items
  • Firing XMPs doesn't damage resonators ("Missed all resonators") and your XMP is reimbursed
  • Recharging a portal doesn't work: no AP is given, the resonators don't recharge, and your XM is reimbursed
  • Deploying resonators takes forever and no AP is awarded; when you go back to the portal, your resonators aren't there

What gives?

Well... every time you do something that costs XM (recharging a portal, firing an XMP, deploying a resonator, hacking a portal, deploying a mod), Niantic's servers keep track of where you are and place a virtual pin on the map for you.  From this pin, a bubble expands out at 35MPH from the moment it is placed for about 30 minutes, at which point it encompasses the multiverse.

If you're in the bubble the next time you try and do an action, it succeeds and a new pin is placed.  If you're outside the bubble, your action fails and you see something strange happen.  Niantic thinks there's a chance you could be location spoofing, so to prevent it, they short-circuit your action.

Of note... the collection of XM is not impacted by the bubble.  You can collect XM as fast as you can travel.  You just can't spend it.

How do you avoid performing actions outside your bubble?  Strategically timing your actions.

Experiment with skipping the last few portals on your way out of town.  This can help you set your pin earlier, reducing your average speed.  Don't speed.  Don't stop to hack those portals on the highway a few minutes outside of town.  Give yourself a half hour between actions if you're going to be traveling at high rates of speed.

Experiment, try and find a routine that works for you.  The spoofer protection is hardly ideal, but it does do some good, albeit at quite a cost for those who commute between cities.

Let me know if you have any questions and I'll try my best to answer them.

Now get out there and move!

Note:  Jailbroken iPhones may exhibit this behavior 100% of the time.  Please see this Reddit post for a workaround.