As far as Pokémon Go is concerned, only cheaters should be able to get massive amounts of XP in a short amount of time. Well, about that...
Jimmy Derocher is a hardcore Pokémon Go player who has spent the last couple of weeks devising an ingenious plan to accrue as much XP as humanly possible. Earlier this month, he managed to find a way to get a million XP over the course of a weekend. The reason? Internet commenters kept alleging that it should be impossible to get that much XP without cheating, and Derocher wanted to prove everyone wrong.
This weekend, Derocher turned things up a notch by devising a special walking route in Austin, Texas:
“We place[d] in-game lures on 10 Pokestops in a 0.2 mile loop, which we [planned to] walk over and over,” Derocher said. “People casually call it ‘Jimmy’s loop.’”
The plan this time was to get a million XP in a single day. To prove the challenge’s legitimacy, he was also going to livestream the entire thing on Twitch with the help of his friends, who were also undertaking the challenge. News broke out, and hundreds of people showed up on Twitch to watch the undertaking, and according to Facebook, a thousand people said they were going to join the festivities in-person as well. Everyone wanted to see if Derocher’s wild plan would actually work.
At first, things went swimmingly, with Derocher amassing hundreds of thousands experience points through a combination of Pokestops, Pokémon captures, and tactical Pokémon evolution. On hour 13, everything changed:
No matter what he did, or what Pokeball he used, every single monster started running away from Derocher, and they continued running away non-stop for hours. He was triggering Pokémon Go’s anti-cheat measures after amassing around 600,000 XP through completely legit means.
“Niantic Labs recently implemented an anti-botting policy becoming more well-known to players as a ‘soft-ban’,” Derocher explained.
“More or less, the policy is a 24 hour ‘cheating prevention’ tool which stops you from getting more XP than should be possible,” Derocher continued.
Since release, Pokémon Go has suffered from a strong ‘botting’ community, who have used third-party software to automate playing the game. Botters were able to accrue ridiculous levels and strong Pokémon that nobody else in the game could, making the game unfair for anybody who wanted to take on a gym stocked with ridiculously leveled monsters. In response, Niantic started cracking down on Pokémon Go cheaters. Just earlier this week, Niantic said that “moving forward, we will continue to terminate accounts that show clear signs of cheating.”
As such, Derocher was not surprised by the turn of events during his quest. Before undertaking his million XP challenge, he actually tried reaching out to Niantic personally to see if they would allow him to get the XP he wanted to rightfully earn:
“In a sense I was trying to prove to Niantic that their limit was actually hurting players who play efficiently,” Derocher said.
“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,” Derocher said. “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.”
The good news is that, despite being soft-banned for hours, Derocher raised enough for charity during the livestream that he will be able to donate money to a good cause.
“I logged 25 miles using the app Charity Miles, and we’ll be able to donate $50-60 to charity thanks to stream donations,” Derocher said. “[But] we easily could’ve seen 1.5x that mileage and 5-10x the charity donations given...a full stream.”
Plus, it’s not like Derocher gave up easily once he hit the in-game limit.
“I was still able to spin Pokestops [after getting softbanned]...I [also got] 25 XP from a mon running away,” Derocher said. “People laughed on stream because I continued to play for over an hour and a half getting something like 25k experience.”
“Games are meant to be played, and in my opinion played well,” Derocher said.