I was introduced to Pokemon Go by my son, who had learned about it from friends at his school. I installed the app and played for a couple of weeks to see if it was acceptable for my son to play. I found that they game was a good form of entertainment and bonding that myself and my young son would enjoy together. Initially we would be out and about playing alone, but together(I’m On Team Valor, he is on team Instinct), which in itself was just what we needed as a distraction from the pending breakup of our family due to divorce. There were tough times for us both, but with our mutual enjoyment through playing Pokémon go, we found ourselves spending quality time together having Pokémon go as a discussion topic and needed distraction.
With our continued play, we had inadvertently came to meet a great group local people who loved to play as we did. As time passed, the game play changed and with help from our group, myself and my son learned a lot about the game (ins and outs, what right and what’s wrong etc). The challenges we came upon as the game evolved from changing of the gym scheme, adding of raid bosses, legendary raid bosses, ex raid passes for Mewtwo and weather boosting. With the progression of the game my son and I found it harder and harder to keep gyms, to gain coins and prestige for those gyms. When I brought this question up within our group, the discussion turned to the talk of cheaters. How players would manipulate the game to their advantage. We had learned terms like sniping, spoofing and botting. Being informed of how these actions and how they work, we became more observant to who was in what and where. We have found that there is a group of local adults that manipulate Pokémon Go, via all means at their disposal, to now make it next to impossible to make any progression in the game. My son is now unable to hold gyms for more than minutes, due to this specific group and their tactics, which are against Niantics TOS. A couple months back there was an incident where my sons Pokémon were sniped out of 5 gyms, by this group of spoofers (team Instinct – the same as my son), only to add one of their group in. It didn’t matter how deep my sons Pokémon was in the gym, they would take all preceding his to just remove him. Then add their Pokémon, that they had removed to get at his, back into the gym. Needless to say my son was upset. He couldn’t understand how people could be so mean. I’ve done my best to understand and explain it to him, but the damage had been done and he has lost interest in this game he once loved so. He doesn’t play with his Pokémon cards anymore. He doesn’t wear his pikachu hat or shirt anymore. It is sad to see a child’s heart broken like that. I’ve contacted you (Niantic) multiple times requesting that my son be changed from Instinct to Valor, so that myself and our group of Valor friends could help better protect him from this vicious group of spoofers. I implore you Niantic, would do something so simple as change my son from Instinct to Valor and show him that a multi billion dollar company still cares about a child’s feelings.
Thank you for your attention, Dad