Niantic takes legendaries away from Pokemon Go players due to 'fairness'

Other legendary Pokemon snuck into the game early, so the developer revoked them to even the playing field.


Yessir, we Ohioans have it pretty good. The weather can cycle from rain, to sun, to snow, to end-of-times storms, and back again within a single day (or a single hour), offering unparalleled variety and excitement. And we've got legendary Pokemon to boot! Or at least, we had legendary Pokemon. But, hey, you don't have them either.

A legendary Articuno spawned in Ohio for a couple of Pokemon Go players earlier this week, and the Coveys, the couple that bagged it, posted a video to a Dayton-area Facebook group as proof (via Kotaku). Other players accused them of cheating, and they were spot on: a few legendaries had somehow found their way into the game. Once Niantic became aware of the situation, it evened the playing field by nuking all legendary pocket monsters.

"We recently noticed that a few Legendary Pokemon got into a few accounts when they shouldn’t have," the developer said in a statement to IGN. "To preserve the game’s integrity and as a measure of fairness, we have rectified the situation and revoked the legendary Pokemon from the Trainers’ accounts."

According to various reports, it was pretty obvious the Coveys knew their find was illegitimate. They supplied an email allegedly from Niantic that misspelled "Articuno" as "Articundo," and the developer issued a statement to stressing that they had not rolled the Pokemon into the game.

Niantic's got its hands full with Pokemon Go-related issues this week. The developer launched the game in Brazil for the Olympic Games, and has earned over $160 million despite backlash against changes applied in a recent patch.

Long Reads Editor

David L. Craddock writes fiction, nonfiction, and grocery lists. He is the author of the Stay Awhile and Listen series, and the Gairden Chronicles series of fantasy novels for young adults. Outside of writing, he enjoys playing Mario, Zelda, and Dark Souls games, and will be happy to discuss at length the myriad reasons why Dark Souls 2 is the best in the series. Follow him online at and @davidlcraddock.

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  • reply
    August 3, 2016 3:15 PM

    David Craddock posted a new article, Niantic takes legendaries away from Pokemon Go players due to 'fairness'

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      August 3, 2016 3:31 PM

      Wait, so who's mistake was it? If it was Niantic's, this is bullshit.

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        August 3, 2016 3:59 PM

        Nope, not Niantic's. Some people are using hacks to change monster names, among various other ways of illegally adding Pokemon.

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      August 3, 2016 3:33 PM

      What is going on with this game

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        August 3, 2016 9:53 PM

        What goes on in any popular game. Some people cheat.

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      August 3, 2016 8:36 PM

      So it was legit? They actually had them?

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      August 3, 2016 8:49 PM

      $160m earnings from this basic mobile game and they keep fucking shit up...

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        August 3, 2016 10:01 PM

        All the bots broke today. They did something right at least.

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          August 3, 2016 10:13 PM


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            August 3, 2016 10:25 PM

            I've read of soft bans but I don't think anyone has been perma banned yet. Pretty much everyone 30+ are bots. There are a lot of them.

            Most of the gyms around me are dominated by a bunch of ~35 players. That's some 24/7 botting to get to that point. Once you get 25+ the xp is just a incredibly massive exponential increase.

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          August 3, 2016 10:42 PM

          The location spoofers didn't. A friend was using one tonight to get pokemans from all around the US in between RL matches.

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      August 3, 2016 10:04 PM

      they changed a lot more than that. supposedly all API calls are shut down as they prepare to enter other markets - like china.

      so the external map stuff is now permanently disabled. niantic has to now empower their game very very quickly or it's going to go off a cliff. I didn't know there was THAT much external stuff going on aside from pokevision style mappers... there are full on bots and stuff that generated those legendaries inappropriately.

      no wonder gyms have been wtfpwned so rapidly and squatted by 2600+ snorlax characters.

      • Zek legacy 10 years legacy 20 years
        August 3, 2016 10:08 PM

        Go off a cliff how? No way can you argue that third party APIs and exploits are why the game is a phenomenon. It's the unprecedented reach it has into the "normal" general populace that got it where it is.

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          August 4, 2016 8:36 AM

          very true. hopefully this is the cleansing that allows them to launch the rest of the game (internally). people just wanted simple fun, and obviously this scratches that itch. it was being trampled by external stuff - some bad, some good. they decided to terminate anything external.

          now we will see what the roll out is for more in game content.

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      August 3, 2016 10:05 PM


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      August 4, 2016 7:03 AM

      Kinda Stranger Things spoiler.

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