A news story just posted on Serebii.net indicates that the Pokemon Global Link is going to implement stricter checks to determine whether pokemon used by players have been hacked. According to the story, if you are caught with a modified save file or modified pokemon, you could be banned from Rating Battles and Battle Competitions.
If I could make a suggestion, I would like for the Global Trade Station (GTS) to be included in these stricter hack checks. For players that don’t use hacks, hacked pokemon are often acquired from the GTS, often accidentally on the part of the non-hacking players from players that hack them. In fact, that can bring up another problem.
It is possible for players to use hacked pokemon while unaware that they’re using them. Again, non-hacking players may be unaware that a pokemon that they’ve received from the GTS may be hacked. Ordinary players may not know what makes a hacked pokemon, or perhaps the hacked pokemon has been hacked in such a way that even experienced players wouldn’t be able to tell it was hacked with close inspection, but whatever filter used by the Global Link could detect it. It would be pretty sad if someone who doesn’t hack pokemon were somehow penalized because they unwittingly used a pokemon that’s been hacked.
While applying stricter checks may keep hackers out of Rating Battles and Online Competitions, it would be nice if they’d also apply to the GTS to keep hacked pokemon away from players that just aren’t interested in them. While using the GTS, I’ve gotten some pokemon that have obviously been hacked. Among these are a Celebi and an Arceus that resemble legit event pokemon, except they’re missing ribbons that they’re supposed to have (unless there’s some way to remove ribbons from pokemon that I’m not aware of). While it’s nice to have rare pokemon, when they’re not the real deal, it’s not as satisfactory to have them. I’ve also gotten a shiny Latios and a shiny Latias from GTS, with competitively viable natures and perfect IVs. Some might say that’s a strong sign they were hacked, but it’s hard to confirm it for sure.
This might open old wounds to bring up, but official pokemon hack checkers haven’t been flawless. For example, was Nintendo not aware that it was possible for players to obtain a shiny Jirachi from the Pokemon Colosseum Bonus Disk? Yet, shiny Jirachi was banned from being transferred from gen 5 games to gen 6 games through Poke Transfer.
Considering this, one could see how ordinary players that don’t hack may be concerned. They could be penalized through no fault of their own. Looking at how the GTS has historically been managed is another cause for concern: it seems as though the GTS is set up in such a way that it can run somewhat stably without much need for moderation, if any. In this condition, the otherwise automated system is influenced by the users themselves, who may, at their discretion, respect the desires of those who put pokemon up for trade or devise means to circumvent restrictions.
Long story short, I like that stricter hack checks are being implemented, but I’d like to see such a thing apply to the GTS. What’s more, I’d like to see some care implemented in how punishments for violations are enforced. I don’t want to see players blocked who simply weren’t aware that the pokemon they brought with them were hacked. I’d also like to see the filters consistent with what’s actually been made available. If those who make the Pokemon games could use a little help, it might not be a bad idea to refer to Serebii’s event database. It’s pretty comprehensive.
And while I’m making suggestions, I wouldn’t mind seeing the restrictions against trading pokemon with certain ribbons lifted. The ribbons in question might be part of what make the pokemon special, but they shouldn’t prevent a player from doing what they’d otherwise do with pokemon, and it would make it much easier for players to obtain certain pokemon who haven’t been to certain events.
How these stricter checks will affect hackers, and for that matter, those who don’t hack, remains to be seen. Perhaps they will change the game for the better, but if mistakes are made, they might just upset the fans more than before they’d be implemented.