Category Archives: Pokemon

Pokemon Go Account Hacked and Recovered

I rolled over, waking as I shifted into a more comfortable position.  It was dark out and I was ready to fall back asleep until my eyes landed on the clock and saw that the alarm was going to go off in less than ten minutes.  I was done with sleep.

I reached over to the night stand and picked up the iPad, then rolled on to my back and propped myself up a bit on my pillow.  I unlocked it and first went to turn off the alarm.  That done, I went to browse email to see what might have come in over night.

Generally it is the same set of automated posts, spam, and press releases.  But there at the top of the pile was the following email:

From: Pokémon Customer Service
Date: Sep 20 at 5:11 AM
Subject:
A change has been made to your account.

Dear Pokémon Trainer Club Member,

This email is to inform you that your Pokémon Trainer Club password was recently changed. If this change was made in error or without your permission, please write us at support@pokemon.com or visit pokemon.com/support.

Sincerely,
The Pokémon Company International

I hadn’t changed anything on that account in quite a while.  Furthermore, the time stamp was just ten minutes past, strongly suggesting that the change had been done while I was asleep.

I got up, walked down the hall to start up my desktop computer, then wandered back to the bathroom to hop in the shower.

After getting showered and dressed, I kissed my still dozing wife good-bye and went back up the hall to check out my Pokemon Trainer Club account.  I tried logging in and got the following message:

Your username or password is incorrect. You have 4 attempts left before you will be locked out of your account for 15 minutes.

Well, I knew the username was correct, and I doubted that I had forgotten the password.  Back when I created the account I used one of my “this account doesn’t matter” passwords because, at the time, it didn’t seem like an account that I needed to worry about getting hacked.  There is almost nothing to “do” in the Pokemon Trainer Club, nothing to steal or wreck or anything so I chose an oft used password.

Of course, that was back when I made the account quite a while back.  Since then Pokemon Go showed up on the scene, and one of the login options was to use your Pokemon Trainer Club account, which I had done because people were freaking out about how Pokemon Go was reading your Google Mail or some such.

Anyway, somebody had clearly gotten into the account and changed the password, and now I could not get into the account.

So I clicked on the “Forgot Password” option and had them send a password reset link.  However, that was taking a while, so I went back to the login page and did four more bogus logins to lock the account for 15 minutes, then packed up and drove to the office.

By the time I got into work, the password reset email had finally arrived and the 15 minute lockout had just expired.  The joy of going to the office early is that traffic is light.  I hit the link and reset the password to something more secure and quickly received another email message from the Pokemon Trainer Club alerting me that the password on my account had been reset, with the elapsed time between the two alerts being just over an hour.

And then I had to text my wife to tell her that she would need a new password to login to Pokemon Go.  As I mentioned in a previous post, my wife took over my initial Pokemon Go account and has been playing it ever since.  She is up to level 22 and has been doing gym battles.

She was able to log back into the account with the new password and reported that while whoever took over the account had trashed a bunch of stuff out of her bag, including most of her carefully hoarded revives, so necessary for post-gym battle clean-up, the account seemed to be otherwise intact.  The in-game journal even showed that somebody was catching Pokemon while we were asleep.

Not our activity

Not our activity

So, account recovered.  However, we got lucky.  The person who took the account over didn’t have it for long and, aside from deleting those revives, didn’t do much with it.

They also didn’t bother to change the email address associated with the account.  Googling for tales of Pokemon Trainer Club accounts being hacked turned up some stories of that happening and people having to get in touch with the site support staff to try and recover their account.

I suppose the real questions here are how and why?

As noted, the password wasn’t very secure.  But given how many Pokemon Go characters are likely tied to Pokemon Trainer Club accounts, it seems unlikely to be hacked totally at random.  Was the account targeted and, if so, based on what?

And then there is why… or why bother… or why bother if you you’re going to do such a half-assed job?  The person who took it apparently just wanted to play on the account.  Did they think it was abandoned or unrecoverable?  So many questions.

I wish the journal told you which PokeStop they used… they are all associated with locations… so I could tell where they were.  My guess, given the time frame, is somewhere further east.

The Pokemon 20th Anniversary Continues with a Victini Event and More

The celebration of the 20th anniversary of Pokemon continues.  This month’s legendary Pokemon is Victini.

Victini for Victory

Victini for Victory

Victini first showed up as a special download for Pokemon Black & White back in March of 2011.

Get Victini!

The original download event, March 2011

Instructions on how to download Victini to your copy of Pokemon X and Y or Pokemon Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby are available on the Pokemon site.  You have until September 24th to make it happen.

And with Victini available, that leaves just three more 20th anniversary downloads this year.

 

  • October – Keldeo (Nintendo Network)
  • November – Genesect (GameStop)
  • December – Meloetta (Nintendo Network)

Of course, the focus on this year’s celebration has largely been on the upcoming Pokemon Sun & Moon.  Last week it was announced that those who purchase Pokemon Sun & Moon before January 11, 2017 will be able to download a special Munchlax.

Munchlax for you

Munchlax for you

Munchlax evolves into Snorlax who, after 20 years of laying about, will actually have its own special Z-move attack as part of the upcoming title.

Snorlax in his usual role as sleeping obsctruction

Snorlax in his usual role as sleeping obstruction

All of which is covered in this month’s preview video.

Finally, on the Pokemon Go front, Niantic has announced their next upcoming feature, a buddy system that allows you to choose a Pokemon to travel with that will earn bonuses and rewards.  Hopefully Niantic carries on building Pokemon Go into a full fledged Pokemon game.

If WoW Expansion Were Done Pokemon Style

Ideas that come unbidden in the night when you’ve been thinking about Pokemon and World of Warcraft too much.

What if Blizzard did World of Warcraft expansions the way Nintendo and Game Freak do new Pokemon titles or was simply influenced more by Pokemon than EverQuest?

This is where this ends up...

This is where this ends up…

  • Each expansion would be a complete 1-100 experience, but would require you to start at back as a new player each time.
  • You get to create exactly one avatar per expansion copy.
  • There would be two versions of each expansion, each with rewards not in the other, and the only way to obtain them would be through trading across expansions.
  • Occasionally there would be a single expansion that was just the previous two merged together, slightly altered, and with a few more rewards.
  • Every once in a while the two different versions would have completely different groups to fight, though the story and quest line would be essentially the same.
  • Interaction with quest givers initiated solely by making eye contact.
  • It would be a solo experience, where you created parties for dungeons and raids from the NPCs you captured while battling along the way.
  • Party size is now six.
  • You don’t level up, only the followers in your party do as they fight for you.
  • Your followers can be different classes, which have a rock/paper/scissors dynamic to them.  There is no holy trinity.
  • Draenor garrison-like need to collect all possible followers emphasized in the game.
  • Only mounts: Roller skates and a bicycle.
  • Flight points unlocked only after defeating a dungeon half way into the game.
  • Dance contests!
  • Geography of each expansion loosely based on a real world location.
  • Blizzard offices cleverly hidden in each expansion, allowing you do rage at the devs through your avatar.
  • At some point each expansion would require you to wake up a sleeping ogre that is blocking your progress.
  • Defeating the story antagonists just lets you move on to your real goal; Defeating the final four and then the Azeroth League Champion.
  • We still end up waiting at least two years between expansions

What other Pokemon tropes would likely infect Blizzard were this true?

And would any of this necessarily be a bad thing?

My Wife and Pokemon GO

My wife is not a gamer, and the fact that I am has caused some friction in our relationship from time to time.  I can sit for many hours at my desk playing or writing about video games, activities that neither involve nor interest her.  It can be the “sports widow” syndrome at times, though my games don’t have seasons.

We have adapted somewhat over the years.  I don’t spend as much time on video games as I did in past years and I hope I am a bit less oblivious.  And she shows a peripheral interest in what I and my daughter are playing, though I am not sure my daughter and I being the “gaming club” in our house and talking about them a lot was a big help there.  My wife went to EVE Vegas with me, though she was more about the parties and socializing.  Internet spaceships themselves aren’t of interest.

My wife and I at the party

My wife and I at the party, Noizy Gamer behind us

My wife isn’t totally disinterested in video games.  But her interests are far more casual.  She plays Windows Solitaire and I keep a Solitaire and a Video Poker app on my iPad which she plays some times.

And then came Pokemon GO.

Back in early July, when the game showed up, she downloaded it to her iPhone so I could play it.  And I did create an account and got things rolling, and even picked Team Instinct for the account, mostly because it seemed to be the downtrodden group.

General view of Team Instinct - July 2016

General view of Team Instinct – July 2016

But the app was on my wife’s phone, and she uses her phone a lot.  She is on her third iPhone and it is clearly part of her life and/or lifestyle.  So the idea that I would be spending a lot of time playing Pokemon GO on her iPhone was probably a non-starter.

So she began to play for me.

At first it was rolling by the local Pokestops.  Then catching the occasional Pokemon.  And soon I was getting texts with screen shots of new catches or of the account leveling up.

At the same time our daughter was also playing, but she wasn’t as into it after a couple of weeks.  So while she was out in front in levels, her motion forward had slackened dramatically… at which point my wife’s competitive nature kicked in.

There is a reason we no longer play Scrabble after Thanksgiving dinner, and it has something to do with my wife’s family having very faint understandings of the concepts of being a “good winner” or a “good loser.”

My mother-in-law would sit at the table and trash talk, brag about every play, demand constant audits of the score, abuse the rules with half-assed challenges like “use it in a sentence,” and whine about how this wasn’t fair because she was born in Germany, to the point that I stopped playing to win and started playing to ensure she would lose.  If she was downstream of me I would leave her no good scoring opportunities, and if she wasn’t I would feed whoever was a series of double and triple word scores.

I may have lost more often that I should of, but she never, ever won, and so we were all spared the stream of trash talk that would have come from such an event.

(I am exaggerating a bit on that story, but not by as much as I wish I was.)

Anyway, since my wife will read this, let me say that this sort of competitive behavior was perhaps passed on to her to some slight degree, which drove her to catch up to, and then pass my daughter in Pokemon GO levels… and not quietly, to my daughter’s annoyance.

So the Pokemon GO champion of our house is my wife.

And then I went and got an iPhone last week and she wanted to know pretty quickly if I had installed the game yet.  I hesitated for a couple of days, but eventually installed it… and then made a new account.

My first account is now her account.  She did all the work on it.  So she changed up the avatar to be her rather than me and is still pondering names for the one-time name change option Niantic has given players.

On my account, I hit level 5… largely thanks to the fact that my desk at work is within range of a Pokestop, so a few times a day I look in on it… and went with Team Mystic.  So now my daughter is Team Valor, my wife Team Instinct, and I am Team Mystic.  We now cover all the teams.

Artist's concept of our family group

Artist’s concept of our family group

Now to see how the game will develop.  Right now “catching them all” is a sufficient goal for both my wife and I, but the game lacks so many of the features of the core Pokemon RPGs that I hope more is planned for it going forward beyond simply adding new Pokemon now and again.

What Happens to Pokemon in a World with Pokemon GO?

It has been a big year for the Pokemon Company, the entity founded by Nintendo, Game Freak, and Creatures back in 1998 to manage to suddenly successful Pokemon franchise.  Nintendo is the senior partner in that group, and is the one that owns the trademark on Pokemon, so people generally just refer to Nintendo, but there are actually multiple entities which I will mention in this paragraph and then go back to ignoring as usual.

Anyway, 2016 has been a big year.

To start with, the Pokemon franchise celebrated its 20th anniversary back in February.

Pokemon20

As part of that that celebration there have been legendary Pokemon download events every month, often accompanied by additional Pokemon download opportunities, mostly covered at the official Pokemon20 web site, which I have blogged about here.  They even released versions of the original Pokemon games for the Virtual Console on the Nintendo 3DS hardware.

The games that started it all 20 years ago

The games that started it all 20 years ago

In addition to that going on, there are the Pokemon World Championships, the culmination of events around the world, here in San Francisco this weekend.

Pokemon come to Baghdad by the Bay

Pokemon come to Baghdad by the Bay

On top of that, there is new Pokemon game coming out for the 3DS this November, the next in line in the venerable core Pokemon RPG line of games.  You would have a tough time convincing me that a good chunk of Nintendo 3DS sales are not related to the fact that it is the platform where the main line of Pokemon games, from which everything else in the franchise stems, is released.  Not when 1 in 4 3DS owners bought a copy of Pokemon X & Y.

So a new Pokemon game is always a boon.

Sun and Moon coming in November

Sun and Moon are coming!

Pokemon Sun & Moon coming out this November!  And that has meant the usual slow drip of news and updates about the title as the date approaches.

All of which adds up to a pretty big year for Pokemon.  Nintendo has even been pushing some of the other titles in the franchise on the Nintendo Store as party of the anniversary events.

not even close

not even close

There you can find the main RPG titles that are available on the 3DS (however, all the DS titles are no longer available despite the 3DS having support to play them) as well as spin offs like Pokemon Mystery Dungeon, Pokemon Ranger, and… Pokemon Pinball… okay.

And in the midst of all of this Pokemon frenzy there dropped Pokemon GO.

PokemonGO_500px

And since it hit the App Store back on July 6th, you can barely hear any of the over the roar of Pokemon GO hype.

I follow six general gaming news sites in my RSS feed, and Pokemon GO has been a headline item on at least one of them… on occasionally all of them… every single day since it launched.  I think Massively OP, which is an MMO site, had a two week string of headlines about the game, though they got Raph Koster’s blessing when he declared it an MMO I guess.  I was writing about it being a phenomena after the first weekend, and nothing I have seen since would convince me it has been anything less than this summer’s runaway hit game.

Kick's Chicken in Naiperville

It is in our food even!

Just yesterday Guinness announced that Pokemon GO had broken five records:

  1. Most revenue grossed by a mobile game in its first month,
  2. Most downloaded mobile game in its first month,
  3. Most international charts topped simultaneously for a mobile game in its first month in terms of revenue
  4. Most international charts topped simultaneously for a mobile game in its first month in terms of downloads and revenue
  5. Fastest time to gross $100 million by a mobile game.

And, in that environment of Pokemon GO fever, I started wondering what this meant for the franchise.  With a Pokemon game available on iOS and Android, the potential audience is huge.  I like the 3DS hardware, and it has been a decent seller, moving nearly 60 million units as of June 30th of this year, but Apple has sold that many iPhones in a single quarter on a couple occasions, including the first quarter of 2016.  And that doesn’t even start to count Android sales.  So There are a lot of devices out there that can play Pokemon GO.

But the game people are getting when they download Pokemon GO is, at best, a shadow of the experience that is the mainline Pokemon RPG.  There is the “Gotta Catch ’em All!” aspect to it, and some form of gym battles present in the game.  But there is no trading… a key founding concept for the game… no head to head battles, no breeding, no story, and only some vague goals beyond collecting.

Add in server problems, bugs, security concerns, battery life issues, controversies over features and changes, the sporadic presence of Pokestops and Pokemon, cheating, and the inevitable backlash that shows up when anything becomes popular, and I started to wonder whether or not this would be a good thing for the franchise.

Would Pokemon GO serve as an introduction to the franchise or would people walk away from the whole thing after the somewhat shallow experience that Pokemon GO can provide?

We are finally getting some early indications of what effect Pokemon GO will have.  Several sites are reporting NPD’s July 2016 hardware sales results which indicate that Nintendo 3DS sales have gone up considerably, with the 3DS outselling the XBox One which added a new model to its lineup.  Additionally, Pokemon titles for the platform, specifically Pokemon X & Y and Pokemon Alpha Ruby and Omega Sapphire also saw a significant spike in sales in July.  (Sources: Game Informer, Perfectly Nintendo)

So the initial reaction to Pokemon GO, as far as the overall Pokemon franchise goes, seems to be good.  Pokemon GO seems to more than just a passing fancy and is actually raising awareness of the whole Pokemon game ecosystem.  We shall see if that holds until November and the launch of Pokemon Sun & Moon.  If it does, those two titles might themselves set a record for the franchise.

Friday Bullet Points – Numbers, Pokemon, and Phishing

Another Friday morning when I have a half a dozen almost done posts in my drafts folder, but no real drive to finish any of them.  So time for some bullet points.

Such Super Data

I do enjoy when SuperData Research puts out another blog post with titles ranked by revenue.  They just posted one for June.

SuperData Sez - July 2016

SuperData Sez – June 2016

Of course, I enjoy their charts for odd reasons.  They are, in their own way, very effective trolling devices.  I can already predict a SynCaine response to this.

And then there are the questions raised.  What defines an MMO?  What defines a P2P MMO? (SWTOR claims to be F2P, right?) And, finally, how the hell is FarmVille 2 even a thing?  Is Zynga still a thing?

NCsoft Numbers

NCsoft put out their Q2 2016 earlier this week.  You can find them at their investor relations site.  The PDF summary is the usual 10 pages, with everybody’s favorite chart on page 4.

NCsoft revenue by title - Q2 2016

NCsoft revenue by title – Q2 2016

The surprise of the quarter is WildStar, which revived with a more than 40% boost in revenues over Q1’s all time lows.  Of course, WildStar’s revenue number is still pretty small.  GuildWars 2 dropped by more that 6.5 times the WildStar total and still pulled in 7 times as much revenue.

The numbers are in millions of South Korean Won (KRW), which makes the WildStar total about 2 million USD for the quarter.

Meanwhile, it looks like GuildWars 2 is going to be feeling some pressure to release another box and, as always, the 1998 title Lineage rules the revenue roost for NCsoft

(Hat tip to MMO Fallout)

Pokemon Nation Championship Restrictions

The 2016 Pokemon National Championships are being held not too far from where I live… just up in San Francisco… and Nintendo has asked me not to show up.

Pokemon come to Baghdad by the Bay

Pokemon come to Baghdad by the Bay – By Invite Only

Due to the limits of the venue and the popularity of the event, no outsiders or random visitors will be allowed in to view the competition.  So that is that.  Nothing can keep you from going up to SF to hang out, but if you think you’ll be seeing some sort of Pokemon competition, you had best plan on running it yourself.

Also on this front, the whole Championship series is undergoing changes for 2017 as well.

New Eden Phishing and Seabeasts

CCP has an alert out on a phishing scheme going about, with emails pretending to be from support asking players to log into their account via a dubious link.

Know your login pages

Know your login pages

So, you know, don’t do the dumb.

On the upside, CCP also announced that the Matigu Seabeast SKIN is now available in the New Eden store for a variety of Caldari hulls.

And that is about it for Friday.  The weekend approaches.

The Pokemon 20th Anniversary Continues with an Arceus Event and More

The celebration of the 20th anniversary of Pokemon continues.  This month’s legendary Pokemon is Arceus, a legendary Pokemon that first showed up as a special download during the Pokemon Platinum era.

Arceus of Legend

Arceus of Legend

This month the Pokemon 20th Anniversary event requires another visit to GameStop to pick up a card with a code to claim Arceus.  I haven’t been by the store yet, but I suggest getting out early.  With previous such GameStop Pokemon card events, the cards have gone quickly, often ending up on for sale eBay.

Arceus is another legendary Pokemon I remember going to an event to collect back in 2009 as part of the war up for Pokemon HeartGold & SoulSilver.

Arceus is Coming!

Arceus pre-event promo, August 2009

As before, the code on the card is only good for Pokemon X & Y or Pokemon Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire on the Nintendo 3DS or 3DS XL.

Upcoming download events for the rest of 2016 are:

  • September – Victini (Nintendo Network)
  • October – Keldeo (Nintendo Network)
  • November – Genesect (GameStop)
  • December – Meloetta (Nintendo Network)

Meanwhile, we are continuing to get more news about the upcoming Pokemon Sun & Moon, due out later this year.

Sun and Moon coming in November

Sun and Moon coming in November

One of the lastest tidbits is about the Pokemon players will encounter in the Alola region, the setting for Pokemon Sun & Moon, which is modeled on the Hawaiian islands.  In addition to new Pokemon, there will be “regional variants” of some traditional Pokemon.

Variations on what we know

Variations on what we know

From the site:

Pokémon Adapted to the Alola Region

Some Pokémon have adapted to the distinctive microclimates of the Alola region, taking on different forms than they have in other regions. These Pokémon are called regional variants. Taking root in the Alola region, they live like native Pokémon. Regional variant Pokémon can have different appearances and types, and their ways of living can also differ from that of the forms previously known.

I am not sure how I feel about that.  On the one hand, they did pick a few choice Pokemon to use, but on the other, it does seem a bit like a cheap copy/paste method to fill out the required minimum 150 new Pokemon that need to show up for any new region.   I suppose I should be glad of it, as there are so many Pokemon at this point (721 total in the current full National Pokedex) that I am not sure I could remember 150 more, so new flavors of old ones might be a good thing.

And, finally, the Pokemon 2016 World Championships , which combine both the trading card game and the video game versions, are coming to San Francisco, August 19-21.

Pokemon come to Baghdad by the Bay

Pokemon comes to Baghdad by the Bay

I would buy a poster-size copy of that graphic.

Living just an hour’s drive away, I may have to see if I can roust the child out of the house to go up and see what is going on.  They usually have side events or special downloads for spectators… or maybe just some Pokemon GO hunting in a new location.