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This just started happening to me. For a long while I was getting something pretty much every time I hacked a portal. Tonight I'm frequently getting the message "Hack acquired no items.". Sometimes it's happened 3 portals in a row. Is there something that triggers this, or is it just really bad luck tonight?

Hack acquired no items

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Same thing, it happened also before, but not as frequent as now –  BanditoBunny Dec 12 '12 at 8:14
This might be a bug, happened to me recently. But it reverted back to "normal" the next day. –  Sentry Mar 17 '13 at 19:00

5 Answers 5

up vote 9 down vote accepted

As far as I know when you hack a portal there is a certain probability that you get nothing. As well as there is a probability to get a good loot.

My observations:

  • Hacking enemy portals has a much higher "no item" probability, my estimates would be around 50%
  • Hacking the same portal several times in a row, significantly increases "no item" probability. I had an opportunity to hack the same portal 5 times within 30 minutes (this by the way causes burn out) 2 days in a row, usually at least 2 of later trying (3-5) did not bring me any items except sometimes a portal key.
  • Portal key has a different "accqire" probability than items
  • I believe if while hacking you jump out of portal's reach you also get a "no items" message, but I have to test this to confirm
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All those observations seem consistent with what I was experiencing. There's a lot more enemy portals where I am, so it's hard to tell about the balance, but I definitely got this on both friendly and enemy portals. It does seem like there's a portal fatigue of some sort beyond the burnout, but that's totally anecdotal. I'm moving out of range of the portal while waiting for the hack to finish more often too, but often when I do I get good stuff too. I hadn't noticed the key thing, but think I already have keys for all the portals I've been hacking. –  mmrobins Dec 12 '12 at 17:09

This usually happens when your network connection is a little unstable.

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Speed limit.

I get this message on trains when it reaches a certain speed. Then I can't hack, attack, deploy, recharge, drop... and so on. I guess this is to prevent car drivers from playing dangerously.

Once the speed drops under that limit, something Iike 1 minute is required to regain abilities.

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They are doing this to combat location spoofing. If your GPS is glitchy or jumps around, this can happen. If the anti-cheat measures set in you will not be able to do any action (hack, deploy, recharge, link, etc.) for a while.

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@Ullallulloo: This looks like an answer to me. Maybe not a great answer, and without any references I have no idea whether it's a correct one, but it's still an answer. –  Ilmari Karonen Mar 17 '13 at 20:30
@IlmariKaronen: Okay, sorry, nevermind. :x –  Ullallulloo Mar 18 '13 at 2:01
I found the suspension time to be 30 minutes. Always happens to me when I'm commuting and the train's mobile wifi access point warps me to a station 200km away or so. Google should really detect such mobile APs and don't record them in their location database. –  ce4 Oct 17 '13 at 8:07
It can also happen if you simply travel faster between portals than you're supposed to. I'm not sure what the exact speed is and Niantic is not telling obviously. –  Matthias Urlichs Oct 17 '13 at 10:20

As far as I know, this message appears when the game server is overloaded/busy.

What you do is try, and try, and try again, until you get items or until you get the "cooldown active" message.

Because I have received this message over eight times from a portal within a fifteen minute span, I will say that "Hack acquired no items" do not count towards your number of hacks allowed before the portal burns out. However, I cannot confirm whether "hacking unsuccessful. cooldown active" does.

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