AP Efficiency, In terms of time and gear used

Just out of idle curiousity inspired by the AP per hack thread, I did some napkin math on the most AP efficient way to use resonators.

Assuming you have 8 resonators,

One single reso on a portal to cap:

500 capture bonus

+ 125 resonator deploy=

625 AP

* 8 portals

= 5,000 AP

Fully deploying and linking along the spine of a herringbone field:

500 capture bonus

+ 1000 resonator deploy (125 * 8)

+ 250 full power bonus

+ 939 linking (313 * 3)

+ 3750 fielding (1250 * 3)

= 6,439 AP

I'd always assumed that agents who rolled through an area throwing down one reso on every portal were just focusing their Liberator medal, but it looks like that strategy isn't that far off from the method of getting the max AP from every single portal.

If you're in an area with few portals, obviously you'll want to milk each one for all the AP you can, but there are urban areas where you could spend the better part of an afternoon just capping portals and not run out (and with the time investment needed to farm keys for fancy fields, it's probably better in terms of AP/time).

I assume so, anyways. What's more time efficient for you? How many portals are in your area?

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edited June 2019

It's an interesting thought that single capping may be efficient for AP. However, even if there are slightly more efficient ways of gaining AP, the longest badge to get is the connector, so creating the most links possible is more important to me than AP.

I find that there is a faster method of maximizing fields than the standard herringbone on a baseline, and that is creating fan fields with clusters of 9 portals. Cap and get at least 1 key from the first 8, then link back from the 9th. Build all the layers, and then move on to the next 9 portals. It's faster than working with a baseline because with a herringbone you need to collect a lot of keys for those two baseline portals. It's more interesting because if you start at a different point, you make completely different fields. With a herringbone you probably end up with 1 or 2 more fields (so better overall AP), but this benefit is lost in the extra time needed to collect keys. I call this method "fannying about", British slang for messing about. Without the need to pre-farm keys, and without rushing too much, I routinely make 140k-170k AP/hour with this method.

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the most time efficient way of gaining ap is to **** a starburst. or at least a portal with a bunch of links.

the most gain will always be upon the path which prevents the map from being static - it facilitates play and provides incentive to keep the map from becoming stale.

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This is true in the narrow sense of if there happens to be a starburst nearby that has a lot of links off of it, that can be a lot of AP in a very short amount of time. This is also true if you can find a few portals with a ton of fields hanging off of them (which is generally easier to come by than a starburst).

Really the most efficient way to earn AP is quite situational. If you have a lot of linked&fielded opposite-faction portals and plenty of bursters, killing them is going to be a really quick way to get AP (you can top 200kAP/hr in a dense area pretty easily). If you have a good dense cluster of grey or same-faction portals and some time, microfielding is going to be great (consistent with @Pangarban's analysis, I find 150kAP/hr is about right for microfielding in urban areas). If you have a lot of grey portals and can move quickly, single tagging them is going to be a quick way to get AP, but I tend to max out at about 100kAP/hr unless you're in a First Saturday or similar scenario when you can repeatedly reclaim the same portal.

But all of that is chump change compared to the real speed-AP plans (sometimes called AP engines or AP generators). They involve using a lot of viruses & softbanks, but once you get through the initial farming & setup you get AP exceptionally fast. In a typical configuration (1 softbank) you throw 16 links for 29 fields. You then virus, ****, and move on to another nearby portal to do the same thing over again. Each throw nets you 43683AP (1750 to fully deploy + 125 for the mod + 5008 for the links + 36250 for the fields + 600 when you **** it). While some people can be really fast (especially in Prime), I usually figure 5 minutes per portal. So this means you can clear a bit over 500kAP per hour. Personally, I find this method to both be incredibly tedious and a waste of really hard-to-recover gear. I'll help other people do it if they want to speed level, but I prefer other methods for myself.

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Like @vidicon says, killing a starburst (or even better a super fielded portal) is great AP for a minute's work, but hardly sustainable. I have little interest in "the real speed-AP plans" in a discussion like this. First of all, if you're calculating efficiency of AP/hour, then you need to include the time taken to gather all of the keys and resources. Secondly, as Vidicon also says, it's just boring.

I'm more interested in sustainable methods that can be repeated almost anywhere. I spent a couple months measuring my AP for an hour each afternoon, while trying different things. The most AP I got doing that was from the day I did nothing but destroy and single cap. I got almost 300k in that one hour. But then I ran out of things to ****, and I had used up almost all of my inventory. Also, like I said for the speed AP plans, you could deduct the time spent gathering the 350 or so L8 bursters I used up in that hour (probably 20 minutes at a frack).

But for a sustainable method that can be repeated on the fly in almost any portal configuration without any preparation, fannying about is the most efficient I could find. While collecting keys you pick up more resonators than you need, so this method could theoretically be done continuously until you run out of time, portals or interest.

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In a portal-dense area, in terms of time, the best thing to do is just deploy. Hack for a bunch of LV 1 resonators, and deploy on everything. A fully deployed portal is 1750AP (125*8+500+250). Just walking and moving onto the next is faster. Linking and fielding takes time, and if you're in a hurry for quick AP, just deploy.