Why are we so focused on size?
I've mentioned before that I play board games. I came across a great article on how well-designed games always have multiple paths to victory. You can read it here:
In a well-designed game you may focus on resource production to win. Or conquest. Or shipping and trading goods. Or a little of all three. It forces you to watch which path other players are taking, and then adjust your own strategy to compensate or take advantage of their actions and choices.
Ingress has none of that. There is one path to victory. Huge fields.
Creating a big field is fun. It takes coordination, getting out to explore the world, and a lot of planning. But once that field is up, if you've done your planning right, there isn't much else to do. You've created a field that is hard to take down, or easy to keep up, and the game stagnates for both sides.
A player in a remote area, or a portal that is inaccessible, turns this vibrant, active game into a stalemate. One side runs up a high score and doesn't have to do much at all. There is no more coordination, getting out into the world, or planning. There is little to do except yell at other players in comms or complain to Ingress.
I've been mulling over this problem for a while, and I believe that two rule changes would solve this problem.
Rule change #1: You cannot earn multiple MU by layering fields. If I create a field, and then a bigger field over that smaller field, I will only earn MU on the largest field. No more layering fields for multiple points.
Rule Change #2: You can field while under a field. As mentioned above, you won't earn any additional MU under your own field, but, but your opponent WILL earn MU, and they CAN layer fields and receive multiple MU for the same space.
Example: The Enlightned team makes a huge field that covers 20 square miles, and earns a ton of MU because of the field's size. Other Enlightened players can field under that field, but no additional MU points are rewarded. Resistance, however, can field under the larger field, and they DO earn MU. And by layering the smaller fields, they can earn even more.
In the above example, the Enlightened are rewarded for creating a big field, but they have also opened themselves up to a different threat. Rather than running away with the score while doing nothing, the Resistance can now coordinate, plan, and get out into the world to layer fields in an attempt to rack up enough points to keep it close. RAther than doing nothing, Enlightened must now get out and take down the smaller fields. Or perhaps even drop their own large field so that the Resistance loses their advantage of layering fields. Suddenly the game is dynamic, changing, and there is an incentive for both teams to PLAY, rather than sit and complain.
Right now there is a single path to victory which means a single way to play. Unfortunately, that single way to play leads to stagnation for both sides. These two suggested rule changes would create a second path to victory and a different way to combat the big fields. Both strategies would require coordination, planning, and getting out into the world.
I believe making these changes would bring a lot of people back to the game, and make the game much more vibrant.
Ingress, can you give this a try? Even if just for a weekend to see what would happen?