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?



  • kiloecholimakiloecholima ✭✭✭✭

    Do I gather correctly that layers would only count if it is the opposite faction fielding under the other team's field (who would only get credit for the largest layer)? Sorry, but that doesn't sound like a good idea to me. My main issue with it is not counting layers for the initial field. I could get on board with fields under fields under the right conditions and limits, but this seems excessively punitive towards big fielders.

  • That is correct. But remember, the team that has a big field has ways to counter this as well. They can destroy the layers, they can put up blockers under the field, and if the other team is successful in layering under a big field, then I can drop the big field itself because then the multiple points for layers would go away. I don't think it's excessively punitive, but instead, makes it possible for a closer score at the end of a cycle.

    The endgame here is to keep one team from easily being able to run up the score while doing little or nothing. I think this would achieve that.

  • kiloecholimakiloecholima ✭✭✭✭

    More likely is you're creating a race to the bottom. There would be no incentive to make big fields and all the travel that entails if only one of your layers will even count, and somebody doing a lot less traveling can get more reward by taking advantage of your work.

  • I hear this a lot, but the moment you add a score to a game, it adds an element of win/loss. When we quantify things, it's easy to say who is ahead and who is behind. So yes, they are multiple ways to play the game, but there is only a single path to winning the cell.

    It's like saying there are multiple ways to run--for fun, for exercise, to get away from a bear--but as soon as you add a start and a finish and a completion time, then it's a race. You can run however you want, but there is only one path to victory.

  • ToxoplasmollyToxoplasmolly ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited June 18

    There is one path to victory. Huge fields.

    The viable paths to winning the cell score depend on the dynamics of each individual scoring cell, and might even vary from cycle to cycle. For example, in a cell where both sides can put in similar amounts of effort, concentrating on having more but smaller fields up at each checkpoint can be a viable path. (When I started playing, some years ago, this is how the cell I'm in worked.)

  • ArtilectZedArtilectZed ✭✭✭✭✭

    My issue is that there doesn't really feel like any reason to bother 'winning' a cycle. No rewards, no bonuses, nothing. Your name might get recorded in the cycle history, but who spends time trying to go back through that and look at scores? I just gave it a try, and I hit 'Temporary limit reached' after going back 2 pages.

    I would welcome back fielding under existing fields, without a care to it awarding MU or not. That was fun a couple of months ago.

  • GorillaSapiensGorillaSapiens ✭✭✭✭

    AP is the key to victory, not big fields...

  • KhatreKhatre ✭✭✭✭✭

    i would prefer the more mu the field have the more decay anchors get.

    Really big field shouldn't stay up more than one or 2 CP.

  • GreenVamGreenVam ✭✭✭✭

    it's time to admit that almost all players who would like new mechanics have left this forum. here there are only dinosaurs, bore snobs, who, apart from fields, do not need anything. And they look with fear at any innovation from the company.

  • mortuusmortuus ✭✭✭✭✭

    I agree, dynamic decay the bigger field the bigger it should cost to hold those millions mu fields up vs smaller 10k fields....

  • JukkaJuuJukkaJuu ✭✭✭
    edited June 20

    The beginner is right. Large, hard to destroy fields are a big problem and will k1ll both teams desire to play for long periods of time. Most of the new players are kids, getting bored on the first day if all you can do in the game is collect stuff that can’t be used for anything. Why is it so important that there are big fields in the game that last forever?

  • d0gboyd0gboy ✭✭✭
    edited June 21

    In some ways this is what makes it the most attractive. In a cell where this is an opposing faction, the cycle is something that can be won or lost owing to individual and team effort, cleverness, and general cohesion. There may be pathologies with the metagame (and there are), but it is a competition and it is won that can be lost or won on a weekly basis.

    Most stats in Ingress do not fall into this category; you can slow someone's progression, but ultimately there is no way you can "lose" at something like gathering AP. Even if you turn these activities into a competition with scoreboards, most of them devolve into a test of willingness to spend time g rin ding away at it. Some of these feel a lot like sitting with a bucket of quarters at an arcade, or playing certain JPRGs. It's fun to sit and do, and there are emotional rewards for doing so, but it's not something I can really lose, so it is really a different thing.

    This is not to dismiss any of these activities; people love achiever-like activities, and it drives many games. One of Ingress' strengths is that it has so many game loops that involve different permutations of resources to achieve your desired outcome; there's a lot to do!

    Post edited by d0gboy on
  • I definitely agree that the stagnation aspect is undesirable. I've had players from the other faction take down all but the outer layer of a massive layered field, which blocked me from getting AP for a good while (I play in a very local area, all my targets are within walking distance). It forced me to change my perspective on the role of opposing factions, but that's beside the point. While the field solution you proposed might not be the way to do it, it's a good start.

    Perhaps making a resistance field under an enlightened one would instead NEUTRALIZE the area within the field. That way, to punch a hole through a multilayered field, you need one with more layers to completely neutralize that area. Then you can start making your new fields over your cancelling out fields to go past breaking even. Looking back on this idea, it may be stupid, and impossible in certain situations. But something does need to change gameplay-wise, because it has gotten to the point that the most frustrating obstacle to progression is mot the opposite faction, but rather the preexisting fields of your own.

  • JukkaJuuJukkaJuu ✭✭✭

    What if we could make squares inside triangles and pentagons inside squares...?

  • It feels like you're trying to get in an argument over semantics. A large field in a city is more important than a smaller field in a city. A large field in a desert is more important than a small field in a desert. In most cells, it always comes down to the size of the field within that cell. Yes, there are exceptions, but usually, the bigger field in a cell is more important.

    You say that preventing your opponent would destroy the meta of the game, and called it nonsense. That was my entire point. The meta of the game right now is stagnation on both sides. I'm saying that rule changes like this would change the meta of the game in a positive way.

    I'm not against your ideas of points for other actions. I've suggested that in the past. I'd love to see anything that would change the stagnant meta of the game we have right now.

    And yes, again, semantics, I technically haven't introduced new scoring (something other than MU), but I have introduced a new way to get that MU, which would create a new way to play the game. Niantic seems to want to make small changes, so I'm suggesting something that may be relatively easy to implement from a programming standpoint, but would still have a big and positive impact on the game.

    I'm for big changes, little changes . . . anything that breathes a bit of life into the game.

  • Agree. This is another way we could shift the meta of the game, and maybe bring back old players and recruit new players because of a new way to play the game.

  • MuzzgoodMuzzgood ✭✭✭

    The idea of the game is

    1) to make fields and capture MU



    2) to prevent opposite faction to do 1).

    Sounds to me like normal Ingress play.

    Possible to put Your fields in other locations to win the cycle?

    Can the cycle be won without locking cities down?

  • There are hundreds of players who would disagree. Players who drive out to capture portals in the middle of the night to prevent the other team from scoring, or who hike six hours to put up a blocker, or who hire a plane to capture a difficult portal, or who spoof to keep a winning streak alive. While there is not motivation in the game, something motivates a lot of players to keep playing.

  • Ultimately what I was trying to do was prevent one side of the team from running away with the score. How many times have you ended a game of Risk or Monopoly because one person is so far ahead, it's pointless to keep playing? A good game prevents you from milking one strategy to run away with the score, and in fact, penalizes you if you ignore other strategies.

    I'm just arguing that Ingress could be such a rich, complex game, instead of the stagnate one it currently is.

  • I get that that’s what most people do — move to an open area and field there — but as someone with navigation and driving anxiety, staying local is all I can manage, making it difficult to get AP when an agent from the other faction doesn't destroy the largest of a nested field to strategically block your access to AP. But Firemeboy’s point was that there is only one way to progress in the game, making the game seem one dimensional. A way to mitigate that without changing fielding mechanics could be to add a skill tree-like aspect to leveling avaliable upon recursion, so that each recursion allows you to specialize your play style, and gain more AP for things that match that playstyle. For example, someone who enjoys destroying enemy portals could spec into extra AP for destroying constructs, while someone more exploration oriented might get more AP for interacting with unique portals. This would **** two birds with one stone, allowing for multiple play styles, while also making recursion a more appealing strategy.

  • Alternatively, cels could have multiple scores, based on different aspects of the game. Perhaps one of those could be tied to the average level of each faction’s portals, making creating-oriented players more valuable. Maybe another could cater to destruction, measuring how many portals a faction neutralizes. A final score could be calculated by averaging all the category scores, with some form of recognition for each individual category as well, providing more ways to “win” the game.

  • Oh, Definitely! I addressed this in some of my other comments on this thread. I got caught up in AP when the focus was really on general gameplay.

  • MuzzgoodMuzzgood ✭✭✭

    Wierd. As far as I know Recursion and ap hunting is already what drives many players today.

    They want more events 'like pogo' and play maybe 3 games simultaneously and recurse directly again at level 16.

    Some Ingress players are driven by banners.

    Others are driven by community.

    And some if us actually like the game Ingress: fields, MU and team cooperation. We should raise our voice so that Niantic knows that we are still here!

    I dont get it, you are irritated on the opposing faction for not taking down your field? Lol sounds like they did the right move :) ever heard of virus?

  • JukkaJuuJukkaJuu ✭✭✭

    There should be more discussion here about new players and especially those who get bored during the first week. The opinions of those who have played for years are already known: Almost all of them want to make the huge hard to break fields and keep the game so that there is nothing meaningful to play inside these fields.

  • kiloecholimakiloecholima ✭✭✭✭

    Thing is, Niantic is in a darned if you do, darned if you don't position over how to address the permafield issue. There are 3 general paths they can take:

    1. Anger the permafielders.

    2. Anger the people who live under permafields.

    3. Find a compromise that won't totally satisfy either side but that both can live with.

    When looking at 1 and 2, one of the things (maybe the main thing) Niantic will consider is money. In most cases, permafielders are experienced players who have been around a long time who are often times described by their opponents as "obsessive" and are likely pumping a lot of money into the game with subscriptions and buying stuff from the store.

    Then you have players who live under those fields, who for one reason or another are unable or unwilling to take down (and keep down) the permafield, whether it's an issue of access, time, gear, motivation, strategy, help from others, etc. These players tend to drift in and out of the game or quit altogether. (This is not to say that these players don't have subscriptions or don't spend money in the store, but they tend to be more on the casual side, or become that way because of the playing conditions.)

    Which player is Niantic making more money from? In the short-term, that seems obvious. In the long-term, that would depend on what Niantic does. If mechanisms are adopted to break up permafields, will the group that used to live under permafields and any possible expansion of the player base make up for lost revenues when the permafielders revolt and leave? Maybe, but it's a financial gamble that is likely to come with at least short-term pain. At the same time, if Niantic stays with the status-quo, they will have a hard, if not impossible, time retaining and expanding the player base which also has financial implications.

    Aside from money, what does the game board look like without permafields? Beautifully linked up micro-fielded areas? Areas with long messy derps? Ingress deserts? I think these results would vary from place to place. Will that make the game better and more interesting?

    IMO, 1 and 2 are not good options because Niantic needs both types of players. How do you keep two groups who's interests are diametrically opposed? A compromise that is not lopsided toward either group would seem to be best for the long-term health of the game. Matryoshka links/fields with limits seems like the best option. There are plenty of threads on the forums that debate what those limits should be, so I won't bother diving down that rabbit hole here.

    Increased decay is another option that has been discussed. I'm not quite sold it, because while I think it is well-intentioned, ultimately I don't think it would change much. Refer back to permafielders being hard-core types. Most will just spend more time farming cubes (or buying them), or strategically letting things decay for rethrows, or adjusting in other ways such as deploying lower level resonators to expend less XM. I'm not saying you can't try this option, I just think you may be disappointed when it doesn't change many outcomes.

  • ArtilectZedArtilectZed ✭✭✭✭✭

    I know, I used to be one of those people. It started feeling like OCD. It's not mentally healthy, IMO.

  • Just allow fielding under (or over?) fields, like during the Matryoshka event. I don't think it will hurt the permafielders as badly as the current rule hurts those (especially new players) who live under permafields. Why is it such a problem if someone fields under your field?

  • The no-fielding-under-fields rule also hurts experienced players. I cannot count how many times I have refrained from making mid-size fields because I did not want to block the area for other players.

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