Operation Hamster Exhaustion
Battle beacons, ever since their introduction in September 2020, people have been playing around with their use in the game, more often than not they are exploited for AP engines. This was also one of the first uses that came to my mind. Therefore, in November 2020 (during a double AP event) our group of local agents went out and tried to stress their use by having 3 Battle Beacons active with a 1-minute interval. Combined with 4 SBUL and a spine of 39 portals this resulted in 15 times 77 fields. This test was shown to be successful, the only main flaw here was that the spine was not in perfect order, so for perfect fielding a lot of switching between links was required. However, this set the stage for me to come up with a plan to do this setup 6 times, which in theory could get me from L1-16 faster than the current WR.
Fast forward to September 2021, then the idea of doing a speedrun really started to get concrete (on a better aligned spine) and the endless key farming (~4000) was started. With tremendous help from my community in key hacking (and don’t forget storing/duplicating!), all keys were acquired over the course of 1.5 month (nicely spread out depending on whoever felt like doing a farm round at that time). Then finally Ingress birthday week details were announced and a date was set for this effort, namely the night of 19-20th of November. The week before, all keys had to be sorted and distributed. After this ordeal my inventory consisted of (and all key lockers full of keys just for this operation):
Around 11:30 two clear teams started making room in the field for the plan, while at the same time a team of three (thank you @BatrachianAnura, @puppysagent and @PuppyZwolle!) started linking the spine to a hard to reach portal while walking off a mountain (okay for Dutch standards that is a mountain!). Luckily, there was a full moon out there, otherwise it would have been a very dark stroll through the forest. And while the spine team was walking down, the clear teams met at the battle beacon stage and threw some guiders to hopefully block counter actions (which were not expected at such hour though).
At 0:11 I got a call from the team linking the spine, so then I could finally press that recurse button. After this I was so excited to start this challenge that I completely forgot to start some APEX. Luckily, I found out after linking the first 20 keys, so not too much AP was lost. Because of not being able to skip the animations of levelling, the first 3 fielding rounds I started off by linking from portals and then just had a teammate flip it after (thanks @poezzzz, @Rsx703, @Zirtox).
After those rounds I was L7, and now the fun could get started. Namely, the first set of 3 Battle Beacons were deployed with a 1-minute interval, which meant that I had 1 minute for fielding from each portal (theoretically). In practice more often than not this was 30-40 seconds, because of the lag of the fields disappearing after a battle beacon/ADA flip. Because of this delay a couple of the rounds I was unable to link out all 40 links to gain the maximum AP per round. Even when trying to rush those links by spamming the link button it was not always possible to have all 40 up, mostly due to links not being executed. After 2 sets of those 3 battle beacons I was still mostly able to get 75% of the fields planned to happen.
So far so good is what I thought. But then the disastrous third trio happened, in which I had to skip out a total of 4 rounds of fielding because the links would still block after a battle beacon flip. Even restarting the scanner those ghost links remained (for the duration of that round, disappeared relatively soon after). This round showed that the plan to be the fastest to level from 1-16 was becoming a very difficult task. So I had to change strategy (but still wanting to use the idea of battle beacons). So instead of 3, I went with 2 simultaneous battle beacons, this way if the fields lagged for 30 seconds I would still have 1-minute of linking time. This turned out to be a great decision and I was getting 95% of the planned fields this way. However, time was ticking and ticking….
After almost 2 hours I was only half-way to the end goal, but because of the flow I was in, it went smoother and smoother and reaching just over 3 hours was still a possibility. Unfortunately, making sure that I had all keys available in my inventory in combination with my fingers getting colder and colder (it was 3 am!) was delaying the progress a bit. And after a total of 21 battle beacons I decided to switch to field-flip for the last 10 portals to get to L16 faster than with another battle beacon session. And then I could stop the clock at 3 hours and 22 min, just shy of the record set by @UigionBahamut. And quite a few minutes more than @Suiami.
As a bonus I managed to add almost 10 MMU to my illuminator badge. And 4 hours later I started my new recursion cycle which will definitely take longer than this effort :) . I would like to thank everyone that contributed to this effort in one way or the other (I named only the people present, but all the people that contributed gear or bag space thank you very much!!).
Gear used (approximately) in this operation:
472 SBUL (due to lag)
21 Battle Beacon
TLDR: No world record L1-16 (still top3), due to lag issues. But it was loads of fun! I am very grateful for the amazing local ENL community who is always helping me out with any crazy gameplay idea.
A video of progression of fields (goes so fast it is hardly visible) can be seen here: https://gifyu.com/image/S2vvU