Linking under fields (Link suppression) - revisiting a couple months in
So, the world has indeed not ended. The sky, has not fallen. Permafielded areas are no longer a large concern for players looking to casually level/play.
I haven't seen any of the theoretical problems crop up that the naysayer/OG crew provided. Not a single complaint of a ruined op, not a single complaint about bad actors. All I've really seen are the folks who used to play popup in group chats, say "Eww I don't like this, it used to be THIS way", then disappear back into the void.
So I'd say the overall goal was accomplished, which is to provide players some minimal agency under enemy/friendly fields where they just want to do some basic gameplay. I've been able to go under existing fields and spin the AP clock microfielding (and working on badges) without having to worry about taking down the friendly fields over the dense play areas. Big quality of life upgrade.
Moving forward, these are my suggestions to improve the mechanic:
1) Create an official name for the mechanic called "Link Suppression". A description would be as follows:
Link Suppression: While under an existing enemy or friendly field, links created will be limited to a certain distance based on the density of nearby portals. To lift link suppression, players will need to clear the field above them for max distance.
2) Switch link suppression from a maximum of 500m distance to a sliding scale based on portal density. Suppression should be based on how many portals are close to the existing portal you're trying to throw from. The goal is to make link suppression effects fair and balanced between city and rural areas. City players can perform lots of small fields with a 500m distance because of density of portals, however a rural player might only be able to make one or two links. There should be a way to calculate the nearest XX amount of portals, then average out the distances, and build an equation which adjusts the sliding scale fairly.
3) Display link suppression distance in the max link distance while interacting with a portal. Currently you can only see the max link distance based on the portal level. When under a field, display the link distance in red and add a note that the portal is under link suppression. This will indicate to the player why they can't make links to portals they expected to.
4) When listing the key carousel to players in the linking menu, include showing keys the player would be able to link to IF link suppression was not active. When a player scrolls to this key, show the key in a greyed out color and in red, display "LINK NOT AVAILABLE: LINK DISTANCE SUPPRESSED WHILE UNDER A FIELD.
The point of this is to give a clear indication to players that they could be creating more links/fields if they were not covered by a field. This would create a knowledge and incentive to go resolve the suppression problem if they desire.
5) Events!: Currently, we have had a few events which increase the link suppression distance to a few kilometers. I feel like this is alright for a certain event, but I don't like that you can rebuild decent MU fields using this mechanic. I think it's a bit counter to spirit of the change. But, I'm going to chalk these events up to the devs using live playtests to try and pick an ideal static distance. Which, would be fixed by a sliding scale suppression based on density.
Additionally I would like to see a new event where link suppression returns to its previous state where NO links can be made under fields. This should be a planned event that occurs on a weekend announced months in advance, where the goal for each faction is to create the largest single field in size and/or MU they can within a certain scoring cell (fields crossing multiple cells do not count). This effectively gives a window for attempts to execute fielding operations where in theory, both teams will attempt to accomplish their own fielding plans. Rewards for winning this event could be XM turning your faction's color for a week or two and bragging rights. Make a point value for winning largest size single field in a cell and a separate point value for winning largest single MU field in a cell. Make an additional swing score based on number of fields created/destroyed by each faction too so the score can be swung in a tiebreaker if needed. Max size and max MU fields need to be measured during a checkpoint to count, so you have to defend it or execute your operation near a checkpoint.
All that being said, I would like to thank Niantic for the gameplay change. I have thoroughly enjoyed it and feel like it has not ruined gameplay in our area.