Anomaly planning, or complete lack thereof.
Dear Brian Rose,
I am writing out of a place of utter confusion. The anomaly in LA was announced 10 weeks ago via several official Ingress channels. We are now 10 days out of the event. Somehow, even though Ingress is your job (or so I assume), 10 weeks is not sufficient time to publish a full set of rules. 10 weeks is not sufficient time to publish the active playbox for the event. In 10 weeks, there is zero public information coming out about the event coming up in 10 days. We have been told "Chinatown." We have been told what day. I apologize, there has been one new piece of information that has been published in 10 weeks: the event will occur from 1 pm to 5 pm. After 10 years of this game, I should be able to expect better.
I am assured that you have heard earsful about how "Chinatown" does not provide for a sufficient number of portals to host an anomaly. Expansion of the playbox around Chinatown posed a problem of your own creation with that announcement. For those not familiar with LA (which included myself prior to the announcement), Chinatown is bounded by Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles Historic Park, US 101, and everyone's favorite destination in LA: Twin Towers Correctional Facility. Within minutes of the announcement, many observers from home could see that this proposed play area might be problematic.
But that's fine. It's your game, your strategic direction, and I can tell you'll die on this hill before taking any feedback from experienced agents. By experienced, I do not mean how long Ingress has been installed on a device. Nor how many portal keys one has collected over the years. Nor how many posts one has made here on the Niantic community boards. I refer to hands-on experience at anomalies. Agents who've played the game head-to-head against an opponent. Serving as leadership in anomaly situations, whether this be leading a team on the ground, helping organize remotely as "eyes in the sky", or the thankless position of being the POC for the site or any of the even more thankless, invisible positions who help make all of the things happen.
And we are back to the first paragraph: if this is in fact your job, the thing you get paid for, and you cannot decide on a rule set and playbox in 10 weeks, what is your expectation that these groups of volunteers can reasonably respond to these things in a matter of 10 days? Are you that utterly incompetent? Are these the trustworthy hands that will be carrying Ingress forward in a new direction? Do you intend to drive yourself out of a job?
In-person events and anomalies in particular are the primary drivers (from Niantic) of player engagement. The way both Munich and LA have been handled from the official standpoint have been offputting for many agents. Long delays, unpopular mechanics (No, Brian. No one likes Battle Beacons.), minimal communication, blatantly ignoring advice and suggestions from POCs and Vanguards. From the financial side, the agents who are turning away from the game due to these poorly organized events would have been CORE subscribers. These would have been agents deploying frackers to help shore up gear for the events. From the community side, these would be the community leaders who historically been the drivers of agent recruitment and retention, which leads to more dollar signs for Niantic.
Do not get me wrong nor taking this as whining that we don't have enough time. We will respond to the very delayed rules and playbox, and will do so successfully. But please take a moment to reflect. As someone in charge of this event, your performance is terrible. Sending a message on Twitter two weeks prior to event apologizing for delays in not only insufficient, it's acknowledgement of your incompetence. I will not speculate on the nature of the delay. However, I can reasonably place the entirety of the delay in publication of rules and playbox in your lap. I hope (and expect) that this anomaly will be a fun and successful event for all participants on ground despite your utter incompetence in planning.
One of the many thankless, mostly invisible agents who has helped make anomalies fun and successful for years.