LA Anomaly Feedback

ofer2ofer2 ✭✭✭✭✭
edited November 14 in Anomalies

Hi Everyone,

I (and much of the Ingress Team) was at the LA anomaly. We have been to a few anomalies before, but I wanted to take some time to talk about this one. I was playing as a player (i.e. I didnt not tell my team that I am a Niantic and used nothing that a player wouldnt have access to in order to participate). Similarly, I am making this post as a player (meaning that I simply want to learn what the community thinks and any ideas / changes / comments will be read by me, but I can make no guarantee of any changes) With that being said, some of the things that I experienced include:

  1. Scanner freezing + crashes.
  2. Server lag
  3. The massive amount of non-niantic tools needed to participate including everything from verifying player team, to private communication, to watching whats happening.
  4. Not being able to know what the score at any point was
  5. Having there be a massive player imbalance between the teams.
  6. Being "stuck" at a specific place for a while fighting over a beacon instead of being able to go see the whole play box

The crashed I noticed during the anomaly sucked and I got some information about whats causing them (with some help from others as well) so I'll make tasks to improve that.

Server lag is something we're already working on, but what I saw was generally in line with what I saw in redacted lag.

As far as players pretending to be part of the other team: I wonder if there should be some larger punishment for being caught doing this.

As for the player imbalance: battle beacons hit that point really hard. The larger team will win. I wonder if the format should include things which are based off of percentage (e.g. what % of players visited every portal in the playbox) so that the number of people is irrelevant. What do you think?

Overall, I am curious about the format of the event. Battle beacons hit the inventory pretty hard which makes extended play harder. When we were originally designing battle beacons we wanted the reward for participating to be large, so we created the category system which would yield large hack outputs. I think that waiting for a player to hack is what makes using battle beacons in situations like anomalies feel bad. I wonder if, instead, we gave you just one huge pile of rewards when the beacon finished automatically if that would feel better and would let you keep going much better.

We've done a lot of very similar style events before, but I was wondering about what new formats you think may work better? I was curious: what if there were "phases" where there was high intensity (e.g. battle beacon or shard play) followed by a "recovery" phase where players were able to a. go to the bathroom b. farm gear back c. eat something d. have a "portals visited" challenge in that phase so you can go see other places in the play box might be better. I was also curious if we structured the reward for victory in an earlier phase by giving one team extra information for a later phase if that might be more fun (and allow comeback mechanics even if one team was thoroughly trounced in an earlier phase). An example there might be: the winning team would be told which portals shard would start at and what the targets were during the rest phase before or told which portals would have the battle beacons / volatile battle beacons. That information is certainly a large advantage, but its not impossible to overcome which may make it a good reward for winning an earlier phase.

Is there anything simple that I've missed that we could do?

Just to reiterate: this is just me asking questions trying to gather some feedback and information, not the team. I cannot promise any specific changes from this, but I will read every comment and I will use that information to see what I can do. Also, I am not involved in the planning of anomalies and I know that there is improvement there, but for this thread I would ask to focus on the content of the anomaly over the planning (I have read through the other thread about the planning already)

Post edited by ofer2 on
«13

Comments

  • edited November 14

    Are you talking anomalies or general gameplay? I had some terrible lag at some of the anomalies close to the end of redacted. My last two anomalies were prime only and actually worked well, although I'm not sure about epiphany dawn as I did not attend. Abaddon Prime was just a nightmare on both scanners, unfortunately.

  • IshiraIshira ✭✭✭✭✭

    Yeah, I participated in the last Redacted anomaly and it was at times unplayable because it froze and we would try and restart to no avail.

  • SSSputnikSSSputnik ✭✭✭✭✭

    @ofer2 Did you have fun though?

  • edited November 14

    Thanks for posting this, @ofer2! I was unable to be in LA for this specific anomaly for work reasons, but I think you echoed a number of my thoughts on the general user experience.

    The massive amount of non-niantic tools needed to participate including everything from verifying player team, to private communication about portals, to watching whats happening.

    I'm sure Campfire was intended to help alleviate this, but it does still have a way to go. Way back during the beta, I suggested integrating Campfire's API into the COMM UI to create custom faction-specific COMM channels that require passcodes and verification to join and don't rely on a tacked-on external app to use.

    Not being able to know what the score at any point was

    This should have been something for a while now: a widget in the menu that shows relevant ongoing event metrics. For example, right now we have an anniversary event with a bunch of temporary gameplay changes. There should be an in-app way of seeing what gameplay has changed, and for how long. Along with that, there should be a scoreboard for the current Anomaly with relevant scoring and point allocations.

    As for the player imbalance: battle beacons hit that point really hard. The larger team will win. I wonder if the format should include things which are based off of percentage (e.g. what % of players visited every portal in the playbox) so that the number of people is irrelevant. What do you think?

    I think this is something that has really kept BBs from being what I always hoped they'd be: a platform for players to design and build customized xfac competitions. There really should be a set of different metrics to choose from at the start, rather than just a brute force exercise. Off the top of my head, one option could be game modes that locks the Portal to one faction for each round and rotates each faction between an attacker or defender role. maybe the BB is counting the number of links off the Portal during that round, so the assigned attacking faction needs to throw up blockers while the assigned defending faction needs to build connecting links. That also brings the Portals in the immediate area into the fray, rather than each user focusing on a single high-value Portal. You can then counteract gear use by doubling output of attacking items for the attacking team and building items for the defending team.

    Thanks again for reaching out with your thoughts. It serves as a great springboard for discussion.

  • EvilSuperHerosEvilSuperHeros ✭✭✭✭✭

    Gotta make sure you come stocked with gear and the right kind of gear! I'm sure your team lead gave you the desired amount / type of gear. But did you arrive with it? That can really make or break your anomaly fun. They aren't too fun when you can't do much.


    I've been a team lead that's had last minute agents added to my team who showed up with all L6 gear or even some who knew they were coming but didn't bother to farm gear or even ask for it.


  • John Hanke participated in the shard battle at XM Festival Fukuoka in April 2018.

  • FalenoneFalenone ✭✭✭

    Regarding verifying agents for the 3rd party tools, you could provide some api or place where 3rd party tools can query that.


    Anomaly scores could and should display in game. Have a setting to enable it during anomalies or automatically pop it up with "you're in the playbox, are you doing the anomaly?"

  • PixelbytesPixelbytes ✭✭✭
    edited November 14

    Hi Ofer,

    Thank you for sharing your experience in the anomaly as a player. It's good that we are seeing this kind of feedback from Niantic staff.

    Based on past anomaly experiences, it's always a numbers game in anomaly. However, there were rare occasions where the underdog team manage to win the anomaly sites with the given right conditions and scoring elements.

    Team impersonation is rather common on both sides with agents wearing shirt of the opposite faction color to troll and confuse agents. IMO it's will be a challenge for Niantic to regulate this kind of behavior in the gameplay basis. If the punishment is implement wrongly, it might be used to weaponize against opposing faction as well. Basically, It's really up to their faction to handle this verifications and checks. However, what niantic could do is to make it harder for team impersonation to occur on a scanner level (I'm not sure how but I'm just suggesting it at the back of my head)

    I wonder if, instead, we gave you just one huge pile of rewards when the beacon finished automatically if that would feel better and would let you keep going much better.

    Rather than a huge pile of rewards, maybe tiered restock boxes which allow agents to use when required (with an expiry date for use) . In an anomaly situation, I don't think we want to be spending our time recycling items after receiving huge pile of rewards from the battle beacon. Movement across sites is key as agents do not have time to really farm on the spot (unless getting portal keys for objective purposes)

  • SSSputnikSSSputnik ✭✭✭✭✭

    Awesome :) I've never had a bad time, even when soundly trounced.

    Player verification -

    Yes a bit of a pain, but most people accept it and are happy, watching for tricks is part of it.

    What is worst - disgruntled own faction members going rogue. Blocking Shards with x-links, flipping own portals etc.

  • MxxMxx ✭✭✭✭

    This is my opinions based on 10 years of gameplay and participating in every but 2 anomalies series on intel/dispatch side.

    Scanner freezing + crashes.

    Huge problem with Prime is not just crashes/lockups/lag, but often EXTREMELY slow loading times to get back into the fight. So punishment for those crashes is a lot more painful. And the older the phone, the more painful it is.

    The massive amount of non-niantic tools needed to participate including everything from verifying player team, to private communication about portals, to watching whats happening.

    For many years the community have been asking for API access to player authentication..

    We use many different tools because those tools do what they do best. It's not necessarily bad that they are not Niantic tools. Allows communities to decide what they use rather than being forced to use officially provided but inferior tools.

    Not being able to know what the score at any point was

    Yes, Ingress Year 10 and we still don't have player-accessible real-time scoreboard.😕

    As far as players pretending to be part of the other team: I wonder if there should be some larger punishment for being caught doing this.

    How would people prove that this kind of behavior took place? Take the opposing faction's word that it happened? This is just asking to be abused. What a better way for one faction to eliminate their competition is by lying to Niantic that somebody pretended to be from the other faction?🙄

    what if there were "phases" where there was high intensity (e.g. battle beacon or shard play) followed by a "recovery" phase where players were able to a. go to the bathroom b. farm gear back c. eat something d. have a "portals visited" challenge in that phase so you can go see other places in the play box might be better.

    I don't see breaks happening during that time. It'll just be the time for factions to continue executing their predetermined strategies, which most likely would be either flipping the whole playbox or building linkstars.

    I was also curious if we structured the reward for victory in an earlier phase by giving one team extra information for a later phase if that might be more fun (and allow comeback mechanics even if one team was thoroughly trounced in an earlier phase). An example there might be: the winning team would be told which portals shard would start at and what the targets were during the rest phase before or told which portals would have the battle beacons / volatile battle beacons. That information is certainly a large advantage, but its not impossible to overcome which may make it a good reward for winning an earlier phase.

    So you'll give the winning team even more advantage to win further?🤔 Maybe turn it around and give the LOSING team advantage to catch up?

    Is there anything simple that I've missed that we could do?

    We need faster Intel map. It refreshes just too slow for efficient real-time team management during anomalies. Publicly adopt and support IITC since the stock intel map is useless beyond beginner level fielding around home neighborhood.

    We need API access to improve agent verification process, to get legal access to other Ingress features. Let the community build better tools and ecosystems around Ingress...since Niantic doesn't provide any.


    Overall it's awesome that you are asking these questions after experiencing this anomaly in person👍....

    But...it's surprising to me that you experienced it only just now?🤨 Were all these problems not known to you/experienced by you before? I would've expected that Niantic (highly) encourages for all employees to experience all aspects of their games, including anomalies.

  • SSSputnikSSSputnik ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November 14

    BAF cover control can help even things out, OR, make it even worse.

    Short break periods are nice for sure, especially in harsher climates. Possibly consider climate at the location when scheduling anomalies. (For instance not Jan-Mar in Perth Australia when it can get to 43 deg Cish).

    Also - concur with others that it's surprising to many of us Niantic aren't aware of all these issues already.

    It's great to see you taking part on the ground though!

  • Hi ofer2.

    It's quite nice of you to reach out even if you have no control over the outcome.

    1. Scanner freezing + crashes

    This really does make large events incredibly difficult. I'm guessing most agents hope this issue resolves inside 60 seconds and when it doesn't, it's force close app or reset phone, restart and pray. Takes players off the field for 2-3 minutes or longer.

    1. Server lag

    Compounds the freeze/crash above. Also makes it nearly impossible to mount an offensive against a hard target. If one team had a dollar for every "too many attacks pending", that team could buy Niantic.

    1. The massive amount of non-niantic tools needed to participate including everything from verifying player team, to private communication about portals, to watching whats happening.

    I think this is an issue easily solved by fixing server lag and scanner freeze.

    1. Not being able to know what the score at any point was

    Honestly a non-issue. Most the players have already committed to playing. We're not bouncing after the first checkpoint because we're loosing.

    1. Having there be a massive player imbalance between the teams.

    This is always a thing and will continue. Weighted scoring maybe, but honestly it's part of why people turn out certain placed. There's no fix for this.

    1. Being "stuck" at a specific place for a while fighting over a beacon instead of being able to go see the whole play box

    Easy solution is cool off periods. It's nice to get your unique in without hoofing it to another side of the playbox. Let people enjoy the exploration part.

  • 1) Shorter windows between movements of shards. It takes a lot to defend / attack a portal for 10 minutes.

    2) shorter overall time of play maybe 4 quarters of 20 minutes of play with a 10 minute break between each quarter. (20 minutes at half time) we could be done in 2 hours.

    3) wipe the playbox and reset inoculations frequently. Maybe a prize for winning Stelth Opps is the ability to choose a time to do this.

    4) only registered agents can participate. (could have mechanisms in place to negate numbers advantages by seeing all who participated)

    5) exploration hacks was a great thing in Chicago.

    6) more events like the hextathalons we were starting to do before the C 19 hit.

    7) during breaks restock portals could appear (immune to weapons, can only be hacked, permanently fracked)

    I'm sure there is more.

  • sanshinesanshine ✭✭✭
    edited November 14

    [redacted]

    Post edited by sanshine on
Sign In or Register to comment.