Agree with the points made here regarding player numbers.
There should always be some part of the scoring that depends on player numbers, with mechanics that slightly favor the more organized team - so that a faction with 200 players on ground can win against 230 opposing players, IF they have better communication/tactics/strategy - like shards, or volatile beacons. It's clear that no amount of organization will help if a team is heavily outnumbered, and that's okay - it's important to reward the group that can advertise better pre-anomaly, and I think it makes physical attendance more important, which drives up numbers.
But, like @AWildParrish said, this should be balanced with objectives where numbers are less important, and this is where designers can get creative. Average number of unique hacks/faction member, or media challenges were good examples of these. Maybe these challenges don't even tie in to the local anomaly score, but help the global score somehow - so, even if the locals know they can't win their anomaly, they will still play to help the faction win the overall thing.
Well and I did forget to mention, when there were more sites sometimes their scoring was a total of all points scored at the different sites, so even if you site was going to be a blood bath every point you earned went towards the score which still could help pull a faction victory. Second round of city BB events was like this and it really helps the site domination problem. Doesn't work in a single site format but having a cumulative score with multiple sites can help improve the whole "oh we are just going to get womped out there" mentality
Hi @ofer2 and welcome to the Anomaly game ;).
Anomalies are not suited for individual play. To win an anomaly, you need to be part of the team, engage with the team, listen to briefings, learn the proposed strategy and then execute them on the ground. There are so many considerations for a faction relating to the scoring games, how they are scored, boots on the ground etc, that you cannot just walk on and expect to be able to win an anomaly.
Since strategy plays a crucial part, we need to know that the plan we want to implement will be secure. To do that, we need to verify you. Not only which faction you are, but also if you're trusted. It's also not a one-way communication. Once you have been verified, you would need to get in touch and get to know your team. There would have been Anomaly info chats that you can join. A lot of information is shared on these.
Your teamleads would also have briefed you on strategy and objectives. Checked to ensure that you had sufficient stock. Urged you to farm more ahead of the anomaly. Given gear where possible. An anomaly doesn't happen in one day. Prep starts weeks in advance, and agents are urged to engage and be informed.
I can't help but feel that you actually still missed out on a large portion of the Anomaly experience.
Regarding tooling... each faction has their own set of tools that will fill a required function. Niantic just brings the scanner. Agents have built and improved tools over the last 10 years to better serve their teams in competitive events. That's just the way it is. We won't expect Niantic to try and fill that gap, it's not needed.
Yeah, sorry, didnt want to give the wrong impression: I was capped inventory at the start of the anomaly and was throwing away keys to make space for more useful items :(
Inventory management is one of the hardest things in the game, especially for a player who just turns up. I think temporarily increasing player inventory for on-site players would help for this. Obviously make this clear to players when registering that they will need to cull gear after.
Have POCs give input on the playbox. Include the local leaders in the planning of the box. The initial playbox reaction on telegram was that it was a disaster. Happy you participated in the anomaly and got a hands on experience of the lag.
Couple of things - even when vetted and trusted, overall strategy can be kept from boots on ground for opsec reasons. Sometimes you don't know WHY you are doing something, but you are expected to trust the team leads directions. This does occasionally lead to arguments. Even the Team Lead may be in the dark.
Also - comment on real time scoring - this can be a two edged sword. It's nice to know, but if you are being beaten to a pulp you may be inclined to give up. Generally experienced players can tell this though.
Thanks for the input ofer2, nice to see you attended the anomaly and got to see the main issue most are having, the ongoing server lag which is not fun, even for me playing casual i have daily deploy lag and its always fun when u have an apex ticking and u come to a portal where it can take like a minute to fully deploy one portal so u can link and field from it... and now many parts in world heading to winter so meaning less fun to play out in cold and having a scanner that lags and is slow isnt exactly the best combo but its good to hear you are working on it.
If u have plans next year for those hexathlons this service issue needs to get improved because even that mode will lag badly.
Also i dont like hearing this about agents playing for both teams ? thats just wrong, not sure how to deal with such players but to me thats just not cool at all, why be a rogue agent what fun is that ? play legit for your own team and be proud,, dont go that path further...
I don't think its so much as players playing both teams, more like moles listening for intelligence/strategy.
I've never done this but it's fun playing spot the imposter and being careful to keep voices down. Super agenty...
I have been to every Anomaly from Exo5 onward (except for the last Meganomaly in Germany, alas), so I have some basis for comparison (though not as much as the folks who were there for the very first ones). With that proviso, some quick observations and responses:
Regarding gear - often local players will donate to agents travelling to anomalies.
Quantum rep of VR items - yes was nice, but often you had large amounts of inventory tied up in the hope that you would get to an anomaly soon. On the flipside, everyone, except cheats, are impacted the same here so, is it an issue?
Welcome to Ingress!
Yes the game is much larger than just some portals and ap and the choir on these forums that might just not represent all players opinions, only the loudest.
Happy Birthday on us all!
Thx for a great game!
Anomalies should be played in a Sandbox, and only agents who register and physically check in on site should be able to interact with the Sandbox environment. Allow "read only" (Intel) access to non registered players. (Though I would prefer registration for intel agents... It would be a mess. ) This should allow Niantic to temporarily increase refresh rates for Intel, and make it a lot harder to cheat.
When "rest" time comes restrict portals to only allow hacking. Maybe even enable frackers? Agents could move around the playbox but not make changes to the "arena".
Hi @ofer2 & thank you for the feedback. I'm glad that you were able to part in the Anomaly in LA & I hope you had a great time!
Apologies in advance for any repetition of points that have been made previously but I think some are worth reiterating.
In terms of the feedback provided
Scanner freezing + crashes - similar to lag (below), scanner instability is a recurrent and persistent issue both for events and more broadly
Server lag - i think you are fully aware of the general issues around this subject but lag at Anomalies has been a 'feature' for the last 10 years
The massive amount of non-niantic tools needed to participate including everything from verifying player team, to private communication, to watching what's happening - for a game that's fundamentally team based & has built a large community around it, I wouldn't find player developed & non-Niantic apps/tools hugely surprising. We all interact in ways outside of Niantics sphere of influence on a day to day basis so it's only natural for us to want to leverage that during an event.
Each Faction has developed various means of interacting as a community and assisting with events which I think demonstrates the strength of community around Ingress.
Niantic is not in a position to be able to replicate this especially as we already have what we need, so why use something else?
Not being able to know what the score at any point was - this used to exist and I think can happen again but it's limited by resource availability within Niantic. Having said that, Battle Beacons do go a way to helping with this (🙊)
Having there be a massive player imbalance between the teams - for LA I would challenge that. My understanding was something in the order of +/-10% between the Factions which is fairly reasonable. Events in other areas can be very much more uneven in player numbers. There may also be variation within an Anomaly site depending on the priorities of your Faction at that time in your area which could lead to a perception bias. I could easily argue complementary positions for Union Station to give an example.
Being "stuck" at a specific place for a while fighting over a beacon instead of being able to go see the whole play box - there was an element of the rules introduced a few years back to address this (unique portals visited) and encourage movement around the playbox. It was unfortunate not to see it used in Superposition or Epiphany Dawn (so far). This was also something of a catch up mechanic that an outnumbered Faction could leverage to bridge the gap… kind of a double loss in that case.
Regarding some of your other points:
Battle Beacons/Inventory - the move to using Battle Beacons for Anomalies rather than all playbox portals wasn't one that many thought/think is a good idea. They will necessitate more inventory usage as each RBB will be more hotly contested and the time for contest is now 9 mins rather than a 2 min measurement window before their implementation.
The concept of the CAT level increased output was never going to work in an Anomaly situation and, quite frankly, isn't something that players use at all…. It's a mechanic without a point really. If you want to get more kit quickly, you use a fracker and ITO+/- etc not an RBB
Anomaly Duration & Breaks - Anomalies are intense, they always have been, so I'm surprised that after 10 years you are realising this. The length of an Anomaly was reduced to 3 hours quite a few years ago now so it would be interesting to know why Niantic thought the move back to 4 hours for Epiphany Dawn was a good idea.
Having breaks in play is doable and comes down to the rulesets really but having limited RBB also limits Agents' ability to interact with them as the mechanism to earn the medal onsite. Why the move away from 'interact with X Anomaly ornamented portals' was taken - you'd have to ask internally. Irrespective, Anomalies will always be busy and I think the intensity is overall a good thing personally.
Advance Intel - having a winning Faction gain extra intel for subsequent events would generate a win-more loop so that's not a good idea really. The info from Goruck/Intel Ops/Decoding has been a good way to both have players help their Faction remotely as well as support in ways outside of normal Anomaly play. Expanding again to make more of these options happen would be a good step.
Thank you again for your input and the input of everyone else who has responded to your post.
Is there a profile of the degree of server load caused by different activities? Perhaps we could crowdsource suggestions to address the worst offenders.
It seems there's a significant loading time for checking linkability. If we had an idea how it currently works, maybe we could come up with a more efficient algorithm.
Realtime scoreboard would be awesome. Something which doesn't take a long time to load or require exiting the app.
Maybe if players had something like an ostracization ranking which decayed their access within the playbox. There would have to be weighting to keep the system from being flooded by puppets, but on average if you were "part of the team", then you should have no problem keeping your ranking on the high side. This would have the unfortunate side-effect of telling unpopular individuals they were unable to play. The idea could use some work, but how else do you deal with players playing offside. Maybe an automatic rapid appeal of undesirable plays within the playbox?
I'd agree with making things more proportionate to average player outcome. This way the smaller team isn't automatically swamped, and having competitions close to 50/50 makes them more exciting.
Maybe have actions other than portal scans be able to trigger battle beacons earlier than the end of septicycle. Maybe have battle beacons automatically do a loot pinata to all participants which fills their inventory with a balanced spread of random gear.
Anomaly phases could be interesting.. Like randomized challenge wheel which spins once every hour and tallies who does the most within 30 minutes, then pauses for 30 minutes for a break. Wash rinse repeat. You never know which way it's going to roll.
I liked the boosted reward scoring on previous events. Being able to collect a badge for 160 instead of 200 actions is a nice reward.
Maybe make resonators infinitely deployable during the event so that running out of the little things isn't so detrimental.
Finally a dev who actually uses their own software!!! I'm so happy about this!!
Yes, I myself studied QA testing and I know how the thing works. But now tell me: isn't it faster, better and more intelligent to sometimes actually just simply go out and play??
Do you love what you work in? Try it, use it, play it, not just test the individual parts of it or rely on the tester to give feedback, don't rely on the million "let's test what if..." GO OUT AND PLAY!! Thank you for learning and doing that!
I hope you also had fun! 😅😅😅😃
I think that what you have found out and experienced in one Anomaly is what a player suffers in daily play. This, since Redacted was not an option anymore. Now you can understand why old players hate Ingress so much. And why new players don't engage in a great community anymore. The game is toxic.
Please, bring back the good old times! Remove cheaters without hesitation! Play it to find the daily annoyances. And hear the community. We feel forgotten.
I love that this is a step in the right direction and I hope Niantic gives their devs more time for real world testing playing. Ingress is was not a game, so playing it should not be considered slacking, right?
Great work, Agent Dev!
Ps: I'm not being sarcastic, I'm genuinely happy about this. I still love this game and what it meant to me since 2014. I don't open the scanner anymore even when traveling cause it takes too much time to even try. But I would love it to come back and this seems a great step in the right direction. Keep it up!
If I can add some feedback, worst part is not that it crashes, is that reloading takes ages while Redacted took 5 secs to get back on the map and playing, no clicks needed (Prime: returning agent account choosing when the last logon failed, no be aware of whatever ok button again for the tenth time in the last 10 minutes, I can't be aware while fighting AGAINST the scanner, no three splash screens -Niantic, then Lightshop, then Ingress, then world... or at least load location, map and player account in background while showing non interesting/important stuff... Again... For the Nth time. Speed up the login, remove steps... Then I wouldn't care about crashes. Redacted crashed a lot, no-one-cared. Prime lags: you won't logout to refresh it cause it takes time. It crashes: you still hope it will unlock itself. It glitches: you hope it will fix itself. Anything to avoid relaunching. And then you still gotta relaunch three times or more.
BTW I liked the animation glitches, it looked very hacky. Sadly you (Niantic) removed it instead of the real glitches...
I would love to see a gameplay mechanic that rewards CMU.
Idea, and maybe not a popular/good one.
Make even teams by limiting ticket numbers to maximum of lowest team registrations. So ticket sales for factions cut off at opposing faction regos with more going on sale as regos increase?
@ofer2 since you were surprised by the amount of non-Niantic tools we used and the registration/verification process, would you mind sharing how did YOU think such anomalies were conducted? How did you think we communicate, team build, assign tasks, etc?
I was in a remote recharge room for this one and have been in other pre-Covid rooms.
1) The lag and crash issues were also felt in the recharge rooms. I had to restart Ingress every 30 minutes or so, on average. Occasionally, I had to restart every few minutes, sometimes it was fine for over an hour.
2) lag and crashes seemed similar to me as earlier anomalies using redacted. Close enough that I can’t confidently say which was better.
3) I was surprised by the lack of clear phases/breaks in play. Even recharge rooms appreciate some down time. I can only assume this is more true on the ground.
4) If you are considering weighting scores by faction participation numbers, it shouldn’t be a straight per capita score. This would encourage each side to minimize participation to their top agents at the expense of more casual player participation. That would be terrible. A nudge up for the smaller faction could be ok but it would have to be very thoughtfully designed to still encourage both sides to show up in numbers.
Temp key capsules for the anomaly would be great. Make 'em purchasable. Make it so they will hold keys for a set time, but something short. Either 24 or 48 hours. Cap them at 10 max. Would be immensely helpful.
points 1&2: it sucks.. i hate it.. and the lag and freezing of the scanner was infuriating
3: it's been like that for awhile.. all part of vetting and getting the right communication between the factions. it's a matter of teamwork.
4: what's the point of having a big reveal at the Niantic after-party if you already know the results from a live score? and how would that work exactly? random announcements in the scanner while we're all trying to play? even then.. no big reveal and surprise. better to go in blind and keep working hard
5: welcome to global ingress.. it's been like that since the very, very, very beginning.. each faction has their strategies that balance things out.. typically.. but some areas of the world are imbalanced and global results are essentially.. predictably consistent..
6: also part of the game dynamic..
misc: it takes a second to check a person's scanner to verify what faction they are in. not everyone wears their faction colors, and it is laughable to think you can punish someone for wearing a different color to "pretend" to be on your team.. they aren't pretending.. they ARE the other team... not their fault the others didn't bother to check if they were or not. you know this is a game were two factions are basically in war with each other, right?
yes, having a nice break would be nice halfway... i didn't eat for awhile because I was focused on strategy.. there isn't any type of official cease-fire situation that can easily be implemented.. the playbox will and always be active during the whole time.
the imbalance issue will always be a factor.. and for those who have played for at least the last 8 years.. there hasn't been anything to be able to remedy that. Europe.. Asia.. the Americas... there have been articles and blogs written about the entire psychology of choosing a faction... influences of that choice.. and how especially early on, Niantic failed to write a balanced story that really created a biased towards choosing one over the other... fixes to change that to balance that out have been nothing but mixed results.
the only big thing i would like.. is having less latency.. improvements in lag, and fixing bugs that froze my scanner countless times during the anomaly.
@DrHydrosaur that is the most idiotic thing I've seen said on this forum in a very long time. How delusional must you be to think that a faction would deny a willing participant attendance just to keep their numbers and balance low?! 🤦
Don't you understand that people can attend anomaly without asking permission?!
Congratulations, you just burned any good will from that agent, they will still attend and do their own thing potentially interfering with your team's plans!
Wow man, you really don't understand this game. Or is this how frogs actually operate?! 🙄
Firstly, let me echo so many others in saying thank you for coming out and hoping you enjoyed the day.
Regarding scanner issues and server lag, this has been an issue for as long as I can remember during anomalies (my first anomaly was in 2014 and i've missed very few opportunities since then). There are error messages that are only seen during anomalies. Without a doubt, the least playable the game has ever been for me during an anomaly was during Umbra (brooklyn). After the first hour, when the other Americas sites kicked in, the game was nigh unplayable for stretches. There were some bumps in the road in LA, but it didn't strike me as appreciably worse than other sites (or maybe this is just stockholm syndrome).
My recollection of the timing/schedule history is as follows:
Circling back to 2022 (in which i've participated in 4 beacon-only sites, 2 of the beacon+shard sites, and LA), the battle beacons seem to take the worst of both worlds in terms of length of cluster battle (9 minutes) and frequency of cluster measurements. Perhaps 30 minute beacon periods, with the beacons spawning approx 10 minutes into the period, would provide a bit of a break between measurements while also allowing for shards/targets to spawn at the beginning of each period (thus allowing for shards/targets to spawn at the start of the anomaly) and eliminating the awkward nether period at the end of LA where nothing was in play but the anomaly wasn't officially over. I'm not sure it's feasible to incorporate a formal break into an anomaly with shards without wiping the shards and targets prior to the break and restarting afterwards, and even then, teams will likely use that time to reestablish control of the playbox rather than resting (and I do not advocate going back to the 2017 dedicated period format; it's much more interesting to try to do multiple things at once and to put teams into that kind of resource/decision bind, imo).
Relative to the other 2022 events i've attended, LA was the closest by far to capturing the ferocity of portal combat that we'd come to expect from anomalies. The previous 2022 events in which I participated were much less well-attended and the size of the play area and density of beacons was such that there was very little contention for portals. I think that this was a bigger factor than the change in beacon scoring rules to eliminate the category multiplier (though this absolutely also suppressed portal combat), but I do believe that the elimination of the multiplier was absolutely essential to the viability of using battle beacons for anomalies. Along similar lines, I think the change to best measurement scoring was a net positive as it creates more of an impetus to keep playing towards the end of the anomaly; even without a scoreboard, if one side is winning big that can be seen and felt and with a single lump score, that can encourage complacency and/or apathy in the last few beacon waves.
For me, the density of portals and interactions left the scanner view very difficult to process during swaths of the anomaly. There were simply too many of the victory beacons in view to be able to quickly find the active beacons and shards.
I'm fully on board with incorporating some sort of unique portal capture metric into the current anomaly rule format. Unique captures are a scoring metric that is independent of attendance. Additionally, it encourages movement and variety, rather than staying and defending a couple of spots for the whole day. I think at least one of the 2019 anomalies used the personal hexathalon scoreboard for tracking individual uniques, and reincorporating that would allow for some tracking of progress and scoring during the anomaly.
Thank you again for sharing your feedback and impressions and for putting yourself out there for receiving comments and criticism.
Umm, I said it would be terrible.
Scoring based on per capita points encourages factions to discourage participation by casual players. It’s not that I want that to happen, it’s that such a scoring system rewards such strategies.
"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."
No, this absolutely should not be punishable at all. If y'all aren't doing your basic due diligence and are just assuming anyone in blue/green is that faction, that's on you.
Signed, the infrognito bike agent who got the RES to hand over 300 XMP, 200 US, 50 Aegis, two VR loadout codes, and a partridge in a goddamn pear tree just by asking nicely. Basic opsec SOP, check their freaking scanner before forking stuff over!
We need break during the event…4hr is too long without break…
Also I think CAT system should be adapted on BB to redress game balance.
I don't feel like awards in the form of an advantage in next phase for winning is a good idea, nor would a reward for losing, if a team won a phase you don't want to give them an even bigger advantage for the next round, not do you want to reward losing. Rewards such as badges, gear, or higher output restock portal would be enough of a reward. I don't think changes need to be made over imbalance of participation due to if it's artificially balanced by percentage or something like that then it would decrease the motivation for attendance. Lag and crashes definitely need fixed. And yes seeing scoring live is a great help to regular players to feel like they know what's going on. As far as the use of non-niantic tools, there is nothing to be done there because teams are always going to use the tools the see as best tools for them, and with lots of tools it comes down to how secure the team feels the tools are and a Niantic tool is never going to seem as secure. Tools get swapped out on a regular basis because either someone has made a better one or the team no longer believes a tool is as secure. One thing you didn't mention but needs fixed is the CAL system, many players traveled across country for the event and had rare opportunity to throw long links but we're denied due to CAL access which is now killing a part of the game many of us loved. Many ingress players travel long distances to play the game in areas outside of our home areas but to get there and find out it was a wasted trip because we are now denied access to these portals makes us no longer want to travel and explore new places because we don't know if we can do anything when we get there or not now. We have no way of telling if our access level is high enough before arriving. Example: a friend that hasn't played in years opened up game a week ago and first portal they tried interacting with told them they didn't have access so they closed game and probably won't ever try again, we want more people playing not less, please fix this.
CAL - play a bit before going to the anomaly?
I must say, my first anomaly - I was quite excited to be thoroughly vetted. Made me feel like I was taking part in something big/important.
Wander up and play? No. (Well you can but you miss a lot of team experience then). You also miss team briefings and a solo player can do more harm than good even with best intentions.