An Open Letter to Ingress Agents
Hi all. My nickname Snegniy, I'm ENL agent from Russia.
I’ve been playing Ingress since 2013. I have 300+M AP in total and organized a great number of operations ranging from local to 1B+ MU BAFs. I was a good operator, having operated both local operations and anomalies, enjoyed the Global Shards, arranged lots of agent-related non-Ingress events, and was an active Guardian Hunter.
And yes, it was me who spearheaded the saboteur team that stole the Ukrainian shard and buried it in Minsk (you may express your hate to me in the comments).
I experienced almost everything there was to experience in Ingress. I put a lot of my effort into the game, and I loved it. Therefore, I think I have the right to write this post and represent some other agents who’ve been playing Ingress all these years. Some of their achievements exceed mine.
This letter isn’t about the inevitable Ingress Prime or monetization. It’s about all of us and the game itself.
I realize that I’ll draw a lot of hate and dislikes from more tolerant players, but I think I’ve reached my boiling point.
I should also note that outside of the scanner, I have a good relationship with most agents of the opposing faction. I see no problem in having a beer with a nice Smurf after he fought against me in an operation. I stand for healthy XF relationships.
This post might seem like an old-timer whining, I know. Still, I hope it will help someone to look at Ingress in a new way. I’m not under any illusion that it will change anything, but I cannot help but speak out. Since 2017, I’m becoming more and more disappointed in the game-or rather not the game itself, but in the way that Niantic managers have been killing it, having obtained all that money from Pokémon Go.
I won’t detail the current issues; it’s been done lots of times before me, and it would take a long time to read through the list. Still, in short, they are the following:
1) Community managment
For a long time, Niantic hasn’t given a damn about the opinion of the community that has given them millions of dollars via Pokemon Go.
In 7 years, they’ve received an enormous amount of sensible improvements, but 99% of them was ignored. Niantic introduced the Vanguard system and tries to present that it cares about community. So were any of the key game changes discussed with the Vanguards? No. They learned about the most important changed together with the rest of the agents. Nobody asked them if they wanted XF Global Shards, or paid anomalies, etc.
It’s just a smoke screen made of people who work for Niantic for free, designed to cover their powerlessness in community management.
2) Fighting spoofing.
All these years, we spent months reporting obvious spoofers that destroyed the game in entire regions, only to get generic replies from Niantic Support.
Even during the latest Global Shards, the spoofing problems was only handled a day later after they were reported via all channels, in a manual mode on the level of the Global Community Manager. Until he interfered, when everyone was up in arms, the spoofer that stole a shard wasn’t banner or anything. The other spoofers are still unbanned.
Actually, I don’t have anything against it-a project should be profitable. Over 7 years, we’ve generated a lot of ideas on achieving that. Of all of them, Niantic chose the most toxic and stupid method. When I play Clash Royale, I want to yell “Shut up and take my money”, but in Ingress, all I can say is, “Are you freaking serious?”
4) Ingress Prime.
Yes, the game needed an update. Yes, we’ve waited for Ingress 2.0 for 3 years. And what did we get? A painfully half-baked application worse than an alpha version that everyone was forced to install, designed by an untalented and unprofessional UX/UI designed who’ve taken way too much LSD? Epilepsy fits and pain in the rear end from having to repeat all those illogical, slow, and inconvenient actions? Once again, Niantic proved that they don’t care about their audience.
Yes, maybe in a year or two, Prime might finally become playable. Maybe. If they don’t turn off the servers before that, of course. But that’s not the worst problem of the game – we can get used to even such a terrible app.
5) The most important issue. The events.
The game has more and more XF events, casual events, and lots of failures on Niantic’s side while holding them (and they want us to pay for it, too). I didn’t mind events like First Saturday (a badge for hacking one portal? How exciting! (sarcasm)) or hacking/glyphing 1000 portals (amazing! (sarcasm again)) if they, at least, allowed us to continue playing a real strategy between two factions, like before.
Even the anomalies aren’t as balanced, having become simplified and not as contingent on the faction’s performance in the scanner itself. I think that soon enough, we’ll get a “friendly anomaly”, in which we’ll have to join our forces to **** Boss Portals and make XF selfies to get the requisite number of points to achieve a x1,05 bonus to media dropped during FS (and, of course, one more ugly badge).
Ingress could have become a fantastic eSport with action, emotions, sponsors, fan base, and lots of money for Niantic.
They could have, at least, given the API (maybe even for money) to the players for them to make their own local events. For example, I live in Russia, which is a huge territory with lots of players loyal to the game. Do you know when we got an anomaly last time? Three and a half years ago.
But…we code our own software, we organize unofficial events, we write our own stories (which are often better than the official plot), we hold unofficial shards in some of our cities (if anyone wants to arrange a similar event, please contact me in Telegram, we’ll help), we created amazingly complex and interesting activities using the scanner.
We contacted Niantic with our ideas, saying we were prepared for cooperation. Did you know their reply? Absolutely negative.
In the end, what we got was a multitude of boring and stupid casual events and the complete lack of competitiveness. Do you really need one more worthless PvE game?
During the latest Shards, I read lots of chats, laughing and crying at the same time. What did the game and the agents turn into, when the most uncompromising, emotional, and interesting discipline of the game was destroyed and corrupted to its very core?
To the guys who scored the shards: you betrayed Ingress, you betrayed common sense, and you betrayed the future of Ingress, turning it into PvE. It pains me to watch it. Yes, I know that many of you didn’t like the idea of XF shard, but you sold your souls for a free worthless badge and a mythical weekly bonus. Compare the enjoyment you got from Global Shards in 2017 and 2019. Don’t you feel any shame for what you’ve done?
Before the Global Shards started, lots of ideas circulated – persuade Niantic to return the competitive approach, divide the targets between the factions, pick and choose your own factions, or score shards into all targets independently. The result? Betrayal by our own agents (hi, sanshine!), total wintrade and merging of the factons, most agents ignoring the event, thousand-kilometer links lasting weeks, and targets never getting attacked at all. This is a disgrace, guys. You’ve made the decision to destroy our favorite game and turn it into a Pokemon clone.
Yet this is exactly what Niantic is trying to do.
Niantic wants the factions to be more friendly, but they’ve corrupted the meaning of that word. And right now, I’m going to agree with them that it’s time for the Enlightened and the Resistance to join forces against the most dreadful, most toxic, the most stupid, but the most powerful enemy.
Yes, our main enemy is Niantic.
Niantic strives to ruin the communities formed over years of playing, destroy all PvP process in the game, and make you pay for it (don’t forget to offer your free work in OPR).
To those who still haven’t lost the desire to play: start protesting. Make Niantic hear us. Don’t buy frackers, don’t buy Anomaly tickets, boycott anomalies and FS. Don’t play OPR and submit portals. Write ultimatums.
Stop eating what you don’t like. We still have some time before we pass the point of no return. Don’t hide your head in the sand: Niantic has been kicking us around for far too long.
We have values that we can’t trade for abstract fun in badly designed events.
It was us who learned to play Ingress and taught Niantic. It’s time to declare war on Niantic.
A company that hates its clients should either die or start listening.
Good luck to you all and thanks for 6 years of playing together or against each other. It was a blast.
Let’s play Punk Ingress against Niantic. It will be fun!
Shapers save Niantic!
Russian version: https://teletype.in/@snegniy/Hyl85Ok_H