What is going on with Mission Day at Sea and Sojourner/Special Badges/Paid Fees?
This morning I heard that participants of next month's Mission Day at Sea will be able to pay Niantic a $5 USD fee for a special event badge and to keep their sojourner badge ticking throughout the event, despite the fact that participants will not be hacking a portal once a day. (There was some early talk of having a portal on the boat, but apparently that cannot happen due to technological reasons.)
First and foremost, there should not be a badge for this event; the badge is the Mission Day itself. Badges that are going to be associated with events need to be announced up front, not after the event is already booked and closed.
Secondly, did Niantic learn nothing from the players after their recent decision to start charging for anomalies after people already signed up? Fees need to be assessed up front, not after people have already spent hundreds of dollars on air travel, the cruise ship room fees, etc. It may only be $5, but it's not okay to keep doing this to your players.
And finally and perhaps most importantly...putting aside how insulting this is to players who have gone out in horrible weather conditions to keep their Sojourner going, or lost theirs from going on vacations that don't have portals, it also raises another point in my mind...if Niantic can extend Sojourner for these participants, why aren't they offering to do it for the agents that have been erroneously banned and then reinstated?
During the most recent ban wave, several people I know including a few local agents were banned for about 36-48 hours, and then had their bans overturned; Niantic made a mistake and hit a false positive for these agents. Yet, none of them have had the option to have their sojourner extended. They lost 1000+ day hack streaks.
Can they pay Niantic $5 and get it back? If not, why not? Were they not also unable to hack a portal due to a technological issue that they had no control over?
This is all wildly inconsistent and in my mind, hypocritical. We've been asking for consistency from Niantic in terms of how events are run, how exceptions are handled, for years now, and we continue to not get it.