Ideas on how to improve rural play
As we all know, Ingress is not very fun unless you live in places with moderate to high portal density. Having to drive 10 miles to the next nearest portral is not fun. I have a few concepts that might help to make rural play more fun, without taking away from the central theme of the game.
1) Ephemeral portals - a special type of portal that only spawns in areas with low portal density. These are temporary portals that spawn for a certain timeframe (say, 1 week). They act like normal portals, and can be captured and fielded to, but will despawn permanently. They could have increased decay rate, which would simulate the effects of competition in areas with few players who can take down a portal. This would help to create portals where there are none, which would let rural players actually play the game. These could even be procedurally generated so that there are not millions of temporary portals sitting around - you could "discover" them by simply walking around in a rural area, similar to how you "discover" pokemon in Go
2) Phase shifted portals - Portals that are neutral for long periods can temporarily "phase shift" into being owned by one faction or the other. This would create portals that can be attacked and neutralized, which grants points to players in areas with little competition or action.
3) Incursion points - Exogenous entities could start to take advantage of the limited defenses that low XM density provides. This could combine the first two options into random, faction owned portals. The portals could be owned by Shapers or N'zeer or other entities that want to begin invading our dimension.
4) Transient signals - Similar to idea 1, but instead of creating a portal, it could be a new type of portal (I'm calling it a signal) that appears and can be interacted with, but will disappear once it is fully deployed. This would let players take actions in game, but would not provide any long term benefit like being a field anchor.