Thoughts on Perpetua Hexathlon
I just returned from a 1,200 mile trip to attend the Perpetua Hexathlon in Salt Lake City, Utah. As a fairly active player who has begun traveling for Ingress events in the last 18 months, and who has helped on orga/POC for local events (First Saturday/Mission Day), I would like to share some quick thoughts and concerns.
As many players, I’m beginning to miss the team-based competitive nature of Ingress, but I was intrigued enough to travel for this event. Overall, I enjoyed the event for what it was (NOT as a replacement for anomalies). I had no issues with lag/server errors, and the shorter 90min format gave me a sense of urgency to complete the tasks I had intended to accomplish to achieve Elite status. In that regard, well done Niantic!
My main concern arises from the layout of the media portals, which more-or-less designated the playbox. After observing several Field Test sites on intel back in Sept, I found that nearly all media portals showed up within a ~575m radius of the registration portal, with all portals falling on the edge of the circle if possible. Throughout the Perpetua Hexathlon, I observed this same behavior in the APAC and EMEA regions as I prepped for my time in Salt Lake City (attached image below is from Perpetua Hexathlon in Porto, Portugal [yellow star=registration portal; blue ornaments=media portals]).
I found this concerning because our registration portal was at the entrance to a large beautiful park, next to a busy road, and just across that busy road from a large hospital. If this pattern followed suit, half of the portal-dense park would not be included in the media portal ring (not a huge deal), but worse, several media portals would show up in the much less portal dense hospital complex, drawing players across a busy road and into a zone to potentially interfere with emergency services. This is in fact what happened. Three media portals showed up in the hospital complex and two more at the far end of a large parking lot of a nearby busy shopping complex with only two media portals in/near the park.
Again, I really enjoyed the gameplay aspect of this event and am impressed with how stable Prime was during this event compared to even 6 months ago (though I heard other sites struggled with stability). However, in my opinion, the layout of the media portals was unacceptable. I really don’t mind them being spread out, in fact I enjoy having to cover a lot of ground to accomplish a strategic goal, but not near a busy hospital! This shows me that Niantic is relying on an algorithm to set the media portals and not actually looking at the map themselves. This could have been easily avoided if they set a few locals as event POCs who’s only job was to advise on the ‘playbox’ and point out potential hazards or places to watch out for (like the nearby hospital). Even without POCs, Niantic could have looked at the ‘playbox’ themselves, but I don’t think even that happened.
The past is in the past, but this leaves me concerned for the Lexicon Hexathlon in April and frightened for what can happen in Munich in May.