Possible improvement to constantly rethrown fields to inaccessible portals.

PerringaidenPerringaiden ✭✭✭✭✭

There have been many threads on the forums here over and over again about permafields that block access to part or all of an area for play. While there's a case for people not expending enough effort to take these down from the accessible anchor and throw blockers, the common refrain is that once taken down, they go straight back up. And since no-one, even the field thrower, can access the ironclad anchor, they just go straight back up using that inaccessible portal.

Quantum capsules provide the thrower with essentially unlimited keys. Once enough have been duplicated, the rate of duplication can far outstrip the willingness of players to destroy the field, and over time, that willingness decreases.

However, as was mentioned by @ofer2 in another post, one of the goals of the coming year is to increase player retention and new player buy-in. One of the most damaging aspects of these big fields is the inability to continue playing 'at full pace' under them. Sure you can destroy and capture portals, but fielding is impossible by the very nature of the game. New players, when confronted with "You can either stop playing, or climb a mountain / tresspass at a nuclear power plant", they stop playing. It's a most unreasonable expectation that a brand new player need compete with long experienced players well equipped and overflowing with hard to access keys.

Many solutions have been proposed, which mostly boil down to two options. The first set is automatically removing large fields, whether by aggressive decay, or simple time limits. The second set is allowing fields to be created underneath the existing fields, thus negating the problem. Both of these methods have serious implications for the rest of the game outside these isolated regions with large fields. The vast majority of the portal network is grey at this point due to lack of Ingress players and PoGo increasing the POI count, so things that decay portals or fields faster would make it more difficult to have an active and visible game play for new agents, and allowing fielding under a field has big implications for both MU calculations (do the fields count or not to the region score) and the desirability of large field play (why build a big field when your opponent can win with far easier little ones). Big field operations, and also their coordinated takedowns or preventions, also comprise a large part of the 'player lore' of the game. Old players reminiscing about the time they blocked a country wide field because of a day spent throwing blockers and crashing lanes, with new players listening with rapt attention and wanting to "be part of the epic fun".

So large changes are hard, because of the long series of unintended consequences, and wide ramifications. However, in a recent thread @KonnTower (I think) posted an interesting idea which 'sounds' ineffective, but on consideration is quite a good 'minor course correction'.

Quantum Capsules no longer duplicate keys.

Now before the knee-**** "Don't take my stuff!" comes out, the situation before MUFGs needs to be remembered, and later changes taken into account.

  1. Before MUFGs, key farming required visible mods or regular trips, to get sufficient keys for a big operation. Having 50 keys to a portal was a lot. And unless you wanted to go many many times, you had to use multi-hacks and heat sinks. This meant your activities were visible on the map to people who looked. It also meant your portal was either weakly defended, and even if not capturable, could be killed from 168m away, or you had to take an obvious step of using a flipcard then killing the portal to rebuild it defendable, again showing up on the map.
  2. Keys to hard to reach portals were a logistics challenge. Not just getting them from person to person, but in high enough quantities to make a difference. Instead of moving one key from person to person, and then leaving it to 'cook' at the destination, you had to actually shift 50 keys, or 200 then split them as they moved from place to place.
  3. Hard to reach and far away keys were precious. They meant something. Having one key was great. Having 10 keys to a portal in Antarctica was epic. The keys were tracked by Trello boards almost as closely as VRLA were. Someone went to a new portal or finally got access to a tempting portal, and the first question was "How many keys did you get?" So using those keys was an actual decision. Something that you had to weigh up the cost versus the gain. Was it worth burning a precious irreplaceable key on a YOLO? Or should you hold onto to those keys for the day you can organize a field with them?

Now with Quantums spitting out keys day in day out, most of those parts of the game have gone the same way as the link plan for a farm area. It doesn't matter if you YOLO because you have more where that came from and in a day you'll already have replaced the key. A 1000 link star can be built off an impossible to reach portal and take months to unpick, so frustrated people opt to spoof instead.

And the worst effect, is that people can rethrow the same painful field over and over with very little effort, stymying any of the opposition's attempts to get out from under it.

With the removal of Quantum's cooking keys, over time, it'll revert back to keys in quantity being actually valuable. Anchors will be chosen not just because of their inaccessibility, but because of their accessibility to obtain sufficient keys for whatever is being done. Managing those keys will become relevant again.

And most significantly, people who got one key, once, from a portal, will not be able to use that portal indefinitely to field over others. They'll start using portals that they can farm keys from. And since those portals can be accessed, they'll be taken down more easily too. It might even lead to less frustration at inaccessible portals, and reduce the number of people who turn to spoofing.\

I know plenty of people are going to read the bold text and spam the Dislike button, but think about the idea before doing so. Ingress needs to rebuild its player base, and there's legitimate argument that unlimited keys to inaccessible portals has a noticeable impact on that task. Many of the things gained from sponsored items over the years since the first AXA, have been great in isolation, but detrimental to the game in the long run, and key duplication, I'd contend, is one of those.



  • CliffMCliffM ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 2020

    It’s an archaic slur for people of Asian descent. Niantic really should get a context aware moderation tool.

    Post edited by CliffM on
  • Pooh bear. This is how the game works.

    You can't go monkeying with core game mechanics just because you're covered up. Get good and take down the fields.

  • So they've been around for what, 5 years now, and they've already been nerfed once with the removal of VR item dupes.

    Now you're asking niantic to nerf them again? I don't think that would be a popular change...

  • oscarc1oscarc1 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I like the idea, too often are distant/strategic portals used for lame fields. Nobody has been there in over a year and yet the portals still get abused.

    Maybe a scale should be used instead, where the keys can still duplicate, but the percentage of duplication will rise the more activity the portal actually sees. So starting at 1% and for every 10 hacks or something it might rise another 1%. That way the distant/strategic portals still remain rare and their value is worth more than they are today, and for people that use QC's to duplicate local keys, well the percentage for duplication would be higher because those are local/accessible portals and would see more activity. Put a threshold limit (of whatever it is currently) in there too. That might work as a decent compromise.

  • PerringaidenPerringaiden ✭✭✭✭✭

    So it sounds like your issue isn't that duplicating keys in quantums leads to permafields, it's that you don't like duplicating keys in quantums because it makes the game too easy.

    No the point is that throwing permafields over and over again due to quantums replicating hundreds of keys, makes it too easy to prevent the other team from playing, thus damaging recruitment and player retention.

    Agents like you and I are going to play the game no matter how hard it is. 

    I agree. Removing the QC's replication is not going to affect us, because we're not playing to prevent others playing.

    Those agents are getting out and having adventures on foot. But they don't need to have those adventures uphill both ways in the snow.

    New Agents are far more detrimentally affected by the easily rethrown fields, than by not having QC's duplicate keys, given that those new agents likely don't have QCs, and are more likely to be unable to field because someone who's been playing a long time happened to go to a portal two years ago and keeps using it as an impossible anchor.

    The only real "difficulty" this causes, is for people using inaccessible portals. This is not the situation for a new player, or an eager active player. It most hampers trolls and people trying to drive others away from the game. Yes, it's less 'easy mode', but Ingress is not about sitting around waiting for capsules to reproduce, and removing the reproduction will make the game better, because there are less new players unable to play because of repeatedly rethrown fields.

    And this solution is far and away better than other options like allowing people to field under fields.

  • Simple fix to the fielding under fields comment: shorten max link distance so all you can really do is microfield while covered. The real issue is not being able to grind under the fields.

  • Do you know why these ideas always face more opposition than support here? Whose playing these permafields prevent are switching to other games and are not here to discuss.

  • RostwoldRostwold ✭✭✭✭✭

    It's a fundamental game design issue - the best long term strategy is to discourage people from playing so you can have all the MU and AP for yourself.

  • PerringaidenPerringaiden ✭✭✭✭✭

    It's a strategy. It also generally results in mutually assured destruction, because their goal results in boring play. It's not the best strategy for long term enjoyment.

  • I think the bigger issue that leads to permafields is lack of players. Because permafields have always been around but with more active players they got taken down from time to time. Everything is exaggerated with no active players. Spoofers, multiaccounters, trolls, all are now a bigger issue than before because there's no players to offset their negativity. Communities are disappearing and without a team it's no longer the same game. I think permafields are a result of no players. Increase the player base and many of these issues are no longer a big deal.

  • HydracyanHydracyan ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 2020

    Those perma fielder Will Just start using kamikazes to farm up keys.

    What if a portal get exhausted and no longer accept links if a certain criteria is met?

  • PerringaidenPerringaiden ✭✭✭✭✭

    If by 'kamikazes' you mean spoofing, then that gives Niantic a justifiable reason to remove the player.

  • HydracyanHydracyan ✭✭✭✭✭

    Implying they will be able to track it. Many reports we do and nothing happens...

  • HosetteHosette ✭✭✭✭✭

    I'm almost certain that the reason for standing fields is usually lack of players under them. A few weeks ago I spent a lot of time looking at maps because someone on this forum (whose name I've forgotten) asserted that standing fields were the reason that most people started playing. It became pretty obvious to me pretty quickly that the opposite was true-- standing fields generally existed in areas were there were almost no players under them. In most of the cases I examined taking the fields down would be trivial... one only required a short walk from the town it was covering, and most of the others were anchored 5-15km away in locations that looked very easy to hit, like a restaurant next to a road.

    I think very few standing fields are because of hard-to-access anchors. Most are just because there are no opponents around to take them down.

    Nerfing key duplication wouldn't stop these fields. They'd just require a small amount of additional key farming. Let's say I have 100 keys to a portal in a quantum cap, and I use ten keys per week on rethrows. With no duplication I can rethrow the fields for ten weeks. With key duplication I probably would get around five keys per week so at most I could throw the fields for 20 weeks before I had to farm again. However, I'd get diminishing returns from the capsules each week so in practice it might be more like 15 weeks. In either case, a trip to farm keys every couple of months doesn't make much difference... you'd still have the same standing fields, only the thrower would have to go out to farm keys maybe every 2.5 months instead of 3-4 months.

  • PerringaidenPerringaiden ✭✭✭✭✭

    Nerfing key duplication wouldn't stop these fields. They'd just require a small amount of additional key farming.

    This is the trade-off. I was in the same thread of bad ideas.

    Fields that can be key farmed by one player, likely can be attacked by another. Using something that you can get to more than once in five years, is far more likely to be accessible, reducing the existence of the truly impossible fields down to "requires real effort."

    That's why this is a minor tweak, not a game changer.

  • GoblinGranateGoblinGranate ✭✭✭✭✭

    Very nice solution, exposed nicely several times already, but that doesn't make it less nice.

    Once applied, PERHAPS someone will start to pay attention to spoofing.

  • It seems that good players have done really well because the number of players is decreasing.

  • EvilSuperHerosEvilSuperHeros ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 2020

    Ditto on that. If anything, it will just push spoof key farming in general. Not pointing fingers at anyone, but spoofing has been rather terrible lately. Then again, I'm guessing it just seems that way due to the lack of actual agents playing currently.

    Watching certain hard to access portals frequently being spoofed down, with the spoofers banned is getting rather old. Agents are still having to make the 3-6+ hour trek to bring it back up and frack keys (ie going out to adventure).

    Well, switch to the Prime client (which we needed but was poorly designed/implemented) was a big cause for a large drop in active agents. And there is this little thing currently called a Global Pandemic that is impacting the ability to play for a couple of agents....

    I think it's rather nice to have extra keys when I'm out fielding locally that have duplicated during the week between decay times. Keys are precious, and the ones you want to duplicate, usually don't duplicate. 🤣 Then again, removing key duplication will remove some of the big things that Niantic/Ingress likes to see (large fields, mega link stars, ect). Something to think about.

    @d0gboy makes a good point about changing the keys from common to rare for duplication purposes. Not to mention the real issue is the fact we have less agents to go to those harder to reach portals. Most of the time lately, stuff is just spoofed down anyway.

    But if we are going to complain about stuff duplicating and not even talk about potentially changing keys to a rare status from a common one (for duplication) you might as well just k-i-l-l off the Quantum Capsule as a whole. Don't want agents to get "easy" gear by any means.

    *Edit, silly forum censorship.

  • EvilSuperHerosEvilSuperHeros ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 2020

    No, it will just create more issues as people will be even more upset when they use those precious keys and their hard work, time, (travel money) goes for basically nothing. I'd bet we'd see a few dips in users if the above happens as described, then portals are spoofed down. Which will really be upsetting for many folks. Maybe even a new campaign to get the overall duplication of keys re-instated if they were removed. (similar to the remote recharging thing for nomalees)

    Post edited by EvilSuperHeros on
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