Scout and Scout Controller have a lot of problems and need serious rework.
Here are the problems I've run into so far with working on the Scout and Scout Controller badges.
1) Uploading is a total guessing game (forum software doesn't like the phrase c r a p s h o o t even though it's literally a gaming term in the dictionary...okay). First and foremost, there's no real progress bar, just a spinner endlessly sitting on screen. You have no way of knowing how long it will take, and the scanner cannot be used while the process is ongoing.
Secondly, it crashes the scanner. Sometimes you get through all of your scans without crashing. Other times, good luck. I did hundreds of scans yesterday, and it took 5 tries to upload them all. The majority (100+) went through in one go, but then it took 4 more attempts to upload the remainder. This happens almost every single time I upload scans in batch. (Galaxy S10+) Sometimes I'll have a crash uploading as few as 5 total scans. This should be an easy, seamless process, and it isn't.
2) There's no way on intel to see if a portal has a scout controller or how many scans you need to do to gain controller status. It's very easy when working on pioneer to say, "This area is gray/opposing faction", so you know you can go there to work on your badge. But I went to a gray area yesterday with 150+ portals, only to find out that while a third didn't have a controller, the rest did. This completely changed the amount of time I was planning on spending doing scans. People have been complaining about this since November of last year, and nothing has changed. This is going to be really problematic as more agents attempt these badges.
3) There's no way in scanner to see how many scans you've done on a portal/how many you have pending for upload. This is critical information when attempting Scout Controller, because if you need to take Controller status from another agent, you need to ensure you upload more than them. So you wind up having to keep track of each portal quantity mentally.
This is even harder if someone else has already Controller on a portal in some quantity, because the number you need to keep track of is then different for each and every portal. I used a mod-tracking system yesterday (1 mod down means I've done a single scan, 2 mods means more than existing Controller), but I was the only agent around. If it had been in a busy area, I would have certainly never gotten it right. This is too high of a barrier for most agents.
4) Since almost no one is going to be uploading scans in the field because of the high amount of bandwidth and time to do so, the vast majority of agents will submit scans when they get onto WiFi, usually at home. This effectively creates a race condition.
Imagine this scenario: Agent A goes to place that has zero Controllers, and scans each portal once. They then go about their day and upload when they get home in the evening. Agent B comes along in the meantime, scans everything, and immediately uploads them. Agent B gains controller on everything, Agent A gets zero points for Controller and has to return to the area and now upload a second scan on every portal to gain credit for what they did. This means that it is imperative to scan and then find public wifi or run home to your house/hotel/whatever to upload, or else you may not gain any Controller credit for what you did.
This will cause serious issues with multiple agents attempting this badge, even among the same faction/team. It also means that it is very difficult to do Controller on day trips, because you cannot guarantee that you'll gain any credit once you get home. It also means that agents who want to ensure someone else coming along won't mess up their status must do multiple scans to ensure they gain Controller status. Which brings me to the next point...
5) The number of available scans is too low. Yesterday, I had almost my full allotment of 400 scans, and I went to an area with 130 portals. So how many scans do I have left? 93. This is because I got to the area, realized that other agents had Controller (often with 2-3 points each) on every portal, and so I had to submit 2-4 scans for each portal as I went. So while my Controller went up by 135 points yesterday, my Scout went up by more than double that, because I had to submit multiple scans for 1 controller point. As a result, I now have less than one hundred scans left for the next 6 days, which means I'm going to run out and cannot keep a solid cadence on Controller. Because there's no guaranteed ratio between Scout and Scout Controller, and you may use 3-4 scans just to gain 1 Controller point, the number of available scans must be higher or refreshed more quickly.
@NianticBrian I know Portal Scans are a big thing for you and your team; please read this carefully and take this feedback under consideration.
There's no way on intel to see … how many scans you need to do to gain controller status.
There's no way in scanner to see how many scans you need to do to gain controller status.
As was hashed out in some thread long ago, Niantic doesn't automatically "decay" scans after 30 days, like it does with portals and resonator energy. As a result, there's no telling how out of date "J.Random is Scout Controller: X Scout Points" actually is. You might need anywhere from 1 to X+1 scans. The only way to determine the precise number is… to upload a new scan and see how X changes.
Combined with all the other issues observed here, if I care about that Controller point on a portal, I upload scans while I'm in the field. (Yay for cheap data, I guess…)
Yeah, because of this, when I see that another agent has controller on a bunch of portals in an area, I will always do at least once test scan to see if it immediately earns controller before I continue scanning. I tend to assume that if one person is controller on a lot of portals in an area they probably did them all at the same time, so if I can get controller with a single scan, I will go ahead and scan the others once each.
If, however, one scan doesn't immediately earn me controller on that portal, I tend not to scan at all. If the existing agent has 1 scan, I might scan some of the portals twice, particularly the very interesting ones. But if the existing agent has 2 or more scans, I will stop scanning entirely.
And I use the term "I" lightly here. My husband is much more actively chasing the scout controller badge, so if we are out playing together, I will usually let him get scout controller and I will not scan the portal at all. Only if I am playing alone or if he had already claimed scout controller more than 30 days ago will I actually do the scan.
The incentives are way out of w h a c k.
Another issue is the fact that you cannot do Scout Controller at night. Effectively making it not possible to do for agents who don't have free time during daylight hours, especially come the winter time when there is less daylight.
Wasnt even aware that to get scout controller you had to scan more than the person who already has scout controller thats blooming stupid, I doubt there's anyone who wants to scan a portal once, let alone wander round 2 or 3 times trying to do.it, thats really bad game design in general
And as @Toxoplasmolly mentioned, the number of scans that need to be done to take Scout Controller decays while the value shown on a given portal remains the same. If I see a Portal with an SC value of 5, I will have to take up to 6 scans to reclaim it. If I'm lucky and the last scans were fairly long ago, it will only take 1 scan. If the other agent scanned the Portal the day before, then I need to do all 6 scans.
Amidst the other, more engaging features that were added in the last year, Scout Controller is bafflingly poorly designed.
It was clearly an attempt to prevent/encourage people from just scanning the same portal over & over. But the existing implementation is quite bad.
You can if the area is illuminated, but in pitch black darkness, no. Really limits your options.
That's not really something they can fix, unless you install an infrared camera though.
as mentioned in the announcement of the launch of the Portal Scan feature :
where it states "Ideal candidates for Portal Scanning are statues and sculptures that Agents can walk around" so we can see the results of the reconstruction of the Portal there:
While we have seen a lot of finding and even scanning portals outside of these ideal candidates, such as museums or buildings with unique architectures and others that do not allow us to perform 360-degree scans according to the time provided, what are the results of the reconstruction 3-D point cloud visualizations?
I'm not saying they need to fix it, just agreeing with the poster that you can only really do them in daytime. I intentionally didn't include that in my original list because it's not broken.
1: Pokemon Go gets a total filesize thing and a progress bar, it's so weird that Ingress doesn't have this considering the feature came into Ingress first! It was frustrating having no feedback and not knowing whether things were uploading or if they froze, so I found a download/upload speed app that appears in the notification bar, it does the job well enough so that at least you know if something is happening.
2: Yes, that's why I jumped on Scout Controller when it first came out, to beat the rush of other agents. Unfortunately in my city, lots of people are scanning, so I tried to avoid those areas as much as possible so as not to waste a scan. That whole controller competitive element should be removed when working for the badges. Once Onyx is attained, it doesn't really matter and I am happy to waste 10 scans on a portal lol
3: Pending for upload, see the PoGo screenshots in Point 1. Knowing how many scans are available was the worst though, I went out twice a day and it was just pure luck to be able to go out and scan, assuming the scans would return 6.5 days later. Many times had to just wait around and hope scans would appear. Ideally, whatever scans you do in a day should return at 00:01 of that same day a week later. That makes sure that you are able to consistently do the same number of scans on that day.
4: Sometimes I did upload scans in the field, it definitely helped prevent losing scans when bulk uploading and ensuring you scanned every portal as you are out and about. Though most of the time scans were uploaded at home over WiFi. Unfortunately, some portals were scanned by another agent by the time I get home so those scans were wasted and did not count to scout controller :( The race condition is unnecessary and goes back to Point 2, remove the competitive element.
5: I felt 400 was way too high to consistently undertake every week (especially when having to combat traffic and daylight hours) - it was just exhausting to make sure you did them all (I guess unless you live in a dense area and don't have to travel much). 200 was good. But I do also agree that the number of scans should have been unlimited, as some days you might be out and manage to finish 200 scans and still have daylight left to do another 50 or 100.
At the end of the day, the process is a terrible user experience, but you just have to be consistent and eventually you'll get to Onyx. Even if it means losing scans to the connection gods or to other agents, hopefully it doesn't impact you too much. The badge is possible, but it is exhausting. Best of luck!
This is extremely insightful! Having never seen the PoGo scanning mechanism before, I am extremely irritated that they already solved for that use case and yet in Ingress we just get a spinner! Talk about the red-headed stepchild...geez!
Agreed with all of your points. 👍️
Imagine what would happen with people trying scans at an in-person anomaly? Everyone gets Scout credit, almost no one gets Controller credit.
Agreed that removing the competitive element and instead just making the badge about unique scans is the way to go. That also fixes the confusion around the numbers shown on portals, the weird 30-day countdown nonsense, the race conditions, and the unmatched ratios between doing submissions for Scout vs Scout Controller.
You can bring a halogen or flood light with you then you can do your scans.
True, but then during winter months, if you don't happen to live/play in a city (or just carry some massive floodlight with you all the time) you might not be able to scan at all.
Same reason I rarely submit portals in the winter, hate wasting my time for it to come back that the photo was too dark on a church in the middle of nowhere I came across.
All the other points here are 100% valid though. I did a ton of scans yesterday and just kept hoping no one else would submit before I got home, and that it wouldn't crash too many times while waiting.
Add another item to the list, based on @NianticBrian 's post in the News channel earlier.
Scout Controller Volatiles aren't retroactive when they change. So in my immediate area, no one else is scanning. As a result, I've not had any of my Controlled portals taken from me, so I don't have the ability to take them back. Therefore I can never earn those volatile points.
IMHO, the volatile system is weird, but if a portal I am controller on becomes a volatile, I should be retroactively be awarded points at the time it switches over, OR I should be able to perform a new scan and gain those points while still being controller. As it stands right now, I simply cannot earn those points unless another agent comes to my area and takes my Controller away. I can't even let it decay, as per Brian's post, after 30 days I still can't gain those points because I'm still Controller.
This makes no sense and basically penalizes you for retaining Controller status.
There is nothing retroactive about scanning. Every step of the way they've "punished" the people who were already scanning. Things like the volatile system. Oh wait, you already scanned them, but since we want to increase usage, we'll offer up a bigger bounty for other folks. Same with AP awards, early adopters got no AP, then there was an event that offered AP. Not enough to matter, but it was the point that my 500 unique scans would have been worth something, especially if they were awarded retroactively.
The system needs polishing for sure. And since the very beginning, many agents have asked for an actual look at what this will look like, in game. Nothing but the spinning gif have been provided. This is the type of thing Niantic needs to offer it's community to keep us going and interested. You want us to work for you, well, work with us, treat us like a community you want around. We can work together. Get us excited about these things. I'm still of the opinion that we won't even see them in Ingress at all, ever. We're just straight up work horses. I can't recall ever seeing anything that was specific about it being in Ingress.
Scout Controller as it exists today feels so very broken. Came here to voice a lot of the same issues after beginning to chip away at gold on controller. At a minimum it would be amazing to see a leaderboard of scans per portal in scanner/intel , even if it just includes the current controller and your own progress.
Wasn't aware of the PGO status bar for uploads, we need this desperately. Chatting with a lot of folks who scan it also appears that older devices struggle to upload or crash more frequently. I recently upgraded to a OnePlus 8 Pro and have zero issues uploading beyond a rare crash, where as other folks might crash multiple times a session.
Could not agree more, and I'm buoyed to hear you say that, VAIN.
Bump for visibility. 💙
Can confirm that since upgrading to a new device, I no longer get crashes on scan uploads. The fact that my previous phone was only 2 years old is pretty disappointing. (Samsung S10+ to S21 Ultra)
My two biggest complaints at this points.
1) Not knowing if one scan will give me scout controller or 10. If the 30 days are up and those points are no longer “valid or accurate,” then why are they showing? I get maybe maintaining the agent name as the controller, but we absolutely should know how many scans it will take to become the new controller. Basically any portal that has scans on it I straight up skip unless I’m there making fields or taking one down. Then sure, I’m already out of the car and making the walk, what’s another minute or two. Otherwise, I’ll keep driving every time. Please fix this Niantic. Scout Controller Decay will motivate your agents to scan more.
2) Would to see Scout Controller status on the Intel map. I travel a bit for work and would love to include scanning as part of my planning. Right now, I plan for missions and uniques, scanning is still somewhat of a side quest. Don’t even need agent names, just current points need to become Scout Controller.
We know you’re still kinda figuring things out with this, at least regarding what it might look like, in game, but let’s keep any bit of momentum you have with scanning and maybe find ways to get more agents excited about it and keep others going.
The requirements for Scout and Scout Controller are the wrong way round.
The Scout badge should be 12,000 scans and Scout Controller, 6000 portals.
The current requirements for onyx Scout Controller is bonkers, even with the volatile Scout Controller portals (rotating yellow square) that can occasionally be found on a portal - although I've not encountered any of those for quite a while.
Even then, wasn't Scout Controller status on a portal supposed to reset every 30 days? This clearly isn't happening- as I still have portals scanned months ago, for which I'm still showing as Scout Controller.
I pretty much agree with the problems raised in the first post. In particular, the upload process needs improvement and being able to tell the actual number of scans needed for SC is essential, both in the scanner and in intel. And the bugs which cause the app to close during uploads is frustrating.
However, I would like to focus on a few positive points (and I'm the guy who started the thread Scout Controller Badge tier requirements ridiculously high):
There is certainly a lot of room for improvment, but these factors have made onyx Scout Controller achievable while still being an impressive achievement.
One more thing has made a difference for me, but this is out of Niantic's hands. An absolute game-changer for me in regards to Scout Controller has been getting an unlimited data plan because my provider offered me a very good deal. I know this isn't possible for a lot of players, but it obviously makes a huge difference to be able to upload the scans right away. It means I know right away if I achieved Scout Controller or not (escpecially with the help of the layers button).
You may be fortunate to have an unlimited data plan, however not all players have that luxury.
Secondly, the Scout Controller requirements ARE too high for Onyx, whether you agree, or not.
There are not enough volatile scout controller portals to make much of a difference. Coupled with portals not resetting every 30 days, as it was originally stated would happen.
I've seen players with onyx Scout, yet have left Scout Controller padlocked. Why? Probably as they know trying to obtain onyx Scout Controller is far too much effort and near impossible, and don't want a bronze badge on their profile for the foreseeable.
I second onyx SC still being too high. I've earned SC in every portal in my town and only managed to get SC on other portals in other areas because I've had to travel to those places for reasons such as hospital appointments, or helping one of my siblings move into uni.
I don't drive, so I definitely don't have the luxury of being able to travel to different areas easily to get SC on other portals.
I'm also facing the difficulty that the other locals that scan aren't touching the new batch of volatile portals at the time in our town, which means I'm losing out on the extra SC points there as well. So I also feel that a few more volatiles or a more regular rotation would be beneficial.
I agree with your post except the part about Scout Controller onyx. I personally still think it's too high, and agree with other posters who say it is inverted; Scout should be higher than Scout Controller. Just like how Explorer (easier) is a higher number than Pioneer (harder), Scout should be a higher number and Scout Controller should be lower.
I agree, much too high. I wonder if there would be more agents willing to get into scanning if these numbers were adjusted and other fixes implemented. Also, with a game that has much less activity and number of users, are these medal numbers in line with todays use or the "good ole days?" Is a medal worth having if less than 1% of it's agents will ever attain it (onyx specifically). Would a medal like this work more in Niantics favor if the numbers were swapped? Swapped and lowered? I assume these medals were introduced to help garner interest and motivate agents to do work for Niantic. Wouldn't it be in Niantics best interest to motivate more agents with medals they might actually achieve? I get making some medals actually require work to complete, but this is something that really isn't part of the game
I guess the point I'm trying to make is, what the hell is Niantic thinking? They want our free help, barely make it worth our time and then make the medals so damn impossible to achieve that most people haven't even unlocked the bronze medal. My mind is so confused on the entire thing. I'd be so curious what the actual thought process behind all of this was. What is the conversation like now? Something like, "Lets continue to make this so frustrating to use that only the most obsessed agents will continue to do work for us!" Yes, that's a great plan!
scanning takes times but it's been in game for less than a year and some already have achieved top tiers, so no it's not one of the 'hard' medals.
i think less agent will ever have black connector/pioneer/explorer than black controller.
This may be pointing out the obvious, but the rotating yellow square now no longer appears unless you've turned the scout controller layer on.
The not resetting scout controller thing was covered in the first comment to this thread. It's a bit odd - I think it's documented that your name will stay on the portal indefinitely until someone else scans it, but the scanner gives you no way to tell how many times you need to scan the portal to claim it off someone else (because it does decay after 30 days but the scanner doesn't tell you that). This week I've been getting notifications that I lost scout controller status on some portals that I scanned last July, which seems pointless.