Ingress Game Design doesn't gel with Goals



  • MuzzgoodMuzzgood ✭✭✭
    edited October 2019

    Ok, good for you. And You are now holding the new territory in your color? It's not just to take -it is to hold also. I have several years of experience of playing in the underdog faction and it would not have been possible holding territory without hard shields and defense since topdog has more players and gear -so all cudos to You! In the areas I watch things have gone the opposite way as You describe since Aegis nerf last december, dominance has accelerated. Good to share experiences!

  • MrCathulhuMrCathulhu ✭✭✭
    edited November 2019

    There was no "hard choice", just excuses to charge more. If increasing the social aspect truly is the reason they did it, then I honestly don't know what to say because it's just outright bizarre and wrong.

    Frackers definitely help people fill up on gear faster, but in places and times where flash farms are a must and have limited life spans that is an advantage and a huge risk.

    They will never replace people who can just farm more gear more often anyway, locally I saw no real difference on balance because of frackers. There are many other variables.

    Both sides still had social gatherings at farms frackers or not, if anything using them more likely meant more people being there to take advantage of them. Because they cost money, and were such huge risk (farm smashing was big here).

    Now, even with the prices doubled, both sides largely farm on their own because we have a gigantic university full of portals that is almost permanently level 8 and green. No one tracks it and we have little need for frackers, which people are far less likely to buy now that they cost more.

    I know I sure am never buying them again at this price.

  • I know I sure am never buying them again at this price.

    Then the stated goal of reducing the number of frackers in the game economy succeeded.

  • I've done walking farms, solo standing micro-farms where it is rare for more than 2 agents to be onsite at the same time, and food & farms. By far, the most efficient at getting gear is the micro-farm (2-4 portals in range simultaneously, in an easily accessible spot - built up throughout the day/week, and hacked when people have time). Even without use of frackers, micro-farm definitely wins hands down - fewer distractions, easier to just burn the portals out and move on to blowing stuff up / building stuff up.

    Food and farms are definitely fun and social, but as a mom with several children, those events are exhausting and often I may not get more than a single hack in. I'd never consider them serious item farming opportunities.

    Walking farms were already winding down when I started ramping up my play, but it became more of a bragging rights event to create a walking farm before the other team would show up and knock it down. In fact similar situation with food & farms - opposite side would take great delight in disrupting one of these events, and my side has delighted in playing spoiler to the other team's events.

    The game has evolved, and in some ways the mechanics have definitely steered folks into a more sedentary and private style, versus the necessarily mobile and social aspects in the earlier days. That said, events themselves seem to continue to grow - the changes to FS last year have had a lasting impact, and possibly more changes like that can encourage more social play.

    One of the best parts of Ingress and one of the worst is that there is no one definition for winning. Some feel winning is taking your cycle. Some feel like they have won if they pull off a large field. Others feel like they won if they prevented an enemy op. For a while, a group I played with defined winning as how quickly we could rebuild our farms and how many farms we could have up simultaneously while also eliminating all P8s of the other team (man, those were super fun times). But everything is cyclic - sometimes a team really wants to win a cycle. Sometimes it is about maximizing AP. Sometimes it is about earning a badge: epic race to onyx translator in my area came down to teamwork: the player who had a team of folks dedicated to keeping as many P8s near him as possible beat out an enemy agent who was very good at glyphing but was limited to mainly P6s, thanks to our dedicated team knocking down any higher portals she could access - this was probably the closest to feeling like we 'won' Ingress that I have ever come, and it wasn't even my badge.

    Adding new score tallies in addition to cell MU capture, evolving events like the changes to FS, adding additional medals, and most importantly adding more 'mini-games' like glyphing will keep players challenged and engaged. Unfortunately, once something has become too easy, you can't directly nerf it without alienating folks (see: shields). You can combat it by introducing rare and VR weapons though - instead of nerfing shield stickiness for normal common weapons, why not introduce some rare and VR super ultrastrikes? Plus another branding opportunity. We can't roll back the clock, and it is unlikely any changes that last more than a few weeks would be rolled back. So let's focus on the future, and adding new ways to play and compete with each other.

  • If you make them unattractive people don't buy them then that is a failed goal.

  • MuzzgoodMuzzgood ✭✭✭
    edited November 2019

    The only thing wrong with todays shields is that they are to weak since nerf last december! Stop whining and get out of the car and stand on the portal! You knock an Aegis off with one L6 US today. ONE!

  • Nope. An Underdog faction need organization, mobility, flexibility and secrecy. Back in 2013, we were the underdog faction here and L8 farms were super secret - in line with the whole agents narrative. We'd agree on a place and time, stealthily move there and not appear in COMM until an agreed time that was often synchronized with known movement patterns of opposition agents. That's a whole level of strategic decision making that was nerfed by adding stronger shields.

  • Building games on ideology and social control is usually a bad plan. 

    You didn't read the article did you.

    John Hanke literally made Ingress, and PoGo and HPWU, to get his kids outside more...

  • The goal was to reduce the use of Frackers. They're literally trying to make them unattractive, and it worked.

  • Their latest game, wizards, is best played as a passenger in a vehicle to gather resources and then to sit in one place to do battles for hours.

    There seems to be a wide gulf between mission and execution. Ingress arguably does better than the others on those goals.

  • @NinthAnt

    There seems to be a wide gulf between mission and execution.

    This was my point in the original post.

    Ingress arguably does better than the others on those goals.

    That's a sad lament for their goals then.

  • Just adding some points... while not a founder, I have many Ingress years already under my belt like a lot of you. My area is São Paulo, Brazil. If you look at the last line of my profile, you can tell I'm stubborn.

    But I'm almost quitting. The current situation is too unbalanced, and too frustrating.

    If an area is too strongly dominated by one faction, no new players will ever start in the opposite faction, because they won't ever be able to do anything. If they do start in the opposite faction, thay stop playing almost right after since they cannot do anything. That means that if some area is too strongly dominated by one faction, is creates a self-reinforcing effect that is almost impossible to break. The opposition never gets strong enough to turn the tables because it can never form in the first place. There isn't anyone to connect to, since everyone stopped playing and moved on, so no social interaction.

    Sure, the other faction can and does sometimes regain control, when it wasn't wiped out yet, but it will be almost invariably very short-lived.

    Also, after being able to recurse, many opposite faction would choose to join the dominant one, because, why not jump at the opportunity of joining the "winners"?

    In my experience, the city ends up divided into areas that are almost untouchable by the faction opposite to the one controlling it currently and a lot of wastelands, where no one can hope to establish anything because players with high resources coming from the "fortresses" can easily just pass by (trains, buses, etc) and destroy everything. These "bastions" are endless supplies of resources, completely inhibit even the start of any meaningful opposition and discourage players even far from them.

    And as time passes, the more dominant faction steadily gains players and the opposite faction loses some. It has positive feedback, there isn't anything countering it and anything that does gets weaker and weaker.

    Now, onto ending the rant and trying to add something.

    In my opinion, the problem is not frackers, not shields and not glyphing. The problem is that the amount of effort required to maintain high powered entities is much lower, propotionately, to the effort needed to maintain lower powered ones.

    Let me explain this.

    A L8 portal (without flipping) is made by 8 players, who, at least once, gathered there. Now it outputs L8 items. L8 items are more powerful than any other, and the only way to effectively destroy a L8 portal is by using L8 items. But now you've got a source of L8 items that requires (proportionally) almost the same maintenance than a L7 portal built by eight L7 players. Since 8 players made a L8 portal, the likelyhood of more of those players being around and reaping the items (higher level) from is higher than a lower-lever portal.

    A field of "x" MUs requires 3 portals of a given level and prevents linking/fielding inside a given area. It's maintenance is the same as a field of "2x", but 2 fields each of "x" MUs require 1.33x more maintenance. A field of "100x" MUs requires the same upkeep as the "x" field, but 100 smaller fields of "x" MUs require, in the BEST case (a 99 spokes "wheel"), 97 TIMES more upkeep.

    Also, the larger fields have a much, much smaller attack surface than many small ones, compounding to the easierness of maintenance.

    In the end, the more powerful an area is, the easier is to keep it.

    In the same sense Glyph hacking is a proof-of-work way of generating resources (you trade time and attention for more items), higher level entities should require more work (time, attention) to be maintained. If something is more valuable, more effort should be required to keep it, not less.

    It translates to some possibilities:

    • The higher the level of a portal is, the faster it decays, proportionally to the lower levels.
    • Un-visited/un-hacked portals decay faster.
    • More powerful mods cause faster decay.
    • But most importantly, link/field size would cause faster decay in an positive exponential way. A multi-million MU field would last mere minutes without constant recharge, for example. It would require many players coordinating to keep it recharged all the time, at the same time redirecting those resources would make possible for other areas decay and be taken.
    • Frackers also drain power from the portal.

    This way, nothing stands in anyone's way of creating a megafield, or high level farm, or dominating whole areas, but it will demand much more work from its creators to maintain, self-restricting its size and duration.


    • Reinforces the social interactions because since the amount of work needed to keep large constructs is much higher, more cooperation is needed. Also, constructs are optimized since they're harder to keep.
    • High-level Farms are perfectly possible and even more encouraged by the resource drain, but if the faction wants to keep it, will have to spend a much larger proportion of its output in its maintenance.
    • Lower level players have much more chances of building something not destroyed instantly (or at all), Lower level players have some chance to level up, in some cases.
    • Valuable portals with high-level shields require much more maintenance effort, and therefore have much more strategic value
    • No need to nerf/buff shields, Glyphs, Frackers.
    • No need to make things easier/harder based on faction.
    • Self-balancing and finely tunable. And even self-tunable.

  • A player can farm an enemy P8 farm, then destroy it, solo. So the effort to build a P8 farm is far higher than the effort to destroy it. The cost only drops if you don't **** it.

  • starwortstarwort ✭✭✭✭✭

    The higher the level of a portal is, the faster it decays

    This is already true in absolute XM terms. A level 8 Portal loses 7,200 XM per day while a L5 Portal built by one agent (87665544) loses 4,500 XM per day and an all-R1 level 1 Portal only loses 1,200 XM per day. This matters when you are trying to keep them charged.

  • MuzzgoodMuzzgood ✭✭✭
    edited November 2019

    No, L8 gear is almost obsolete -anything on the playfield can be taken down today by a single L7 player and all shields can be taken off by a single L6 player after the shields nerf december 2018.

    Back in the days 2+ L8+ players with L8 gear was needed to take an Axa shielded area down.

    Soooo many seem to think that it is no hard work at all involved and takes noooo resources to keep a high level farm/area -why don't you try it first -and then have an opinion?

  • Back in the days 2+ L8+ players with L8 gear was needed to take an Axa shielded area down.

    This has never been true.

  • The key word is proportionally. While a L8 portal loses 7200XM/day, or 15% (7.2k / 48k) of its energy per day, it also gives out L8 cubes (8k XM). At the same time a L1 portal loses 1.2k MU/day (15%, 1.2k of 8k total) while giving L1 cubes. So, by this metric, all portal levels decay at the same rate.

  • Actually, by that logic, assuming you gained 1 cube per day, you would have an 800XM credit for the P8 portal, and a 200XM deficit for the L1 portal.

    However, cubes don't matter, because the difference between the two portals is that there is 10% of the portal's current XM value surrounding the portal on the ground. So if you sweep it up twice, you get more than enough to recharge that portal. XM recovers every 21 minutes, so if you're at a farm location you should never have to use cubes to recharge it.

  • You're arriving at one of my key points. Fire-and-forget megafields are too easy to maintain just because of the low XM cost and high availability of XM, and detract a lot from playability.

    On the other hand, a farm, if constantly used, has negligible maintenance cost and is adding a lot to the gameplay. Increasing its maintenance cost (high level portals + high level mods = faster decay) wouldn't cause much harm since XM is very plentiful as the result of farming.

    Also, the farm may be freely used by the other faction, who could choose to even flip it if it was abandoned and longer duration is desired, in contrast to a long-lasting megafield which only net effect is to restrict play.

  • "However, cubes don't matter, because the difference between the two portals is that there is 10% of the portal's current XM value surrounding the portal on the ground. So if you sweep it up twice, you get more than enough to recharge that portal. XM recovers every 21 minutes, so if you're at a farm location you should never have to use cubes to recharge it."

    (sorry, don't know how to quote parts)

    In practice (exactly today) I use the output of a single L8 portal to keep 20+ portals of various levels recharged. Just requires a little discipline.

  • Have we been playing the same game? haha

    Well if you have never teamed up with friends to take down an hard shielded Axa area? -then you have missed a huge social portion of the game! Figures :)

  • You're intentionally misrepresenting because you were wrong.

    Well if you have never teamed up with friends to take down an hard shielded Axa area? -then you have missed a huge social portion of the game! Figures :)

    I've done that plenty of times. However it was never needed.

     2+ L8+ players with L8 gear was needed to take an Axa shielded area down.

    This is only true if you were incompetent.

  • Please do not devolve the discussion into personal attacks.

    While I am quite frustrated at times with the current self-reinforcing imbalance caused by the too low upkeep of highly powered areas, I am enduring it year after year. I am not one of the most social players, not even by far, I prefer to play alone most of the time, but yes, I can get along groups strategies, etc. So I am not the main target here, OK?

    The whole point of the discussion is to work out some concerns, proposals and its consequences related to possible changes intending to reinforce the need for collaboration and coordination between players and decreasing player churn, caused by such frustration of not being able to play despite (for example) having portals in the area.

  • MuzzgoodMuzzgood ✭✭✭
    edited November 2019

    :D Well you just declared opposite faction in my area incompetent they usually attacked in pairs before shields nerf haha

    Now only a single player is needed to take the same are down :)

  • Again, you're misrepresenting because you're pushing an incorrect narrative. The people in your area may not need to work in pairs, but prefer to because the game is social. Now that there are fewer people, it's harder to find others with the right schedule etc.

    I've been soloing farms since August 2013, and I have never needed to have a second person help me.

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