Brian's Blog: Dec 2019
The first competitive Ingress event that I helped score was designed to bring people together to explore a new place, meet our team, and connect game actions and the event outcome back to the story. It also provided everyone with opportunities to meet up with other players from both factions. Anomaly events evolved from a small number of agents converging on a few portals at Cahokia Mounds with Joe Philley, to something much larger.
Ingress - Cahokia Mounds on YouTube
After Umbra, I felt we needed to change the anomaly series event format. Some of the features I missed were ways for more players to contribute to the anomaly other than remote recharging — off site; as well as an afterparty with official merch and opportunities to hang out with the Ingress team — on site. In a nut shell, if we're going to organize Niantic-hosted events, and if we're going to use Niantic-hosted events to help our team generate revenue, then they need to be worth it. Umbra didn't meet the quality experience I strived for.
For 2020, we're doubling down on scalable, competitive events that meet our goals to bring people together, and events where players in multiple regions across multiple dates can contribute scores to the overall anomaly total. We need some time to refine what shape these events might take, and we're currently playtesting battles for portal control, portal ornaments and volatile portals, captured mind units from connected cells via Regional Scores, and more.
Additionally, we're organizing a small number of Niantic-hosted events with an official afterparty, official merch, and opportunities to meet our Niantic team. The first of this Niantic-hosted event type will be in Munich, DE on May 9. H2 2020 Niantic-hosted events with official afterparty, official merch, etc. will be announced after we confirm venues.
Yes, there is currently one Niantic-hosted event scheduled for H1 2020, but there will also be additional flashpoint events — a new scalable, competitive event format (separate from the hexathlon) — that are designed to enable more players to participate together as a faction, and contribute to the anomaly series.
Finally, to repeat something I shared with our team: Events are core to Ingress; they make the game better. They're something I look forward to, they engage our most passionate fans, and they bring our community together. We want to enable even more scalable, competitive events in 2020, and on top of this, we're also going to organize several tentpole Niantic-hosted events in countries where we have the most Ingress players.
To many more adventures on foot with friends,
Go Brian :) 2020 looks like it's going to be a good year. I know people really want the big events, but I like the idea that there'll be stuff that's spread out, not going to cost an arm and a leg to attend, and be fun.
I am curious about badges for the smaller events, especially the portal battles leading up to the big anomaly event. I know people want them, will they exist? I know people are unhappy because they have not missed an anomaly the entire time that anomalies have existed and think they won't get an anomaly badge for 2020.
Thanks man, I'm really looking forward to this. I believe in you.
Thank you for the transparency. Can we PLEASE get more posts like this, and get them WHEN unpopular decisions are made, not in response to overwhelmingly negative feedback?
@MonkeyPelt I was in back-to-back meetings all day, I'm sorry it took me 10 hours to respond.
Thank you @NianticBrian for a better explanation. It speaks volumes. In addition, myself and undoubtedly others greatly appreciate the more detailed communication. Passion I think might be an understatement... can you blame us? 😋 Going forward 2020 will be the year of Robert Frost. I am elated to see where that path takes us.
@Jayrocky not one bit, that's on us, and I'm hyped for where we're going to take Ingress next year.
@NianticBrian LETS GET HYPE THEN!
@NianticBrian for those of us who have collected all of the Anomaly Badges thus far, is Munich going to be the only plus to get this Anomaly Badge? Or, will there be supporting projects/sites around the globe?
As much as it's nice to meet Niantic staff and hang out, a single event in Germany that I can't attend, makes me miss out on both a local event and hanging out with Niantic staff there. (LA is blessed with a Niantic office so we can have the hanging out at First Saturdays and other such events)
But for someone who can't make Germany and doesn't have a Niantic office in their city, the choice to forego additional sites because Niantic couldn't attend simply means they don't get to go to an event OR hang out with Niantic staff. I look forward to hearing about new event formats in more detail, but until we have dates and places, we're all still looking at a 5-6 month period with a single anomaly in it.
I hope we get more events in the same time-period, as the flashpoints suggest, because they sound like a good idea, but Niantic's track record on events has been bleak at times.
I appreciate the elaboration. As had been mentioned in the previous thread, brainstorming with the Vanguards who have the strongest sense of the the player-base would probably really pay off. They are volunteers there who love the game enough to give their time for free.
I'm definitely for scalable events and things that generate revenue for the company to sustain the game. For example I am relieved that cosmetics other than badge spam are becoming available in the game. I have been surprised that more cosmetic things have not become available in all of these years when most gaming companies offer something of that superficial level that generates revenue and player creativity.
There will always be something magical for the Ingress player-base in anomaly events. Even if there was one per region instead of just one in one region, I believe people would feel less left out and upset. For a lot of people this larger team play is what makes Ingress what it is, and unique. At the very least give each region the classic opportunity per named event.
In regard to recharging, as it was mentioned, I enjoy the opportunity to recharge if I am unable to attend. Trust most people will want to attend if it is at all feasible. But if I can't, I can get together with friends more locally at the same time as my teammates at the anomaly, so we still have a team supporting our team live during a big event. I just want to throw that out there in case recharge is under threat of an axe again. I travel a lot, and therefore have helped distribute for recharge many times in the past. I meet people in small communities where they just can't afford the sort of travel I am fortunate to be able to do. Or people with disabilities, or children, etc. When I've delivered keys for recharge opportunities, let me tell you, people have been very grateful to be included in the bigger picture in that way.
If there will be other opportunities for inclusivity in that way, I support it. Though, speak to your Vanguards, use that resource. Sometimes an idea can seem really great but tested against the people who have current, regular, deep experience from different regions and factions, you might find things like, "Connected cell scoring usually still goes to the few who can travel to hard access points with expensive hardware" - or other real world insights that might not have been considered. The Vanguards want you to succeed. They want the community happy.
Once again thank you for elaborating. Cheering you guys on, and repeating again to make heavy use of that resource in the Vanguards you have.
Yes, there will be additional opportunities other than being onsite at the Niantic-hosted event in Munich, DE to acquire the anomaly medal.
For me, the negative or low value experiences at Umbra had less to do with a Niantic's engagement with the playerbase and more with quality of gameplay, namely that there appeared to be significant server lag in performing gameplay actions for a lot of the players.
I agree that Niantic engagement was missing and missed during Umbra. But if we could all do it over again, and the only change being added Niantic presence and engagement, the value would not be changed for me.
I'd love to make the 2nd Ingress @ Sea excursion officially MDAS II! It was soooo successful this last time around - wonderful xfac relations, good ingressing, and I think most everyone had a blast walking and exploring both the ship and each port stop! While we aren't official yet, for anyone who is interested, check out the TG group at https://t.me/joinchat/C2LexEaO5nmTwNDiSaQrKQ (that group is the place for announcements and info on the cruise) and the official booking page is https://www.eiseverywhere.com/website/8588/
While the new, more encompassing events sound like they'll be great once the kinks are worked out, I can't help but feel that by only hosting a single Anomaly in H1 Niantic is leaving out a large portion of the players. Even 1 Anomaly per region would have been possibly better received since it would cut down on travel for the majority. I only got far enough into Ingress to start attending Anomalies in February this year. I had so much fun in New Orleans that I immediately scheduled to attend Atlanta a month later. Then Chicago, followed by Madison, and even did remote participation for Sacramento when couldn't get off work to attend. With the exception of Madison, due to time constraints, I've driven to these events. Now, with just the one announced event, I'm told if I want to go I'll have to pay to fly... and get my passport... and possibly apply for a visa to visit... etc.
After all of this time of holding multiple events in multiple regions not just in H1 but usually in both Q1 & Q2, it seems like such a let down that we're limited to this one chance for participation if we can even afford to participate at all.
Yesssss!!!! Please engage your Vanguards!!! 💙💚
Thank you very much for provided, I think, that this is the type of the communication community needs. It seems very transparent for me and it would be great benefit for all of us, if you had more posts with future plans and past experiences, it gives you expectidness and even unpopular decisions you make could be accepted by players in a better way.
@SpiritVet we’ve been working to make Ingress more stable across both client and server, and I hope you’re seeing improvements in everyday gameplay and at recent First Saturday events.
@NianticBrian great to see some anomaly play dates coming out. Might be worth noting that April 25th is also Anzac Day in AU/NZ, where we remember the awful Gallipoli campaign in WW1, as well as all of those who have served and sacrificed in the service of our countries in various conflicts and other theatre of war. It's probably our most sacred day down end of the world, and many players will have other commitments throughout the day. If there's anything planned for down here, many of us would appreciate if if it's not also schedule for then!
It might be post for different forum, how are Vanguards active in your area how is their work visible to the player base?
Bro, the stability of the most recent update has been amazing.
@Doomsidoodeedoo our global community manager has been the primary connector between the vanguards and our team, but I’d love to connect and work more closely in the future.
During our last FS in Arizona we had about 20 active agents. I deployed over 1200 resonators and gained nearly 500k AP and had ZERO issues/crashes on Prime. The improvements your team has been making to the game’s backend are very much noticed and appreciated!!!
Some quick examples include the times when they have posted surveys to players to collect ideas to refine for presentation to Nia. They typically are active, experienced agents with demonstrated leadership. You should hear more about them because they should be promoted more by Niantic. Though unfortunately it often seems like they are an afterthought, and not looped in. There are Vanguards on both teams, and frankly they're the ones regardless of faction that I would put the most faith in among the player base to try to have realistic brainstorming sessions if given the opportunity by the company they volunteer for.
That's really great to hear. Any of them I've ever spoken to have been smart, experienced, and connected to many of the dimensions of the game, from local play, to ops, to missions, to anomalies, etc. I'm sure they'll be thrilled to be utilized and looped in better!
how much i must pay for this anomaly?
and refund will be available?
sarkasm not allowed
Thank you @NianticBrian.
Seconding what @Perringaiden said above. The answer is not more local events and fewer concentrated big ones. IMO Niantic's best anomaly was Recursion Prime in Austin; the outside tents, the location, the Niantic peeps to chat with - all were fantastic. Abaddon Prime in Chicago was also fantastic in this way, though understandably more expensive due to the larger scale.
I go to anomalies to explore new cities and meet new people, not go to the same FS location we've been using for years. This announcement was incredibly disappointing to me and many other frequent anomaly attendees; it reeks of more downsizing like we've seen lately, and not simply a pivot to refocus on community.
We've said it time and time again: Want money? Give swag. Recent anomalies have sharply downscaled the swag options available to agents, which was massively disappointing to many of us who have been faithfully collecting pins and patches for years. I still remember being told that a Niantic employee had once told an anomaly organizer "we could do more swag, but we really don't want to make money off of it", which is still incredibly backwards in my opinion, but still reflects the reality that we would absolutely pay for it if it was offered. Honestly, the lack of Niantic presence and swag at recent anomalies has been a big turnoff for me personally, and I wouldn't be surprised if that were at least part of why attendance has dropped.
Thanks for the update, we need more communications like this and no like the one we had a few hours ago, with small and dry information.
More people to people information, a RoadMap, someone suggested, ask the community in the forums, read the agents comments and suggestion to monetize ingress, but don't take bad decisions, those who don't like most of the people who we REALLY LOVE INGRESS.
Please continue with the communication and include more countries and cities around the world for future events.
We in Argentina don't have an anomaly since JUNE 2015. ☹️
Can understand delay responding. The issue is you having to respond. The post above would have addressed everything nicely if communicated with the event announcement.
Although i will not be able to attend Munich, the smaller events are hopefully attendable and I like the idea of smaller and more spread out events.
Please keep remote recharge. A lot of ppl look at it as a free badge but it should not be. Our local team though goes to a lot of effort in running them, organising remote key farming, key courier, intel leads, venue, key distribution and recharge management. Plus org the pizza and beer.
Living in the most remote capital city in the world has these challenges however we have an exceptional player base that's featured in multiple Ingress News stories, youtube vids and unique playing techniques.
Thank you @NianticBrian This is great news. I was always a fan of connected cells from the old days. Glad to hear some version of it might be coming back.