Ingress AMA Archive

Any clarifications regarding portal/wayspot criteria is outdated.
Please refer to the official Wayfarer criteria for all current criteria

September 18th 2017

Q1: A cell wide/World scoreboard or leader-board (for various game stats) would be great to see, could you grab some crayons for us?
A1: I've toyed around asking if we can have a quarterly leader board for global stats. I will advocate for it if there is enough interest.
Q2: When you answer AMA, could you save the list of unanswered questions and perhaps answer those, through the week? Appreciate you're busy and you're getting more questions than you can answer. We love AMA and would like to see it grow.
A2: Unfortunately, this is about all the time I can carve out for these questions.
Q3: Why is there a requirement of attendance at anomalies for Vanguard? There are many good agents (on both sides) who don't go to them; seems a shame they are denied the opportunity to participate because of that.
A3: Anomalies are very strategic for us. Thus, having a first hand understanding of them is very important.
Q4: Any surprises after the anomaly this weekend? wink wink portal submissions
A4: Portal submissions are imminent.
Q5: Earlier this year, a number of the opposition had screenshots from thier Intel scraping interface channel leaked out. Since those were screenshots, it wasn't really enough to get them banned. Some of them have taken that as Intel scraping for guardians is okay, and happily use that information openly now. Can you make a statement on this?
A5: The TOS states that you agree not to... "extract, scrape, or index the Services or Content (including information about users or game play);"
Q6: How can we help with behind the scanner?
A6: I'm always looking for people to interview.
Q7: Since banner missions are so popular, are there any plans to enhance the mission authoring tool to make them easier to produce?
A7: Nothing that I've heard at this time.
Q8: Any chances you coming to Berlin?
A8: A small chance.
Q9: Hello Andrew! I was wondering if you saw the list of Glyphs I left you? Also if you were to make a glyph, what do you think it would look like or represent?
A9: I did see them actually. My glyph would represent transcendence.
Q10: Any update on the vanguard program?
A10: We received several thousand applications. I read several hundred a day. October 1st is the deadline to notify those who have been selected.
Q11: For us rechargers of long distance portals the 4000 km range isn't long enough any thoughts on increasing the proportion so that a L16 can recharge the same distance as a P8 with 4 VRLA 6881 kms
A11: Not a bad idea. But the pros and cons need to be weighed.
Q12: Does Niantic keep any kind of list of game-related records?
A12: Great question. I've seen some data but I don't know how many different things are captured.
Q13: Someone on my anomaly team doesn't like cake. How do you think I should proceed?
A13: Normally I preach inclusion... but...
Q14: Is there anything you do against illegal Databases, where you can see pretty much anything?
A14: Send me whatever information you have on them and I'll see what can be done. I can't make any promises though.
Q15: Hi Andrew! This week I have two questions. 1. Recently in Guangzhou, China, a local ENL who is witnessed as "mentally unstable" stabbed an RES with scissors when the victim was attacking his couch portal. It's understandable in many situations it's hard for NIA to arbitrate, but for situation clear enough, and the offender constantly pose a danger to other players, is there anything more NIA can do (beyond hardban both parties and let them cool down?
A15: Niantic's jurisdiction is only with the game. I hope the incident was reported to local law enforcement if someone hurt another person.
Q16: 2. Recently a rumor was circulating about some agents use VPN/proxy and causes hardban, as it's unlikely (Since all China agents rely on that), it would be very appreciated if NIA can clear this issue.
A16: I am often connected to a VPN when I play. I don't want my ISP snooping on my traffic or shaping it based on what I am doing.
Q17: Is it true that the completed missions in Ingress 2.0 are displayed in a row with 8 instead of 6? :) :)
A17: I have no idea.
Q18: If you had any archetype's ability what one would you have and why?
A18: The Translator's ability. Seems to be a good one for a Global Community Manager.
Q19: What do you think is the reason we cannot currently upgrade mods in modslots to a higher tier, like we can with the resonators in their slots?
A19: I don't know the reason. But it's something that has been discussed.
Q20: May we ever see an introduction of other PCI-DSS certified payment-methods (like PayPal) for buying swag-packs? If not, could you shed some light on why (only) CC is used?
A20: I have no idea.
Q21: is there an official (classified) document on which parts of the Ingress "story" history is considered canon/hallucination/lie/intrigue?
A21: No I don't think a single official source exists.
Q22: You mentioned that "mass reporting" players doesn't influence the outcome of said reporting. Is that true for reporting / editing portals aswell? Do you have any success-advices for such requests?
A22: Reporting and editing are two different things. I'm not that familiar with how editing works. It doesn't seem to be a factor in reporting though.
Q23: Leading on from +Krisztina Thaisz comment ... what's your cake of choice?
A23: Yes. That one. That one. Yes, that one. Yes. Yes to all the cake.
Q24: Rather than asking, "What's the OPR status?!?!?" like everyone does every week, do you think you could pass a request along to the OPR admins to create a heatmap of where/how many outstanding OPR reviews? I think that would answer many queries about OPR.
A24: While I think this is a neat idea and will certainly pass it along. It doesn't seem like something that would get prioritized over Ingress 2.0 in terms of resources allocated for it.
Q25: As much as I would still love your mother's lasagna recipe, what are your thoughts on an official Ingress cookbook, where agents from across the globe and Niantic staff could submit their favorite formulas for Ingress XM nourishment.
A25: Pretty cool idea.
Q26: What is the hot topic of discussion when all of the 2.0 devs sit down in the fancy Niantic meeting room and hash out how it's coming together? Not looking for details or leaked screen shots, just curious of the big internal debates of game dynamics.
A26: On-boarding.
Q27: What are the RES/ENL winning scenarios for the #13MAGNUSReawakens anomaly series this weekend?
A27: I die my beard blue if the RES win and green if the ENL win. A tie and it remains the same (even in the event of a tie breaker).
Q28: Will NL 1331 come to southamerica sometime?
A28: I don't know.
Q29: Anything solid you can share about a worldwide mini-event coming up? I...... can't....... wait!!!! =)
A29: Yes.
Q30: We need an actual timeframe of when portal submissions will be open, can you give us one?
A30: Need? I think you'll be very happy soon.
Q31: Is there a suggestions box as such, where we can send suggestions (sensible ones) to the developers?
A31: Many of them read the weekly AMA's. So this is a good place to start.
Q32: Can you tell me what NIA officials usually do?
A32: I am sorry, I don't understand the question.
Q33: +Andrew Krug hello from Croatia.Whats your opinion on PoGo players lvling up to portal submission(currently is 8) level in Ingress then quitting because they got what they wanted?
A33: I think if they are quitting then we as the community are failing to reach out to them and show them the awesomeness that is Ingress. I realize they may be leveling up just to be able to do certain things in Ingress that benefits them in Pokémon GO. I don't fault them for using the system. Buying accounts is not acceptable. But is there more that we as the Ingress player community could be doing to retain some of these other players?
Q34: Tell us a story about a portal that has personal meaning to you.
A34: Man... I have to pick just one? A portal that has meaning to me no longer exists. It was the "It's Good To Be King" portal located on the grounds of the White House in Washington D.C. The Enlightened were the first to make the White House a P8 and we did it on my birthday. Having everyone out and doing something fun like that on a special day for me was a blast. Unfortunately, it is believed that our SITREP caused the Portal to be removed from the game. So we were the first and only ones that can make that claim. But I have so many portals that are special to me. I will also hack and save a key from all of the airports I travel to. There was also the Portal I hacked right before and after my in person interview with Niantic. Ones for all the hotels I've stayed at. All the sightseeing portals like the Guinness Factory in Dublin. My Key Lockers represent where I've been and the journeys I have been on. I have a lot of stories. Before I worked for Niantic I travelled a lot for my previous job as well. My favorite series of Portals are the ones that make up the solar system walk in Anchorage Alaska. I think it was my trip to Alaska that really cemented for me personally the power of Ingress and what it enables. That series is what I think epitomizes what Portals should be - and I have keys for them all.
Q35: 2000+ Hacks, 4000+ glyph points, 0 ITO,... WHY?!!!
A35: Me too. Me too...
Q36: Any further news regarding the new capsule?
A36: I'll have to check with my sources. I have not heard any new rumors for a while now.
Q37: Do you like tacos as much as I do?
A37: No. But my kids do.
Q38: I've heard that putting a small packet of dried yeast in each sock can increase your chances of hacking an AXA by up to 9.3%. Can you confirm this?
A38: There are too many variables to answer this question. What kind of yeast? How long does it have to stay in your socks? What kind of socks? Can my toenails be painted? Do I have to stay still or can I still go ghost hunting? Will the ghosts throw off the pH balance of my socks with their ectoplasm? What is the pH balance of ectoplasm? Is Bill Murray dead?
Q39: Will every new portal in Ingress be a Pokéstop/Gym in Pokémon Go?
A39: This is a very important question. The answer is - NO. There is not a 1:1 relationship.
Q40: Controversial one this...... Is it possible in V2 that banned players would be banned via their devices IMEI number? We have a local spoofer who does not even try to hide the fact, banned 4 times, just creates another character and carries on.
A40: This question makes the assumption that we are not banning by IMEI number and that it cannot be faked.
Q41: Are you joining us on Mission Day Dordrecht???
A41: Sadly, no.
Q42: I sent you a PM about trademarks and licensing. Did you read it ? Thanks
A42: I am behind on reading my HO messages and I have 1150 TG messages unread. So chances are I may have missed it. My goal is to catch up on everything this week.
Q43: When you send a ticket from support.niantic but it is labeled as "Resolved" the second it is sent, what does that mean? Is it intended to be like that or is it some kind of error?
A43: This is too generic of a situation to speculate on what is happening.
Q44: November and December will be hard months for IFS meetings since anomalies will be held on the first saturdays of those months Did Niantic think in an alternativa such as LAST saturday as an idea...?
A44: I don't think IFS will be as impacted as you may be implying. IFS are global events held in many places that do not have an Anomaly or an Anomaly that can be easily reached.
Q45: You said you couldnt give any numbers about players at anomalies. But could you tell if the number of participants are going up or down in like the last few years?
A45: It is very difficult to compare Apples to Apples for many reasons. For starters, we went six months without an Anomaly. How does that impact things? We have had quarters with 9 events and some with 18 and one with 19 (the Tokyo Meganomaly). We didn't sell swag at satellites for a long time. Now we do. How does that impact attendance? All of these factors and more make it really hard to qualify the trends. Quantifying it with numbers quarter over quarter wouldn't provide an accurate narrative.
Q46: Can we speculate that you will open the portal sub around the anniversary of Ingress?
A46: You are free to speculate about anything you want.
Q47: You always talk about tea and coffee. Did you ever drink mate? Do you know mate and his tradition in Argentina and Uruguay?
A47: I had something called Yerba Mate once in a yellow can. I did not like it.
Q48: Pineapple pizza... where do you stand?
A48: If you have been following my AMA's or talk to my bot on TG then you know I'm a fan of pineapple. But it has to be with the right ingredients on a pizza. The spice of Jalapenos and the saltiness of ham, bacon, or something like that with a crust that crunches compliments the soft and sweet pineapple.
Q49: What's your favorite dog breeds? (please say Labrador)
A49: Rottweiler.
Q50: What do you enjoy more, anomalies or Mission Days?
A50: I like them both for different reasons. Although I'll say I think that Operation Clear Field was more fun that both. Maybe it's because OCF was new to me. But I loved it.
Q51: hello Andrew, who is stronger, the shark or the bear?
A51: The bear of course.
Q52: You already sayd there will be cool new things with keys managment. What do you think about the ability to set some portals or keys as favourites? So that it will be easyer to recharge important portals such as guardians or friendly HP and WP without the need to search in hundreds of keys
A52: I think it is a fantastic idea.
Q53: Would you consider faction changing to RES to restore the balance of factions among public facing Niantic employees?
A53: No because my faction doesn't interfere with or influence anything. Neither does the faction of my co-workers. Let's be honest, it also wouldn't stop RES from saying things are ENL biased and the ENL from saying things are RES biased. It's the nature of things.
Q54: Players at what levels will be able to add portals?
A54: You'll find out soon enough.
Q55: I have hard rumors of folks agreeing to rate all portals in an area 1-star in order to get their OPR badges faster.
A55: This is a bad idea for many reasons and the system can tell when this occurs.
Q56: How about a 'ingress for kids'? There are lots of families playing ingress out of TOS. Maybe it's a time to change the old oct 2015 rules.
A56: We are bound by certain laws based on the implementation of things and the services that are connected to Ingress. I don't see this changing any time soon.
Q57: Could we translate the RPE's rulesets/senarios to Japanese Language, and play them?
A57: That seems like fair use to me.
Q58: Do you think a code validity checker is a good or bad idea? My cards got mixed up in a move, and there's no way to tell if they're redeemed or not... Without of course redeeming them. Are there any cons in your view to implementing a check without redeem? I'd even be willing to pay the XM price...
A58: I think this is a great idea actually. I'll pass it on.
Q59: Hello Andrew ! What do you think about this poll result ?
A59: I think it is amusing.
Q60: Will we see the pony rider glyph go live in the future?
A60: Are you sure there isn't one in the game already? Have we discovered all the glyphs?
Q61: One of our agents flipped from Resistance to Enlightened some time ago (started a new account). At the same time, she saved the old blue account (at least she can read the fractional blue comm and use this account to store items). Іt's a violation of ToS (1 agent = 1 account). Please advise how to proceed in this situation?
A61: Report both accounts.
Q62: Hey Krug, my question went unanswered last time, so I'm gonna phrase it nicely again. Agents doing OPR are complaining about zones where there are insufficient reviewers, making it impossible to get any new portal up. What's your thought on this problem?
A62: I think it is a problem we need to think about solving.
Q63: any news about the Embedded Reporters for the next anomaly stop... after or before this Sunday? :D
A63: I believe there was a post today about them.
Q64: What happened to the codes promised to the agents with an unbroken sojourner? Many of us who applied didn't get it yet. Will we ever? Thanks! :)
A64: Send me a private message.
Q65: Why are portals (especially Guardian portals which are usually not fully deployed) not restored when a Spoof account is banned?
A65: We don't currently have a way to correct this situation with all the aspects that need to be reset without it being a heavy impact on resources. Maybe in the future. But it is something I'll keep advocating for.
Q66: How come there are still bots in use? And of course fake gps. I'm thinking to quit the game since all my possible guardians are taken down in fake.
A66: The short answer is that it is a very complex problem without a simple single way to resolve it. We close loopholes and exploits all the time but we clearly don't have all of them, and honestly, I'm not sure it will be possible to ever stop cheating 100%. This isn't something unique to Ingress. A lot video games have some level of cheating that is possible. There have even been scandals in the competitive gaming circles with professional gamers being caught cheating. Don't give up. We aren't giving up on the fight. Maybe focus on something other than your guardian for a little while. Ingress has many ways that it can be played and enjoyed.
Q67: this wasn't answered last time, so I ask just again, rephrased: In the Ingress Help Center it's written "Codename changes are only allowed for players that accidentally input their real name or their activation code." Is this obsolete, when we have local players that are able to change their code name several times?
A67: Without knowing the situation it is hard to comment. There are legitimate reasons for allowing more than one name change. But I don't know if any of them were applied to the situation you are referring to.
Q68: Will there be a revamp tutorial/introduction for ingress 2.0?
A68: Yes.
Q69: Dear Andrew, would you consider visiting Russia for our national ten-day New Year binge party? We could create some major festive event for all ingress fans)) We have pirogi!
A69: A ten day party?!?! I don't know that I can be off-line that long :)
Q70: Hello Andrew, does Niantic have any plan to bring more kinds of events to mainland China?
A70: I am not sure. But I know there are some restrictions that we would probably have to deal with if we did.
Q71: Is there a way to stop either the Shapers or N'zeer from entering our world on Saturday?
A71: The question is: are the exogenous (and exo precursors) actually shapers and N'zeer themselves, or just something connected to them. I don't think we know the answer to that yet, and I think it's pretty likely that folks like Akira Tsukasa aren't going to rest until they've studied them up close and personal, regardless of the cost or risk. So what can an agent do? Step 1: build a mind palace. You may not be able to protect everyone, but you can protect yourself. Step 2: if we are going to, as a species, begin to interact with these exo-precursors, make sure they're the right ones.
Q72: Can you share the information about Ingress development team?
A72: I cannot.
Q73: Hi..would u guys consider to create a new badge like Mind Unit Eliminator..??Especially for those who love to destroy anchor/baf.
A73: It is something that has been discussed. Nothing has been finalized though.
Q74: Cats or Dogs?
A74: Dogs
Q75: Hi Andrew, is there any rule about faction changes? we have an agent who asked for a faction change two and a half months ago and he is still waiting for a response. Is there any response time defined by Niantic for faction changes? Thank you!
A75: Have them contact me via TG @RedSoloCup.
Q76: What's your favorite example of Ingress emergent gameplay?
A76: Just recently in Russia, players made F'N AMAZING field art of Zeus. There is also the Missions for Good and Red Faction efforts that tug on the heart for the good they do.
Q77: Any Halloween plans?
A77: Maybe a special BTS episode.
Q78: Hi Andrew ! Will Magnus Reawakens Beacon be only available on the scanner shop in the pack with 20 frackers or should it be possible to buy some separately ? If so do you have a idea about the delay we can expect ?
A78: Only as a fracker pack.
Q79: Describe a room from your mind palace.
A79: It's dark. So dark that you can't see your hand in front of your face. You can only hear yourself breating. After a few minutes of silence the room start to illuminate with the pattern of stars... stars everywhere...
Q80: I'm curious that how much time did you spend to answer the questions this week?
A80: As much time as it takes haha.
Q81: What do you think about making dropping and collecting capsules public, with a comm entry, like applying a portal fracker? For it might make silent key exchanges more difficult, I like the idea to see all those inactive players with large inventories become visible.
A81: Innnnnnnteresting... I kind of like it.
Q82: Will you do another Europe tour next year?
A82: I hope so. I hope to visit many other places too. Maybe Japan, India, Australia, South America, etc.
Q83: What is Niantic's position on
A83: I'm not sure about our official position. I personally think it is against the spirit of the game.
Q84: We know that Ingress has been running for a long time. Many portal objects in real world are removed or destroyed now. Are these portals still valid or they should be reported as fake portals?
A84: They should be reported as invalid.
Q85: Hey Andrew, do you like surströmming?
A85: If this video is any indication... I will probably hate it:
Q86: Is it possible to short-term freeze in obtaining achievements - for a week or 30 days? The fact is that people live a real life - go on business trips - rest in summer on vacation, sick in the hospital, or take care of children or parents ...
A86: We want to encourage adventures on foot. So I don't think it would apply to vacations. Especially when there are portals to find all over the world. The problem then becomes one of creating a system to scale to verify requests. Because, how do we know what you are claiming is real? I just think it is a slippery slope that opens up all kinds of potential abuse.
Q87: Is the portal submission reopening still in "very soon" stage or are we getting already to "very very soon"? :)
A87: We are in the imminent stage.