Ingress AMA Archive
Q1: Is there any plan for Ingress Prime to add the feature where you could "long press" on a portal and drag to hack/hack no key/see mods?
A1: Currently all you have to do is click on a Portal and the mods are instantly accessible and displayed in the upper right. This information is revealed with just a single click. So whether you long press (as requested) or quick tap (as it is implemented) on a Portal, it’s all one action. While in that Portal details screen you can long press the Hack button for the hack/hack no key option. Admittedly, this is two actions, but anecdotally in testing how this works, it feels like it takes about the same time. So I’m not sure that this is a feature request I would prioritize. There is also the issue with long pressing which was talked about in a recent previous AMA.
Q2: What can you tell us about the future of competitive play in Ingress?
A2: This has also been discussed before I believe. But since a number of people asked about it this month it might be worth repeating. In short, once we have migrated Ingress Prime to the new servers it is going to open up a lot of functionality we could not do previously. I kind of view the work being done this year as very fundamental for the future of Ingress. I also don’t think Ingress has realized its full potential. There are a number of ideas we’ve chatted about in brainstorming sessions that include timed group challenges, daily/monthly/special quests, raids, crafting, random cooperative challenges requiring both factions, adventures via an instanced experience, adventures via an AR/VR experience, etc. While some ideas are being explored more than others, not much will be implemented until Ingress is on the Niantic Real World Platform aka the new servers.
Q3: Is there anything you can share regarding a timeline to feature parity in Prime and the (presumed) eventual retirement of Scanner [REDACTED]?
A3: I wish I had an update to share. A number of our team will be in Tokyo, including our Product Manager Scot Frank. I’ll talk with him about getting a more defined timeline. But as it stands, when Ingress Prime starts to get to the point where most of the things in REDACTED have been implemented, the time is near. This doesn’t include the big tentpole features but also the little things as well. Obviously, the desire is sooner rather than later but even when Prime is considered 90% feature complete or more the team will weigh the needs of what the appropriate course of action will be. There is a roadmap and the new servers will not be able to support REDACTED and as a result, REDACTED will not be able to use any new features or gameplay.
We have internal goals and milestones we are striving to hit. But nothing that can be released publicly at this point in time. A good example of things fluctuating is what happened with the 2.19 release. It had to be pulled because of a critical bug that wasn’t discovered until we had rolled it out to 10% of the Android players. This is also why we stagger the rollouts. This will obviously set things back a bit as that bug needs to be fixed. This means resources that would have been working on something different are not focused on the bug.
Q4: A lot of players will not be able to upgrade their devices for a long long time. What is Niantic doing to help them continue playing as Prime has several restrictions on the device usable.
A4: We are continuing to make changes and tweaks for lower-end devices. In fact, the latest release included this update, “Performance: Graphical updates when running on lower end devices”. With that being said, there will be a limit at some point in what we are able to do. That is the natural evolution of software development.
Q5: Is the dev team aware of the 100 badge limit in Prime, and is something being done about it? This is a pretty big deal to us long time players and badge collectors. There's nothing quite as discouraging as redeeming a new face badge and having something like Founder or Seer fall off your profile. I will personally be missing my 7 oldest badges after the next anomaly.
A5: We are going to look into this. Thank you for flagging it.
Q6: Is there any plans of ingress getting a searching bar in the mission box? It is really complicated to find missions in mission days.
A6: The engineering team says this is on their eventual list of things they would like to implement. However, it isn’t something that will be implemented before the servers have been upgraded.
Q7: If agent choose to hide their profile, in Prime their missions can't be seen fully. But in Scanner [redacted] (and previous old Ingress) all the missions can be seen regardless of agent's profile privacy setting. I want to ask if it's the new feature of Prime, or it's just a bug :-)
A7: I spoke to the team about this, it was not an intentional change, but it also isn’t a bug. It occurs because the way some of the things in Prime were implemented. They have been talking about changing this. More to come on this topic…
Q8: Will there be a game designer doing an AMA or a longer post explaining the design visions and ideas behind some changes in Ingress and also the prime client?
A8: We don’t have one specifically planned. But we do want to do more insights, blog posts, and continue to have more transparency with our communication. Once we get the new community tool online we’ll have a place for all of that content and can start to execute on some of those things.
Q9: One of the biggest issue with prime is unreliable loading of map entities leading to restart the scanner. Why is there no force sync yet?
A9: According to the engineering team, the next release of Ingress Prime (2.20.1) will address the loading issue. So as a result, it is not anticipated that a force sync feature is needed at this time. That being said, if we continue to have issues they will weigh the pros and cons of adding a feature like this in at a later date. The more ideal solution, and the goal they are striving towards, is to resolve any loading issues so you don’t have to use a force sync function.
Q10: Do you currently see a time frame, when Redacted is removed entirely?
A10: Yes. REDACTED will eventually cease to exist.
Q11: Hi Andrew, why agents that recursed and reached again the level 10 can’t have additional 14 submissions (so 28) as reward for their courage to restart the adventure? It was mentioned when presenting the recursion that it will bring some cool stuffs to agents who did.
A11: This is not a bad idea. I have forwarded it to the team.
Q12: Has there ever been any consideration given to changing the linking rule so it would be possibly to field under fields?
A12: Every now and then this is discussed. I personally think it breaks one of the great things about Ingress and I haven’t heard any strong arguments as to why this would be a good thing and I am fairly confident the team feels the same way from my conversations with them.
Q13: Why don't I get the XM in Prime if I recycle items but still do in Scanner redacted?
A13: Thanks for flagging this for us. You do actually get the XM. What is different from REDACTED is that you don’t get the XM received message in Ingress Prime. I just tested to confirm this and the XM is received. I’ll pass this along to the team to see if we can add more visual feedback with recycling items.
Q14: When regional scoring is restored for Ingress Prime can we also get a Worldwide Cell vs Cell score? A count on the number of cells worldwide controlled by each faction or remaining neutral with no mu score?
A14: The engineering team says this will not be in the initial release of regional scoring. But it is something being discussed.
Q15: Hey Andrew. I asked you on the livestream if you guys planning an update on the IngressPrimeFeedback spreadsheet. You guys started updating it and you guys stopped again. It's kinda frustrating to see that bugs resolved remains unresolved and people who see those assumes that the bugs are not resolved. Not daily but a weekly update on that spreadsheet maybe every 2 weeks with the update if you update that spreadsheet it would be awesome ❤️😊
A15: This is sadly a very sore spot for me as I was hoping we could update it more regularly. Unfortunately, it requires a small group of people to review the spreadsheet and note what the status of things are. Mapping user submitted feedback to the internal bugs and tasks isn’t quite automatic or 1 to 1 so it takes a bit of time. Give me a bit to work on updating how we can regularly update this.
Q16: Now that capsules can be renamed, will it ever be possible to rename other items? (Aegis shields to AXA shields for example)
A16: Not at this time. AXA Shields were sponsored items. I’m not sure it would be a good business decision to allow a sponsored item to be renamed. Renaming other items might lead to confusion when players talk about deploying Gummy Bears on Portals with new Players.
Q17: Do you plan to implement Android's back button functionality on iOS in Prime?
A17: I was told by our developers that no, we do not plan on implementing this.
Q18: Thanks for fixing glyphing in prime. The next essential feature missing is sharing your stats for agent stats. Is this on the roadmap ?
A18: Our product team says they were just talking about this and it is something they are considering adding to the game at some point in time.
Q19: Why there’s the need of new MD template mandatory? A lot of Mission Days including China have meticulously designed icons, isn’t there a worry of being all the same?
A19: To set a global expectation and to standardize the process so people around the world can share best practices learn from each other. There is also an aspect of branding as well that we want to keep consistent too. Things are different enough that I don’t think you will confuse a Beijing, China Mission Day mission icon with a Salt Lake City, Utah, USA mission icon. Especially for the people that participated in them.
Q20: Where are Prime Challenge and Intel Ops going to be in the future when they’re unlikely to be in Darsana Prime? If for any reason they’re discontinued, will the badge adapt to the situation?
A20: Our Events Team says, “We are still planning what the next Prime Challenge series will entail, and when it will occur. It most likely will not happen before 2020. Intel Ops is happening in Darsana Prime, and there are still tickets available (https://events.ingre...
Q21: Will NIAOPS perform background check on IFS applicants? Do you expect "faction leader" to have deep connections within the local faction community?
A21: At this time, we are not performing background checks on Ingress First Saturday (IFS) organizers. IFS events are community run and community hosted events. Niantic supports them with providing rewards for participating in them. But that is the extent of it. There is no requirement that Agents must follow the guidelines for hosting an IFS event. You only need to follow the guidelines if you want to be eligible for rewards provided by Niantic and to be recognized by and published on the Fev Games website. Anyone can host an Ingress social event and get people together on the first Saturday of the month.
Q22: The current anomaly rule can alleviate the number of people difference, but since it takes an average value, is there a problem that weak agent can contribute to the faction if not official registration?
A22: Anomalies have never had a mechanic that prevented un-registered Agents from interacting with Portals in an Anomaly Zone. Anomalies are free walk-on type events that anyone can join. There is obviously an advantage if Agents organize themselves to try to maximize their efforts to win. But registration is not a requirement to play. However, with the current rules, for some of the game mechanics, we only evaluate the actions of Agents that check-in and hack the registration Portal. There is a bit of an odd situation with one of the game mechanics that could lend itself to being exploited by Agents not registering. However, by doing that to help that one aspect of the Anomaly, their actions would not be counted towards the other three types of Anomaly game play. So this would result in a bit of a handicap for their own faction. If people already have the medal, they may not care. But again, most players I know want to win. I don’t think they would sacrifice three phases for one phase. Especially since one of the phases is winner take all with the hack competition. Will SOME people do this? Maybe. But I’m not sure it is at a level that is concerning or that really has a statistical impact.
Q23: Now is March and unlike last year the list of Mission Days in Europe is empty. When will the Mission Days in Europe be announced - week or two weeks?
A23: There are currently eight Mission Days in Europe that have been published to ingress.com/events between now and June. I’m not sure when they were published but it has been at least a week or longer.
Q24: Character Medals in Anomaly Packs - What is the rationale for putting a new medal (Jahan) in the all characters bundle, with TWO repeats from the last anomaly series (Jarvis and Hank), and is not available as a standalone in any of the three regions?
A24: I am told that we're trying to figure out how to set up Ingress events for long term success. Part of this success includes making them financially sustainable. As a result, we are experimenting with different options for Digital Kits. Experimenting with ticketing options is more likely to increase than decrease in the near term.
Q25: March 23rd has anomalies and community day clashing. Is it really sensible to have two major events clashing?
A25: While we will try to make an effort to avoid things like this. It will not always be possible. Harry Potter Wizards Unite will be released later this year and that will add a third game to the mix. There just aren’t enough Saturday’s or ideal windows of time to make everyone happy. We’ll try our best to avoid conflicts where we can. But again, for a number of reasons, it may not be possible.
Q26: May 4 is the first Saturday of May, which coincides with the mega anomaly in Kaohsiung, what's the guidance for IFS for those attending the May 4 anomaly?
A26: If you are attending the Anomaly in Kaohsiung you will likely not be able to participate in an Ingress First Saturday on that day. I’m also told that any Ingress First Saturday applications that players may have submitted, that are in close distance to Kaohsiung, may not get accepted.
Q27: With only three sites for Abaddon Prime, will there be ways for agents that cannot make these anomalies to get involved other than recharging or intel?
A27: I don’t think there will be.
Q28: Good morning, Andrew! Could you tell us in more detail what role Niantic Labs plays in organizing FS, and which Fev Games? To date, it is very similar that Niantic is related only to issuance of medals, double AP and creation of ornaments portals. Fev Games is responsible for everything else. It's right?
A28: If you want your Ingress First Saturday to be eligible for the rewards that Niantic provides, you need to follow the published guidelines for hosting an Ingress First Saturday event. Niantic does not choose cities or anything like that. For eligible events, we will reward qualifying participants with the medal, double AP, and create a special restocking/reward Portal after the event. But by and large, these events are planned, hosted, organized, and managed by the players for the players.
Q29: Has the stops for the NL1331 Europe tour been decided on and when can we expect an itinerary?
A29: The stops have not been decided yet. However, according to Ethan the preliminary discussions have started internally at Niantic.
Q30: In the previous AMA, you mentioned that Niantic official swag is likely to be limited to primary cities only from here on out. To myself and many others, this could be a total deal-breaker when choosing between attending a satellite or not attending at all. Why was this decision made, what changes are being considered, and would it be possible to instead add the swag to the online store?
A30: Our Events Team wanted me to pass along that, “We're always sorry to hear that, and hope that improving the gameplay experience will keep you wanting to return to Anomalies. We are hoping to move that physical swag to the new online store when it becomes available, but we recognize that this won't happen as soon as we (or you) would like.”
Q31: Does Niantic review anomaly POC performances (boycotts, not turning up to the photo, etc) after the anomaly is over to take into consideration if and when they apply for the next anomaly as a POC or it the anomaly POC an old "boys" club where one you're in you're always in
A31: We are very aware of these issues. As the Global Community Manager I’m more aware than people probably realize. I can’t think of anyone being denied the role of POC yet as a result of choosing to not show up to a photo or the like. I also understand the reasoning behind some of the choices that have been made by players and relayed this to the team. The events team now works with Anomaly POCs to determine when and where a group photo should happen so that there isn’t a conflict between the needs of the players and the needs of Niantic. In fact, the communication between Niantic and approved POCs regarding event planning has become very transparent with chat rooms setup for POCs to interact directly with Niantic staff and have a two-way conversation. Unfortunately, there have been times when an agreement is made and people still choose to not show up and support aspects of events. Those actions do weigh on the selection process. How could they not?
Ideally, we want people that will work with us to make an event as successful as it can be to show off a city and hold an event for the players. When a person goes through the motions, agrees to things (or stays silent), and then doesn’t show up to be recognized or thanked, that doesn’t go unnoticed. People bringing up issues that haven’t been issues for years doesn’t go unnoticed. People not being constructive or coming to the conversation to genuinely collaborate and help makes things better doesn’t go unnoticed. There is no need to spew hate and be destructive. We ALL (Niantic and players) want to improve things when there is room for improvement. But it is easier to say, “Niantic sucks”. To the general player base, they don’t see or know of the improvements that have been made to these processes. But the way things happen today is very different than five years ago.
Having been an Anomaly POC, my first goal was to figure out how to win. But my second goal was to try to make sure everyone had a good time and saw how awesome my city was. We would plan various non-Anomaly activities to have fun on the weekend. If my actions as a POC would hurt future considerations of our city hosting another event, I would feel bad for the local community. If my actions as a POC ended up hurting my faction globally, I would feel bad as they would be innocent casualties of whatever disagreement I or my local community may have. Having never been in a position as a POC to be asked to choose to do such a drastic thing, it just doesn’t seem worth it to me. The game is bigger than me, my community, or even my event.
Q32: With the rules of Darsana Prime, a faction with more "non-registered but on the ground" agents can have advantage. If POC will submit the list of "offsite participants" including such agents, they can even earn the anomaly medal. How Niantic can stop this? Or, is this the recommended strategy to battle in Darsana Prime?
A32: The only off-site eligible participants for Anomaly medals are remote rechargers and intel operators. We verify that remote rechargers actually do recharge. So if they are non-registered but on the ground and recharging… I’m not sure that is an advantage. The list of Intel Operators is watched for abuse. If someone submits a list of 200 names of Intel Operators but their Anomaly only had 400 attendees, that list of 200 names is going to be rejected. If it is proven that the POCs are abusing the medal/reward system via fraud then it could have ramifications on those programs going forward for being eligible for medals and I would advocate those POC’s accounts be banned or suspended as well under the “play fair” clause of the community guidelines.
Q33: One of the more common accusations towards Niantic (and the other faction) is that the gameplay isn't about strategy, it's only about numbers. "Anomalies are always won by the faction with the most agents on the ground" - making "recruitment" the only strategy to matter. To combat this accusation, I'd like to ask for the following numbers (per anomalous zone, per faction):
* Number of Unique Accounts interacting with Anomaly Portals (deploying, destroying, capturing, Linking, Hacking, Recharging - even RR, etc)
* Number of Onsite-Registrations + Checkin
If possible, could those numbers be provided regularly at the end of all upcomming Anomaly Series?
A33: Anomalies aren’t always won by the faction with the most Agents on the ground. But historically this has been the majority (vast majority) outcome. I believe some of these numbers are published via leaderboards and email. Let’s also be honest and not play games… factions have access to most of this information already. There have been some very creative strategies developed and employed by Agents of both factions to maximize point scoring. Sliver fields, starbursts for linking, farming Anomaly Zone keys in advance. If you think strategy doesn’t matter then I would be curious to see what would happen if a faction did no pre-Anomaly work, didn’t divide Agents into teams, did not create their own registration pages, did not farm any Portals for keys prior to the event, etc and see what the outcome is. I would wager a bet that the smaller team if they were more prepared would beat the larger team who did no pre-Anomaly planning. The problem is when both teams prepare for an event there is a bit of parity that happens. The current scoring rules provide the team that is the underdog nine chances to score the most points for a specific game mechanic. There have been upsets and very close scores as a result of scoring being that way. While still uncommon. It is more possible than ever before.
Q34: Will nl1331 be returning to the states this year?
A34: Ethan told me that yes, several short tours will happen throughout the year. The next trip will start in Fresno, California, and end in Chicago, Illinois.
Q35: We hosted our first First Saturday event this month under the new system with Fev this weekend in Leeds UK, it was brilliant! Would it be possible for Fev & Niantic to give more support/incentive to PoCs to help host these amazing community events? Eg more passcodes for treasure hunt deaddrops (we only got one passcode and the gear it gave out was pretty poor tbh) and a couple of packs of beacons for the PoCs perhaps? Maybe an official ‘xfac prize pack’ to purchase in store (that doesn’t have ridiculous shipping costs to the UK!)
A35: Hrmm. I can look into this. The passcode is NOT intended to be the main reward. Those are low rewards by design with the intent of helping newer players out. The restocking Portal at the end of the event is the main reward along with the medal and double AP that can be gained.
Q36: Hi Andrew. What do you think of these items we got from the last First Saturday passcode? L1Rx20, L3PCx10, L3USx10.
A36: I think it’s great for a new player. Which is who those passcodes are intended for. The restocking Portal gives out 30 resos, 30 xmp, 10 powercube, 2 common multihack, 2 common heatsink, 1 of each virus, and 20 L1 resos I believe. Plus you can earn double AP and a medal for attending. This in addition to working on other medals and having a good time with your factionmates.
Q37: Can First Saturday get Shards?
A37: Maybe in the future. They need to be put into Prime first.
Q38: Is there anything that can be done about malicious incorrect portal edits? I discovered an edit trying to move a church about 1 block away and the GMap tag showed it at that location, but the street view showed it clearly at the actual location (it appears the submitter edited GMaps to move the church incorrectly). Other edits are being made to move portals “just enough” to allow for extra pokestops/gyms.
A38: NIA OPS assures me that the OPR Team monitors the votes and has taken action on submitters and reviewers who try to game the system. Depending on the severity of the issue, players may receive a warning, get a suspension, or have their OPR access permanently revoked.
Q39: When portal submissions will be added to Prime, would portal editing (name, description and location) be available from level 10?
A39: The plan on how things like this are going to be implemented is still being flushed out. There are no further details that can be provided at this time.
Q40: Can a tool be added to change the orientation of a photo in OPR so we don't have to reject good candidates for that reason?
A40: The OPR Team says, “Not at this time. We recommend submitter check the candidate details (photo, title, description) and verify the location before they submit the candidate.
Q41: For a large potential portal object(such like a long relief wall), some agents regard it as an entirety, but others will choose to shoot lots of photos to cut apart and submit each of them(and in order to avoid too close distance, usually they’ll be mismatched) to OPR. What’s your suggestion about the situation, shall we submit it as a single one or dividing it into a lot is also acceptable?
A41: The guidance from NIA OPS is that it really depends on the mural. It’s hard to create a one size fits all rule for art installations like this. An example is a mural that has distinct sections to it that tells a story with each different panel. Submitting each section can help players discover and understand the individual aspect of the mural in a better way and the message that is trying to be conveyed.
Q42: Recently I had to change in my Ingress log-in and password. While I was able to get into my Agent Stats in game, everything works fine. Except my OPR stats… When I logged into OPR, I was told that it was unable to find my Agent stats. When I logged in with my new login /password it did allow me into my OPR account. But all my stats went to zero on the OPR application. While I my Agent stats in game show that I have over 11K agreements, my OPR says I have 286.
A42: This is, unfortunately, a known issue. There is a fix being worked on to resolve it but it is not a simple fix. If you have not filed a ticket, please do so and NIA OPS says they will reach out to you once the fix has been implemented.
Q43: Is there a reason why only gravestones of people that have historic or cultural value are considered good POIs, while visually interesting/artistic ones are not?
A43: By some estimates, there have been 113 billion people have lived on earth. Almost 80% of those people were born after 1750. There are a lot of potential gravestones, memorials, crypts, etc. that could be Portals if we allowed them. In addition, there are differing cultural viewpoints on what is an acceptable activity to engage in at a place of remembrance like a cemetery or memorial gardens, or place of remembrance. These differences can exist across race, religions, nationality, location, etc. It would be very difficult to establish a generic global rule.
However, what does seem to be a cultural norm across all of these diverse groups is the celebration and memorialization of persons who are of historic or cultural significance. These memorials are almost always intended, and in fact encourage, the public to visit, interact, and learn about the person being memorialized. This is why we have chosen to limit the guidelines to notable culturally significant or historically significant persons as it relates to gravestones specifically.
Q44: Is there anything that can be done about a POI submission being repeatedly rejected from OPR because of people who move it to a location that is too close to an existing POI?
A44: NIA OPS recommends submitting a ticket via the help center and the OPR Team will review the report and take appropriate action.
Q45: I've heard a rumour that photos in opr still have the device ID's attached, thus making submissions identifiable, and that this has been abused by people to build a list of players and their submissions. Has this issue been identified and fixed?
A45: I am told this should have been addressed in the new submission process and recent update.
Q46: What about formed landscapes. Like, Englisch or French stile gardens, defensive earth wals, Nazca lines. Any manmade structures. When to approve or to reject such submissions?
A46: NIA OPS would like your questions to be posted to the OPR Community so a wider audience can view it. They are in the process of archiving everything for future use as well.
Q47: Your clarification from the September 2018 AMA about playgrounds at restaurants is unfortunately a hot topic of contention in our local community, and is often interpreted as "NIA is monitoring fast food playgrounds." Would it be possible to just spell it out with a definitive answer, such as 'Playground OK, Restaurant No'?
A47: This is exactly what the clarification said. NIA OPS said, “the playground typically meets the criteria of regular playgrounds...The business itself in the case of McDonald's would likely not meet the Portal criteria. So the playground is ok. Just don't try to submit every McDonald's location as those will get denied.”
Q48: Could functionality be added to OPR or some other interface to withdraw portal submissions from the queue? I have 2 in long term limbo that I know will (eventually) be rejected as duplicates and being able to withdraw them would reduce the queue.
A48: I am told by the team that unfortunately not at this time.
Q49: is the portal appeal community still alive? many post were not replied. what is the shutdown procedure fir that?
A49: The community is still alive. A home for OPR and Portal Appeals is part of the roadmap for the alternative solution we are working on. It’ll be a high priority to have that at launch.
Q50: I've heard spoofer bans are not taking place immediately anymore, but a few days after the ticket is closed. Has the additional time to collect data on suspected spoofers this offers borne fruit?
A50: NIA OPS response is, “As mentioned in the help center* and the email responses you receive after the report is reviewed, not all outcomes may result in an account being banned. Based on our policy, we may warn a person, place restrictions on their account, or take other appropriate actions.
Q51: Why my invites didnt generate email invites?
A51: NIA OPS says, “New players cannot use REDACTED, only Ingress Prime. Ingress Prime does not require an invite to be able to download it so no email will be generated. The invitation email is no longer relevant.”
Q52: Will we know the place to lodge portal appeals before April 4?
A52: Yes. We will publish communications about this one way or another.
Q53: Where should we store all the old rule calls and declarations NIA Ops has made over the years?
A53: Wherever you would like. There are Google+ plugins that can export to a WordPress format for example.
Q54: A request for portal removal was submitted to Ingress Portal Appeals, and recently a decision came back that the portal could stay. The location in question was in the middle of a farm run by a local family, who live on site and sell admission during the holidays for seasonal events. It is not a roadside fruit stand or public demo farm; it is only open when the family puts on seasonal events or occasional tours, and the portal is not accessible to the public except for those events. The prohibition against private residential property has always included private farms. Has that criterion been relaxed?
A54: According to NIA OPS, “If the appeal was rejected, it's possible the information included in the appeal was insufficient or the public comments did not support the information.
We recommend re-submitting an appeal with additional information / context rather than replying to the older one.”
Q55: Hey there. I have a quick question (maybe for OPS). I've heard mixed answers about missions taking places on similar sets of portals getting rejected. For example, if there are three 18 part missions that cross over a town, is there a limit in which a fourth or fifth mission series might be rejected for sharing too many similar portals?
A55: NIA OPS response is, “While this alone may not lead to a rejection, if you are building a Mission series, it's recommended that you choose unique Portals to help the players explore more of your city.”
Q56: If the local community both blue and green knows multi accounting is going on, is there any weight to the decision on an account being banned?
A56: Having multiple people from both factions report a person doesn’t really add to the weight of a report. Just because you may belong to the same faction as the person you are reporting or are of the opposite faction doesn’t mean you have sincere motives and aren’t reporting the person out of some personal bias or dislike for the other Agent.
NIA OPS also wanted me to remind people about this help center article:
There is a misconception that we ban Agents based on the volume of reports received alone; this is not the case. An Agent being reported by several unique Agents may lead to a faster investigation, although we only take action after identifying and confirming internal proof of inappropriate activity.
Please note, the same person submitting multiple reports of an Agent does not expedite their investigation
Q57: I know you are tired of getting questions about the mission approval process. We, the mission creators, are sick and tired of having to ask them. Is there any chance that we can have a set of published mission creation guidelines that actually match what the reviewers are basing their decisions on? The current process where people submit missions repeatedly, with or without changes, to see if they randomly get approved this time, is a waste of Niantic's resources as well as players'.
A57: NIA OPS wanted me to pass along the following reply, “The Mission Criteria and tips are already published here: https://niantic.help...
As mentioned in previous AMAs, each Mission needs to meet the criteria even if they are part of a larger banner series.”
Q58: In the last AMA you clarified, that portal nominations should be treated according to portal guidelines and no pokemon or other games in mind. Is niantic going to synchronize their Point of interest criteria across all products or will pokemon players continue to nominate according to criteria which do not count for opr ingressers? Discrepancies include nominations on cemetery grounds among others
A58: NIA OPS says, “The criteria for Portals and Pokéstops is the same.”
Q59: Hi Andrew, does the "skip" command really work to be able to write to NiaOps if needed instead of talking to a Chat Bot? It's kinda complicated to send the necessary Informations to a Bot when I know afterwards a human has to understand what I mean.
A59: Yes. According to NIA OPS, if you know you need to submit a ticket, use the skip command to activate Remy.
Q60: As far as I know banned players are welcome to open new accounts and continue playing by abiding all rules. Is there any exception for that?
A60: NIA OPS says, “There might be exceptions. Those would be communicated directly to the banned player.”
Q61: One of our newer local agents was disappointed to learn that gaining level 10, having joined in the post-Prime era, did not grant him access to log in to Redacted, contrary to what is implied by the support pages. Could NIA Ops clarify those perhaps?
A61: NIA OPS response is, “REDACTED is made available for Agents who used Ingress 1.0 before the Prime launch to help them transition to Prime. New Agents who joined after Ingress Prime was launched will not have access to REDACTED.”
Q62: you said in one of your last AMA that we can contact the support if a portal was moved to a false location. What should we do if the support says they can't do anything and we should use OPR?
A62: We need more information to properly advise you. If a submission was sent as an edit request and did not mention that it was an abuse issue, support would have likely asked them to use OPR. It is important to be very clear when submitting information.
Q63: Where a portal has been removed, how long is that location quarantined from new submissions? Would it be possible for such locations to be flagged during the submission process to prevent wasting a submission, or rejected automatically (possibly with the submission "refunded") with an explanation rather than going into OPR limbo?
A63: I’m told that we don’t currently have the ability to automatically reject candidates that are not eligible.
Q64: An OPR question as there seems to be some confusion over the definition of a Private Residential Property. When giving 1* for location due to being PRP, it specifies SINGLE family residences, leading many to assume that multiple family residences like apartments are ok. An example would be a Grade II listed former church which has been converted into apartments but keeping all the original exterior features. Are multiple family residences with great historic/cultural value an acceptable POI?
A64: The response from NIA OPS is that, “The Private Residential Property is specific to Single family residences as the criteria specifies.”
Miscellaneous, Off-Topic, Rumors, or Rhetoric (MORR)
Q65: Where and when will be the next AMA?
A65: I’m not entirely sure yet. Work is progressing on the alternative solution for Ingress communication. But I don’t know if it will be ready by April 3rd. I could use Reddit. But the process for the AMAs doesn’t lend itself well in my opinion to Reddit. Taking up to two weeks to respond in thread doesn’t seem ideal. I may simply open a form, allow submissions, and created a Google Doc I share in the meantime. This is actually what I do internally. I curate all the selected questions into a doc and then collaborate with the experts on writing the responses. I created a Telegram Group that I’ll post to. If you are on Telegram, be sure to join it: t.me/RGNNticker/5088
Q66: Will Ingress ever be sold to another developer?
A66: What’s your offer? I am only kidding.*
*By stating that I am kidding, it is made clear that I am not actively soliciting offers for Ingress or any Niantic intellectual property. Nor is this post a legally binding document in any way that could be considered a solicitation of an offer.
Q67: Can Hanke call someone at Google and see if we can keep G+ just for Ingress?
A67: Google is keeping the corporate version of Google+ around for their corporate customers that use it. They are only sunsetting the consumer version of Google+. So it doesn’t seem likely that we would be able to purchase it.
Q68: Will you come to Vegas (Darsana) and sign a hat?
A68: I am currently in Japan and will be attending the Tokyo Anomaly here. However, Andrew Prime will be in Vegas and I’m sure he’ll be willing to sign your hat. Just don’t believe what he says about the cake. The cake is a lie.
Q69: There seems to be two types of reviewers in general in OPR. Optimists... Ones who think the submitter has best intentions and believes that the submission should be given stars unless it is determined thst it falls into one of the catagories that have been expressly told to us that is a 1 star canidate. Pessimist... Ones who are strict and only approve and give stars out to submissions that have expressly been told for us to give stars to. Which one do you fall into or is there another catagory?
A69: I am a realist. I rate based on the merit of the submission and only that.
Q70: We konw people are changing their faction for diffrent reasons. And it happens more frequently after Recursion was introduced in Prime. But somehow, even their faction is changed, lots of agents are still loyal to their origal communities. Some of them even join the anomaly as special agents: creating blocks and field to disturb the faction with the same color. What do you think about this situation? Does agents need to be stay with their faction? Did Niantic foreseen this and deliberately caused this result?
A70: I do not think that an Agent needs to stay with their faction. Anomalies are dynamic live events that encourage anyone to walk on and participate in. How can you differentiate between a player who is maliciously throwing blockers and a new player who just picked up the game, doesn’t know what is happening, and makes a YOLO link? The world is a dynamic place.
Q71: Hello Andrew. I am agent jazztrpt in cell AM01-JULET-06. At some point in the past I was (with some assistance) able to get ALMOST the entire scoring history for our cell. I was able to record all but the score for 2014.01, and now it's far enough in the past that I can't get that far back before the servers throttle. I was wondering if it were possible for NIA to supply me that data so I could complete the set? Just need ENL and RES final scores for that cycle in this cell.
A71: I can ask. But as this isn’t really a service we provide and I don’t know how long it will take to get the data, I would not hold your breath.
Q72: What is your best memory of AMA and work as GCM until today?
A72: My best memory of the AMA was starting the first one. I was nervous. Remember, originally I used to do them every week. I thought I would only get like 20 questions. I underestimated the amount of interest and the number of people who would be paying attention to my Google+ profile. Also, recently, I was able to explain how important Ingress is to the company. I enjoyed answering that question very much.
My best memory as the GCM? It’s not a specific memory but a type of encounter I have. I get to travel the world and interact with people who share the same passion for the same thing I do. I get to talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly with all of you. I have an instant connection with millions of people that I never would have ever imagined would be a thing. I’ve just seen so much life and so many people that it has given me a unique worldview that I don’t think I would have had otherwise. Despite languages, cultures, religions, and all the things that define us, we are more alike than we care to admit. I may dress differently than you. But we all just want the same basic things in life. Seeing that across the world and in person is a very powerful thing.
Some of the other things:
- I have performed a marriage ceremony twice for Agents.
- Someone came to a Japanese meetup dressed as me. Complete with a fake beard.
- I have been lucky enough to try many local foods and drinks (Kapsalon FTW! -- Malört FTL!).
- In Australia recently I got to meet a kid that was just fantastic. I gave him a loadout card and some gear and he was so over the moon happy it was infectious. It was so genuine. So innocent. Just pure excitement that it really reminded me how powerful and good Ingress is.
- There was a really powerful moment at the Philadelphia Anomaly last year. I won’t put the Agent’s name out there. But just hearing and seeing how much Ingress changed their life in their own words was incredible. To hear someone say they thought at one time they didn’t deserve to be alive but then found friends and commonality with others via Ingress just broke me inside. To hear them say it saved them… just wow...I would like to think that person would still be here today had they not found Ingress. But…
- Sharing publicly my own story and battle with bi-polar depression, anxiety, and ADHD. I was nervous as hell when I hit the post button. But the feedback was amazing and allowed me to connect with so many players on an entirely different level.
- Seeing all the support for the Rainbow Portals campaign and other similar human stories
- I got a private boat tour around the canals of Amsterdam from a player.
- Doing the live streams has been a blast.
- Making people happy by helping them out is a great reward.
- Traveling with Ethan and NL1331
- PAC-P @MAGFest
- Getting all the encouraging message to hack for my sojourner
- Almost throwing up on the ferry ride to the north island of New Zealand
- Discovering that Australia has the best coffee in the world
It is so hard to condense three years of experience into just a small list.
Q73: Had a thought it would be nice to get a mini badge, or some sort of recognition in scanner for things like the Hack Challenge, Deploy Challenge, winning a Darsana Lens etc. Smaller than a normal badge but just a sort of place marker for history in our profiles.
Just wins please :) Thoughts?
A73: The people who are OCD about badges are going to LOVE something that’s a different size. Let’s do it!!
Q74: It is well known that many aspects of Ingress can be influenced by real world objects. I have decided to experiment with the two most powerful of these objects... hats and cheese. My question is should I attempt to fashion a hat made of cheese or a cheese made from hats? Will the end product be so powerful that it could unbalance the game?
A74: Only do this in Wisconsin. Do not do this anywhere else. The power of hats made of cheese or hats made to look like cheese only exists in that state in the United States.
Q75: Is there any reason for the massive amount of passcodes. Any plan on slowing them down. Personally I think there have been far to many. I still have passcodes from before Christmas I can use.
A75: I’m not sure I agree that there is a “massive amount”. Most passcodes have a very limited number of total redeems. There is only an extremely small amount that would be classified as forever codes. Although, those too have a maximum redemption to them. I get far too many complaints about people not being able to redeem passcodes as opposed to the opposite. In fact, I think this is the first time anyone has said there are too many.
Q76: I'm worried that the number of new RES agents seems to be greater than that of ENL players since the release of Prime. This may be due to the "if you are new you are blue" tutorial. Could you take a look at the number of new agents per faction and tell us if this new tutorial had any effect on number of new agents per faction?
A76: I don’t think there is a way to determine this unless we sent a survey to all new players. Although, anecdotally, it seems the Resistance has always had an itty bitty edge on the overall global numbers since the beginning.
Q77: This is the last AMA on G+. What are your thoughts on the AMA via G+ over the last several months? And where do you see it go?
A77: I think the AMA has been extremely helpful. Everywhere I travel around the world I continue to have players come up to me and express their appreciation for being able to seek out clarity and the increased transparency that these have had. I think I have more people following my AMA collection on Google+ (12k) than follow my personal account (9k). That speaks to the popularity of them.
For the future, I’d like to make things more searchable. There is a lot of great content in them. I have a plan for that. I just need to find the time to do it. Hopefully, we will have an official long-term home for them shortly so they will all be one place and can be accessed independently of a particular social media platform.
Q78: How close are we to a new community platform to replace G+?
A78: Very close.
Q79: In your previous AMA you briefly mentioned portal resets. Why does Niantic restore spoofed portals, but not undo other actions by bad actors? If a field was only taken down because of a spoofer, why should the faction that threw the field get the portal but not the field back?
A79: I spoke to our product and engineering teams about this. Their current plan is to create a tool that would allow us to restore spoofed links by the end of quarter two 2019. We’ll be working on the policy to use this tool and the evaluation criteria for the requests that are made. Much like the Portal reset tool, it will likely not be able to be used for every instance where a bad actor took an action. This will be the case where re-creating the link is trivial and easy to do for example. For Portal resets, we currently evaluate things based on the following criteria with different weights and scores given to each category which all have a sliding scale rating. I envision the same sort of process being applied to restoring links:
Is the account banned?
What is the distance from the nearest active Agents?
What is the terrain like at the Portal and traveling to it?
Is the Portal limited access or seasonal?
What is the cellular reception at the Portal’s location?
What is the cost to capture the Portal?
How often is the Portal captured?
How long was the Portal previously owned?
Is the location a suspected farm for bots?
Q80: Finally, I have yet to receive my 7 day ban from when I spoke poorly of Prime at the van AMA in Brisbane. Thank you for not following through. :P
A80: Thank you for the reminder. Please do a force sync.
Q81: Hi Andrew, without sending every case that needs to be discussed to a Vanguard, wouldn't be better to have like 1-2 agents per Faction per country to whom you can send your request that needs higher priority - then those could check that and decide wether or not to forward the case directly to NiaOps? Or maybe extend the Vanguard program? So we have not only 1-3 Vanguards per continent...
A81: I think you may be mixing up Vanguards and Trusted Reporters. Vanguards do not have any reporting power. They do not have fast track status, cannot review tickets, or really do anything. They exist to provide Niantic feedback. They are a player advocacy group. Trusted Reporters have fast track status with the help center. Tickets they submit pop to the top of the queue.
Q82: Hi Andrew! Can you say anything to the rumour that this month's anomaly sites won't get any clarity on their playboxes beyond the usual "pray we do not alter it further" until 48 hours before the event?
A82: I believe by the time this AMA is published the ornaments will have been live. In fact, if you are reading this, they went live three weeks prior to the event. The usual "pray we do not alter it further until 48 hours before the event” has not been the usual for quite some time. If that is what people are telling you happens, they are wrong.
Q83: What so you think of climate change? Does it happen? How big is the effect of humans? Can we Ingress Agents help in any way to stop climate change?
A83: Yes it happens. Climate change is real. Ingress players can do the same things regular citizens do. Things you can do:
- Commute to work in a green (eco-friendly) way.
- User energy wisely.
- Eat sustainably.
- Divest from fossil fuels.
- Vote. There have been some terrible Government decisions made recently that are not complementary to addressing the issues of climate change.
Q84: There are rumours that Amsterdam and Chicago might be the last anomalies where we are able to play with Scanner REDACTED. Can you confirm?
A84: I cannot confirm this.
Q85: Can you confirm that Niantic changed the drop rate of Softbank Ultra Linkamp?
A85: I can confirm that the drop rate of SBULAs has not been changed.
Q86: Any idea how many of us have kept the Sojourner streak going for 4 years?
A86: This is a great question but it is data I don’t personally have access to at my fingertips. I’ll try to see if I can get it though. I would be interested.
Q87: Many thanks for your AMAs! They were and are an important source when it comes to small and big disputes. But why are the answers no longer numbered in the latest versions? With numbered answers it was much easier to orientate, find and reference certain answers. It's only a small thing, but it has made things easier for your readers :)
A87: I plan on making things searchable and archived. So the numbers will not longer be needed.
Q88: How does Niantic feel about the possibility of Anomallama or similar Ingress mascots as Embedded Reporters?
A88: As long as they adhere to the rules of being an Embedded Reporter, I see no issues. However, limiting the number of selfies my be hard for them.
Q89: Can we get a bacon beacon for breakfast meetups?
A89: Right after lasagna beacons happen for dinner meetups.
Q90: Will the Guardian badge ever return?
A90: No. Not in its previous state. Maybe there is something creative we can do. But we haven’t really had any discussions about it. There are bigger issues to address first.