Niantic Is Bad At Shards

September 17, 2019 Renoir

A few hours ago another global shards challenge began. It’s the first one we’ve been asked to tolerate for a while. But, in a twist, it’s the first one we’ve had to be cross-fac friendly to win.

Three shards have spawned in this latest shard game. We just passed the first jump window and none of them were successfully moved. According to the rules the shards should jump between any two L4 portals, or higher, that are linked together. The L7 portal in Philadelphia was linked to a single L5 portal and the L7 portal in Japan was linked to five L6 portals. Despite meeting the requirements for a successful jump, neither shard moved.

I know this is a going to sound like a shocker, but Niantic is really bad at Shard games. I can’t recall one where the game worked right and they didn’t make some poor decision that pissed everybody off.

During the Helios Anomaly series Enlightened Agents at the 1966 Oil Well on Santa Cruz Island attempted to move Artifacts 01, 02, and 05. After the team there experienced several setbacks, Enlightened agents successfully convinced NiaOps to move the Artifacts to Peru. NiaOps never responded to any of the arguments in opposition to their decision.

The Enlightened argument in favor of the move hinged on the difficulties agents had at the portal. They claimed that they experienced the following issues:

  • Unable to ADA a portal for up to 90 minutes after the flip
  • 30-40 minutes of being unable to deploy VRLA, with every failure silently consuming a VRLA
  • No XM regeneration or respawning of hack counter for target portal

It has been theorized, never confirmed, that using a BGAN (satellite internet) at the portal triggered anti-spoofing measures and that was the source of their setbacks. It’s also possible that they had failed to properly deploy their low signal gear. The portal had been featured in episode five of Ingress Obsessed, where Enlightened agents struggled to get a BGAN to work and almost had to scrub the operation because of their signal issues.

The Resistance arguments against the move include:

  • There was never a clear lane from the 1966 Oil Well to the portal that the Artifacts were moved to
  • The decision to use a BGAN at the portal was poor and was likely the source of their issues, not necessarily anti-spoofing measures
  • The excessive deployment of VRLA, reportedly at least 20, is evidence that they were using duped VRLA

This is the episode that Resistance agents still refer to as #oilrigged.