About That Umbra Anomaly

October 13, 2019 Renoir
The Enlightened and Resistance POC's in Dresden holding up a banner that reads Thank You Niantic and under that it reads For Nothing

Enlightened and Resistance POC’s in Dresden

Yesterday was a day of firsts. It was the first Prime-only anomaly and the first anomaly that Niantic required participants pay to play.

Performance was a fear before the October First Saturday events and those fears turned out to be entirely justified when Niantic’s servers turned out to be scaled too low to handle First Saturday.

Let that sink in for a second; Niantic had their servers turned down so low that they couldn’t handle a non-competitive cross-faction event.

In a comment, Brian Rose addressed everybody’s fears that the same thing would happen during the Umbra anomalies this weekend:

As a result of the NIA Field Tests, we scaled servers up to meet demand. Today, during early-morning hours (PDT) we saw increased latency and issues signing in to Ingress. We scaled our servers up and latency returned to normal within several hours. Please note that this was a server-side issue.

For the Oct 12 anomalies, we’re using past anomaly data and current Events tab registrations as a baseline, with some additional buffer.

We’re now discussing next steps to address First Saturday participants who were unable to participate today during this window. Thank you.

So, how effective was the effort to anticipate, and scale appropriately, the traffic for the Umbra anomalies? This screenshot from the IUENG Telegram feed, where they plead with agents to close their scanners if they aren’t participating in an anomaly, indicates that it wasn’t effective at all:

IUENG pleading with agents to close their scanners if they aren't participating at the anomalies.

IUENG pleading with agents to close their scanners if they aren’t participating at the anomalies

Among the complaints from agents on the ground:

  • Unable to login
  • Unable to interact with anything in the game
  • Discrepancies between what Niantic reported for Unique hacks and the player’s stats
    • This one might have cost the Resistance Guadalajara
  • Lag and glitches with Prime
  • “You needed to be constantly firing bursters because you had no idea when the game would be working”
  • New, arbitrary, limits on everything

I could go on and on and on but I don’t need to because this post in the official Ingress forums does a much better job that I ever could.

Agents used to excuse issues like this because the game was free. It was never really free before, you had travel expenses if it wasn’t being held in your home city, but now you have to pay to participate in an anomaly and it’s done nothing to improve the quality of the game during the anomaly.

In fact, I think you’d be hard pressed to find an agent who participated in the Umbra anomalies this weekend who doesn’t agree that it’s actually gotten worse.