Return to Ingress: How Is Google and Niantic Labs’ Mobile ARG Continuing to Evolve?

Return to Ingress: How Is Google and Niantic Labs’ Mobile ARG Continuing to Evolve?

Jun 21, 2013

The furor surrounding the unveiling of Google’s augmented reality thriller Ingress might have calmed down a little. It’s a bit easier to get in to play and more players are topping out.

Sill, the folks at Niantic Labs seemingly remain hard at work on it, and the improvements to the overall gameplay and app reflect this.

New elements and tweaks to the existing gameplay are being introduced; in recent weeks, subtle changes to things like XM consumption and new items help to make the game become even more challenging and enjoyable.

For one, destroying enemy portals needs to be better planned now, as firing bursters on enemy portals costs a bit more in XM. To counter this, a new item, Power Cubes, have been introduced. They are kind of synonymous with portable XM juice packs.

In my area, which wasn’t necessarily bereft of interactive portals, there has been a tangible increase in the number ingress1of portals. It’s no coincidence that the updated process to submit locations for consideration as portals as been greatly simplified.

The tweak I like best is one I have wanted to see for a very long time: push notifications. The former method of notifying involved emails, and was not reliable or time-sensitive. The current method, which involves a unique Ingress icon, is far more effective and more, well, Android-like. The Comm center was also adjusted to allow for that allow for “@mention” notifications.

There are a whole lot more invites to dole out, but I’d like to see a better process for high level players. If my area is an indication, a lot of Lvl 8s quit playing out of boredom. There has been rumors of advanced levels and even a special faction for high-level players forever, but I wonder if a bigger mentoring role can be created to increase their importance to the game.

Still, when it’s all said and done, Ingress is still the big man on a block not too many blokes dare to hang out.

Tre Lawrence
Tech fiend that isn't too cool for ramen noodles...
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