Le 23 novembre 2020, nous vous annoncions l’organisation d’un temps d’échange avec les Vanguards auquel vous avez été nombreux à répondre présent, et nous vous en remercions.

Vous nous avez fait parvenir vos questions, que nous avons transmis aux Vanguards.

Vous pouvez consulter dès à présent le Powerpoint recensant toutes les questions et réponses triées par thèmes :

A propos des vanguards
Le wintrade
Wayfarer
Les missions
Les évènements, médailles
Scanner Ingress Prime
Le spoof, multi-comptes

Category 1 : Vanguard status

We’d like to point out that being a Vanguard is more a role than a status. We can do certain things and hope that they help, but we don’t have special badges or powers.

Q1 : Do you feel like you have a real impact on Niantic, or do you feel helpless?

A1 : We surely have an impact, but in the end it’s not us making the decisions, and they are based not only on our input, but also other perspectives and limitations. It’s hard to quantify how much influence we have. We can’t talk about internal discussions, and we might not even be aware of the full reasoning behind each decision. Of course we’d always like to have more influence.

Q2 : Currently the Vanguard contributions and duties remain a mystery for ordinary players.

Do you think the Vanguard system may benefit from more transparency, such as brief forum reports of current Vanguard activity ?

A2 :  No. The whole idea of the Vanguard program is the ability to have open and honest communication between Niantic and us as proxiesrepresentatives of the player community, in private. Many things we’re working on could not be made public, and publishing the rest would lead to a skewed and misleading picture.

We understand people’s wish to know how far their personal concerns have been heard, but for public responses we have to refer to the Community Forum. Vanguard activities are, by definition, not public.

Q3 : Use 3 positive adjectives and 3 negative ones to describe your experience as a Vanguard.

A3 : 

  • Positive; Accomplished, Interesting, Diverse
  • Negative; Frustrating, Overwhelming, Thankless

Q4 : What’s the average time per week you spend being a Vanguard? Could you give a min and a max too?

A4 : By definition, each VG dedicates as much time as they feel they are able to the program. This answer would have a big range, this could be a couple of hours a day, occasional feedback on issues or it may feel like having a second full time job. It’s also really hard to quantify the amount of one-to-one interaction each Vanguard has with Agents as this isn’t something others would have visibility of.

Q5 : What has been your biggest impact?

A5 : Given that we are under NDA we can’t really give specifics around our interactions and feedback. We certainly provide our opinions, and those of the community, to Niantic in a very open and honest manner on a regular basis and on a range of topics and issues.

Q6 : Choosing between pride and frustration, what best describes your experience as a Vanguard?

A6 : Both – Pride initially followed by much frustration, both from the interactions with Niantic and with other players.

Q7 : What segment of the player base do you feel closest to? Farthest from?

A7 : The Vanguard program, as conceptualized, sought to include agents from a wide range of interests and backgrounds. As it may be difficult to define “player base,” we reach a variety of different interests within the game such as: Lore, Decoding, Anomalies, Xfac, Solo vs Team play, Global Ops, Events, Global Communities, Missions, etc

While some Vanguards focus on particular interests, others are engaged in global communities that strife to encompass all segments of the player base.

Q8 : Please introduce yourself. What is your personal description of a Vanguard?

A8 : This would be a personal answer from each one of us. We cannot answer that as a group.

Q9 : Which languages does the group of Vanguards speak? What is the default language for communications? 

A9 : The main language used to communicate between Vanguards and with Niantic is English but there are a broad range of different languages spoken by the Vanguards as a whole including:

Glyphs

Afrikaans

English (Queen / American / Australian / Kiwi / South African) 😉

German

Czech

Slovak

Danish

Norwegian

Spanish

Portuguese

French / Québécois

Dhivehi

Filipino

Hindi

Russian

Mandarin

Bahasa

Japanese

Korean

Thai

Chinese

Ukrainian

anything that is known by Translate.google.com

(results may vary)

Q10 : How can you become a Vanguard? Do you need to be a lvl 16 player to become a Vanguard?

A10 : Please keep an eye out for when the next round of Vanguard applications opens. The current Vanguards are advocating for the expansion of the program and an infusion of new ideas and views is certainly welcome… if not overdue.

As the goal is to cover a wide range of playstyles and experiences, L16 is not a requirement.

Q11 : What is your best memory as a Vanguard?

A11 : Every time we help out an Agent, effect a change or see our recommendations/feedback make an impact is a win. To list them would be impossible and virtually all of them would be subjects we are not able to discuss.

Q12 : As a Vanguard, you represent the player base at Niantic. Do you consult non-Vanguard players for certain situations?

A12 : Yes – we certainly communicate closely with other Agents especially for things like resets. Many Vanguards also are members of lots of global, regional and local communities and do read those chats (even if they don’t always post in them) so we do try to get a good impression of how the community feels about issues to provide Niantic with good quality feedback.

Q13 : What are the upsides/advantages/perks of being a Vanguard?

A13 :

Honestly, there aren’t any advantages to speak of. We get a heads up of future developments as part of providing feedback but that’s about it.

Q14 : With the lack of events because of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, what is your current role as a Vanguard?

A14 : The same as before COVID…to be honest

Category 2 : Wintrade

Q1 : Is wintrading, and more specifically exchanging items with agents of the other faction in the interest of XF activities, supported by NIA?

A1 : This is really a matter for Niantic to deal with as to how the Terms of Service, Community guidelines and the spirit of the game are upheld.

Q2 : Is wintrading legal ?

A2 : ‘Legal’ is really the wrong phrase use – cheating is covered as a breach of the Terms of Service which states:

“Cheating includes, but is not limited to, any of the following behavior, on your own behalf or on behalf of others:”

So whilst the Terms of Service lists certain examples, it is not an exhaustive list of the ways of cheating.

Q3 : How come you can get banned on the sole ground of wintrading, when wintrading has been removed from the ToS?

A3 : see the previous question

It hasn’t been removed. It was just not included in the list of examples for cheating when the ToS of the individual games were replaced by one common Niantic ToS.

Also, to claim you’ve been banned on the sole ground of wintrading, you’d have to know the precise and full reason for your ban, but you don’t.

Category 3 : Wayfarer

Vanguards have nothing to do with any of the Wayfarer processes. You would be best served by posting these questions on the Wayfarer AMA or generally on the Wayfarer Community Forum, where Niantic can address them. Wayfarer is a cross-platform function that is not exclusive to Ingress, so Vanguards really don’t have an input here as such. 

Q1 : How are bad portals managed after their creation?

A1 : We do not know that for sure. Nia Ops internal workings are unknown to us, vanguards. We cannot answer this nor the following questions about wayfarer.

Q2 : In the Wayfarer program there is the possibility to assign an upgrade for new suggestions, can you please think about the following possibilities? Number 1: I would like to assign upgrades instead of a suggestion to a processing for a renaming or description change, as these take an extremely long time for me as opposed to approving new suggestions. Number 2: I would like to be able to choose whether to use or hold an upgrade and not be forced to assign it automatically when a proposal is open. And number 3: I would love to submit an old, rejected proposal for evaluation again with an upgrade or a new feature.

A2 : 

Q3  : Fake Wayspots are a huge issue. Is the Wayfarer update going to change that?

A3 :

Category 4 : Missions

Q1 :  Would it be possible to change the maximum number of missions an account can create (upwards to say 1000 missions)?

A1 : We don’t know the reasoning behind the current limitation, so we can’t tell if, when and how it could be changed. Either way, this is not something Vanguards can decide or discuss. 

Q2 : In the mission creation tool, would it be possible to have the names of the missions in alphabetical order?

A2 : This sounds like it would be possible, however it’s a technical aspect of Niantic’s mission tool that Niantic would need to put on their pipeline. 

Q3 : Is there a way missions could be approved faster? There also seems to be issues with Nia having problems with images, when I shot them myself. Maybe a way to directly interact with the person(s) approving missions would help?

A3 : Mission reviews are dependent on the availability of Niantic resources. We’re sure there is room for improvement, but Vanguards are not privy to the review process nor the specific criteria that are considered when reviewing missions. 

Q4 : About Missions, have you talked to Niantic about improving the Mission review process (for instance seemingly arbitrary Mission rejections), or about the possibility to communicate directly with the Mission approval team?

A4 : We cannot answer this as we are subject to the NDA

Category 5 : Events, medals

Q1 : Can Niantic please consider a new add-on to the game, as a “personal challenge”? This would be similar to the Hexathlon but more individual, posted at a specific start portal, with a series of timed challenges issued by LOCAL agents to that portal. Challenges could rotate on a monthly or weekly basis, completion adds to a new badge.

Example of combined choices of challenges (any 2-3 of the following):

Recharge X Amount in Y minutes

Move drone X km in Y hours

Walk X km in Y hours

Hack X Drone-unique portals in Y Days

Obstacle course: Destroy / deploy along 2km path in X minutes or less, portal scan end portal to complete the challenge.

A1 : We are not employed by Niantic and cannot answer this on behalf of Niantic. For ideas and suggestions about new features, the Community Forum is a much better place than a Vanguard interview.

Q2: Pokémon Go, despite the pandemic, has been enjoying lots of events. But in Ingress it is a tragedy. Where was the harm in tasks that Agents could achieve alone? Please bring live event medals back.

A2 : We don’t know all the reasoning behind Niantics decisions. We know that a lot of players complained about announced events which they didn’t feel they could participate in.
We can’t bring events or medals back, that’s up to Niantic. 

Q3 : Since the NEMESIS sequence’s closure and the current COVID-19 pandemic,  the Ingress storyline has been left behind. What are your current wishes about getting a storyline back behind the game?

A3 : The storyline was always mostly connected with special events like Anomalies and Global Challenges, which came to a halt in the pandemic.

The creative team certainly has plans for the Ingress narrative beyond Nemesis, including things like the Eos Protocol. Stay tuned Agents, and check out The Investigation section of the Ingress Community Forum for updates.

Q4 : Do you think it is possible to create events, which would look like the Tessellation, to replace the on-site events such as Anomalies, Mission Days, etc… in the medium term?

A4 : It was obviously possible to create the Tessellation, so yes. How often such events can be done, with the resources available to the Ingress team, we don’t know.

Category 6 : Inside the scanner

Q1 : Would it be possible to have a symbol in the scanner indicating that the Portal has not been explored yet?

A1 : It’s certainly possible, but we don’t know how much effort it would be. This question would require an answer from Niantic.

Q2 : Similar to what is currently done in Pokémon Go, could Adventure Sync be implemented? Also could unvisited portals stand out?

A2 : Brian Rose has mentioned on the Ingress Community Forum that Adventure Sync is in the pipeline to be implemented, but no timeline was given. Also, see previous question. 

Q3 : Do you think we will see new game mechanics within the next 2 years?

A3 : Time will tell.

Q4 : After the Battle Beacons introduction there was a concern that it would ruin the strategy of portal inoculation using flip cards. This concern was not taken into account by NIA, and now we have a « pay-to-prevent-operation » gameplay item.

What is your opinion about this situation? Were there any discussions about fixing it?

A4 : Some of the Vanguards have already voiced their opinion on the forums under the relevant discussion posts. There is certainly room for improvement, however, internal discussions of new game mechanics fall under NDA, and as such we cannot elaborate on this subject.

Q5 : In your opinion, how can Ingress move forward?

A5 : 

The driving force behind the success of Ingress has always been the community. The game will only move forward if the community moves with it but Niantic also needs to ensure and encourage the community to move with the game. We can all probably agree that this has happened with different levels of success over the years.

Players sharing their ideas, operations and experiences both inspires other players but also helps Niantic map the direction that Ingress needs to move in the future to ensure that player needs and wants are seen, heard and met.

The specifics about how Ingress develops as a product will also be driven by commercial decisions within Niantic though and everyone has to also bear that in mind; Ingress has to stand on its own commercially within Niantic, for example.

That is not to say that the commercial value and community desires of Ingress need to stand in opposition, both aspects can be fulfilled together but need to be carefully balanced. The continued feedback from Agents via the community forums as well as input more directly from the Vanguards really do help to drive change.

Q6 : Name 3 features you would personally like to see implemented in the game.

A6 : 

  • More efficient methods for prevention and mitigation of cheating, especially GPS spoofing.
  • A greater degree of account customisation, both cosmetic and functional.
  • A way to visually indicate whether you’ve visited a portal before

Q7 : Why are the CMU prices in the IOS and Android stores different?

A7 : Niantic would need to weigh in on this question. We suspect it is subject to fees levied by the Apple/Google app stores.

Q8 : When uploading a portal scan, could there be a progress bar? Currently I get no indication that the upload has finished.

A8 : It’s certainly possible, but this question would require an answer from Niantic.

Q9 : What’s your position on the new Kinetic Capsule? 

A9 : Players have requested this feature for many years and the overall feedback seems to be that the community, as whole, thinks this is a positive addition. There is certainly scope for this to be expanded upon in the future as was stated in the release post on the Community Forums.

Q10 : Do you think Ingress, in its current state, can bring new players in the next few months and years? Why?

A10 : There are always new players starting and more established players stopping. This is part of the natural cycle of any player base. Maintaining the underlying communities (local, national, global, factional and within specific interest groups) is what will largely determine how successful Ingress is moving forwards.

Q11 : The translation in Prime is a huge problem. A lot of players have had to switch their phone or the app in English in order to have the full information provided by the scanner. With the French version, and I believe the problem can also be found in other languages, you can’t see the MUs created or destroyed in comms. When one of your portals is under attack (scanner closed), the notification doesn’t show the player tag. 

A11 : I don’t understand the question. Have you seen the new Forum section for bug reports?

Q12 : If you had to give a percentage to the Vanguards’ contributions of the overall upcoming subscription program, what would it be?

A12: This would fall under NDA and as such, we are unable to elaborate on this question. 

Category 7 : Spoof, multi-account

Q1 : Spoofing has been a problem in Ingress for a very long time and we were promised that Ingress Prime would solve this issue – it did not.  We need to rely on the Trusted Reporter program to stop spoofers and to reverse the damage (if possible) that was done.  Recently it seems like the TR program has been stretched thin because of the lack of response.  I had three reports in and three separate follow-ups and never got a response.  While I appreciate the unpaid, volunteer efforts to stop and reverse the damage done. Questions: 

(1) Is the TR Program dead?  

(2) Have the Vanguards pushed Niantic to step up the efforts to stop the spoofing before we lose more of our player base? 

(3) Is there a consistent method to review spoofing – we had spoofer accounts that got a «  »free pass » » in the TR Program and it was clearly a spoofer because of impossible actions that we made by these accounts. 

A1 : 1) The TR program is very much alive at the time of this interview. However going forward they will no longer escalate tickets on behalf of players. See https://community.ingress.com/en/discussion/12852/update-to-the-fast-track-program-for-spoofing-incidents/ for details.

2) The Vanguards are quite active in engaging with Niantic on spoofing issues, but as this falls under NDA we cannot elaborate on this. 

3) Trusted Reporters don’t ban or acquit player accounts. They merely report them to Niantic Ops using the same reporting channel as everyone else. Ops conduct their own investigation and apply what actions they deem to be justified. If an account was not banned we can only assume that it is legit; or has had other restrictions applied which may not be visible to players; or there was insufficient evidence at the time to warrant a ban or other action.

Q2 : Accounts and gear are sold directly on eBay. Are there efforts to stop this?

A2 : This is not something Vanguards have insight of.

Q3 : Currently the Ingress Forum is full of spoofer-related topics aimed at support. I know these topics actually work much better than reports and don’t have any restrictions of TR appeals (inaccessible portals involvement etc.). Do you think the amount of such topics indicates that the support system works significantly worse than it is meant to? Currently legit players either have to post their reports on the forum, or wait for bad actors to destroy the restricted access portal to initiate a TR report. In your opinion should TRs start dealing with the reports of notorious urban spoofers to reduce forum indignations? Or should the areas suffering from spoofers have a separate communication channel with NIA?

A3 : We would like to correct the perception that forum posts lead to bans. Niantic Ops investigates tickets logged on the support site, not the forum. There is an English proverb that states “Correlation does not equal causation”, and this applies here. What you likely witnessed was a report on the support site that was actioned at the time someone else posted on the forum.

Those topics in the forum only provide examples of cases where the reporting player disagrees with the decision by NIA OPs. Spoofers that are actioned after a report to the TRs, to Support, or without any report, don’t show up there. Therefore counting forum posts doesn’t provide any data that would allow estimating the efficiency of the support system.

Including more types of incidents into the fast-track system would slow down the fast track and increase the overall damage from spoofers.

Q4 : My question is about reporting multi-accounting. When receiving a report of possible multi-accounting is there investigation of only the specific incident reported or is there investigation into how the suspected accounts have interacted over a period of time? Are there cross-checks to other reports involving the same accounts or is each report treated separately and independently of one another?

A4 : Vanguards are not privy to the methods used for investigating reports of multi-accounting, so we cannot comment on this. 

After answering all these questions, do you have a message you would like to share with Agents who follow our channel?

Don’t shoot the messenger!

We try our absolute best in communicating with Niantic and presenting the player point of view to them, this is the primary role of a Vanguard. We are under NDA though so please understand that we don’t hide behind it, we are bound by it.

Thank you so much for making this happen and for taking the time to answer all these questions! 

Yours sincerely,

LGDG

🐸

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