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Posted by on Jan 21, 2014 in Game, Updates | 43 comments

Regional Scoring – This Changes Everything

Regional Scoring is now live thanks to Ingress scanner v1.43.1. With a total of 24,576 global Cells you have plenty of opportunity to make a difference regardless of your location.

Regional scoring has been introduced and is running successfully around the globe and at first, many thought, “oh well that’s cute”, and carried on their merry portal smashing way. I was one of those people until I sat down and started looking through the scoreboard and realized what it really means. THIS is now our goal, this is a way to truly measure our success, this gives definitive start and end points to battles, this helps make rural areas matter more, this makes MU the real goal once again for everyone not just large op participants. This…changes…everything… and I’m very excited for the future of Ingress.

Previously, although there was always the global MU scoreboard, only a small percentage of people played like they cared: A small percentage of dedicated agents and those involved globally in large ops, some people in dense urban centers and a handful of others. Despite the scoreboard being right in your face constantly on the intel map, very few felt like they could have a measurable impact on that enormous global MU count, so many played for portal ownership and inventory strength and fields were mostly just for leveling up. This lead to an endless battle with no definitive points of winning or losing, less strategy or collaboration and more constant pressure to the the dominant team (but not in MU count, which is what this game is supposed to be about). For me, this became wearing, the battle never stops or even has a culmination, there was a constant us vs them pressure for dominance, fields really didn’t matter locally, strategy was “can we get eight L8s out at once tonight?” and hostility between teams grew despite our best efforts for civility and decency. Both teams were still frequently forthcoming with kudos and congrats to the other side for big field creation but it didn’t seem to really matter in the end.

My ingress afternoons before regional scoring

My ingress afternoons before regional scoring

My ingress afternoons after regional scoring

My ingress afternoons after regional scoring

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With the new regional scoreboards we have a weekly battle start and end point with 5 hour measurement points and a 175 hour cycle. All the focus returns to MU. MU is now everything and is the only important stat for regional scoring. I had always wondered how they would drive the focus to make MU matter to your average agent and I think they’ve done it. This will be a game-play paradigm shift for many, myself included. Keys matter now, MU matters now, coordinating with regional but distant areas for key swapping and field planning matters now. You know what doesn’t matter nearly as much now? Who owns the majority of the portals (you can travel outside the whole area and cover it), who has the most L8 portals or gear or even agents. Stats and badges get appropriately relegated to small personal bragging rights and not a focus. Smashing portals will now more likely be to take down fields, stop blocking links or to set up your own field and less about “This is my house! My portal! Enemy begone!”. When portal control matters far less than MU, it won’t matter if you have 80 L8 XMP or 800, it will matter if you have the person running intel, if you have the resonators to build everything you need, if you have the keys and the plan and the teamwork. This was always supposed to be the focus of ingress but overtime many had drifted significantly away from that idea. I am truly thrilled to see it become the focus again.

Some agents may take a while to embrace the shift. Encourage them through conversation, through your own actions and pursuit of MU, post the ongoing regional scores throughout the week to any cross faction groups you have to encourage friendly competition. Talk and post about the fun you had on various ops. Congratulate both sides on their accomplishments. If you build it, they will come.

What will this mean for agents that have long felt that their impact was minimal?  Will these changes brings agents out of retirement?  Locally and region-wide we have already seen agent names active again that we had assumed had moved on.  Local challenges have been set worldwide for agents to take over the Top spots in their cells. While this change will not appease everyone, (as no change ever can),  it has made an immediate impact with flurries of activity sparking up from all corners of the world.  It remains to be seen if this impact will be long lasting.  It is also great to see from many leader-boards that the top players are not always Level 8 agents. Always keep in mind your Tadpoles and Smurflings to help them make a name for themselves and level up.

Regional Scoring, How Does It Work?:

For a breakdown of the global cell layout click here.

The top 3 Agents in each cell will appear at the top of their “Regional Scores”  section. 

regional-view

Tap See Other Agents to view beyond the Top 3 for your local cell. This will display the Top 50 per faction in that local cell 

top-list

UPDATE1: The “Top Agents” list is calculated by awarding MUs to the agent who created the final Link in the Control Field for any fields created during the cycle.

Quick tips (From Ingress Support page)

  • Each Cycle lasts 175 hours.

Why is a Cycle 175 hours long and not 168 hours long?

“The Shapers have a different calendar than us. One interesting side effect of this is that the checkpoints and finishing time of each 175hr Cycle will rotate through our human calendar with each passing Cycle. So one Cycle in your Cell might end on a Friday at 5pm. Another one later in the year might end on Sunday at 2am in your Cell. The Cycle ends at the same moment for the whole globe.”- Brandon Badger

  • Scoring Checkpoints occur every 5 hours within a Cycle. There are 35 Checkpoints per Cycle.

At a scoring checkpoint (which occur every 5 hours) the system looks at the current Mind Unit control within the Cell at that moment. Those MUs are the points earned by each faction at that checkpoint. The running time Cycle score for the geo Cell is a running average of those checkpoint scores. This average is the main competition score between the two factions in the Cell. It is drawn in the large bar charts at the top and also drawn as the horizontal average lines down below in the checkpoint graph.

  • Only the Fields held at the time of each Checkpoint count toward the MU score.
  • Scores update at the time of each Checkpoint. The MUs held at that Checkpoint are averaged with the running average score for each faction.

At T-Zero hour in the Cycle, both factions have a running average of zero MUs.

At the first checkpoint at t=5hr lets say that the ENL get 10 MUs and the RES 5 MUs. The running average score will be ENL:10 and RES:5 since only one checkpoint has been in play.

At checkpoint two at t=10hr, lets say that the ENL have fields up for 20 MUs and the RES have fields worth 15 MUs live at that checkpoint. So the running average for the ENL after two checkpoints is (10+20)/2 = 15 MUs. The running average for the RES is (5+15)/2 = 10 MUs.

To win for your faction, you and your fellow teammates need to create Control Fields over population centers and then maintain control of those Fields through as many scoring checkpoints as possible.

If a Control Field covers multiple Cells at a scoring Checkpoint, the MU is divided proportionally between the regional Cells that the Field covers based on the fraction of the area of the Control Field that is in each Cell.

Scoring as simplified as possible: Each full game is about a week (called the Septicycle). Every 5 hours the score is recorded on the Regional Scoreboard. Only the MU owned by your team AT the measurement times matters. All of these measurements are averaged over the week. Highest average at the end wins and the cycle starts over.

UPDATE2: Any MU captured by an agent through the cycle count toward the individual agent score for the leader board. It is cumulative. Your fields do not have to be standing at checkpoint to count for the agent leaderboard, every bit of fielding work you do counts. Only the person completing the field gets the points towards their ranking.

Thanks to Nikolas Moore for cowriting this piece with me.

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43 Comments

  1. One interesting note here is the implication that Rural players have a larger potential to have a larger impact to the scoring board. Less likely to be taken down, more likely to have more fields up, over larger areas.

    • I am not so sure about the rural areas. While they can grab large areas, the MU of those areas is small. Yes, they might not go down quickly, but there is not as much reward as might first appear either.

    • Populated areas have a *much* higher MU value. A small field of about a mile can have > 3k MU. While we just created a link that covered about 20 sq mi and it was < 2k MU.

  2. Sorry, but this isn’t regional.
    Here in The Netherlands it is more than 1/4 of the country.. And our city density is very high.. So this is not local. Most of the city’s i will never visit and there is no change that my name will pop up in the high score…
    Better to reduce the size of the cell’s. And also reduce the distance of the comm.. (20km is too much, it covered is more than 20 cities and by this the comm shows to much chatter)

    • Our cell covers Paris and most of the suburbs. It is not hard at all to be in the Top 20 or so… (with ~5000 MUs). I always liked fielding, now it is even more interesting.

  3. Cells are huge so more focus on driving rather than foot based play.
    The game is already badly affected by spoofers, this just plays into their hands even more.

    • I play on foot. The mechanics of the game strongly encourage driving. I’m really bothered by the environmental impact of the game the way many people play it (as encouraged by play mechanics).

      • Okay, you come play in my quadrangle on foot at this time of year. Which is far Northern NY up on the Canadian border. About an hour South of Ottawa.

    • I agree with IngressOnFoot in reference to playing into the hands of spoofers, especially in the rural areas. For those of us who are willing to drive the miles to put up the field, it largely becomes a waste when the spoofers can do the same thing sitting on their couch. I would rather not play then fighta battle I can’t win without resorting to cheating. Perhaps Ingress should focus more attention on resolving the issue of spoofing rather than developing a scoring model that rewards them.

      • The spoofing issue, and asking for it to be fixed, is difficult to find a solution for. One possible way would be to require unrooted phones to run the game, but there are many players with legitimate reasons to use rooted phones.
        Another possibility is if ingress required root access, it could detect spoofing (otherwise there’s no real way to detect it), but most players don’t have rooted phones.
        Having 2 versions of the client, one for rooted and one for unrooted phones might work, but that is a whole lot of effort and expense that would be needed to make that work.

    • Spoofing, at least in my area, is watched closely by each faction. While still possible, because everyone for the most part is open, if you ask, you have a good chance of meeting the people putting up the fields (or razing fields). Although playing on foot is definitely limiting, I’m guessing you’re near a city center? That means more MU per meter than in rural areas. Also, you have the ability to help kill blocking links for your faction. You can also hand off keys to those that can make long drives and put up huge fields.

      That said, you are correct, the game does lean toward mobility.

    • The new regional scoring system just makes rural areas A spoofers paradise. Prior to this update I had seen one spoofer in nearly 6 months of play since the update I’ve seen three and I’ve taken down over 50,000mu of spoofer fields alone. Niantic should have fixed the spoofer problem before releasing this update. Furthermore making the only thing that count in any way be fields ruins the game for at least 25% of the players who don’t enjoy making fields. The statistic should be in aggregate of various things that the players do you should be able to be rated by your aggregate score against other people not just have to make fields and that is all that matters nothing else does at all. The regional scoring currently makes everything very one dimensional.

    • Totally agree

    • +1
      I’ll just ignore this feature for now until it makes sense.

  4. What does MU actually affect us? It’s there something change with hack qualities? Or items power? If the world around is not that simple as it seems, then, what’s different?

  5. No change at all for me. Worse, it becomes more obvious that locally there are more people from the other faction. So it is better to ignore that and keep playing as you see fit. And I live in Holland too and there are cities in the cell where I have never been before.

  6. To me regional scoring is just another crowd-pleaser for the Resistance. RES has become the dominating faction all over the world, apparently because Niantic wants it this way. While in urban warfare, any active agents stands a fighting chance, in overland play the dominating faction has a great advantage because there are many more portals to link to. Besides you’ll have to drive large distances, which is not what Ingress should be about (let alone environmentally questionable).

    So no, to me this is not a game changer, and I will continue playing the way I did before: on foot/bike, and locally.

  7. I see for myself two disavantages of this new system:
    #1 Play with your car. I like to play on foot, it’s a good way to play & take care of your health! The game was designed for that too. Now it’s just a nonsense to walk. And driving 2-3 hours a day just for a game doesn’t seems very ecological.

    #2 timed game. I am busy, but I like to play when I have some time. Now you need to play every 5 hours, just before the checkpoint, so it is sometimes difficult to be free when it is necessary. And yeah, work, family and friends are more important than gaming. So I don’t like games that force me to choose.

    • Your interpretation is wholly incorrect, you might want to re-read the article. All MU counts, not just what makes it past a checkpoint.

  8. What is the profit? I was first in the region and our faction won… And what? Nothing happens.)

  9. @Onov, you are completely right. But on the other hand, you could totally ignore it, without any consequence for the game. Other then that others are reacting on this change which could influence your gameplay as well.

    • Yes I can ignore it. But players in my team and in the other team doesn’t play the same anymore: the farming events are less usefull. The places I visit are more under huge fields (so I can’t do anything). My team and the other care less about controlling the city (Yeah I can take it on my own, but it is less fun! )
      Not everything is bad in this update, the contest is interesting. But before the focus was on cities and the lonely portals were not very contested (just for guardian badges :P ). My feelings are that it is it now the exact opposite. Nobody cares anymore about creating 1-10 MUs fields in the cities but drive to reach the lone portals. Maybe adding some mechanics that can balance the different ways of playing would be an improvment:
      – Every portals could mine some MUs
      – The portals and fields could increase their MUs score with time (not only creating huge fields 5 minutes before the checkpoints, but owning mediums/small fields for more time will be interesting too)
      I think there is a lot of ways to balance the game, which could make many differents players happy and usefull for the contest

  10. Are you sure abou this: “Only the Fields held at the time of each Checkpoint count toward the MU score.”?
    There’s a megafield where I live that was destroyed before the first checkpoint of this cycle and it counts for the player stats (I don’t know about the general MU score). This player is in second place in the statistics and he had no other active fields at the checkpoint.

  11. “The “Top Agents” list is calculated by awarding MUs to the agent who created the final Link in the Control Field for Fields that are held through the scoring checkpoints.”

    This is incorrect fields are counted towards an agents score for the Top 50 / Top 3 even if destroyed before the checkpoint.

  12. It really sucks that only the person with the field-completing link gets credit for the MU’s. This can actually pit same-faction players against each other. Why should I throw out random links (as I used to) if someone else will field on it and get all the credit. The ranking system actually puts pressure on me to hoard all of my keys and try to get out and deploy fields all at once, and pray another player from my faction isn’t there to steal the glory.

    • Your faction thanks you for not throwing up random links any more.

      • By “random links” I don’t mean truly random. I either throw out blocking links or to set up future fields, the latter I dubbed “random” only because I used to do a *lot* of setup work that could appear random, but fellow agents in my area regularly capitalized on.

        But now, if I or any fellow agents care at all about our personal ranks, we are constantly under pressure NOT to deploy links that we do not immediately turn into fields, to the detriment of our faction control as a whole.

        • Only if you care more about your personal glory than the team winning. If someone else completes your field, your faction is still moving up in the ranking, if not you. Also, what ever happened to getting MU credit by having your name on portals? Seems like I typically have MUs counting when I don’t even have any fields up, so I think I’m still getting credit for fields I didn’t even contribute a single key to.

  13. I am a keen player, but i don’t drive, nor do i have hours everyday to ingress therefore i will never see my name on that list, this is very discouraging to me, so I will play the way I have always played. And totally ignore the scoreboard. Bad move niantic your game went from being a healthy outdoor activity to a car drivers dream!

    • So if you don’t have easy access to a car or live in city, you might as well not bother then?

      Why no actual end game content?

    • Ingress is a social game. An individual agent is limited in what he can do alone. Make a friend and offer to pay for gas.

  14. ‘M sad that this is only embracing one side of the playing experience. As someone who enjoys taking down portals, but will gladly let others build, this leaves me out in the dust. (2237 resenators destroyed this week.) One of the things that I love best about this game is that there is a balance. Those who want to find and submit new portals are encouraged to do so, Hose who want to *smash* are encouraged and those who want to make fields can so so. This gives throws off that balance. Due to my location and time, I will never be able to make high MU fields, but I can place high on my teams leader boards for disctruction and deployment of (only) L8 resinators. (Don’t have time to fill, just stead for others to fill.) It would be awesome if I could compare my stats to those on both sides, instead of just mine teams.

    • I’m sorry, the game has never been balanced that way, it’s always been and still is heavily OP towards player destruction. Creating a link or field is 10 times easier than knocking down a portal, link or field. You even typically get 1 or 2 resos but 3 or 4 bursters on a high level hack. This game has never been balanced, it’s heavily weighted toward blowing stuff up, IMO to encourage lots of back and forth with portals so things don’t get too set and grow stale.

      • Let me correct myself, creating a field or link is 10 times harder than knocking down a portal, not easier.

  15. Regional scoring could be something if actual, real world regions were used to divide the map. These random cells mean absolutely nothing to most people.

    The city I play in is divided into two cells right by the middle. And one of those cells is 3/4 in another country.

  16. The new system has encouraged the local Resistance, who already outnumber the Enlightenment by an estimated three to one, to spend hours and probably hundreds of dollars in fuel to drive out to far flung portals in the countryside so as to blanket entire suburbs in blue. Take down one of their fields, and they put it up again from a slightly different corner. It’s futile, it truly is. I don’t mind the occasional drive into the country to do stuff (including taking down portals or fielding), but it’s beyond ridiculous now. It’s expensive (fuel is not cheap!), it’s wasteful, and it’s pointless. And when there’s a field over my area, I can’t do any sort of local gameplay, other than knocking down some of their portals (if they’re around) or claiming unclaimed ones. I can’t link anything at all, obviously. So it just seems like there’s no point whatsoever, and I’ve pretty much lost the inclination to play at all. I enjoyed the local aspect very much. I don’t really enjoy “drive around for six hours wasting fuel trying to take down their fields so you can play locally”.

    It used to be a kind of turf war, and while I found that kind of tedious, I got it, and I played it, and it was okay. Now, in my area, at least, it’s just an exercise in driving and futility. This isn’t the game I started playing, and this game doesn’t really interest me. I don’t find it fun, and therefore, I’m not interested in playing it any more.

    I know that sounds like bitterness, but it really isn’t. This change was literally a game changer, and for me, in the area where I live and play, it’s not a change for the better. People always say, “If you don’t like it, don’t play” and I think that’s sound advice. When it’s not working for me, I walk away from it and find other stuff to do with my time and attention.

    I’ll be watching to see if Niantic tweaks this to get back some balance, and if they do, I might start playing again, but otherwise, I can’t be bothered.

  17. Seems like all of the people who complained here ingress alone. I think this is not the game. In my sense the game is healthy as you need to walk, cultural as you discover some places around you never seen before and, the most important, is social as you need to meet other agent (same faction) to deploy over L6 portal, to exchange key and to create fields that count for the faction. If you want to play alone over L6 level, I think you’ve not understand this game.
    And important also, if you meet another same faction agent and exchange some keys, you will not need to drive hundreds of kilometers (or miles) to have this key.
    Before this change you only collaborated with your fellow city agent. From now you will need to collaborate with all the cell agents and the near cell agents.

  18. I don’t play alone. I play in teams, and am in daily contact with local and even not-so-local players. I still find driving all over the place to try to take down mega-fields that DISRUPT LOCAL PLAY to be wasteful and pointless. And, yes, you DO have to drive to the location of the anchor points of the mega-field which is blocking local play. You can’t do it by having a key.

  19. It appears that more anti spoofing measures are coming. We can hope this helps reduce some of the concerns expressed here.

  20. I am entirely certain that few, if any, of the big fields that local players put up over entire suburbs is due to spoofing. There are some very aggressive players, several of them professional drivers, who can collect keys from all around the area, and share with teammates. Prior to the introduction of the latest scoring system, they were not especially inclined to make big fields, but to field the more usual way it’s done in urban areas. Now, they take all those keys from far flung regions and make big fields that disrupt local gameplay, because that’s how you score. Ta da. Balance in the toilet, and no spoofing required.

  21. Being a freshly graduated to L6, I can’t say all this really matter to me! MU have no bearing on moving up levels, SO all of you are L8? Good for you!

  22. If I unterstand this right:
    Holding a Field for a long time does help in the ENL vs RES score but gives you only once points for the personal scroe?

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