Game Logic Change: Hacking Enemy Portals Hurts More


In the last week our Google+ community members leaded by Joe McDonald found out that hacking enemy portals cost more XM than it should be.

Hack portal rewards

Hack portal rewards

They found out that base formula is not right: 100 XM * portal level this still stands for friendly portals. The right formula is 300 XM * portal level for enemy portals. Here is a list of XM cost for hacking per enemy portal level:

  • Portal L1 – 300 XM
  • Portal L2 – 600 XM
  • Portal L3 – 900 XM
  • Portal L4 – 1200 XM
  • Portal L5 – 1500 XM
  • Portal L6 – 1800 XM
  • Portal L7 – 2100 XM
  • Portal L8 – 2400 XM

In addition to base cost there is a possibility that portal will “attack” you:

  • Portal L1 – 75 XM
  • Portal L2 – 150 XM
  • Portal L3 – 300 XM
  • Portal L4 – 500 XM
  • Portal L5 – 750 XM
  • Portal L6 – 1125 XM
  • Portal L7 – 1625 XM
  • Portal L8 – 2500 XM

There is also chance of critical attack, and the damage is doubled then, so critical attack goes from 150 to 5000 XM

So if you are hacking Portal L8 and you are unlucky it will cost you 2400 + 5000 = 7400 XM. So if you are level 6 agent you will be left with only 600 XM. This is very discouraging especially for low level agents who are living in areas where most of the portals are owned by enemy.


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  1. I’m not a fan of this change since as you said, there are plenty of low level players in the midst of high level enemy portals. This change could potentially lead to a considerable drop in interest in the game.

    • John Cardarella on

      Beshoy! Fancy website :P

      I agree to an extent. When I first started, I had to hack on enemy portals to get by. It was a rough climb, but I was better for it. It’s easy to get lazy with the game and I’ve seen my share of recruits fall short of what I’d consider dedication to the cause. It was like they were looking for an excuse not to play. This is another excuse. I’d rather see someone willing to make for a friendly portal farm out of the way because it does instill a sense of pride in one’s accomplishments. I remember digging through Resistance dumpsters (read: Smurf Portals :-P) for scraps. It made me appreciate where I am now that much more. It’s just like fighting to get an invite. Typically those that earned or tried to earn their invite savored it and the game on a higher level.

      Of course, there is something to be said about blurring the boundary between casual and core agent. There has to be some decent penalty to drive players to their communities, where the game shines. I think this change may just be that blessing in disguise. It’s also on high level players to seek out lowbies. Mentoring is a great aspect of this game and only helps to maintain agents (which is just as much of an issue as recruit numbers). It’s a new rule. One we all play by and must adjust to.


  2. Very true. This is interesting on the damage values. How about the No items and still getting the damage. all I am getting is the 100ap. I have to go find enough xm and be sure to be full before trying a hack. anybody got some cheese to go with.

  3. It’s theoretically possible that that’s deliberate, perhaps motivated by server load and/or a desire to force players into squad/mentor partnerships to level up. It raises the barrier to entry, but also means greater rewards for those who work together, which is always something that’s been emphasised in the game. Of course if you’re isolated in the middle of an enemy-dominated area then you’re shit outta luck.

    Maybe if they counterweighted it with an AP multiplier for hitting portals that are a higher level than you? Say a 0.5*(Portal-L – You-L) AP bonus for a successful hack.

  4. It’s making leveling up a lot slower. I’m only level three in a small town, and we have three enemy L6 portals. I am lucky if I can get more then two hacks. Definitely a cards of losing interest in the game

  5. This is a terrible update. I had noticed this as well and thought that it must be some sort of glitch. To have it confirmed here sadly confirms some fears I am having with the game. I hope that Ingress have a firm idea of where they are trying to take this, because the game is becoming more increasingly difficult for players (especially low level) to play.

  6. This really seems like the opposite of what is needed, in the face of metro areas dominated by one faction or another.

    I’m really not sure what the reasoning behind this is. Are portals being taken down too quickly or easily? Because that’s not what I’m seeing. Except for minority porals that are faced with majority players with huge pockets full of Bursters.

    If the intent of Niantic/Google is to have a game that is only (or largely playable only) by people who duo or trio or team up, then I wish they’d be straightforward about it. Because, if that’s the case, that’s not a game I’m interested in, which everything else seems to be conspiring to make so.

  7. There will be no reset. Source: Joe Philley in various ingress hang outs.

    The change is made likely to encourage player team work rather than fostering a disinterest. Unfortunately, for most players that won’t happen and so we will see a decline in overall game interest.

  8. This will more or less kill the interest of low level players. If they are all new to the game, they will probably not meet up with other players as they simply don’t know any in most cases.

  9. I’d prefer a formula that uses the player’s level as well as the portal level, so that lower level players aren’t hit so hard. Something like:

    Player Level * Portal Level * 50XM.

  10. Don’t understand this – hacking enemy portals barely gives items, more often it’s a “Hack acquired no items”. And now it can burn the entire XM for LL players (because many portals are high level anyway). Sweet, so in order to achieve something:
    – you are overdependent on high level players
    – you actually need high level players from the own faction in your area who are willing to play

    Yeah, I can totally see the team play here …

  11. I think someone needs to take a class in game design. This is a crap update that definitely upsets the game balance. Not everyone can dedicate 20 or more hours a week to farm, play, and level up. This leaves the game playable by only the hardcore gamers, and not the casual commuters. Way to exclude probably over half of your potential players.

  12. Bad one. Here enemy is dominating since november, so our faction has already hardly any items and only few portals. Farming high level enemy portals rewards you with very poor items, and now also with 0 XM. Very bad as the game gets even more unbalanced. Further, hacking enemy portals in a group gets also more complicated because there is too less XM for all.

  13. Ok, so maybe they’re trying to encourage group play over solo play – how does this help?

    I’m lvl 4, my husband is lvl 2. We’re Enlightened playing in a heavily Resistance dominated area. If we don’t have enough weapons to attack and claim a portal for our side before we hack, won’t we have even more trouble doing anything? Is the XM around the high level enemy portals enough to split between the two of us so we can go hack another portal? It sounds like I’d be better off heading up to the enemy farm alone than going hacking with my husband near home where the portals are spread much farther apart.

  14. What level do you become effective against an L6? Is it L4? So does a complete newbie need to coordinate with someone for that long to actually be able to do things without someone spoonfeeding them?

    Even if I’m low-level, at least feed me some XMP bursters so I can at least pretend I’m doing something. Or go ahead and just keep giving me resonators because I have 100’s of those, but no portals I can place them on.

    That’s right. There’s a simple solution. If I’m low-level, give me low-level XMP’s with an extremely high frequency. You’ll keep my interest and it won’t be too much that it’ll affect L6. There you go.

  15. Dagmar d'Surreal on

    You guys are crazy. A brand new player should probably simply not be messing about with L8 portals, which at any rate are exceedingly rare.

    That having been said, an L1 player would need 2,400XM (and their scanner is capable of holding 3,000XM) so provided they were fully-charged to begin with, this would not stop them from hacking the theoretical portal, nor would it stop them from getting items from the portal.

    This cost would be _the same_ for an L8 player hacking an enemy portal, and they’d stand *more to lose* than an L1 player because you can’t have your scanner charge zapped below zero so the most XM an L1 player would lose is still 3,000XM. If this is “unfair” to anyone it’s the higher-level players, because according to your numbers they could lose well over twice that amount of XM.

    • So what should a brand new player mess around with? L6? Because that’s all that I have in my area.

      Sure, it doesn’t stop me from getting items from the portal, but the drop rate is so bad, I have to collect stuff for weeks in order to get enough XMP Bursters to perhaps take out 1 resonator.

    • Wrong, if the old logic holds, L1 would get a ‘not enough XM’ message instantly, if the internal roll determines that you will be zapped. So you’re simply not allowed to perform a hack

      I was getting those messages with 60%XM bar as lvl4 hacking enemy lvl7 portals before the change, this will only make it worse.
      What this change does mean is that currently if you’re joining the game, your only chance of getting involved is joining the heavily dominating side, never the other. So all the already disbalanced locations will only get more so.

  16. This seems completely retarded and counterproductive to more people actually joining the game which all Ingress players must agree is the ultimate goal. The LAST thing we’d want to do is alienating new players.. *sigh*

  17. There’s a good chance that hacking an enemy portal is the first experience players have of the ‘real’ game. Given how sparse portals are generally (for now) I’m surprised they’re willing to disable that player’s “scanner” and make them wait either minutes (driving around) or hours (walking around) until they can hack it again…

    An offset should be to at least make hacks that result in “no items found” to *not* count as a hack…

  18. In in busy areas of central London where there’s lots of XM and portals I really don’t find this update a problem, my XM is always rapidly recharged. For those where XM is thinner on the ground this may be more of an issue, but as more players join the game I assume there will be both more portals and XM. around. It is perhaps a case of Google trying to keep the two in in-step?

  19. I am not even sure what this whole “team hack” is. One can attack a portal in groups, but isn’t hacking individual only? And even for high level players – as long as they are not l8, they need all the AP themselves and thus can’t randomly just invest XMP for bringing a portal (almosts) down to have other players gain AP from that.

  20. Is this a change? I noticed that it cost 3x to hack an enemy portal back in December. Was this change perhaps only tested on some accounts previously, or is it possible that people are only noticing this now that level 8 portals are more prevalent?

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Game Logic Change: Hacking Enemy Portals Hurts More

by Bojan Cincur time to read: 1 min