My previous set of posts was proposing some ideas aimed at one specific target (namely, making the game less vulnerable to faction unbalance).
This post instead discusses a few ideas without any specific problem to fix. These are just some speculations on how the game could be different (not necessarily better, nor worse) if some features were implemented instead of the current ones.
I’ll discuss briefly three main topics, all connected by the general idea of making ingress, so to speak, calendar-aware.
Making portals expire
The game geography as we know it changes in time, but only along one direction. New portals are added, the old ones stay there forever. Moreover, amongst the criteria for portal acceptance apparently there is no requirement on preexisting portals in the same area.
The result is that not only the portal population increases (which would not be bad), but also the portal density increases (which, depending on your style of gaming, may be annoying).
So, what if portals were allowed to age, weaken and, at last, die? The correct time scale for this ageing is clearly driven by the approval process. If it takes, say, one month to approve a portal, it makes sense to expect that said portal can be used for at least 3-5 times as long. After that, some weakening process can be imagined in such a way that the portal slowly loses potential, and eventually disappears (maybe with some spectacular explosion that neutralizes everything close by). The weakening could be reflected in gameplay in several ways: for example the portal becomes less powerful, i.e. it can only be upgraded up to a given level. So a new portal can support L8 resos, while during its ageing it will slowly support only up to L7 resos, then only up to L6, and so on until it can only be upgraded to L1. The nice thing here is that we would have for free some rigidly enforced playgrounds for low levels. The level limits could also go the other way around: a portal starts by being at maximum an L1, grows until it reaches its full potential as L8, then it becomes unstable and explodes. Portal expiration may also be an occasion for Niantic to slowly reduce portal density, by accepting less portals in high-density areas.
Making items expire
Dropped items disappear after a while. Which makes sense, imvho. What if also items in a scanner (at least the most common ones like xmps and resos) had a real expiration date, starting from the moment they were dropped by a portal (or redeemed through a passcode)? Forcing people to use the items they have within, say, one month from hacking, would most likely encourage more sophisticated resource planning and make the game, overall, more dynamic. A nice variant would be to make the item expiration depend on the number of items in the inventory, rather than on time, i.e. a scanner can hold and stabilize only a few hundreds of items. Anything in excess will start disappearing, with a speed that is higher if one has more items. This way the inventory limit could be removed altogether: one would be allowed to keep 20k items, if needed, though only for a very short time.
Making players expire
Ok, the title here is slightly misleading, but the thing is that, in a game where there is no reset, sooner or later the population of players who have reached the top level (be it 8 or 80) will increase, creating an extremely competitive environment for new levels. So it may be nice to have a mechanism to periodically interest high-levels in low-level-like playing. What if, once reached the top level, a player could choose to start a second cycle of leveling? To focus on the current level scheme imagine that, once I reach 2MAP, I decide to hit level 8+1. This is the first step of a new level cycle. Inventory is reset. I can only use xmp1. I must fight as a L1 for the usual 10kAP. At 2.01MAP I am level 8+2 and I gain again access to my L2 xmps, at 2.03MAP I get L3 xmps and so on. Why bother doing all this? At each new level, I get to deploy one extra resonator wrt a player at the previous level cycle. So when I am at L16, I can deploy on the same portal 2 L8 resos, 2 L7 resos 3 L6 resos and so on. Ideally, after 8 cycles, a player at level 64 could be able to build alone an L8 portal.
What do you think? What modifications you think would add fun/complexity to the gameplay?