Envisioning Ingress Part1 – Mission & Agent Upgrades


DeCode Ingress Guest Writer Series by Poya Mirtorabi (@Br00tal)

Hello! Today we’re going to go through some changes which I feel would tweak and improve the gameplay for agents. Many of us feel there is not much to do after reaching L8. You just do the same things without any direct goal. There are the unofficial levels; L9, 10 and so on but they are just empty achievements. In an interview with Anne Beuttenmüller, she said that, “Niantic is definitely going to introduce missions and will raise the level cap, which is currently at level 8.”

Leaving the level cap increase aside, this article will mainly focus on the Missions which were mentioned in the interview. There are a lot of options of how to implement these missions and how they affect the agent, but I’ll give you my version of how the Mission System could be implemented.

There could be three Mission Categories which then haves different types of Missions to complete. The categories would be the following:
Discovery Quests, Building Quests and Combat Quests.

The Quest categories have three quests each where you can choose to pick one quest or both quests. If you pick only one, the requirement of the quest will be higher and also the payout of items and AGP:  Agent Growth Points are points you can use for upgrading different skills, more about that later.

If you finish one harder quest, you’ll gain 3 AGP. If you finish the 3 easier quests you’ll earn 2 AGP. Initially, you would only be allowed to choose one weekly quest but after gaining enough AP and AGP you would be able to choose more than 2 quest categories per week.

The quests would gives you item rewards related to the quest. So if you have chosen the quest to destroy X number of resonators, the reward will be a certain amount of XMP’s and also a key feature in the Quest system that unlocks new features for you as an agent – something I call AGP,  Agent Growth Points.

The quest requirements would be calculated through previous weekly statistics. So everyone doesnt have the same requirements, but the system adapts to how the region looks. The denser and higher agent activity – the harder quests. This factor could balance the experience for players living in rural areas.

Current quest list:

Initially you’ll start with one quest category per week, but you will be able to accept more by unlocking the feature. Here is a little example how the L8 Mission tab would look like.

The AGP Upgrades would be segmented in AP Tiers, or as we call them “unofficial levels”.

The current AP tiers are L9-L12 and the unique upgrades are available when you have 9.6m AP = L10.

Now to the list of features you could earn through spending AGP. A few of the upgrades are also connected to how much AP you currently have.


These are just some of the Agent Upgrades I have in mind. The majority of them are enhancing current abilities but some are worth showing some extra attention to.

 As far as I know, there is nothing in the game which can affect a portals burnout time. By this, the agent could hack portals faster between burnouts. I am still not sure if this is a worthy upgrade or if i should move this one over to become a portal mod.

The Key Chains are something that I personally don’t need but there are a lot of people requesting this kind of feature. To efficiently stack up keys from different farms or areas, saving space and time finding the correct keys. I felt the agent should have to work for this desired feature rather than have it simply handed to them.

Same goes for the increased inventory limit and  mod removal. The things the devs need to do is to expand the limits of gameplay and make agents work harder for the features they request themselves. The fact that they got what they want will most likely make them work for it too.

The mod removal story was a tad different when the devs announced that they were doing a “test” of changing things a bit and I haven’t heard anything of them reverting the changes. I decided to add this feature so agents can remove one portal mod per player and per portal.

I hope you like what you have been reading so far. In Part 2 I will develop the quest system further, introduce a few new portal mods and some other nice tweaks.


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  1. Initial look is excellent, now that I’m L8, I’ve only got 1 more medallion to earn and then what? Currently L8’s are feeling like they’ve already beaten or finished the game…

  2. I don’t agree with the example to submit more portals. This is forcing the team who is in charge of portals and there are enough of bad portals. Portals we should discover by playing not forced to.

    • Poya Mirtorabi on

      That was one of the missions i was unsure about adding, but i included it anyways :)

      But you are completely right. New portals should be discovered and not forced.

      • For me too, new portals shouldn’t be a quest or even be given a badge as is now.
        1) bad portals just to send new portals (I could make tons of examples)
        2) There’s players that even don’t play.. start playing…. add random portals and few days later stop playing. Then 3 ,month later you see tons of new portals popping on map
        3) keeping adding new portals is a detriment to competition. If you are in a town with too many portals… no one will take care of them… just capture the many neutral ones and go on without having to compete. That is a detriment to old players that won’t feel a reason to play as the area can’t be controlled (too many portals) and to new players as the game is just go to one of the many neutral portal and capture it

        What’s the fun in capturing a lot of portals just to make points or level up without having to use a single xmp?

        What’s the reason to devend or keep portals recharged if there’s so many that it’s matematically impossible to keep them recharged?

        And what’s the reason for a portal that is always neutral?

  3. I’m confused by the paragraph saying about not being aware of anything that affects portal burn out time and about an agent hacking faster between burnouts..
    Doesn’t a multihack and a heat sink pretty much do that as one decreases times between hacks and the other extends the number of hacks before burn out? While yes there’s nothing that changes the 4 hour or whatever burnout, but the way the statement is written is done so poorly. The first part talks about burn out time (assuming the 4 hours) but the second talks about something completely different.. All in the same sentence

  4. Powdered Toast Man on

    I like your ideas of powering up your agent statistics – that would be a great way to build on already implemented game metrics. It would have to be minimal powerups (single digit %’s) to not destroy game balance for lower level players but would confer bragging rights and increase player’s local value.

    However, I don’t like your implementation of quests. If you’ve ever played any MMORPG’s, they have evolved quest systems that have solved a lot of the fundamental issues with keeping players interested and I hope the devs would be looking to those for inspiration.

    Having a quest system where all quests were “flat” (don’t unlock more quests), and are just the same quests week to week, and just reward the same items that you consumed during the quest, and some new arbitrary metric, I don’t think is fulfilling enough. Additionally, your examples are just creating quests around mostly the same tasks that players are doing already for badges. This style of questing system is called “task based” and is minimally engaging. There isn’t really anything new to the game here except aggregating some existing actions for a new reward type – like working on three badges at once for some AGP. Players would fall into a pattern of whatever the most profitable quests were in their area and repeat them over and over to grind AGP. I’d really like to see some original objectives added to the missions.

    For example, instead of “capture X portals”, which is just a task for badges, say “Capture 5 portals within a Ykm radius of each other and create 10 links between them”. This is a localized objective, requires some planning, and is more mission-like.

    Another example could be “Place the final resonator to upgrade a portal to Level 8, and successfully defend it for 36 hours”. Unique objective. Or how about “Link a string of 6 portals together with a minimum total link length of 10km”.

    Anything that inspires new planning and playing styles and is objective-based rather than repetitive task based would be a good candidate for a mission.

    Perhaps most importantly – Missions should be chained at a minimum. Finish one mission to unlock one or more new missions. A mission chain should lead to a final goal and should be difficult to achieve and quite rewarding. To do this properly I would want to see a few new item types, or agent upgrades like you suggested, or something similar.

    Quests should also not have to have a time limit (choose one per week). The worst thing that can happen is penalizing a player by saying you didn’t complete it and taking away their progress (I’m not actually sure you were implying that it reset every week). Life can get in the way and trust me, anything that takes away from players is going to set up some serious negative reactions. It also makes the game seem much more mechanical (“here comes the timing cycle”), whereas if agents are free to work on quests at their own pace it’s less artificial.

    I think rewarding random quests from Hacking (like the INgress report) might be neat, but logistically could be construed as unfair. It would be cool if you hacked a portal and got a mission card, which you could choose to start or discard, and then that mission card would track progress until complete.

    Local event-based missions would be great too, where events appeared around a certain portal or portal cluster and missions were available for them. I think that’s a long way off though given the rather simplistic state of the interactions and metrics to date.

    • I agree with a lot of your quest structure. Actually reminds me a lot about the outcome of a discussion we had in February(?) in the official Niantic forums. Unfortunately, I’m sure that Niantic won’t listen this time around either. :-( Weird really, because it’s fairly standard from a game-design standpoint…

      One thing you did not mention but would be great is quests where you need to be >1 players.

      Oh, and hate-hate-hate points for creating shit portals. A big gold medal for anyone that gets 50 portals removed maybe? :-)

  5. The new stats are such BS. None of the old school ingress players pay any attention to any of that (Afterthought) junk they’re keep adding to ingress.

    • I’m OG Ingress (Jan ’13) and I’m *totally* paying attention to the new stats! It’s because I topped out at A8 ages ago, and the new badges are the first metric goals I’ve had in over 11 months. It’s disappointing that I don’t *acquire* anything for achieving them, like we did with agent levelling. But at least it’s *something* to finally work for again!

      I am holding back a little, actually, because I’m still waiting for missions-based levelling as was hinted at by Niantic months ago, of the sort that is described in the article above. I don’t want to blow all my gear until I can actually *get* something for the effort!

  6. I’d like to see some field missions. They drop from a hack and can be dropped to another player. These would be short or long tasks that you accept, go into your mission tab. Aborting allows dropping it. Things like capture and field x portal. Recharge this portal. Destroy this enemy portal. Some might expire others might be x resonators destroyed.

    For agent growth, some trees off of badges might be a start. Unlocking abilities likes disable turret hour cool down, personal shield, drain xmp, reset burned out portal, ub3r h@ck executes four hacks on the same portal.

    Crafting.. Ability to combine other items to make other items.

    Some ideas.. Enjoy

  7. These missions seem rather routine: just doing the usual in-game stuff. I would prefer more challenging missions: for example “Create a single field with at least 20,000 mind units” or “Create a field with 2,000 MUs and defend it for at least 3 days”.

    Or why not reuse the concept of Jarvis shards in a different manner? A mission could be to transfer an object from portal A to portal B through links using the logic of Jarvis shards. These objects would of course not be Jarvis shards, these would be something else (just tokens of some sort), but they would be visible to all players, so the opposing faction could sabotage these missions.

    • Just a comment: the distance between portals A and B would be of course much smaller than what we have seen in the Jarvis action. It would be just a couple of miles, maybe a dozen miles.

    • A couple of other ideas for a mission:

      1. Achieve an average of more than 1 field created per 1 link within 20 consecutive links (so that each link in a series of 20 gives rise to either 1 or 2 fields).

      2. Get more than 25k AP in a single burster explosion.

  8. The missions suggested in the comments are way better than the ones suggested in the article. And we’ve seen better suggestions since a year ago. Even the suggestions start to get boring.

  9. 1.2m = L8
    2.4m = L9
    4.8m = L10
    9.6m = L11 but there is written 9.6m = L10.
    Is there any mistake or this is new leveling system?

  10. What would be really nice is some kind of team mode: so, following your ideas, a mission could consist in capturing portals X, Y, and Z, and uniting them in a field, BUT requiring three (or more, or less) agents to complete it. There would be some simple “first in – first served” interface to accept a mission, and the first three agents to register could start the mission.

  11. LuDGeRBriNk on

    More levels based on AP and/or medals would only increase the gap between players from highly dense areas from less dense ones.
    Better would be if there was a parallel level counting: Excelence levels, which would be gained by amounting Logistic Points – LP – instead of AP.
    It would be a way to contemplate those players, regardless of where they live, be it in Tokio or a wide rural area, based on how they contribute to operations and the laying broader fields.
    Players who hack lots of keys and distribute them through a strongly built network may never lay a single field, but has given their blood, sweat and tears to make the magic happen. They could be awarded like one LP for every 20 keys they hacked that have been used by OTHER PLAYERS to lay links, just to say an example.
    Players who tear down blockade links, transport the keys and so on should also be awarded LP.

    AP would, just as now, count just as a Level condition which determines which items you can use. LP would count towards Excel Level advance which would establish which bonuses a player get:
    E1: 1000 XM cap. increase and BAG BUFF I: 500 Inventory cap. increase (needs 15 LP)
    E2: 1000 XM cap. increase and CAREFUL HACKER: 30 seconds hacking cool down off (Needs 75 LP)
    E3: 3000 XM cap. increase, BAG BUFF II: 500 inventory cap increase and WIDE ARMS: 2 meters action radius increased (375 LP)

    NOTE: “Careful Hacker” and “Wide Arms” cannot be used at the same time. A player can alternate between them once per cycle trough the “Agent” menu.

    Then it would be possible for a player to be L8E1 or L6E2, for instance, depending on their activity.
    Also, the gamedesign, so beautifully build around the number 8, would not have to be deeply changed.

    These are just speculations and suggestions, of course.
    What do you guys think?

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Envisioning Ingress Part1 – Mission & Agent Upgrades

by Guest Writer time to read: 3 min