Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Thoughts on MUFG Capsules

There has been a lot of hype about MUFG Capsules and I wanted to add my two cents in on them, now that I finally have some.

First, Niantic adding capsules as an item was awesome. At the time it was a long over due addition to the game. Now, we have these MUFG capsules which pay a dividend on items stored in them. In a recent G+ post +Petr Mor├ívek did some extensive studies on the return rate of MUFG capsules and concluded the return rate is approximately 1 - 1.5% return rate. Cross referencing this to Union Bank's current interest rate on savings accounts is 1%. I don't know if this is coincidence or not but it will be interesting to see if/when interest rates go up again if the MUFG capsules' return rate will increase.

Keeping your MUFG capsule loaded with approximately 96 items seems to yield the optimum results. However you must remember to pull excess items from your MUFG capsule daily because once the capsule reaches 100 items, it will not be able to generate any additional items.

This is a pretty cool concept, but the yield is not that great. Don't get me wrong I'm not going to turn my nose up at a free L8 XMP or two every day, but I can easily hack that on my ride in to work. Now if I ever get to the point where I get 8-10 MUFG capsules and am getting 10+ L8 XMPs- now were talking. But it's a freebie, so no complaints.

But the hack rate on MUFG capsules is different. Until very recently I hadn't hacked my own and in the month I've hacked several thousand times. But my daughter who in the last month has only done < 500 hacks has gotten 3. She must be very lucky, I'm just unlucky or some combination of the two.

So it's a nice improvement to the game, not a game changer, but I see a day when I do have 10 or more of them and only have 2-3 regular capsules strictly for trading items. But this is absolutely no substitution for farming as I think some people may have expected.

Monday, August 3, 2015

My Daughter Made Level 8!

My daughter hasn't been an active player for a while. She got hooked into Ingress when I told her about the anomalies and she wanted to participate. Tried as we may to get her to 8 before Darsana, we just couldn't get there.

Since Darsana she has played a little here and there, mainly coming out with me when I want a little help taking out a particular portal. A few weeks ago I was hitting a few targets of opportunity while running some errands with her and she said she was going to play. She told me she was now so close to 8 she wanted to make a push for it.

We began heading out a few times, unfortunately time wasn't on our side. My typical playing time is generally from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am and I wasn't going to keep her out that long, so we went out in 1 hr bursts. One of our local Resistance players even kept tabs on her progress (Mainly because it was his portals we were hitting.) One night he sent a message on the COMM saying he was waiting up for her to hit again and level up. It turned out to be a little while before we could go out again.

This past Friday night. I was loaded with nearly 1000 L8 XMPs and was ready to do some damage to the Resistance dominated areas. I on the intel map I found a nearby portal with dozens of links and many, many fields coming and going from it. I estimated that portal alone would give her the AP needed.

We headed out and that portal was number 1 on our list of targets. We get there and I drop a handful of L8 Ultra Strikes on the center of the portal to kill the shields and then tell her to spam it with XMPs. Well I see the portal is going down as the field starts to look weak. Then next think I know it is full blown recharged. The resistance was recharging on her, and by the look of it several people were recharging. So I decide to help and fire off a few L8 Xmps. When it started looking weak I would stop as not to steal the AP from her, but they were relentlessly recharging.

So I then decided to spam it with L8 Bursters. It starts to get weak again. I back off to let her take it out, but they brought it up again. I start spam bombing again. Between the two of us we got it down to 4 resonators. By this time we'd each used probably 100 XMPs. But I back off again and again they are able to keep it fully charged against her. So I start firing again and what do you know one of my XMP bursters took out 3 of their resonators and I got the over 28K AP. I went ahead and took out the last remaining resonator too, but let her claim and fully deploy to.

In hind sight I would have walked to reach resonator and fired Ultra Strike to more strategically taken them out, and save on Bursters, then once it was down to 3 have her do the same. Oh well live and learn.

We went out and she did level up later that night and we were out until 4 am (and the wife was not happy about that).

So I am happy to now have a second powerful player in my family to help me.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Seer Badge - FAIL

Here's another quick rant since I'm ranting....

The Seer Badge.

Wow what a mess. While I do consider this a fail on Niantic's part, I would classify it as they had the best of intentions, but I don't think they anticipated the overwhelming response they would get.

My best guess this was an attempt to increase the number of portals quickly. I like so many other agents mainly submitted portals pretty casually.

Then the Seer badge was announced. Agents could level up based on submitting new portals. Awesome idea, right?

Well yes it was, but I don't think Niantic realized the tidal wave of responses they would get. While the seer badge was active I probably submitted 200+ portals. Yet, I've only had a very few approved. Of the portals I've submitted I expect a minority to be rejected for legitimate reasons. I was gunning for submitting 500+ portals.

As submittals took longer and longer, I stopped submitting as many.

Now to Niantic's credit they initially suspended portal submittals to apply for the badge and I believe they have officially ended submittals.

Those who still have portals submitted before then will be counted towards the seer badge and those after will not.

At first this really irritated me, but since then they have made many other badges, some are quite easy to get like the Sojourner it becomes a disappointment at worst because while I want to get all my badges to Onyx, this one will forever be stuck as bronze...

Cheaters- A short rant

This is a form of cheating I've come across lately players moving portals which are correctly situated to be in a more advantageous place for them.

I had seen it and hadn't thought too much of it before, but then a portal I submitted and would hack regularly got moved. Here's the portal:

The player moved it from the proper place in the pond to the middle of the pond to the middle of a street so they could hack it from their work easily. One day I go to hack it to the regular spot in the parking lot I always go, and I'm out of range. Initially thought I was dealing with a little bad drift but I waited recharged some portals and never got in range. Then I looked and it wasn't drift, it had been moved. WTF???

I'm a little disappointed that Niantic allowed the move. Just looking at the map you can see it got moved to a street and that the portal is a fountain. The picture shows

Making me more frustrated, I and other players have attempted to have it put back in it's proper place several times to no avail. Niantic keeps denying our requests.

Since I was posting more regularly I now work in a different location, same company just a different office less than a mile away from where I was. This location just happens to have 2 portals nearby. 1 I can hack from my desk when I get the opportunity to and another I'm about 10 meters away from. I would never consider requesting moving the other to be a personal benefit to me. I just hack it on my way in and out or when I happen to be on that side of the building.

While Ingress is really cool and a ton of fun; it's just a game people, why do you feel the need to cheat???

New Scanner - Samsung Galaxy Note 4

I've posted about the other scanners I've used so Let me update you on my newest phone. I got the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 at the beginning of 2015. I was trying to hold out for my carrier, Verizon, to release the Nexus 6, but I got to the point where I couldn't wait any longer. And naturally shortly after I bought the Note 4 Verizon released the Nexus 6, but I'm still very satisfied with my choice.

Just as a point of reference my previous the Samsung Galaxy S4. And even after 2 years of use, this phone performed excellent as a scanner. The Note 4 is fast, responsive and absolutely great as an Ingress scanner. I love it.

At first I tried Glyph Hacking using the pen. For me this was a huge failure. My finger was faster and more accurate. But unlike others I'd spoken to I loved completing the glyphs on the bigger screen. Some have said it is a greater distance and costs you time and therefore you have less productive glyph hacks. I have no doubt that is true, but I work better with the larger area. I actually was trying to teach my daughter glymph hacking using her Apple iPhone 4s. For me that was just incredibly small and I didn't like it.

Now the Note 4 has some energy saving features, I however don't use all of them so playing Ingress drains my battery pretty quickly. I have may portable charging pack, but I also had to get a new car charger. I went with the Anker 4.8A / 24W 2-Port USB Car Charger with PowerIQ Technology from Amazon. This was actually my second new charger. My former one which worked great for my S4 didn't put out enough Amps to effectively charge. If I had it on the car charger while playing it would still loose power while on the charger. I bought a different one and the reviews online said it would charge the Note 4. And it probably would slowly charge while not playing Ingress.

So I started shopping for another and I found some really expensive ones out there. Then I found the Anker and based on my experience with their other products I bought this one. I'm really pleased. It not only charges while playing Ingress, but charges rapidly.

So overall this scanner is a hit. DO I have any regrets about not getting the Nexus 6 I was holding out for? Initially I did, but now I have it I love it and one advantage the Note 4 has over the Nexus 6 is that the Note 4 allows owners to expand the memory using a micro SD card. I love this feature too and can see myself potentially getting annoyed about the lack of memory on the Nexus, like my daughter gets with her iPhone 6.  16 Gigs seems like a lot but once you account for Verizon's bloatware and just the minimum space needed to keep the phone running it goes by quickly, so even though it wasn't my first choice, it was the best decision.


Stay tuned I'm going to do a write up of the iPhone 6 that my daughter uses.

Catching Up - My Anomaly Experiences

In the time since I last regularly posted I participated in 2 anomalies Darsana & Persepolis.


Like I mentioned I wasn't completely dormant while not posting. November 2014 Virginia Beach was a satellite location for the Darsana Anomaly. Finally we had an anomaly in my general area. I was really excited about it and my excitement rubbed off on my daughter she decided she wanted to participate. We tried like mad to get her to a Level 8 before the anomaly, but just didn't make it.

November at the oceanfront area of Virginia Beach when scheduled it seemed like it would be great November generally is not too cold around here. Well we just happened to be hit with a spell of cold weather, add to that a cold breeze coming straight off the ocean. It ended up being pretty darn cold.

My daughter and I were assigned to a bike team where we could be deployed to any area needed for additional support quickly. I'm proud to say that my team did it's job well and we won each portal we fought over other than one, but we did win the volatile portals we were assigned to.

This was a great event I met a lot of great people and had fun. Unfortunately my faction did not win the satellite event. But we had a great time, met a lot of really cool people from all over and even met Joe Philley himself.

Here's my bike crew:

(Hey dude in the red jacket, stop eyeing my daughter :) )

Here's my daughter with Joe Philley:


I was all set and ready to go to Persepolis in Washington D.C.. My sister lives inside the D.C. beltway and I was stoked my daughter and I had a place to crash it wasn't that far away and I had such a blast with Darsana I couldn't wait for this anomaly. The one thing I wanted to change was I was not going to be on a bike team again. I was not in shape for the amount of distance we had to travel and the speed needed. I was always at the back of the pack but I was there. 

Well life got in the way, and at the last minute I just couldn't make it. I was crushed. But all was not lost. I'd farmed really well and had stocked my daughter and I up with bookoo equipment. We were prepared. 

Luckily, I let some people know I wasn't going to be able to make it and gave away nearly all of both of our gear to people who were going. After I gave away a ton of good stuff a local player sent me a link to fill out what I'd donated and then I ended up with a Persepolis badge which was pretty cool since I was crushed that I couldn't make it. 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Awesome mission, awesome teamwork!

Because of where I live and the fact I'm virtually the only Enlightened agent in my area, I was contacted to ask to be a part of an awesome mission. This group was building an 18 layer mega-field with one of the main links going through the area where I live.

The issue is because I am virtually the only Enlightened agent, the Resistance (two agents in particular) really dominate the area. They constantly have their own 100K Mind Unit Mega field over the area and apparently they have virtually unlimited keys to the other remote portals. I take it out and minutes later it's back up. I actually got to the point of saying I'll just leave it up because it only gives them more points each time I destroy it when they put it back up.

This ended up being a pretty good strategy. Not only did it keep them from continuing to get massive AP and medals, it prevented not only them but other agents from throwing up other links and fields which could interfere with the mission, yet I could take out their fields with just taking out 3 nearby portals in my town.

The leader of the mission came to my town and briefed me on the mission. I just liked the thought of being part of a cool mission like this. Very similar to the mission I posted about much earlier. He then asked where I was on my Illuminator badge. I told him I was at gold. He then told me he'd save keys to the remote portals for me. After I take out the blocking field, I could try to meet him at the southern tip of the field and put up a final field. The first 17 layers were to be before the checkpoint. With me taking down the field immediately before the checkpoint and the southern tip being almost an hour away my field wouldn't be in the checkpoint if at all. It was very possible the remote anchors would be gone before I got down there. But I appreciated the opportunity and didn't expect it.

I made it down just in the nick of time and put up the 18th layer just as the Resistance agents were striking other layers in the area.

Here's a gif of the action:

Here's a screenshot of my field going up:

Here's a shot of the dog tag the organizer made for the dozen or so agents who participated.

Wow it's been over a year!

I couldn't have imagined it's now been over a year since my last post. I keep telling myself I'd post about this or that. So much has happened in the game in the past year it would be impossible to do a full catch up. I have a few ideas for some blog posts that will touch on some of the happenings in that time, but I will mainly plan on moving forward.

Where have I been??? 
I never stopped playing, though the intensity in which I played did drastically slow down. It use to be very common for me to head out several times a week and play from about 10:00 pm to 1:00 am several times per week. Well I'm getting a little too old for that and honestly it was impacting my work and other things so I've virtually stopped that. But I am thinking of picking that up again on Fridays & Saturdays that wouldn't interfere with other things in my life.

So you may ask why an I beginning this again after sooo long.
There are a couple of reasons. I have increased my activity level the past few months maybe even as many as the past 6 months. For a lot of this time I was playing again as a lone wolf. Like I wrote earlier the game is much more fun when you play as a group with other people. Then recently I got involved in some great group projects which brought me back up again. I'll be posting about one particular project I was involved in which was massively fun.

Also, the game is fun and I've missed my adventures while Ingressing. I'm hoping that by bringing my blogging activity back up I'll also bring up my playing activity.

Where am I now?
I'm currently a level 12. I have all the medals I need to make 15, but that's a lot of AP away. If you've ever used the app "Agent Stats" (which is pretty cool) that app says I'll be a L16 in 2019. I've now set a goal to make it in less than a year. It's a pretty big undertaking for someone who plays the way I've been playing lately, but it's achievable.