Niantic made several changes today to Ingress with no fanfare, heads up, or official announcement. Users began reporting that the application, when downloaded, was no longer asking for an invite code like it previously had, and instead launches straight into the initial training that teaches the basic mechanics and goals of the mobile game. Previous invites that users had available to distribute have since vanished.
In addition, in the past, when initial Ingress training was completed, the player was given a choice of which ‘faction’ to side with. There is now a warning, in bright blue letters, “Choose carefully. This choice is final”, which is hammered home by the narrator, ADA, speaking it aloud in a very stern tone. Previously, players could request a faction switch whenever and as often as they wanted. However, with the game now in open beta, players can just create a new account, effectively making a faction change request a moot point.
Google+ user Brian TaoÂ posted in the Ingress community on his discovery and opinion on the changes. The Ingress G+ page responded to the many comments and questions on Brian’s post and confirmed his claims, saying, “We are currently in open beta. New Agents do not need to request an activation code.” The changes come barely two days after NianticÂ stirred the waters on G+ with it’sÂ controversial stance on game add-ons, such as IITC, Ingress Drop, and others. Niantic warned that any use of such applications and/or add-ons violated the game’s TOS, and would likely result in the account being banned, reset, or permanently deleted. The backlash was strong, with players venting their frustration of the repeated pleading of features to be added to Ingress going ignored by Niantic. Below are just some quotes of what was said:
“Ban everyone then. Do it. Or perhaps add features the community has been wanting instead of animations? Thanks.” – Georg Grabler
“So making a good, clean, working client with info relating to actual game play are less important than ‘badges and achievements and other random info that are meaningless to actual gameplay.” – Aaron Lunger
“Guys, you’re in beta and you should be paying attention to what your users are doing and learning from it.Â If a large number of users are using IITC, there’s got to be a reason for it. Use that knowledge to make your product better […]Â Work with your users and your community. Give us better ways to tell you when something needs to change and make us feel like our suggestions are being listened to.” – Jason Murray
Any Ingress players out there with opinions on Google Niantics recent actions? Let us know below.