Gaming Update – So Many Games


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Gaming progress for the last week includes :

Ingress : Double AP until December 1 is being very kind to me.   Sometime this weekend I hope to make Level 14, and an important fellow agent just made 16 with the boost.

  • 1.5 million MU captured
  • 40k Translator (Glyphing) points, means 10,000 to go until the way is clear to 16.
I enjoyed making this field, 2K MU, but it was just such a long and large blocking field as well.

I enjoyed making this field, 2K MU, but it was just such a long and large blocking field as well.

Warplanes : Hawk 75M purchased and fully upgraded, and continuing to accrue the XP for the F2A.   All other aircraft (Tier I mostly) are elited.   I am avoiding purchasing more stuff until I know more about the grind, or elite one of those two aircraft.

Warships : My fleet includes the Dresden and Hermelin (German II and I) ships.   I like the Germans for some reason I haven’t carefully analyzed.   The Americans are the tree I’m planning to fully explore, and I own 5 ships there, mostly working to elite the St Louis cruiser.

I figured out how to play the Sampson destroyer after a lot of false starts.   The torpedos have a tiny range, so you have to sneak up on other ships or wait for them to move near, fire torpedos, and take evasive action.   Generating smoke helps keep you hidden.   Most of the time when I get near a ship, they fired torpedos at me, and had a good kill rate.   I don’t think Destroyers are my kind of ship, but who knows.  I did manage to elite it, but I’m not buying the next one immediately at least.

I haven’t played my starter Battleship (South Carolina) yet.

Tanks : AT2 elited and removed from the grind list.   That is a TD very much my style.    Still grinding away otherwise.   E-75 (German Heavy), The Toaster (German TD), AMX 46 (French TD), Chi-Nu (Japanese Medium), and the B1 (French Heavy) round out the list.    I’m kind of afraid to play the E-75 since I lose 10k credits every match, usually.   Still need more than 100k XP for the E-100 unlock.   I must not play the AMX 46 very well since I often lose credits, and I’m still playing this thing after such a long time.

The B1 is hysterical to play as a stock tank.  It can’t pen ANYTHING at all.   Not a Tier 3 scout from the rear.   Enemies were nervous about me until they realized I was stock and then chewed me up and spit me out.   But I persevered, did not spend free XP, and managed to get all the gear upgrades and am now working on the next tank.   I don’t know – I might end up enjoying this one.   We’ll see.   56% crew means there’s nowhere to go but up.

The weekend special is 50% off Tier 4-5 heavy tanks (none for me), and 30% of Tier 6-7.  For me, this means the KV-85 is on sale.   Bought, and stocked away.

Operation Field Burbank


Immediately after the Connect Burbank operation, I began thinking about what I wanted my next field to be.   I thought about what could have gone better with the operation and came up with two important rules.

  1. The field should cut through enemy territory, making any Jarvised portals the exception rather than the rule.
  2. This way, if the operation fails, it can still succeed – by smashing enemy fields.

Many fields are/were under consideration, but despite the small size, the one I wanted to make next were fields over the entirety of Burbank.   You know – Burbank is my little bit of extra craziness, so nothing holds the emotional appeal of turning it all blue.

I watched the operation as the weeks, and then months, passed by.    The configuration of blue fields in the way changed, and changed again.    Anchors were set; layers were planned; agents were recruited.    Then something happens that blows half of the planning away.

Friday the 13th – 11/13/15.

6 AM

First thing a good Ingress agent does is check the scanner after waking up.    And California is covered in a megafield.

So many layers, the scanner lagged.

So many layers, the scanner lagged.

Clearly, the Enlightened are going to win the bonus points for Abbadon.   But the thought started tickling in my brain…… nobody can block under a megafield.

8 AM

It’s a light day at the office.  Another agent is also having a light day.   We decide, $^@( it, let’s not work today and let’s try for this mega-long-running planned field.    I marked the blockers – a mere 3 friendlies, and 33 enemy blockers.    Friendlies were checked, and nobody cared about them getting killed.

The configuration of friendly portals around one anchor was all off.   This, plus the fact that I hadn’t yet gotten keys in hand for them, meant we abandoned the layering.    This would be a field for the sake of a field, and possibly scoring.

So I got into the car and headed for DreamWorks Animation.

The guards didn't care about me being on the public street in front, so I liked them.

The guards didn’t care about me being on the public street in front, so I liked them.

9 AM

The first megafield layers go down, but not the entire field.   Scanner is done lagging.   We’ve killed maybe 4-5 blockers so far.     I’m getting familiar with parts of the Griffith Park I’d forgotten about, or didn’t know existed, and the blocks are continuing to evaporate.

These two portals (Smokey, and Griffith Park) look inaccessible by foot but it turns out nearby parking is easy.

These two portals (Smokey, and Griffith Park) look inaccessible by foot but it turns out nearby parking is easy.

10 AM or thereabouts

I continue to clear blockers, confident that nobody can mess with my plans since the megafield is still up….. except…… didn’t that guy just throw some kind of link over at Disney Studios ?    It turns out the scanner was still showing the megafield even though it was down.     After a force close and restart, now I could see.   California was clear again.    And we had 20 blockers or so still to kill.   I got worried.

12 PM

The Hanna Barbera studios were one important block that I cleared in the morning.   An ENL agent recaptured them, and rethrew all the fields.   I guess that’s his area.    I headed off to retake it while the last links along Hollywood Way are killed.

I was going to get very familiar with this closed guard shack.

I was going to get very familiar with this closed guard shack.

1 PM

The Enlightened have struck back and thrown a lot of blocking links – I’m not sure they knew what we were doing, but they didn’t want to take chances.     Doesn’t matter, we’re still going to go for the field.    I head back to Glendale and smash more blockers.    We missed this checkpoint.

2 PM

I am starving and I have to pee.   I’m low on gas.   I can’t take care of all of these problems without putting the operation in jeopardy.   So I head to a nearby Starbucks and wait for the bathroom.   I gave up after five minutes and headed towards Hanna Barbera, for the second time.

The construction workers nearby were real nice.   After I asked, they said sure, and I used their port-a-potty and felt much better.   It wasn’t even gross.    I ran quickly and killed Hanna Barbera for the second time.

2:30 PM

The northern link gets thrown, and I’m position to throw the southern.    The anchor appears in my scanner – the way is clear.    I press the confirm button….. and the link would cross an existing link.   What gives ?

The greens are not done blocking yet.   With quite literally, about ONE SECOND to spare, they blocked me from throwing the southern link.   So I headed back out, smashed more blockers, then headed back to the portal one more time.   Southern link thrown

A neat place. A very green portal, and the place I needed to kill next.

A neat place. A very green portal, and the place I needed to kill next.

3 PM

I spend tense minutes jumping between blockers and the final anchor.    Hanna Barbera gets killed for the third time by me.   Traffic is fierce as kids get out of school, and my block killer is stuck.    But he perseveres and cuts down more blocks.

3:30 PM

Final blocker killed.   I get the go ahead – throw the last link.   But it didn’t fire.   One more last minute blocker to the Tin Horn Flatts was in the way, and my fellow field agent headed straight for it, and killed it.   And then – there it was.

Burbank is now fielded !

Burbank is now fielded !

Over 75,000 MU scored for my badge – and unfortunately, we missed one checkpoint, and needed to wait another three hours for the new one.   I knew, immediately, that it wouldn’t survive that long.    But we made the field, and secured bragging rights – Burbank has never been fielded before, and I MADE THE FIELD !

Props to the ENL agents in the area who made it anything but easy to put up the field.    I’m going to have to watch it next time I head into the Hollywood Hills.   And props to all the Resistance agents who helped.   We smashed a lot of green fields today, probably somewhere close to 30,000 MU worth, so it’s a victory all the way around.

World Of Warplanes – Second Look


Thanks to a comment below, I decided to take a second look at World of Warplanes after all.   I’m glad I did.

New cinematic shots, before the game begins.

New cinematic shots, before the game begins.

After patching the game up and trying it out, I find that the controls are still squishy but it doesn’t matter that much – the game is populated by bots now.    Yes, Wargaming has such a low level of population for the game that most matches are populated more by bots than by human beings.     Doesn’t bother me any.

One of the things I didn’t like about how the game came out, was getting smashed into the ground constantly by the other players.   And I mean, smashed hard.    It was discouraging to find yourself with a 40% win rate and it just keeps dropping.    But the bots are much easier for me to deal with, and I’ve racked up some nice kill totals and several wins.

That's new - I get a birthday surprise for my premium plane.  Plus 1,400 free XP.

That’s new – I get a birthday surprise for my premium plane. Plus 1,400 free XP.

Apparently things are pretty dire for this part of the franchise – it’s rumored that it will be shut down by the end of the year unless player population improves.    Based on the one Veteran’s Day set of games I played, that would be a shame.   I enjoyed it, and will probably attempt to unlock the two planes that sound cool based on real life –

  • The P-38 Lightning, built in Burbank, made for the inexperienced pilot.
  • The ME 262, the first jet, that tore allied prop planes to ribbons if it was in the air.

I have the Tier II US plane that moves me in that direction, and I unlocked the Tier II German plane as well.    Apparently I’m pretty well captured by Wargaming, again, at least for the moment.


Master of Orion 4 Moving Forward


Any check up on Wargaming would not be complete without reviewing the granddaddy of space based strategy, Master of Orion.    First created by Simtex in 1993, recreated by the same group in 1996, and disastrously turned over to Alan Emrich in 2003, I’ve been waiting forever for this to re-emerge.

The risk is, MOO was the perfect game for it’s time and can’t really be recreated.    This is certainly a possibility given the massive numbers of space-based games created since, none of which has captured my imagination like MOO.    Then again, I haven’t seen anyone put the “Big Ships Vs Small Ships” together in a balanced way since – including MOO2 – or really capture the ability to conquer via ways other than destroying all your enemies or unifying the galaxy peacefully.

Check it out for yourself, via a PC Gamer Article; or the game’s teaser website.   Apparently to be available via Steam, as well.


The new art concepts for the races are mostly complete.

Only surprise is "Two Humans".

Only surprise is “Two Humans”.

The re-imagined artwork is top notch, as expected from Wargaming.

The re-imagined artwork is top notch, as expected from Wargaming.

No release date.   No “Early Access” availability.   Still, I can’t wait for the game to show up, whenever it finally does.

What’s Wargaming been up to ?


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I’ve not really kept up with Wargaming since traveling to Ingress – obviously.  I missed the launch of Warships for crying out loud – so over the last day I’ve been digging around.

World of Tanks, Nov 2015

A lot of the game is the same old, same old.    This is good and bad, and a few things really jump out at me :

  • Premium accounts are ridiculous.
  • Paying $50 for a tank is ridiculous.
  • Individual matches never get old.
  • The default skins are sooooo boring.
  • The game’s graphics are just beyond fantastic.

I seem to have bought too many tank slots.   Somewhere between ?10? for a new account, and 153 which is my current total (12 slots free), is a more sweet spot.    I loaded up the game and decided to continue with my Churchill GC (everyone hates it, me included more or less, but I’m still going to unlock that last gun) and my AT-2 (I can’t pen you but you can’t pen me !).

The maps appear to have gone through another round of tweaks, and the next patch of 9.11 is coming soon.   There seems to have been some controversy around version 10, but I haven’t penetrated the problem.   Doesn’t matter – this is still a fine, fantastic game.

The problem I have with how I tried to play World of Tanks was trying to unlock every tank.    That is never going to happen if you stay as a sane person.    Premium giving you a 50% XP boost, means, 150% of never is still never – and it costs you a minimum of $10 a month along with tying you to the game.    Now, playing a match or two a night – or even all night – that’s much more doable, and just enjoy the sensation of progression rather than feeling the need to be controlled by it.

I look at the small sums I’ve spent for other games – $40 per title, $10 for Ingress, maybe $40 for Marvel Heroes – and I compare that to blowing over $300 on World of Tanks.    Yeah, that was probably not wise, and I doubt I’m doing that again.

That’s what I’m saying today, anyway.   See what I end up saying at month end.


World of Warships

The vision of the unified account came true only 1/3 of the way.    Sure, all of Wargaming’s big titles have gold, free xp, and credits; but the gold does not transfer over to Warships.   This is a real irritant, given that I have a ton of gold on my World of Tanks account.   Guess I’m going to be able to train/retrain crew members for quite awhile.    On the other hand, I’d buy full price ship slots right at this moment, but I can’t unless I buy doubloons.

Free XP does not transfer either, but the premium time does.   Yay.   I can be “locked in” to Wargaming’s three premier titles.   I’m not going down that path, thanks very much, but I have to admit the idea of owning additional ship slots will probably get me buying doubloons.    This leaves me with an interesting question on free XP in Tanks – do I spend it already (90k hoarded) or continue to hoard it and perhaps never use it.

The gameplay is fantastic, as good as I remember from closed beta.   After one night, I’ve reached the exalted tier of III with a St Louis cruiser, which I’ve yet to take for a spin – I want to unlock the destroyers first and try that gameplay out.   I’ll have to try and get a game with my buddy going, as well – they do have platoons in the game, I hope.

World of Warplanes

I’m not patching that turd to see if it still stinks.    Reports are, it stinks, so I’ll not dive back in there.

Armored Warfare

HZero has apparently been playing this one, although like me, his blogging seems to have gotten light.   I downloaded the installer and will have to try this one out, at least.

But first – time to unlock the American Destroyer tree.

World of Warships – Now LIVE !


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My buddy called me last week, really excited.   He saw a commercial about World of Warships.

“Dude !    You gotta try World of Warships – it’s awesome !”

I’m thinking, this must still be open beta.    A lazy websearch also ‘confirms’ this.

“Yeah dude – they aren’t live yet.    The gold isn’t linked between the games, so it’s not live”

This was early last week, and today, as I updated the game, I googled the correct thing and found out the game is released as of September 2015.    Gold has not transferred according to the unified account vision which was described early on in development, but otherwise this is apparently the real deal – it’s all live, you can buy replacement gold currency described as doubloons, and the game and progression will not be reset.

How did I miss this ?    No email – that I could remember.    No announcement.   No other bloggers playing ?    Or am I that far behind reading compatriots blogs ?   No matter, I know about it now.

I haven’t played for months – You know, Ingress took over my life – so I logged in after updating and found myself immediately in some kind of tutorial mission.   While I’ve probably forgotten plenty, I did seem to know enough to survive the tutorial without embarassment.

Survived !

Survived !

The “Garage” is replaced, naturally, with a Port for this game, and I get four starter ships.

Only four ? Aren't there British ships ?

Only four ? Aren’t there British ships ?

Random clicking did not produce the tech tree, but I did find my service record.

There are now 11 "Service Levels" which presumably unlock tiers of the tech tree.

There are now 11 “Service Levels” which presumably unlock tiers of the tech tree.

And so I went into my first battle, which as memory serves, is players on my side and bots on the enemy side.

You start out looking for enemy ships among the islands.

You start out looking for enemy ships among the islands.

I maneuvered a bit and ended up sunk in my first battle.



But the third battle put me into “Service Level 2” where I had access to the tech tree.

That's why I couldn't find it before.

That’s why I couldn’t find it before.

It looks like I have something new to amuse me.

State of Ingress, November 2015

Ah, the fun of being a blogger, and writing about a game that includes the fog of war.    Yeah, all the good stuff I’ve been doing for the past two weeks can’t get written about.   I’m at a new stage in the game, there’s no progression, still need too much of everything for new levels and badges, but I’m finding new ways to have fun.

An aborted effort to make big fields last week led to a monstrously long green blocking link.    This cut the Santa Clarita Valley in half and impinged much more on the Resistance than the Enlightened.   I decided to take it out after work.

From Burbank to Bear Divide

From Burbank to Bear Divide

I’ve done the drive up Sunland Blvd a few times – thanks to Ingress.   There have been times it was useful to take out or use portals in that area.    But Little Tujunga Canyon is a place I’ve never driven down.    It doesn’t look so hard on the map, now does it ?

Immediately after I leave the office, it starts to rain.    And it’s getting pretty dark, because not only is it raining, it’s the first workday after Daylight Savings changes the time.    And there is no service at all up most of the canyon.   The road is narrow and treacherous, and I’m not driving a sports car like I did in my younger days.   It starts out being a bit weird, and progresses to a little scary by the time I finally reach Bear Divide.

Bear Divide is a picnic area at the top of a hill overlooking Santa Clarita.   Between the dusk and the clouds, I couldn’t see anything interesting.   But I hit the two portals at the top of this, in the increasing rain, surprised by the strength of the signal (Once I got out of the car, it was rock solid.).   Made a field using the appropriate portals as well.

Looks big, but a mere 2.2k MU.

Looks big, but a mere 2.2k MU.

Now it’s pitch black, and I make my way down along Sand Canyon road wanting nothing more than to get home – I’m now half an hour late.    I did stop long enough to throw a blocking link in case The Bad Man decides to retake the portal(s) and re-establish the block.    And I made it home safe.  I’m not doing something like that again, that was a tad too dangerous for my tastes.

The new key lockers are a big help.    I have 200 Burbank keys (give or take), and 300 SCV keys tucked away in them.    The extra inventory space is for “You can go ahead and hack stuff and not immediately have to start recycling”.   I filled up to about 1800 items give or take – I’ve been farming keys like mad.    And I even go to the point where it was time to recycle keys with not much utility.

In the meantime – Resist On !

The Happiest Portals on Earth, Part II – STORE !


I made another visit to Disneyland on Sunday.    I got to experience first-hand the Halloween Hacks – greater output for trick or treating over the weekend.   Not quite in the method I wanted to get it.

It was pretty much extra bursters, which is cool.   The problem being, when you’re at Disneyland you’re collecting on a lot of very low level portals.    Low level resonators are useful; low level bursters are useless.    And I was getting A LOT of them.   I had to recycle after every three or four hacks, and that got old, even if I did get the XM for it.

Even though I’m sure I looked like a dork, I couldn’t stop Ingressing.   So much time at Disney is spent standing around or in lines; and there are just so many portals everywhere.    You’ll often stand in a spot and be in range of 5 of them.    Unlike other places on Earth, this is typical.    When I was in an area for awhile I’d link them all up or throw yolos, after filling everything out with whatever resos I could.    Or I’d throw links, only to nearby portals.

The most fun was running into an Enlightened area.    Level 8 bursters just wreak total havok in a space like that – and I was on the receiving end of it a couple of times too.   I got to enjoy sitting in the Aladdin Theatre and wondering whether I should drop resos, fire bursters, or just wait and see what the other guy does.

I enjoyed the rides a little.   I’m kind of over Disneyland, but the family loves it.    I’m DEFINITELY over the price of annual passes.    It was mostly about providing a fun time for the family, and I loved that part.

I finally got the opportunity (and the interest) to explain Ingress to my teenage daughter, who decided to show her sweet side instead of her steely side, for once.    I gotta watch it – the last thing I want is her playing this game.    But she put her head on my shoulder and insisted I explain, so I showed her what was happening as we rode the tram back to the car, and I picked up keys someone had dumped on the ground.

If you have an annual pass, and a free day, you couldn’t do better for grinding AP than wandering Disneyland.   I got a ton.    Serious grinding without your family might literally net you a million AP in a day.

And then, as I’m writing this post – STORE !   It’s available for everyone.    I got a few errors as I tried to access it, and an equal number because it’s hard typing a good password into a phone.    But regardless – in a few minutes I purchased my 5 key lockers.

There's a cool animation once you buy the capsules, unfortunately, this was all I got.

There’s a cool animation once you buy the capsules, unfortunately, this was all I got.

I immediately filled up two lockers with Burbank keys, and almost two with Santa Clarita keys.    One key gets left out, and the duplicates all get stored in the key lockers.    I didn’t have enough Santa Clarita keys to fill out the last one, and I’d rather have more of those than Burbank keys.   So the fifth locker is still empty, until I can figure out better what to put into it.

One capsule is also being held with “hacking” keys – the idea is this holds whatever I’m hacking, that I want more keys for.    And I saw something I hadn’t seen since I started playing the game.

My inventory......... is not almost full....

My inventory……… is not almost full….

The plan for the moment is to impose this rule on inventory.

  • 200 bursters max.
  • 40 resos max, each level, except R8 which I’ll hold however many I get.

Which should give me a bunch of empty space so I can actually just hack when I have the opportunity, instead of recycle and recharge as I go.    Whenever I fill up – or get home at night – then I’ll empty things out, meaning clear out about 200+ inventory slots instead of the 50 or so I’d get most of the time, or 10 on a “full day”.

The portal frakkers sound interesting and I may end up paying for them too, but one thing at a time.   I blew $10 already – let’s see how this improves the game, or not.

After 50 Years, Clearly Gaming is Lifelong


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30 was fun, spent with friends and being wild.   40 was subdued, spent with friends around a dining room table sipping wine, with pinkies out, being Faaaannncccyyyy.    50, now – this is a big one.   I’ve literally received my AARP card in the mail (and did not join, thank you) and am now eligible to retire (!?).

I find myself looking back on all the things gaming that I’ve experienced.   Probably the very first thing is pinball machines, perhaps back when I was 8 years old.   The memories are hazy.   I wasn’t any good at playing them, but that didn’t stop me from playing more.    I remember thinking, and being told, if you want to master something you must practice it.   Good advice that served me well over the years.

Target Alpha. Destination for many quarters. I never got good at it.

Target Alpha. Destination for many quarters. I never got good at it.

Pinball is the very first thing I mastered, during my teenage years.   I could win a free game every time I played.   I knew which machines to play, and which ones to ignore, due to the way the free play was set; wear and tear on the machine; and a myriad of other factors.    I knew how hard to shake a Gold Wings versus a Sorceror.    I was a kid without much money and I learned how to make the games last, spending $1 or 2 over the course of a night.

But during my teenage years I also discovered video games in many forms, certainly first in the arcades.    I clearly remember the first time I saw Asteroids – 14 years old, and wondering how these kids were able to play the thing so well.    I’d been playing Space Invaders for quite a bit before that, at the local pizza place.    I never looked back; it was clear to me this was going to be a hobby, forever.  How many times during my teenage years was I told to grow up and stop all this gaming  ?   A lot.   I never listened.

And teens is when I discovered War Gaming, when my brand new next-door-neighbor introduced me to Luftwaffe.

This game started me down a new path.

This game started me down a new path.

War Games had one distinguishing characteristic – they were all VERY COMPLICATED.   I loved them for it.    Being able to memorize all the obscure rules and obtain enjoyment out of it was enriching; and prepared me for a life of memorizing obscure facts and figures, and the sometimes ridiculous demands of the working world.

Eventually I grew older and the computing industry matured.   I got a job, after graduating college.    And I bought my first PC, to my first wife’s chagrin and disgust.

I was one of the few who bought one of these things. Tandy 1000. Radio Shack. LOL.

I was one of the few who bought one of these things. Tandy 1000. Radio Shack. LOL.

The PC was intoxicating, and I spent every spare minute on it.   I learned programming in BASIC.    I learned how DBASE worked.    I learned how to get games running on it, no easy feat at the time.    I look at my kids and their IPADS, where they select from menus and install dozens of games with a tap, and I think, but what about figuring how your CONFIG.SYS ?   They’ll never know that stuff, which is both good and bad.    But I know how to hack around computer systems, at least.

The knowledge served me well.   There was a time in the late 80’s, and early 90’s, where if you hired a computer gamer, you were getting someone who knew PC’s very very well.    I managed to impress everyone with my skills on the PC and it’s morphed my career along, changing from pure accountant to a mixture of Info Tech and Accounting.    This is not a surprising story for accountants of my era – everyone knows someone who did this.   But it is my story.

And I moved on from $5,000 PC’s to build-your-own desktops and multiple devices in the house, upgrading and replacing, until I am where I am today.   Let’s see.    Three Desktops, One Laptop, One Google Tablet, Three IPADS, Two Iphones, One Samsung.   I provide limited Apple tech support – usually, all the not-specific-to-Apple stuff like why won’t it connect to the internet? – and keep everything else running in geeky fashion.

What a ride it’s been.    And it’s not over yet.

Ingress continues to be my game of choice.   It’s like nothing else out there.    How many games can you play where you connect with teammates – who you’ve never met before – and coordinate a war over the face of the planet ?    Or where you just jump in and assist in said war ?   I’m curious to find out where it’s all headed, if this remains a niche game for the next year, or if someone gets out to mainstream gaming.   Who knows.    I’m sure Location-Based is over a year out for the Farmville type players and my kids, but I don’t want to take my crystal ball any farther out.

The thing about Ingress is, it’s not just a game, but more of a way of life.    This has to get old, at some point.    Do we all become filthy casuals someday ?    Will the game shut down ?   These will be interesting answers to discover.

While it would be fun to detail more of why I make that statement – Ingress is a way of life – there’s the problem of the game being a team based competition over the world, and the blog being read by the enemy team.   So unfortunately that’s all I’m going to say.    No removing the fog of war, completely.

And yet, there’s no doubt that I’m helping out anyone reading the blog, both by 1) Providing info about how to play, and 2) By detailing my experiences I’m sure the Enemy Team gets some intel.    There’s a delicate balance here.    I’ll go ahead and take the risk of saying too much, because documenting the experience is important, useful…… and a lot of fun.

I’ll continue to watch the location-based-gaming segment, because I’m convinced someone is going to make a fortune with this.    The type of game might be the next big thing.    Or it could be mainstreamed.   Maybe that’s the upcoming Pokemon Go.

Free To Play continues to work well and siphon my money, in the form of Marvel Heroes.  It’s a good break from Ingress, and really, a lifetime of coming home and sitting on the PC would never change completely overnight.   But it’s definitely the second fiddle as far as gaming goes, and I put it down if I find someone attacking one of my portals.   Recharge !

Someday, I’m probably going to be in a retirement home, and partaking in whatever geek gaming culture has offered up at the time.   I just hope they have a LAN (or whatever it will be in 15 years or so) and other gamers for me to interact with.    I’m expecting it, actually – technology is great for the senior generation that doesn’t get out much.    How much better will it be for seniors once they’re thoroughly comfortable with tech ?

But in the meantime, time to see what my 50’s offer.

The store is…. sort of …. Live


I made my predictions on the cost of Chaotic Matter (IE, premium currency) in Ingress.    So how did I stack up to the reality ?

Prediction :

  • 7,000 – $5
  • 15,000 – $10
  • 32,000 – $25
  • 90,000 – $50
  • 200,000 – $100

Reality :

  • 2,500 – $2
  • 7,000 – $5
  • 15,000 – $10
  • 32,000 – $20
  • 90,000 – $50
  • 200,000 – $100

I forgot to predict the 2,500 CM one, and was $5 off on the 32,000 one.   Not bad, Doc.   Now all I want to do is spend the approx $10 it will cost for five of the new key capsules.

The most salient feature of the new store, however, appears to be…. access.    The guys who tear down the code determined each player has a 1% chance to get access to the store.    What.   The.    Frog.

On the one hand, I can see that if you’re worried all your players are going to buy things immediately you need to limit access so it doesn’t crash.   I get that, I really do.   On the other hand, I have never heard of a lottery to access a new feature in a software product.    I really want these key capsules, especially at that price point.    And I can’t get it because I didn’t get the lucky random dice roll.    And – it’s hard to believe you want to OPEN UP YOUR STORE, and then NOT ALLOW PEOPLE TO BUY.

The rumor is, that there is a check each time you open up the scanner to see if your number comes up and you get access to the store.    So a bunch of players (me included) started to kill the app, reopen it, and see if the store is there.    10 times was enough for me; it didn’t appear and I gave up.    This is a server side update, perhaps the random die roll is done server side too.

How often are they rolling the dice for us ?    Daily makes sense, if they’re worried about the scalability of their store.    At least, as much sense as can be gleaned from a feature where THEY WON’T TAKE YOUR MONEY, until a random die roll permits you.     So I’m going to close the app and restart it at least once a day, until I get access.

It’s a bit amazing, actually, that the app will run often for days at a time.    Ingress being my second job, I kind of want the app running constantly – or the Intel Map, where I can get portal capture updates.    And it delivers without a fuss.    So I’ll have to remember to kill it nightly and hope for the best.

So far, I haven’t seen a report on the actual use of the key capsules, I suppose it will be *soon* .   And then there’s the other items, “Beacons” – self explantory?   I think so – and “Frakkers” – Double hack output for 10 minutes, with a cap around 150 hacks.    They’re priced somewhere around $1 and $2 each, depending on how the exact conversion math works.    Maybe I’ll have to buy them and see how they work.

And in the meantime, I’m playing a bit more casually.    I don’t feel the need to maximize my Ingress time.    I’m hacking less, building less, and blowing things up when I’m close to them.      And it’s OK – the news about the store has reinvigorated me.    Maybe they’ll sell something else I’d really like for a few bucks, sometime soon.


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