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I have complained about imbalanced defense in Ingress before, but I wanted to lay out just *how difficult* defense is in the game.

THINGS WHICH CAN’T BE SOLVED

The Attacker dictates the time

The defender has to wait for the attacker.    Sure, you can put shields and mods on your portal and link it up to make it defend better; but other than that, you must wait for the attacker to go after your portal.     Often this happens like so – Portal #1 gets killed, then portal #2 gets killed.   You feel pretty confident he’s going to kill portal #3 next.    But you need to wait with fingers poised and XM charged for the attacker to go after your portal before you can recharge.

This is less of a complaint – you can’t change the game to make this better – than to set the stage for why it’s difficult to defend.

THINGS WHICH ARE UNDER NIANTIC’S CONTROL

Server Priority

From observing the game behavior it’s clear that attacking gets the priority.   What do I mean by this ?   You have any number of screens that “access” a portal, and it makes sense that some will have a higher priority (attacker screen) and some a lower priority (Intel map) in terms of how often updates get pushed/pulled.

Often you are sitting looking at the screen, waiting for the attack, and then the portal is dead.   One second it’s at 100%, the next second it’s at zero.   Did the enemy ADA/Jarvis ?   Nope, the screen you were looking at did not update in time for you to defend.    There is nothing more rage-inducing than watching your important portal die without being given any chance to defend.

Delayed Notifications

What use is the COMMS notification that your portal is under attack, if it’s only received at the same instant that you get the portal neutralized message ?   Most attacks seem to happen this way, especially any competent set of enemies or multiple attackers on one portal.

Speed Lock

Got the scanner running while you cruise down the freeway and suddenly you hear “Portal under attack!” ?    You don’t get to recharge until you can safely stop.    That’s frustrating beyond belief, especially if you happen to be stopped in traffic but have still triggered Speed Lock due to previously cruising along at 60 MPH.

CAGEY PLAYERS

If I’m being recharged against while I attack a portal, I can use all of this defensive knowledge to make myself unbeatable on the offense.   The typical attack goes like this :

  1. Blow off shields with ultrastrikes.
  2. Reduce resonators, hoping to kill one or more.
  3. Pause to allow defensive “Zap” to dissipate, if desired.
  4. Repeat #2 as needed.
  5. Eat XM cubes if low on power.
  6. Kill last resonator.

Recharging is not effective for keeping shields up, so you ignore the other players until that point.   And if they are recharging on me ?    Just do something else.    Admire the view on the top of the mountain.    Sit back and stare into space.   Check email.    And then restart the attack, knowing your enemy won’t be able to sustain their defense.

Even if they can sustain the defense – just stand on one particular resonator.    Fire and fire away, chances are, despite recharging, you’ll kill this one.    Let them recharge to 100%, wait, and try again.

THE DEFENSE’S ADVANTAGES

Long press recharge

Press and hold the recharge button to either 1) Fill up all the resonators, or 2) Give every last bit of your XM to the portal being charged.    This has recently become much more useful in conjunction with the Lawson, because previously, you had to fumble between screens in order to use your cubes, losing precious seconds while the attacker just fires and fires away.   Or even worse, you would conclude incorrectly they quit attacking.

The Lawson Cube

If you pop one of these babies, you can recharge over and over for quite some time without fumbling between screens to refill your XM reservoir.    With this and the defensive ZAP, you’ve got a real advantage at last.   It’s not enough, but it certainly can stop a non-determined or not 100% competent attacker.

CONCLUSION

Any competent attacker cannot be successfully defended against, all things being equal.   Attackers low on gear, specific excellent defensive configurations, these can lead to success even against an awesome player, but otherwise defense is pretty danged hard.

It’s probably an attack-favored game for the simple reason that without churning the portals, players probably get bored and quit the game.    Me, I think they’ve gone overboard and I’m happy to see Lawsons added to improve the defensive game.

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