Stop selling any hackable gear in Ingress

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TL;DR: We believe Niantic should cease selling any hackable gear through the in-game store, because of many negative effects it may bring.

Dear Niantic.Inc,

We, the agents listed below, hold the opinion that the new option to purchase items in-game damages the playability and balance of the Ingress game, and therefore request its removal from the game.

The new in-game purchase options in Ingress provide the ability to acquire “hackable gear” by purchasing it repeatedly, such as XMP bursters, resonators, cubes, power cubes, and shields including VR Shields and Aegis Shields.

With a high possibility that agents are going to purchase many items in the store, the new in-game purchase options may negatively affect the in-game balance and playability in the following ways:

  • Agents may favor the convenient option to purchase gear instantly from the store rather than going out and hacking portals as a means to acquire gear; this would affect the game dynamics of the Trekker, Purifier, and Builder medals, to mention a few. We believe the purchase of "hackable gear" puts the spirit of Ingress at risk and will tend to reduce overall activity across the community. 
  • Agents may become less eager to participate in farming with other agents, weakening the social, collaborative and community aspects of Ingress.
  • The environment and mechanics may become too difficult for new and low-level agents, and less rewarding for seasoned agents, as there will be more Very Rare shields, making it simpler to defend the portal base and reducing portal turnover.
  • Seasoned agents may find that UPCs become harder to obtain, as such they may be discouraged from exploring and in-game combat.
  • New agents may find the game environment uneven and hostile, as it becomes more difficult to level up due to the increased number of high-level portals in the network with strong shields.

Purchased gear promotes pay-to-win as means to replenish supplies more easily than before, which promotes the following adverse effects:

  • Reducing the fairness of Anomalies, as the teams/factions with greater financial resources obtain more in-game inventory.
  • The elimination of gear-denial strategies.
  • An official Ingress shop with critical items like Aegis will help camouflage items bought from illegal shops. Until now the use of an unhackable amount was a clear sign of illegal shopping.
  • Since the purchase of hackable items is now officially legitimate, the mental threshold to buy from third parties/black market at better prices will also be lowered.

We strongly believe Niantic should cease selling any hackable gear through the in-game store. It would benefit Ingress and our community by stopping the damage caused by the new in-game gear purchase system.

We acknowledge Niantic’s rights and inclination to monetize, but believe items should be gained by effort rather than simple payment.

Thanks,

Initial signings from the Google Doc and Google Form:

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