The Gray Ingress Jedi
There’s been a disturbance in the force. You’ve probably felt it. If you didn’t, consider yourself lucky, for the inevitable has happened. Niantic has been given proof of people breaking TOS on a massive scale. Agents have turned on the other faction as well as their own. Thousands of agents found themselves under scrutiny. It was bad. We have just witnessed the biggest clash between light side and dark side agents that Ingress has ever seen, and many of us are caught in the middle, carefully watching our every step and word.
If you are wondering how to navigate the fallout or how it might affect you as an Ingress Agent, this article is for you.
No matter who you talk to, this topic will inevitably split into thinner and thinner arguments of varying merit. Most everyone will find themselves on competing sides of the fine details, even among friends. This is why in order to find your own place in all of this, it’s important to focus inward. Ask yourself not strictly your opinion on every little detail in the discussion, but where your alignment lies within the ranks as a whole.
Where do you fall?
LIGHT SIDE agents believe in following TOS strictly to code. They reject any kind of circumstantial modification of TOS; a matter that they see as firmly black and white. They will confront anyone they believe has crossed the line, and empowered with evidence of any indiscretion they will seek to ban people from the game.
DARK SIDE agents believe in employing whatever tools are available to enhance their ingress game. They take liberties with the TOS, feeling that the additional plugins and third party apps are a requirement for maintaining their competitive edge. This is a slippery slope. Some dark side agents aren’t prepared for the power at their disposal and abuse the system in order to achieve personal goals. They have the real potential to hurt people along the way. For a dark side agent, it is in their best interest to constantly check themselves so that they don’t slip into a void from which they cannot recover. Those that fail to self check find themselves blacklisted, banned, or worse.
THE MIDDLE GROUND
So are all Light Side agents strict saints? Not really. There are many agents that understand the usefulness of programs like IITC even though it technically is defined as a third party app. They use a less formal measure, judging if an app provides an unfair advantage for example. Even though they may not use these apps or databases themselves, they generally don’t judge someone who use for the right reasons or with an app that isn’t exclusive to any faction.
On the other hand, aren’t all Dark Side agents cheaters? I think not. There are many agents that have the discipline to use raw data and third party apps to bring positive changes to Ingress. Most Dark Side agents only dabble in one plugin or another with no effects or consequences. They know they are acting against the verbatim of the TOS but see themselves as adhering to the SPIRIT of the game. These agents genuinely use their superpowers for good. At the end of the day these agents will not regret or apologize for their proximity to scraped data or extra third party apps. They feel totally justified in the decisions they made while they were handling it.
This is the Gray Jedi.
Coming into year five of Ingress, we are all nearly at the boiling point on the scraper/spoofer situation. As we all explore new ways to cope and to deal with the changes and additional challenges in the game, there are some predictable outcomes that will play out.
The Light Side agents will continue their efforts to root out the cheaters. They will have encouraging wins; successfully getting some Dark Side agents banned but the reward will not be worth the cost involved. Among these are extended and intensified aggravation, time and effort that will prove to be in vain the moment that Dark Side agent creates their new account, starting their whole process over again. Hardcore Light Side agents sadly will remain in this cycle indefinitely, accepting their growing anger as an Ingress reality. At the same time, drastically increasing their odds at being branded a hypocrite at their first mistake, perceived or otherwise. This is a self-created iron maiden from which they cannot escape.
The Dark Side agents will continue to hack, extract, and exploit Niantic’s data, continually giving opportunities to the worst of their order for them to abuse. Tools will become ever more advanced. Many of the worst agents will get banned over time but they will come back, this time with motive. These agents will be doomed to this endless cycle of begrieved cause-and-effect in the game and will always be miserable as a result. Similar to Light Side agents, Dark Side agents will eventually find themselves trapped in an inescapable cage of their own creation.
Facing this reality, the Gray Jedi has a choice. Many if not all Gray Jedi will look at Ingress from a holistic standpoint, choosing a path that walks both their moral and factional lines. They will choose to embrace apps like IITC if they know both factions have access to it. They will use scraped data if they know it can lead to catching Dark Side agents off the rails. They will spend more time focusing on the sincerity of their own intentions rather than focusing on TOS to the letter. They also will continue to reject the notion of using these powerful resources for heinous purposes. As they continue on this path they will enjoy their gameplay more and find friends in places they never knew to look, and at it’s core, this is what Ingress is. The People. First. Always.
There’s a lesson hidden under the subtext of this entire episode which is this: Nothing in this game is black and white. It takes balance to make it work. One side cannot exist without the other. This message bears repeating and again.
From this point forward, your path is yours to choose and yours alone. That said, if my prediction holds true, it’s clear that the Gray Jedi are the ones that will come out ahead. They may not be responsible for the biggest field or the longest running cell superiority in history. But they will, in the end, have much more fun and gain many more friends than those that choose to walk on along the razor’s edge of the spectrum.
Good luck, and may the XM be with you.
Source: FEV Games