Ingress Transmuters suck
This blog post will go into some depth about the new items in Ingress – the Transmuters – and why they are shit.
This post complements my new Youtube video on the subject while giving some more thoughts on the subject and summarising my key findings.
The new ETO transmuters were introduced into the game in early July and received a white paper in Investigate Ingress a few days later. This paper is worth a read through, mainly because it seems to indicate that more transmuters could be released at a later date. Unless they are quite different in form to the current 2 versions of the transmuters, they will also be disappointing.
What do they do?
Each one turns all the items hacked out of a portal into the “type” of item determined by the transmuter. They don’t give any better chance of getting rarer items, and they certainly don’t players in the long term. Spending a day hacking a transmuted portal will leave your inventory lacking in all of the other items which are available. Any other players who come along to hack that portal will also only get one “type” of item from that portal, and will usually end up with a whole bunch of bursters, or a whole bunch of resonators… and not a lot else.
What is the problem with the new transmuters?
The main issue can be summarised like this: transmuted portals restrict the items you get out of a hack and take up one mod slot.
While the intention for these items may be to let players acquire particular items from their portal hacks, in reality these mods will only reduce the amount of items you get. There are no bonus chances to get rare items, and so you are simply preventing yourself (and other agents who hack that portal) from getting the full balance of items.
Items such as viruses and very rare portal mods have a low drop count, meaning that it can take hundreds of hacks to get even one of these items. If hacking a transmuted portal, you will still try hundreds of hacks to get rarer items, but if they are hacked, you will only get one flavour of items (either a virus, or a portal mod). As these items often get stockpiled and shared around between players, if you are playing in a highly-transmuted area then the likelihood is these items will dry up.
Crucially, if you didn’t install a transmuter, then you would have an additional mod slot where you could:
- get some extra hacks (install a multi-hack)
- reduce wasted time between hacks (install a heat sink)
- or protect the portal for future hacks (install a shield or attack mod)
Are there situations where transmuters can be useful?
Yes, in my opinion there are 3 specific scenarios where the new transmuters may come in handy. I will describe these scenarios in this section:
A short-term resupply of a particular type of item
When one or more agents find themselves completely out of bursters (or resonators) and need to quickly build up supplies before carrying on. This would allow this agent (or agents) to get the items they particularly need from the transmuted portal by restricting the remaining items (sacrificing these for short-term gain).
If this option is being used then I urge agents to smash it down when you are finished hacking (by flipping the portal using a virus).
To reduce the resonator output at a flash hack
During flash hacks/fracks, players come together to hack a few portals for a short time. Often, players want to come away with plenty of bursters from these hacks, and don’t need quite so many resonators. In these cases, using a transmuter on portals would allow the majority of items hacked to be weaponry, although I would strongly urge that at least a few portals are left untransmuted so that agents get a good overall balance of items. With frackers in play, you have the chance of duplicating items, so multiple players having the chance of double very rare portal mods and viruses is far more valuable. Same as scenario 1, you should smash any transmuted portals down once you are done with them (although this may already be the plan for your flash hacks).
New pineapple/campfire materials
My view is that transmuters only restrict the items that you get out of hacks, and are really annoying – so it makes perfect sense to use them as pineappling materials! With link amps, there is technically a potential benefit (as each link amp increases the maximum link range) and while this is unlikely, strictly speaking link amps could be useful for opposition players. However, installing 2 positive and 2 negative transmuters on a single portal gives no benefit whatsoever. The hack output is exactly the same (opposite transmuters cancel out and no bonuses for multiples) so this pineapple is totally useless to the other team.
So those are my thoughts on the new transmuters along with my 3 situations where they could be helpful.
Do you have any thoughts on the new transmuters? Let me know in the comments!