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Andrew Krug
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Was really fun to do this. 
Interview with Andrew Krug

Our Reporter had the great opportunity doing an Interview with Niantic Global Community Manager +Andrew Krug​ during the meeting in Hamburg. Thank you very much.

RGNN: Hello Andrew. Thanks for taking the time for this short interview.
I appreciate you reaching out and providing me this opportunity.

Not all agents know what your role at Niantic involves. Could you please explain in a few words what a global community manager does?
My primary responsibility is to be the interface between the player community and the company. This means helping organize POCs for Anomalies, providing advice (lots of advice), escalating issues to NIA OPS when appropriate, solving problems that may arise, passing feedback to the product team, handling the social media, and a many other things. Basically, lots of two-way communication and fire fighting.

What is the most interesting part of your job and what is the most challenging part?
The most interesting thing is not something sexy and cool like traveling around the world. Instead it is dealing with the players. I love people. It’s why I did Behind the Scanner.
Watching the human psyche at work on a global scale across all types of boundaries is fascinating to me. I have so many interactions with people on a daily basis and take something away from everyone.

The most challenging part is having only 24 hours in the day. Before I worked at Niantic I was (still am) a player. I know how vested the players are that play Ingress. Ingress isn’t just a game and has a global presence. This means the game never sleeps. I’ve had to train myself to go to bed and breakaway or I’d be up until 5am every night. There just isn’t enough hours in the day to get everything done that I want. And… spell checker. #FatOfThe13 anyone?

How do you think the contact with the community has improved and where do you think improvements are still required?
When I came on board I had a goal of making things more transparent, involving the community more and improving the general lines of communication. I think these improvements can be found in the Ingress posts with the Ingress account asking for and answering questions, making clarification posts, and publishing warning posts (like the item drop warnings before Anomalies) as just a few examples. I’ve also instituted a number of programs like the Trusted Reporter program to involve the community in helping identify potential bad actors and involved the community in the decision making process for resetting portals and helping to referee things during events.

I think involving the the community more is an area we can still improve upon. I have a dream of setting up a formal Ambassador program to use for many things but particularly as a sounding board. I also think having some sort of formal way to ask questions and get them answered would be helpful. I often comment on posts but unless you are following the thread you may miss it and replying to private PMs obviously doesn’t make that information available to the public. I know people like Brent Hollett have tried to collect nuggets of information and created G+ collections so they can be found more easily.

How closely do you follow the posts of players on G+?
I have a social media tool that “listens” for posts with certain keywords and gathers them in one place for me. It makes reading posts much easier than doing anything natively on. I usually spend a few hours a day reading posts in that feed. In addition to tagging me, if you want me to read something, use the word Ingress in your post.

In your view, what was the most exciting anomaly to date? What anomaly type is your favourite?
From a Niantic standpoint the last two have been exciting to watch. Each series came down the last set of cities. I think Via Lux was won by a single point. The game masters are doing a really good job with creating interesting game mechanics and dialing in the scoring to make things competitive while mitigating some of the problems we have had in the past.

As a player, the most exciting was Cassandra in Washington D.C. These were the days when BAFing was really tough and we fielded over the Anomaly for points. Everything came down to the fourth measurement and being part of the orga involved was such a rush.

My favorite type? That’s tough. For nostalgia I likes the old cluster battles. However, I think what is coming for Q3 2017 is going to be the best format yet.

Do you wish that you could attend more events, for example attend an anomaly as a normal player?
I get to go to an Anomaly for every series these days so attending more of those isn’t feasible unless I clone myself. I won’t lie though, I do miss doing all of the organization, cat herding, strategy, and boots on the ground battle of being a player. I miss the camaraderie the most. So yeah, maybe I do which I could sometimes go back to being a normal player. That being said, I look at everything we’ve been able to accomplish in the last 18 months that directly benefits the player community and I’m not sure I would change it. I am very happy with the way things are going and what is yet to come.

How does AgentOlympiad affect the outcome of Anomaly this time?
I don’t think it does. The Agent Olympiad and 13MAGNUS Reawakens at Camp Navarro are MAGNUS events. They are occurring during the 13MAGNUS Reawakens season and so we have awarded the Anomaly badge. But to my knowledge they are stand alone events that shouldn’t impact the Anomaly. I feel comfortable saying that...but… things have been known to change.

Did you have a favourite Badge? Which would best characterize you?
My favorite badge - probably the founder badge. It also would probably be the best to characterize me. I was one of the early global Enlightened organizers, I’ve founded many communities and helped others build theirs. I realize that’s not what it was awarded for but the name fits.

A lot of player without the guardian badge are complaining about this part of the game and they are really frustrated. They can't reach it because spoofer are killing those candidates. Can you imagine this badge being removed?
There have been conversations internally about what the best path forward is for that badge specifically.

What is the main purpose of your trip to Europe? What do you hope to achieve?
To meet players, answer any questions or concerns they may have. To establish relationships and have meaningful face to face interactions with many people I only know through Hangouts. To let people know that Ingress isn’t going anywhere and we are committed to the product and the players.

What was the coolest thing you saw at 13MagnusReawakens?
Oh man… you like making me have to pick just one of things don’t you? I think walking around at night through one camp that had hung up these glyph in the trees. The glyphs were made out of reflective material. The sounds, mood lighting, and these floating glyphs just made it seem like we were in another place and time. But there were so many great things. The giant top hat with the interactive stations that you had to play to solve a glyph puzzle. The extremely detailed humongous beating heart. Recreating a glyph by having to move around in a giant glyph puzzle. The Niantic portal that reacted to players in real time with light and sound. There was just sooooooo much awesomeness going on.

We heard rumors about Ingress 2.0 in the camp. Can you give us a date? ;) And will there be changes on the Intel too?
I can’t give you a specific date. But I’ve been told around the end of the year. I haven’t heard of any immediate changes to Intel but there have been long term discussions about what to do with it.

OPR was a great start to approve new portals. Some player approved already every portal and their list is empty. Can we expect new portal submission in this year?
I really have no idea. I hope so.

Imagine you could add a new function to Ingress. What would that be?
Better onboarding. That probably isn’t the answer you were hoping for. But we have to be honest with ourselves and admit that the onboarding process is less than ideal. Besides that, labelling capsules.

Last question: What advice would you give to new players?
Save all media! Only kidding. Have fun! Don’t take or make things personal. Don’t be afraid to explore the world around you and meet new people. Ingress is such a great enabler for many things if you let it. It is so much more than just a game.

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There is always one person on their scanner not looking up. 
Ingress Meetup in Hamburg with +Andrew Krug​!
Thanks agents for coming and giving lots of great feedback.
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Can confirm. I was there. So was the sunshine. Great event. 
Niantic Global Community Manager +Andrew Krug's European tour continues with another xfac meetup, this time with agents in London. We hear they had a lively Q&A session, some of our highlights were:

- Ingress V2 should be out this year, and you will not need to start over.

- OPR is getting through the backlog at a good rate, and portal submissions will return. No specific news on the badge, but expect Onyx to take a "typical" reviewer around a year to achieve.

- Anomaly rules need to reach agents earlier, and Niantic are hoping to improve on this.

- Niantic plan to open up the official swag store globally, although no date as yet.

You can see everything that was discussed here: https://goo.gl/Qt8kqH

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20/06/2017
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Thank you to two awesome Knoxville smurfs who proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that +Ingress​ truly is more than a game. Thank you.

#IngressIsMoreThanAGame
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6/20/17
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A proper English breakfast as I leave London. Thanks to all who showed up last night. It's great to see such a wonderful cross-faction relationship and strong community. Hopefully, I was able to answer all your questions and one of these days I'll remember to take pictures. It has been a real pleasure meeting all of you Agents face to face in Dublin and London so far. Many of whom I've known for years but never met. Your hospitality was very much appreciated. Now on to Hamburg, Germany.

+Richard Jennings
+Melanie Denyer
+Krisztina Thaisz
+Evelina Falconer
+Any one I can't remember how to tag
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There was cake.
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Where did Ingress take you today? 
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Big hands or a tiny glass?

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Walking down the street and I run into this motley Crew.
+Richard Jennings
+Trevor Power​
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Pan-seared Scallops, Kelly’s Black Pudding, Cauliflower Puree, Samphire. It was as good as it looked.
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