Sitrep: Operation Pay To Win: Toast the Town

Vancouver BC Resistance NinthAnt had a wacky idea -- recurse and level up from 1-8 purely using Toast beacons which generate 500 AP per beacon.

Why and how?


To celebrate reaching 100M AP, to do something unusual and fun, to thank Niantic for this wonderful game, and for the sheer ridiculousness of it. Kind of like climbing Everest -- because it's there -- but with less freezing to death on a mountain.

To get the 1,200,000 AP required for level 8, it took 2400 pieces of portal toast. This is a surprisingly large number of portals, inventory space, and you have to click the damn "buy" button 240 times which takes a lot longer than you'd think.

In total, this project took 17.5 hours from start to finish. This includes 2.5 hours of walking time which was a very low beacons/minute rate despite being in some of the most portal dense areas of town, and several of suboptimal beacons/min trips to pick up and drop off passengers, and a ~60 minute delay from a flat tire. When being driven in portal-dense areas such as downtown Vancouver we were deploying several per minute.

9:36 AM Recurse
9:45 AM Level 2
10:10 AM Level 3
11:27 AM Level 4
12:36 PM Level 5
1:36 PM Level 6
6:20 PM Level 7
3:10 AM Level 8

Charity event and response


To make this more of a fun community event, NinthAnt wrote his local community and said he would pledge $10 to the Downtown Eastside Women's Shelter for everyone who pinged him on COMMs. The active local playerbase is a few dozen people, but this pledge caught on like wildfire and ended up going worldwide with mentions on Reddit, RedSoloCup's Telegram, and RGNN.

This response far exceeded what was anticipated, and measuring the exact resonse is difficult at this scale. We estimate the unique agents who responded to the pledge at 1000-1200 during the event (you can stop now!). RedSoloCup is going to look into if Niantic can provide a more specific number, and if so will update here and the donation with that amount if it's higher. Regardless was heartwarming and amazing to see such a broad and positive response from both factions.

A donation of $12,000 has been sent to Downtown Eastside Women's Shelter and two other agents contributed a donation as well. Several people have suggested that Niantic should match the donation. That would be a great thing to do if they could, to the same organization or something similar in their own local community. Same is true of everyone who pinged me on COMMs during the event -- if you want to donate you can do that online at or find a similar organization in your own community. <3

We got responses from: Canada, United States, Greece, Russia, Ukraine, Myanmar, France, Norway, Germany, Finland, Croatia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Poland, Australia, Brazil, Austria, Netherlands, Malaysia, UK, New Zealand, Chile, Denmark, Luxembourg, Belgium -- and likely so many more that were missed in the barrage of updates.

Project notes


Zero non-beacon actions were taken by NinthAnt for the entire escapade, and thus NinthAnt hit exactly 1,200,000 AP with zero toast beacons remaining. It seems like no OPR agreements, new portals, or any other events happened out of sheer luck. It took ungodly amounts of restraint to not capture neutrals or burst. It turns out that beacons do not contribute to either Pioneer nor Explorer badge, the former being expected the latter is maybe something Nia could update.

NinthAnt used Ingress Prime for this despite Prime's reputation for being bad in cars because the beacons only displayed in Prime. It held up surprisingly well, it would require a restart every 30-45 minutes on average -- maybe a bit more often in portal dense areas. The most common bug requiring restart was having the buttons disappear in the menus when trying to deploy a beacon or use a power cube.

We expected to trigger the bug where beacons stay permanently lit up, however to my knowledge none of the toast beacons lasted. Not sure if that means the perma-beacon bug is fixed, or if toast beacons are using newly built infrastructure, or what.

Running out of power cubes ended up being pretty big issue, especially in areas with little ground XM. Going through the menus to rapidly select beacons and choose the right portal required strong concentration and the event was exhausting even just when sitting in a car staring at a phone.

Deploying so many beacons in a dense area seemed to trigger a slowdown both for NinthAnt who was deploying beacons and for other people who were playing in the downtown Vancouver area. This seemed to affect both Prime and Redacted clients, as well as the Intel map (!!) and was very much unexpected. Guess Niantic didn't stress test that particular scenario for some reason.

Special Thanks


Thanks to the incomparable Hosette, who first floated the idea of using beacons to level and who herself used toast beacons to for the last 100,000 AP on her way to L16 the second time. As a wise man once said, it seems like sometimes a good idea is stolen from a woman and a man takes credit for it.

Thanks to Masterfod, an amazing human being who drove us around the city in circles from noon until 3am with only a few breaks. Vancouver streets are designed to be hostile to cars, navigating the one way (and randomly ending) streets plus dodging death-defying bicycles and pedestrians. And who else after getting a flat tire and waiting for an hour at 2am would still be determined to finish the project on a spare tire?

Thanks to Agents lg83 and Ellavina, for coming along on various parts of the trip, providing excellent company and builing the city blue in the process. Ellavina earned over 1M AP, and lg83 gained a new hacker badge during the event.

Thanks to Agents Toril42 and QuollH who also donated to the Downtown Eastside Women's Centre as part of this celebration.

Thanks to NinthAnt's wife, who is staying married to NinthAnt after all this. First we explained what a beacon is, then why toast is in Ingress, and then the recursion, and then the donation. And for watching the kids all day while her ridiculous husband went around the city making everything toasty for a stupid video game challenge.

Finally, thanks to my friends in the wonderful VanRe, EnVan, and iSBAR communities who cheered this project on and helped spread the word and make this a really special and unusual event.



Vancouver sure got toasty:

Pub: 13 May 2019 22:56 UTC
Edit: 15 May 2019 14:54 UTC
Views: 3460