Study: Where should you place the pin for safe access to a playground from outside?

Hosette-INGHosette-ING Posts: 1,279 ✭✭✭✭✭

TL;dr: Except for extremely large playgrounds it doesn't matter.

Over the years I've seen many discussions about where you should place the pin on a playground. I've seen people argue that it should be in the center, that it should be right at the edge, that it should be just outside. My opinion has been that it rarely matters because most playgrounds are small compared to the action circle in Niantic games, but I wasn't sure and I wanted to find out.

I designed an experiment for myself. I would choose an assortment of playgrounds in the San Francisco bay area, some based on areas that I knew and some chosen from articles about the best playgrounds. For each of those playgrounds I would pretend that I was placing a pin roughly in the center of the playground, then I would draw a 40 meter radius circle starting from that location. I would then screenshot the playground with the interaction circle around it so that I could upload the images here.

Remember your geometry class? A 40 meter radius circle would encompass a playground that was 80 meters from edge to edge. For comparison, an American football field is around 91 1/2 meters long, an an international soccer/football field is 100-110 meters long. A tennis court is around 36.6 meters long, and there are a couple of images in the collection where he action circle for the playground includes an entire tennis court... one encompasses almost two whole courts.

What did I find out? Most playgrounds are really small, maybe 10-15 meters across. Just for fun I checked the playground I grew up with, the one with the big swings, the slide, the merry-go-round thing, the see saws, the concrete tunnels to crawl in or jump around on? It's not very big. There were big playgrounds too, but even those had tons of space outside of them for Ingress/PoGo/HPWU players to interact with wayspots whose pins were right in the center of the playground. I found a couple of really huge playgrounds that were nearly as large as the interaction circle. Even those big guys had some space outside, but for them it might make sense to place a pin off-center. Playground12.PNG and Playground8.PNG are the largest of the ones I surveyed.

"But what about Ingress where you need to stand in the center?" First, you never need to stand in the center. Trust me on this. I have taken down well-shielded portals where the closest I could get was 80 meters away. I had to work a lot harder at it, but that's not a bad thing. In fact, it was tactical advantage for my opponents and I respected that. "But what about handicapped access?" In every single one of my images there is ample wheelchair-accessible space outside of the playground but still within action range.

Look at the images and see for yourself.


  • sogNinjaman-INGsogNinjaman-ING Posts: 2,132 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Where possible, I move the pin to the entrance to a fanced playground so people can interact without "lurking" in a childrens play area. For the purposes of HPWU and PoGo, it makes no real difference to gameplay.

  • Jtronmoore-PGOJtronmoore-PGO Posts: 1,566 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The marker should be where the object is. So playground you can put it on the play equipment or onthe edge where the equipment starts.

  • Kellerrys-INGKellerrys-ING Posts: 594 ✭✭✭✭✭

    If the pin is is in a valid spot, I leave it alone. I don't presume that I know the area and it's gameplay better than the local submitter.

    I also wish that reviewers wouldn't touch the pin location on my own nominations.

  • TheFarix-PGOTheFarix-PGO Posts: 3,329 ✭✭✭✭✭

    You cannot compare a playground to an athletic field. An athletic field is for organized games between teams or two opponents in a defined playing field. Playgrounds, on the other hand, do no host organized games between teams or two opponents. At most, you may have a game of tag, but there is no defined or regulated playing field. Instead, the game adapts to whatever obstacles are present, including other people who are not participating.

  • patsufredo-PGOpatsufredo-PGO Posts: 1,313 ✭✭✭✭✭

    If there's a sign for a playground, I would prefer to locate the pin just above the sign (or approximate), though.

  • TheFarix-PGOTheFarix-PGO Posts: 3,329 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 10

    True, a sign is an appropriate place to locate the Wayspot for a playground. But I know of very few playgrounds which has such a sign. The Kidzone at Lincolnshire Park in Tazewell, VA is the only one I can think of.

  • Hosette-INGHosette-ING Posts: 1,279 ✭✭✭✭✭

    A couple of points:

    I was only comparing playgrounds to sports fields in order to give people a general perspective on size. Playgrounds are almost

    My point in doing this study is that on nearly every playground I looked at you can put the pin anywhere and not lurk in a kid's area. Look at the images. In some of them you can stick the pin right in the center of the playground and have access from a parking lot or from across the street. While I'm sure a few exist, I found zero cases where you couldn't stick a pin in the center and have access from outside the playground.

    Bottom line: A pin anywhere on a playground is perfectly fine unless the playground is absolutely enormous.

  • GearGlider-INGGearGlider-ING Posts: 1,200 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 11

    A pin should be on the edge/entrance of the playground or athletic field IMO.

    For HPWU or PoGO it may not matter too much, but in Ingress, being right on top of a portal for gameplay reasons is important. If the wayspot is placed in the middle of a playground, it can make taking a portal from an enemy team much more difficult (which is fine) but some unscrupulous players might go into the middle of a playground (whether or not kids are there) and that's just weird. Or go into the middle of a field in the off season and scuff up or tear up a lot of the field depending on the weather (I've seen a lot of fields with grass dug up by footprints in the rain, or tire marks tearing up the grass to reach a pokestop).

    I've also talked a lot about accessibility on the Ingress forum and on reddit before. A lot of players who have phyisical disabilities may not be able to navigate a playground or get into the middle of a field. Not that every portal needs to be able to be reached 24/7, but if a portal can be reached in a more accessible spot by more people, and you deliberatly place it in a way that makes it less accessible for gameplay reasons, you're a jrk.

    Post edited by GearGlider-ING on
  • bilde2910bilde2910 Posts: 56 ✭✭✭

    Athletic fields: Place it on the edge of the field of play.

    Playgrounds are more nuanced, usually if the playground is very small it doesn't matter much, but it's still an advantage to have it on the edge of the area, and the edge that is furthest away from residential properties in particular. HPWU and PoGO don't care where the pin is located as long as it's within the interaction circle, but for Ingress it's a much bigger deal. Even if you state that taking down a well shielded portal from some distance is possible, the game definitely encourages you to walk as much on top of it as possible, because attacking is much more time and resource efficient the closer you are to the wayspot pin. It's not really about what's possible imho, more about what the game encourages you to do and what most people will do.

  • Hosette-INGHosette-ING Posts: 1,279 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 11

    As of right now I have destroyed 63,484 fields in Ingress, 125,798 links, 97,034 portals, and 606,302 resonators. For those who don't have a solid calibration of Ingress stats, that is a LOT-- the onyx badge for destroying resonators is one of the hardest to get in Ingress, and that happens at 300,000 resonators destroyed. I'm a smasher, and taking down lots of heavily fortified portals and fields is my very favorite thing to do in Ingress... often to my opponents' dismay. (-:

    I've taken down many fields that were anchored in playgrounds, and I've also used lots of playground portals for fracks. Not once in the last seven years have I had to set foot in a playground in order to do so. Certainly it's possible that occasionally someone will go stand in the middle of a playground for a minute or two but I think it's going to be pretty rare.

  • TheFarix-PGOTheFarix-PGO Posts: 3,329 ✭✭✭✭✭

    So, that is your play style. But you do understand why people will stand on top of the portal and hit it with L1 Ultra Strikes? It's so as to not alert the portal owner that an attack is underway until the attacker is ready to burst down the resonators, thus reducing the window the owner has to recharge the resonators to defend the portal. Also bursting down the resonators from the center is far more effective use of equipment than attacking from the sides. Not everyone has QC and can throw in enough L8 Bursters to be duplicated endlessly.

  • Hosette-INGHosette-ING Posts: 1,279 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @TheFarix-PGO Oh, I absolutely understand. I also understand why it's an advantage for it to be hard for someone to do that.

    Sure, occasionally someone might want to ultrastrike a mod or resonator in an awkward place and it might annoy someone around them. That's true with just about every wayspot on the planet, though, with and the number of things people might do is extremely large. I just think the laser-focused argument on ultrastrikes, and specifically on mods rather than resonators, is overstated. I don't think that alone is a compelling argument for driving a particular pin placement.

  • HaramDingo-INGHaramDingo-ING Posts: 787 ✭✭✭✭✭

    People in my area often submit playgrounds right in the centre of them. Conversely, if people see that they are to the side, they usually end up being moved right back into the middle. For some nominations, it means things dont go live because the shelter at the playground is already a wayspot.

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