As a level 6 player, it is impossible to upgrade a portal to level 5 on your own:

2*6 + 2*5 + 4*4 + 2*3 = 4.75

So the portal will be Level 4 at max. It also shows "L4" in the app when you select the portal.

When hacking, it will yield mostly items of level max(portal lvl, player lvl), uncommonly of that +/-1 and very rarely +/-2

My question is: Does hacking a level 4.75 portal have the same item drop probability as a plain level 4 portal? Or will I get level 5 items more often?

There was a similar question a few months ago, but the answers didn't rely on hard evidence or credible sources:

What determines the quality of items obtained from a portal hack?

Edit to make the difference more obvious:

I do NOT want to know what other factors might influence the items dropped. This question is specifically about whether the portal level is counted discrete (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, ...) or if intermediate levels (4.125, 4.25, 4.5, ...) exist for calculation.

  • possible duplicate of What determines the quality of items obtained from a portal hack?
    – kotekzot
    Commented Mar 14, 2013 at 9:21
  • 2
    @kotekzot I've already pointed to that other question myself, but I think that the focus of my question is different enough to justify it not being a duplicate
    – Sentry
    Commented Mar 14, 2013 at 10:10
  • I disagree. It is a subset of a problem that has already been asked about. If you are not satisfied with the answers to a question, the appropriate course of action is to put a bounty on it asking for better questions, not ask it again.
    – kotekzot
    Commented Mar 14, 2013 at 10:20
  • 1
    @kotekzot Granted, it is a subset. But I fear that because the answer was already marked as correct and the question doesn't even mention the point I'm asking, this would be futile.
    – Sentry
    Commented Mar 14, 2013 at 10:26
  • 1
    @Sentry It took me a long time to understand the nuance, but I can see where your question is different. I'd suggest editing your title to something like "Do intermediate portal levels have an effect on loot quality". I still think it runs the risk of being a duplicate - but it's hard for me to determine whether the other referenced question is overly broad (it seems like there are a lot of factors to consider, from my birds eye view...)
    – EBongo
    Commented Mar 14, 2013 at 12:18

4 Answers 4


It looks like in the portal hacking phase, the level used is the "rounded" level.

  • the XM cost is based on the portal level
  • the attack you can receive in response of hacking an enemy portal is based on the portal level

It sounds logical that items dropping is related to this "rounded" level.

As far as I experienced it (i'm now level 7), to get high level items, I have to hack "real" high level portals.

A portal at level 5.75 ( 7+6+6+6+6+5+5+5, made by 1 L7 and 1 L6 player) will still give me less high level items than a real L6 portal ( 7+6+6+6+6+6+6+5 made by 1 L7 and 2 L6 players).

I never get any L8 items from portals that were at lavels 5 or 5.25 or 5.75, the first time I got some was when hacking a real L6 portal :D

  • Yet I've had level 8's from a level 4 portal. However these level 4's have been around for a number of weeks, undisturbed by anyone other than myself. Commented Mar 14, 2013 at 15:53
  • I got an L8 burster my first day playing... I think I was hacking an L2 or L3 portal.
    – bobpaul
    Commented Apr 15, 2013 at 16:54

Since this question can only be answered by insiders, I've conducted a survey by recording all my hacks of portals of both factions where all resonators had 100% energy. I only have enough samples for portal levels 5, 5.5 and 6, so here are the results:

P    L1  L2  L3  L4  L5  L6  L7  L8 #samples
5.0  0%  0%  0% 14% 64% 17%  5%  0%   33
5.5  0%  0%  0% 17% 66% 16%  2%  0%   53
6.0  0%  0%  0%  0% 11% 70% 17%  1%   27

Using a t-test to check whether the different groups are drawn from different distributions, the p-values are

  • 5.0 vs 5.5: 0.13
  • 5.5 vs 6.0: 3.26 * 10^-24

For the statistically unenlightened (he he), this roughly means that the items from level 5 and 5.5 portals are probably drawn from the same distribution, whereas it is as good as impossible that the items of level 5.5 and 6 portals are from the same distribution.

Result: No, intermediate levels don't matter, the rounded (down) level counts.

  • Great data. What level were you when doing this? What do you know about the effect of agent level? Thanks.
    – nealmcb
    Commented Apr 1, 2013 at 4:39
  • 1
    @nealmcb I was level 7 at that time, so I don't think that item drops were capped by that.
    – Sentry
    Commented Apr 1, 2013 at 14:49
  • Do you know what the highest resonator on the portals at the time was? The answer to the other question linked claims highest resonator matters.
    – LeBleu
    Commented Apr 16, 2013 at 23:09
  • 1
    @LeBleu Yes, I recorded all resonators, but I'm afraid the data is not enough to answer that question certainly. It doesn't seem that way, though.
    – Sentry
    Commented Apr 16, 2013 at 23:47

Portals seem to give better items based on a number of variables; the key one seems to be the amount of time it's been a portal for whichever team its currently a part of.

The longer it's been with a specific team, the better items seem to drop off the portal, however there does seem to be a random element to this or its possibly being effected by other variables we aren't yet aware of. I personally seem to get items centered around my level.

  • I wasn't asking about what other factors influence the items being dropped, I was asking specifically about whether only full levels are counted or intermediate ones, too.
    – Sentry
    Commented Mar 14, 2013 at 10:12
  • Then without insider information your question is basically unanswerable. Commented Mar 14, 2013 at 12:09
  • I fear that you're right. I've started a small survey now and keep tracking the loot from different portals. With some statistical testing I'll may be able to answer the question myself then. (If they don't change the behavior)
    – Sentry
    Commented Mar 14, 2013 at 13:14

Intermediate levels of portal does not matter for received items level from hacks. But Intermediate levels of portal does matter for received items quantity from hacks. Same rounded level portals with stronger and higher level resonator give more items than the same rounded level portals with low level depleted resonators. And enemy portals give less items than identical friendly portals but levels of items aquired is same.

And I accept the theory that a portal which were not attacked recently and is fully charged gives better yield than a portal which has been destroyed recently. Fully charged portals give better yield than depleted portals but still the out put level is same. (+/-2). If you are at a higher level than the portal you hacked, the items received will be +/- 2 portal level. If you are at a lower level than the portal you hacked, the items received will be +/- 2 your level. There is still very rare chances of +/-3.

  • It's been more than 5 years since I posted my answer. Someone should do another "study" to check how it works now, I'm pretty sure it has changed since then
    – Sentry
    Commented Jul 16, 2018 at 22:09

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