If a field doesn’t have a screenshot, did it really exist ?

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I had a fair amount of time to Ingress on the 5th of July.   I spent a lot of time chasing …. THE BAD GUY.   (Note : Not his real name.)    His strong point is Sierra Highway, so I assisted in killing portals up and down the road.   Certainly didn’t hurt that I was getting unique captures and hacks there.    Then, the glitches hit.

At first, I thought it was amusing.   I figured it would disappear soon enough.

Haha !   The links are still there at portals I took.

Haha ! The links are still there at portals I took.

The Intel map was recently updated to show less portals, and more links.    Supposedly this is for performance.   The reality for me is, it’s less useful.   I need to see portals moreso than links, but whatever.    It’s a free game, what do you want ?

Most of the day, you couldn’t trust the intel map for anything.    If you are zoomed out far enough, only the links will show.   You know – the ones you killed a few hours ago.   This lasted for 4-5 hours and finally disappeared late in the day.

This lead to an Ingress equivalent of the old riddle – “If a tree falls in the forest and no-one is nearby to hear it, did it make a sound ?”.     Except for us, it’s about links and fields.

The SCV probably was fielded by the Enlightened about 2 pm.     There was a whole lot of green in the areas that I could see in the scanner, and so said the rest of the SCV crew in the hangout.    I killed it 20 minutes later – I was fortunate enough to be out and about, and see the message in the scanner.    This seems to be how it goes for me – I have a hard time blocking things, but I tend to kill fields before they can stay up for very long.

This also means that whoever can most effectively use the failure of the intel map is at a definite advantage.    Just when I thought there couldn’t be any more pieces to the game that I don’t know about, this goes and happens.

I was smart/fortunate/lucky earlier, since I had deliberately thrown a confounding link along Sierra Highway, and it at least slowed them down from making their field.    Probably not by much, but everything that slows down the enemy helps.

Um.  Guys - we're supposed to make BLUE fields.

Um. Guys – we’re supposed to make BLUE fields.

Wrecking fields, and Failing “Cloak and Dagger”

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I got out of work unexpectedly early on Thursday, and with July 3rd off for the Fourth of July holiday.    So I spent an hour and a half with an Ingress field-busting plan.

The mechanics of the game include capturing portals and making fields.    But the higher game is the global score, along with the “cell” score.     This is a local, and a global, game.    Fields that survive to a checkpoint contribute to the score(s) at that time.   So, one of the things you can do as an agent is not to worry about capturing and linking, but instead just wreck the enemies fields.   Both count the same, scoring wise.    Make your own points, or deny the enemy his.    This was my goal for this time.

Busted up several fields in Burbank, and then I put the call out on the comms, and found myself involved in a spontaneous “op” in the SCV.    I had an agent working Intel.    Several people on recharge duty monitoring the hangout.    An unintentional guardian to protect, and a lot of big green fields to worry about.

Having someone do your intel for you is very useful.  You don’t have to scour maps and verify (or pick) targets as you play.    Just listen to what they’re saying and hit portals as they call them out.    Speeds you up in the field, and every minute counts running around town in your car.    I was directed to a rural portal, instead of simply heading up Sierra Highway.

After killing it, I traveled to a second important anchor.     Then, it happened.    Guardian under attack.    Defense continues to be nearly impossible in this game, and it was no exception this time – guardian lost.    I was able to feel good anyway –  The portal I was standing on was a campfire, with huge fields built right off of it.    A few lower-level bursters and it fell.    Now, it’s time to try a third portal.

There’s a local agent, and I assume his wife, on the Enlightened team.    I’ve not met this guy, despite actively trying to a few times.   Way on the other end of the SCV, they’re active, hitting portals, and I hear my intel guy firing it all off in comms to keep me informed.    They’re heading in my direction.

Now, I’ve reached the third portal.    BOOM !   I blow it down and kill all the links.    As I walk off to find a good spot to lay down a resonator, I get frantic info on the comms – he’s right there !    With me !

Now, picture the scene.   This portal is sitting in a large parking lot, with room for probably 125 cars.    It’s a madhouse – full of everyday muggles on their way to one errand or another, and the scene of a growing otherworldy confrontation.     Me, I have a habit of determining that so-and-so is an agent, when they aren’t, so I don’t trust my instincts very much.    And right now, I know that I DO NOT want to meet this guy, I’m trying to stay out of sight and keep on with defense.

Time to play.... Cloak.   And.   Dagger.

Time to play…. Cloak. And. Dagger.

If I let this agent throw his fields and recapture the portal I just claimed, with a single resonator, I can wreck his fields and keep everything from counting towards the score.   Plus, he’ll have wasted his keys.     So this is the plan that forms in my mind.

But I’m getting hollered at that….. he’s THERE !   And I can’t see him.    Constantly looking around with a phone in my hand, I’m going to be easily spotted, so I decide to Tebow.    Standing in the middle of the parking lot, I simply get onto one knee and squat, letting all the muggles parked cars hide me from view of the portal, and the range around it.

Squat on one knee.   One hand up, to stick the phone in my face.   This is "Ingress Tebowing".

Squat on one knee. One hand up, to stick the phone in my face. This is “Ingress Tebowing”.

I get some useful intel from other agents about his car – he’s obviously not on foot – but not being much of a car guy, I can’t spot it.    Minutes pass.    Links are thrown.   And another friendly agent is on his way to our spot.

I sneak over to my car, in view of the portal and the range of action around it.   Is that….. his car ?      A car is half in my view which matches the description.   I sit and wait for it to move, while noting the movement of other cars from the portal area.    I call out to my friendly agent who is just about to the scene, so he can spot me.

The friendly now – this guy is a good agent.   But he didn’t give me enough information to spot HIM.    No “I’m here” upon reaching the parking lot.    I just see a guy in a blue shirt.   He’s acting like an Ingress operative, and he’s not pulled up in a car.    Turns out he parked out of sight, but that’s not what I thought at the time.

Meanwhile, my Intel guy is done and has real life to attend to.   No more help from him.   The friendly has parked out of sight for whatever reason.    He’s totally figured out who I am – I was deadly clear.    He thinks I know who he is.

I’m pounding away on the comms saying “who is blue shirt guy”, and bless her, his wife does not understand me or isn’t aware of what shirt her husband is wearing that day.   Hangouts gives no confirmation.    So I’m wondering if this is THE BAD GUY.    He gives me a friendly nod.   I don’t react – because that’s THE BAD GUY.    Maybe.

I watch blue shirt walk across the parking lot in a smart intel sweep.     No doubt, he’s an agent – but for which side ?

And I watch the time and finally decide, the BAD GUY must have left.   I’ve been diddling around in a parking lot for ten full minutes.    I’m still not spotting him.   He must have been one of the cars I saw pulling out and in, and left the area.    Was I spotted ?   It’s only a big deal in terms of this portal, right now, but I don’t think so.   He’d probably have reacted, somehow, to my presence.   So it’s still a question of Codename Versus Doc.

I decide it’s time to hit up the portal.    But, who is blue shirt ?

And blue shirt is standing right at the portal with his phone out.    100% confirmation this is an agent.   And it dawns on me, this guy is the friendly.     After capturing the portal, it’s confirmed – it’s him.

And so I walk over to introduce myself, not having met this guy before.   It was awkward – he’s still looking for THE BAD GUY, and trying not to give me away.    He was good – all my yabbering on the comms didn’t reach him, because he’s being stealthy and not walking with his phone glued to his eyes.    And it finally dawns on him, I have no idea who he is.

I headed home, hitting nothing on the way – that will keep BAD GUY guessing, for what little that’s worth – and turn the game off for the night.    In case you’re wondering – Oh My God.   That was fun.   What a crazy and enjoyable geeky way to spend a few hours.

The fields were down, and stayed down.   But BAD GUY has a lot of time on his hands – after several more hours, the same two people put them back up around 11:00 pm.   Rats.

Canyon Country is looking pretty green.   July 3rd, 7 am.

Canyon Country is looking pretty green. July 3rd, 7 am.

Doc Burbank – Farmer ?   Check.    Fielder ?   Check.    Portal killer ?   Check.    Intel officer ?   Check.

Spotter ?   Fail.

Three Months In

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I’ve now been playing Ingress for about 3 months.    It’s interesting the changes it’s wrought in my life, and how much I’m enjoying it.

So far I can get a hack in every day, which is useful for that Sojourner badge.    I can’t get out and about where I live, because there’s too many family obligations.   Instead I find myself Ingressing when I happen to be near a portal only.

Canyon Country, 7/2/15 morning

Canyon Country, 7/2/15 morning

White’s Canyon – pretty much blue.   Sierra Canyon – pretty much green.    And without time to run around I can’t do much more than a few things here and there, but that’s good enough.

At work, I can take breaks, lunchtime, and so on and make things happen.    Burbank is still looking pretty blue – my efforts are a part of that, but not the most important.

Downtown Burbank, 7/2/15 morning

Downtown Burbank, 7/2/15 morning

Gone are the mornings of waking up at 4 am to beat up green portals.   Instead I have to take my gaming when I can.

I love this meme.

I love this meme.

There’s always a lot of truth hidden in jokes.   Ingress could be a second job for you if you let it.    You start out by going out and hacking and fielding.   You get good at it.   The other local players make contact.   Next thing you know, you’re on a boat to Santa Rosa island.

Or – you take over an area.   The greens fight back.   You squash them.   Flush with victory, you take over a second area.   And a third.   They fight back.   Next thing you know, all you do is contribute to the war effort……. err, what I mean is, you are doing nothing but playing the game.

So I’m walking the tightrope of too much, or too little.   In fact, that’s part of what I’d call “Doc’s Ingress Aphorisms”

  1. To win Ingress, your team has to have more agents, and more time, than the other team.   This means take care of the lower level people and help them get to 8, and do things to enable other people to play as well as you.
  2. Don’t burn out.   If you overdo it and get sick of the whole thing, the Greens win.
  3. Do one thing a day in the game and you’re contributing to victory.    More time ?   Go for it.   Not a lot of time ?   Just do something.

Ok, they’re too long for aphorisms.   Maybe I can make them pithier someday.

The Resistance Needs YOU !

The Resistance Needs YOU !

Guide to Ingress, Level 1 – 8

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You can find various guides to Ingress across the internet.   I didn’t have a lot of trouble finding them.   What I had trouble with, was finding ones that actually told me things that I found useful.    So feel free to peruse these other ones, after or before, reading the one I’m posting below.

AP awards – Lowest to Highest

  • One recharge press – 10 AP.
  • Upgrade a resonator – 65 AP.
  • Destroy a resonator – 75 AP
  • Deploy a resonator – 125 AP.
  • Deploy a mod – 125 AP.
  • Destroy a link – 187 AP.
  • Link two portals – 313 AP.
  • Destroy a control field – 750 AP.
  • Create a control field – 1250 AP.   Actually 1,563 since you always link when fielding.
  • Capture a portal.   This means deploy the first resonator on an uncaptured (gray) portal.    Extra 500 AP.
  • Put on the 8th resonator onto a portal.   Extra 250 AP.

When you start – important concepts

First thing – are you a privacy nut ?   I am.   Obviously.   Getting a little less as I get older.    If you want your privacy, create a new Gmail account and use that to access Ingress, and set up a phony G+ profile.

Second thing – get familiar with the Intel Map.    I installed the game in an area devoid of portals, and so really just did not get at all what was going on.    The training kind of assumed you’d see a portal nearby.      The intel map will help you find them.    Portals are what you need to get started with the game.

The intel map.

The intel map.

No – you can’t play this game everywhere.   Unlike other location-based games, Ingress only is played where locations of interest have been added in.     Almost guaranteed, you can’t play from your house.    You likely can’t play from your workplace.   If you are in the suburban hillsides, there may be no way to play nearby.    In a rural area ?  Forget it.    Find a place that has portals, such as a shopping mall, a park, or anything “fun and cool”.   They have a very vague definition of what should be a portal.

Next, you can hack portals.   What does this mean ?   It’s nothing to do with breaking and entering into computers, it just means you “do something” to the portal to get more gear.    You can get bursters (that destroy enemy stuff), resonators (that build up portals for your side), or mods such as shields that make your portal harder to kill.

There’s a mini game related to hacking called Glyph Hacking.   If you can stand around where the portal is, try this – hold down the hack button until the screen changes.   Memorize the glyphs (icons ?  Pictures ?   Call them what you will) and redraw them when the timer starts.   You get extra AP and items for doing this.

A glyph hack.

A glyph hack.

Hacking also gets you keys.    After I have a key for portal #1, I can travel to portal #2, and link back to portal #1.    The key for portal #1 is consumed.    Link up enough to make a triangle over an area, and that makes a control field.    The point of the game is to control more people, aka Mind Units, than the enemy team.

These four portals are all linked.

These four portals are all linked.

These links have made many triangles and are a web of fields.   Very strong, and it gives points to the Enlightened.

These links have made many triangles and are a web of fields. Very strong, and it gives points to the Enlightened.

Keys are a bit odd.   You can only hack a key, if you do not have that key in your inventory already.    Stupid, huh ?     What you can do to have more keys, is to “drop” them on the virtual ground where your portal is, and then hack the portal.   Pick up your key afterward.    With any luck, you now have two keys.

Feel free to recharge any portals, for keys that you have.    Click on the key in your inventory, then click recharge, and see how much power you can transfer to it.   It’s easy to do, and you can do this no matter where you are in the real world.   If you have a key that is.

Level 1

(I had no idea what I was doing, at all, for this entire level.)

Pass this by heading for enemy (Enlightened.   You did pick Resistance right ?) portals.    Simply hack each one for 100 AP.     Hack 25 times and you’re done with this level.   It will be even faster if you glyph hack.

If you link two portals, that’s worth 3x the amount of an enemy hack.   Feel free to link whatever you can.    The goal of the game, of course, is to make fields.   If you are in an area without fields and links, see if you can complete any triangles.   This requires you to walk around among the portals and grab the keys.

Friendly agents will often encourage you to link and field an area.   Take their advice.   They want you to get to level 8 as fast as possible.

If you find a gray portal, use your cute little level 1 resonators and capture it.   Or, if a friendly portal needs resonators, put yours on it.    Capturing gives you 500 AP, so five captures levels you up.    Don’t waste your time using your bursters – unless you see another portal with all level 1 resonators on it.

Level 2 – 2,500 AP later

(I figured out how to link and field at about this point, and progressed fast)

Keep doing the same things you did at level 1.    Your bursters got exponentially more powerful, but they’re still really hard to use against higher level portals.    Ignore them, unless the enemy portal is level 1 and 2 resonators.

Then there’s the long press attack on a portal.    If you just tap it, it attacks at 100%.   Long press and a circle will appear, and shrink, to a tiny point.   Then it goes back to a large circle and squeezes in again.    You get a % bonus the more it’s squeezed in.   If you let go when it’s fully in, that is an extra 20% attack power.

A capsule can help you out a lot.    You can stick your keys into it, and continue to hack a portal and get more keys.    It’s still a stupid mechanic, but you have the play by the rules.   Gather those keys and link up anything that makes a field.

The best fields are like the example in the picture above.    Every portal is linked to.   This makes it a bit harder for the enemy to destroy.

You can also upgrade resonators now.   Don’t assume you’ll annoy the other guy – he wants you to do it.    You can upgrade any portal that has a level 1 resonator, by putting a level 2 on there and replacing it.    You get some AP for this, and you just made the portal stronger.   Do this whenever you get the chance.

You need a total of 20,000 AP for the next level, and it might not take long.    That’s a mere 12 fields.   If you get into an area with a lot of unlinked portals, you can do this pretty quick.    Or just put down resonators, link, and hack enemy portals.    Everything you do helps the war effort.

Level 3 – 20,000 AP later

There are a lot of mods.   You may have seen them on some of the friendly and enemy portals.   In short, you have the following :

  • Shields.   Green = common, purple = Rare, pink = very rare.   AXA shields are a sponsored item (AXA Insurance) and are super powerful.
  • Heat Sinks.   These reduce the time between hacks.   If a portal is burned out, they “reset” it as well, when placed as a mod.
  • Multi – Hacks.   These increase the number of hacks possible from a portal.    You still have to wait between hacks.
  • Link Amps.    For you, these are useless.    For nearly everyone, they’re useless.
  • Softbank Link.    These items increase the number of links that you can make from one portal.   Goes up from 8 to 16.   Hang onto this thing – it’s new and not well understood.
  • Force Amps and Turrets.    These attack the greens when they attack your portal.    Best used in pairs, like one of each.

For the first few levels I recommend hoarding every one of your mods.   If you shield you little portal with 8 level 1 resonators on it, a Level 8 burster will still take it out in one or two shots if the greenie is standing on it.    So don’t waste your shields.   They’ll come in handy soon.

You can add mods to friendly portals of perhaps Level 5 and above.    A good mix is two shields, and two “other things”.    Four shields are common.    Mess around with it and don’t overstress the decisions.     Always, always use turrets and force amps together.

Now it’s time to hit enemy portals.   If they’re low level, such as 4 or 5, or anything that isn’t shielded, you might be able to kill the portal.    It takes a lot of bursters, but so what – that’s what they’re for.    Accumulate a bunch of bursters and see what you can do.    A level 6 or 7 unshielded portal will take forever, but it can be done – I did it.

And – keep doing the same thing.    Those portals you’ve been capturing, linking, and fielding are getting killed, aren’t they ?   Don’t be discouraged.   This is a war of attention and attrition.    Keep on building, and make them waste their time for building on attacking you.

70,000 points takes a while.   Don’t stress it.    Keep plugging away and it will be done before you know it.

Level 4 – 70,000 points later

Now you’re moving up in the world.   And you’re getting exposed to the first resonator limit of Ingress.    The resos for levels 1 -3 are unlimited, you can fill a portal with them.   For level 4, you can only place four of these onto an empty portal.    This is where you start to worry about exactly which resonators you need to keep.

This is also where you need another player to hit the maximum level portal.   If you claim a grey portal, you can put down four L4 resonators.   Someone else can come along later, and add four L4 resonators (or upgrade your L1 – L3 ones) and that will make the portal Level 4.

You’re also possibly hitting the inventory limit at this point.   It depends on how much hacking/glyph hacking you’re doing versus attacks and deploying resonators.    You can read this to see my strategy.    I think it’s different for every person, really, so you’re just going to have to make the final determination yourself.

Anything you can’t use, you can recycle.   This gives you more XM for either recharging or just general operations.   You can also drop stuff on the ground, but I have no idea why you ‘d do that instead of recycling.   Unless you’re trying to give something to a teammate, of course.

You might begin to encounter the other players on your team at this point.   This is good.   Ingress is a team game and should be treated as such.    If they want to give you gear – let them.    Take a walk and meet someone.    Or just agree on a place to drop items (probably via Hangouts – the game chat is not at all secure.) and grab them to continue your work.

Level 5 – 150,000 points later

Your Level 5 resos can only be placed twice on a portal.    So now, when you capture, you put 2 Level 5, 4 Level 4, and 2 lower levels to fill out a portal.

I remember feeling beholden to the higher level player who helped me, and I now know that I shouldn’t feel that way.    The team in Ingress wins based on the number of Level 8 and up agents, times how much effort they put into the game.   If you put any effort in on a regular basis, it’s worth it to me to give you stuff, and move you to level 8.   And after level 8, I just want to keep you putting forth effort in the game.

Attack anything unshielded – even a Level 8 portal.     A shielded portal, that isn’t linked, might fall to your attacks.    Play around with it, since my memory isn’t perfect, and see what works.

Start to take notice of your other weapon – ultrastrikes.    These are useful for taking shields off of portals.    Stand directly on top of the portal and fire it like a burster.   They don’t always destroy shields, but when they do it feels awesome.    After “unshielding” a portal you should be able to wreck it.

When I say “stand on top of it” – I’m not kidding.   The portal in the scanner should be directly under the middle of the little arrow that means you.     The more accurate you can make this, the more likely you’ll be able to hit something.

Level 6 – 300,000 points later

Now you’re a force to be reckoned with.    You can kill anything in the game, and it might not take you a ton of effort.     A level 8 portal with AXA shields on it can fall to you, with enough gear and ultrastrikes, although I recommend finding an easier target.

You should have the rhythm of the game down now.   L6 resonators can be placed twice only.   Level 6 bursters are serious weapons.    Link, field, upgrade, and destroy.

The last two weapons in your arsenal are Jarvis and ADA.    They will “flip” a portal from one side to another.    So to use an ADA, select a green portal, and press use on the scanner.   You get no AP for this, but the portal instantly becomes yours, killing all fields and links on it.    A favorite way to use these weapons is wait for the greens to put two AXA shields on a portal, then flip it.   Hahahaha !

As Resistance, you always like ADA to kill a tough green portal, or a key one.     You can even use the Jarvis’s in case you’re trying to make a big field, and someone else has set up a link that’s in the way.    The Jarvis kills all the links.   I recommend you hold onto these weapons and only use them when nothing else will work; after level 8 you’ll find you can’t get enough of them, or you’ll pass them on to other team members with big plans.

Level 7 – 600,000 points later

( I remember Level 7 for the contest between myself and another agent.   “Whoever gets to Level 8 first gets 100 free L8 bursters!”    I won by about 15 minutes.)

Almost there now, agent.   One more level, albeit you need to earn another full 600,000 AP.    Blast your way through any way that you can.     You have all the tools at your disposal.

Be part of a hangout.   If you are sociable, I’m sure you already are, or are trying to figure out how to do it.   If you hate other people, join one anyway.    You’ll see what the other agents in your area are doing and that can be very helpful.    Anonymity nuts like me create full G+ profiles for use in Ingress, and you can keep your identity secret that way.

Give stuff away – if you run into people on your team, it doesn’t hurt.     Everyone is working towards the same goal, so don’t feel like you have to use everything you’ve gathered.   Just give it away, especially if they’ll be using it.

And once you reach Level 8, you’re as powerful as anyone else in the game.    Levels 9 – 16 get some theoretical benefits, along with a bigger store of XM.   That’s it.   The rest is just time invested and your ability to procure / give away gear.    Find ways to be useful.

Would you like to know more ?

Would you like to know more ?

And enjoy yourself.

 

Marvel Heroes becoming Marvelous

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I jagged slowly along and eventually last week got Captain America up to level 60.   Yay !   I’ve hit the level cap in Marvel Heroes.     So, now what ?

Well, it turns out there is an Omega System enhancement for your heroes.    For us Everquest 1 veterans, this means “alternate achievements”.    I don’t see where a limit on these has been imposed either.   Omega points are account wide – so for all the heroes you have, you have that many Omega points, and your distribution of them can be whatever you want for whatever hero.    Some branches that I have are locked until I complete certain challenges.   It looks like you can build a super-duper powered hero.

Except – as noted in every post I’ve made about this – the stupid game is too easy.    Even the Superheroic difficulty was not that difficult to pull a few mobs and slaughter everything.     So I went ahead and did Midtown Madness on the “Cosmic” level available at level 60.

I got killed over and over again.    I couldn’t pull a single monster – I always got groups of them.    I stood for an hour at the Stark building entrance where you start, waiting for my health to regenerate and burning medipacks furiously.    Eventually, I gave up.    Clearly you need to be a tougher hero than I am to get this stuff working, or play in a party.

So.   Armed with a level 60 hero, and needing Omega points, I now need to figure out gameplay mechanics that I’ve ignored until now.

  • Crafting.     Can I make uru-forged armor ?    And craft it ?    How do I figure out what runes to get.    You can’t just store things in this game, you have to pursue what you need.   And this also assumes crafting isn’t broken, still.
  • Uniques.   Are there things that are better equipment than uniques ?   I have all level 63ish uniques already.    Apparently 66 uniques exist.
  • Costumes.   I think level 60 heroes can make more costumes.   It would be fun to do that.
  • Legendary items.   I don’t have any, and I don’t know how to get some.
  • Team Up Heroes.   I got a free Iron Man for logging in today.   He seems to help some.   I wonder if I need more, and/or if they’re available for free.

If nothing else, there’s a whole list of achievements to pursue so I’m sure I’ve got things to do for the moment.

And then there’s Hulk.   I started running him through the Midtown Madness again and he’s a blast.    It’s all about jumping and AOE effects with him, and I’m enjoying it a lot.   Made it to level 33 very quickly, with a lot of playtime, and plan to move him up to level 60 next.    I have Cyclops as well, at a mere level 8, and can play him at some point.

And all of this without paying a penny.    What a nice age of gaming we’re living in.

Doc Burbank does not like Griefing

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There are a lot of traditional gamers that play Ingress; I mean the nerd community that I’m a part of.   30 – 50.   Had PC’s and Mac’s for 10-20 years.   Always playing games.

Then there are the nontraditional gamers.   They got a phone, and got hooked into the game.    Prior to that, they played solitaire, or acted more like normal people.   Nerds…. are not normal :) .

MMO’s have a concept called “griefing” (a good definition here).    There are certain nasty antisocial people who find pleasure in making other people miserable.    These people engage in griefing, to ruin other people’s games, and to take pleasure in their misfortune.   Nerds know about this, but normal people, not so much.

So.   How does this relate to Ingress ?    Griefing can take on a very personal and vicious form in this game.    Harassment and disagreements culminating in police encounters are the obvious ones.    I heard rumors that this week, Pomona had the police called over some bad behavior between players.    I got a death threat, which dried up the next day due to Niantic.  Following other players – literally, driving behind them if you’ve “made” them – is certainly a scary and uncool tactic.    I’ve read stories about an Enlightened player in the Midwest being stalked by multiple Resistance agents who were that determined that their town stay blue.   Talk about potential for problems.

At least, all of the above is pretty obviously things we should not do to one another.   Clearly, we need to be sure that we’re not griefing the other players at any point.  And then there’s the Guardian badge, granted after owning a portal for a consecutive set of days.

150 days for Onyx.   That's a long time.

150 days for Onyx. That’s a long time.

Is there a reason to deny another player – an enemy player – a guardian badge ?    Maybe a tiny bit.   If they need the guardian badge to level up, a lower level player is always better on the enemy team.    This is a really marginal thing however.   I think denying someone a guardian is griefing.    You’re not really helping your team, it’s just a personal thing between you and the other guy (or gal).

Now for clarity – this is not about playing the game.   If my guardian portal is a way for an Enlightened player to make a triangle; or has links that block them from making one; or is in an area where the Enlightened are trying to conquer all the portals; this is all fair game.

I’m talking more about the rumors I’ve heard of software tools to determine what a person’s guardian portal is.   Then you head off, kill it, and cackle madly.    You just griefed that other guy.

Or – probably worse – you track the portals a player has.    The intel map can help you find every portal that a particular player owns, if you’re willing to go through the whole map for an area.   Once you find them, you make a list.    And you start taking all of those portals, and simultaneously watching their statistics to see if the guardian badge is ticking up.   Eventually, if you kill all the other guy’s portals, that badge will stop ticking up.   And you cackle madly, because you’re getting pretty unbalanced my friend, if your idea of fun is to do something like this.

Mostly I’m writing this to express my opinion about this and hopefully educate the community about why I’m saying it.    I see a lot of casual talk about killing the other guys guardian.   I even like the idea, that as I play the game normally, I may just kill someone’s guardian.   That’s all fair game, but griefing is not.

Follow the other guy’s portal attacks and take them back.   Don’t follow his car.   Don’t block people from moving.    Don’t make threats.   Be nice – we’re all supposed to be having fun.   Say Hi and shake people’s hands, especially if they “made” you.   Niantic managed to hit on a really awesome formula that aids us to not be griefers.    I think they were just lucky, but it doesn’t matter.

There are only two teams.   They’re pretty balanced IMO.    It’s a 50/50 split.    Players capture portals, which they “own”, but really they belong to the team.   Other players upgrade your portal, making it partly “theirs”.   Enemy players take away your portals.   Or just blow resonators and mods off of them.   This is not really a PvP game in Meatspace, which would definitely make things nastier; this is a PVE game between two teams.    It’s well set up to encourage good behavior.   We just have to remember that.

So play...... NICE.

So play…… NICE.

Thoughts ?    Let’s hear it.   Give me a comment.

Battle of Orange Grove

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It was about 1 pm, Pacific Time, and I’m back to work because lunchtime is over.   Or am I ?

It’s been a bit since there was a strong Enlightened attack in Downtown Burbank during the day.   Today was the day.    The scanner lit up with attacks firing away.    I was able to see, on the scanner, that they were right on San Fernando and Orange Grove, taking portals and killing fields.     A minimum of three green controlled portals were taken.

The battleground.   Much later, however.

The battleground. Not at the battle time, but much later.

Three agents were down wrecking things and trying to level up a lowbie.    I didn’t realize that at first, however.   I just saw the portals falling, and decided to start recharging everything I could power, to limit the damage and slow them down.

I blew through probably 40 different power cubes, maybe 5 L6 and the rest L7.    And despite heavy burster use by the enemy, no additional portals fell.   I didn’t track it, but I think I got 500k points towards Recharger. I think they went to eat at one of the restaurants in the area.    I charged for awhile, realized they were no longer taking portals, and was not sure what to do next.    But I couldn’t resist – my next meeting wasn’t for an hour, so I headed down a block away planning to sit on a bench.

All three portals were blown away.   I started to move into position to retake one……. and the enemy agent did instead !    500 AP is good times for a lowbie agent, so I’m sure that he didn’t care that much that I was whacking the portal.     So instead, I tried to grab it immediately after all the resonators were taken. This time, I got one of them.   The other two were grabbed by the enemy agent.    And I realize that I’ve got help, as another Resistance agent starts hitting the same portals.

All in all, it was a 4 versus 4 contest for 20 minutes or so.    Two Resistance agents standing in the area versus three Enlightened, with two Resistance guys driving past, and another Enlightened taking advantage of our distraction to hit other nearby portals.   The muggles were thick – dozens of people wound through the busy streets intent on their own errands.    I even got asked by an attractive lady if I could tell her the time, and is her car safe from ticketing ?  The end result – we took all the portals back.    After doing that, we congratulated each other for a few minutes, and I helped build up a few.    Then, it was back to work.

Did I spot the enemy agents ?    I don’t think so.    There were two guys standing right in the area with phones out; one guy says “Here, I’ll show you”, and pulls out an Iphone to start up an app.    If they’re Ingress agents, I think they have the app pulled up already at that point.    I also saw two suspicious characters walking away right about at the time the agents appeared to be leaving, according to the scanner.   But it’s so hard to be sure.    My fellow agent – Lead Resistance guy in Downtown – seemed to think he made them.    I’m not so sure – we were seeing three agents in the scanner, not two, unless someone is multi-accounting.

Now, was I spotted ?    Possible, but I doubt it.    The “I’ll show you” guys were standing on the sidewalk right in front of a restaurant.   I heard them because I walked within about a foot of them.    And I suspected them, so I decided to have some fun with it.   As I walked past them, I quickly fired off about 4-5 high level bursters and killed all the resonators on the nearby portals.     After they died, I headed quickly around the corner trying to leave them confounded, and looking around for who hit the portal.    The other two guys I saw, no way could they have spotted me, sitting on a bench behind a mass of other people.

I did a bit of upgrading as I headed up the block, and saw our fearless leader refield the area.    The Resistance, was victorious today.

Canyon Country, 9 pm

Canyon Country, 9 pm

Tonight Canyon Country is a battleground.    Green owns Sierra Highway, while there was massive fighting over the rest of the area leaving us with this broken set of fields (for both sides!) .

Downtown Burbank, 9 pm

Downtown Burbank, 9 pm

That beautiful blocking link is still in place – there will be no Enlightened fields coming down through the Verdugo Hills; hopefully a Resistance triangle instead ! Due to strong Enlightened activity, no large fields are covering the hills, although we’ll see about that tomorrow.

Postscript

The confounding thing about this game is, you really do have secret operations.    That’s what I did the night before (6/24), while Orange Grove was today (6/25).    And due to circumstances, I can’t share anything about the night before, other than I had a ton of fun.    Perhaps the story will come out, someday.

Choking On Gear

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Too Damn Much Stuff

Too Damn Much Stuff

With my habit of hacking many portals, and glyphing as many as possible, I always have about 2000 items in my inventory – always at the limit.    This has resulted in a lot of inventory reduction strategies.

When I first started playing, I loved to use everything that I could possibly use.    This is mainly applicable to the weapons – bursters.    Level 1 bursters do not do a lot of damage, but they do some.    So I would use the bursters to try and finish off a portal.

Well, those days are gone.   The very first items that get recycled are any bursters from Level 1 – Level 4.    These are considered garbage.    Level 5 is the minimum level I might use a burster, but really, it’s unlikely that I’ll need to do that.   But I do have gaming habits that are hard to break, like always using items to the fullest, so I find myself using them when out in the field occasionally.   Once I’m back home, they get recycled.

Still full ?   Level 6 bursters are an easy recycle.     But yesterday I hit a spot I never expected to hit – too many L7 and L8 bursters.    I was very close to starting to recycle THE MOST POWERFUL WEAPONS IN THE GAME.

I put out the call to all the blues in the area, and I finally did get a response.   It seems everyone has their areas, and getting out of it to grab weapons or gear is not easily done, but I found a teammate down to a mere 8 bursters.   He came to me, and picked up a bunch of bursters.   Maybe, my game role is part farmer now.

Keys are good spot to check for recycling too, right after garbage bursters.    A lot of this is personal preference.    I toss anything that isn’t Santa Clarita / Burbank, and recycle keys from these areas that are too far away from my normal area of operations.    But it seems everyone does different things with keys.

Resonators are kind of tricky.    I eventually settled on the following goal :

  • 100 L4
  • 100 L5
  • 100 L6
  • 50 L7
  • 50 L8

The hardest ones to get are the L4 and L8 ones.    If I am low on L4’s then I’ll use anything lower to fill out that 100.    I recycle what doesn’t fit in those parameters.

Power cubes are a bit tricky too.   Just how many do you need ?    I have far more than I need, but you would never recycle something that can earn you easy (if tiny) AP, and make portals stronger, so I’m trying to wind my inventory of them down.    It’s not working so far, but that’s not a bad thing.    I’d say aim for 50 of them held in inventory.

No worries about recycling shields, turrets, amps, and things like that – I never seem to have enough.   But all link amps get recycled immediately, or put onto a junk portal for AP.    Media items ?   Gone as fast as I can click them.    I want to get rid of some of my capsules if any agents have a need.

And then – I got one of these babies

MUFG, or Multiplier capsule

MUFG, or Multiplier capsule

Items stored in this capsule multiply.    What are the rules there ?   I don’t think they’re known.    The rumor so far is, leave things in there, perhaps a total of 50.   Keys will multiply the fastest, so I have a strategic set of difficult/often used keys in there now, along with the obvious rare items that I want more of, and L4 and L8 resonators.   24 hours after getting it I’ve gotten nothing new, yet.

Still working on stats.   As I write, I have :

  • 249,590 MU’s captured.    250K sometime soon I hope.
  • 21M recharged.    Maybe 25M in early July.
  • Just passed 1,000 control fields created.

Would it be weird to be a level 10 agent with an Onyx badge ?

 

The Final Shard Jump

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And it’s over.    The Enlightened were DENIED.

One thing I can’t get a good handle on, is when the shards do a jump.     Or, back to hockeyspeak, when they take a shot at the goal.    I didn’t think it was exactly 5 pm but everyone is acting like it.    That works for me.    I followed the action as best I could from a PC and watching intel maps.

Santa Rosa Island at 4:58 pm.

Santa Rosa Island at 4:58 pm.

Enlightened have the shard portal, but no links.   Two lovely blocking links are southeast of the portal as well, and Resistance agents are standing on top of the portals.    No apparent Enlightened agents around.

Santa Monica, 5:00 pm

Santa Monica, 5:00 pm

In Santa Monica at the Big Project, the Enlightened have the portal, and there are a ton of extraneous blocking links out there.     This is good news – how can they score if things look like this ?

5:01 pm.

5:01 pm.   Still safe.

 

5:02.   Wow - the blocking links are all gone !!!!!!

5:02. Wow – the blocking links are all gone !!!!!!

Now, if they had the shard, the Enlightened would score.

5:04

5:04

The Resistance agents on the ground just took the shard portal !    Both blocking links are still in place.    So it still ain’t happening, apparently.

5:10

5:10

Now, they’ve gone and blocked themselves.    This sounds like they’ve admitted defeat.

Way to go Santa Rosa Island team, whoever you guys are/were.    Those blocking links, and taking the shard portal at jump time, were fantastic.    I bet whatever Enlightened agents were over there – that I couldn’t see on the intel – were simply outplayed very strongly.

So this should be it for the shard game, for the moment.    Is there a third period ?    Or do we wait for the next shard game to start with portals somewhere else ?

Final (?) day of the Shard Game (updated!)

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It was going to happen at 5 am, Saturday morning.    The shards were supposed to make one of their final jumps.    5 pm Saturday is the final jump, I’m told.

Me, of course, I fell asleep at 9 pm.    This is my new Ingress schedule, I sleep early and wake up at 4 am.    Today, I woke up to see what happened.

A big group of SCV and Burbank/Glendale Resistance agents went out to defend the shard portal.    It was absolutely necessary.    A huge (8! ) group of shards are out on one of the Channel Islands, and could easily be scored by the Enlightened.

The shards, at 5 am on Saturday

The shards, at 5 am on Saturday

On the left is Santa Rosa island, a relatively big one of the Channel islands.   The shards – Ie, hockey pucks – are there at the moment and can move somewhere around 5 pm tonight.

A tiny little spit of land to the east of the visible islands above is Anacapa island.   I’m told all the shards were there last night.    The shards were on Anacapa at some point, but defense came from Santa Rosa last night.

The Glendale team were right on top of the “Antique Hay Baler” portal and battling it out over the course of the night, while the SCV folks headed to Port Hueneme.    Why port Hueneme ?    Because someone was a very good intel agent, and got people into the right spots.

So follow me here.   Resistance agents on top of the shards at Santa Rosa Island.    Other agents in Port Hueneme.    And it turns out, that PH – SRI – Hawaii is a perfect blocking link.    I can’t screenshot it, but look it up if you’d like.   The link passed just to the south of the shard portal.

So the action was, wait for the right moment, and the Glendale team blew the portal area all clear of links.    Then, the Port Hueneme team cleared lanes, and an SCV agent threw a link from PH to Hawaii – about 2,400 miles – which blocked the shard from moving.    And the greenies did not have time to react; how could they ?   The anchors of the block are in Hawaii, and one of dozens of coastal California cities.

I do not have the full story (Will update the post if I get more), but a large group of Resistance agents were defending, hanging out on the beach of Santa Monica and fighting over the Big Project portal, which is the goal.     As I sit and refresh my intel map, the portal changes hands constantly, even now.

Apparently, the SCV crew did the final block.    Around about 5 am, they established the final blocking link, which kept the greenies from linking the island to the Big Project, and the shards jumped off Anacapa island and over to the east.

The key blocker is that little green portal on the beach.

Santa Monica around 6 am.

Crossing the world.   Thousands of miles.     Hundreds of people.     And six folks kept the shards out, and kept the score from changing.

"Why yes, we are badasses" is on their lips.

“Why yes, we are badasses” is on their lips.

Now, the question is, will the score stay at 6-3.    Even better, can the Resistance score today and even it up a bit ?    Or will the Enlightened push these things in, and turn the game into a blowout ?

And the tactical situation at the moment.    No long distance RES blocks possible.

And the tactical situation at the moment. No long distance RES blocks possible.

But a local block ?    From Santa Monica.   Oh yeah.   Very possible.

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