So how does Ingress work, anyway ?

Read the Decoding Ingress manual, which is very useful, but I’ll summarize it a bit here.    First, you discover portals and “hack” them.    Blue or Green team, or neutral, only matter for your XP – which is called AP in the game.   By hacking portals you get items, including the critical portal keys.   Your items include offensive and defensive items, so it behooves you at first to hack without stopping.

When you have a neutral portal in your scanner – that is, you are a mere 100 feet away – you deploy resonators.    These items let you capture a portal.    Each portal needs 8, and here’s where the teamwork comes in – the higher level your resonator, the fewer you can put on the portal.   You can place a single level 8 item, or as many as 8 level 1 resonators.    Why do we want 8 of them ?   So we can link the portals.

Hopefully other players in your area also place some resonators, and with 8 level 8 players you can set up a level 8 portal.    Each player puts a single level 8 one on it.

To link the portals you need one to be in your circle – and remember, this is a tiny little 40 meter circle (Think 100 feet).  You need a key for the other portal to link.    Enemy links will block you if they are between your two portals.

The end goal is to establish fields, which are triangles of links between portals.     A field is either protecting humans (Resistance) or converting them to shapers (Enlightened).    The story is fun, so I picked the Resistance.   I’d rather not be transformed, thank you aliens.   The gameplay effect is the exact same, whatever side you are on.

You begin the game with very poor official information.   I literally had no idea what to do beyond what I could see with the application on the phone.    I was looking for something while driving, and I couldn’t find anything.      It turns out, despite what the app tells you, you need to discover your portals first and go to them.

The state of "Beautiful Downtown Burbank" in Ingress at the moment.

The state of “Beautiful Downtown Burbank” in Ingress at the moment.

So I drove around Santa Clarita.    Nothing showed up in my scanner, and I can only zoom it out so far – you can’t use the scanner to see areas outside of maybe 1/2 a mile.   As I drove, I looked for….. something….. but didn’t see much.    Santa Clarita is very light on the portals, but I eventually found one in a nearby park.

What am I doing ?   I don't know.

What am I doing ? I don’t know.   My first Ingress screenshot.

I fired all the boosters I had and not much changed.    The boosters were supposed to let you capture the portals but nothing was happening.   Never mind the obvious – I think what I had done was knock the portal down to neutral, and misinterpreted what that green meant.

I hacked the portal next, but found out I would need to wait another five minutes to hack it again.   What ?   I’m running errands, and I’m already being stupid and stopping in a park to play a phone game, and now you want me to SIT HERE ?   So I continued driving.

I found another portal under a bridge, but I drove so fast I couldn’t hack it.   Phooey.   Portals would appear but they were off of the roads in town, and I didn’t really want to pull over – which, it turns out, is the only way to play the game.

I came real close to uninstalling, but the fact that so many other people were playing kept me from doing it.   There had to be more to the game.    Instead, I figured I’d see what happened once I got to Burbank, and I’m glad I did.

Arriving in Beautiful Downtown Burbank, I found a ton of portals and proceeded to start hacking away.    And next I took over some.

A typical Ingress portal.

A typical Ingress portal.

I discovered how many times you can hack a portal – four.    And it will take four hours after that to start hacking another four times on the same portal.    You gain XP (I mean AP) by hacking portals (100), placing resonators (625 or less), and creating links, and then fields – fields are worth over 1,000 AP.  I drove a bit, taking all my breaks, and long lunches.   I wandered around parks, asked stupid questions in the chat, and fought for portals.     I started dumping resonators on nearby portals and then linked a ton of them to establish some fields.

Then I left Burbank and went home Monday.   That night, two Enlightened players wiped out most of my portals and all of my fields.    Rats.

An Ingress Badge is earned.

An Ingress Badge is earned.

I want to earn these badges for levels 9-16, and just because they’re fun.    The screenshot is a bronze badge.    Next is silver, then gold, then platinum.    But I also kept earning the levels.

Tuesday, I re-established several and got them mostly knocked down again that night.    I was gaining the levels at least, which is clearly important.   I think level 8 XMP items just totally wipe out the City Hall area with minimal effort.

Now I'm getting better.

Now I’m getting better.

Over the weekend the Enlightened have taken all my portals again, but I’m one of many Resistance players in the area.    It seems the key is persistence, so we’ll see how it all works out.