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.

Updated 3/2016

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.

If you glyph hack, you can add the “More” glyph (right before the whole thing starts) to get another shot at a key, even if you already have one in your possession.   Conversely, if you don’t want a key, add the “Less” glyph.   It’s almost always good to get keys.   If all else fails you can recycle them for a decent amount of XM.

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 – from 8 to 16.   It also increases the portal defense.
  • Force Amps and Turrets.    These attack the greens when they attack your portal.    Best used in pairs, like one of each.    Only a short step up in usefulness from the Link Amp.

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.

Once the inventory limit gets irritating, buy the key lockers for sale – $10 gets you five lockers and 500 additional “free” keys that you can hold.   Super cheapskates can find ways to answer surveys, etc, and build up a $10 Google Play balance, or just spend the cash.

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.

You may have a MUFG capsule by now.   What this thing does is duplicate items placed inside of it.   The common items duplicate more – about 1 per day if you have 95 items in it, ie, about 1% – while the rare and very rare items duplicate much less.    Put things into these capsules.    After much stressing, the community seems to have decided on 94 – 96 items are the best number to toss inside one of these things.

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.