Platinum Sojourner

Platinum Sojourner

I guess that makes it official, I’ve been playing for six months, plus my first “real day” playing the game was April 1st – very memorable due to the Pac Man gag that was running at the time.

Right now I have a clear path to Level 15 – I have all the badges necessary – and at just barely Level 13, I need a mere doubling of AP to achieve that level – 12 million points.   That’s a staggering amount of actions ; 7,700 fields created, for instance.

Ingress is best described as a secret war between two factions, but the analogy fails on several levels.     There is never an end; you finish that “Weeks worth of War” and go on to the next week.   Plus, you have to remember that you don’t literally want to kill the opposition.

Sure, one way to “win” would be to get the opposition to quit playing, through some action that you do.   But you have to be careful about that, remember, this is only a game.    I have heard stories of people getting fired over the game related to the Lockheed Factory in Palmdale.   That’s reprehensible.   The recent posts on Reddit that talk about a literal break in at a nuclear plant – The Email screenshot, and the Comments on the post.    Guys, remember – we’re only playing a game.   Please don’t trespass onto the grounds of A NUCLEAR POWER PLANT.   Or a TOP SECRET LOCATION.    Jeez, some people.

Then again, key hyperactive agents are the ones who have the most effect on the game.    Growing some for your faction, and getting the enemy’s agents to quit, are ways to influence the game.

Even scarier are the people passing away.    The game inevitably leaks from the electronic into the real world overlaid upon the game (see what I did there ? 🙂 .    Joe Philley, beloved community manager for the game, passed away last month.    I think he was in his late 50’s.    Over the months I’ve seen posts about other agents passing away, including one guy who helped to field Southeast Asia and died shortly after the fielding.

The crowning strangeness is the story of the death of an Irish agent recently.    From Google Plus posts, I gather he/she was playing Ingress and had an accident and died.   Friends and family managed to get him/her before the news media latched onto it, so no links are available.   But the death was quite literally caused by the game – as he/she tried to access a portal, they slipped into the sea after falling off a pier.    A bit of scary thing, isn’t it ?   We have to remember to play safely.

EDIT : Wow.    Yesterday there was a shooting at a community college in Oregon.   It turns out that an Ingress Agent was among those killed.    No indication that he was playing when he died – maybe the guy just went to college there.   Still – Wow.    Colleges typically have tons of portals which would attract Ingress players, both students and non.

But enough scary real life talk.

The “regular crowd” is largely the same in both Burbank and the SCV.    New agents have popped up, and other agents seem to be fading away.    There are three Level 16’s that I have constant contact with in Burbank; the SCV has one who’s doing it more lone wolf these days.  Reaching Level 16 still seems like an impossibility; I might expect to hit 15 in April of next year.

The effects/affects of Ingress on me.

  • I always want to get up early, and go Ingressing during the cool of the morning at 5 AM.    This results in falling asleep at 9-10 PM, and breaking the cycle of a lifetime where I sit at the computer until the early morning hours.
  • I used to take my son with me and kill portals.    He’s so diplomatic, but he gingerly let me know that I do this ALL THE TIME, and he’s sick of it.   So we don’t attack portals together anymore.    Then again, he has a short attention span.
  • I made the mistake of taking my teenage daughter with me to a portal to try and throw a block.   Once.    She decided to embarass me in front of family talking about how I play the game all the time and embellishing the facts.     That showed me how much I can trust her to keep a secret, or suck it up for her Dad’s sake.
  • The desire to build big fields is still there.    The ability is lacking.    I can’t see the day in the future where I can get agents involved again and make a field like the Connect Burbank field.

I’m slowing down a bit due to time commitments, which is OK – do I really want to make a many months-long habit of walking around town instead of working ?    Downtown Burbank is seeing the effect of my lack of commitment, although it’s a far cry from the state 6 months ago, before I started.

A typical view of Burbank.    The Center controlled by Resistance, and the edges by Enlightened.

A typical view of Burbank. The Center controlled by Resistance, and the edges by Enlightened.

Typical shot of the area north of the San Fernando Valley.   From Piru to SCV to Acton.

Typical shot of the area north of the San Fernando Valley. From Piru to SCV to Acton.

We have new players making a big impact in the rural Val Verde area, and some atypical links from the SCV up to Lancaster and Acton.    The southwest of the SCV stays very green due to diligent Enlightened activity, while the rest of the SCV stays very blue.  Even the Sierra Highway, often The Bad Man’s jumping-off point for Ingressing, is staying pretty clear at the moment.

With a continuing commitment to the game, and a lack of the Zeal Of The Convert, I expect to keep this going until :

  1. Pokemon Go makes its appearance.   Have to at least try that out.
  2. Ember invites me to the beta.   It’s apparently an Ingress clone built around the idea of power outlets (?).
  3. Something else comes out of nowhere – like Ingress did – and catches my fancy.

Enough writing.   Time to take a walk.