Google developed a location-based game called Ingress to collect points of interest and other data that would allow them to expand on their service offering. Points of interest are typically places of worship, publicly viewable art, memorials and historical locations.
What is it?
In short – Ingress is a high-tech capture the flag game using a GPS-enabled SmartPhone or Tablet with internet access. There are two teams, the Resistance (Blue) and Enlightened (Green), with players (aka Agents) moving from location to location around the world attempting to take over portals (Point of Interest) and link them together to create fields that control the world’s populous.
I started in July of 2013, reaching level eight (L8) within a couple months. Like so many other agents, I have suffered through the growth and developing of the game, earning a couple badges that newer players will not get the opportunity to achieve – Founder and Innovator. As of the writing of this article, I am L15, needing just one more black (Onyx) badge and 13MM AP.
The top of the scanner interface shows the agent’s In Game Name (IGN), level, faction, XM Reserves and personalized icon. The agent’s faction is depicted by the color of the IGN, Icon border, etcetera.
The scanner view shows the agent’s location with a triangle surrounded by a ring. This ring is the agent’s range. Portals and object need to be within this range for the agent to interact with it like hack, deploy or linking.
At the bottom of the Interface is the COMM. The last line of the COMM will display at the bottom when COMM is minimized. Clicking COMM will open the communications interface where agents can review send messages or monitor agent activities.
When COMM is opened, the agent can choose to look at their Alerts, Faction communications or All communications. The agent can also communicate with other agents in either faction through COMM.
Type a message in the bottom field and click the Transmit button to post in the current comm segment (All or Faction). Including an at symbol (@) followed by the agent name within a post alerts the agent to the communication.
All – Shows all agent activity within the specified range (default distance is 5 kilometers). Here you’ll see the current score, what portals are being capture or destroyed as well as links and fields, plus cross-faction agent to agent communication.
Faction – agents can communicate with other agents in their faction “securely” within faction comm. Be sure “Faction” is the selected comm when posting something intended for your team only. Posts in your own Faction comm will also appear to you in All as “Secure”.
Alerts – personal agent alerts are shown here, “owned” portals being attacked or decayed as well as directed communications from other agents.
Each player can add up to two modifiers to each portal, for a maximum of four mods per portal. Stacking mods (using more than one of the same type) reduces the effectiveness with each additional mod. Four Common mods of the same type are almost as effective as one Very Rare version of that modifier, for example.
Shields a portal to reduce the damage received during an attack. There are four types of portal shield, Common, Rare, Very Rare and AXA (Sponsored by AXA Insurance).
Common – Green in color, the most common portal shield. It absorbs about 30% of the attack power and is the most stable of the shields.
Rare – Purple in color, this shield doesn’t appear in hacks nearly as often as the common portal shield. It absorbs about 40% of the attack power and is unstable.
Very Rare – Pink in color, obtaining this shield is less common than common and rare. It absorbs about 50% of the attack power, but it is very unstable; easy to be removed from a portal in attack.
AXA – Commercially sponsored, this shield is pink with a glowing center. It is the rarest portal shield, absorbs about 70% of the attack power and is very stable.
Due to the instability of rare shields, four common shields can protect a portal better than four very rare shields. Rare and Very Rare shields are relatively easy to remove from portals through regular attacks or by using Ultra-strikes.
The Link Amp extends the linking range of a portal. The linking distance of a portal is determined by the level of the portal, the stronger the portal means the further it can successfully link. In example, a level one portal can link to another portal up to 160 meters away, while a level eight portal can link up to 655 kilometers (407 miles) away.
A regular link amp does not increase the number of connections a portal can have. In most cases a link amp is not necessary and simply wastes a mod space.
SoftBank Ultra Link – Commercially sponsored link amp that increases the number of outbound links, extend link range and boost defensive power.
After being hacked, a portal needs to “cool down” before it can be hacked again by the same agent. Installing a heat sink shortens the cool down time.
Common – Green in color, the most common heat sink; reduces cool down by 20% (240 second cool down)
Rare – Purple in color, a less common heat sink; reduces cool down by 50% (150 second cool down)
Very Rare – Pink in color, the least common heat sink; reduces cool down by 70% (90 second cool down)
Each agent can only hack a portal four times within a rolling four hour window, unless there are multi-hacks modifiers installed. The Multi-hack will increase the number of times a portal can be hacked within the four hour period.
Common – Green in color, the most common multi-hack; doubles the number of hacks permitted
Rare – Purple in color, a less common multi-hack; triples the number of hacks permitted
Very Rare – Pink in color, the least common multi-hack; quadruples the number of hacks permitted.
This portal modifier doubles the damage (XM energy drain) a portal inflicts on an attacking agent.
This portal modifier doubles the frequency of which a portal will defend itself against an attacking agent.
Introduced in 2014, capsules will hold up to 100 items, simplifying the ability to transfer items between players. A player can load a capsule with the items, then drop the capsule. The other player can then pick up the capsule and unload the items into their own inventory. Items stored within a capsule still count towards inventory total.
NOTE – Players must have 100 spaces open in inventory to pickup a capsule, regardless of the number of items within the capsule.
MUFG Capsule – Commercially sponsored, this very rare interest-bearing capsule will hold up to 100 items. If the capsule is kept in inventory partially filled, the contents will slowly multiply. The rate of return appears to be 2-5 items per week at 80% of capacity.
Agents following key behaviors maximize their experience in the game.
Supplies for playing the game are earned through hacking portals. Doing a basic hack by simply clicking the “Hack” button will result in a range of supplies from nothing to several items like XMP Bursters, Resonators and Shields to name a few.
Enemy portals will often give no items when hacked.
If a portal of the same faction alignment as the agent gives no items during hacking, then the agent traveled to quickly between portals of the last hack was delayed enough to create the illusion of traveling too fast.
Learn the meanings of the glyphs. Glyphic hacking uses phrases and knowing what each glyph means helps remember the order of the phrase used. In example, the capture next to this hacking section says “Use Restraint, Follow Easy Path.”
Hold down the “Hack” button for a second or so to launch the Glyph-hacking sequence. This is a memory puzzle mini game that with success and speed results in bonus items from the hack. If all glyphs are remembered and enetered correctly, then a speed bonus is given; the faster completed, the higher the bonus. In the example glyph hack, a total bonus of 221% is awarded. If five items were going to be given with a basic hack, then an additional 11 items will be received as a bonus – a total of 16 items for the hack.
XMP Bursters are used to destroy the resonators which power a portal. When an XMP is used, the strongest point of impact is where the Agent is located, then the amount of damage is reduced and the ring moves out from the Agent in all directions.
Ultra-strikes damage resonators, however they are intended to help remove modifiers from a portal. These are most effective when used at the center-most point of a portal.
Eight Resonators are required to fully populate a portal. The distance which the Agent is from the center of a portal determines the distance a resonator is placed when deploying. Deploying resonators at the maximum distance helps protect the portal during attack.
There is a lot of debate for the best way to protect portals. The best protection depends on the mods available and how far the nearest portal is located.
I prefer three shields and one Force Amp or Turret to protect portals that have no other portals nearby. Three shields greatly improve the damage absorption of a portal while the one weapon strikes the attacker, draining the attacking agent’s energy.
Clusters of portals can be greatly protected using two shields plus one turret and one force amp on each portal. In this scenario, each portal has reasonable protection while having greater weapons to strike the attacking agent. Having multiple portals striking the agent, the agent’s XM reserves will be emptied quickly.
Connecting three portals together as a triangle creates a control field. The number of mind units within the control field is used in scoring the game.
When establishing fields, Agents should avoid linking too many portals to the same portals. This type of hub and spoke deployment creates a large exposure point. Agents attacking this one portal can easily destroy all of the fields.
Look at the example given in the Game Interface heading above. That portal is a large hub with 12 fields attached to it. An agent attacking the portal would be awarded over seventeen thousand points when the links and fields are knocked down. A significant risk to the fields and the portal. Agents looking for quick, easy points or to knock down fields will seek out large hubs.
It is important to be safe while playing the game.
- Do not play the game while driving.
- There is a game imposed speed limit of about 34 MPH. Intended to reduce spoofing.
- Pull over to a safe place on the side of the road.
- Obey laws, local ordinances and posted rules.
- Many parks close at sunset and do not reopen until sunrise – or other specified hours.
- Be mindful of private property and observe ‘No Trespassing’ areas.
- Wear appropriate clothing and sunscreen.
- Wear warm clothing in winter. Touch capable gloves are available on the market.
- Wear sunscreen, sunglasses and hat to help protect from sun burn, etcetera.
REMEMBER – IT IS JUST A GAME!