Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Defending Your Ingress Portal

You put a lot of effort into capturing your portals you don't want them falling into enemy hands. So you need to protect them.

Here's what you can do to protect your portals.

  • Deploy Portal Shields - There are 3 varieties of Portal Shields
    • Common - These have bright pastel green markings and are easy to find but they offer the least protection
    • Rare - These have pastel purple markings and are relatively easy to find but they offer moderate protection
    • Very Rare - These have bright pastel pinkish-purple markings and are more difficult to find but they offer the greatest protection
    • Each portal can hold up to 4 portal shields
  • Keep your Resonators charged!
    • The greater your charge your Resonators have the more resilient to an attack they will be.
    • Also, charge the Resonators for your faction's portals when you hack them. 
    • Remember, if you have the Portal Key for a particular portal you can charge it remotely.
  • Defend your portal when attacked
    • When your portal goes under attack and you loose a Resonator you will receive an email. If you are able, this is a great time to remotely recharge your Resonators. 

Deploying Resonators

Deploying resonators in Ingress is crucial. Think of  a resonator as an amplifier. The portal itself is like raw energy, it needs an amplifier to enhance it. Resonators come in eight (8) levels L1-L8. The higher level the resonator the more energy it harnesses. The value of the resonators gives the portal it's level; however, this is not  a simple average. Higher level portals have the ability to link greater distances.

When you deploy a resonator to a neutral portal you are capturing that portal for your faction. It takes 8 resonators to complete a portal.

An individual player does have limits as to how many resonators they can deploy at a single portal. This does upgrades, believe me I tried.

Here's  chart showing what an single player can do:

Player Level Resonator Level
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
1 8 -- -- -- -- -- -- --
2 4 4 -- -- -- -- -- --
3 -- 4 4 -- -- -- -- --
4 -- -- 4 4 -- -- -- --
5 -- -- 2 4 2 -- -- --
6 -- -- -- 4 2 2 -- --
7 -- -- -- 3 2 2 1 --
8 -- -- -- 2 2 2 1 1

I think this emphasizes the need for teamwork in both deploying and upgrading portals.

You do need to use some strategy in deploying your resonators.

First if you are going to be deploying resonators of different levels, do not place then directly next to each other. Try and place your highest level resonators opposite, or as far as possible, from each other. This applies to upgrading resonators too.

Next, place your resonators as far from the portal as you can.

The reason for these strategies is to help protect them from attacks. Even if an individual is standing immediately at one of your stronger resonators the residual damage to your other stronger resonators is lessened. The would be assailant may run out of XMP Bursters before destroying all of your resonators.

Attacking Portals in Ingress

Here's something I wish I knew earlier about attacking enemy portals and firing XMP Bursters in +Ingress.

You are not attacking the portal itself. You are actually attacking the resonators which are powering the portal. So here is the best strategy for attacking a portal.  Your XMP Burster have a limited range and the further away you are from the portal the less damage the burst does to the resonator. The resonator you are closest to will sustain the most damage, but as an added bonus the surrounding resonators will also incur damage.

Tips for attacking enemy portals.
  • Do your homework.
    • Look at the resonators
      • What level are they?
      • How fully are they charged?
      • Where are they "physically" located?
      • Are they accessible?
  • For individual play
    • Go to the most fully charged resonator of the highest level that you can get directly over/on
    • Fire your highest level XMP Bursters you have available.
    • Repeat as necessary
    • Once the resonator is destroyed, use your scanner again to find the next most fully charged highest level resonator.
    • Once again start by firing your highest level XMP Burster when you are at the resonator.
    • Repeat until all resonators are destroyed.
  • For team play
    • The team member with the highest level XMP Bursters that they can use target the most fully charged resonator 
    • Other team members go to the next resonators relative to the most powerful XMP Bursters they have available to the most fully charged of the highest level
    • I suggest firing sequentially and waiting until the previous person confirms the damage recorded before the following person firing. 
      • The reason I say this is the speed and capability of some phone/networks can create additional delay in getting the damage. If you do not fire sequentially as I mentioned the team member with the faster phone/network may waste XMP Bursters and energy firing multiple times before the next person can fire. The residual energy from your teammates can cause enough damage to reduce your need to fire. Not all people agree with this, but I believe it holds true. 
    • This strategy may require reshuffling of the team at their positions. Say I am a level 6 with dozens of level 6 XMP Bursters. I destroy my resonator, but still have the most higher level bursts. I should then go to the resonator that is now the most fully charged of the highest level and the other team members should regroup accordingly. This should be done every time a resonator is destroyed. It will help ensure the quickest and most efficient destruction of resonators. 
Thanks for reading, come back for more tips!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Hacking Portals

When you come across a portal you will want to hack it. Hacking portals is one of the primary ways to get items. In one hack attempt you may get 3-4 items or you may get nothing.  As you approach your target touch your screen and you can select Target.

Once you are within range the scanner will open to the portal’s display. Then you can select hack portal. You will earn 100 points for hacking an enemy portal, but no points for hacking a portal in your faction’s control or a neutral portal.

Higher level portals often yield higher level items. BUT… They are also more likely to be defended with a shield where the portal can defend itself and drain your XM energy. Remember it takes XM Energy to be able to perform actions like Hack. If you lose all of your XM Energy you will not be able to do anything until you recoup it.

Another thing to remember about Hacking Ingress Portals is there is a 5 minute cool off period between hacks. So don’t bother just sitting there looking to collect items all day.  

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Your Ingress Scanner

Your Ingress Scanner

No you don’t have to buy a separate item for this you simply download the Ingress App from Google play and load it on your Android device. Sorry it’s not available for iOS products.

It’s free, but just remember that right now it is in a closed beta stage.  So even if you download the app you wouldn’t be able to participate in the game until you get an invite.

One word of caution… It will suck your battery dry in no time flat, so please make sure to have a charger handy. On my Motorola Droid 3 I would say it would take me from a full battery to empty in less than an hour.  I am a high user of my phone and realize the Droid 3 doesn't have the best of battery life in normal conditions, but this is extreme.

The Scanner is relatively easy to use.  Making things even better the game starts with a brief tutorial on using the scanner. At start up it will display your current location. You will see a GPS type view of your area you can only expand your view out to approximately one mile out.  Your location is the triangle in the center of the thicker blue ring.

You will notice that periodically you will emit a thinner blue ring that goes out and ultimately fades away and another will be emitted. Think of this as your radar. This radar will find the portals for you. Some higher level portals will be on your map before the radar hits it. But lower level ones will need to get a hit before they display.

Hint. It is very tempting to try playing Ingress while driving. Not only is this not safe, often times it is not practical. At highway speeds, you will not be able to locate the portal, target, and hack before you are out of range. So please do not try while you drive.

Once you see a portal appear on your screen, touch and hold it for a second. It will give you a few options: Target, Fire XMP, Deploy & Recharge.

If you select target when the portal is out of range it will keep track of the distance and open to the portal’s screen when you are in range. I think this is a really cool screen. From here you can Hack the portal, Link to another Portal (More to come on that later), Recharge the resonators, Upgrade the portal, or cancel back out to the map view.

You can also see how many resonators the portal has, their level, how well charged they are.  Sometimes there will be a photo of where the portal is in the top left, but not always. You can also see how powerful the portal is, who is the current owner, and even more information on the portal.  You can see what mods if any the portal has too. By touching the picture you may be taken to some really informative info about the site especially if you are at a historical location, artwork or something else that may have a story behind it.

Your scanner can also act as a communication device. At the bottom you will see the COMM button. This will allow you to chat with other players. You can set the chat up to only get messages from members of your faction, only ones in your area and more. You will also be informed here and by email if an opponent destroys your resonators. This is a useful tool if you are going out in a group (I’ll cover group play soon).

You also have the OPS button at the top. This will take you to the game menu. From here you can see the items you have under Items. This is useful because by default if you want to fire an XMP Burster or deploy a resonator it will deploy/fire your lowest level one and many time s you may not want to do that. It is also useful because you can see what Portal Keys you have and more. Another thing you will find on the Items page is where you can enter passcodes (more about these later).

The Intel tab will basically give you the worldwide game score.

The mission tab will go over the training demos with you that you went through when you first got your invitation.

Recruit allows you to send invites to others to play. You need to earn the ability to do this first.

The device tab basically lets you set your scanners settings.

That’s your Ingress scanner in a nutshell.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Ingress Back Story

The Niantic Project studied energy anomalies of  a new form of energy called Exotic Matter (XM) but the project goes haywire. In the process it was discovered that a  transdimensional intelligence is possibly entering our dimension through these XM Portals. These intelligence "beings" are called Shapers. But the Shapers do not have a physical form. They are sometimes referred to as an infection or a virus which "manifest" in a human. This is where the story begins. A secret sub-project to the Niantic Project secretly studied the effects of Shaper Infections on the research team.

People are now splitting into two factions the Enlightened and the Resistance. The Enlightened see the Shapers as a benefit to mankind and the next step of man's evolution. The Enlightened are attempting to help the Shapers expand their influence on Earth. The Resistance as the name implies is resisting the Shaper infiltration of Earth. The Resistance work under the belief that they are defending mankind.

Shapers are reaching the Earth through XM Portals. The two factions battle to control Portals and either open them up for the Shapers or close them down to the Shapers. XM Portals are found throughout the world. They are commonly found at post offices, historical sites, historical markers, government buildings, parks, and other public places. Using a scanner factions can hack a portal. Hacking portals allows faction members  to gain items to use in the game. Players can hack both their factions portals and their opponents portals. 

The factions capture these portals by physically going to the portals and either claiming an unclaimed portal. Unclaimed portals will appear gray on your scanner. Once claimed the portal will appear as either blue if it is claimed by the Resistance or green if it is claimed by the Enlightened. 

A portal is claimed by placing a resonator on that portal. Resonators control the energy of a portal and each portal can have up to eight resonators. Resonators have varying levels from 1 to 8. The portal will have a corresponding level to the level of resonators the portal has attached. A portal must have all 8 resonators to be able to link to another portal. Linking portals is one of the most crucial parts of the game. By linking portals, territories are created by that faction. Once a minimum of 3 portals are linked that faction gains mind units. Mind units are the population contained within the controlled territories, and what what the factions are ultimately fighting over. 

But the story is not over when a portal is acquired and linked. The opposition can attack enemies portals. Once they destroy a resonator a link is broken and the mind units in the territory are lost. Once all resonators are destroyed the opposing team can take control of a portal. So portals can and will change hands regularly.

Welcome to Ingress!!!

So what is Ingress?

Ingress is a new (actually still in beta testing) Massive Multiplayer Online  (MMO) game. But unlike many other MMO games, like say World of Warcraft, Ingress incorporates a geography element something like Geocaching where you have to physically go to locations to play the game.

The game is available through Google Play for Android devices. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.nianticproject.ingress. The game can only be really played with your Android versus your laptop or PC. That being said there is some very useful information online.

Ingress Intel Maps - This is a great tool to find nearby portals and doing reconnaissance before you head out. You can see the number and status of the resonators and any mods a portal may have.

Niantic Project - This site is interesting to say the least. Each month it has a different theme with online "riddles" which if you solve you can get codes for items.

So you want to play?

Right now that is easier said than done. The game is still in a closed beta stage. You can feel free to request an invitation to play at either ingress.com or nianticproject.com. Be prepared to wait. The selection seems to be rather random. I applied shortly after Thanksgiving 2012 and received my invitation just after New Years.   But others I know have applied before me and still haven't received received their invitation.

There is another way, you can get an invite from someone who plays. Now. I haven't figured out how current players earn invites to give out. I haven't earned any yet, so don't write asking ;)