I hacked things, deployed things, and was an overall menace to society

April 12, 2017

Jumping into Ingress, the augmented reality game from the same people that brought you Pokemon Go, I had no clue what to expect. Just from the tiny bits and pieces of screenshots I’d seen, the most I knew about the game was that there was a green and blue team, and somehow the game incorporated area control.

When I first opened the game and was visually blasted by the UI, I was a little intimidated by the menu options. Hack portal? Is that something I should do to every portal? Only my team’s portal?? Deploy resonator???? It took me some time to figure out the gameplay - the first half hour mostly consisted of me going to every portal and deploying as many resonators as I could. That granted me AP, which I soon learned was the game unit for XP, sorta, and more AP=higher levels.

After spamming as many resonators as I could into each portal I walked by, having no idea what the resonators did, I reached level 2. Nice! I got a few bonus items - 40 L2 Resonators, 35 L2 Xmp Bursters, 5 L2 Ultra Strikes, and oh yes, 20 L2 Power Cubes. Whatever those are. In time I’d learn - specifically, however long it took me to open up my player inventory and read the item descriptions.

After reaching level 2, the game let me know that my player icon could be customized. Cool! I hopped into the in-game icon editor and whipped up this cool design. Very minimal.

Around this time I began to experiment with my newly obtained items, testing out the Ultra Strikes and Xmp Bursters on the enemy portals nearby. Little did I know at the time, I used my Ultra Strikes too far away from their resonators, thinking I’d have to use it on the portal itself. After emptying my supply of Ultra Strikes and wondering if it’d done anything, I switched to the Xmp Burster and let them rip.

Ooooooooo. This is where things got interesting. Now knowing the Xmp Bursters actually did something, I began to fire away at the enemy portal, each hit doing 1% to its resonators. I felt like I had some real power in this game now! The actions I was taking were really making a difference – awesome!

That is, until I realized all that portal’s resonators were level 6 and above – my attacks were basically like arrows against steel. Damn. I’d need to find a weaker target to attack.

Seeing a large collection of untaken portals, I began my journey to claim, conquer, and gather AP in the name of the green team. From here on out, things got wild and crazy. I claimed a mass array of untaken portals, climbed to level 3, and with my new level 3 items, overtook an enemy portal, earned a “Pioneer” medal, established a giant long link from 1st Street to the end of the SJSU campus, and another from near Johnny Rockets to the SoFA district.

All in all, a pretty successful first day in Ingress.