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Advanced Guide to Ingress with a Competition

Hello there! Following the recent success of my previous Ingress guide, I thought it would be nice to go over a few things in a little more detail, so when it finally hits public release, everybody will know what’s going on. To begin, I’m taking you back to basics and I’ll explain a few things I missed last time.


Levelling up
As with most games out there, a higher character level usually means you can do more damage, have more HP/MP etc than a lower level. The same is true to a certain extent with Ingress. You start at level 1 and will level up as you progress by collecting Action Points (AP). AP is earned by performing tasks such as destroying enemy resonators, capturing portals, creating links or fields etc. You will gain a level once you have collected specified amounts of AP. Below is a list of player levels and the required AP, and also shows how much Exotic Matter (XM) you can carry.

Level 1, 0 AP, 3000 XM
Level 2, 10,000 AP, 4000 XM
Level 3, 30,000 AP, 5000 XM
Level 4, 70,000 AP, 6000 XM
Level 5, 150,000 AP, 7000 XM
Level 6, 300,000 AP, 8000 XM
Level 7, 600,000 AP, 9000 XM
Level 8, 120,000 AP, 10,000 XM

Some of those numbers look a little daunting but fear not, once you start creating links and fields, you’ll be gaining AP very quickly. Here’s a quick list of what can give you AP, and how much. Some of these actions can be combined to gain more AP than listed, but I’ll try give examples.

Hack neutral or opposing portal. 100AP
Hack friendly portal. 0AP
Capture a portal. 500AP
Place a new Resonator. 125AP
Complete a portal (apply all 8 resonators). 250AP
Apply a Portal Shield. 150AP
Link 2 portals. 313AP
Create a Field. 1250AP
Destroy enemy Resonator. 75AP
Destroy enemy link. 187AP
Destroy enemy Field. 750AP
Recharge a resonator. 10AP
Upgrade a resonator not owned by yourself. 65AP

To capture a portal, you have to place a resonator, which will give you 500AP for the capture, plus 125AP for the resonator. When completing a portal, you gain 125AP for placing a resonator, plus 250AP for applying the 8th resonator. When making a field, you will generally also create at least 1 link if other links already exist, so you’d gain 313AP for making the link, then an additional 1250AP for creating the Field. When destroying an enemy field, chances are you’ll destroy a resonator and at least 2 links giving a total of 1199AP or more depending how many links were made on that particular portal. A recent update now allows you to earn AP by recharging portals and upgrading resonators. You now gain 10AP for recharging resonators, and 65 AP for upgrading an existing resonator, providing it belongs to another player. When you want to upgrade a friendly portal, my advice to maximise the amount of AP earned, is to recharge each resonator individually by selecting upgrade, rather than selecting recharge. You gain 10 AP for recharging, but selecting them individually will give a total of 80AP. You can then upgrade as required.

portal attack


Slow down Chris, you’ve mentioned XM alot, what’s that?
Glad you asked. XM is the ingress equivalent of the typical RPG mana. It can also double as player HP. XM can be collected by simply walking through a cloud of blue particles shown on the game screen. XM is quite common and is spread all over but has much higher quantities near a portal. You need XM to hack, attack or recharge existing portals. You will lose an amount of XM every time you hack a portal depending on its level, but this often goes unnoticed as you automatically collect more. If you come across a friendly portal with resonators that need recharging, you can transfer some of your XM to the portal to recharge it. Pressing the “Recharge Portal” button will cost you 1000 XM, and will share the amount with any resonators that need to be charged. Alternatively select the upgrade option and recharge individual resonators there, which will give you the highest amount of AP.
If you try hacking an enemy portal, you will be attacked and will lose small amounts of XM over time. Same applies with attacking an enemy portal. An electric current will shock your device and will drain XM with varying quantities depending on the level of the portal. If you don’t have enough XM, you won’t be able to hack, attack or recharge.

zero xm

Portals need recharging? Surely they’d be solar powered!
Portals consume 10% of their maximum capacity of XM every day and sadly although they’re almost always outside, solar power isn’t enough to keep a portal charged. Portals require XM to keep powering those links and fields. This natural drain of XM can be used to your advantage, and I’ll explain how shortly. First, to recharge a friendly portal, simply stand in range, press on the portal. Push the big recharge button. Job done. You can also recharge a portal remotely if you have the portal key but your distance from the portal will reduce effectiveness of the recharge.
If you live in an area with very few portals or an area always controlled by your faction, levelling up can be difficult. You can use the natural decay of portals to your advantage. Providing nobody recharges the portal on a regular basis, you can leave it to power down after 10 days and reclaim it, earning yourself some AP. Same thing applies to an enemy portal, if it’s not constantly maintained, you can wait a few days for the power to drain a little, making attacking easier and less expensive.

Attacking portals? How do I do that?
In a technical sense, that’s a lie. You’re not attacking a portal, you’re attacking the resonators surrounding the portal. It’s very important to remember that. To attack a resonator, you will need a few XMP bursters. You obtain all items through hacking portals, and the quality of item you get will depend on the level of portal. Typically a level 3 portal will provide level 3 equipment, but on some occasions you may get higher. A player can only use items that are true same level or lower as the player. A level 5 player cannot use a level 6 XMP burst.

portal attack

There are 2 ways to attack using an XMP. The quickest way is to hold your finger on the screen, then when the option appears, slide up to Fire XMP. This method will always use the highest level XMP available to you. The other way is to open your inventory by pressing the OPS button in the upper right corner, and selecting the level you want to use, then press fire. Where you use the XMP can play a vital role, as the most damage is done exactly where you stand, and spreads out over a specified range. Higher level XMPs will do more damage and have a wider blast radius, so try to save your higher level stuff for hard to reach places such as resonators that can’t be stood on.
Here’s a list of resonator levels and their maximum XM capacity, or HP if you prefer.
Level 1- 1000 XM
Level 2 – 1500 XM
Level 3 – 2000 XM
Level 4 – 2500 XM
Level 5 – 3000 XM
Level 6 – 4000 XM
Level 7 – 5000 XM
Level 8 – 6000 XM
And just because today I feel like bombarding you with numbers, here’s a rough estimate on how much damage an XMP can do based on closest possible detonation point, and its range with no portal shields equipped.
Level 1 – 150 XM – 42m
Level 2 – 300 XM – 48m
Level 3 – 500 XM – 58m
Level 4 – 900 XM – 72m
Level 5 – 1200 XM – 90m
Level 6 – 1500 XM – 112m
Level 7 – 1800 XM – 138m
Level 8 – 2700 XM – 168m

So as you can see, if you manage to get to level 8, you’re pretty much unstoppable, and you’d probably wipe out a level 4 or lower portal in a single hit.

So, I destroyed an enemy portal or found a neutral portal. What next?
The short answer – capture it. Here’s how. You can identity a neutral portal from its grey colour. To capture it, simply stand within range and press on it, then select Deploy Resonator. That’s it! The portal is now yours. Remember to look back at my previous guide for details on how best to capture a portal (stand as far away as possible, but close enough to hack it). You can deploy 8 resonators to a portal.

neutral portal


You can level up the resonators to increase their power and increase the range of the portal, which is important for making links and fields. Remember you can only use items the same level or lower than yourself. When leveling up your resonators, you have to remember that a single player can only apply a certain amount of higher level resonators. You can only place 4 level 2 resonators for example. Once you’re happy with your upgrades, you can move on to…

portal upgrade

Links and fields
If a portal has the maximum 8 resonators applied to it, you can link it to another one if it’s in range. A portals level determines how far a link will reach, and is also affected by the resonators on it. A level 2 portal with say, a level 5 resonator on it will usually have a longer range than just a regular level 2 portal.
To link a portal, simply press on the portal and press link. From here you can either select a portal shown on the map, or for ones further away, you’ll need to have a portal key. If you have a key, slide out the key tray on the right and select the portal you wish to link, then press confirm. Link done. If you manage to link 3 or more portals together completing a circuit, you will create a field and score Mind Units for your faction. Mind Units are based on the actual population within the field based on census data. A field round your local supermarket will score very little as nobody lives there, while the same size field round a council housing estate will score alot more.
Some things to note about links and fields. A link cannot cross another link regardless if it’s the same faction. The only way a link can cross is via a portal. Links also cannot be created inside an existing field, unless the link is made starting with a portal on the perimeter of the field.

somebody mentioned pass codes on your last post, what’s that all about?
This is where things get technical. All the numbers above are nothing compared to trying to get pass codes. Every day at certain times, clues are posted on the niantic website if you manage to work out the clue, youre rewarded with a pass code which will give you amounts of AP, XM and a small selection of items. How these clues are decrypted varies all the time. To name a few, there have been steganographic images, audio tracks with white noise which, when viewed with an audiovisual decoder, showed the code. There’s been random letters rotated to show post codes in Sweden. Staff “phone numbers” in binary or hex. Negative watermarks and loads of others. You can even get a media item in game to decode for a pass code. Its imperative to work quickly when decoding, because each code can only be used a limited number of times, and only once per user. It was suggested I add a list of available pass codes in this article, but by the time I publish, all the codes will be invalid.

end of passcode

The easiest way to get access to pass codes, is keep an eye on the comms section while in game. Once a code has been discovered, its usually posted in game by a few players. There are sites dedicated to decoding the clues and have a reputation of being the first to crack them, but as codes are supposed to be a mystery, I’m not going to tell you any :-)

Any other tips you can share with us?
Sure! The best advice I can give you, is ask in the faction chat area in game if there’s a Google+ community for your area. If there is, join it. You’ll meet local players who can offer advice and let you know some key strategies on where to go for easy AP. Almost all of what I know has come from my local G+ community and through it I’ve even made new friends. You can also use these communities to agree with your opposing faction on areas that should remain a low level to help new players get started. Nothing is worse than taking a spoon to a gun fight, so people often set aside areas with many portals to be dedicated training grounds. These are informal agreements that not every player is aware of so try find out your local “training ground” rules before wiping out a pile of level 2 portals and building a level 7 empire and disrupting the status quo.
The final piece of advice, is use to help plan your actions. It will show a map of your area which will pinpoint any portals near you. You will be able to see what level the portals are, what portal shields are installed and who owns them. You’ll also be able to see which portals are controlling large fields, making them a likely target, or which ones need to be recharged to maintain a field. Armed with this knowledge, you can plan a steady walk around town, or a more ambitious drive round the country depending how you feel. Again, if you use the faction chat function, you can plan an all out assault on your opposing faction.

Your turn!
Below you will find 2 puzzles I have devised using actual methods niantic have used to encode their pass codes. The first person to crack my code will win 2 tickets for you and a friend to the upcoming March of the Droids event in Manchester on the 9th of march (courtesy of our very own Gary Weldon). You will also receive a Land of Technology goody bag (Thanks John). And finally with many thanks to Richard Davie from the Yorkshire Resistance, you will also get an invite code to join Ingress before its public release. It would be appreciated if the winner joins the resistance, but its not mandatory.
To make things easier for you, there are 2 puzzles. The first puzzle will tell you how to decrypt the second puzzle. This competition will close on Sunday 10th of February. The winner will be the first person to crack the code enter the password to gain access to THIS PAGE and then follow the instructions on that page. Unfortunately, travel and accommodation is not provided for the event, so please make sure you can attend before entering.




About Chris Summerfield

Chris is the Android gaming nut of the team. He's probably got more games under his belt than is possible to complete in a year of 24 hour non stop gaming. He currently repairs phones for a living to feed his 2 young boys. Chris runs his entire digital life from an Android device opting to not own a PC