Gav's Blog

Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain

My thoughts on some basic Ingress strategy

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(This is currently a work in progress and will be added to as I make time :) )

As I’ve been getting in to Ingress over the past few weeks, I thought it was probably time to note down a few of my observations about how to get started, and how to level up. Note that this is written very much from a small town, with a small number of portals perspective, so some what I say here very well may not apply if you live in a large, and very active city.

1. Get Started

Sometimes it can be an issue knowing just where to get started. Early on, the most important thing is to gain Action Points (AP) and level up. Why level up? As you increase levels, you can deploy higher level Resonators, use more power XMP Bursters, create longer links, and by association larger control fields (although that is not necessarily a good thing).

1.1 Farm portals

The first thing you should do is farm portals. In particular, you should try and farm your factions portals that are close to your current player level. E.g. if you are Level 1, focus on finding Level 1 and Level 2 portals – they are more likely to ‘spit out’ items that you can use when you hack them. If you spend you time hacking higher level portals, you’ll just end up getting higher level items that you can’t use yet.

Portals can only be hacked so many times before you enter an enforced lock-out. A portal can be hacked only:

  • once every 5 minutes (300 seconds)
  • four times in 4 hours

This means that it takes around 15 minutes to farm a portal:

  1. Hack the portal
  2. Wait 5 minutes
  3. Hack the portal
  4. Wait 5 minutes
  5. Hack the portal
  6. Wait 5 minutes
  7. Hack the portal

If there is another portal nearby, then you can easily walk/bike/drive to the other portal, and then return. If you are farming multiple portals, and you’re going to return past one, you can further optimise the hacking down to only ten minutes – same number of hacks, but you reduce the waiting time. This can also work where you’re able to work the portals in a loop, don’t wait, just move on to the next. Of course, this requires a greater density of portals to work with.

  1. Hack the portal
  2. Wait 5 minutes
  3. Hack the portal
  4. Go and farm other portals, then come back
  5. Hack the portal
  6. Wait 5 minutes
  7. Hack the portal

If there are low-level opposing faction portals around, at a similar level, you should also target these as you can easily get 100AP for each an every hack – although it certainly pays to keep your XM levels up. You are unlikely to get as many items out of hacking an opposing factions portals however.

The most important items as you get started are probably the following, especially if there are unclaimed portals to be had.

  1. Level 1 Resonators (R1s) – these allow you to create a portal for your faction. Eight R1s will allow you to create a fully functioning portal, and earn you 1750AP.
  2. Portal Shields (PS) – early on, the best use for Portal Shields is to deploy them on unclaimed portals, or existing portals that don’t have the full complement of modifications (up to four shields). Each shield deployed will earn you 150AP.
  3. Level 1 XMPs (X1s) – used to attack enemy portals. Whilst this is the first thing you may want to do, X1s are very weak and it can be quite a bit harder to take out a portal with X1s only. If you can, use other methods to earn 10k AP so you become level 2, and then head out with X2s :)

1.2 Unclaimed portals

One of the quickest ways to gain AP, is to find an unclaimed portal and deploy resonators and shields on it. The easiest way to do this? Open up the Intel page in your web browser (ideally full screen on a large screen) and just start panning around looking for grey & white octagons. These are only¬†visible¬†when you you are zoomed in fairly close, so you won’t see them where you’re zoomed out. Become familiar with the ‘spinner’ and the help text on the bottom right of the map. You need to be zoomed in far enough for it to say “Showing all Portals”. Once you’ve found a grey portal – go out and claim it! :)

Example of an unclaimed portal in the Ingress Intel map

Example of an unclaimed portal in the Ingress Intel map

Space the Resonators out

This is where the first little trick comes into play with placing resonators. Initially, you may think to get as close to the portal as you can e.g. be right on top of it, and then start placing resonators. Alas, this results in a portal with all the resonators clustered very closely together, which makes it easy for even a low level player to take out your portal ‘cheaply’ e.g. with fewer XMP Bursters. The ‘trick’ is to have the portal at your maximum range of the blue circle – e.g. be 35-40m from the portal. If you then deploy the resonators from this distance, they will spread out far and evenly all around the portal. This makes it harder, particularly for lower level players to destroy the portal. As you’re probably level 1, using the simple Deploy Resonator option is the easiest. As you get more familiar, you can use Upgrade Portal to be more specific about deploying resonators by Octet and level.

Comparison of good (left) and poor (right) resonator placements

Comparison of good (left) and poor (right) resonator placements

Have shields? Deploy them

If you have shields, particularly the basic (+6) Portal Shields – make sure to deploy them, it is an easy 150AP per shield deployment, and they are quite common to obtain from hacking portals.

1.3 Attack low level opposing faction portals

In an ideal world, you would be able to then find low level opposing faction portals, and work through the following. Note I’m keeping this to an isolated portal with no links or control fields just for a simple case-by-the-numbers.

  1. Destroy all opposing faction resonators – earn 600AP
  2. Deploy all 8 resonators – earn 1750 AP
  3. Deploy all 4 shields – earn 600AP

1.4 Other

If you see enough portals in a nearby, or not so nearby town, consider doing a roadtrip to at least claim them, particularly if you need some AP. Remember each unclaimed portal you can fully kit out (8x resonators + 4x shields) will earn you 2350AP.

2. Maintaining portals

One of the first things to consider is whether or not you should maintain a portal. A portal depends on XM energy, and with no recharging, it will decay back to an unclaimed portal after 10 days. The only ways to maintain a portal are to recharge it with XM, or to upgrade the resonators to a higher level.

When shouldn’t I maintain a portal?

  • When it is a long way from home or work. Take the one-off 2350AP bonus, and then just let the portal decay, and let someone else claim it.
  • When it is too far away from other portals to be able to link and create a control field.
  • When it may completely lock out all opposing faction activity. E.g. taking over every portal in an area, may remove any will from the opposition to attack, create churn, and thereby more opportunities for AP gain. Sometimes it can be worthwhile to let portals decay and fall into the control of opposing factions.

When should I maintain a portal?

  • When it is close to home or work and you are likely to farm it regularly.
  • When it is linked or part of a control field that your faction controls.

There are, of course, some opportunities where you have portals close to home, that are held by your faction, but you don’t want to recharge, but rather let them decay to zero over 10 days, and then claim them again. This way you also get to score additional AP by repeatedly adding the resonators and portal shields. If you’re lucky, the opposing faction may whip in, claim the portal, and as long as they aren’t significantly more leveled up that you, you then get to destroy the portal (moar AP), and to rebuild for your faction – even moar AP! But this isn’t an entirely risk-free approach, as you could lose the portal to a high-level player that sticks a pile of high-level resonators on it, that could make it rather hard for a single low level player to take out.

Recharging with XM

The easiest way to recharge a portal is to when you’re there actively hacking it. Why? Well, portals have great concentrations of XM lying around, so it often ends up being a relatively neutral XM transaction:

  1. Recharge the portal
  2. Absorb the XM around the portal to recharge your own XM reserves

Remote XM recharging, first and foremost, requires holding the Portal Key (PK). It use should be limited to these situations:

  • It is, or is likely to be, under attack before you next visit the portal
  • You are unable to physically visit the portal

You will take a hit in the effectiveness of the remote recharge, as the efficiency drops from 100% the further away you are. This means you have to expend more XM to recharge the same amount from a greater distance. Therefore, remote recharging is often best done when you are farming portals, as you will be expending lots of XM, and you’ll be able to recharge quickly from the portals you’re visiting. Once you get up a few levels, it is far quicker to keep your XM up by visiting portals, than picking up the random bits here and there. XM appears to respawn every 15 minutes, so if you’re working a portal to the maximum 4 hacks/15 minutes, you’ll get two opportunities to absorb the XM around the portal into your XM store.

Written by Gavin Treadgold

December 29th, 2012 at 5:55 pm

Posted in Ingress

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