Guest post by Aarron Harland
The world around you is not what it seems
Have you heard of Ingress? Often referred to as Geo-caching meets Risk and Capture the Flag, Ingress is an augmented reality game that interacts with your phones GPS, allowing you to battle by capturing portals wherever you go and fighting actual enemy agents attempting to do the same. Ingress has become a bit of a phenomenon, after winning Top Game of 2013 at Google Play Player’s Choice Awards, and Best Android Strategy Game Runner-up at Android Central Best of 2013 Awards, developers Niantic Labs have estimated player numbers at about 500,000 worldwide!
With this density of players out in the real world, Ingress has become a brilliant social event to boot, because to advance more easily past the beginner levels requires interaction between players. Specifically in Auckland players use Comms within the app to direct new agents towards Google+ hangouts and communities which connect them to the wider and more active crowd of Ingress players. A huge facet of Ingress’ sociability has come with their Events, using their real time story line to bring missions to all parts of the world. The cast of the story even meet Agents in the real world on a daily basis. The latest instalment in this series is Anomaly Oceania; Interitus.
Choose Your Side:
Players must choose to join one of two factions, engaged in an ever transient war for the dominance over a newly discovered substance called Exotic matter (XM). As you turn on your Ingress Scanner for the very first time, it will prompt you to make the choice between the two.
This faction wishes to help an alien race (the Shapers) infiltrate Earth, as it is believed that the Shapers will lift humankind to new heights of evolution and bring enlightenment to all the people.
This faction, on the other hand, believe they are defending Earth from Shaper ingression. They are seen as being fearful of change and progress, but are firm in their belief that they’re protecting humanity from invasion and doom.
Game play follows real-time players using the mobile app “Ingress” with its game map representing the area nearby. The map has a black background and the entire map is completely unmarked, except for roads which are represented in grey. Visible on the map are portals, Exotic Matter, links, control fields, and items that have been dropped from a player’s inventory. Players must be actually physically near the objects on the map to interact with them. Capture one portal to claim it for your faction, capture a second portal to link to the first, and then a third to link them into a neat little field. These fields capture MU (Mind Units) to award your team points that count towards a score, both locally and Globally. These points are recorded at 5 hour checkpoints over a 175 hour cycle.
The co-operation involved in your faction winning a cycle can be exciting, especially for when teams come together to plan massive National Operations:
Operation Viaduckett: Blanket NZ
and even International Operations:
Blimmin’ Big Bird
This has gone as far as cross faction with various field art projects involving everything from cats to Political statements:
Stop War Russia
Players are rewarded with AP (Access Points) for their actions within the game. Accumulating AP beyond certain amounts grants you access to higher levels, i.e. access to stronger items. The access levels are numbered 1 through 8, with 8 being the highest as of April 2014. Niantic Labs has announced recently that they will introduce missions and higher levels (9-16) to the game.
These have already started to roll out, the first being named Recursion, and the new anomaly series being rolled out named Interitus. Niantic has brought Interitus to Melbourne as it’s primary Satellite site, with Auckland and Sydney playing the Secondaries. Hundreds of Agents will converge on these cities come May 17th to vie for dominance over each other.
For more info on anomaly you may follow these links:
- Really quick guide about how an anomaly works
- Advanced guide on helping your team win during an anomaly (not for the feint-hearted)
Anomaly is set to be the biggest event for NZ Ingress to date, with both sides planning like mad, for everything from Ingress themed apparel to Agent movements for the day, will YOU be a part? More importantly, which side will you fight for?