Level 6 in 10 Hours
What this is: A lot of people have been struggling to level up in Ingress. So I thought I would take a moment to recount my first 10 hours playing Ingress, and how I ended up at level 6 earlier this month. I use level 6 as a stopping point, because by that point you know how to level effectively; additionally, you can play against any other agent levels.
Disclaimers: Let’s be honest, this is not the only way one can level up, nor is it the definitive best way, this is just how I did it. Results may vary depending on your location, the amount of players, transportation, and other variables that we cannot account for. I can speak to my conditions, which are:
>> a newer device (within the last year)
>> a decent metro area (not New York, but not the middle of Montana/Dakotas) with a good amount of historical landmarks
>> access to a vehicle
>> portals along my daily routes
>> started early (17 Nov 2012)
First 30 minutes… (17 Nov)
I was in the training missions just trying to click through as fast as possible, so that I may actually get into the game. Either from my haste, or perhaps, the training not being very helpful — I did not quite recall what I was supposed to “do”. I spent some time clicking a lot of buttons and walking around, crossing the street without looking.
Next 1 hour… (17 Nov)
I had just finished the training, and was running around my neighborhood trying to run over the blue dots (XM). After I could no longer collect any more, I realized the game was in fact, not a new Pac-Man. I got hung up for quite some time here, because I also did the training here as well, and the portal from mission was still on screen. I spent quite a lot of time trying to interact with this “ghost portal”, before giving up. At this point, having spent an hour walking around, I realized there were no other structures or game objects [nearby] on the screen (other than XM) for me to interact with, so I got in the car.
Keep in mind, this was the second day, and there were no real help resources to look at; also, I didn’t find out about the Intel map until several days after this.
Hours 2-3… (17 Nov)
Not quite sure where to find anything, I headed out of the suburbs towards the city and finally started seeing numerous portals scattered about. I went from one to another “Hacking” as many as I could — many were already captured by another player. I didn’t even bother with anything else, because at the time I thought they actually enemy portals. When prompted to chose a faction, I was automatically placed into the other. Without knowing this, I operated under this assumption for an [embarrassing] lengthy amount of time. That being said, when I decided that I wanted a portal for my own, I went through all my XMPs I had recently hacked trying to capture it. Considering it was a friendly portal, they of course all went to waste. That was enough for my first day.
Hours 3-4… (23 Nov)
Due to some holiday time, I was unable to play for a few days. During this time, I finally came across the Intel map and found some unclaimed portals. I planned my route and went to the unclaimed portals to start capturing them and struggling through a learning curve about linking for control fields, not crossing links, link distance, portal keys. After this outing, I was level 3 (30,000+).
Hours 4-5… (25 Nov)
Different day, tried to find other unclaimed portals to reproduce the last outing. Made some way headway towards level 4, but most of the portals were already getting claimed by friendly folk, and the enemy started also started popping up now as well. (We were fairly dominate in presence until now)
Hours 5-6… (28 Nov)
Did my first enemy attack, and found it quite satisfying. I remember a slight amount of anxiety at first, thinking that they were going to pop-out from around the corner and start yelling at me. Only went through a handful of XMPs, but had a decent collection at this time (again, it took awhile for the enemy to show up). Did more links for friendly portals — level 4 (70,000).
Hours 6-8… (2 Dec)
A number of days had passed, and faction percentages were 50/50 in percentage. Although there were some lapses in time between all of the above dates, I had altered my daily driving routine slightly — I would very often make drive-by hacks or take the long way home by a few minutes to grab as many resources as I could. I decided I wanted to use up more of these XMPs that I had been holding onto, mainly because the enemy was starting to take a couple of ours, and encroach into our area. Although I felt as if 150,000 AP would take forever to gain, the first portal I took down (that had several fields on it) eased my mind — I had gained around 5,000 AP from that one attack (before capturing it). Note to self, combos are awesome. I charted out a route on the Intel map and went directly to any locations with existing fields on portals, multiple fields per portal, that were very close to each other. I found some nests that were interconnected and all within a block of each other. Linked up a handful of portals and by the end of my run, I had gained 80-100k AP and was level 5.
Hours 8-10… (5 Dec)
Everyone was feverishly building and capturing on both side, but even after 3 days, there was even more ideal enemy targets as there had been a few days earlier. I had a fair supply of XMP from the last run still, not to mention a number of level 5 XMPs that I had not been able to use before. Strategy was basically rinse-and-repeat of the previous attack. Depleted all my XMPs taking down as many pin-wheel/spoke-style portals as I could. I was extremely satisfied on one of the attacks that returned 14,000AP all at once. By the end of two-ish hours, I was well over 300,00 AP. _Level 6_
A couple after-notes: There was two events in here as well that had a concentrated amount of portals in a small area, that I was able to take hack a couple times during. Although, it is not precisely listed (but mentioned), I would take the long way home doing drive-bys, ensuring that I was getting at least one hack a day of items.
This game thus far has been all about items. The more hacks you get, the more effective you can be. I firmly believe that the attacking, rebuilding combo nets you the most AP overall. It is also important to note this from a defensive perspective as well. If you have a critical portal that you want to hold, do not overly link to it, as it paints a large target. Everyone’s environment is different and this only represents my first half-month journey in the game of Ingress. For those agents just starting, getting your first few levels may be more difficult with higher level portals around, but I would encourage you to use the Comm and ask for help from others — this is a team game after all. I have had no issue with taking portals down to low health so that lower-level agents can finish them off and take the AP.
J at IngressPortal