Below is a beginners guide I wrote about a year before Ingress came out of Beta. The terminology and definitions are still fairly accurate, though the pictures need to be updated. I will be updating the entire guide at some point soon, but for now it is still very worth reading if you are new to the game.
June 2013 - Quite a few gaming enthusiasts have heard how awesome Ingress is and requested their long awaited invitations. Now the invites are coming out and people just don't know what to do. They are realizing they've missed something by not keeping up with the flood of information at NianticProject.com and the Google Plus Ingress Community.
Is that you? Have you completed your training missions but are left standing there scratching your head, wondering whats next? Well you've come to the right place! I would like to help you along your way with a gentle nudge and some general guidance.
First, if you have a few days free, head to the very beginning of the corkboard at NianticProject.com, an information portal run by P.A. Chappeu. Drag the slider at the bottom back to day one. See the evidence and read the storyline as it happened! You can advance by one day at a time and re-experience everything you have missed so far. Every day new evidence is added and P.A. posts commentary about that day's clues. (Passcodes are hidden within the media here, often very secretly. Finding and decyphering them are quite tricky.)
If you don't have a lot of free time and only want to know the main plot, I highly reccomend seeing the Tycho storyboards and reading An Exotic Matter - Chapter 1.
IMPORTANT: This is a GPS based game and is physical location dependant. You must drive, bike or walk to the portals before you can interact with them. Portals are usually places like Post Offices and Sculptures and Monuments. You probably can't see any from your house... Go forth and frollick in the wilds of a world known as.. Outside!
Welcome to Ingress, Agent!
Once you have activated your Ingress scanner technology, you will choose a faction.
Enlightened or Resistance
Some people base this choice on the storyline because they enjoy the role-play aspect of it. Others choose based on what the balance is in their area. See www.ingress.com/intel to get a look at the factions in your area.
The training missions require you to walk around for 15 or 20 minutes to learn how things work.
So what's next? Find your local portals on the intel map and go and hack them!
NOTE: To interact with portals, you have to GO TO THEM. Get close to them physically. Your blue interaction-range ring has about a 10 yard radius.
This is your Niantic Labs XM Scanner application. It shows up to about 1000 meters at max range, and will zoom in with a pinch or spin around with a 2 fingered twist.
Your codename and level are at the top left, surrounded by an octagon of AP bars. These are your level indicator, your progression toward the next level is a dark green bar along the very top. Tap this to see an actual number of AP you have earned so far.
Just below is your compass. Tapping this toggles between Static and Dynamic map modes. Red is North. This comes in handy when deploying Resonators.
Access OPS by tapping the button at the top right. This is your main menu and is how you will access your resources. There is a filter at the bottom that you will find helpful as your inventory starts to fill.
In the OPS panel, you will find 6 tabs along the top.
ITEMS - These are your resources, filtered by selecting from the button below.
AGENT - This is where you can see your badges and statistics.
INTEL - Global faction staistics. The accuracy is in question, but since Ingress is still in beta, things like that are to be expected.
PASSCODES - This is where you can enter Passcodes. (see below for more on passcodes).
MISSION - These are your training missions. You can access them as often as you like.
RECRUIT - This is where you can invite others from your Circles if you are lucky enough to have invitations available.
DEVICE - This is your preferences, as well as an option to flush and re-sync Ingress for those times when things are acting really wierd.
At the bottom right corner of your Main Screen you will see COMM.
Tap it or slide it up to access the chat window.
Range - Tap the range indicator that sits just above the chat. You can select Local 20km, Regional 200km, or Global.Your best bet is usually Local 20km.
Just above the range indicator, tap to select:
All - This is where you see the actions and chat from all players within your selected range.
Faction - This for faction-only chat. If someone chats in here and you are in the ALL channel, you will see "[Secure]" in front it.
You can tap on a player's name to @message them. On their screen this will show an indicator that someone is communicating specifically to them. This is not private, others will see it as well, the indicator just helps that person to not lose it in spam.
Alerts - This is where your alerts show up when your portals are under attack or someone has @messaged you.
Neutral - Unclaimed portals will appear grey.
To claim one simply walk, bike or drive to it's physical location, tap to select it, and then Deploy a Resonator.
Green - Enlightened portals will appear green.
If you are aligned with this faction, you may safely Hack these portals to obtain resources.
Blue - Resistance portals will appear blue.
Hack these portals to obtain resources. (if they are opposing faction, they will bite you, but this is ok )
To interact with a portal, you have to go right up to it. Get close physically. Your orange interaction-range ring has about a 10 yard radius. Sometimes you can hit a portal from a car, sometimes you have to get out and walk.
Hacking an opposing portal will give you Action Points (experience) as well as resources. It will also trigger that portal's self defenses causing it to attack you for a little bit of XM and that's ok.
Firing Xmp Bursters while at an opposing portal will send out a pulse of energy that damages opposing resonators. If you fire off enough Xmp's to destroy all 8 resonators, the portal becomes Neutral. Capture it by deploying your own resonators!
Linking from one friendly portal to another is possible when you have a key from the one you wish to link to. To see how far the portal you are at can reach, tap it and look in the Upgrade screen. This is where it shows the current available range and whatever range might be added by upgrading resonators, individually.
Level 1 portals can only reach a few hundred yards while level 8 portals can link from hundreds of miles.
To hack a portal, you must be physically close enough that it is within the range of your orange circle. Tap the portal.
Tap the Hack button.
When you hack a portal, the resources you get will be based on:
1) your level
2) the portal's level.
Hacking portals that are higher level than you grants a bonus to your loot pool.
Hacking a portal "heats it up" and requires a 5 minute cool-down before you can hack that same portal again.
You may hack a portal 4 times before overheating reaches dangerous levels. There is then a 4 hour cool-down period before you can hack this portal again.
This timer is per player, so 10 people could all hack the same portal, or a hundred people, but only 4 times each.
No Items?! If your FRIENDLY portal hack fails to aquire any items, keep trying until you get something. Your cooldown doesn't start unless you get something. However, if you are hacking an OPPOSING portal, any hack initiates the 5min cooldown regardless of loot.
Resonators - Level 1 through 8 - These power your portals.
Xmp Bursters - Level 1 through 8 - These damage opposing faction resonators.
Mods - These help to protect,strengthen or improve the farmability of your portals
Keys - Allow you to LINK TO the portal from which they were aquired.
Media - These are sometimes audio clips and sometimes videos that will stream from YouTube.
All of the media that has been discovered so far can be found in chronological order at www.nianticproject.com.
These are level 1 through 8, with higher levels having more XM capacity. You must be at, or above, the level of a resonator to deploy it.
Higher level resonators give more power to a portal, allowing longer range links to be made FROM that portal.
Higher level resonators are also harder to destroy.
When you are placing or upgrading resonators, your distance from the portal determines how far away the resonators are placed. Since Xmp Burster damage degrades over distance, the farther your resonators are apart, the harder they are to destroy.
When you hit Deploy each of the 8 resonator slots will have a directional identifier with North having a red dot in it. N, NW, W, SW, S, SE, E, NE. If you are strategically minded, you might set specific resonators from certain distances to make them as hard as possible for the opposing team to hit with their bursters. The resonators will be placed at the range from the portal to you, so be at max range for optimal placement.
Mods are placed into any of the 4 available Mod slots that each portal has. Click Upgrade to access these slots. Mods can only be added, they can NOT be removed.
Shield mitigates incoming xmp damage by 10%, 20% or 30%.
Heat Sink reduces the 5 minute cool down timer by 20%, 50% or 70%. Loses effectiveness when stacked.
Multi Hack increases the number of hacks before burn-out by 4, 8 or 12.
Force Amp increases the damage that a portal will do to an opposing player when they hack or fire upon it by 2x. Loses effectiveness when stacked.
Turret allows a portal to bite an opposing player twice when they hack or fire upon it. Adds to chance for critical hits (double damage). Loses effectiveness when stacked.
Link Amp extends the range that you may link from a portal.
These are level 1 through 8, each level increasing both the damage output and range. You must be at, or above, the level of an Xmp Burster to fire it.
Xmp Bursters are the strongest (do the most damage) at the point from which you fire them and get weaker with distance.
A common strategy is to stand on top of the highest level resonator to fire your bursters so it gets the most damage. However, this can be tricky if someone sets one in a place thats difficult to physically reach.
To fire a burster, you have 2 options.
1) Long press on the portal and when the menu pops up, swipe upward to "Fire XMP". This will fire a burster and bring up a slider to choose and/or fire another xmp.
2) Tap the OPS menu, scroll to the burster that you want to use and tap it. From here you can Fire the burster, or Drop it on the ground for someone else to pick up. ( Tap an item laying on the ground and then Aquire to pick it up )
The portal's self defense mechanism will kick in and attack you back for various amounts of XM. This is ok, don't fear it too much.
These are aquired by either hacking a portal, or by coming to a portal shortly after a link to it has been broken, in which case the key may appear on the ground nearby the portal. ( Tap an item laying on the ground and then Aquire to pick it up )
If you do not have a key to the portal when you hack it, you have about 85% chance to get a key. If you DO have a key to that portal already, you have only about a 5% chance to get another key.
A key is used up when you LINK TO it's portal from any other portal.
To see how far a link can reach from the portal you're at, tap it and look in the DEPLOY screen. This is where it shows the current range and whatever range might be added by upgrading resonators, individually.
By tapping any key in your inventory you are able to see the health and level of resonators on it's portal, even from miles away. Remote Recharging a portal is possible from here as well, at a very minor loss of efficiency at long range.
Links & Control Fields
Once you have started to build up an inventory of keys, you can start looking at how to connect them in triangles. Once you've linked 3 portals into a triangle and the sky turns the color of your faction, you have created a Control Field. These are worth a lot of AP if you make many small fields.
Links from either faction will block any other link from crossing it.
It is easy for a new player to unknowingly block off connections that other players were intending to make, so really long links (many miles) are probably best left to more experienced players. Often these players will plan strategically in coordination with their local player community.
The MU number on your Control Field is referring to how many "Mind Units" are covered by it. Currently MU's only play into storyline and don't give AP.
Destroying opposing faction Links and Control Fields is worth good AP as well, as it is central to keeping their side from getting too strong!
To see Portals, Links and Control Fields in a larger context than your android scanner will show, simply open your Chrome browser and go to www.ingress.com/intel
This is an excellent way to plan out your links and control fields, as well as your hacking & hunting trips.
These will generally grant you the equivalent of hacking an opposing portal of your level.
Get passcodes by decyphering secret cryptic codes hidden in the Media at NianticProject.com.
If you are into decoding and cryptography, see the Google Plus page Decode Ingress. These guys are amazing!