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When I began this task of writing about the mechanics of Ingress, I believed I would happily fit it all into one neat and tidy article that would quickly cover everything in one go. I swiftly realised that for the sake of sanity, I would find it easier to approach my writing in a few bite size pieces than I would attacking the whole cake at once. So to get the ball rolling in this first part I shall describe the basic gameplay mechanics and many of the in game items available to you.
The basic mechanic of game play is to capture neutral portals by placing resonators on at least one of eight available slots and attacking the resonators attached to portals by the enemy. There are a total of eight levels of resonator which once fully deployed correctly will make a level eight portal. Of course, there are restrictions as to how many of each level resonator can be placed on a single portal by any one player.
The number of each level resonator a player can place on any one portal are as follows:
8 X L1
4 X L2
4 X L3
4 X L4
2 X L5
2 X L6
1 X L7
1 X L8
But along with restrictions on the number of each level that can be placed on a portal, each player is limited to using resonators no higher than the level they have reached. These restrictions, of course, are what creates the team play element of the game which I shall explain in part two.
For now, I feel I must describe how to first procure the weapons and items you shall use to wage war upon your enemy. The mechanism used to gather these items is called "hacking." There are two methods of doing this. One is quick and yields just a few inventory fillers, which can be done just by pressing "hack" on the portal menu. The second is a mini-game known as glyph-hacking, which is a simple pattern-recognition, memory game that gets harder the higher level you are and the higher the level of the portal being hacked. Glyph-hacking rewards you with more experience points as well as a higher chance of receiving more and better items from the portal hack.
Right, so now that you know how to gather items, you're probably going to want to know what those items could be. The variety of items available isn't huge but each has its importance.
The main items you can find are:
- Resonators: These, as described earlier, are what you use to capture and level up portals for your team.
- EMP bursters: These are the main weapons used in game. They come in levels of 1-8 and do damage to all enemy resonators within their area of effect. Each burster level is more powerful and has a longer range than the last.
- Power cubes: As usual, power cubes come in levels 1-8, each level filling your XM bar more than the last, very useful when XM is depleted from placing resonators and mods as well as from attacking enemy resonators.
- Keys: Keys are used to link portals together. This is done by standing at one portal, pressing "link" on the portal menu, and then selecting a portal from the list given. The list will only show portals that you have keys for and link-able.
- Shields: These, as the name states, shield a portal's resonators from damage.
There are a couple other items available but I shall leave those to be discovered for yourselves.
If you have managed to follow me this far I will be back soon with part two and shall cover the strategic gameplay elements of the game in detail.