Before I get into the meat and potatoes of my day (which is ironic, considering I didn’t eat till I got home at 8:30pm) I must declare that I have to omit certain facts regarding my team. This anomaly is just one in a series for the season and there are still more to go, I’ve promised to not reveal any information regarding advanced tactics and I intend to keep my word (Sorry resistance players, no Intel here.) Alright, with that little disclaimer out of the way, grab a drink and let the article commence!
On Saturday, the town of Portland, Maine was transformed into a war zone. Two factions littered the streets attempting to foil the opposition’s plans. I awoke at 8:30, made sure my external battery pack was fully charged then awaited for my fellow agent. Once we both had our equipment ready and accounted for, we ventured off on a trip that would change our lives for a whole day. The first obstacle that I faced was obtaining the address for the event, which was held at Tommy’s Park. In my short time with GPS based gaming, I’ve come to find out that cities don’t provide addresses to their parks. Luckily my team, whom were already on site, found an address 10 feet away from the park and relayed that information back to me. Even through all the traffic, occasional fires next to the highway and panhandlers, this was the easiest part of my day.
Once I arrived at Tommy’s Park it was time to find the Niantic booth to register, which led to a nice scavenger hunt (because Niantic didn’t have a strong presence and I had to ask seven people where the table to register was even though I was 20 feet away.) Now I don’t bash without it being due, but Niantic only handled registration and then took a photo. It felt like the community took the Anomaly more seriously than Niantic did, which did two things. First it made me question their loyalty to their fan base. Secondly, it made me feel like what I did didn’t matter. Going into this anomaly I was level 5, a low level as far as competitive play goes. I was in charge of shielding the portals that our team needed. This is a very important job and one that a lower level can do. Once we received our orders, we shipped out to our objective.
Going into the anomaly I thought it would be nonstop action, Enlightened and resistance players butting heads every second of the day and smack talk galore, this was not the case in the slightest. If I could describe it in four words it would be, Hurry up and wait. In some cases we achieved our objective without any resistance (pun totally intended) and in one case, we were out manned and lost our target (this was our first target of the day). What I enjoyed the most was feeling like what we did was building up to something. Every step of the way my team was being updated and it kept us going through the heat and the exhaustion that an August day brings with it. I had only been to Portland once prior to this event and I saw a totally different side of it and that is where Ingress shines. It relies on movement and exploration to earn points, gain levels and drop items.
As the sun started to wane in the sky, so to was the anomaly. It lasted roughly six hours, not including walking from one end of town to the other. Our original final destination was a park with all the trees, shade and fountains you could have asked for. As we were resting, low and behold, a portal 10 feet away became a shard. Shards are specific to anomalies and require you to link the portal with the shard to a nearby portal in order to move the shard to the other portal to score a point. Make sense? That’s okay, it took me around 4 hours to understand it. At this point we were ahead by a huge score, at least a couple hundred points. The resistance had withdrawn and were already hitting up the bars, that is to say, most of them.
As we were heading back to Tommy’s Park, we were rerouted to a portal across from a Dunkin Donuts (great bathroom there, I know from experience) luckily, it was on the way (my legs were killing me at this point, 5 hours after the start time). I had assumed from the ease of our battles previously that this target would be a piece of cake, boy was I wrong. Remember that nonstop action, chaotic war zone I was expecting? As we were waiting to score the point, no less than six resistance members start attacking our target. I’ve never had to put shields on a portal so fast and so often before in my life. Once my team got in the flow defending our portal, Resistance reinforcements arrived. Four men on bikes came from nowhere and really gave the resistance a good chance of thwarting our plans. After what seemed like an hour (was actually like 10 minutes) we scored the final point we were responsible for, we had stopped the resistance from stealing our point!
I realize this article isn’t as juicy as I originally wanted, but the devil’s in the confidential details. So here’s some information that I picked up that are just cool fun facts! Our ops team were all in a conference room coordinating where to deploy agents in both Portland and, get this, Poland. There were a few anomalies spread across the world happening simultaneously. I met people who had traveled from Philadelphia to Portland, Maine to take part in this event, which isn’t too far compared to others who live in California that came up. Most non Ingress players assumed we were playing Pokemon GO, which we were, in our down time of course.
The most amazing thing about Ingress is hands down its community. Like I said before, Niantic really dropped the ball when it came to getting us pumped and excited. I personally felt that they were short with me when I was registering and just calling it in that day. The community made up for this fact by creating a sense of comradery and friendship. By the end of the day, these players and I were friends. While I never got the chance to talk to our ops team in their conference room, I know we wouldn’t have done nearly as well without them.
I asked my my team captain, Mr. BlueSox, what Ingress means to him, he stated:
“While others do have deeper reasons for getting deep into Ingress, for me it’s still mostly just a game with a significant (and awesome) social aspect. From requiring 8 people to make a level 8 portal, to how much easier it is to wreck blue farms in groups, to the hundreds of people needed to coordinate regional (or larger) ops, it really does create some amazing communities.”
Would I do another anomaly? Yeah, I absolutely would. The anomaly was a fantastic way to meet new people, enjoy a new landscape and exercise. I walked about seven miles, no small feat for the big man that is I. While I’m not a big fan of hurry up and wait situations, I understood why it was important and that made me feel cool (like a secret agent.) My team even got someone who was on a date to take our picture (which you can see a exhausted reviewer!) and yes, before you ask, my shirt was pulled up, so you get to see some skin. I’m a trollop, I know!
That’s all I got for you guys today, If you haven’t downloaded Ingress, it’s on your local app store. Go download it, enjoy it and the community. I’ll throw a How to video below this paragraph. I personally think it’s got a leg up on Pokemon GO, which again, another thing Niantic dropped the ball with. Seriously, just have more community involvement, then we’ll be cool Niantic. Stay tuned throughout the week for my World of Warcraft: Legion review, i’ll be posting a first impressions article before the actual review. I’m saving the review for after I hit the new level cap. Stay well everyone, until next time!