I haven’t been around the game that long, but I have noticed different progression profiles:
- players who dive in completely, reach L8 in a few weeks
- players who don’t play quite as much and stay “stuck” somewhere around L4-L5 for a bit
When it comes to having offensive power that can actually make a bit of a difference in the game, L6 is where it starts. L6 XMP bursters can do a reasonable amount of damage, and it makes progressing more encouraging to be able to have that kind of impact.
So, how do you get there and avoid staying stuck? A few things to understand so you put your efforts in the right place when you’re starting out.
Look at how much AP you need — 20K may feel like a lot when you’re starting out, but if you realise that it just means deploying 10 portals or making a handful of fields it suddenly seems much more attainable.
Hack, hack hack
Hack every portal you see, whatever its level or yours, whatever its colour. After verifying your account by SMS code, you have space for 2000 items in your inventory, which is more than enough when you’re starting out, even though it feels like an overstuffed sock drawer when you’ve been playing for a bit.
You can hack a portal again after 5 minutes have gone by. So do it. Not sure if you have? Just try. Nothing bad will happen if you don’t wait, it’ll just tell you you’re being a bit impatient.
So… just make it a habit of hacking everything that comes within range on your scanner. Again and again.
Deploy, link, field
To progress until level 8, all you need is AP (action points). This means you want to concentrate on actions which will bring you the most AP, so that you will quickly have access to higher level objects that allow you to better take part in the game.
If you google ingress ap leveling you’ll find a bunch of links to tables listing AP required by level and AP gained by action. They’re not all up-to-date. Here is the important stuff to remember:
- capturing a portal is 500AP, each resonator and mod deployed is 125AP, completing deployment is an extra 250AP; this means that a complete portal deployment (from capture to placing two mods) is 2000AP
- creating a link is 313AP, closing a field is 1250AP; this means that if you capture three portals, deploy them as above and link them together in a triangle to create a field, you will have gained 8189AP (barring any calculation mistake on my part) => capturing, deploying, linking and fielding is the best way to gain AP
- if you destroy an enemy portal, you gain 75AP per resonator destroyed, 187 per link destroyed, 750 per field destroyed; less than if you’re building, and that’s assuming you have the firepower to destroy the portal in question (you probably don’t)
TL;DR: concentrate on deploying portals whenever you can and creating links and field.
Pay attention particularly in high portal density environments (cities) to always link to the closest portals possible and not throw long links across towns — other players will not be happy with you if you do. (Once you’ve done a few fielding sessions you’ll completely understand why.)
Also, remember to deploy your resonators as far as possible from the portal centre, as it makes them more difficult to destroy.
Play with others
Ingress is a multiplayer game. Though you can have fun playing alone, it’s even more fun with other people, and for certain types of gameplay (large fielding operations, or deploying L8 portals) you need to work as a group.
When it comes to leveling up and learning how to play, experienced players will greatly accelerate the process. They’ll show you tips and tricks, you’ll be included in your local community, and — last but not least — you will gain AP more quickly.
If you go out for a fielding session alone:
- you have to get all the keys you need yourself (remember you can only hack a portal 4 times, with a 5-minute timeout between hacks)
- you’ll probably struggle a bit orienting yourself with the scanner and high portal density
- if you stumble upon well-deployed and shielded opposite faction portals you probably won’t be able to take them down
With an experienced player:
- they will help you pick a good spot for your fielding session
- two people hacking = double the keys, they will drop those they pick up for you so you can spend more time deploying and linking, and less time walking back and forth or waiting next to portals to hack them again
- they will help you figure out what to link to what and tell you where the portals are
- they might give you gear you need
- you’ll get to know another player who is part of the community!
Know the “key drop” trick
When you hack a portal that you already have the key to, it will not give you another key. When fielding, you will need more than one key per portal (more like 2 or 3, or even more).
If you drop the key before hacking the portal, the portal will probably give you a key. You can then pick up the key you just dropped and you will have two of them.
Make each hack count, when it comes to collecting keys!
If you’re currently leveling up and have received good advice to accelerate your progress, or if you’re an experienced player who has advice I haven’t listed here, share in the comments.