Wherever you go these days there are Level-8 players, and even the occasional L8 portal. It’s a different game at that level. What may be my last piece on the subject; with a side-trip into BioShock Infinite.
A couple of our local enthusiasts got to L8 in less than 30 days’ play. It took me well over four months, and that’s with a few road-trips to places oozing with portals; I confess that when I got real close to L8, I did put in a lengthy weekend afternoon driving around to places in Vancouver to find juicy green fields to smash and relink.
What Matters · Someone who’s made it to L8 is likely fitter and lighter than when they started, they’ve made some new friends, and started to build a microculture. In Vancouver, Resistance level-8 culture centers on pubs with good chicken-wing specials; perhaps not what I would have picked, but there you go.
You hear stories about spectacular Ingress weight losses, which is a good thing; and also, to be fair, Ingress traffic tickets.
BioShock Infinite · While on the subject of games... I kept hearing people talk about this one, so thought the family should give it a try. The graphics are beautiful, the “Vigors” (magic spells) are cool, the arena is built with real imagination, but after less then ten hours, I’m done. There are no other people playing and I’m stuck in my living room; why would I want to do that?
Advanced Ingress Strategy · Once you no longer care about leveling up, everything changes. At the moment there’s not much of an endgame, unless you’re in a neighborhood where the Niantic people stage one of their events, or you organize your own. But let’s assume there’s going to be one. If you want to be on the winning side then, you need to have more high-level players than the other side. So what matters more than anything else is recruiting new players and leveling them up. On that basis:
Don’t build big linked fields. You’re taking away leveling opportunities from your junior players and creating them for the other side.
Do build farms. You can’t do anything without ammunition, and so you need occasional access to clusters of L7 and L8 portals.
Don’t try to play defense. Ingress is ludicrously tilted in favor of the attacking player — an L6 can take down any portal in the game, and an L8 can tear up a whole neighborhood in no time at all.
There have been recent changes to the game that might make defense a little less impossible, but for the time being, it’s not a good use of your time or resources.
Do make pop-up farms. The consequence of the last two points is that you need to get groups of high-level players together, upgrade a bunch of portals clustered in a small area, and farm them all dry, ideally before the other side arrives to smash. In Vancouver this is done with the help of chicken wings.
We also had a suburb a half-hour’s easy drive away with a compact riverfront downtown bulging with portals, and a couple of our more fanatical players lived there. We managed to keep L8’s up for days and days there, and for quite a while had the other side outgunned as a consequence. But it seems they’ve caught on, so I guess it’s back to pop-ups.
Don’t capture portals. If you’re attacking an enemy L7, don’t capture it or even turn it grey. Leave it in the opposition’s hands, but with almost all the portals destroyed and the rest weakened. That way, you’re not leaving the fat first-resonator bonus on the table for the other side.
Unless, of course, there’s a lower-level player from your faction somewhere not too far away. In which case...
Do offer smash/key service. L8 players should be available, when one of your lower-level players is around, to come out, weaken or smash the opposition portals, and load the junior up with portal keys, so they can capture and deploy and link.
Don’t let the other side have farms. My neighborhood is currently full of opposition portals and I just don’t care. But I and our other L8’s keep our eyes open for any of them hitting L7, and we’re pretty good at cleaning them up PDQ when that happens.
How Big Is It? · A lot of people are playing; somewhere over 500 just here in Vancouver. But the rate of growth has slowed, I think; anecdotal, but I definitely have the feeling.
It seems that there are quite a few people who just don’t want to come out and play. They genuinely don’t feel the appeal of getting out there on the streets in their neighborhood. This is hard for me to understand.
Of course, there’s a huge untapped pool of highly-qualified players: the millions and millions of people in iOS-land. My feelings are mixed; I think Ingress is both fun and good for its players. So more people is better. But I’ve also enjoyed the distinct flavor (not necessarily better, just different) that follows on the absence of Apple People.